By Judy Levey
JCUA, Executive Director
This past Thursday, an inspiring group of interfaith clergy and coalition members gathered at the University Church in Hyde Park to urge the University of Chicago to include community input in the trauma center study they have agreed to conduct. This is a crucial next step in the trauma center campaign.
Rabbi Capers Funnye, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Rev. Alice Harper-Jones, and Rev. Julian DeShazier all spoke to the urgent need for a level I adult trauma center at the University of Chicago. Veronia Morris Moore of Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) gave a compelling presentation about the trauma “desert” on the south side and the resulting increased chance of death for south siders who are victims of gun violence.
This campaign, which JCUA has worked on for the past several months, speaks to the abject disparity that we tolerate in access to health care in our city. Numerous studies have made the case – first rate teaching hospitals in urban areas all have trauma centers EXCEPT for the University of Chicago. The Illinois Department of Health has found that the University of Chicago is the only hospital on the south side with the capacity for a trauma center, and the community is suffering. While expensive, a trauma center would only require half of one percent of the University of Chicago’s recently-launched 4.5 billion dollar capital campaign. Most recently, Crain’s Chicago Business issued an editorial calling on the University of Chicago to open the level 1 trauma center.
As part of the clergy breakfast, I spoke at the press conference on why this issue resonates deeply with the Jewish community. I was joined at the press conference by Rabbi Capers Funnye and Cantor David Berger. JCUA’s longstanding work is to stand with those whose voices are insufficiently heard, to combat the root causes of inequality and disparity. No one I know believes that access to health care should only be for some and not for others in Chicago, merely because of where you live.
Come join us in fighting for what’s right and acting on your Jewish values. Become a JCUA member.