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Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project

Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project


The Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project will partner with Chicago neighborhoods experiencing high rates of job insecurity to:

  • Explore community-level approaches for improving residents' health at work
  • Build community capacity for recognizing worker health as community health
  • Develop community-based interventions that expand residents' access to healthy jobs

The Center for Healthy Work recognizes that poor quality work can have a major impact on the health of workers and the communities where they live. The Greater Lawndale Healthy Work (GLHW) project explores how to address the needs of precariously employed workers.

Community resources and organizations are very important in understanding worker health and safety. The GLHW team hopes to help community groups recognize worker health as community health, address worker health in ongoing community health efforts, and create new total worker health interventions.

The GLHW team will plan focus groups with community members and interviews with community organizations in the North and South Lawndale neighborhoods of Chicago to understand how residents experience work.

The team will also look at existing community resources to understand how they can continue to work toward healthier neighborhoods. A technique called concept mapping will also be done to look at how community members describe the relationships between health and work.


Progress to Date


The Center for Healthy Work’s Greater Lawndale Healthy Work (GLHW) participatory research project is deeply engaged in Chicago’s North Lawndale and Little Village neighborhoods to characterize the experiences of community members who engage in precarious work in the Greater Lawndale neighborhood and to identify community interventions to promote worker health.

The GLHW team is using a participatory, mixed methods community health assessment approach, which includes a community health survey, focus groups, interviews and concept mapping (a visual display of community members’ ideas and priorities) to gain an understanding of community needs. GLHW community member research partners have reached 80% of their goal to administer the 116-item community health survey to 500 residents about the type and nature of their work, their working conditions, their ability to exercise workplace rights, and the impact of work on their health. In addition to the survey, team members have also conducted 12 focus groups with neighborhood residents and facilitated concept mapping with nearly 300 residents in the last two years. Focus group and concept mapping findings were later presented to residents at community meetings and validated by them. Community members provided important insight as to how the initial findings could be presented and disseminated to the community at large in meaningful ways.

Findings from focus groups, concept mapping and the community health surveys will guide the next phase of the project—intervention mapping-- a process to develop community centered, theory and evidenced based interventions mapped to community needs. Ultimately, the GLHW team aims to help community groups recognize worker health as community health, address worker health in ongoing community health efforts, and create new Total Worker Health interventions.

At each step of the way GLHW is committed to meaningful outreach efforts. Team members often participate in community events to introduce the work of the project and to learn about community concerns. A recent example: team members distributed project materials and Center for Healthy Work lunch boxes at a Day of the Dead event in Little Village.

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