CommunityHealth, Illinois' largest free clinic providing more than 27,500 medical and dental visits for 9,000 patients each year in two Chicago locations, will honor Illinois Senator and Assistant Majority Leader Jeffrey M. Schoenberg and Midwestern University for exemplary commitments to improve healthcare in Illinois. CommunityHealth will award the recognition during its 2012 Gala, "Leading the Way in Care for the Uninsured," April 28 at Harold Washington Library, in which nearly 400 decision makers from business, medical and civic sectors will provide critical support toward the organization's annual operating costs.
"As the debate continues around health care reform, CommunityHealth provides a medical home for low-income, uninsured adults," said CommunityHealth Executive Director Judith Haasis. "This high-quality, free care is fueled by 1,000 volunteers including 500 physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, pharmacists and counselors who donated more than 61,000 hours of talent in 2011 to serve a very vulnerable patient population, many of whom have recently lost their jobs and health insurance."
Assistant Majority Leader Jeffrey M. Schoenberg will receive the Public Service Award for his long-standing commitment to addressing health care disparities that impact low-income, uninsured individuals and families across Cook County and beyond. Senator Schoenberg has worked with CommunityHealth and organizations with similar missions to advance a collective agenda focused on ensuring that "no one goes without health care." This is only the fifth time in the organization's 19-year history that the Public Service Award has been presented.
"For many years, I've been a strong advocate for creating more community-based primary care opportunities in underserved communities so that individuals have greater access to quality health care," Senator Schoenberg said. "People who have access to an affordable 'medical home' are less likely to use emergency rooms for routine care. It's better for patients and far more cost-efficient, too. CommunityHealth does tremendous work, and I've always supported them while serving as an appropriations chair and as a longstanding member of the public health committees in the House and Senate."
Midwestern University will receive the Visionary Award for the University's commitment to educating clinicians and serving the community. Created in 1999, the Visionary Award recognizes individuals and institutions that exemplify compassion, service and a commitment to make quality healthcare available to those most in need throughout Chicago and surrounding communities.
Midwestern University faculty and students are actively engaged in community service as part of a long-standing commitment to CommunityHealth. Students from the University's Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine have volunteered at the West Town health center for nearly 10 years. In 2005, the students joined faculty leadership to launch a weekly "Student Run Clinic" that remains among the most successful primary care offerings for CommunityHealth patients in need of evening appointments. In addition, the Midwestern University College of Pharmacy is placing residents and students at CommunityHealth's on-site MedAccess Chicago pharmacy for formal training.
"The mission of Midwestern University is to provide outstanding educational and service opportunities for all our students in the health sciences," said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Midwestern University. "This year we are honored to receive the CommunityHealth Visionary Award for our outreach to serve the health care needs of our community. CommunityHealth provides our students with an outstanding learning opportunity while instilling in them the importance of service and caring for others."
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