A Community-Powered, Asset-Based Approach to Intersectoral Urban Health System Planning in Chicago

Am J Public Health. 2016 Oct;106(10):1872-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303302. Epub 2016 Aug 23.


Objectives: To describe, and provide a nomenclature and taxonomy for classifying, the economic sectors and functional assets that could be mobilized as partners in an intersectoral health system.

Methods: MAPSCorps (Meaningful, Active, Productive Science in Service to Community) employed local youths to conduct a census of all operating assets (businesses and organizations) on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, in 2012. We classified assets by primary function into sectors and described asset and sector distribution and density per 100 000 population. We compared empirical findings with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) conceptual representation and description of intersectoral health system partners.

Results: Fifty-four youths mapped a 62-square-mile region over 6 weeks; we classified 8376 assets into 23 sectors. Sectors with the most assets were food (n = 1214; 230/100 000 population), trade services (n = 1113; 211/100 000), and religious worship (n = 974;185/100 000). Several large, health-relevant sectors (2499 assets) were identified in the region but not specified in the IOM's representation. Governmental public health, central to the IOM concept, had no physical presence in the region.

Conclusions: Local youths identified several thousand assets across a broad diversity of sectors that could partner in an intersectoral health system. Empirically informed iteration of the IOM concept will facilitate local translation and propagation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Censuses
  • Chicago
  • City Planning*
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Urban Health*