US Sen. Dick Durbin says HEAL initiative is helping address root causes of Chicago gun violence

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HEAL initiative is helping address root causes of Chicago gun violence
Senator Dick Durbin says the program is having success.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said a program dedicated to addressing the root causes of violence in Chicago is having success.

The Illinois Health and Hospital Association and Durbin released the four-year report of the Chicago HEAL Initiative.

The initiative, which launched in 2018, involves the city's largest hospitals partnering with underserved communities. It addresses root causes of gun violence through economic, health and community project.

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"This report showcases the transformative efforts of our health care institutions, reaching beyond their walls to engage communities and build partnerships," Durbin said.

Last year, the hospitals paired 3,000 victims of violence with counselors to help them recover.

Hospitals provided jobs to more than 5,300 people from the South and West sides and provided over 3,600 students with summer jobs, pipeline and apprenticeship programs within the last year. The HEAL Initiative also operated 24 mobile health units and school-based health clinics to serve over 11,000 students.

"The HEAL Initiative makes it possible for our social workers and community health workers to expand mental health services and provide accessible, healing care that recognizes trauma and supports students and their families," said RUSH Director of Community-Based Practices Sally Lemke.

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Durbin announced that the initiative will receive $6.25 million in new federal funding.

The 10 hospitals initially involved in Chicago HEAL are Advocate Health, Ascension Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Cook County Health and Hospital System, Loyola University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, Sinai Health System, University of Chicago Medical Center, and University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences Systems.