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CHA accelerates health innovation by connecting academia and medicine.

Community Health Advocacy (CHA) is a partnership between UIC and the Jump Simulation & Education Center at OSF HealthCare that brings together faculty researchers and health care professionals to develop innovative solutions to health-related problems in an urban community. The teams work together to hypothesize, test and redesign tools, techniques and processes used by caregivers every day to find new solutions aimed at improving access and quality of care.

  • 48 CHA projects funded

  • 3.80 M+ awarded to support health innovation

  • 115 researchers and clinicians supported

CHA Projects Heading link

The Community Health Advocacy partnership is built on the premise that a multidisciplinary approach to applied research, technology development, and innovation can benefit patient care. The partnership supports applied research programs for community health that address health and wellness challenges in urban settings.

Teams of clinicians, engineers, and social scientists work together to develop technologies, devices, and services that could revolutionize health care. To receive funding, applicants must show that their solutions can be developed quickly, within the project period.

CHA Projects

Project Proposals Heading link

UIC faculty and clinicians from OSF HealthCare may apply for grants through the Community Health Advocacy (CHA) partnership. Proposed projects should focus on the social and community health needs of the Chicagoland area.

CHA accepts proposals twice annually – in the spring and fall. Projects are vetted by experts from UIC and OSF HealthCare. Selected projects will receive one year of funding up to $100,000 with the option to reapply for additional funding after the project is successfully completed.

To be considered for funding, projects should incorporate one of the three bulleted themes within the five focus areas below:

  • Exploring prototypes for the transformation of care and community-based initiatives that address social determinants of health
  • Improving outcomes and reducing health care disparities
  • Increasing access to care and reducing barriers to care for individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds
  1. Public Health: The RFP emphasizes initiatives related to public health, which involve promoting and protecting the health of populations. This may include projects aimed at disease prevention, health education, community outreach, epidemiological research, policy development, and implementation of public health interventions. The goal is to address public health challenges, improve health outcomes, and enhance the overall well-being of communities.
  2. Pharmacy: The RFP highlights opportunities within the field of pharmacy. This area encompasses various aspects of medication management, including the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs, drug distribution, patient counseling, medication therapy management, and pharmaceutical research. Proposals in pharmacy may focus on optimizing medication regimens, reducing medication errors, improving patient adherence, advancing pharmaceutical technologies, or exploring innovative pharmacy practice models.
  3. Nursing: The RFP encourages proposals that pertain to the field of nursing. Nursing involves the provision of holistic care to individuals, families, and communities across different healthcare settings. Proposals in this area may address issues such as nursing education and training, evidence-based practice, patient safety, nursing leadership and management, quality improvement, nursing research, and the integration of nursing into multidisciplinary healthcare teams.
  4. Dentistry: The RFP also seeks proposals related to dentistry. This field focuses on oral health, including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions. Initiatives in dentistry may involve promoting oral hygiene, conducting dental screenings, providing dental care to underserved populations, advancing dental technology and techniques, dental research, and enhancing oral health education and awareness.
  5. Cancer: The RFP prioritizes cancer research proposals addressing prevention, treatment, and survivorship, while the CHA program emphasizes funding projects that enhance access, reduce health disparities, and drive advancements in cancer care to improve patient outcomes and overall well-being.
  6. Mental Health: Addressing clinician mental health is a crucial aspect of maintaining a robust healthcare system. Projects focusing on mitigating burnout and stress among clinicians, fostering a supportive environment, and enhancing mental wellness are encouraged. Addressing clinician mental health is a crucial aspect of maintaining a robust healthcare system. Improving the well-being of healthcare professionals also contributes to better patient care and a more resilient healthcare system.

Proposals should include specific measurable metrics and may require data sharing agreements and/or IRB approvals before funding is allocated.

Competitive proposals will leverage UIC’s expertise in population health, public policy, social justice, design, science and engineering, and enhance the services of patients in OSF Little Company of Mary Hospital and clinics located in Evergreen Park, IL.

Projects that identify matching funding from federal, state, or other organizations will be regarded favorably.

Request for proposals are offered to members of:

  • UIC researchers
  • Clinicians from OSF HealthCare

Proposals must identify two co-investigators: one from UIC and one from among health care providers within OSF HealthCare.

Looking for a collaborator? We can help you find one. Email us at

To apply, teams must submit an online application and provide the following information.

  • Project Overview – Tell us about you’re project. How does it contribute to the goals of the CHA program?
  • Problem Statement – What problem are you solving? Why is it significant? How does your project uniquely address this problem?
  • Research Plan – Describe your hypothesis and the objectives of your project. How will you achieve these objectives? What approach will you take?
  • Team – Why is your team uniquely qualified to accomplish the project objectives?
  • Proposed Budget* – Provide a breakdown of project expenses and the rationale for each.

CHA application questions are available to view in PDF format here.

*Sample budget can be viewed in PDF format here.

Projects are reviewed by an independent panel of leaders, physicians, faculty and subject matter experts from UIC and OSF HealthCare. Projects are selected based on factors related to clinical need, market analysis, strategic alignment and other factors.

Proposals will be evaluated based on their alignment with CHA program goals, the potential impact on patient outcomes, and the quality of the proposed plan and expertise of team members.

Competitive projects will:

  • Evaluate the improvement of patient outcomes
  • Create equipment and facilities to evaluate and improve health care
  • Prepare new generations of experts in the field

Progress Report is due monthly throughout the project.

Final Closeout Report is due at the end of the project period.

Additional details on reporting requirements and report templates will be provided at time of award.

Steering Committee Heading link

Frequently Asked Questions Heading link