Partner Spotlight

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
Focusing on access to care, food insecurity and workforce development

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:

4,085 encounters

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, Senior Patient Advocate

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

Feed1st food pantry program

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.

Investing in our South Side Community

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

Increasing Pathways to Healthcare Careers

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.

Click to learn more

RISE Higher promotes advancement of people of color into higher paying jobs and leadership roles through specialized training.

EVOLVE prepares entry-level employees to move into careers with more opportunity to grow in IT, Revenue Cycle and Customer Service through career exploration and training.

Healthcare Forward educates and recruits people from the West and South Sides of Chicago for healthcare jobs. This program offers community members a free job readiness class and information about careers and administrative operations in healthcare. It also provides job application guidance.

When done with the program, each person can have an interview at one of the three health systems taking part in the program, including UChicago Medicine.

Medical Assistant Pathway Program (MAPP) provides Medical Assistant students with tuition support, a guaranteed externship, and a job offer to the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Nursing Support Assistant (NSA) Pathway Program recruits South Side community members to enroll in a fully funded Basic Nursing Assistant training program at Malcolm X College; includes part-time employment at UChicago Medicine.

Inclusive Pathways Program (IPP) increases the hiring of people with disabilities. IPP works to improve inclusive employment practices to keep people with disabilities employed. This program is a partnership with Anixter Center.

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.

Click to learn more

FY 2022 Highlights

  • Provided training to more than 1,400 staff to help them manage stress, strengthen their ability to come back from difficult life events (be resilient) and develop self-care skills.
  • Held 40 meetings with the Disaster Recovery Team to address community and hospital violence.
  • Began offering a resilience-based care course; held 10 sessions with 66 people taking part.
  • Conducted department trainings and worked with staff on compassion fatigue and resilience-based care. This included emergency department nursing staff, residents working in the trauma unit and others.
  • Worked with the Workplace Violence Prevention Group and Violence Recovery Team.

FY 2022 Highlights

Cultural competence is needed to support the UChicago Medicine mission of providing patient-centered care.

  • Offered 67 cultural competence course sessions (684 hours):
    • The Cultural Competence Course supports the UChicago Medicine Yearly Operating Plan and helps build an organization that meets the cultural and communication needs of patients and staff.
    • People taking part improve their skills and knowledge to better work in a multi-cultural setting.
  • Offered 20 sessions (230 hours) in:
    • Negotiating World View Differences: This course provides skills to see and stop bias. This is done in a compassionate way using the CLARA Method (a way to listen and communicate with understanding and empathy during difficult conversations) for cross-cultural communication.
    • Creating an Inclusive Environment: This workshop looks at stereotypes and improves skills for stopping bias.
  • Provided LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer) health awareness training for staff members; 134 people trained in FY 2022 (a total of 460 since training began).
  • Trained in World View and CLARA Method; 126 people trained in FY 2022 (a total of 212 since training began).
  • Offered training for Teach-Back Method Using Effective Teaching Skills; 1,090 people trained in FY 2022 (a total of 3,363 since training began).
  • Began Train-the-Trainer program at Ingalls Memorial Hospital; trained four new facilitators.

FY 2022 Highlights

  • Materials: Nearly 200 new health-literate patient materials created.
  • Training: Nearly 1,100 people trained in using the Teach-Back Method and Effective Teaching Skills.
  • Communications: Worked with teams across UChicago Medicine to create a new internet page that connects Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer patients to healthcare and services.

Learn more about the value of health literacy in this Chicago Health article featuring Lisa Sandos, Manager, Health Literacy, UChicago Medicine.

FY 2022 Highlights

With our Workforce Resilience Enhancement Project (WREP), and in partnership with ECHO-Chicago, we are extending training in resilience skill-building beyond the medical center and into the community.

January 2022: WREP Workplace Resilience Series

  • 8-week training
  • 26 people from 15 community-based organizations

June 2022: Workforce Resilience Conference: Resilient Employees and Resilient Organizations

  • 50 people
  • Collaboration with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Kennedy Forum

“As I help people work toward their career goals, it is important to look at the ways that their past trauma affects their workplace needs and performance. I feel more prepared since attending this series.“

— From a volunteer with Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR)

UChicago Medicine does a yearly Employee Engagement survey. In FY 2022, the survey had seven questions that together measure a Diversity and Inclusion Index, or score.

FY 2022 Diversity and Inclusion Index Highlights

  • Scored 4.09 on a 5-point scale.
  • Response was at its highest level (4.36 out of 5) in support of this statement: “The person I report to treats me with respect.”
  • Response increased to 4.25 out of 5 in support of this statement: “The person I report to treats all employees equally whatever their background is.”
  • Response increased to 4.13 out of 5 in support of this statement: “My coworkers value individuals with different backgrounds.”

FY 2022 Highlights

Our goal by FY 2025 is to have at least 35% of people in leadership positions who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

  • As of FY 2022, 27% of UChicago Medicine senior leaders are BIPOC. This is up 19% over FY 2021.
  • 45% of middle managers are BIPOC.
  • 64% of the entire workforce are BIPOC.

In FY 2022, more than 500 hiring managers completed the five-module Behavioral-Based Interviewing and Implicit Bias training. This training promotes a more inclusive workplace.

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.