UI Health 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative opening fall 2022

UIC leaders celebrate the 55th & Pulaski Health Collaborative, a comprehensive clinical care center at 5525 S. Pulaski Road, with partners at a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 20, 2022. Pictured left to right: Sandi McCullough, Nancy Tartt, Pilar Carmona, Commissioner Alma Anaya, Shane Phillips, HFS Assistant Director Jenny Aguirre, Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar, Dr. Heather Prendergast, Dr. Jorge Cavero, Alderwoman Silvana Tabares, Dr. Mark Rosenblatt, Dr. Robert Barish, HFS Deputy Director Kim McCullough and Friend Health CEO Verneda Bachus.
Photo: Sebastian Ortiz/UIC

A clinic providing PT, OT, disability and nutritional services by AHS faculty, staff and students will open this fall in UI Health’s 55th & Pulaski Collaborative, a new comprehensive care center on the Southwest Side.

The center, a partnership with UIC health sciences colleges and community-based health care providers, will offer health screenings and specialty services, including dermatology, surgery, oncology, dental care, and behavioral and mental health care.

“There’s a high rate of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer in that area,” said Shane Phillips, PT professor and AHS senior associate dean for clinical affairs. “There is a very large community need, and our college has great expertise.”

Phillips and Mary Keehn, associate dean for clinical affairs, are on the executive advisory board for the 55th & Pulaski Collaborative. They were involved in planning for the facility, located in a building formerly run by Mercy Medical Center.

“When Mercy Hospital closed the clinic, the neighborhood was left with a big hole in their access to health care services,” Keehn said.

Initial funding for the center, at 5525 S. Pulaski Road in the Gage Park-West Elsdon neighborhood, came from a $15 million grant by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Community partners include Alivio Medical Center and Family Friend Health Center.

The new center began seeing patients in February as services are gradually phased in. Phillips said remodeling is underway for the AHS-run clinic on the third floor, which will initially provide OT for pediatric patients and PT for all ages. Details are being finalized for nutrition services, especially in diabetes management, and disability services focused on autism, he added. Other services, including PT cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary care, may be added later.

Students in clinical programs will gain additional opportunities for hands-on clinical training and experience working with colleagues in other health disciplines, Phillips said. He also sees a role for students throughout the college in developing wellness education classes for the community—a need emphasized by area residents.