Ingalls Memorial

Restoration Ministries

We were honored to be the first site of UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial’s Day of Service and Reflection. Employees who served were the most impressive group of caring people our organization has ever worked with. Some of those employees went beyond their call to service and now are regular volunteers at our Food Pantry. What a blessing.

Karen Vrdolyak, Vice President of Development and Administration, Restoration Ministries

Memorial Day of Service and Reflection

Caring for our community beyond the hospital’s walls

On June 24, 2023, Ingalls Memorial hosted its first in-person Day of Service and Reflection (DOSAR). During this event, hospital employees volunteered in the community and completed service projects. The event’s success was the result of the partnership between Ingalls Memorial and Restoration Ministries.

Restoration Ministries, a social service agency in Harvey, Illinois, was selected as the first DOSAR site because of its strong partnership with Ingalls Memorial. In 2020-2021, Ingalls Memorial funded Restoration Ministries’ Harvey Fitness Club with a Community Impact Grant. Karen Vrdolyak, Vice President of Development and Administration for Restoration Ministries, is also one of the first members of the Ingalls Memorial Community Advisory Council.

During the Day of Service and Reflection, Ingalls Memorial employees completed five service projects at Restoration Ministries by painting, gardening, sorting, and organizing. Volunteers showed the power of togetherness and being servant leaders in the Southland.

Watch Ingalls Memorial employees take part in the inaugural 2023 Day of Service and Reflection.

Ingalls Memorial’s health priorities fiscal 2023-2025

Every three years, Ingalls Memorial conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to know what health issues are most important to the community. The CHNA is used to decide where to commit resources that can best improve the health and wellness of community members in the Southland.

For fiscal 2023-2025, the following health issues will be priority with health programming and services:

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
  • Access to Care
  • Food Insecurity
  • Workforce Development

Health Worker program

Promoting healthier outcomes one patient at a time

In the Fall of 2022, Ingalls Memorial started its Community Health Worker (CHW) Program. It grew out of the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Liaisons in Care (LinC) Program. (To learn more about LinC, view the Health Equity page).

CHWs are community members trained to work with patients and their families, often helping patients in their own homes. CHWs provide case management to make it easier to access care. CHWs assist with healthcare but also provide emotional and social support by providing resources to patients during their time of need.

As members of a patient’s care team, Ingalls Memorial CHWs work hard to make sure the patient’s needs are understood and the medical team’s instructions are clear. CHWs focus on working with patients in cardiology (including patients with congestive heart failure) and patients with asthma. In fiscal 2023, two Ingalls Memorial CHWs helped 141 patients reach their healthcare goals.

Fitness & nutrition classes

Taking active steps toward a healthier life

Leading an active lifestyle and eating healthy foods are important factors in preventing and managing chronic (long-term) diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Ingalls Memorial is dedicated to bringing free nutrition and fitness classes to community members in the South Suburbs.

In fiscal 2023 Dietetic Interns gave community nutrition talks focused on topics such as weight management for cancer prevention, reading food labels and healthy tips for eating out. The 104 community members that participated said they were more likely to improve the way they eat. These community nutrition talks were conducted in partnership with churches and adult senior groups across the Southland.

In fiscal 2023, Ingalls Memorial also partnered with Armored Fitness & Nutrition to offer fitness classes to help manage chronic diseases. Classes such as cardio drumming and hip-hop cardio dance have taken place at community locations in Hazel Crest. Between November 2022 and November 2023, 22 classes took place with 210 in total attendance.

Armored Fitness & Nutrition is a Black- and woman-owned business. Partnering with them is not only good for the community’s health but also helps us reach our workforce development goals.

DonElla Bradford, Director of Community Affairs and Volunteer Services, UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial

Healthy starts for mothers and babies

Healthy Baby Network (HBN)

Ingalls Memorial’s Healthy Baby Network (HBN) provides community-based prenatal care. This includes offering medical, nutritional and financial help to women who do not have access to the needed resources. The need for HBN is even greater now with the recent closings of neighborhood hospitals and obstetrics departments.

At HBN’s yearly Drive Thru Baby Shower, bags filled with essential baby items were distributed to participants as they drove through the event. In 2023, 250 bags were handed out including two stroller and car seat sets, two pack and plays and one stroller for random giveaways.

In fiscal 2023, outcomes for HBN enrollees included:

109Women Given
Prenatal Care
88full-term deliveries
(96% of HBN deliveries)
86normal weight babies
(93% of HBN deliveries)
See how HBN’s Drive Thru Baby Shower is making a difference.

Mental Wellbeing Workshop Series

Understanding and managing mental health

Mental health and wellbeing is necessary for thriving communities. Providing access to mental health services is one of Ingalls Memorial’s key health priorities. Data from the 2021-2022 Community Health Needs Assessment showed that Harvey, Illinois, where Ingalls Memorial is located, has one of the highest rates of mental health-related emergency room visits in all of Cook County.

Since Spring 2023, Ingalls Memorial has hosted seven in-person and online mental health workshops. This workshop series was created and led by Felicia Houston, a licensed clinical professional counselor. Community members learned how to better manage their mental health and wellness by learning stress coping skills, self-care, and effective ways for dealing with emotions. From April 2023 to November 2023, over 75 people participated in the mental wellbeing workshop series.

There is a huge need for more mental health services in the South Suburbs. These workshops are transforming communities … one resident at a time.

Felicia Houston, MA, LCPC, CWA, UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial

Nutrition Stations

Healthy foods, conveniently available

Ingalls Memorial’s Oncology Complementary Nutrition Stations provide free food to patients and their families who are dealing with cancer. The Nutrition Stations, which opened two years ago, are located in Harvey, Flossmoor and Tinley Park and offer many healthy food options. From June 2022 to June 2023, 2,383 people were given 14,430 pounds of food, which is 48 times more than the past year.

In March 2023, the Nutrition Stations started offering Pop-Up Produce Stations at all three locations, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and a food preparation demonstration. About 80 families from across the Southland utilized these pop-ups.

In June 2023, Ingalls started the Food Brigade Program. This program serves patients experiencing food insecurity and transportation issues. Groceries are delivered to patients’ homes one to two times a month, depending on need. Patients are able to make their own grocery lists with Ingalls Memorial staff before delivery. The Nutrition Stations’ programs and events are made possible with the generous partnership between the Ingalls Development Foundation, the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, Feed1st, and the founder of the Center for Food Equity and Medicine, Dr. Ann Jackson.

Investing in community health

Grants and donations support local organizations tackling key health priorities
Ingalls Development Foundation
  • $750,000 for cancer research programs and operations to support genetic screening, financial counseling programs and community health research on social determinants of health that affect cancer patients
  • $150,000 for integrative medicine that provides cancer patients with massage therapy, Reiki, nutrition guidance and food as they get chemo and cancer treatments
  • $150,000 for anchor hospital community development investments to create the 2023 Wood Street Community Health Corridor Report. The Wood Street Community Health Corridor project works to get public and private funds to improve the health of surrounding communities.
  • $115,000 for Community Scholarships to help graduating high school students attend college classes and improve their career goals
Community Impact Grantees
  • $25,000 grant for TCA Health’s FRESH Rx Program, providing nutrition education, health screenings and food bags to medically at-risk seniors and patients with diabetes and hypertension and other chronic diseases
  • $25,000 grant for South Suburban PADS program to provide 100,000 free meals to 450 homeless people
  • $25,000 grant for Your Career Tapestry’s career exploration and readiness program for under-resourced students aged 12-19
  • $18,000 grant for Cancer Support Center’s “Kick It, Cancer” program whose mission is to provide more access to care and ongoing support to anyone impacted by cancer
  • $5,000 grant for Cook County Southland Juvenile Justice Council for stipends to help with transportation for persons taking part in the summer jobs program
Ingalls Auxiliary

The Ingalls Auxiliary is a group of Ingalls Memorial volunteers who raise funds for hospital projects

  • $15,000 donated to focus on preventing and managing chronic disease, including funding free fitness classes for the community
  • $20,000 in funds to support the Complimentary Nutrition Stations which provides healthy foods to patients and families dealing with cancer