‘Changing Our Communities for the Better’

Medical student Vivian Leung in the garden at King Elementary School

It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon, and Rush University medical student Vivian Leung gathers a group of second- through eighth-graders around the vegetable garden she helped them plant. “Who remembers what this is?” she asks, pointing toward a patch of green leaves. “Aru-? Arugu-?”

“Arugula!” a boy answers, setting in motion one of many after-school lessons Leung has led as part of what she calls the “edible schoolyard program” at King Elementary, a public school on Chicago’s West Side. She visits the school once a week to discuss, tend and eat the vegetables with children. In the process, Leung is breaking down obstacles to healthy eating that plague many Chicago communities.

King is in the middle of a food desert — an area, usually composed of lower-income communities, whose residents have limited access to grocery stores or other retailers that sell healthy, affordable food. These areas foster unhealthy diets that can lead to diabetes, heart disease and obesity-related metabolic disease. Continue reading

Transformation Deepens Our Community Commitment

Terry Peterson, Rush's vice president of government affairs

By Terry Peterson

Rush’s new hospital building and our other campus improvements will do even more than transform health care in the Chicago area. The Rush Transformation also deepens and furthers Rush’s commitment to our surrounding community, providing jobs, job training and other economic opportunities to the residents of Chicago’s West Side.

Rush University Medical Center has been located on the West Side since 1871, and over the past few decades, it’s played a key role in the area’s emergence from a long period of economic struggle and physical decay. While two other medical schools moved away from the struggling neighborhood, Rush upheld its commitment to the area by investing in new facilities, including the Armour Academic Center,  which opened in 1976, and the Atrium Building, which opened in 1982. In the following years, the West Side began to flourish as other new and refurbished buildings appeared, including offices and condominiums. Continue reading