WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) will host De’Andre Wilborn as his guest for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address. De’Andre, a native of the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, is a senior at George Westinghouse College Prep Academy. In October, Durbin held a roundtable event at Westinghouse College Prep to discuss strategies to support economic opportunity and improve health, where he heard directly from students, including De’Andre, about their experience in the Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program. The Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program is a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Westinghouse College Prep that prepares students from socially vulnerable communities for college and a career in the health sciences.

“When I met De’Andre in October, it didn’t take me long to recognize what an impressive young man he is. He is a talented student-athlete, a role model in his neighborhood, and has ambitions to study medicine and give back to his community. De’Andre has a bright future ahead of him and I’m honored to have him join me for the State of the Union,” Durbin said.

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In October, as part of events to mark the one-year anniversary of the Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership (HEAL) Initiative, Durbin met with leaders from Northwestern Medicine, Lurie’s Children Hospital, and CPS to discuss how the hospitals are collaborating with CPS to support career development and trauma-informed care for students. De’Andre, along with 16 of the other Northwestern Medicine Scholars, spoke with Durbin about their experience in the program and their future ambitions.

The Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program at Westinghouse College Prep enables high school students to explore potential careers in medicine. The four-year pipeline program serves a high percentage of promising students who live in challenging socioeconomic circumstances, in order to address the under-representation in STEM education and medicine among African American, Latino, female, and low-income students In its tenth year, this innovative academic enrichment program recruits high-achieving under-represented minority ninth graders interested in health science careers. The program aspires to become a national model for scholastic achievement by under-represented minority students and is an example of Northwestern’s community engagement activities under the Chicago HEAL Initiative

In October 2018, together with 10 of the largest hospitals serving the Chicago area and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA), Durbin launched the Chicago HEAL Initiative, which is a three-year project to reduce violence and improve health by making a measurable difference in the well-being of Chicago residents in neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence, poverty, and inequality. Recognizing their roles as leading employers, the hospitals have made 16 tangible commitments on actions—outside of their traditional health care activities—to uplift their communities, including through local hiring and procurement, job training and mentorship, housing, and mental health activities. Durbin released a one-year interim report on the HEAL Initiative last October.

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