UChicago Medicine invests $730.9 million in community benefits for Chicago’s South Side and south suburbs in fiscal 2023

Leaders breaking ground on state's first and only standalone structure dedicated to cancer care and research
In 2023, UChicago Medicine broke ground on the state's first and only standalone structure dedicated to cancer care and research. Expected to open in 2027, the cancer pavilion will help address health priorities on Chicago's South Side, where residents are disproportionately impacted by cancer.

The University of Chicago Medicine provided $730.9 million in benefits and services to communities on Chicago’s South Side and in the south suburbs in fiscal 2023, according to the health system's annual Community Benefit Report. The investments —which increased by 6.5% over fiscal 2023 — included $636.6 million through the University of Chicago Medical Center and $94.3 million through UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial.

UChicago Medicine’s annual community benefit investment has more than doubled since 2013, bringing the health system’s total reported community investments to more than $5 billion over the past decade.

These investments — which help reduce the health disparities that disproportionately affect South Side and south suburban residents — include uncompensated care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, financial assistance (charity care), unrecoverable patient debt, medical education and research, and other community support.

UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative leads planning of community benefit programs and activities and works with community organizations on health-related programs, research and services. Community Advisory Councils, led by civic and faith leaders, also provide guidance to the Medical Center and Ingalls Memorial on key community health concerns — including racial disparities and social drivers of health, which are non-clinical factors that influence health outcomes.

“Health equity can only be achieved when organizations work together to meet the needs of their communities,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, who leads UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative and serves as the health system’s Senior Vice President for Community Health Transformation and its Chief Equity Officer. “Our partners are essential to our mission — helping us determine the top health priorities for our patients and their families, and identify the best ways to reach and support them. We are grateful to all the community organizations who have worked with us over the past year, and we look forward to even more fruitful partnerships in the years to come.”

UChicago Medicine serves 12 ZIP codes on Chicago’s South Side, along with 13 ZIP codes across the south suburbs. Health priorities for the service areas are assessed with community guidance and reported every three years through Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA).

The most recent assessment, the 2021-22 CHNA, reported the following health priorities for UChicago Medicine’s South Side service area: prevent and manage chronic disease (cancer, diabetes and heart disease); build trauma resiliency (violence prevention & recovery and mental health); and reduce inequities caused by social determinants of health (access to care, food insecurity, and workforce development). The next assessment will be released in 2025.

For Southland communities served by UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial, the 2021-22 priorities are: prevent and manage chronic disease (cancer, diabetes and heart disease); provide access to care and services (maternal health and mental health); and reduce inequities caused by social determinants of health (food insecurity and workforce development), also known as social drivers of health.

To read the full Community Benefit Report online, visit: community.uchicagomedicine.org/2023.

Fiscal 2023 Community Benefit Report Highlights

Health Equity

  • Strengthening the healthcare ecosystem: UChicago Medicine is one of the 13 healthcare organizations that make up the South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO), which works to increase access to care. Since its incorporation in 2022, the SSHCO has enrolled more than 1,000 patients and invested nearly $1 million in grants with local organizations.
  • Meeting patient needs: As part of UChicago Medicine’s Liaisons in Care (LinC) program, Community Health Workers (CHWs) help bridge the gap between patients and clinicians. There were 6,620 total patient encounters with CHWs in fiscal 2023, a 63% increase over the previous year. Through the Medical Home and Specialty Care Connection Program (MHSCC), Patient Advocates meet with patients in the emergency department to help them manage chronic conditions. The MHSCC program saw 4,468 total patient encounters in fiscal 2023.

Social Drivers of Health

  • Reducing food insecurity: The Feed1st Pantry Program distributes free food — no questions asked — across 11 sites at the University of Chicago Medical Center, including more than 3,400 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables grown on our rooftop gardens from May to October 2023.
  • Hiring and developing talent: Workforce development programs and partnerships create advancement opportunities for current employees as well as local residents from the South Side and south suburbs, particularly for people of color. In fiscal 2023, 23% of UChicago Medicine’s total workforce lived on the South Side. In addition, $32.6 million in purchasing and construction contracts were awarded to certified minority- and woman-owned firms.

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial

  • Caring for community: Ingalls Memorial hosted its first annual in-person Day of Service and Reflection in June 2023. Volunteers supported projects such as painting and gardening at Restoration Ministries, a social service agency in Harvey, Illinois.
  • Healthy mothers and babies: Ingalls Memorial’s Healthy Baby Network (HBN) offers community-based prenatal care, including medical, nutritional and financial help for women who do not have access to needed resources. HBN provided prenatal care for 109 women in fiscal 2023 and handed out 250 free bags of essential baby items through its annual Drive-Thru Baby Shower.

Chronic Disease

  • Future of cancer care: In September 2023, UChicago Medicine broke ground on a new cancer pavilion in Hyde Park, which is expected to open in 2027 as the state’s first and only standalone structure dedicated to cancer care and research.
  • Outreach and education: To help residents prevent and manage chronic diseases, UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative awarded $126,900 to three community-based organizations involved in outreach and education on blood pressure self-monitoring, hypertension management and breast cancer risk.

Trauma Resiliency

  • Five years of trauma care: UChicago Medicine’s Level 1 adult trauma center and Violence Recovery Program (VRP) marked their five-year anniversary in May 2023. As a hospital-based violence intervention program, the VRP engaged 1,805 patients in fiscal 2023 — including 157 children and 890 families — providing resources to address social drivers of health such as housing and employment. The Recovery Legal Care program also began in December 2022, embedding full-time lawyers at the trauma center to provide civil legal help to patients.
  • Supporting local programs: Southland RISE (Resilience Initiative to Strengthen and Empower), which unites the trauma recovery programs from UChicago Medicine and Advocate Health Care, awarded $150,000 to 19 community organizations to support summer youth programs. Southland RISE also partnered with Metropolitan Peace Initiatives to offer trainings for trauma recovery and violence prevention professionals.

Community Outreach and Partnerships

  • Giving back: UChicago Medicine’s Office of Community Affairs hosted or participated in more than 70 events in the community. These events brought together 43 partners and collaborators, as well as 354 volunteers who devoted 1,449 volunteer hours. This includes the Medical Center’s 21st annual Day of Service and Reflection (DOSAR), which connected more than 80 staff and volunteers to 14 community partner locations.
  • Connecting with communities: UChicago Medicine hosted more than 60 local faith leaders for a discussion on health equity and community health priorities. Over 200 community members also gathered in Hyde Park for a “family picnic” event, recognizing the five-year anniversary of the trauma center and the groundbreaking of the cancer pavilion. Throughout the summer of 2023, representatives from UChicago Medicine participated in a number of community celebrations, including the Bud Billiken Parade and the African Festival of Arts.