The College of Applied Health Sciences is a partner in a new health care collaborative led by UI Health

The multi-specialty collaborative care complex will be located at 5525 S. Pulaski Road. This building was previously owned by Mercy Medical Center.

The College of Applied Health Sciences is a partner in a new health care collaborative that will operate a comprehensive clinic for residents of Chicago’s underserved Southwest Side.

The T.A.R.G.E.T. Health Collaborative Partnership, led by UI Health, includes AHS, the College of Medicine, Mile Square clinic, Alivio Medical Center and Family Friend Health Center.

The clinic, at 5525 S. Pulaski Road in the Gage Park-West Elsdon neighborhood, will be located in a facility closed earlier this year by the former Mercy Medical Center.

“This was a very important health care facility in that neighborhood,” said Mary Keehn, associate dean for clinical affairs. “When Mercy Hospital closed the clinic, the neighborhood was left with a big hole in their access to health care services.”

The community has disproportionately high rates of diabetes, heart disease, adult and childhood obesity, cancer, and pregnancy risk factors, said Heather Prendergast, College of Medicine associate dean and UI Health emergency room physician. She said the new clinic will restore previous services and add additional ones, including specialty care, advanced diagnostics, behavioral health and women’s wellness services.

AHS faculty and students will provide physical therapy, occupational therapy and nutrition services. The Department of Disability and Human Development may offer clinical and assistive technology services, Keehn said.

In fact, “this could potentially involve all of the college departments,” Keehn added, with opportunities for research, clinical practice and community education.

In her other campus role, as assistant vice chancellor for interprofessional practice and education in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Keehn is excited about the chance to develop and evaluate new training and practice models.

She will work with Michele Mariscalco, her counterpart in the College of Medicine and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, “to create bridges between the colleges in terms of health care, service delivery and health and interprofessional education,” she said.

The building’s purchase and remodeling are funded by a $15 million Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives award from Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which presented eight grants totaling $94.3 million to health care partnerships through the state.

Clinic services will be phased in over the next year as remodeling is completed and staff is hired. AHS services will probably begin in late spring, Keehn said.

“It is really exciting—and like all exciting things, a little challenging,” she said.