Health Equity Action

Health Equity Action

Chicago Health Editor-in-Chief moderates opening panel at the Executives’ Club of Chicago annual Health Equity Summit


In its second annual Health Equity Summit held this past Wednesday, The Executives’ Club of Chicago welcomed thought leaders from throughout the city to shed light on the profound disparities in healthcare services across the Chicago metro area. The core concern that many of the panelists work to address: Residents in poorer neighborhoods have significantly shorter life expectancy compared to those in wealthier areas.

“We are at an incredible moment in this country,” said David Smith, CEO and founder of Third Horizon Strategies. “We have the data and can quantify what’s happening right now.”

And using that data, people can tell stories and motivate others to action.

There’s hope in the collaborative efforts aimed at making healthcare more equitable. Chicago Health’s Editor-in-Chief Katie Scarlett Brandt moderated the summit’s opening panel, which featured Howard Chrisman, MD, CEO at Northwestern Medicine; Ngozi Ezike, MD, president and CEO at Sinai Chicago; Meeta Shah, MD, Illinois chief medical officer at UnitedHealth Group; and Jay Bhatt, DO, managing director at Deloitte Health Equity Institute.

In speaking about the benefits of collaboration, Ezike paraphrased an African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Other speakers at the event included:
• Jennifer Arwade, co-executive director of Communities United
• John Walkup, MD, chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
• Maria Rivera, director of the Mentorship and Workforce Development Program at Lurie Children’s
• Ayesha Jaco, executive director of West Side United
• Meghan Phillipp, executive director of Health Care Council of Chicago (HC3)

The summit highlighted key strategies for advancing health equity, emphasizing the importance of cross-industry partnerships, data-driven approaches, trust in information sharing, and workforce diversity.

While the road to achieving health equity is long, events like the Health Equity Summit provide valuable opportunities for collaboration and action.

“More of us are feeling pain,” Smith said at the event. “We need leaders who will get things done that are not directly in the interests of themselves or their institutions.”