Great City, Great Tradition

In 1993, the University of Illinois at Chicago created the UIC Great Cities Institute (GCI) and the UIC Office of Community Engagement And Neighborhood Health Partnerships (OCEAN-HP), which was established to work within the communities surrounding UIC.

Allocated a permanent base of recurring state funding in 1993, OCEAN-HP is a major vehicle through which the University fulfills the mission of the Great Cities Commitment with particular emphasis on the engagement of students, faculty and staff in long-term, meaningful relationships with communities. OCEAN-HP is the focal point for university and community collaboration. In 1994, OCEAN-HP received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Economic Development (HUD) and was a pioneer in the national Community Outreach Partnership Centers movement of university-community partnerships. Subsequently it received further funding from HUD to fund its partnership model. OCEAN-HP has a unique model with vast community participation. In the beginning it had a small staff that operated in a multi-disciplinary and campus-wide level brokering partnerships between community organizations and UIC faculty, units, and colleges.


East Meets West

In the first years of organizational growth, OCEAN-HP was housed and staffed primarily on the East side campus of UIC. In 2000, Dr. Cynthia Barnes-Boyd took over the role of Director of OCEAN-HP. Prior to joining Office of Community And Neighborhood Health Partnerships (previously called Neighborhoods Initiative), Dr. Boyd served as UIC Director of Community Health and her work centered predominantly on the West side medical campus. Dr. Boyd subsequently joined her projects on the west side with the current east side projects, resulting in staff and offices on both ends of campus, in the College of Nursing and Great Cities Institute, respectively. Nacho Gonzalez ran the OCEAN-HP office at GCI focusing on community and economic development. OCEAN-HP has received more than 35 grants totaling more than $13.8 million from federal, state and foundation sources for its innovative and comprehensive approach to neighborhood development, institutional commitments and university-community-government partnerships. OCEAN-HP has also received local and national recognition for achievement.



We have active community research and service projects involving OCEAN-HP faculty, students, and staff, and CBOs, FBOs, schools, business, and health and social service organizations in Chicago neighborhoods such as the Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, among other projects.