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SUHI Project:Sinai Community Health Survey


Sinai Community Health Survey


The Sinai Urban Health Institute documented that racial and ethnic health disparities were widening in Chicago but appeared to be narrowing nationally.  Existing data sources enabled researchers to examine who was dying from particular disease but could not ascertain who was living with a particular life-threatening condition and/or which communities were most vulnerable, in order to effectively target interventions.  In an effort to address these disparities and shape creative new interventions for improved health, the Sinai Urban Health Institute sought out to conduct a local area health survey.

In 2001, the Sinai Health System received a two-year grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a project entitled, “Catalyzing Public Policy to Improving Community Health”.  The purpose of the project was two-fold: (1) to document the health status of community areas in the City of Chicago; and most importantly, (2) to translate the survey findings into improved public health interventions and policies. For more details, refer to a brochure introducing the Sinai Community Health Survey.

Project Plan:

Phase I:  The Sinai Community Health Survey

With the guidance of community groups, SUHI designed and completed a comprehensive population health survey on various health topics.  The survey instrument contains 469 questions on the adult module and 144 questions on the child module.  The survey was administered face-to-face to a randomly selected, representative sample from six Chicago communities from September 2002-April 2003.  The final dataset includes information about 1,699 adults (18-75 years) and 811 children (0-12 years). 

The findings of the survey revealed significant health disparities and identified where and to what extent these disparities exist.  The data provide an intimate health profile of each community area and have been instrumental in shaping interventions and bringing resources to address the health concerns of these communities. 

Phase II:  Translation of the Sinai Community Health Survey Findings

Ten key findings from the survey were unveiled in the Sinai Improving Community Health Survey Report 1, January 2004.   Ten additional findings, along with a special section on the translation of findings from Report 1, came out in the Sinai Improving Community Health Survey Report 2, September 2005.  Following the release of each report, we held a press conference and have worked with various academic institutions, community organizations and leaders to translate findings into meaningful public health programs.

Since completion of the survey in 2003, the Sinai Urban Health Institute has made close to 20 unique presentations at national conferences and over 100 local presentations to share findings and take action.  We have also published several peer-reviewed journal articles on topics such as: elevated smoking prevalence in some Chicago minority communities; disproportionate burden of diabetes among Puerto Ricans in Humboldt Park; and significant geographic variations in health between six Chicago communities.  All activities related to the translation of survey findings have been supported by the Chicago Community Trust from April 2004-March 2007.

With each presentation, report and/or publication, our aim is to motivate foundations, inspire public health leaders and galvanize community residents to take action toward improved health in some of Chicago’s most vulnerable communities.

Project Updates:

Donor Reports:

Shah AM, Whitman S. Progress Report to the Chicago Community Trust. Chicago, IL: Sinai Health System, May 2005.

Whitman S, Shah AM. Progress Report to the Chicago Community Trust, Translating Sinai’s Improving Community Health Survey Into Action. Chicago, Illinois: Sinai Health System, October 2006.

Whitman S, Shah AM. Final Report to the Chicago Community Trust, Translating Sinai’s Improving Community Health Survey Into Action. Chicago, Illinois: Sinai Health System, April 2007.