Latest Statement on Adult Trauma Care

May 15, 2014

The University of Chicago Medicine is committed to providing the South Side of Chicago with access to the best health care and doctors possible. That commitment includes offering a number of distinctive, life-saving services, including the South Side's only burn-unit, a neonatal intensive care unit that serves nearly 1,000 infants from the South Side every year, and the South Side's only Level 1 trauma center for children.

Developing a Level 1 adult trauma center would compromise the medical center's ability to support these critical services. It would be a massive undertaking, requiring significant resources and support, as well as a complex decision-making process involving the city and state.

The South Side faces a complicated set of health care challenges, including the closing of seven hospitals and loss of 50 percent of all hospital beds in the region since 1988. Adult trauma care is one piece of that landscape. It is a complex issue that requires the collaboration of all layers of government, the community, Chicago's entire health care system and the existing trauma network. The University of Chicago Medicine cannot solve that problem by itself, but it would welcome the chance to take part in a comprehensive, regional effort to address the question.

The most effective way to address trauma is to prevent it in the first place. To that end, the University of Chicago Medicine has launched a number of anti-violence initiatives:

  • The University of Chicago Medicine sponsored a "violence interrupter" in partnership with Cure Violence, a community group that works to stop gun violence. This interrupter monitors, mediates and defuses disputes in the neighborhoods that the medical center serves. UChicago Medicine will have provided $120,000 to this program over three years, from 2012 to 2015.
  • The University of Chicago Medical Center Emergency Room, which treats the second-highest number of sexual assault and domestic violence victims in the city, has partnered with the state to train nurses to become certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. They are trained and certified to provide clinical expertise and care to victims of sexual abuse and have become a valuable resource for victims of this violent crime. As of May 2014, our Emergency Department has three SANE professionals, and more are in the process of getting certified. The goal is to have up to 15 SANE nurses providing around-the-clock care.
  • In an effort to address the links between gun violence and teen depression, UChicago Medicine's Urban Health Initiative formed a unique collaboration with eta Creative Arts Foundation to feature Dr. Doriane Miller's play, "It Shoudda Been Me." The play uses actors to communicate the effects of neighborhood violence on today's youth, and typically is followed by a question-and-answer session with mental health experts.

These initiatives are part of a broad University of Chicago effort to address the causes of violent crime, including groundbreaking work by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Urban Education Lab, which have found that targeted tutoring and mentoring for at-risk high school students decreased their arrests for violent crime by 44 percent, and helped them stay on-track for graduation. President Barack Obama recently cited the UChicago Crime Lab's work with the Becoming A Man mentoring program in launching a federal initiative, My Brother's Keeper, designed to empower young men of color.

To find out more about the adult trauma issue, please visit

- The University of Chicago Medicine

The University of Chicago Medicine
950 E. 61st Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-0025 Fax (773) 702-3171

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Lorna W.S. (Lim) Wong
(773) 702-0025