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Rush University Medical Center Again Honored for Equity of Care

CHICAGO – For the third time in four years, the American Hospital Association has chosen Rush University Medical Center as an honoree for its annual Equity of Care Award, which recognizes hospitals and health systems that demonstrate a high level of success in reducing health care disparities and promoting diversity and inclusion. The Medical Center is one of only five hospitals from across the nation to receive recognition for health equity this year from the AHA, as the American Hospital Association is known.  

The winners and honorees of the EOC Award will be recognized at the AHA’s annual Leadership Summit in San Diego, California, on Friday, July 27.

"Rush’s mission is to improve health, and reducing health inequities is deeply rooted in our core beliefs — to provide an equal access to high-level health care to people living across all neighborhoods of Chicago,” said Larry Goodman, MD, CEO of the Rush System and Rush University Medical Center. “For the third time, the AHA has recognized our efforts, and we are proud to be recognized alongside this year’s most influential hospitals in the nation.”

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of nearly 5,000 health care provider organizations nationwide. The AHA noted Rush University Medical Center for the following efforts to advance equity of care:

  • The Rush Diversity Leadership Council’s (DLC) efforts to further increase diversity and inclusion among leadership, governance, the university and patient experience by developing a five-year, 2018-2022, diversity and inclusion strategy. Since Rush implemented this strategy, approximately 300 Rush leaders have undergone implicit bias training as well as hundreds of medical and allied health students from Rush University.
  • Rush’s status as the only hospital in Illinois to be nationally certified in health care interpretation services. All 249 qualified bilingual Rush staff can provide culturally competent preferred language services. In order to provide and ensure availability of these services — which are accessible in Rush's hospital, outpatient, and community clinic settings — Rush utilizes a dashboard to track trends in demand for these services.
  • Rush’s leadership in establishing West Side United – a collaborative comprised of residents, health care institutions, businesses, government agencies and community organizations — with the goal of reducing by half the 16-year life expectancy gap between residents of the West Side and Chicago’s Loop by 2030.
  • The Anchor Mission, which leverages institutional resources to make residents in West Side communities healthier by building the economic vitality of these neighborhoods through a strategy of hiring, buying and sourcing, investing and volunteering locally. Rush is committing to hiring more than 1,000 area employees and investing $2 million annually in the West Side over three years.
  • Rush’s status as the first hospital in the nation to implement a single sign-on process with the social referral resource platform, NowPow — a vetted resource database that allows health care providers to provide referrals to needed social resources in the patient’s community. By combining the use of NowPow with screening patients for social determinants of health, Rush is able to understand the barriers to health equity affecting our patient population.

The AHA previously named Rush an honoree for the 2015 and 2017 Equity of Care awards, in recognition of the following initiatives:

  • Implementation of strategic goal to increase diversity at the director level and above, as well as tying executive bonuses to performance levels on the index. 
  • Development of a social determinant of health screening tool, created in collaboration with community partners.
  • Use of technology, including a “disparities navigator,” to examine different health outcomes among patients and target interventions
  • Pioneering work of Rush’s ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Task Force

In addition to Rush, the AHA chose three other health care providers this year as honorees: Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina; Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Regional Health in Rapid City, South Dakota. Navicent Health in Macon, Georgia, was chosen as the recipient of the Equity of Care Award.

“Every day, hospitals and health systems strive to be leaders, innovators and connectors in their communities, within their leadership and staff, and across the field,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “This year’s Equity of Care winner and honorees are pushing the field forward in diversity, inclusion, and health equity. They have demonstrated that hospitals and health systems are committed to understanding the social determinants of health within their communities, and are on the frontlines of bridging the gaps of equity within the field.”

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