Lurie Children’s Receives $12 Million to Improve Child Health in Chicago Communities

Funding will significantly advance hospital’s work on major child health issues in Chicago: violence prevention, child abuse and mental health needs


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago received a $12 million gift from an anonymous donor to support the hospital’s Healthy Communities program in its efforts to address child abuse, unmet mental health needs, and violence and its effects on youth. These are three of the eight priority areas identified in Lurie Children’s latest Community Health Needs Assessment

The funded projects range from developing innovative technology to identify child abuse, to helping youth break the cycle of criminality, to training school personnel how to recognize trauma and intervene effectively.

“With this gift, Lurie Children’s experts will be able to expand their reach, sustain and enhance partnerships with community organizations, and achieve broader and more lasting impact on the health of children in Chicago,” said Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, Head of Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Lurie Children’s. “For decades, our work with partners in the community has been critical to helping children grow up healthy, strong and resilient. This is a central part of our hospital’s mission. We are determined to address the most pressing needs faced by children and adolescents where they live, learn and play in neighborhoods across Chicago.” Davis is a Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The $12 million gift will support the following projects:

  • The Juvenile Justice Collaborative connects youth involved in the justice system with needed community services to avoid incarceration. These youth are at heightened risk for committing increasingly violent crimes and being the victims of gun violence. Connecting them to services reduces their risk. The Juvenile Justice Collaborative is a partnership between Lurie Children’s Strengthening Chicago Youth (SCY), Cook County Juvenile Probation Department and community partners.


  • A first-of-its-kind, scientifically based software tool developed at Lurie Children’s, called Humagram, will be made available to doctors, nurses, and children’s advocates to help determine if a child’s injury is accidental or due to child abuse. This tool will be included in a telemedicine platform that will allow pediatricians to access the expertise of child abuse specialists at Lurie Children’s.

  • To increase access to mental health services, an innovative approach to streamlining evaluations leading to patients receiving empirically supported group treatments, with follow-up individual therapy as needed.  In addition, a new collaborative approach between Lurie Children’s mental health experts and primary care pediatricians that would include evaluation, consultation and training.  

  • Expanded training in recognizing trauma and intervening to support children will be provided at schools and other child-serving organizations through Lurie Children’s Center for Childhood Resilience

  • The new Survey of Children’s Health in Chicago, conducted in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health, will measure health needs and public attitudes regarding mental health, child maltreatment and violence involving and affecting youth. Findings from this survey, along with program evaluations, will be brought together to provide greater understanding of the impact on the overall health of the children in the metropolitan Chicago area.

“At Lurie Children’s, our Healthy Communities effort is dedicated to connecting our neighborhood-focused programs and our clinical services, with the goal of improving health for children and adolescents who are facing many health challenges,” said Davis, also Director of the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research, Outreach, and Advocacy Center, Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children’s. “We are grateful for this generous new support that will enable us to broaden our initiatives addressing child abuse, mental health needs and violence to reach even more youth in partnership with many organizations across Chicago that share our commitment to children’s health.” 

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. Research at Lurie Children’s is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. Lurie Children’s is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 198,000 children from 50 states and 51 countries. 

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