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Public Health

Clinical Strengths

Service in Public Health is a potential career pathway for infectious diseases physicians. Fellows in our fellowship program benefit from our close connections to local, state, and federal public health departments through our clinical and research activities. Three current RUMC and CCH faculty (Drs. Gregory HuhnRobert WeinsteinSharon Welbel) are CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service alumni, and several former fellows currently hold leadership positions in public health departments, including Chicago Department of Public Health.

We are honored and excited to have been selected to participate in the new joint ID/EIS Fellowshipprogram sponsored by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 4-year pilot program streamlines a career path for applicants interested in infectious diseases and public health and aims to develop future public health leaders.

Located in the Illinois Medical District, both CCH and RUMC have a track record for responding to the public health needs of Chicago.

  • CCH’s mission as a large, urban public health system for the Chicago region makes it a natural leader in regional disease prevention, particularly in HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. CCH also diagnoses more cases of tuberculosis than any other hospital system in Illinois, and plays a key role in regional tuberculosis treatment and control.
  • RUMC’s hospital tower that opened in 2012 features the Robert R. McCormick Foundation Center for Advanced Emergency Response, which encompasses an emergency room and hospital designed to respond to biological, chemical, or other mass casualty events in Chicago. Our hospital continues to play a key role in the regional response to COVID-19 infections.
  • RUMC was one of four Chicago hospitals that volunteered to care for Ebola patients during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and RUMC continues to be one of 35 hospitals in the United States designated as an Ebola Treatment Center, maintaining a special intensive care unit to treat Ebola and other highly contagious diseases.

Examples of public health activities for fellows include the following:

  • Local public health officials regularly attend our weekly ID grand rounds and present public health updates or outbreak investigations.
  • Fellows can attend the bi-monthly Technical Advisory Group meeting (minutes away from our hospital), as well as the annual Chicago Infection Control Conference, both hosted by Chicago Department of Public Health.
  • Fellows can take clinical electives at the Cook County Jail to learn about HIV care among jail detainees.
  • Fellows may shadow Chicago Department of Public Health medical directors and epidemiologists to observe disease surveillance activities and epidemiologic investigations.

Public Health Collaborative Projects

Collaboration with public health departments is a hallmark of the research that we perform at RUMC/CCH. Our work includes several projects that focus on regional public health, including:

  • The Regional Innovative Public Health Laboratory (RIPHL) is a novel public-academic partnership between the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and RUSH University Medical Center. RIPHL launched in March 2021 to provide CDPH with advanced, flexible molecular laboratory capacity and technical expertise to surveille and characterize pathogens of public health importance. RIPHL focuses on whole genome and metagenomic sequencing and biobanking for SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial pathogens, bioinformatics; large-volume data management; and genomic epidemiology support. (Drs. Stefan GreenMary Hayden, Hannah Barbian).
  • COVID-19 CLEARANCE project: Dr. Do Young Kim, a 3rd year fellow, was awarded a 2020-2021 LEAP fellowship to lead the CLEARANCE project, designed as a collaboration with Chicago Department of Public Health to assess the duration of live SARS-CoV-2 virus shedding in critically ill patients in order to inform public health guidance on when to discontinue COVID-19 precautions (Mentors: Drs. Michael LinMary HaydenStephanie Black)
  • SMART Project (Sewer-based Monitoring for Anitmicrobial Resistance Trends): CDC-funded project in collaboration with Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago, Discovery Partners Institute, and Chicago Department of Public Healht to develop strategies for suveillance of antimicrobial resistance within healthcare facilities using wastewater (Drs. Michael LinMary HaydenRobert Weinstein and Stephanie Black). 
  • Chicago PROTECT: a CDC-funded public health-academic partnership engaged in an effort to control the spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales in the Chicago region (Drs. Mary HaydenMichael LinWilliam TrickRobert Weinstein)
  • XDRO registry: investigators at RUMC and CCH have collaborated with Illinois Department of Public Health to create a state-wide public health informatics tool to track and share information about CRE (Drs. Michael LinWilliam Trick)
  • Improving HIV testing and retention for HIV treatment across Chicago and Cook County (Drs. Ronald LubelchekWilliam TrickBeverly ShaShivanjali Shankaran)
  • MRSA prevention efforts at the Cook County Jail and other community settings outside the hospital (Dr. Kyle Popovich)
  • Collaborations with Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) in relation to novel surveillance and community-based partnerships for STI prevention and control (Dr. Supriya Mehta)