The vision for Loyola University’s Healthy Homes & Healthy Communities Initiative (HHHCI) is to establish an expansive interdisciplinary university-community-public-private partnership to tackle the problem of environmental toxins in homes and communities through a range of activities. This approach integrates a unique set of strategies and tactics, including applied research, public education, organizing, coalition building, legislative and policy advocacy, and policy implementation.
The goal of the HHHCI is to develop Loyola University Chicago as a leading educational institution with a commitment to advancing healthy homes and healthy communities free of environmental and social toxins. The project will use an integrative research and advocacy model to address the public health and housing problems associated with environmental toxins. This approach integrates a unique set of strategies and tactics, including applied research, public education, organizing, coalition building, legislative and policy advocacy, and policy implementation.
View the HHHCI Concept Paper.
The Healthy Homes & Healthy Communities Initiative already has been successful in building recognition, commitment, and agreement among key public and community members as well as university faculty, staff, and students. A number of new and ongoing projects and events has helped propel the initiative and its goals among the university’s faculty, staff, and students across all campuses and also garnered the attention of community partners/organizations and individuals at the city and county level. The following efforts reflect accomplishments to date. The Initiative intends to build on these efforts as it moves forward.
- Created an interdisciplinary Steering Committee and Advisory Board, with faculty representatives from all three LUC campuses representing natural sciences, social sciences, law, and medicine;
- Worked with partners and governmental entities to research, draft, and support state legislation and policies related to lead safe homes;
- Participated in two invitational national leadership meetings focused on setting an agenda for ensuring healthy homes;
- Partnered with community organization on a pilot study to assess the level of heavy metal exposure in the West Town and Bronzeville neighborhoods and to develop a model for a community-university research partnership;
- Begun planning a working conference to be held in March 2014
- Developed, presented and streamed a Healthy Homes Speaker Series, led by highly recognized researchers whose work focuses on either emerging environmental toxins, effective or new interventions for combating environmental toxins, or best practices on engaging communities
- Began a Healthy Homes Film Series to help promote the concept of healthier homes and communities as well as raise awareness towards environmental toxins that are affecting communities across the US, especially those similar to Chicago and Cook County
- Elicited research through a university wide request for proposals (RFP) that will be funded through the University and focuses on the intersection of social, political, and natural science research and practice to inform the development and implementation of healthy homes/communities in the City of Chicago and Cook County;
- The working conference will have the goal of developing a blueprint for the City/County, community groups, private industry, public health, housing and child advocates, and the University to address environmental toxins