Excellence is just the beginning.

Office of Community

Committed to Community

Darlene Hightower, Associate Vice President , Office of Community Engagement and PracticeRush University Medical Center has been a fixture on the West Side of Chicago for more than 175 years, providing high-quality care to patients and exemplary training for medical professionals. Over the last 25 years, through programs like the Rush Community Service Initiative Program, the Science and Math Education Network and school-based health centers, Rush has extended its reach into the community with the same level of excellence. Today, our goal is to build upon this rich history and invest even more deeply in the communities we serve..

Committed to the community,
Darlene Oliver Hightower
Vice President, Community Health Equity

Our mission

The mission of the Office of Community Engagement is to enable and support Rush University Medical Center in fulfilling its commitment to improve the quality of life within Rush’s diverse neighboring communities through initiatives and partnerships.

These are some of the ways we achieve this mission:

  • Assessing the health needs of our community and developing strategies to address these needs
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of Rush programs in meeting the needs of our community
  • Reporting and communicating Rush’s community engagement efforts to its internal and external communities
  • Developing and strengthening effective community partnerships
  • Coordinating community-based experiences for students at Rush to enhance their ability to care for diverse populations
  • Serving Students and families by providing quality, accessible health care within Rush’s school-based health centers and the Adolescent Family Center

Meet the team

Darlene Oliver Hightower, JD
Vice President, Community Health Equity

Julia Bassett
Manager, Health and Community Benefit

Sharon Gates
Senior Director, Rush Community Service Initiative Programs

LaDawne Jenkins
Manager, Operations and Community Engagement Initiatives

Rukiya Curvey Johnson
Director, Rush Education and Career Hub (REACH)

Kimberly Johnson
Program Coordinator

Sally Lemke
Director, Community Health Clinics

Thomas Molina
Manager, Financial Operations

Christopher Nolan
Systems Manager, Community Health and Benefits

Nathaniel Powell
Project Coordinator, Rush Oak Park Hospital

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