The Neighborhoods + Health Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago, led by Dr. Shannon Zenk, conducts research to understand how the environments where we live, work, and play affect people’s health and contribute to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in health. Major foci of our work are urban built and social environments such as access to healthy foods and infrastructure to be physically active, and their impact on diet and physical activity behaviors. But our work extends to other health behaviors and health outcomes, too. We study neighborhoods where people live as well as the broader activity space where people spend time. We have an interest in how the environment may alter health promotion program effectiveness. We use a variety of methods in our work including geographic information system (GIS) mapping, global positioning system (GPS) tracking, direct observation, surveys, and ecological momentary assessment (EMA).
Our research group involves students and post-doctoral fellows from many disciplines who share a passion for neighborhoods, interest in rigorous science, and commitment to social justice.