In 2010, after 18-year-old Woodlawn resident Damien Turner died waiting for an ambulance to drive him 10 miles to a downtown hospital instead of two blocks to the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC), a movement began. What started with one youth group became the Trauma Care Coalition: a collaboration of community organizations, faith leaders and University of Chicago student groups dedicated to reopening a Level-I adult trauma center at UCMC, the most well-resourced hospital on Chicago’s South side.
On December 17, 2015, after five years of relentless campaign work, the University of Chicago announced it would be opening a Level-I adult trauma center on it medical campus in Hyde Park. This plan was unanimously approved by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board on May 10, and the trauma center is expected to open in early 2018. This was an incredible and historic breakthrough for the campaign, and an amazing example of the power of community organizing. JCUA is proud to have worked alongside the community organizations that led this campaign to success: Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), Students for Health Equity (SHE), Kenwood Oakland Community Organization0 (KOCO), National Nurses United and the Interfaith Leadership Coalition.
WHY IS JCUA INVOLVED
Of all our Jewish values, our obligation to preserve life supersedes nearly everything else. That is why JCUA organized the Jewish community to take a stand for comprehensive trauma care. For the victory to be complete, we must ensure crucial components are not left out. In October 2017, the University of Chicago announced the formation of a Community Advisory Board, including two leaders from the Trauma Care Coalition. We continue to call on the University to be responsive to the needs of the surrounding community. This should include providing significant funding for wraparound social services, including violence interruption and social work programs.