CHICAGO – West Side United today announced a $6 million investment aimed at closing health gaps and improving economic vitality in Chicago's west side neighborhoods. To help further its efforts, West Side United (WSU) also announced the American Medical Association (AMA) as the newest member of its collaborative—formed by six of Chicago's leading hospitals to address inequities in health care, education, economic vitality and infrastructure on the west side. Together, the AMA, Rush University Medical Center, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, AMITA Health, Cook County Health, Sinai Health System, and University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, along with Illinois Medical District and financial partner Northern Trust, will invest capital in local businesses and organizations serving Chicago's west side over the next two to five years.
"The investments we are making today with West Side United, the American Medical Association, and other community funding partners will allow us to improve the health of our residents and to drive quality-of-life improvements for our communities that have long been overlooked," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "We thank these partners for responding to our call to action with INVEST South/West and for playing a crucial role in fostering inclusive economic growth for these communities on the West Side. With new city partners on board, this marks another step forward in my administration's commitment to ensuring community-based health care serving all of our residents, regardless of ZIP code."
"Our goal is to collaborate with multisector partners to ensure that west side communities, who have been historically disinvested, benefit from local investments that provide affordable housing, corridor redevelopment and capital improvements that promote healthy, safe and economically viable neighborhoods," said West Side United Executive Director Ayesha Jaco. "We are honored to have the AMA join as a partner committed to addressing inequities and challenges that we can collectively dismantle over the next decade."
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"Right here in Chicago, West Side United and its incredible partner collaborators are addressing economic opportunity, housing, access to healthy food and other social determinants. If left unaddressed, these factors result in negative health outcomes and the vast life expectancy gap we see today between the Loop and west side neighborhoods," said AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D. "Acknowledging, understanding, and improving social and economic conditions – recognizing that economic vitality and optimal health go hand in hand – is key to closing the life expectancy gap. The work will not be quick, but as part of our ongoing work to address health inequities and improve health outcomes, the AMA is committed to a sustained effort in the area where we have been headquartered since 1888. Through these efforts, we believe Chicago can serve as a model to help other parts of the nation facing similar gaps in life expectancy and health equity across their neighborhoods."