Community Health Scholarship Track

Community Health Track Overview

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) is situated in the culturally rich South Side of Chicago – an area of 34 neighborhoods with around one million people, primarily African American with a large Hispanic and immigrant population, many impoverished, with significant health disparities. A community health needs assessment sponsored by UCM in 2012 prioritized access to care for all, diabetes and cancer care for adults, and obesity and asthma care for pediatrics, as well as sexually transmitted infections and violence. 

The University of Chicago faculty and trainees partner with community leaders and organizations to promote health through research, advocacy, and community development.

The Community Health Track connects students participating in the service learning opportunities of the Pritzker School of Medicine with the community outreach of the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and community engaged research of the Institute for Translational Medicine. Medical education is situated within and with the community, allowing students to develop necessary skills in establishing community partnerships for research and advocacy, public speaking, fundraising, consensus building, community organizing, organizational management, team building and inter-professional collaboration. The Community Health Track prepares students to promote population health.

Meet the Track Leaders

Deb Burnet, MD '89, MAPP 


Dr. Burnet is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Section Chief of General Internal Medicine at University of Chicago Medicine, and also holds extensive ties to the communities on the South Side of Chicago. Her research focus is on using community-based methods and programs to understand and halt the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in African American youth.

Arshiya Baig, MD, MPH

  Physician Photo

Dr.  Baig is Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Baig has worked on community-based participatory research projects to improve healthcare delivery to low-income, uninsured minority communities in partnership with faith-based organizations in Los Angeles and Chicago. Her main research interest is in the use of faith-based interventions to mitigate Latino diabetes disparities. She is currently working with churches and community groups in South Lawndale, Chicago, to test a church-based diabetes self-management program on diabetes control and management among Latinos. She has also led a survey of health centers in the Midwest assessing the services provided to Latino patients and provider knowledge of Latino culture.

Community Health Student Ambassadors

Santiago Diaz

Addressing Health Disparities in a South Texas Community

Mentored by Dr. Monica Vela, MD, Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine

Sarah Kennedy

Addressing Pediatric Obesity in Underserved Communities: The Development and Assessment of School Health and Wellness Programs

Mentored by Dr. Anna Volerman Beaser, MD, Department of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine

Megan Tusken

Factors Shaping Women's Preabortion Communication With Gynecologic Care Providers

Mentored by Dr. Julie Chor, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Student Work

Santiago Diaz

Addressing health disparities in the South Texas Community (poster)

Sarah Kennedy

Academic-Community Collaboration to Improve Child Health and Wellness in Schools of Underserved Communities (abstract)

Academic-Community Collaboration to Improve Child Health and Wellness in Schools of Underserved Communities (poster)

Megan Tusken 

Factors Shaping Women’s Pre-abortion Communication with Their Regular Gynecologic Care Providers

Women's experiences with doula support during first-trimester surgical abortion: A qualitative study