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FAQ for Communities

What is the institute’s relationship with Illinois communities?

The Institute for Health Research and Policy places a high value on engagement with community residents and leaders in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. More than 200 community-based organizations and public health agencies have participated or currently participate in the institute’s research and education activities during the past five years, including churches, schools, workplaces, and health care facilities. These collaborations are essential to our research and we share with our partners a common goal of improving the health of their communities. We build our relationships on mutual respect and benefit with our partners.

How does a community organization or other group get involved with IHRP?

Typically, the institute interacts with community members in the context of specific research projects, but there are many ways community members and organizations can develop relationships with us. The best way to begin an interaction is to find IHRP faculty or staff who share an interest in your health issue.

I would like to offer an internship to a graduate student in public health.  Can you help me find someone?

Complete and send this Field Practicum Opportunities Form to Adela Peña, coordinator of career services in the UIC School of Public Health, at adela@uic.edu.

I run a health program that needs an evaluation to secure more state funding. Can IHRP help me?

At a minimum, IHRP faculty can refer you to someone or to a resource that can help you. Depending on the nature of the evaluation and the availability of resources, we might:

  • Design the evaluation process or outcome evaluation tools, or
  • Provide graduate students to evaluate community programs, or
  • Provide oversight of evaluation implementation, or
  • Provide feedback or recommendations.

I am concerned about diabetes in my community. How can I get involved in your diabetes project?

Many of our projects focus on a specific community for the purpose of the research. However, we aim to use our findings and best practices to improve the health of communities across the state and around the country. We would be very interested in working with you to do this.

What other ways can my organization or I work with IHRP?

Besides working with us on specific research projects or evaluations, individuals and community organizations can collaborate with IHRP in these ways:

  • Help us identify priority health issues in your community.
  • Help us recruit people for a particular study.
  • Ask us for feedback on community programs.
  • Advise us about your community by participating in a community advisory board or other forum.
  • Invite us to share health data about your community at a community meeting.
  • Work with us on symposia, articles, or grant proposals.

How can I get more information about working with IHRP?

If you have an idea for a collaboration with IHRP or have a health program that needs an evaluation, please contact Dr. Robin Mermelstein, IHRP director, at robinm@uic.edu.