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Advocacy and Equity

Our residency program is committed to ensuring our graduates are not only aware of inequities in medicine but are equipped with the skills and resources needed to serve patients from historically marginalized communities. Our residency program uses clinical experiences, curriculum, and volunteer opportunities to address community health needs. Visit our Diversity and Cultural Affairs Council for more information.

Clinical Experiences

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) has been the second largest provider of charity care in Illinois for over 10 years. Our residents have the opportunity to take care of patients at NMH, located in downtown Chicago, as well as at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, located on the west side of Chicago. At both institutions, our residents are part of interdisciplinary teams that include social workers, patient advocates, and patient care coordinators who work together to address structural determinants of health. Interdisciplinary Rounds (IDR) are used at both hospitals to help faciliate efficient, high quality patient care.

    Residents with an interest in longitudinal clinical experiences addressing health inequities can elect to do teir continuity clinic at the Erie Family Health Center in West Town, the Near North Clinic, or at the Northwestern Transitional Care Clinic.

    IEstablished in 2012, NMH formed the Transitional Care Clinic (TCC) focuses on addressing whole person needs - both medical and psychosocial - with an onsite multidisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, and patient advocates. Residents are able to gain experience providing care for underserved patients, building on patient education skills, and learning to navigate the healthcare system to provide additional resources for their patients. All residents are required to rotate in TCC as part of their PGY-2 schedule.


Health equity and advocay are cornerstones of the IM residency curriculum. Our residents have the opportunity to participate in workshops, certificate programs, committess, and conferences that equip them with the knowledge and skills to understand and address health inequities.

  • Structual determinants of Health (SDoH) workshops: During Intern Academic Health Day, all PGY-1s are exposed to workshops focused on sensitively addressing issues such as houselessness, prior trauma, or domestic violence. In addition, residents review resources available to their patients both within NMH and around Chicago. 
  • Health Advocacy and Equity Certificate Program  
    For residents with an interests in developing projects focused on health equity and advocacy, the HEA Certificate Program is offered to all PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents. In addition, all PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents can participate in the Health Equity and Advocacy Elective which involves clinical experience at Oak Street Health and Heartland Alliance along with providing care for patients experiencing houselessness via Heartland's Mobile Van.
  • Dedicated Health Equity & Advocacy conferences are held once per month as part of the HEA lecture series. In addition, residents are encouraged to include discussions of structural determinants of health into their morning reports and noon conference presentations. Noon conference lectures have included topics such as cardiovascular health equities based on zip code, manifestations of dermatologic diseases on pigmented skin, and spirituality in medicine to name a few!


  • Since 2007, the Internal Medicine Residency Program has managed a Saturday morning clinic at Community Health Clinic (CHC) in Humboldt Park. CHC offers primary and specialty care services on site for a largely Spanish and Polish speaking population - interpreters are available onsite. CHC is recognized as one of the largest community health clinics in the country - founded by Dr. Jim Webster (former NMH Chief of Service) in the early 1970s. In 2016, our residency received a national service award for our community service and residency education with CHC. Our residents consistently state that volunteering at CHC is a highlight of their residency experience.