Partner Spotlight

Equal Hope: Ending cancer disparities through prevention

Equal Hope’s mission is to save women’s lives by ending health disparities in Illinois, especially for breast and cervical cancers.

In 2022, UChicago Medicine awarded Equal Hope $50,000 in funding, which was used to hire a full-time community health worker (CHW) focused on cervical cancer prevention and outeach in areas with the highest morbidity and mortality rates. The CHW educates and guides uninsured women on the South Side to free cervical cancer screenings. The project provides care coordination for women by establishing regular care upon the completion of their screening. Equal Hope was able to serve more than 8,000 people in year one of funding.

South Side residents are twice as likely to die from cancer than those who live just about anywhere else in America. In fact, cancer is the second-leading cause of death on the South Side.

Improving equity in cancer care

New $815 million cancer center to expand access and treatment options for South Side residents

In February 2022, UChicago Medicine announced plans to build Chicago’s first freestanding center dedicated to cancer care and research. The 575,000-square-foot, world-class facility is scheduled to open in 2027. It will provide patients and the South Side community with more access to the newest ways to find and treat cancer.

We worked with South Side residents and community groups to better understand their needs and preferences as we plan for the cancer center.

Our work with the community included two online town hall meetings with more than 100 people taking part, small-group talks and a community survey.

Construction on the new cancer center is set to start in 2023 and will include 500 new construction jobs. At least 41% of contract dollars will go to minority-owned and woman-owned firms.

Discussion about UChicago Medicine’s “cancer center of the future,” with oncologist Sonali Smith, MD, senior VP of community health transformation Brenda Battle, and cancer survivor and advocate Candace Henley. They talk about cancer disparities and why this new cancer care center is needed on the South Side.

Connecting the community to cancer treatment, innovations and research

With more than 200 cancer specialists, new treatments and research and clinical trials not found anywhere else, the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) is leading the way in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. UCCCC is one of two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in Illinois.

Much of UCCCC’s community outreach is led by the UChicago Medicine Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity.

Promoting prevention and screening

With its programs and partnerships, UChicago Medicine supports many cancer screening, prevention and educational initiatives for the communities we serve.