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Research Project

Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Chicago Communities

Principal Investigator
Hebert-Beirne, Jeni
Research Area(s)
Community Engagement
Health Disparities
Funding Source
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


The Chicago public health response to COVID-19 tested our readiness to respond and served as a clarifying moment exposing the need to build local public health infrastructure by bolstering CBOs and repurposing the assets that Academia possesses to support community-led health equity work. The goal of this project is to build capacity at the neighborhood level to address structural violence by building (a) research capacity and leadership of youth who live in highest hardship community areas of Chicago to be members of the public health workforce and (b) repurposing academic knowledge and skills to directly support CBOs to lead healing, rebuilding public health movements. We plan to do this across two distinct but complementary efforts: (1) Reciprocal Technical Assistance (TA) with Community-based Organization (CBO) Partners to Build a More Responsive Local Public Health System and (2) Youth Citizen Science Program: Unlearning Knowledge Hierarchies for Grounded Advocacy and Action in Public Health.