Anchoring health and wellness on Chicago’s West Side

Pro Bono Partners

Bain & Company
A.T. Kearney

Anchoring health and wellness on Chicago's West Side

On average, a resident of West Garfield Park has a life expectancy 16 years shorter than a resident of the Loop. This gap is caused by disparities that reach beyond the doctor's office and into the broader social determinants of health, such as employment, safety, and education.

Last year, Rush University Medical Center leadership began to re-think its own role in improving health and wellness on the West Side, and committed itself to addressing the social determinants of health for the more than 400,000 residents of Chicago's West Side.

To help Rush in its effort, Civic Consulting Alliance and a pro bono team from Bain & Company identified what Rush could change within its own business operations to benefit West Side residents. The Rush / CCA / Bain team identified several high-impact initiatives to "anchor" its business operations to the West Side by hiring, promoting, purchasing, and investing locally.

"Harnessing Rush's economic impact will have a meaningful and tangible effect on the West Side," said Mark Capeless, who led the Bain team. "Rush's anchor strategy will open the doors for more jobs and investment for an area of more than 400,000 residents."

However, Rush's actions alone can only improve the West Side's vitality so far --- so Rush convened a broader collaboration of West Side healthcare institutions, including University of Illinois at Chicago and Cook County Health and Hospitals System, to ask what all the healthcare anchors on the West Side might do, collectively.

To support this emerging "collaborative," A.T. Kearney and TLSG developed a model of neighborhood vitality, which includes metrics that will help the collaborative assess where it can make the greatest impact working collectively. "The neighborhood vitality model will help the collaborative set ambitious, evidence-based targets to effectively build health and wellness," added Kish Khemani, Partner at A.T. Kearney.

Together, the anchor strategies aim to help close the gap in life expectancy and make Chicago's West Side a more vibrant, healthy place to live.

For more information on this project, please contact Brian Battle.

Civic Consulting has a unique ability to understand the needs of our neighborhoods and mobilize sophisticated pro bono partners who can help organizations like Rush move the needle and improve outcomes.

Larry Goodman


Rush University Medical Center