West Side United
In Chicago’s Loop the average life expectancy is 85 years, while in Garfield Park—just seven L stops west—this life expectancy drops to 69 years, a 16-year “death gap.”
To address this disparity and improve health outcomes for Chicago’s 550,000 West Side residents, six hospitals—AMITA Health, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Cook County Health, Rush University Medical Center, Sinai Health System, and University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System—launched West Side United in 2017.
Today, West Side United is a collaborative of health care institutions, residents, educators, nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and faith-based institutions that work, live, and congregate on Chicago’s West Side.
This coalition is driven by an audacious goal: to cut the 16-year death gap in half by 2030. West Side United believes that to achieve this vision, we must address the social factors that determine health—that is, the day-to-day experiences and conditions that influence West Side residents’ lives. In response to input that came from a community listening tour, which included nearly 500 community members from West Side neighborhoods, the collaborative invests in high-impact initiatives across four focus areas:
Civic Consulting Alliance played a critical role in creating and launching West Side United, and continues to support the collaborative today.
Over the past year, together with pro bono partners Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, CIBC, KPMG, McKinsey & Co., PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Sg2—we helped incubate, launch, and execute 10 priority initiatives across Chicago’s West Side:
Health and Healthcare
Developed a Community Health Strategy to organize ongoing collaborative work with Federally Qualified Health Centers, local nonprofits, and other partners. Based on the top priorities, launched two workgroups: one to address hypertension control rates, and another to improve maternal and child health
Distributed $125,000 in grants to scale neighborhood-level efforts to Co-Locate Mental Health Services on the West Side
Distributed $125,000 in grants to train and increase the number of Community Health Workers on the West Side
Organized a hiring fair—attended by close to 100 participants and six hospital employers—to increase hospitals’ Local Hiring from West Side neighborhoods
Launched pilot cohort of the Medical Assistant Pathways Program to foster hospital Employee Professional Growth, setting 26 participants on the path towards higher-wage employment in clinical positions; began work to incubate three additional pathway programs
Developed a roadmap for hospitals’ local spending, and created a playbook to guide similar efforts to support West Side Business Development
Piloted a Small Business Accelerator Grant Pool, awarding $85K between seven small businesses from 106 applications; initiated an expanded round two of the program