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Outreach Programs

Outreach programs organize activities and events in the community to promote wellbeing.



The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) provides temporary secure housing for youth (10-17 years) who are awaiting judgment of their cases by the Cook County Courts. The overall mission of the JTDC is to provide detained youth with a safe, secure, and caring environment with programs and structure that enhance personal development, improve opportunity for success upon return to the community, and decrease reentry.

BEET Chicago

Bringing Empowerment and Education Together, BEET Chicago, is an urban garden initiative based in North Lawndale that works to bring empowerment and education together through the cultivation of gardens and community. A beet was chosen because beets are rooted vegetables. We believe food (from the ground #roots), community (the roots that raise you), and education (the roots of learning) are crucial, especially in the low-income, underserved communities of Chicago. The Volunteer program provides fresh produce and school supplies to families. Volunteers throughout the spring and summer (mostly Saturdays) are needed to assist with activities like watering, weeding, planting, harvesting, or supporting community events! Please make sure to come in clothes you don't mind getting dirty and bring sunscreen/hat/water as it gets hot! In the fall and winter months, there are opportunities to help with garden clean-up, harvesting, and in the colder months’ delivery in partnership with the Grocery Run Club.

Buddies & Cuddlers

Buddies is a program that takes place in Rush Children’s Hospital and Emergency Room (ER) in which Rush students do fun activities with ill children, such as playing games or reading a book. The aims of this program include providing companionship to and alleviating stress of ill children and providing parents of hospitalized children a chance for a break away from the bedside. The Rush Children Hospital Buddies program occurs every Monday through Thursday from 12-1 pm. The ER Buddies program runs three hours a week at various times. Other Buddies events include an annual Halloween party with volunteers dressing up in costumes to go trick-or-treating with patients and an MLK day event where Rush students organize cultural activities for children in the Rush Day School and patients from the Children’s Hospital.

Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE)

Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity (CHHRGE) is a network of homeless shelters, congregate living facilities, hospitals, non-profit providers, city agencies, advocacy groups, and others who have come together to address the needs of the Chicago homeless and underserved communities during COVID-19. The CHHRGE Student Leadership sub-group is made up of inter-institutional health and graduate medical school students who work with faculty and clinicians on shelter screenings, testing, COVID-19 education, and other initiatives to address community needs as they arise.

Child and Youth Enrichment Program

The Child and Youth Enrichment Program pairs volunteer mentors with shelter youth in order to foster supportive relationships and provide positive mentorship for these young individuals. CYEP strives to overcome the limitations and barriers associated with experiencing homelessness as a youth and to empower these individuals to reach their full potential. Two mentors are paired with one family and have the requirements of meeting with the family at least 2 times per month. Sylvia Center is where the program currently sits.

Community Harm Reduction & Outreach

CHRO is a community outreach focused RCSIP that provides education sessions and harm reduction interventions to the West Chicago community. We do biweekly opioid overdose education trainings/naloxone distribution at homeless shelters across the West side. We partner with The West Side Opioid Task Force to do pop-up street-medicine style opioid education and naloxone distribution in the Chicago neighborhoods that are hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

Correctional Health Initiative

The Correctional Health Initiative is an interprofessional organization focused on health promotion at Cook County Jail - one of the largest single-site jails in the U.S. Our volunteers provide a series of weekly health education sessions to men and women detained at the jail. In addition to providing health education, we aim to foster awareness and understanding of the criminal justice system and advocate for the health and human rights issues related to incarceration.

Healthy Hood

Healthy Hood was created by Pilsen stakeholders to provide a shared space for group fitness and recreation to the underserved living in Chicago’s Lower West Side. Rush students have since expanded the services offered by Healthy Hood. Over the last 3 years, Rush volunteers have implemented a community garden, designed a nutrition/wellness curriculum, conducted biweekly health screenings, and hosted "Harvest Hours” — open gardening sessions when community members come to harvest their fruits/vegetables. The experience has become increasingly multidisciplinary and values collaboration with dietitians, nursing students, psychologists, residents, medical students, physical therapists, and physicians at Rush. Healthy Hood provides a unique growth opportunity for future health care professionals. Please contact current student leaders if you are interested in becoming a part of this amazing community and creating a Healthy Hood!

Neurodiversity Allies

Neurodiversity Allies is a student organization at Rush that seeks to create opportunities for future healthcare providers of all disciplines to become comfortable interacting with people with developmental disabilities. Students visit individuals with developmental disabilities while they are in the hospital at Rush with a focus of making their hospital stay more comfortable and helping the students develop communication and relationship skills.

Ohana Program

The Ohana Program is an interdisciplinary student volunteer program that aims to place volunteer companions for end-of-life or chronically ill hospital patients at RUMC who are without family or friends at their bedside. The program is sponsored by the Rush Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Palliative Medicine. The role of the volunteer is simply to be present with the patient so that they are not alone. Time commitment for volunteers is minimal and scheduling is flexible for visiting patients.

The Road Home Program

The Road Home Program helps veterans and their families by providing timely and confidential support, counseling, and veteran health services to help the veteran and their family understand, heal from, and cope with the invisible wounds of war. Volunteers with this program participate in the intensive outpatient program (IOP) weekend outings to popular Chicago landmarks (like the Field Museum, sporting events, or cooking classes). Volunteers go with the veterans on the outings and welcome them to the city (many are coming from out of town). The IOP runs for 3 weeks each month. Volunteers are needed on Saturdays; the program runs from 1-5pm.

Rush Harmony

RU Harmony is a group of students with strong musicianship and people skills that play music for patients. The goal is to utilize the strong capacity of music to improve patients’ mental, physical and emotional well-being. Participants in this group will perform solo or in small groups for 30-40 minutes during an assigned lunch period at a designated area. Students are responsible for their own instrument and repertoire which must be approved by the steering committee. In addition to providing a wonderful service to patients and staff, students of RU Harmony get exposure to patients in wards such as Pediatrics, Neurology, Oncology and Geriatric Psychiatry.

Rush Stroke Force

Stroke Force is a Rush program aimed at providing invaluable community outreach and education to Chicago residents about Stroke - an affliction that millions of people have suffered from, and a leading cause of disability in the United States as well as the number 5 ranked cause of death. Even though the risk of Stroke increases with age, it can happen to anyone at any time which is why the outreach and discussion is catered to different age groups and backgrounds. The program’s outreach efforts include crucial discussions of prevalence, risk factors, prevention, treatments, and life after Stroke. Stroke Force allows students to work licensed providers specialized in Stroke care in order to develop the communication, organization, clinical, and leadership skills that will prove vital in any field.


RUSwabbed aims to help those battling lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplants are often the only cure for many who suffer from these cancers. RUSwabbed aims to target all ethnic groups into the National Marrow Registry Program but selectively hopes to recruit populations that are disproportionately underrepresented.

RUSwabbed will partner with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry, a public bone marrow and blood stem cell registry that helps facilitate transplants for children and adults suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers. All those who swab and elect to enter the bone marrow registry will do so through the Gift of Life public marrow registry which will immediately place them into the global and National Marrow Donor’s Program. All volunteers will undergo a training process, educating them on marrow transplants, PBSC procedures, common misconceptions, and more. Volunteers will host educational tabling events to recruit individuals into the national marrow donor's program. Furthermore, tabling events will be expected to be held at Rush University Medical Center sponsored events such as blood drives, bikeathons, the MLK Day of Service, and more.

RU Prosthetics

RU Prosthetics is a student group that builds prosthetic hands using parts created by 3D printers. We serve mainly pediatric patients, offering a low-cost solution for a complex problem. Students learn how to operate our two 3D printers to build prostheses. We also can work with the students at Richard T. Crane High School to teach them about this rapidly growing technology.

Rush 9-1-1

Rush 9-1-1 is a volunteer-based program that educates and raises awareness for pre-hospital healthcare throughout underserved Chicago communities. We provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking, autoinjector and bleeding management training through a fund, interactive 1-hour class. Our goal is to significantly increase the number of Chicagoans capable of providing emergency care specifically within neighborhoods lacking adequate resources and access to healthcare. Interested Rush students will become proficient in several areas of prehospital emergency medicine and learn how to lead healthcare education classes.