UChicago Medicine to open cancer center on South Side in effort to address inequities

Premier Urgent Care also working to address lack of equality in health care

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, February 20, 2022
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- University of Chicago Medicine recently announced plans to build the city's first freestanding cancer center on the South Side.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death for area residents.

And cancer death rates on Chicago's South Side are nearly twice the national average.

WATCH: Our Chicago: Addressing South Side healthcare inequities Part 1

"Health inequities are really persistent on the South Side and have been so for a really long time. And what we really want to do is build a world-class destination right here on the South Side that we know that everyone will be interested in and want to be able to access," said Dr. Mitchell Posner, chief of Surgery and Surgical Oncology at University of Chicago Medicine. "But most importantly (it) will provide access to the patients who need it most, which is our community on the South Side of Chicago."

And Dr. Posner said it's not just about convenience.

RELATED: Mercy Hospital's closing will create South Side healthcare desert, activists say

"Research has established that patients who live farther from healthcare facilities like ours have worse healthcare outcomes, they spend longer times in the hospital, they don't follow up with their visits that are necessary and especially important for cancer patients," he said.

WATCH: Our Chicago: Addressing South Side healthcare inequities Part 2

Dr. Michael McGee is the president and CEO of Premier Urgent Care, a Black-owned urgent care facility. He and his colleagues are working to help address some of the overarching healthcare inequities on Chicago's South Side.

"If you are poor and living in poverty, a lot of times you don't have doctors' offices near you, you don't have clinics, you may not even have good grocery stores where you can buy healthy foods and healthy diets. And so a lot of those things, not having safe neighborhoods, not being able to have access to health care, will greatly affect you." McGee added. "A lot of time patients end up waiting, and go to the hospital, and now their cancer has spread everywhere."