“Despite the challenges and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitals were able to grow their commitments and investments in community violence prevention, addressing health disparities, trauma and mental health services, and local hiring, procurement, and workforce development,” according to a statement from Durbin and the IHA.
On average, the 10 hospitals hired 3,535 people from HEAL neighborhoods each year, provided workforce development programs 6,072 high school and college students and delivered post-injury trauma recovery, annually, to 4,212 victims of violence, the report states.
The 10 hospital and health systems initially involved in Chicago HEAL are: Advocate Aurora Health; Ascension Saints Mary & Elizabeth Medical Center; Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Cook County Health & Hospitals System; Loyola University Medical Center; Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Rush University Medical Center; Sinai Health System; University of Chicago Medical Center; and University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.
Over the last three years, the hospitals involved have increased local hiring by 21%, increased local procurement by 27% and increased the number of patients who were provided post-injury trauma recovery care by 130%, the report says.
A growing focus on social determinants of health also translated into an over 240% increase in the number of employees trained to conduct screenings for those social determinants since 2018.
“That these achievements occurred amid the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing short of remarkable,” the report states.
Federal support of the initiatives’ goals and the hospitals involved are also touted in the report.
“As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I worked to ensure the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill included significant resources for programs in Chicago that fund community mental health, housing, job training, and violence prevention,” Durbin writes in his introduction to the report. “It provided a combined $40 million for youth violence and gun violence prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health, programs that are successfully funding efforts in Chicago.”
The spending bill also included more than $6 million in specific congressionally directed spending requests for Illinois-based projects to HEAL hospitals and their community partners to prevent violence and expand mental health services.
Among those omnibus spending requests are:
- $1 million to the University of Illinois Health’s Mile Square Health Center in Cicero for trauma-informed care;
- $1 million to Rush University System to help establish its Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases that will prioritize community engagement and workforce development;
- $900,000 to Sinai Chicago’s Holy Cross Hospital to increase access to substance use and mental health treatment for patients;
- $750,000 to UCAN Chicago to expand delivery of trauma-informed violence prevention and intervention programming to more communities facing high rates of violence;
- $640,000 for Advocate Aurora Health System and University of Chicago Medicine to increase understanding of the specific causes of violence; and
- $500,000 to Heartland Alliance to support Readi Chicago, a violence reduction initiative providing for men at the highest risk of gun violence involvement.