Partner Spotlight: University of Chicago + Healing Hurt People-Chicago

February 20, 2018

Through our one-of-a-kind model of grantmaking, Bright Promises Foundation identifies the most forward-thinking and effective child-serving agencies across Chicago and we provide them with both funding and know-how to implement and expand cutting-edge programs for low-income and at-risk children in the Greater Metropolitan Chicago Area.

University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) is a major provider of health care for residents of the South Side of Chicago and one of Bright Promises Foundation's partners in our Promoting Resiliency initiative, which was launched in 2012 with the goal of helping children who have experienced trauma overcome the impacts of toxic stress and receive the support they need to lead happy, successful lives. 

To achieve this goal, Bright Promises partnered with leading agencies across Chicagoland to provide education and training to parents, caregivers, and service providers so that they can understand the symptoms of trauma and how to promote protective factors in children. 

The area served by University of Chicago Medicine encompasses 34 neighborhoods in which extreme violence is a part of many children’s everyday lives. In 2012, children injured by violent injury represented 23.5% of Comer Pediatric Trauma patients, more than 4 times the national average (5.4%) for pediatric trauma centers.

Hospital-based violence intervention programs like Healing Hurt People-Chicago serve as a bridge between a victim’s medical and psychosocial needs in the aftermath of traumatic experiences. Successful violence intervention programs in the United States have a strong presence in hospitals that treat the clients they serve. 

This project focused on incorporating Healing Hurt People-Chicago into the standard of care for children and families affected by violence, ensuring that referrals to Healing Hurt People-Chicago are made by healthcare providers when appropriate, as well as to improve practices in trauma-informed care for all patients.

Because Healing Hurt People-Chicago relies on the “golden window of opportunity” for patient engagement at the time of injury, early patient identification and referral continue to be crucial to the program’s success. Therefore there were two major areas of focus for this program: (1) Improving patient referrals to the Healing Hurt People Chicago services and (2) Creating interprofessional training workshops to educate healthcare providers about Trauma Informed care. 

Recent achievements that have resulted from Bright Promises partnership with University of Chicago Medicine include:


Our partners at University of Chicago report that the Trauma-Informed Care  initiative "continues to enhance relationships and foster increased collaboration between members of our team and the medical providers and hospital staff who have attended trainings.” 

One mother who remains active in this program after her teenage son was caught in gang crossfire  described the support she recieved as a lifeline: "The fact that this program is here to throw you a lifeline, you don’t even realize you need the lifeline until you grab onto it and take that first deep breathe. And you know there is somebody here who is going to help me.” 

Dr. Brad Stolbach, Clinical Director of Healing Hurt People-Chicago, best captured the importance and impact of this program: 
“It’s not easy to figure out how to navigate these streets, how to stay safe, how to get what you need in order to move forward in your life. It’s really about giving people the support that they need to deal with what they’re going through, so they can stay safe and get on track.” 



Bright Promises' work with University of Chicago around trauma-informed care will continue to make a lasting impact long into the future. According to our partners: “Bright Promises support has allowed us to work closely with the team planning for the soon-to-be-open University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) adult Level I Trauma Center to ensure that its services are not limited to medical trauma, but are holistically trauma-informed.” 

Below is one of the many training resources that were generated as a part of this program and which will continue to be distributed locally and nationally through the ongoing work of the Trauma-Informed Care team at University of Chicago:

Bright Promises Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to continue to partner with leading institutions like University of Chicago to better serve our city’s most vulnerable youth.

To make your tax-deductible donation to support future innovative partnerships that create opportunities for all children to thrive, visit

100% of your gift goes to helping low-income & at-risk children. Learn more.