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Advocacy and Equity

Valuing all patients, particularly the underserved and marginalized patients, requires training and opportunities in health advocacy and equity. Our residency program is embedded in the Chicago community and has a philosophy to address community health. Visit our Diversity and Cultural Affairs Council for more information.

Clinical Experiences

  • Inpatient medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center is often focused on caring for underserved patients of Chicago. NMH has been the second largest provider of charity care in Illinois for over 10 years. Robust social work services help both efficient patient care and resident’s education in how to advocate for their patients.

    Residents with a particular interest elect to do their continuity clinic at the Erie Family Health Center in West Town, the Near North Clinic, or at the Northwestern Transitional Care Clinic.

    In 2012, NMH formed the Transitional Care Clinic for underinsured patients. The clinic is a rich experience for the residents to assist patients of limited means, build on patient education skills and learn from the social workers on negotiating the healthcare system. All residents are exposed to this clinic as a core rotation in their PGY2.


  • Social Determinants of Health (SDH) workshops: All PGY1s are exposed to dedicated workshops teaching concepts and skills in SDH. Residents with a particular interest in SDH can enroll in a certificate program called the Health Equity and Advocacy Scholars Program.
  • Health Advocacy and Equity Certificate Program  
    See the details of the 2 year Health Advocacy and Equity certificate program that is offered as an elective to all PGY2 and 3 residents.
  • Conferences in the regular resident noon conference lecture series include topics such as such as gun violence, spirituality in medicine, and the differences in cardiovascular disease outcomes by zipcode.


  • A Saturday morning volunteer clinic at Community Health Clinic (CHC) in Humboldt Park has been run by the residency since 2007. CHC, now recognized as one of the largest community health clinics in the country, was founded by Dr. Jim Webster, former NMH Chief of Service, in the early 1970s. The clinic's leadership has included Dr. Arnie Widen, winner of the prestigious ACP Volunteer Clinical Teacher Award in 2015. In 2016, our residency received a national service award for our relationship with CHC and the combined effort for community service and residency education. The culture of our program has boosted the spirits of busy residents to volunteer on weekends.  The clinic is incredibly well run and the patients have been an honor to work with.
  • Hate Has No Home Here is an organization to support immigrants and has been supported by our residency to promote the protection of marginalized patients and healthcare providers.