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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a common thread connecting all the experiences this program has to offer. Below are some of the many unique ways in which the program seeks to advance DEI within the communities, the healthcare system, and beyond:

Universal Social Determinants of Health Screening

The Northwestern Medicine Grayslake Clinic initiated universal patient screening for social determinants of health (SDOH) in early 2021. Our clinic was chosen to pilot this new initiative for the entire Northwestern Medicine system because of our understanding of the impact of the social environment on health and our passion for caring for the whole person. Screening is done prior to the encounter and allows for meaningful discussion of identified concerns with patients. Identified needs remain as part of the patient’s medical record, enabling all healthcare team members across all subspecialties to better understand individual SDOH concerns. NowPow, a geographic information systems (GIS) program, is embedded in the electronic medical record and allows residents to identify and provide community resources at the point of care. Based on these initial efforts, the screening program has been optimized and implemented across the entire Northwestern Medicine system.

North Chicago Community High School Health Center

North Chicago, IL is a community with significant need. Housing instability, food insecurity, violence, teen pregnancy, and low graduation rates are just some of the daily barriers faced by students in the district. When a group of students at North Chicago Community High School were asked how to best improve health in the community, their response was surprising: bring the clinic to us. The Northwestern McGaw FMR at Lake Forest (NMFMLF) program listened and, through partnerships with community organizations, the NCCHS Student Health Center was opened in 2017. Since then, our residents have been providing school district-mandated services to keep kids enrolled and sports physicals to keep students active and engaged. The mental health burden in the community is astounding, made worse by the social isolation and new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new focus for our residents is providing longitudinal mental health services for students in the district in conjunction with our behavioral health and family physician faculty.

NCCHS Mentorship Program

Along with our presence in the school-based clinic, residents engage in meaningful, longitudinal relationships with students in need of mentoring. Started by a current resident, Dr. Vanessa Rose, this program pairs residents and students and encourages engagement as students progress through high school. 

Mano a Mano

Lake County, IL has a very robust LatinX community.  Mano a Mano is a local community health worker organization that helps LatinX patients navigate barriers to health. Started by a current resident, Dr. Ariel Magallon, the partnership between Mano a Mano and the Grayslake clinic has created an expedited referral pathway for patients in the residency clinic. Patients have received education on chronic medical conditions, resources for mental health, legal assistance, and assistance with food and housing insecurity.

Gender Pathway Program

The Northwestern Gender Pathway Program (GPP) was created in 2020 to provide comprehensive gender-affirming care to patients seeking these services.  Multiple subspecialty groups are represented, but the true core of the program is primary care. By joining the GPP, residents provide care comprehensive care for transgender and non-binary patients, including hormone therapy. This program continues to grow into a national model for providing care for the LGBTQ+ community. To learn more about the Gender Pathway Program, visit Northwestern Medicine Gender Pathways Program | Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Quality Equity Committee

Residents are encouraged to participate in organizational committees, and our program is represented on several important committees at Northwestern.  The Quality Equity committee seeks to identify measures, collect, and evaluate data to ensure equitable care for all patients.  This has led to the creation of quality dashboards that show performance broken down by certain demographic information, as well as recommended solutions to barriers that prevent accurate demographic data capture.


Nearly all Lake Forest residents have completed scholarly activity projects related to DEI. Recent projects include addressing vaccine hesitancy in the African American community, screening for substance use disorder, and development of a gender-affirming care curriculum. Residents are encouraged to disseminate scholarly works through publication and national conferences. To learn more about research at the Lake Forest Program, click here: Resident Research Day: Department of Family & Community Medicine: Feinberg School of Medicine: Northwestern University

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