Partner Spotlight

Cancer Support Center: Providing hope, help and strength

On average, people who live in the UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial service area have a more advanced stage of cancer when they are diagnosed than other residents in South Suburban Cook County, Cook County, and Illinois.

The Cancer Support Center partners with UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial to provide life-saving resources for community members in the Southland. Through the Kick It Cancer initiative, the Cancer Support Center provides access to care and ongoing supportive programs while promoting early detection.

Improving the health of Southland communities

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial completed its 2021-2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to better understand the health issues that affect residents of the Thornton Township service area.

The hospital will work on the following community health priorities in FY 2023 - 2025:

Prevent and Manage Chronic Diseases

  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Provide Access to Care and Services

  • Maternal Health
  • Mental Health

Reduce Inequities Caused By Social Determinants of Health

  • Food Insecurity
  • Workforce Development

The impact of Ingalls Memorial

Nutritious food is health

Ending food insecurity and improving nutrition for cancer patients

Good nutrition is an important and often overlooked part of treatment for cancer patients. When Paul Dickerson, a licensed social worker at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial, learned that many of his patients had food insecurity, he decided to act.

In 2021, Ingalls Memorial Hospital opened the first Complimentary Nutrition Station for cancer infusion patients in need in Harvey. This was done in partnership with Ingalls Development Foundation, the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Feed1st, and the founder of the Center for Food Equity and Medicine, Dr. Ann Jackson. In 2022, the Nutrition Stations expanded to Flossmoor and Tinley Park.

Dietetic interns also showed patients how to make healthy recipes using produce from the Nutrition Stations. In FY 2022, 300 pounds of food were distributed, serving 2,705 patients.

Through corporate and individual donations, the Ingalls Development Foundation helps to eliminate barriers to nutritional wellness by providing healthy food at no cost to cancer infusion patients at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial facilities. The Complimentary Nutrition Stations are a partnership with the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Feed1st, and the founder of the Center for Food Equity and Medicine, Dr. Ann Jackson.
Every mind matters

The importance of mental health and wellbeing

The 2021-2022 UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) revealed mental health challenges for the service area. Ingalls Memorial’s service area has one of the highest behavioral health emergency room visit rates in the state for adults. In focus groups, many community members talked about isolation and loneliness that were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Ingalls Memorial Behavioral Health department, Felicia Houston, MA, LCPC, CWA, provided four workshops on mental health, wellness and self-care. Participating patients, community members and staff learned better ways to deal with stress.

Mental health problems are everywhere, but nobody talks about it because they don’t know how to talk about it.

Community member in Ingalls Memorial's Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) focus group