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West Side United

Working in partnership for the health of the West Side

No single institution or government agency can remove the intertwined social, economic, and environmental barriers to staying healthy. Dismantling these barriers is an ambitious, long-term effort that requires coordination among community-based organizations, government institutions, schools, social services agencies, religious institutions and, especially, residents seeking to build a healthier West Side.

For years, residents and organizations have worked to address issues that have an impact on health. While these efforts have served the community well in many ways, they have often operated in isolation and have had to compete for dwindling resources.

In early 2017, Rush, Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System came together with other community and health care organizations to talk about leveraging business units, patient care and community engagement to build community health and economic wellness on the West Side. The group of health care partners later grew to include Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Loretto Hospital, Presence Health and Sinai Health System. Together, we formed the West Side United collaborative.

A WSU subcommittee, the West Side Anchor Committee, includes representatives from seven West Side health care institutions that employ more than 43,000 people. Each is adopting its own anchor mission strategy to leverage core business practices of hiring, purchasing, investing and volunteering to build health and economic vitality in these communities. Annually, these institutions hire  approximately 6,000 people and spend $2.8 billion on supplies and services.