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More than Bricks and Mortar—Taking Healthcare Beyond Hospital Walls

MANY OF THE 1.5 million community members living on Chicago’s South and West Sides experience difficulty navigating a healthy life. Your biological makeup isn’t the only determinant of your health. Your zip code may be the key factor in how you live, how healthy you are, and when you die.

Life expectancy differences between people living downtown compared to those living in neighborhoods on the South and West Sides can be up to 20 years. Social determinants of health like housing, education, healthcare access, transportation, and access to healthy foods and community resources can have an enormous impact on an individual’s health and well-being. Addressing unmet social needs among patients in Chicago’s most vulnerable neighborhoods is the key to delivering improved health outcomes.

If we want to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity, we need to look beyond simple medical treatments to get at the root causes of illness and disparities. By having a connection to community-level resources, many individuals will improve their quality of life and health. 

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