We recently scored 30-minutes with Brenda Battle, System Vice President of Community Health Transformation, and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at University of Chicago Medicine.

As a national leader, we didn’t want you to miss Brenda’s insights on how UChicago Medicine views their role as an anchor institution and how that perspective translates into the real work of community health transformation.

Q: Community health transformation really stands out in your title. That is not necessarily the most common title but it’s really important. What does that mean to you and what does that mean in terms of the work you’re doing in UChicago’s service area?

A: Community health transformation. What that really means is unifying and aligning University of Chicago Medicine’s resources and strategies with the resources of the community and the strategies of the community. We’re aligning around how do we improve health and wellness in the community together to create innovative solutions to address those needs and to result in better health and wellness for the community.

Q: How does that standpoint impact how UChicago Medicine sees its role?

A: As the anchor healthcare organization, anchor university and an anchor employer of the south side of Chicago, it is important for us to be a leader and convener of strategies that are not just going to improve healthcare outcomes but transform the system of health within the ecosystem in our surrounding community.

My role is helping the University of Chicago to strategize and ultimately to move into action around those efforts, but in a community-based participatory community-led way, not in a just Chicago medicine, academic medical center, top-down way. That’s why that role is ultimately leading to transforming systems.

Q: As you think about the community health strategy and then community health work, how do those pieces fit into UChicago Medicine’s overall strategy?

A: We’re evolving as healthcare providers and as partners in improving health in our communities. As we’ve developed our strategic plans, we’ve really embedded in them this work of community health transformation and equity.

When you look at our overall organizational strategy, you’re going to see equity-focused work showing up all over in how we hire folks from our community as well. Over 26% of the people we hire are directly from the community. That’s some intentional work that we do.  It’s also in how we improve the patient’s experience. Sixty-plus percentage of the people who come to our hospital for care live in our community. Our community is our patients. That’s how we really embed ourselves with the community around these strategies that are going to result in transformation and improving healthcare.

Lastly, Brenda emphasizes, “We didn’t start here 12 years ago when I came to UChicago Medicine, but over the years, we’ve really built this into the way that we do our work and the way that we actually work alongside the communities to solve these problems that we see.”

To learn more, view the on-demand recording of the webinar here, or contact our team to discuss how we can help to elevate community health transformation efforts at your organization.