Crain’s Chicago Business has named two RUSH health equity leaders to its 2022 list of “Notable Leaders in Community Development,” which recognizes 50 local executives who have made a difference in improving underserved and underinvested communities in Chicago.
Rukiya Curvey-Johnson, MBA, vice president of community health equity and engagement, and Angela Moss, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, assistant dean of faculty practice, were selected for their work helping build and develop healthier communities.
Curvey-Johnson is also executive director of the RUSH Education and Career Hub (REACH) which provides Black, Latino and other underrepresented young people with innovative, hands-on STEM learning opportunities to open doors to careers in health care and science, technology, engineering and math.
Citing evidence that educational attainment determines health more than biology or behavior, Crain’s wrote that helping young people achieve also will help close gaps in life expectancy between people who live downtown and on Chicago’s West Side.
Moss leads the RUSH Nursing Office of Faculty Practice, which works with more than 25 community partners to provide a wide range of clinical services. Crain’s noted that the community-based, nursing-led clinics Moss leads “are a national model, giving master’s and doctoral students training that fosters an understanding of evidence-based care and health equity.”
Removing barriers that limit opportunities for longer, healthier lives
The presence of Curvey-Johnson and Moss on the list underscores the unique nature of RUSH health equity strategies — which are driven by improving the conditions of where people live.
“RUSH is very proud that Crain’s Chicago Business has recognized Rukiya Curvey-Johnson and Angela Moss as being among the city’s top community development leaders,” said John Rich, MD, director of the RUSH BMO Institute for Health Equity.
“Rukiya’s work helping hundreds of young Chicagoans progress towards careers in health care and Angela’s leadership of nurse-led community care programs are strong examples of the health equity work RUSH does, and how their work takes place in partnership with community residents exemplifies RUSH’s deepest values.”
As assistant dean of faculty practice, Moss guides the College of Nursing’s efforts to deliver comprehensive, evidence-based nursing services and direct care to diverse populations across the Chicago area. The majority of patients served by Moss’s team live below the federal poverty line without regular access to quality health care.
Moss has helped grow the Office of Faculty Practice since becoming assistant dean in 2017 to provide patient care in innovative ways. For example, when St. Leonard’s Ministries reached out to her office to inquire about tuberculosis testing for formerly incarcerated men and women, Moss did more than meet the request. Today, the office manages a full-service health center at St. Leonard’s, where RUSH University students also can learn how to provide community care. Moss also collaborates with institutions across the country to help them develop their own models of the faculty practice program.
“I'm honored to be recognized among this group of leaders working to better the city of Chicago for all in our community," Moss said. "Accessible, quality health care is foundational to our community's ability to grow and thrive. I am proud and grateful for the opportunity to lead the nurses who are building a stronger, more equitable Chicago for all of us."
The REACH program that Curvey-Johnson helped establish and still leads connects thousands of West Side students — pre-school through high school — with experiences that prepare them for well-paying careers while also improving health care provider diversity. Despite pandemic restrictions, in 2021 REACH served more than 4,000 students, parents and educators at more than 20 West Side schools, providing students more than 25,000 paid, work-based learning hours. REACH also created a new IT Apprenticeship program to grow health care information technology opportunities.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be in the company of transformative leaders working to revitalize and build healthy communities across Chicago,” Curvey-Johnson said. “Increasing opportunity and access to high quality education, health, environment, and social/economic resources is critical to creating more just and vibrant communities for everyone. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead an amazing, dedicated team and collaborate with others to be a catalyst for improving educational outcomes, community health and vitality.”