The CHAMPIONS NETWork is an initiative dedicated to making changes in health through an innovative approach.
Our mission is to promote youth empowerment for health equity.
Whether you are a prospective student, prospective partner, or community member, we invite you to share in our mission. Please join us and support our programs as we work to empower Chicago's youth and improve health outcomes in Chicago's neighborhoods. 
Program Components
Health Education

Starting in the summer of 2016, we have selected a cohort of students from our partner schools to participate in our paid 6-week Summer Program. Students learn health skills such as bystander CPR in addition to receiving instruction in Health-Career Preparation, Life Sciences, Public Health, and Cultural Competency. We encourage our students to share what they have learned with their peers when school resumes. To encourage this further, we are currently working with two of our partner schools to bring health education and health advocacy directly to their classrooms through our Science & Health Immersion Program.

Community & Population Health
The core goal of our public health campaign is to increase survival rates from out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrest in Chicago communities that are particularly at risk. Consequently, we recruit students from these neighborhoods and all are educated to become bystander CPR trainers during our Summer Program. At events, students can readily train any community member in bystander CPR within 5 minutes. A pay-it-forward model is employed so this knowledge can be shared with others and eventually be used to save lives across these communities .
Workforce Development
Upon completion of our Summer Program, students are trained to perform limited Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer health assessments. Students inform community members about basic health recommendations and serve as navigators for those seeking an appointment with a primary care physician. Such screenings have been performed in the UI Health Emergency Department and Clinical Decision Unit. And, they are paid by our organization for their service. 
Our ultimate goal is to encourage students to be comfortable in clinical settings and to develop a network for them to secure entry level positions in healthcare upon high school graduation. All while preparing them for health professional careers in the future across an array of different health disciplines. 


The CHAMPIONS NETWork is spearheaded by UI Health’s Department of Emergency Medicine and launched in the summer of 2016. In partnership with nine high schools located in mostly underserved neighborhoods, CHAMPIONS works to 1) empower youth to improve community health and to 2) develop these youth as the healthcare professionals of the future. Our summer program trains a chosen cohort of students to become health advocates while our school-year initiatives further provide college preparation and career development.


Meet our team!

Program Manager
Natalia Suarez, MA

Community Health Coordinator
Nasseef Quasim 
Program Evaluator
Selina Kowalski, MPH


Partner Organizations

University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
Baxter International Foundation
Mikva Challenge
The Pritzker-Traubert Family Foundation
Illinois Heart Rescue
UIC Cancer Center
Hispanic Center of Excellence 
Urban Health Program 

Partner Schools

Benito Juarez Community Academy
Farragut Career Academy
Nicholas Senn High School
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
Dunbar Vocational High School
Instituto Health Science Career Academy
Paul Robeson High School
TEAM Englewood Community Academy
UIC College Prep

You are eligible for services at 4 primary care facilities!




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