Role of Hospitals: NorthShore University Health System

View of the NorthShore hospital from the outside facing the entrance of the building.

Recognizing the injustice of health disparities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, NorthShore University Health System, based in Evanston, Illinois, is making its most concentrated investment in health equity yet.

After a year-long, teams-based assessment gauging race- and income-based health disparities that exist across its communities, NorthShore University Health System is forming a Health Equity Impact Team and establishing a community investment fund. The goal of the initiatives is to recruit, enlist and mobilize the right people and organizations to improve health equity for residents of underserved communities and support local economic growth.

Research shows that the differences in life expectancy and health measures between high- and low-income towns throughout Chicagoland, combined with high incidence of preventable and manageable disease in lower-income areas, underscore the need for immediate and lasting change. The Health Equity Impact Team and the community investment fund together will help NorthShore University Health System better reflect its communities and take action against inequities. The health system believes that by forming a team of health care leaders capable of driving change, creating a diverse workforce and investing in community partnerships through the fund, quality care for all is within reach.

“We’re intentionally leaning into the various social determinants of health like food insecurity and homelessness, developing a more diverse workforce pipeline and getting entrenched into communities,” said Gerald “J.P.” Gallagher, president and CEO of NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health. “Fundamentally, this is recognition that we hold a unique and significant responsibility across our communities, both for our team members and the people who depend on us.”

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