Community picnic marks UChicago Medicine’s new cancer pavilion and 5-year anniversary of Level 1 adult trauma center

Participants at UChicago Medicine's community picnic
Participants attend UChicago Medicine's community picnic on Sept. 30.

The University of Chicago Medicine hosted a community picnic with live entertainment, DJ, games, and food trucks to celebrate the South Side community and accomplishments made together. The Sept. 30 event with nearly 200 attendees came days after the academic health system broke ground on Chicago’s first freestanding facility dedicated to cancer care and research. It also marked the five-year anniversary of the start of UChicago Medicine’s Level 1 adult trauma center, which opened in 2018.

“As we expand our efforts to provide more of the care our community needs, UChicago Medicine looked to celebrate together with our South Side neighbors,” said Brenda Battle, Senior Vice President of Community Health Transformation and Chief Equity Officer. “Our work is centered around the community and its needs, and these recent accomplishments are shared with all of our community partners.”

UChicago Medicine broke ground Sept. 19 on the $815 million project to build a dedicated cancer care and research pavilion. Expected to open in 2027, the 575,000-square-foot building located on the Hyde Park campus will provide expanded and integrated research and care services and respond to the higher incidence of cancer in the community and beyond.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death on the South Side, where rates are expected to climb 19% in the next decade compared with 9% in the rest of the Chicago area. This comes as 56% of all South Side residents leave the South Side to get the care they need. The new cancer pavilion will address these disparities by working with community partners to increase cancer prevention and screenings and widening participation in early-stage clinical trials.

The hospital also marked the five-year anniversary of its Level 1 adult trauma center in 2023. When the center opened in May 2018, the South Side had not had a trauma center for 27 years, and community voices played a vital role in shaping the hospital’s plan to increase access to critical services. Since then, it has served nearly 20,000 adult patients and another 3,000 pediatric patients.

Through the thousands of adult and pediatric patients our hospital has treated, UChicago Medicine has promoted collaboration and improved our health system for the community,” said Selwyn O. Rogers, Jr. MD, Founding Director of the UChicago Medicine Trauma Center and Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.It’s tremendous to get to share our work and achievements with our community partners. We’ve saved lives and brought compassion to the work that we do with integrity.”

The trauma center has also served as an anchor for a more comprehensive approach to violence prevention along with the Violence Recovery Program (VRP), which launched alongside the center to work with clinicians to support patients and their families.

To learn more about UChicago Medicine’s community engagement and benefit, visit

Medical oncologist Sonali Smith, MD, and lymphoma patient Clayton Harris

UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Level 1 Adult Trauma Center

The University of Chicago Medicine is designated as a Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, meaning the hospital is prepared to handle the most seriously injured trauma patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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