Tag: UI Health

UI Health To Open Mile Square Health Center in Drake School in Bronzeville

UI HealthThe University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System will renovate and operate a new federally-qualified, school-based health center at Bronzeville’s John B. Drake Elementary School in 2017.

The Drake Health & Wellness Center will serve approximately 400 students, including students from Drake Elementary, nearby schools, and Dearborn Homes, one of the last remaining public housing communities of the former State Street corridor. The center will become the 13th in UI Health’s Mile Square network of federally qualified health centers.

At a press conference Sept. 23 at Drake Elementary, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, State Sen. Mattie Hunter and Alderman Pat Dowel joined representatives from UI Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago Public Schools and the community to announce the new school-based center, which is funded in part by revenue from the city’s new e-cigarette tax.

“From passing a series of reforms to curb youth smoking, to increasing access to health care for children and families citywide, we are making investments that will help our kids across the city to grow up healthy,” Emanuel said in a news release. “Using revenue derived from our tax on e-cigarettes allows us to double-down on our commitment to our children’s health, funding new opportunities for families to access healthcare at no cost, and parents to get their children critical healthcare so that they can be successful in school.”

Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC, said the new center embodies the University’s longstanding mission to reduce health disparities in Chicago’s underserved populations.

“UI Health has a strong commitment to improve health care delivery and health equity across Chicago,” Barish said. “The Drake Health & Wellness Center expands our reach into a neighborhood disproportionately burdened by serious health risks and with limited access to health care options.

“The city’s commitment to funding school-based clinics with e-cigarette tax revenue is an innovative approach to reducing health risk and disparity in Chicago, and I am excited that UIC is involved in the initiative,” said Barish.

The new health center will outfit existing space at the school.

Dr. Cynthia Barnes-Boyd, senior director of community engagement and neighborhood health partnerships and senior director of the Mile Square Health Center school-based health practice at UIC, said the health center will provide comprehensive care including acute and chronic illness management, nutrition services, and referral to the university’s hospital system for diagnostic and specialty care.

“We are very proud to expand our reach to the community and offer a range of services to children and families that include immunizations, physical exams, sports physicals, reproductive health care and behavioral health support,” Boyd said.

The Drake Health & Wellness Center joins 32 other school-based centers across Chicago and is one of five school-based centers operated by UI Health Mile Square.

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is a public, academic medical center committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients and reducing health disparities. Located in the Illinois Medical District on Chicago’s West Side, UI Health is a leader in patient care, research and education, and serves as the primary teaching facility for the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The system includes seven health sciences colleges, a 495-bed hospital, the 101-bed Children’s Hospital of the University of Illinois, an outpatient care center and 12 federally-qualified Mile Square Health Centers located throughout Chicago, including the Mile Square Urgent Care Center.

For more information on UI Health, Mile Square Health Center, or the center’s school-based clinics, visit hospital.uillinois.edu.

By Jackie Carey

UI Health In The State’s Top 10 Hospitals

UI Health photoThe University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is ranked in the top 10 hospitals in the Chicago metro area and in Illinois for 2016-17 by U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital, which was ranked 23rd regionally and 27th in the state last year, rose to the No. 8 spot in both categories this year.

“These rankings reflect the continuous efforts of our staff to improve patient safety and outcomes and to create a better patient experience from the moment they walk in the door, to the time they leave the hospital and on to follow up care,” said Avijit Ghosh, chief executive officer, UI Health Hospital and Clinics.

“To be ranked in the top 10 hospitals in Chicago and across the state means that our patients, including a significant underserved population that has traditionally carried a disproportionate burden of disease, is getting some of the very best care available,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “We’re making continued progress towards reducing health disparities that affect our local communities.”

The leap forward in the rankings can be attributed to the success of numerous programs focused on improving outcomes for both inpatients and outpatients, said Jodi Joyce, associate vice chancellor for quality and patient safety at UI Health.

“University of Illinois Hospital has initiated a number of efforts aimed at substantially improving care processes and clinical outcomes,” Joyce said. “Led by teams of physicians, nurses, and other clinical leaders and staff, these initiatives have resulted in double-digit reductions in hospital-related infections, blood clots after surgery, and patients injured from falls. We are excited that the change in our ranking is a direct reflection of improvements in the care that our patients are receiving.”

The rankings, produced by U.S. News with RTI International, a research organization based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, are now in their 27th year. They focus on 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. The ranking is based on such measures as patient survival, the number of times each procedure is performed, infection rates, and nurse staffing.

UI Health’s otolaryngology/ear, nose and throat program made the list of ranked specialty programs for the first time this year. The hospital’s nephrology program was listed as a high-performing specialty.

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is a public academic medical center committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients and to reducing health disparities. UI Health is a leader in patient care, research and education, and serves as the primary teaching facility for the UIC College of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The system includes seven health sciences colleges, a 495-bed hospital, the 101-bed Children’s Hospital University of Illinois, an outpatient care center and 13 federally qualified Mile Square Health Centers located throughout Chicago.

New Procedure That Helps Prevent Stroke

UIH_primary_logo_notext_1cThe University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is offering a new procedure that helps prevent stroke and significantly improves quality of life for patients with atrial fibrillation who can’t be treated with a blood thinner.

Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heart quivers or beats irregularly, allowing blood clots to develop in the heart. These blood clots can dislodge and travel to the brain, causing a stroke. People with atrial fibrillation have a five-fold increased risk of stroke, according to the American Stroke Association.

“Atrial fibrillation is a manageable condition, but for patients who are not candidates for normal treatments, stroke is a serious risk and top concern,” says Dr. Adhir Shroff, associate professor of cardiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and physician at UI Health.

In the new, minimally invasive procedure, physicians access the heart through a vein in the leg and implant a device that permanently seals off a small section of the heart in which clots form and enter the bloodstream.

“With this new treatment, we are able to help an increasing number of patients reduce their risk of stroke from AFib and experience a profound improvement in their quality of life,” said Dr. Henry Huang, assistant clinical professor of cardiology at UIC and physician at UI Health, who leads the UIC team implanting the devices.

Patients are able to return home and resume normal activity the next day and are not limited by the lifestyle and dietary restrictions that blood-thinning medications require.

Huang notes that the patients most likely to benefit from this treatment are the frail, the elderly, those with other conditions, and those whose professions or lifestyle make them poor candidates for blood-thinning medications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that anywhere from 2.7-6.1 million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation and that the condition contributes to approximately 130,000 deaths each year. With the aging of the population, the CDC expects the number of cases to increase.

For more information about the department of cardiology at UI health visit: hospital.uillinois.edu.

By  Jacqueline Carey

Hops Extract Studied To Prevent Breast Cancer

hops2-172x258An enriched hops extract activates a chemical pathway in cells that could help prevent breast cancer, according to new laboratory findings from the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Natural botanical dietary supplements such as hops have become increasingly popular among women for postmenopausal symptoms, as they are perceived as a safer alternative to hormone therapy, which has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. However, the efficacy and potential toxicity of botanicals are still being studied.

Researchers led by Judy Bolton, professor and head of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy in the UIC College of Pharmacy, applied hops extract to two different breast cell lines to see if they would affect estrogen metabolism, a key mechanism in breast cancer. One compound, 6-prenylnarigenin, or 6-PN, increased a detoxification pathway in the cells that has been linked to a lower risk for breast cancer.

“We need to further explore this possibility, but our results suggest that 6-PN could have anti-cancer effects,” Bolton said.

In addition to 6-PN, Bolton and her colleagues studied 8-prenylnarigenin (8-PN), isoxanthohumol (IX) and xanthohumol (XH) for their effects on estrogen metabolism in breast cells. According to Bolton, 8-PN showed only a slight increase of metabolism in breast cells, while the other two compounds did not have significant effects in either cell line.

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women in the U.S.; about one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetime. An estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer are expected in women in the U.S. this year, according to the American Cancer Society.

The incidence of breast cancer began decreasing in 2000, after increasing during the previous two decades. Just from 2002 to 2003, the incidence declined by 7 percent. Some think the drop was partly due to reduced use of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, after results of the Women’s Health Initiative suggested a link between HRT and increased breast cancer risk. Estrogen exposure has long been linked with postmenopausal breast cancer risk, especially since the 2002 report, Bolton said.

The new research is published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

By Sam Hostettler

UIC To Enroll Participants in President’s Precision Medicine Initiative

UI Health photoThe University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and their affiliated hospitals and clinics have been selected to enroll 150,000 Illinoisans in the national Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. The Illinois consortium is one of several such groups across the nation that will help bring one million or more U.S. participants over the next five years into a research effort to improve the prevention and treatment of disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

The Illinois Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program consortium will receive $4.3 million in fiscal year 2016 and a total of approximately $45 million over 5 years pending progress and availability of funds from the National Institutes of Health to meet its participant enrollment goal.

The Precision Medicine Initiative, announced by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union address, launched in 2016 with a $215 million budget. It aims to enable a new era of medicine in which researchers, providers and research participants work together to develop individualized care.

Most prevention strategies and medical treatments are designed for the average patient. This one-size-fits-all approach means that strategies to stay healthy and treatments for illnesses are successful for some people, but not others.

Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person. While some advances in precision medicine have been made, the practice is not currently commonplace.

“Illinois, as just a single state, very closely resembles the rest of the U.S. combined because we have such diversity in terms of our populations and types of communities,” says Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor for community based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center and a principal investigator on the grant.

Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC, says that “for precision medicine to work for everyone, we need to know how prevention strategies, medicines and therapies work in a broad range of populations. With UIC’s unique ability to reach diverse communities through our clinics throughout Chicago, and through our regional College of Medicine campus in Peoria, we are well-positioned to help answer the questions that will help bring precision medicine to everyone.”

UI Health’s 13 Mile Square Health Centers are federally qualified neighborhood clinics located in some of Chicago’s most underserved communities, said Winn.

“Our Mile Square Health Centers reach into communities that carry an exceptionally heavy burden of disease,” said Winn, noting they serve African-American neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides where cancer, diabetes, heart disease and asthma rates can be more than twice as high as in other populations.

Volunteer participants in the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program will be asked to contribute a wide range of health, environment and lifestyle information. The participants will also answer questions about their health history and status, share their genomic and other biological information through simple blood and urine tests, and grant access to their clinical data from electronic health records. In addition, mobile health devices and apps will provide lifestyle data and environmental exposures in real time. All this will be accomplished with essential privacy and security safeguards. As partners in the research, participants will have ongoing input into study design and implementation, as well as access to a wide range of their individual and aggregated study results.

The knowledge gained from the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program will extend the success of precision medicine in some cancers to many other diseases. Importantly, the program will focus not just on disease, but also on ways to increase an individual’s chances of remaining healthy throughout life.

“The range of information at the scale of one million people from all walks of life will be an unprecedented resource for researchers working to understand all of the factors that influence health and disease,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.

Dr. Martha Daviglus and Denise Hynes of the UIC College of Medicine are co-principal investigators on the grant. Dr. Jerry Krishnan, Maria Argos, Dr. Frederick Behm, Dr. Ben Gerber, Timothy Johnson, Robin Mermelstein, Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek and Karriem Watson of the UIC College of Medicine and Marcelo Bento Soares of the University of Illinois at Peoria College of Medicine are co-investigators on the grant.

UIC will coordinate efforts to enroll individuals at UI Hospital; Mile Square Health Center; University of Illinois at Peoria College of Medicine; Southern Illinois University Healthcare; Memorial Medical Center, Springfield; Blessing Health System, Quincy; Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Matoon; OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria; Cook County Health and Hospitals System; and Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago.

By Sharon Parmet

UI Health Community Engagement Delivering Health Resources to Chicago Neighborhoods

OCEAN-HP-Logo-vr2The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System prides itself on being an engaged partner.  Each year, the University of Illinois takes part in numerous community events to educate, nurture, and care for people across Chicago’s communities.

Partnerships are developed to bring together the expertise and resources from the community with that of the UI Health system to strengthen the quality of life and continuously elevate access to quality healthcare.

  • The Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships (OCENHP) brings together faculty and community scholars to support, initiate, coordinate and celebrate community and University partnerships. This can be through encouraging and sustaining a supportive environment for productive dialogue, or through active intervention to addresses communication barriers inherent in diverse community, racioethnic and institutional cultures
  • UNISON Health is the University of Illinois Survey On Neighborhood Health with extensive in-person community health assessment of 1400 local residents.
  • The Community Engaged Research Core (CERC), which is part of UI Health’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, has been working with community researchers across campus to create an easy way to see what the UI Health System is doing to improve your neighborhoods.
  • The 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment for the University of Illinois Hospital and the broader health system identifies healthcare needs in our primary service area and spells out a plan for addressing the highest priority needs.

For more about the community activities engaged by UI Health, please visit the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships.

UIC Takes Over HIV Clinic in Uptown

UIHealthphotoUIC opened a new HIV clinic in June at 845 W. Wilson Ave. in the Uptown neighborhood. Management of the clinic, which used to be run by the Chicago Department of Public Health, was transferred to UIC in March.

“The city has been transferring much of their clinical care operations to other entities,” said Richard Novak, professor and chief of infectious disease in the College of Medicine. “UIC has a network of community HIV clinics, and we’re happy to undertake the management of the Wilson Avenue clinic.”

The new clinic will allow for expansion of services that were offered at UIC’s Uptown clinic, which operated for 25 years at the corner of Montrose Avenue and Broadway Street until it closed June 1, Novak said. Patients seen at the Montrose and Broadway clinic will now receive care at the Wilson Avenue clinic. Novak said the new clinic will inherit about 300 patients previously cared for by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The area from Uptown north to the Evanston border has some of the highest rates of HIV in the city, Novak said.

“The space at the Montrose clinic was run down and inadequate for our needs,” Novak said. “Now that we’re moving into a larger office, we have the opportunity to serve more people and for faculty, residents and fellows from UIC to participate in community-based HIV care.”

By Sharon Parmet

Orphan drug allows kidney transplant from relative with mismatched blood type

Dr. Enrico Benedetti

Dr. Enrico Benedetti, professor and head of surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

Surgeons at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System have — for the first time — used an orphan drug to prevent rejection of a kidney transplanted from a living donor with a mismatched blood type.

Michelle Lee, 47, had been on dialysis for almost six months due to kidney failure from high blood pressure. When her doctors told her she would need a kidney transplant, her three sons immediately stepped up.

“We got worked up, and it looked like I was the best match for my mom,” said Marlon Lee, 22.

Except he wasn’t quite a perfect match.

Marlon has type A blood, while his mother is type O. Without treatment, antibodies in her blood would attack the mismatched organ and cause rejection.

About 15 to 20 percent of people who need a kidney transplant have a living relative who is a perfect tissue match except for the blood group, said Dr. Enrico Benedetti, professor and head of surgery at the UIC College of Medicine.

Many such patients can nevertheless get transplanted, Benedetti said. The recipient must undergo several days of plasma exchanges to remove antibodies from the blood. Usually, this pretreatment, called plasmapheresis, reduces the level of antibodies enough to allow transplantation, though some patients patients must have their spleen — a major producer of antibodies — removed during the surgery.

But for some, plasmapheresis leaves their antibody level still too high. Lee was one such patient.

“This would have caused us to cancel the transplant, except we had experience using a drug called eculizumab, which blocks the blood antibodies from reacting,” Benedetti said.

He and colleagues at UI Health had pioneered the use of eculizimab in three kidney patients with unusually high antibody levels who received cadaver organs. One patient had very high antibodies due to numerous blood transfusions; the other two had not responded adequately to plasmapheresis. All three were transplanted successfully with eculizimab.

Lee was given a dose of eculizumab the day before her May 5 transplant, during which surgeons did not remove her spleen. Just five days after transplant, she went home.

Lee will need a few more doses of eculizumab over the next few weeks, Benedetti said, and she will need to take traditional antirejection medications for the rest of her life. But her prognosis is good.

“If we can protect the organ for the first two to three weeks after transplant, we’re mostly out of the woods,” said Benedetti. “The body and organ will acclimate to each other, and antibody interactions aren’t as serious a concern.”

Benedetti said he hopes this technique will allow for more blood-type-incompatible kidney transplants to take place.

“Eculizumab can help prevent rejection among patients that have a living donor and would have otherwise been turned down for the transplant,” he said.

By Sharon Parmet

Medicare To Cover stem cell transplantation for sickle cell disease

Medicar story graphicThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently ruled that they will pay most medical costs for clinical trials that use stem cell transplantation to treat sickle cell disease, multiple myeloma and myelofibrosis for people covered by Medicare. The expanded coverage will begin this summer.

The decision puts a new potential cure for sickle cell disease within reach of more adult patients at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System through an ongoing clinical trial.

The new technique, pioneered by clinicians at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and offered only at the NIH and UI Health, eliminates the need for chemotherapy to prepare a patient to receive healthy stem cells from a donor.

Children have been cured of sickle cell disease using bone marrow stem cell transplants for many years. Their young bodies are able to handle the chemotherapy. In adults, such cures have not been possible, because the preparative chemotherapy is too dangerous.

In the new procedure, patients receive immunosuppressive drugs just before the transplant, along with a very low dose of total body irradiation – a treatment much safer than chemotherapy. Donor cells from a tissue-matched healthy sibling are then transfused into the patient. Stem cells from the donor soon produce new blood cells in the patient and eventually eliminate symptoms without the need for regular blood transfusions. In many cases, sickle cells can no longer be detected. Patients must continue to take immunosuppressant drugs for at least a year after the transplant.

“Like any other transplant procedure, the patient undergoes an extensive screening process to determine if they are a good candidate,” said Dr. Damiano Rondelli, chief of hematology/oncology and director of the blood and marrow transplant program at UI Health. Patients must have a tissue-matched donor, usually a sibling, to provide the stem cells that will be used in the transplant. Determining a patient’s ability to pay for the transplant is also a necessary part of the screening.

“Prior to Medicare’s decision, adult patients insured by Medicare weren’t able to get the chemo-free transplant because of its cost – about $200,000 for the transplant and medications,” said Rondelli. Medicare coverage, he said, “means that many more that would likely have died relatively young from the disease now have hope for a full life.”

Last September, Rondelli and colleagues published a paper in the journal Biology of Blood & Marrow Transplantation validating the NIH’s sickle cell procedure in 12 patients treated and cured at UI Health.

Patients eligible for the new coverage must be covered under Medicare. People 65 and older and those getting disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months are eligible for Medicare.

By: Sharon Parmet

Cuban Health Officials to Observe, Advise at Englewood, Back of the Yards Health Care Clinics

Mile Square

Cuban health officials will embed at Mile Square Health Centers, operated by University of Illinois Health, to provide expertise on caring for underserved communities. There are 13 community healthcare centers across Chicago.

The University of Illinois Cancer Center will bring physicians from Cuba and the Cuban Ministry of Health to Chicago to evaluate women and children’s health and cancer prevention programs at two community-based clinics under a two-year, $1 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

The Cuban partners will embed at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System Mile Square Health Centers in Englewood and Back of the Yards, bringing their expertise on delivering preventive health and improving the health of patients living in high-poverty, underserved communities.

“The Cuban health system does preventive health very, very well, and they do it without a lot of money,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor of community based practice at UI Health and director at the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

“Despite limited resources, the Cuban people have exceptionally low rates of infant mortality, even compared to developed countries, including the United States, and they also have low rates of cervical cancer,” Winn said. “Cervical cancer rates, in many of the neighborhoods we serve, are extremely high, even though we have resources like the HPV vaccine to help lower cervical cancer rates to near zero. Perhaps our Cuban counterparts have a different way of approaching their patients that improves uptake of preventive efforts, such as an innovative way of providing education.”

After a few preliminary meetings both in Chicago and Cuba, the Cuban team of physicians and health officials will spend 18 months at the Englewood and Back of the Yards clinics observing and advising.

Afterwards, Cuban and Mile Square practitioners will work with a community steering committee including partners from the March of Dimes, the UIC College of Nursing and School of Public Health to develop a master plan based on suggestions and observations generated during the Cuban team’s visit.

“Not only will they look at how the clinics operate to deliver health care and preventive medicine, but we also hope they will be able to make connections with the community and its civic leaders to attain a holistic picture of how the built and political environment plays into the health of local residents,” Winn said.

Cubans rely heavily on community health care workers, Winn explained. While UI Health uses community health care workers, the feeling is that more might be useful.

“They also use nurse practitioners differently that we do,” said Winn. “We want their perspective on our use of resources, because they may have a different way of doing things that we can implement to start moving our needle a little faster on cancer and women and children’s health.”

UI Health has 13 federally-qualified health centers that are community clinics located in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

By Sharon Parmet