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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, research, and community partners, both locally and globally. 


To train culturally competent and humble 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.
  • 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.
  • Commitment to engage in activities for the 3-year duration of the Track.
  • Remain in good standing with the residency program.
  • Promote enthusiasm, collaboration, and thoughtful engagement in Track-related activities.

Components of the track

  • Quarterly curricular meetings
  • Quarterly journal clubs
  • Experiential Learning
    • One 2-week block of dedicated time in 1st year of track
    • Two 2-week blocks of dedicated time in 2nd and 3rd year of track
  • Completion of a scholarly project

How to apply

Email invitation to apply to the Track will be sent to incoming PGY-1 categorical medicine residents and to rising PGY-2 Med-Peds residents after Match Day.

  1. Online application - deadline to submit the application is Monday, April 1, 2024
  2. One-page personal statement answering the following question: What is “health equity”? Why is education regarding health equity relevant to medicine, to society at large and to you personally? Please share if you have a preference with respect to global or community opportunities.
  3. Interview with Track co-director(s)

Experiential Learning Opportunities

The Track experience can be crafted to allow a resident to spend time with several different partners for a broad-based learning experience vs focusing on one specific area.

Community Health

RUSH has 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. The 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 Track residents with the opportunity to engage with our community partners in a meaningful and bidirectional fashion.

Global Health 

Health care providers from RUSH have been supporting and assisting local communities in the Dominican Republic to establish and sustain public health and medical services for the past seventeen years. On site work occurs quarterly to foster continuity and sustainability within the communities. Teams are multi-specialty with volunteers from medicine, pediatrics, 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. 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.

While we have a strong commitment with our partner communities in the DR, we are continuously exploring other opportunities. Residents interested in working in a different locale, must first have the experience vetted by the Program Director.

We strive to provide yearly scholarships to residents to offset the cost of the trips (logistics and airfare).  

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.

Current Opportunities include:

  • In-home primary care visits
  • Global Health
  • Mobile Medical Van
  • Department of Public Health
  • Correctional Medicine
  • Food Insecurity
  • Community violence intervention and outreach
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Gender Affirming Care
  • Housing Insecurity
  • Health Informatics

Scholarly Projects

  • 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
  • Health Equity resident helped spearhead COVID screenings for individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Coordination of wound care training for community violence intervention workers
  • Assistance with needs assessment of a community-based organization
  • Creation of recipes and nutritional information for a clinic-based food pantry
  • HTN and CT coronary calcium screenings on the West Side of Chicago


Health Equity Leadership

Stephanie Crane, MD

Chief, Division of Community and Global Health Equity

Jennifer Towbin, MD

Co-Director, Health Equity Track
Octavio A. Vega, MD

Co-Director, Health Equity Track
Maggie Topps

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