Partnership aims to improve public health in Chicago
Paul Brandt-Rauf, dean of the UIC School of Public Health, and Julie Morita, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, signed an agreement Jan. 25 establishing the first Academic Health Department in Illinois.
Aimed at improving public health in Chicago, the 10-year partnership allows for shared decision-making on many public health research, education and data-analysis projects. Under the agreement, UIC will open libraries and mentor Chicago Department of Public Health on building a research arm. The city’s public health department will facilitate access to Chicago’s communities and its wealth of public health data.
“This is a historic moment,” Brandt-Rauf said. “We want to ensure public health knowledge is translated into the community and into practice.”
“This partnership is critical and is in great alignment with the department of public health in the city of Chicago,” Morita said.
Early goals of the Academic Health Department include facilitating collaboration on educational programs for students and public health workers, fostering collaborative research and grant opportunities, and forming a sustainable infrastructure for project implementation.
“UIC has a very clear mission of engaging with our community to improve health outcomes,” said Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs. “As we seek new ways to serve our community, we are very excited to work with the Chicago Department of Public Health and believe that together we can make greater and faster strides on many of the pressing public health issues impacting our city.”
Griselle Torres, director of the Coordinating Center for Public Health Practice at UIC, said that the partnership demonstrates an understanding that public health issues are complex, and solutions will not be found by working in isolation.