Throughout the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, nursing faculty at Rush played a leadership role in stopping community spread and promoting health equity for all Chicagoans.
As cases of COVID-19 began to rise again in summer 2021 in Illinois and across the country, the Chicago Department of Public Health is partnering with Rush University Medical Center and Esperanza Health Centers to redouble efforts on COVID-19 testing through the Connect Chicago Initiative.
“This is an opportunity for Rush to take critical health services into South, West, and Southwest communities of Chicago,” said Alma Blancarte Mora, RN, Rush College of Nursing Community Health Nurse leader. “We wanted to use this patient encounter as an opportunity to do more than COVID-19 testing and to be thoughtful about what our communities need. COVID-19 isn’t going to last forever, but we hope the relationships we build do.”
During a testing visit, a registered nurse will ask every client if they have a primary care provider or need to be connected to other health care services, and if they don’t, the nurse will ask if they wish to connect to care at the Medical Center or Esperanza Health Centers. The Medical Center will also connect with community-based organizations to bring awareness to community resources.
Alma Blancarte, RN, community health nurse in the Office of Faculty Practice, and other Rush care providers and disease experts address common concerns and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE)
Rush University System for Health joined more than 30 organizations in a cross-sector partnership to address the devastating impact of COVID-19 across Chicago’s entire vulnerably housed population. Read the report.
Walder Foundation Grant
Rush University’s Department of Preventive Medicine was the recipient of grant funding from the Walder Foundation in their effort to help the Chicago region respond to COVID-19. Through a collaborative partnership of pastors and researchers, this funding will support an initiative to create a network of church-based COVID-19 testing sites in Chicago's West Side neighborhoods. Clinicians from the Office of Faculty Practice are partnering in this effort to help address health inequities in these vulnerable communities, and providing easier access to SARS-CoV-2 testing and COVID-19 education.
Chicago Department of Public Health Grant
The Office of Faculty Practice in partnership with Heartland Alliance Health received an $800,000 grant from the Chicago Department of Public Health to expand shelter-based services and provide COVID-19 care and primary care treatment in 45 shelters. This grant will support approximately 1,800 people experiencing homelessness across the Chicago area.
In the News
- MASK, Rush Medical Center Team Up To Vaccinate Englewood Residents At Barbecue Event Alma Blancarte Mora and other Rush providers teamed up with Mothers Against Senseless Killings for the first of a planned series of vaccination events in trusted community settings.
- What Will Life After the COVID-19 Vaccine Look like? Sheila Leen was featured in Teen Vogue discussing the COVID-19 vaccine and helping to set expectations for a return to normalcy in a post-pandemic world.
- Nurses can be more rational with patient health care than their own. I’m no different, but I got the vaccine and feel great. Liz Brockland writes in a Washington Post op-ed about her experience receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and helps to normalize the anxiety others may be feeling about it.
- Health Care is a Right, Not a Privilege. The CEO of Whole Foods made headlines for telling Americans that we do not need health care, but instead we only need to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Belia Llamas responds in an op-ed to Visible Magazine.
- Survey: What Residents in Areas Most Affected by COVID-19 Want You to Know. Alma Blancarte Mora surveyed Chicago residents in COVID-19 "hot-spot” zip codes. The results show almost universal distrust of the government’s goal to protect them or their community, wariness about receiving the vaccine and an urgent need for more information.
- Surprises & Reflections of a Public Health Nurse in 2020. Liz Brockland shares her experience working in the community on the frontlines of COVID-19 in an op-ed for Thrive Global.
- The Pandemic Has Exposed America’s Need to Prioritize Public Health. Belia Llamas writes about the need to reinvest in and prioritize public health in an op-ed for U.S. News.
- Who Goes First? Vaccine Mistrust Historic and Rooted in Injustice. Katherine Buaron writes about COVID-19 vaccine mistrust among minority populations in an op-ed for Ms. Magazine.
- Sheila Leen was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune on what to consider before seeing friends or family indoors this winter.
- Margaret Bavis was featured in a blog post by CommunityHealth discussing her work at the clinic during the pandemic and the CON’s partnership with CommunityHealth.
- Angela Moss was featured in a video interview with the Washington Post for a story focused on racial disparities in health care and how COVID-19 has impacted black Chicagoans at an alarmingly high rate.
- Angela Moss' work leading the COVID nursing effort for homeless guests at A Safe Haven was featured in Rush University News.
- Terry Gallagher appeared on MSNBC as part of a segment about medical professionals taking on new roles during COVID-19. You can watch Terry’s full video on the College of Nursing Instagram.
- Sheila Leen was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune on best practices for cleaning/disinfecting your smartphone.