The Every Block A Village Online project will address serious health and safety problems in Chicago's Austin community, an area with a historically high crime rate and poor health indicators. The West Suburban Hospital Medical Center will provide 57 "citizen leaders" with WebTV units and Internet access in their homes so they can obtain and distribute health and safety information to the community residents. The citizen leaders have already been selected and are currently working with the Beat 1524 police to help step-up community policing efforts. Community residents will also have greater access to community health resources through a Network Training Site, a 24-hour health information telephone service and a Wellness Center home page, an email site where physicians can be queried regarding health concerns.
Austin is an economically depressed community on Chicago's west side. Rates of illness, including AIDS and tuberculosis, are all higher in Austin than in Chicago as a whole. This is a community with tremendous need for a communications infrastructure that reaches people with critical health and crime-fighting information.
The project will explore the impact of giving local leaders the networking tools to track critical health and public safety information. Several health-related factors that impact the progress of the program will be measured. For example, with respect to pregnancy, it will track low birth weight, maternal medical complications, and the trimester period at which prenatal care is initiated. In addition, the project will track the visit rate to the hospital's Emergency Department, and measure whether the annual rate in major crimes continues to decrease.
The Westside Health Authority (WHA), will work in partnership with the PCC Community Wellness Center, West Suburban Hospital (WSH), and Loyola's Center for Urban Research and Learning.