Office of Community Health Equity and Engagement

Ensuring that our West Side neighbors achieve health equity requires establishing strong community bonds and identifying opportunities to partner.

Ensuring that our West Side neighbors achieve health equity requires establishing strong community bonds and identifying opportunities to partner.

Our Mission

The mission of the Office of Community Health Equity and 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 our internal and external communities
  • Developing and strengthening effective community partnerships
  • Coordinating community-based experiences for RUSH University students 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

Community Health Equity and Engagement
2022 Impact Report

Rukiya Curvey JohnsonThe RUSH Office of Community Health Equity and Engagement (CHEE) team focuses on strategic initiatives and community partnerships that dismantle barriers to good health. Addressing the root causes of poor health and improving the quality of life in our communities is the path to helping people live longer, healthier lives.

Undoing the effects of decades of disinvestment and structural racism is an enormous job, and we know we can’t do it on our own. CHEE works closely with institutional partners, including government agencies and other health systems — but our most important partners are our neighbors and community-based organizations.

The people who live, work and attend school in a neighborhood are the experts on what their community needs to thrive. They help us identify local needs, develop strategies to address them and prioritize our efforts. Working together brings us closer to our goal of making sure everyone has equal access to the building blocks of good health.

In the following pages, you’ll see snapshots of some of our accomplishments from fiscal year 2022, and words from community members and RUSH team members. Together, we’re serving community members and building lasting collaborations that help improve health in our West Side neighborhoods and across the Chicagoland area.

In community,

Rukiya Curvey Johnson
Vice President, Community Health Equity

View the Report

Meet the Team

Rukiya Curvey Johnson, MBA
Vice President
Community Health Equity

Julia Bassett
System Manager of Health and Community Benefits

Natalia Gallegos
Director of Engagement and Impact
RUSH Education and Career Hub (REACH)

Heather Hampton, EdD
Director, K12 Education and Pathways

Sally Lemke
Director, Community Health Clinics

Thomas Molina
Director, Financial Operations

Anita C. Robinson
Administrative Manager

Nathalie Rosado Ortiz
System Manager, Anchor Mission & Community Engagement

Traci Simmons, DrPH(c), MPH, CPH, CHES
Director, Community Health and Engagement

COVID-19 and Health Equity at Rush

In 2020, the pandemic starkly illustrated gaps in health equity as the virus disproportionately affected Black and Latinx communities. At Rush, we took this moment and transformed it into a movement where we double down on our commitments to health equity.

View the Report
A faith leader in Chicage receives a COVID-19 vaccination at Rush