Health Equity Track

The Health Equity track was created to address both global and local health equity issues, encompassing the idea that “Global is Local”. The purpose of the track is to empower residents with knowledge, skills, and experiences that they can use to advocate for health equity throughout their careers. The track provides a supportive environment through which residents can collaborate with Rush service initiatives and research, both locally and globally. 


Our mission is to train culturally competent physicians to identify health disparities with the goal of improving health outcomes and eliminating health inequities, both locally and globally.


  • Establish an understanding of the health inequities faced by individuals locally on Chicago’s West Side and globally in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
  • Create a supportive environment that fosters and promotes discussion of topics relevant to Health Equity, including Advocacy, Structural Racism, and Social Determinants of Health.
  • Equip residents with the practical tools and knowledge to engage in experiential learning and service in under-resourced settings.
  • Promote participation in educational activities including journal clubs and lecture series.
  • Provide mentorship throughout the duration of the track, including completion of a scholarly project.


  • Acceptance to the Rush internal medicine categorical residency program or medicine/pediatric residency program.
  • Applicants entering the categorical internal medicine residency will apply during their M4 year to begin work in the track their intern year. Work will span all 3 years of respective residency. If entering the Med/Peds residency, applicants will apply for the track during their intern year, to begin participation in the track their 2nd year. Work will span the remaining 3 years of their residency. 
  • Residents will be selected into either the Global Health Branch or Community Health Branch based on interest and demand.

Components of the track

The core curriculum is the same for both branches of the track.  The difference will come with the focus for clinical work and scholarly project.

PGY 1 PGY 2-3
Self-study curriculum  
Quarterly meetings to discuss curriculum topics Quarterly meetings to discuss scholarly project
Journal Club Journal Club

Two weeks of time dedicated to experiential learning

  • Global Health Branch = international experience
  • Community Health Branch = local experience

    Two weeks of time dedicated to experiential learning

    • Global Health Branch = international experience
    • Community Health Branch = local experience
      One week of time dedicated to scholarly project
      One week of time dedicated to home health and home visits
      Presentation at noon conference or Grand Rounds

    How to apply

    Applicants will complete the following:

    1. Online application - deadline to submit the application is Monday, April 4, 2022
    2. One page personal statement answering the following question: What is “health equity”? Why do you believe that training in global and community health is relevant to medicine, to society at large and to you personally? Please specify your preference for the Global or Community Health Branch of the Health Equity Track.
    3. Interview with division director (phone interview optional)

    Candidates will be selected at the discretion of the division director.

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    Community Health Branch

    Community Health Branch will have a focus on healthy equity in the community. Rush has had a strong commitment to the West Side of Chicago stemming from a deep desire to improve the health and well-being of our surrounding communities. Rush Anchor Mission Strategy outlines the efforts aimed at reducing the social, economic, and environmental inequities faced by individuals living on the West Side.

    Inspiration is drawn from this commitment to provide Community Health Branch residents with the opportunity to work closely with Rush community partners. Experiences can be tailored to resident interests. Examples of experiences include COVID-19 immunization efforts, attending home-based primary care visits, assisting with providing non-emergency medical treatment services to individuals experiencing homelessness, spending time with the local public health department.

    Each resident will develop and complete a scholarly project, which can be focused on research, quality improvement, education, or service. Guidance and mentorship for the scholarly project will be provided throughout the course of the Track.

    Group Photo

    Global Health Branch

    The Global Health Branch is selectively offered to internal medicine residents and medicine/pediatrics residents who desire a broader and deeper exposure to service and learning in global health.

    Health care providers from Rush have been supporting and assisting local communities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to establish and sustain public health and medical services for the past sixteen and eleven years respectively. On site work occurs quarterly to foster continuity and sustainability within the communities. Teams are multi-specialty with volunteers from medicine, surgery, nursing, physical therapy, and pharmacy.  Trip experiences are one week long in duration with opportunities to participate on both Primary Care and Surgical Trips. The goal is for time to be spent in both countries by the end of the track experience. 

    In addition to yearly travel, Global Health Branch residents are expected to complete a scholarly project.  Examples of previous projects are:

    • Survey to assess barriers in Global Health research
    • Study to assess etiology of reports of Vaginal Discharge in Rural Haitian Community
    • Screening for depression and associated factors in Dominican Republic Community
    • Using WhatsApp to improve education and Blood Pressure Control
    • Needs Assessment of new partner community in the Dominican Republic
    • QI to assess diabetic education and improvement in control in Dominican Republic Community

    For those residents interested in a Global Health experience, but are not looking for a three year commitment, we do offer a Global Health Elective which is a one time, two week experience. Of note, priority is given to Track residents.

    Rush partners with the non-governmental organization, Community Empowerment, whose mission is to work with local leadership in underserved communities to provide essential health care, while fostering the development of self-sustaining health care systems. 


    We strive to provide yearly scholarships to residents to offset the cost of the trips (logistics and airfare). Residents should expect to pay $500-600 per trip.

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    Health Equity Leadership

    Stephanie Crane, MD

    Chief, Division of Community and Global Health Equity

    Jennifer Towbin, MD
    Associate Director, Global and Community Health Programs
    Octavio A. Vega, MD
    Director, Community Health Branch
    Maggie Topps
    Senior Program Coordinator

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    Photo gallery

    The gallery below includes photos from our recent trips to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

    Global Health Trips to the DR & Haiti