Faith Leaders Hold Prayers for Trauma Center at Univ of Chicago Hospital – Ask U of C Hospital President O’Keefe for Update on Trauma Talks

What: Interfaith Group Holds Rally, Song and Prayer for a South Side Trauma Center

Where/When: Thursday, September 18, 4:00pm; 58th St. and South Maryland Ave.

Who: Faith leaders, choirs, and trauma center activists including mothers of victims

Visual: Choirs, Pastors, Rabbis, and Community Singing and Rallying for trauma center

Chicago, IL – Faith leaders pushing for a South Side trauma center will hold a rally, songs and prayers on Thursday, September 18 at 4:00pm at 58th St. and Maryland Ave. The group includes Pastors, Chicago-area Jewish clergy, and Choirs from Trinity United Church of Christ and St. Sabina. The Interfaith group is coming together after University of Chicago Hospital President Sharon O’Keefe recently announced that she is talks with other hospitals about how to expand access to trauma care on the South Side.

President O’Keefe’s announcement that she is in talks about a trauma center were welcomed by faith leaders who have long been calling for a South Side trauma center. On Thursday faith leaders will ask President O’Keefe for a meeting to discuss updates on the talks and a timeline for when their talks will result in expanded access to trauma care on the South Side. Reverend Alice Harper-Jones of the Kenwood United Church of Christ said “the continued lack of a trauma center is a violation of human rights, a moral violation and an injustice that we, as a faith community, must speak out about.”

Reverend Harper-Jones and other faith leaders will be joined by Ella Smith, the grandmother of Terell Dobbs, who at age 22 was shot in the leg and died en route from the Woodlawn neighborhood to a trauma center 10 miles away on the North Side in 2008. She believes he might have been saved were there a trauma center closer to home. “We are right in the University of Chicago Hospital’s backyard. If something happens to one of our young people they shouldn’t have to go to Northwestern or Christ Hospital. If we don’t get up and take a stand things will not change” said Ms. Smith.

Echoing a commandment from Leviticus, Cantor Faryn Rudnick of Temple Beth-El, Northbrook, said: “We must not sit idly by while our neighbors shed blood during long rides to trauma centers.”

There is currently no level-one trauma center for adults on the South Side of Chicago. Activists and public health leaders have been calling on the University of Chicago, best-resourced institution in the area, to help fill that gap.

The campaign for a level-oneadult trauma center at the University of Chicago was sparked by the shooting death of Woodlawn youth leader Damian Turner in 2010. Turner was taken more than 10 miles away, to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and died en route. Recent research by Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern, has shown strong links between increased travel time and mortality.

Faith Leaders and institutions organizing the event Thursday include: Kenwood United Church of Christ, St. Phillips Lutheran Church, Park Manor Christian Church, Trinity United Church of Christ, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Reform Cantors of Chicago.


facebook event page:

Recent stories on the trauma center campaign:

“Chicago needs help, not Obama Library,” LZ Granderson,

“Doctors add voices to demand for UofC trauma center,” Chicago Tribune

“Activists protest university’s bid for Obama Library,” USA Today

“University of Chicago Alumni: No Donations Until Trauma Center Opened,” Progress Illinois

“Why This Hospital Turned a 18-Year Old Away After He Was Shot,” The Huffington Post

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