Chicago health systems join project using innovation to boost health equity

University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Chicago have joined a Chicago-based initiative focused on using innovation to increase health equity.

The Chicago ARC will connect startups with healthcare partners to reduce health disparities in such areas as maternal and child health, aging in place, behavioral and mental health, chronic diseases, cancer and rural healthcare.

"We're creating an innovation community in Chicago centered on the healthcare providers and communities they serve," Chicago ARC Executive Director Kate Merton said in a June 30 news release from the organization.

Previously, Ms. Merton launched the digital health incubator for Anthem and ran a regional science and accelerator lab for Johnson & Johnson's innovation arm.

Chicago ARC — which is modeled after the Accelerate, Redesign and Collaborate program at Israel's Sheba Medical Center — will link innovators from across the world with Midwest health systems "in new ways to invite more global investment and innovation," stated Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, MD, Sheba's chief digital transformation officer and chief innovation officer.

The project will be the centerpiece of the city's $3.8 billion Bronzeville lakefront development of the 100-plus-acre former campus of Michael Reese Hospital.

"As the largest private safety-net health system in Illinois, the communities Sinai Chicago serves face some of the city's most severe systemic barriers and suffer the greatest health inequities," stated Dr. Ngozi Ezike, MD, president and CEO of Sinai Chicago. "Working with the Chicago ARC will support Sinai in scaling our existing programs and resources to further serve our patients equitably and effectively."

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