CommunityHealth Clinic (CHC)

The CommunityHealth Clinic (CHC) is the largest free clinic in the United States, providing a wide range of primary and specialty care along with educational and social services. Their mission is to provide patients at the clinic with high quality care and to ensure positive learning experiences for students and teaching experiences for residents and attendings. The CHC was founded in 1993 to address inadequate access to health care in West Town, where the clinic is located at 2641 W. Chicago Ave. 

This past year, Pritzker students were part of CHC’s successful implementation of a new electronic medical record system and transition to a continuity-model of care, including assuming responsibility for reviewing patient labs.  Volunteers successfully increased physician recruitment and decreased patient wait times.

This year, the Pritzker CHC team hopes to increase student and attending proficiency with EMR, further increase physician recruitment, and establish a streamlined approach to using the system that further cuts patient wait times.  In addition, all new board members are setting individual goals in their committee areas (e.g., fundraising or education). Volunteering at CHC is a fantastic hands-on learning experience, offering a diverse patient population (Spanish/Polish speakers highly encouraged!) and rewarding interactions with faculty. 

Contacts: Misha Pakvasa and Hannah Wilson
Faculty Advisor: Rita Rossi-Foulkes, MD, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics

MS16s Sarah Feenstra and Allison Grubbs in the phlebotomy lab
MD'16s Sarah Feenstra and Allison Grubbs in the phlebotomy lab

Student Tasks

  • Each student is assigned to a patient to complete the history and physical exam
  • Students present findings to an attending physician
  • Both students and physicians use EMR to complete note and orders
  • Trained students can volunteer as interpreters (Spanish, Polish)
  • Trained students can volunteer in the phlebotomy lab

Testimonials

"I had such a great experience working at CHC during my first and second years. It was wonderful having such dedicated student and faculty volunteers along with the benefit of a well-equipped facility with an in-house lab, pharmacy, and electronic medical record system. The patients were diverse – with about 50% Spanish-speaking and 30% Polish speaking – and were motivated in taking steps to improve their health. As a student, I learned a great deal from residents and attendings, and improved in my skills of taking patient histories, presenting to attendings, and preparing notes. After completing my year of service to CHC, I couldn’t have imagined my time at Pritzker without it." -Rob Sanchez, MD'15

"Volunteering at CHC has been the most energizing and fulfilling experience of my time in medical school.  Its high-quality facilities, superb management, and roster of dedicated physicians put students in an ideal position to grow as clinicians through service to the people of Chicago. Over my career, I will remember CHC as the place where I began my journey into the practice of medicine." -Adam Baim, MeSH

"Volunteering at CHC was one of the highlights of my first year of medical school. I was fortunate to get to know many interesting, kind, and highly-motivated clinic patients, as well as practice my history-taking and physical examination skills.  It was also a unique opportunity to get to know several attending physicians personally and learn from their clinical experience and professional advice. Each Monday night clinic was both a refreshing break from our pre-clinical classwork and a reminder of it's value and importance." -Claire Shappell, MD'15