Newswise — The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) contributed $425.2 million in fiscal 2016 to benefit South Side communities with programs and services targeting key health priorities, according to its recently published annual Community Benefit Report.
This contribution represents a 14 percent increase over the previous year’s investment and includes uncompensated care, charity services, unrecoverable patient debt, medical education and research, and other community support.
Through construction projects and initiatives to diversify its supply chain, UChicago Medicine provided $59 million in economic benefit to minority- and women-owned businesses, including a portion of wages paid to trade workers in 2016-17, as well as $20 million in economic benefit to minority and women suppliers in 2016-17.
The Community Benefit Report highlights initiatives and community partnerships that address the most urgent health priorities for South Side communities, including access to care, breast and colorectal cancer, adult diabetes, pediatric asthma and obesity, sexually transmitted infections/HIV awareness and prevention, and violence prevention. These priorities were identified in the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which is conducted every three years. The CHNA surveys the top health concerns for South Side communities.
“UChicago Medicine shares a commitment with our community partners to ensure residents of the South Side are living their healthiest and best lives,” said Brenda Battle, RN, vice president of the Urban Health Initiative and chief diversity, inclusion and equity officer. “Whether programs address critical needs surrounding pediatric asthma or adult diabetes, we are seeing promising outcomes as a result of collaborations that build on each organization’s resources and strengths.”
Using targeted outreach and education, along with direct patient care and consultation, UChicago Medicine’s community partnerships and collaborations help connect the community to valuable resources that can lead to health improvements.
One example is the Community Health Worker program, a collaboration with South Side community hospitals and community health centers that deploys trained specialists into neighborhood schools and homes to help children and their parents better understand and manage asthma symptoms, medications and triggers. Pediatric asthma is disproportionately high on the South Side, with 20 percent of children suffering from asthma, compared with 10 percent in Illinois and 12 percent nationwide. Participants in this program have experienced a significant reduction of asthma symptoms, reduced emergency room visits and missed school days.
The report also highlights community programs and partnerships designed to address violence prevention and recovery. For example, The Urban Resilience Network (TURN) at Bright Star Community Outreach in Bronzeville offers a phone helpline for families and young people coping with trauma. These types of programs are especially relevant and valuable as UChicago Medicine approaches the May 2018 launch of adult trauma services.
“UChicago Medicine’s commitment to excellence in medicine and care extends beyond the walls of our medical facilities into all of the communities that we serve,” said Sharon O’Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “We are grateful for the opportunities and partnerships that enable us to provide resources, services and care where they are needed most.”
To view the full Community Benefit Report, visit uchospitals.edu/community-benefit.