Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Community Health

News & Success Stories

Read the latest news from the Center for Community Health. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about the department and our faculty's latest achievements. Our success stories show our programs and partnerships in action, making real, positive health changes in our communities.


CCH Welcomes Amanda Venables as new Senior Program Administrator

The Center for Community Health (CCH) is delighted to welcome Amanda Venables, MPH as the new Senior Program Administrator supporting the Practice Based Research Program (PBRP) within CCH and the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics (GIM). 

Amanda joins us from TASC, a Chicago-based Illinois non-profit that works at the intersection of behavioral health and justice. She previously worked at GIM as a Research Project Manager under Mary McDermott, MD

Amanda can be reached at with any questions.


CCH Welcomes New Co-Directors Namratha Kandula and Darius Tandon

CCH is very excited to welcome Dr. Namratha (Nammi) Kandula and Dr. Darius Tandon as our Center's new Co-Directors. 

Dr. Kandula is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine at the Feinberg School, who has spent her career dedicated to improving health in communities affected by social inequality. For more than 15 years, her ongoing research has made fundamental contributions to how immigration, culture, and socioeconomic contexts shape cardiovascular health disparities and how to incorporate these factors into the design of effective interventions that reduce disparities. Nammi is a genuine expert in community engagement, with a marvelous vision for leading CCH by aligning faculty and community partners in cross-disciplinary research that informs community practice and policy to maximize community impact.

Dr. Tandon is an Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences and has served as CCH’s Associate Director since arriving at Feinberg from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Darius trained as a community psychologist, and his active research focuses on the development and scalable implementation of policies and programs that prevent the onset and worsening of depression among adolescents and among perinatal women in home visitation and early childhood programs. Darius already has considerable expertise working within CCH to develop resources and services for the NUCATS Institute that enhance community-academic partnerships, community engaged scholarship, patient engagement in research, and community dissemination and implementation. He also is a member of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) PCOR Translation Center, which focuses on approaches and strategies to effectively disseminate research to community and clinical stakeholder groups.

Click here to read a message from the new Co-Directors.


Chicago Dept. of Public Health Coordinator of Research & Evaluation position! Applications due Aug 11

Accepting applications for a new Chicago Department of Public Health Coordinator of Research and Evaluation position! Apply onlineDeadline: August 11.

This position is jointly funded by the Clinical & Translational Science Award institutes at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois-Chicago and will be working in collaboration with the Chicago Consortium for Community Engagement (C3). This is an exciting role to support community-academic research collaborations to address health equity.

This link will take you to the City of Chicago Job Listings. You can find the position by entering 'research' into the search box. All applications must be made online.Click here for the position's job announcement and here for more information about C3.

NCATS Day- Perspective from CCH Patient Advocacy Partner

On June 30, 2017, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health held its inaugural NCATS Day: Partnering with Patients for Smarter Science to collectively discuss ways for improved patient inclusion in NCATS' translational science activities. The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute is supported by funding from NCATS and was pleased to have staff from CCH and the Center for Clinical Research (CCR) participate. CCH also supported the attendance and participation of one of our patient advocacy partners, 

Candace Henley, Founder and Chief Surviving Officer of The Blue Hat Foundation, a faith-based, colorectal cancer organization whose mission is to educate, raise awareness, and provide resources to the medically underserved.  

Click here for Candace's recap. 

2017 ARCC Community-Engaged Research Partnership Award Winner: Pastors4PCOR (P4P): Engaging faith-based communities in health research

This award acknowledges the efforts of the Pastors4PCOR (Patient Centered Outcomes Research) (P4P): Engaging faith-based communities in health research, a collaborative partnership of 12 churches serving underrepresented populations in Chicago and South Suburban areas and their congregants, community health advocates, health system providers, and academic health researchers. To learn more click here

ARCC Research Findings: Community Perspectives on Supporting Clinical Research

CCH’s Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities conducted focus groups with organizational staff representing community-based, faith-based and patient advocacy organizations to learn more about how community organizations view partnering with research institutions for the purpose of educating community members about clinical research participation and/or giving input on the design and conduct of clinical research. CCH is working with NUCATS’ Center for Clinical Research to consider how these findings may inform efforts to improve diverse community participation in clinical research and health outcomes for diverse communities.

Click here to access a summary of the findings. 

CCH Director Ron Ackermann's Diabetes Prevention Program recognized in The New York Times

On March 30, 2016, The New York Times ran a story highlighting the unsung role of CCH Director Ron Ackermann and colleague's many years of research in informing recent national policy changes in diabetes prevention. The article describes how work done at an Indianapolis Y.M.C.A. by Dr. Ackermann and David Marrero led to the highly successful Diabetes Prevention Program. This story comes after the Obama administration announced that they plan to endorse Medicare coverage for Diabetes Prevention Programs. This counseling for people with prediabetes is the first preventative service to become eligible for expansion into the Medicare program under the Affordable Care Act. The article can be read here.

CRC Screening at Heartland

Heartland Health Outreach (HHO) provides healthcare services to a largely low-income, minority, and immigrant population in urban Chicago; where high levels of poverty, lack of health insurance, limited English proficiency, and racial/ethnic diversity have all contributed to disparities in preventive care. Funded by a 2009 PBR seed grant, the investigator team of Choucair, Jean-Jacques, Ryan, and Gatta found that mailing information and fecal occult blood test kits directly to HHO’s patients increased their screening rates for colorectal cancer. Study findings contributed to the receipt of both a) Dr. Jean-Jacques' early career K award, and b) a P-01 award from AHRQ for "Research Center of Excellence in Clinical Preventive Services" (P.I. David Baker, MD MPH).

Promoting Physical Activity with MAFS

A recent survey found very high rates of sedentary and overweight/obese among South Asian women in Chicago; and little evidence of successful physical activity interventions existed for them. Funded by an ARCC seed grant, the community-academic research team of Metropolitan Asian Family Services and NU faculty member Dr. Namratha Kandula studied the awareness and drivers of exercise and physical activity among this largely immigrant population, along with culturally relevant interventions. The team leveraged lessons and data from this pilot study to secure an NIH-funded R-21 award for translating a culturally-salient heart disease prevention program into the South Asian community.

Humboldt Park Community-Initiated Research Project Documents Children’s Asthma Issues and Leads to Funded Interventions

Suspecting that a larger number of children in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood suffered from asthma then previously reported, the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness (GHPCOW) sought to investigate this issue. ARCC brokered a partnership between GHPCOW and several academic researchers, and awarded them a seed grant to conduct a survey in two local Chicago Public Schools. Study results revealed exceptionally high asthma prevalence rates: at 25 percent, they were more than twice the national average. The research team leveraged these findings to secure $6,225,000 over five years from multiple sources to further study the problem in Humboldt Park, and to develop community-based interventions.