Our Community, Our Health (OCOH)

Although the health care available to the St. Louis region is among the best in the world, persistent — and profound — gaps in health status exist in parts of St. Louis. According to the St. Louis Regional Health Commission's Decade in Review (2000-2010):

  • The number of people living in poverty increased by 26% over the decade
  • Men are 60% more likely to die of heart disease compared to women
  • African-Americans are 260% more likely to die of diabetes compared to Caucasians
  • African-Americans are 60% more likely to die of stroke compared to Caucasians

Our Community, Our Health (OCOH) serves as a forum to deliver relevant health information gleaned from research, and facilitates the development and strengthening of community-academic partnerships through co-learning workshops/initiatives to increase, improve, and coordinate community engagement in research. Both WU and SLU recognize these disparities must be addressed collectively and believe that improving the relevance and conduct of community-based research are key strategies for eliminating them.

OCOH Goals

  • Establish a culturally-centered conference series that focuses on dissemination of relevant health information
  • Develop community-academic partnerships to conduct community-based research to address health disparities
  • Align academic research priorities with health priorities identified by the community

Survey Results

The following health priorities were identified during an interactive survey of 149 participants at the OCOH conference on October 29, 2009 in St. Louis, MO:

  1. Cancer
  2. Cardiovascular Disease
  3. Tie - Diabetes and Homicide
  5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  6. Chronic Kidney Disease
  7. Chronic Lung Disease
  8. Flu/Pneumonia

This ranking of priorities is consistent with other data collected by the State of Missouri in focus groups and presented in its 2008 Health Disparities Report. In the other assessments, diabetes and cardiovascular disease were the top two priorities; however, cancer was not assessed as a single disease but multiple cancers (including lung and colorectal cancer) were considered. Click the link to view the results from the conference interactive survey about health disparities in St. Louis.


OCOH is committed to developing community-academic partnerships, facilitating active and meaningful community engagement in research, and helping align research priorities with the health priorities identified by the community. We invite community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and public health organizations/practitioners to be our partners.

There are no fees to become an OCOH partner and benefits include:

  • Invitations to special events such as capacity building programs
  • Access to resources to facilitate grant writing and grant management
  • Opportunities to partner with other organizations and academic faculty

If you would like to be become an OCOH partner or learn more about becoming a partner, please email us at ocoh@dom.wustl.edu.

For more information about the role of partners, please see our list of advisory board members and organizational chart below:

Advisory Board

Organizational Model

Past Conferences

Our Community, Our Health has sponsored the following conferences aimed at disseminating culturally-relevant health information and developing and supporting community-academic partnerships. To date, 51 community organizations representing a broad range of CBOs and public offices have participated in the quarterly OCOH conferences, which are held in community settings. In addition, last year a half-day workshop was held to help community organizations apply for health research grants and a regional conference focused on the social determinants of health was held in St Louis, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control. See the conference link for additional information.

May 31, 2013
Potential Impacts on Health

April 17, 2012
Improving Health Outcomes in St. Louis: Emerging Research and Strategies to Address Health Disparities

October 6, 2010
Addressing Social Determinants of Health through Community-Engaged Research

February 10, 2010
A Skills Building Workshop

October 29, 2009
Community-Academic Partnerships to Reduce Health Disparities in St. Louis 


Our Community, Our Health is supported by: