Health Equity Track

The Department of Internal Medicine is excited to announce the expansion of the Global Health Track to include both global and local health equity issues, encompassing the idea that “Global is Local”. The goal of this track is to empower residents with knowledge, skills, and experiences that they can use to advocate for health equity throughout their careers. This track will provide a supportive environment through which residents can collaborate with Rush service initiatives and research, both locally and globally. There will be two branches to this track. The core curriculum is the same for both. The difference will come with the clinical and scholarly components. One branch will have an international focus while the other will have a local community focus.


  • 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

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
    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

    The Community Health Branch will have clinical and research components with a focus on health equity in the West Side of Chicago. Rush has long had a deep institutional commitment to this work and residents will have the opportunity to work intensively with Rush’s community partners. For more information about Rush’s work in the community, please click here.

    Each resident will complete a scholarly project as part of the Branch, which could be focused on research, quality improvement, education, or service. In addition, residents will have clinical experiences based on their interests. Examples include: working with a community health center focused on healthcare for people experiencing homelessness, helping lead an outbreak response COVID-19 testing team in congregate settings, and working with a community organization that uses a novel model of care for elderly patients.

    Global Health Branch

    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 fourteen and nine years respectively. Multi-specialty teams in medicine, surgery, nursing, physical therapy, and pharmacy volunteer on a quarterly basis. Teams include students and residents in various disciplines. Working alongside the Office of Faculty Affairs, the Division of Community and Global Health in the Department of Internal Medicine aims to provide expanded training and service opportunities within the department.

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

    It is not a requirement to be accepted to the Global Health Branch of the Healthy Equity Track to participate in service trips to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India. However, priority is given to these residents.


    A scholarship will be provided 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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    Get involved

    Volunteer opportunities

    1. Participate on one of our trips to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, or India

    • Teams travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti approximately every four months. They are comprised of attending physicians, resident physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, medical/physician assistant/nurse practitioner students, physical therapists, psychologists and pharmacists. We send both primary care and surgical teams to the DR. At the current time, we are only sending primary care teams to Haiti; however, we are actively in the process of adding a surgical component to our work in Haiti. Trips are a week long (including travel time). The program also offers opportunities for experiential learning in India.
    • For more information about the trips, please read the Haiti travel information packet and the DR travel information packet.
    • Complete travel waiver

    2. Help out with our annual Art for Health Benefit

    • Art for Health was started by a group of artists and medical doctors committed to providing and improving health care for the underserved communities around the world, currently focusing on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Each fall we hold an annual benefit to help raise money and awareness for these communities.
    • 90% of the money raised goes directly towards scholarships for participants, funding to purchase medications and supplies for the trips and support for our ongoing public health projects in each country.
    • We need volunteers to help with a variety of aspects for the events, such as publicity, set-up/take-down and assistance at the actual event. 
    • All donations to this benefit are tax-deductible.

    3. Help transport and pack medications prior to each trip

    4. Data entry for ongoing research projects

    If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please email Maggie Topps.

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    Make a donation

    Want to help us achieve our goal of providing health care and education to those in Haiti and the Dominican Republic?

    Please visit our giving page to donate now.

    There are several ways to donate:

    1. Give to the general fund: We use this money to provide scholarships to residents, students and nurses to go on the trips, to purchase medications and supplies and to support local public health projects with which we are involved.

    • Prior to completing your online donation, you will have the option to specify if you want your donation to go directly towards medications and supplies for trips, scholarships for volunteers or public health projects. Use the drop down menu on the giving form to see your giving options.

    2. Sponsor a specific volunteer’s trip: Each trip costs approximately $900, which pays for housing, local transportation, food and logistics. This amount does not include airfare; the volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own. Contact the specific volunteer to learn how you can give.

    Donate medications and medical supplies

    When we send medical teams to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we have to bring all of the medications and medical supplies we may need while there. While we have assistance in purchasing some of these, many of the over-the-counter medications and supplies must be purchased at full price, thus limiting the amount we can bring with us. The following is a list of medications and supplies that can help:

    1. Over-the-counter medications in unopened containers. Liquid bottles must be 1 oz or less. Commonly needed medications are pain relievers, anti-acid medications and anti-allergy medications, for both children and adults.
    2. New or gently used medical equipment, such as canes, crutches and walkers
    3. Eyeglasses

    Unfortunately, we are unable to accept liquid nutritional supplements, secondary to weight limits for transportation of supplies. 

    All medication/supply donations can be dropped off at the Rush Global Health Administrative Office in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Kellogg Building, Suite 1119, 1717 W. Congress Parkway.

    Please include your name and contact information on the donation in case we need to contact you.

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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 galleries

    The image gallery below includes photos from our 2010, 2011, and 2012 trips to Haiti.

    Haiti Photos


    The image gallery below includes photos from our 2009, 2010, and 2011 trips to the Dominican Republic.

    DR Photos