Sen. Dick Durbin: How 10 Chicago hospitals are improving patient health in 18 neighborhoods

After Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., invited CEOs from the largest Chicago hospitals to a breakfast meeting where he asked them what they are doing to improve residents' health and what more they can do, the leaders are collaborating to improve health in vulnerable neighborhoods, Mr. Durbin writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The collaboration, called the Chicago HEAL, Hospital Engagement, Action and Leadership Initiative, aims to reduce violence and improve residents’ health in 18 neighborhoods on the city's South and West sides. The neighborhoods face some of the city's lowest levels of high school graduation and highest rates of violence, poverty and unemployment.

The 10 hospitals are:

1. Advocate Christ Medical Center
2. AMITA Health's Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
3. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
4. Cook County Health and Hospital System
5. Loyola University Medical Center
6. Northwestern Medicine
7. Rush University Medical Center
8. Sinai Health System
9. University of Chicago Medicine
10. University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences Systems

"While these 10 hospitals traditionally are competitors, under HEAL, each is committing publicly to work together, and with a broad range of community organizations, to do more to tackle the root causes of gun violence," Mr. Durbin writes. "Each hospital is making specific, quantifiable commitments to do more to make their neighborhoods safer, healthier and more prosperous."

Over the next three years, the hospitals have committed to:

  • Increase local hiring by 15 percent
  • Increase goods and services procurement from local businesses by 20 percent
  • Support workforce development initiatives through summer employment, apprenticeships and job training
  • Open new clinics, including in schools
  • Expand community mental health programming
  • Conduct more gun violence research

"If we are serious about reducing this violence, we have to deal with the social determinants of health," Mr. Durbin writes.

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