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Linking Clinic & Community

Why this needs our attention

In Chicago, there is a 30-year gap in life expectancy between the highest and lowest resource neighborhoods. Children and families who live in the lowest resource neighborhoods have higher rates of chronic conditions like asthma, obesity, and diabetes, as well as preterm birth, low birthweight, and teen pregnancy. They also have less access to care and services to help prevent adverse health outcomes and address their health needs.

We know that improving child health requires more than providing top-quality advanced healthcare at our main hospital. Parents and families need access to expert clinical care, evidence-based health education, and trusted referrals to community-based services – where they live.

What Lurie Children’s is doing to address it

Lurie Children’s works to find innovative ways to extend our clinical expertise out into Chicago communities. We do this by partnering with communities to strengthen existing clinical programs and fill the gap when more services are needed. We analyze data and listen to community members so that we can focus our efforts in the neighborhoods that need us most, to address long-standing disparities in health outcomes on the path to achieve health equity for all children in Chicago.

Through our 30-year partnership with Chicago Youth Programs (CYP), we aim to improve the health and life opportunities of at-risk youth through a unique and evidence-informed program that combines comprehensive healthcare with positive youth activities like mentoring, tutoring, leadership development and recreational programs. That means that these youth are able to meet regularly with a Lurie Children’s physician and have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a volunteer tutor every week. The CYP model works to engage with children at a young age and stay with them through college. This combination of sustained services and support is a positive step towards improved health and educational outcomes that can give a child the best chance for a healthy prosperous life.

Our Mobile Health Program brings high quality clinical services and multifaceted culturally-informed health promotion directly into Chicago communities. The Mobile Health Program provides healthcare services delivered by Lurie Children’s physicians and allied health professionals working out of an easily accessible mobile unit. Services are provided at community partner settings based on community need.

We partner with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) located in Chicago’s under-resourced neighborhoods of which almost all of their pediatric patients are insured by Medicaid. FQHCs are Lurie Children’s primary partners in meeting the health care needs of children in under-resourced communities.

These partnerships allow us to extend the reach of Lurie Children’s to care for more children in more innovative ways. For example, we work with FQHCs to extend telehealth care to families when they cannot be there in person, and to provide enhanced care coordination, so that families with complex health care needs can easily navigate the health care system in ways that work best for them.

We also offer education and training for FQHC faculty, which can lead to an expansion in the range of expertise and services that these core community-based providers can offer to help keep children in their communities healthy and out of the hospital.

Our Impact

  • Over 1,000 youth participate annually in our Chicago Youth Programs Clinic and positive youth development programs. High retention with sustained involvement throughout childhood, avoidance of at-risk behaviors such as teen pregnancy and delinquency, school achievement, over 90% high school graduation rates (3X community rates) and college placement rates at or near 100% all support the program’s effectiveness.
  • During the first nine months of the Mobile Health Program, over 70 youth received health care services.
  • The Mobile Health Program helped several Chicago Public Schools raise compliance rates for student immunizations and physical exams. For example, at Leland Elementary School in the Austin community, medical compliance rates increased from 60% to over 80% during the 2019-2020 school year.

For more information about Chicago Youth Programs, our Mobile Health Program or our partnership with FQHCs, please email us.