University of Illinois at Chicago
National Center of Excellence in Women's Health

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Community Partnerships





Community Partnership Core Principles

In the Community Partnership Core, our mission is to build bridges between the CoE and organizations and individuals that address the health and related concerns of women throughout Illinois. We are particularly committed to improving the health and well being of
under-served women and communities in the Chicago area.

Since its inception, the Community Core has taken several different approaches to working with communities. Our aim is to assess which strategies work best for a CoE (ours and potentially others), with the ultimate objective of improving the health of women in the communities served by our CoE. Our current overarching approach is to focus on a limited number of organizations and projects, and support them in developing community based initiatives. Below we list a number of specific strategies for working with communities in order to accomplish our mission:

  • Community-based health education: Community-based health education can occur in different ways. The methods we will use for community-based health education include:

    1. Community health workers: Community women will be trained by CoE staff to work as lay health educators in their communities.

    2. Health professionals: Through our Speakers Bureau, we arrange for health professionals to go to community sites to talk to women about specific health topics.

  • Community-based participatory research: Community women will define what “health” means to them as a basis for developing programs specifically targeted towards the women in their communities.

The methods used in each community we work with vary depending on the specific community group. However, our goal is to provide women with the resources to take ownership of their health, and allow each community to develop its unique approach depending upon its specific needs. We are committed to maximizing the resources we have access to by bringing our resources to community groups.

Community Partnership Core Activities

We have established successful local and statewide partnerships including:

  • Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health: evaluation of the WISEWOMAN program.
  • Midwest Network on Female Genital Cutting: An organization committed to addressing the impact of FGC in the Midwest, with the goal of both preventing cutting from occurring and providing sensitive, culturally competent care for those who have been cut.
  • BodyWorks: We have implemented BodyWorks, a nutrition and physical activity promotion program developed by the DHHS Office on Women's Health. BodyWorks is aimed at parents and caregivers of pre-adolescent and adolescent girls.

We welcome participation from any additional groups who would like to work with us to improve the health of women in Chicago and other communities throughout Illinois.


Kris Zimmermann, MPH is a project coordinator at the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender. She serves as the CoE Coordinator and the co-director of the Community Core.

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UIC's National Center of Excellence in Women's Health
Administrative Offices
(M/C 980)
1640 West Roosevelt Rd., 5th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60608-6902
Ph: 312-413-1924 Fax: 312-413-7423