How Rush Oak Park Hospital Makes a Difference

Rush Oak Park Hospital’s community programs help people live healthier lives.

Healthy Motivations, our free community wellness program, offers educational events, health screenings, fitness classes, support groups and more, including the following:

  • Zumba classes and other fitness classes for all ages and levels
  • Screenings for diseases such as hypertension, skin cancer and diabetes, and for issues such as poor balance
  • Support groups for people living with cancer, epilepsy, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions

We offer something for everyone in our community. See what we have for you by checking out our calendar of events.

The Rush Surplus Project targets two issues — food waste and food insecurity — by donating surplus food from Rush’s cafeterias to local nonprofits that feed the hungry. The project originated at Rush Oak Park Hospital in 2015 with donations to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, and was so successful that it expanded to Rush University Medical Center two years later.

Rush Oak Park Hospital employees volunteer not only to pack up the food for donation, but also to perform health screenings and education during distribution. In 2017, the program provided more than 20,000 meals to community members in need, and we’re sharing what we’ve learned with our partners in the Alliance for Health Equity so they can replicate it at their locations.

Rush’s partnership with Top Box Foods, a Chicago-based social business, also originated at Rush Oak Park Hospital. Top Box provides affordable boxes of high-quality fresh produce to Rush’s “first community” of employees — a community that needs to be healthy in order to care for the people we serve. The program couldn’t be more convenient; employees pay through payroll deduction and pick up their boxes at work. In 2017, the first year of the program, employees picked up more than 1,100 boxes of healthy food at Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush University Medical Center.

Project Lifestyle Change, a free year-long education program for people with prediabetes, has been part of Rush Oak Park Hospital’s chronic disease education efforts since 2010. The program teaches healthy eating and exercise habits, with follow-up screenings and refresher courses to help its more than 700 graduates stay on track and avoid becoming diabetic. At the hospital’s fall 2017 Diabetes Health Fair, our team provided blood pressure, lipid and A1c screenings to more than 150 community members.

Free screening mammograms can detect breast cancer in its earliest, most curable stages. Rush Oak Park Hospital’s dedicated team of board-certified breast imagers, technologists, schedulers and support staff work to eliminate disparities in breast cancer mortality not only by providing free breast imaging services, but also by helping women overcome the fears and myths associated with breast cancer and screening. In 2017, with the help of funding from the Chicago Department of Public Health and a private foundation, we screened more than 250 women who lacked health insurance.

Courage to Quit smoking cessation classes, which combine a cognitive behavioral approach with counseling and education about medication that can help smokers quit, are free to everyone in the community. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who smoke die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, so helping people quit smoking is one of Rush’s top priorities. Click here to see the start date of the next class session.

Donations of linens and laundry services to the PADS shelter program at Housing Forward help support people moving from homelessness to housing stability. The program provides overnight shelter and meals at nine rotating sites in Berwyn, Forest Park and Oak Park, and also offers an array of supportive services, including life skills classes and employment readiness counseling.

Mock job interviews with volunteer Rush Oak Park Hospital recruiters and nurses help Oak Park and River Forest High School students who are preparing to take the certified nursing assistant exam.