UIC celebrates new 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative
New specialty clinic expands access to health care in Gage Park, West Elsdon
Leaders from the University of Illinois Chicago and the 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative celebrated the opening of its comprehensive clinical care center in Chicago’s Gage Park and West Elsdon communities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 20.
The collaborative is led by physicians from UIC’s College of Medicine and brings together several partners, bilingual staff and providers to provide specialty care and advanced diagnostic, mental health and women’s wellness services to the city’s Southwest Side.
“This collaborative initiative is both innovative and impactful, in part, because of the range of expertise and partnerships that have been brought together,” Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC, said at the ceremony. “To really thrive, individuals need health homes and care from a diverse and culturally competent set of experts. And this health collaborative is going to deliver that.”
Partners include three federally qualified health centers, Alivio Medical Center, Friend Family Health Care and UI Health Mile Square Health Center, in addition to other providers from UIC’s academic health enterprise, UI Health.
The ceremony included representatives from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which funded the launch of the collaborative and the purchase and ongoing renovations of the facility through a $15 million Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives award.
The 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative is the first state-funded collaborative to operationalize.
“Today is a significant milestone. It is the very first ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the state’s health collaboratives — the very first one, so that’s very exciting,” said Jenny Aguirre, assistant director for Illinois’ Healthcare and Family Services. “The 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative plans to improve access to comprehensive health care services as well as much-needed specialty care services in this community. This will go a long way to creating better health outcomes for families across the neighborhood.”
Dr. Mark Rosenblatt, executive dean of the College of Medicine, said “Someone had to be first of course, but I’m really glad it was us. It underscores the hard work, the tireless work, that so many have done to make it happen.
“What we’re trying to do at 55th & Pulaski is of course to provide outstanding clinical care, and in all regards from world experts in their specialties, but also to couple that with things that happened in the community,” he said.
“The 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative is grounded in the community. It’s focused on community inclusivity. Today we’re celebrating a milestone, the manifestation of a vision to transform the health care delivery model in partnership with this community,” said UIC’s Dr. Heather Prendergast, associate dean for clinical affairs at the College of Medicine.
The community partners recognized at the ceremony include Envision Community Services, the Gage Park Latinx Council, the Latino Organization of the Southwest, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Southwest Organizing Project.
Illinois Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar, 22nd District; Chicago Alderman Silvana Tavares, 23rd Ward; and Cook County Board Commissioner Alma Anaya, 7th District, spoke at the ceremony. Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton shared a video message.
The 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Services include basic preventive care, such as health screenings, and comprehensive specialty services ranging from nutrition counseling and dermatology to general surgery and oncology, including physical and occupational therapy, dental care, and behavioral and mental health care.
Alivio, a bilingual and bicultural center, supports obstetrics and gynecology care. Friend Family provides behavioral health, mental health and urgent care services. Mile Square offers dental care. The collaborative also includes the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, which provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and nutrition services, and the UIC Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, which supports community engagement and oversees an integrated care coordination model to help address social determinants of health.