An initiative to boost the health and economic prosperity of 18 south and west side Chicago neighborhoods made significant progress in hiring area residents, according to a recent report.
The report by the Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership Initiative, launched in 2018 by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and a coalition of 10 hospitals, found those organizations hired an annual average of 3,535 individuals from the underserved neighborhoods, a 21 percent increase from 2018.
Additionally, the report found that 3,571 hospital staff were trained to screen patients for social determinants of health needs, a 242 percent increase since 2018, and an annual average of 4,212 victims of violence received post-injury trauma recovery services, a 130 percent increase from 2018.
Work was also done to improve the workforce pipeline in those underserved communities, with 4,921 high school and college students from those neighborhoods participating in workforce development programs in 2021, a 28 percent increase from 2018.
“Despite normally being competitors in the healthcare sector, these hospitals banded together to engage their communities and address the root causes of violence,” Durbin said in a statement. “I’ve been proud to work with them and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and I believe the activities and commitments of these hospitals provides a roadmap that will continue to make a difference across Chicago and beyond.”
Durbin also announced last week that nearly $5.8 million in federal funds will head to organizations in Chicago that are working to address community mental health, housing, job training and violence prevention.
Illinois Health and Hospital Association CEO A.J. Wilhelmi said they're committed to continuing the work of the initiative.
“It's about changing lives," he said in a statement.