Community Champions: The next generation of healthcare leaders

In early 2021, Pritzker School of Medicine’s Department of Graduate Medical Education launched the Community Champions program with the Urban Health Initiative to connect resident physicians with underserved communities on the South Side. That year, the Champions made an impact immediately by helping to vaccinate residents of South Side communities against COVID-19.

In 2022, the Community Champions class more than doubled their numbers from 33 to 78 members. Community Champions are now taking part in community events, promoting disease prevention and sharing educational information on a variety of health topics. The Community Champions have engaged in 193 hours of service for South Side communities.

Through community workshops, conferences, communications, festivals and events, and more, UChicago Medicine researchers and experts can directly share health information and guidance with the community. These events also provide a chance for them to listen to and learn from residents about their needs, concerns and ideas for improving community health.

Volunteer Services

Making a difference through community outreach

UChicago Medicine depends on its volunteers to support events and programs and to distribute valuable health information throughout the community. We are grateful for their contributions, service hours, and generosity – all of which make a lasting impact.

For example, the Adopt-A-Family program provides gifts and needed basic items to UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital families during the holidays.

The Department of Social Work works together with Volunteer Services to nominate eligible families and assign family wish lists to hospital departments. With their time and generous financial donations, UChicago Medicine employees were able to help 34 families in FY 2022.

Community Advisory Council

Guiding programs and partnerships towards improved health equity

Many of UChicago Medicine’s community health programs are guided by Community Advisory Councils (CAC) at both the Hyde Park medical center campus and at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial. The CACs are led by a group of volunteer members who live or work in UChicago Medicine’s service areas.

The CAC groups are advisors to UChicago Medicine on issues of interest to the community and are essential partners in achieving UChicago Medicine’s community benefit investment, access to care expansion, community engagement and health equity goals.

Community Advisory Councils, FY 2022

  • Rev. Julian DeShazier (Council Chair), Senior Pastor, University Church
  • Candace Henley (CAC Vice Chair and Chair, Adult Health Workgroup), Chief Surviving Officer, The Blue Hat Foundation
  • Sherida Morrison (Chair, Maternal-Child Health Workgroup), Senior Consultant, Sapientia Consulting Group
  • Damon Arnold, MD (Chair, Trauma Care and Violence Prevention Workgroup), Assistant Dean, College of Health Sciences, Chicago State University
  • Susan Alitto, President, Hyde Park Village
  • Ben Anderson, Senior Account Executive, Astronomer
  • Juana Ballesteros, Health Equity Senior Program Manager, American Medical Association
  • Pam Butts, Director, New Eclipse Community Alliance
  • Erin Callahan, Director of Communications, Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition & Diabetes Leadership Council
  • Jeanette Coleman, Director, I Am My Brother's Keeper Unity Day
  • Felicia Fuller, Director, Lung Health, American Lung Association
  • Bill Gerstein, Senior Advisor, Conlon Public Strategies
  • Alex Goldenberg, Executive Director, Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP Chicago)
  • Christa Hamilton, CEO and President, UCAN
  • Christopher Harris, Senior Pastor/CEO, Bright Star C.O.G.I.C./Bright Star Community Outreach
  • Jennifer Herd, Senior Health Policy Analyst, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Jeffrey Hodges, Pastor, King of Glory Tabernacle C.O.G.I.C.
  • Delishia Kinney, Founder and CEO, The HELP Consulting Team
  • Matthew Klionsky, Retired Physician/Entrepreneur, HealthGnostics
  • Amy Laboy, Vice President of Programs and Community Partnerships, Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • Diane Latiker, Founder/President, Kids Off The Block
  • Jawanza Brian Malone, Executive Director, Wieboldt Foundation
  • Ayoka Mota Samuels, Executive Director, Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service
  • Amalia NietoGomez, Executive Director, Alliance of the South East (ASE)
  • Tyra Owens, Assistant Director of Student Success, North Park University
  • Burrell Poe, Director, Chicago Peace Fellows/Goldin Institute
  • Sheila Regan, Chief Operating Officer, Acclivus, Inc.
  • Shari Runner, President and CEO, The Humanity Institute
  • L. Anton Seals, Jr., Executive Director, Grow Greater Englewood
  • Barbara Townsend, Retired Healthcare Executive, Mercy Medical Center
  • Audrey Pennington (Council Chair), Chief Operating Officer, Aunt Martha's Health & Wellness
  • Linda Brown-Aldridge, Dean of Nursing, South Suburban College
  • Kathleen Daly, Executive Director, Cancer Support Center
  • Jaclin Davis, Executive Director, Cook County Southland Juvenile Justice Council
  • Carmin Frederick-James, Associate Pastor to Youth, Covenant United Church of Christ
  • Jennifer Gabrenya, Executive Director, South Suburban Family Shelter
  • Michael Giglio, President, Calumet City Plumbing Co. Inc.
  • Lyzeth Mondragon, Community Impact Director, American Heart Association
  • Troy O'Quin, Vice President of Programs at the Community and Economic Development Authority of Cook County (CEDA)
  • Derrick Simmons, Senior Pastor, Daniel Chapel AME Zion Church
  • Angelia Smith, Executive Director, Cornerstone Community Development Corporation
  • John Thomas, Superintendent of Schools, Harvey Public Schools District 152
  • Christopher Torres, Regional Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Karen Vrdolyak, Restoration Ministries, Vice President of Development & Admin
Candace Henley

Advocating for cancer prevention and community health

Candace Henley is a leading voice for health equity in underserved communities. She is the founder of the Blue Hat Foundation and an integral member of our Community Advisory Council.

Candace has also been instrumental in raising awareness and encouraging community involvement in planning for UChicago Medicine’s new cancer center, set to open in 2027. Read about Candace and what inspires her advocacy and commitment to improving community health.

UChicago Medicine in the community

UChicago Medicine organized or took part in 78 community events in FY 2022.

In 2022, UChicago Medicine celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Day of Service and Reflection (DOSAR). To learn more, see the video here.

Community Communications

Informing, engaging and educating on key health topics

UChicago Medicine and community partners regularly share important information including healthcare resources for the communities we serve on the South Side.

Here is how we communicate with the community: