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Community summit brings together Mayor Lightfoot and Chicagoland leaders seeking solutions to the effects of violence and trauma

What are the effects of violence and trauma on Southland communities? How can larger institutions and grassroots organizations effectively collaborate to address the effects of trauma on individual and community health? What are some of the best practices being used to help communities recover from the effects of trauma?

To address these questions and others, Southland RISE (Resilience Initiative to Strengthen and Empower), a collaboration powered by the University of Chicago Medicine and Advocate Heath Care, hosted the all-day summit, Healing to RISE: Fostering Connections to Support Individuals, Families and Communities Impacted by Trauma on March 5th at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Chicago’s far South Side. The two health systems launched Southland RISE in 2019 to strengthen and integrate violence recovery and trauma care services throughout the South Side and across the south suburbs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered the summit’s opening remarks, highlighting the city’s commitment to reducing gun violence and supporting efforts promoting trauma recovery.

“By treating violence as the public health crisis that it is, we are able to focus our resources on addressing this challenge in its entirety — both the circumstances that create it and the trauma that follows it,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “And, on behalf of our entire city, I want to express my gratitude to leading institutions like the University of Chicago Medicine and Advocate Health Care who are stepping up and doing their part and showing how anchor institutions can play pivotal roles in increasing access to service.”

The summit drew 200 participants, including representatives of social service organizations, city agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, the faith community and local, state, and the federal government.

“Residents of our South Side communities have identified violence prevention and trauma resiliency as a top health priority, and it’s imperative that healthcare leaders consider all voices and viable solutions to address this disparity,” said Brenda Battle, vice president of UChicago Medicine’s Urban Health Initiative and the medical center’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “Through this summit, Southland RISE hopes to amplify a critical discussion surrounding violence and trauma that can help us better understand what’s working and what’s missing as we seek paths to healing and recovery.”

Southland RISE outlined three key objectives for the summit:

  • To create a learning opportunity to explore the impacts of trauma and violence on Southland communities
  • To highlight and explore innovative strategies and approaches that communities and multi-sector partners are using to promote recovery, build resilience and decrease the effects of trauma on individual and community health
  • To provide a platform for an organized discussion about the strengths and gaps across partners, allowing the group to think about how it can create a “multiplier effect” through more strategic collective action

Using data and perspectives from government agencies and community leaders, the summit’s panel discussions explored the crisis resulting from violence and the effects of trauma on communities, residents and families. Topics then turned toward solutions, including strategies and approaches for building trauma resiliency and safe and just communities. Throughout the event, participants engaged in small-group activities designed to reinforce key concepts, identify potential obstacles and generate discussion and ideas for effective collaboration needed to achieve shared goals.

Southland RISE is the result of Chicago HEAL — Hospital Engagement, Action and Leadership — an initiative launched by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in October 2018 to urge healthcare providers on the city’s South and West Sides to bolster their efforts to help reduce violence and address healthcare needs associated with violence recovery.

“We chose to partner with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and UChicago Medicine to create Southland RISE, because we knew that a comprehensive solution was needed to address the violence that plagues our community,” said Matt Primack, president of Advocate Condell Medical Center and the violence prevention lead for Advocate Health Care. “We understand that violence needs to be addressed through a three-pronged approach of prevention, intervention and trauma-informed treatment. By creating a network with our community partners who currently provide those services, we can ultimately expand programs and our overall capacity to better meet the needs of the community.”

The summit represents one of five key objectives Southland RISE committed to achieving during the collaborative’s first two years. Other priorities include aligning and integrating trauma care services across organizations, developing trauma-informed care training models and awarding grant funding for community-based violence recovery and prevention programs.

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About Advocate Health Care 

Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest Accountable Care Organizations in the country. A national leader in population health management, Advocate operates nearly 400 sites of care and 12 hospitals, including two of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health and hospice companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. Advocate trains more primary care physicians and residents at its four teaching hospitals than any other health system in the state. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $715 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2018. Advocate is part of Advocate Aurora Health, one of the ten largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States. We help people live well. 


About the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences

The University of Chicago Medicine, with a history dating back to 1927, is one of the nation’s leading academic health systems. It unites the missions of the University of Chicago Medical Center, Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division. Twelve Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine have been affiliated with the University of Chicago Medicine. Its main Hyde Park campus is home to the Center for Care and Discovery, Bernard Mitchell Hospital, Comer Children’s Hospital and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. It also has ambulatory facilities in Orland Park, South Loop and River East as well as affiliations and partnerships that create a regional network of care. UChicago Medicine offers a full range of specialty-care services for adults and children through more than 40 institutes and centers including an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Together with Harvey-based Ingalls Memorial, UChicago Medicine has 1,286 licensed beds, nearly 1,300 attending physicians, about 3,200 nurses and over 1,100 residents and fellows.


Visit UChicago Medicine’s health and science news blog at

Twitter @UChicagoMed

Keywords: Advocate Christ Medical Center, Advocate Health Care, Brenda Battle, Lori Lightfoot, Matthew Primack, Southland RISE, trauma care, Trauma resiliency, University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Chicago Medicine, violence prevention, Violence recovery

Posted in Announcements, Community Organizations, Health

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