Illinois Prevention Research Center: Partnering to Promote Health in Urban Communities

Making the Connection
Healthy Living Program

Making the Connection is a community-based research program focused on promoting healthy lifestyles in the Greater Lawn community of Southwest Chicago, which includes the Chicago neighborhoods of West Lawn, Chicago Lawn, and Gage Park.

In this research program, the community and the university research team lead by Laurie Ruggiero, PhD, work hand in hand to identify residents' health concerns and to design, implement, and evaluate the impact of strategies to address these health concerns.

Many of this community's members are from racial and ethnic minorities who face an increased risk for developing diabetes. A primary focus of this research project, therefore, is to help the community with their goal of preventing diabetes in residents.

The research project is using the successful lifestyle approach of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which helped people across the United States reduce their risk of diabetes. The researchers and community members pilot-tested the program in the Greater Lawn community over 2005-2006. The full-scale study will occur 2006-2008. This community-based program, called Making the Connection Healthy Living Program, focuses on eating healthy and increasing physical activity to decrease weight and help to reduce the risk of diabetes. Community residents hired and trained as Healthy Life Coaches will work with researchers to deliver this group-oriented program in the community to discover how it works and what needs to be done to make it even better for the community.

In future years, the fully developed community-tailored Healthy Living Program will be provided at a variety of community locations by Healthy Life Coaches. This program will be evaluated by the researchers to discover the impact it has on healthy lifestyles of residents of Greater Lawn.

For more information, contact:

Laurie Ruggiero, PhD
Principal Investigator and Director of Research, Making the Connection
(312) 413-9825

Daisy Cintron
Program Director
(312) 413-1458

María Rodríguez-Sánchez, MEd
Community Project Coordinator
(312) 355-4439

Collage of active community members