Communities In Schools of Chicago: Helping kids be their best
56% of all South Side residents leave the South Side to get care.
UChicago Medicine supports several organizations that help South Side residents find the healthcare they need closer to home, including in their schools. One of these partners, Communities In Schools of Chicago (CIS), provides mental health services to students in need.
Since 2020, UChicago Medicine has provided $83,500 in funding to Communities In Schools of Chicago for seven Chicago Public Schools on the South Side. The program connects students to important health services, including mental health resources, sexual health education, asthma treatment, immunizations, vision tests, trauma-informed care and nutrition education to help prevent chronic health conditions.
I tell my patients that we are here for them for life. We are here to help them live longer and we are here for them for as long as they need us.Denette Burnett, Community Health Worker Supervisor,
South Side Healthy Community Organization
Changing and improving healthcare for more than 400,000 residents
The South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO) is the work of 13 South Side healthcare organizations, safety net hospitals, health systems and Federally Qualified Health Centers. The SSHCO has been supported by state funding since 2021.
The SSHCO works to:
- Better connect health organizations
- Increase access to care
- Address some of the most challenging health issues
- Make sure we have stronger, healthier communities across the South Side of Chicago
Social Determinants of Health
Connecting patients to quality care
The Medical Home and Specialty Care Connection Program is designed to connect South Side residents to care. Patient Advocates work with patients coming to the emergency room to help them understand why it is important to have a medical home and primary care provider.
They also help patients make appointments for follow-up care after leaving the emergency department.
In FY 2022, UChicago Medicine’s Medical Home and Specialty Care Connection program reported:
3,636 appointments made by Patient Advocates
1,754 primary care appointments made at community partner sites
870 primary care appointments made at UChicago Medicine
1,012 specialty care appointments made
Malik Stuckey grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. He takes pride in helping residents of the South Side connect to primary care doctors and improve the standard of their care. Read more about Malik’s work and what inspires him to serve the community.
“Navigating the healthcare system is difficult, even for those of us that are professionals. I want to be that bridge between healthcare and the community.”
- Malik Stuckey, Senior Patient Advocate
Increasing access to food for patients, caregivers and staff
The medical center’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) revealed that 17.5% of residents in the service area struggle with food insecurity. These residents have limited access to healthy food or are often not sure how they will get food. That percentage is estimated to be even higher for some of our patients. A recent study of obstetric and gynecologic patients at UChicago Medicine shows that 33% of people completing the survey reported food insecurity.
The Feed1st food pantry program first started as one location in 2010. It now has 11 sites in the medical center. The pantry has a no-questions-asked, self-serve model. This allows more people to use the pantry and maintains dignity for those in need.
Results published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that the amount of food given out increased during the pandemic. In FY 2022, the Feed1st food pantry program gave out 26,286 pounds of free food and served an estimated 4,066 households.
Hiring in the University of Chicago Medical Center service area (FY 2022)
24% of our total workforce live on the South Side
30% of new employees hired in FY 2022 live on the South Side
$31.50 average hourly wage for employees who live on the South Side
Workforce Development Programs
UChicago Medicine’s Talent Strategy team uses workforce development programs and partnerships to help increase career opportunities for employees and South Side community members.
Career pathway programs provide education and support for workers looking for careers that are in demand. Our development programs provide special employee training and grow pathways to new careers, higher paying jobs and leadership positions. These programs also help to increase racial equity in the workforce.
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Developing compassionate, resilient care providers and employees
As a world-class health system, we want to make sure our care providers can effectively serve a diverse population of patients, even within high-stress, demanding work environments. Our Equity Plan helps employees better understand and connect with patients to make sure their needs are being met. The plan helps us deal with these challenges:
- Compassion fatigue and burnout: physical, mental and emotional tiredness that builds up over time in individuals when they care for those who are sick or who have experienced trauma.
- Cultural competency of staff: being aware of your own cultural beliefs and values and how these may be different from those of others. This includes being able to learn about and honor the different cultures of those you work with.
- Health literacy: being able to talk and share with patients in a way they understand so they can make better decisions for their health.
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I learned how lowering my level of stress can help me provide better care to my patients and help my own health.Resilience training participant
Awarding Equity in the Work Place
For the seventh time, UChicago Medicine earned the honor of being an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader. This award is from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the education arm of America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization.
In its 2022 Index for Social Responsibility, The Lown Institute recognized the University of Chicago Medicine as one of the most racially inclusive hospitals in the United States, ranking us 6th among more than 2,800 hospitals assessed.
The report’s racial inclusivity metric measures how well U.S. hospitals serve people of color in their surrounding communities.