Our Commitment to Community

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the county’s leading academic medical centers where the patient comes first. We know that in order to provide exceptional care we must be committed to our entire community. Northwestern Memorial and our predecessor institutions have been proud members of our community for nearly 145 years.

Our commitment to the health of our community continues to be an integral part of our mission.

For more than 140 years, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its predecessor institutions, Passavant and Wesley Memorial hospitals, have served the people of Chicago. Our founder's commitment to provide medically-necessary healthcare to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, remains an integral part of our Patients First mission.

Every day, we dedicate ourselves to community service. Through a partnership with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, we are focused on:

  • Exceptional patient care
  • Breakthroughs in clinical research
  • Medical teaching excellence

The Office of External Affairs

Northwestern Memorial Hospital continues the tradition of commitment to the community through the Office of External Affairs. External Affairs is a collaborative group working within the community to ensure that the needs of patients, staff, volunteers and neighbors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital are understood and served. Northwestern Memorial Hospital builds relationships with community members, community leaders, elected officials, neighbors and employees through a wide variety of services and activities.

The Office of External Affairs is responsible for three key areas, including:

  • Government Relations: Government Relations works with policy makers, community leaders, healthcare providers and trade industry associates. Through these relationships, Government Relations will advocate for public policies, legislation, regulations, programs and funding that will support Northwestern Memorial HealthCare as an academic medical center where patients come first.
  • Community Relations: Community Relations is responsible for coordinating the hospital’s engagement in the community and communicating hospital activities in the immediate area.
  • Community services: Northwestern Memorial Hospital places high value on building and maintaining open and positive relationships with our residential, business and institutional neighbors. Extending beyond healthcare delivery, we actively participate in and support selected community events and we provide transparent communication about our campus projects and activities.

Our community

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is proud to be one of the residents of the Streeterville community, and we take great pride in our efforts to improve access to quality care for those who live and work around us. Adjacent to the world renowned North Michigan Avenue shopping district, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is privileged to be part of a dynamic urban neighborhood.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital collaborates with Federally Qualified Health Centers and other community partners to provide care in medically under-served areas. Together with these community health partners, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has established new community health programs to deliver a broad range of services that meet the complex needs of our patients and community members.

Community partnerships

Through innovative programs in collaboration with our partners, Northwestern Medicine is able to better manage chronic diseases, particularly among medically underserved populations.

Partnerships allow us to develop impactful programs that meet the pressing healthcare needs of families in our community. We work with our community healthcare partners to provide:

In addition, patients who require specialty care have the option to see Northwestern Medicine physicians for affordable, compassionate care. Specialty services include:

Partners such as Near North Health Service Corporation, Erie Family Health Center, CommunityHealth, West Humboldt Park Development Council and Kelly Hall YMCA allow Northwestern Memorial Hospital to develop impactful programs that meet the pressing healthcare needs of families in our community.


Northwestern Memorial Hospital is committed to continually bettering the health of our community. The combination of effective partnerships, clinical expertise, and our philosophy to care for our community, serves to support and broaden Chicago’s network of social services. Our efforts include:

  • We continue to invest in programs that expand access to clinical care, regardless of the ability to pay, along with education and research that help shape medicine for the future.
  • As part of an academic medical center, our tax exemption permits us to reinvest in the health of our community and to continue to provide life-saving diagnostics and treatments, research into groundbreaking cures and education for the next generation of physicians and other care providers.
  • We are proud of our nationally recognized community service programs as well as our position as one of the top providers of free and discounted care in the State of Illinois. Our community benefit contributions have steadily increased over the years.
  • Approximately 19 percent of our net patient revenues support charity care, other unreimbursed care, research, education and other community benefit.
  • We also absorb the cost of medical care that is not fully reimbursed by government programs.

Support for safety net providers

Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides support to safety net hospitals and other health organizations in the community through the donation of much needed medical equipment, computers and furniture. In addition, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has provided consulting services free of charge to local safety net providers to help implement and support an electronic health record system.

Emergency preparedness

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a designated Leadership Center in the Chicago Department of Public Health's Hospital Emergency Response and Preparedness Program, which plans coordinated emergency response to large scale disasters across many public service organizations.

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