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Event Summary 1.12.2023

Race and Health Equity Town Hall: Perspectives from Chicago’s West Side

Chicago, IL

Race and Health Equity Town Hall - Perspectives from Chicago's West Event

As we continue to reflect upon 2022, shortly before the holiday season, Trexin’s Health Equity Co-Lead, Dylan Azadi, attended “Race and Health Equity Town Hall: Perspectives from Chicago’s West Side” at Malcolm X College on Wednesday, November 2, 2022. This event was sponsored by Wellness West, a non-profit organization that focuses on establishing continuity of care by connecting hospitals, outpatient care providers, social services, and community residents. The energy in the room was palpable for a panel discussion replete with raw and compelling accounts of various inequities manifested throughout daily life.


  • Dr. Aida Luz Maisonet Giachello, Research Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
  • Dr. Sharon Irons, Medical Director, Ambulatory Services, Cook County Health
  • Kim Jay, Senior Community Health Worker, Sinai Urban Health Institute
  • Dr. Art Jones, Chief Medical Officer, Medical Home Network
  • Dr. Jairo Mejia, Chief Medical Officer, Access Community Health Network
  • Kimberly McCullough-Starks, Deputy Director of Community Outreach, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services


  • Opening remarks were provided by Malcolm X College President David Sanders, Congressman Danny Davis (IL-7), and newly elected Congresswoman Delia Ramirez (IL-3), and the panel was moderated by CBS-2 Chicago’s Dorothy Tucker and Univision Radio Chicago’s Aileen Ocana
  • Wellness West outlined their health equity framework and its five pillars:
    1. Commitment to address inequities
    2. Partner with West Side communities
    3. Mobilize data and advocacy
    4. Address bias in systems
    5. Practice operational equality
  • Several eye-opening statistics were referenced, including the average life expectancy gap of 16 years – 69 vs 85 years old – between residents of the West Garfield Park neighborhood and the Loop (central business district), respectively
  • It was mentioned that an estimated 5 to 13 million Medicaid recipients will lose their benefits due to redetermination requirements stemming from the impending discontinuation of the current COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) period
  • There were many impassioned and emotional reflections upon the recent mass shooting on Halloween night in East Garfield Park
  • On separate occasions, a moderator, panelist, and community member in attendance all mentioned having lost parents prematurely due to inadequate and inequitable care, perhaps unknowingly contributing to an alarming theme and casting a somber shadow over the evening
  • One woman in attendance shared a heart-wrenching personal story in which her son had been shot and rushed to the nearest emergency room, where medical staff downplayed the severity of the injury, assumed a high pain tolerance, and refused to administer pain medication – an unfortunate but endemic response to black patients

To learn more about Wellness West and the powerful work they’re doing, please visit:

To learn how Trexin can help your organization assess its current health equity culture, maturity, and opportunity, please visit:

Health Equity Practice Area

Tagged in: Healthcare & Life Sciences