Southland Rise Conference Promotes Community and Corporate Unity

Southland Rise is a collaboration between Advocate Health Care and University of Chicago Medicine. Rise stands for “Resilience Initiative to Strengthen and Empower.” The objective is to “Expand and Strengthen the violence recovery ecosystem on Chicago’s South Side and in the South Suburbs.” This was put together in order to bring both community and corporate organizations together, and share strategies and efforts to become more informed on violence and trauma within the communities they serve.

I got the opportunity to attend the conference and learn about different organizations trying to combat gun violence and the trauma associated with it across the Chicagoland area. I enjoyed hearing the stories of community members and the impact community violence had on them and their families. There are many great organizations out there that are trying to build trust and rapport within the communities they serve in order to provide community members with the mental health services they may need after a traumatic event. They are also making efforts to provide more services that would keep both adults and young people out of trouble. It was nice to see the community effort in trying to figure out what trauma was to a particular community, and how the organizations planned to help them gain access to services.

Sharing in that space gave each person new ideas that they could take back to their organizations, and many new collaborative relationships were established to help all communities across the city. Having panels of people who are experts in their field talk about their experiences and challenges is eye opening for me. I had never heard of some of the organizations before, or the projects they were trying to incorporate in some of Chicago’s most violence stricken communities. There are people on the ground in certain communities trying to make them a better place. It gives me hope because now I see that there are people locally and professionally fighting for a greater Chicago. I learned that being trauma informed is becoming a huge part of public health. Health professionals and the communities they serve are realizing that trauma can have a significant impact on a person's physical and mental health. It is important to address the trauma they face, and develop programs and measures that will improve those issues.

This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2019-20 member Caitlyn Asama.

Caitlyn is a Health Educator at Advocate Trinity Hospital.