Despite the many attributes that make North and South Lawndale an attractive place for many people to call home, there remain some persistent, significant indicators of poor health and quality of life in Lawndale. Although it is beyond the scope of this introduction to address why these disparities in health quality exist, they are undeniable and important to recognize in the context of providing quality health care.
Health status indicators for three of the closest neighborhoods to the North of LCHC's Ogden clinic indicate serious disparities in basic medical care, such as prenatal care. Each of the communities is over 95% African American. By ranking, of the 77 neighborhoods in the City of Chicago, East Garfield, West Garfield, and North Lawndale are ranked 75, 76, and 77 as having the greatest disparity of women not receiving prenatal care prior to delivery. LCHC's medical staff delivers about 700 babies per year, but the need to provide more services will exist for some time.
As a predominantly Hispanic area, South Lawndale's health statistics present disparities primarily in the form of access. Many of the community's 81,000 person population are uninsured by virtue of either being a non-citizen residency status or by being employed in low wage positions that do not provide insurance coverage. South Lawndale's household income average places it in the bottom 30% in the City of Chicago, indicating that many of residents have poor paying jobs that are not likely to provide health insurance. It has been estimated that 33% of Hispanics living in Illinois are uninsured, meaning that at least 27,000 people in South Lawndale are uninsured. The American College of Physicians report that uninsured Hispanics are 1.8 times less likely to obtain prenatal care in the first trimester and are 2.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage. Access to care issues for South Lawndale residents are complicated by the fact that 70% of its residents do not have a high school education, reducing the likelihood that access to appropriate health care being sought for issues such diabetes. Issues of access and disparities continue to exist for the South Lawndale community.
Fortunately, there is an extensive network of resources in Lawndale for people with chronic health problems and other needs, not the least of which are the family members, neighbors, and other informal networks by which residents have always cared for each other. One advantage held by LCHC for providing holistic care is its association with Lawndale Community Church (LCC) and Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC), which provide complementary services to the primary care and health support services offered by LCHC. Additionally, a variety of churches and organizations in the neighborhood sponsor many activities ranging from after-school programs and summer camps to neighborhood gardening clubs and counseling services.
LCHC is fortunate to have a large number of staff members that live locally, attend LCC, LVCC or other local churches, and/or are involved in other neighborhood activities. This benefits LCHC by increasing its responsiveness and sensitivity to the community it serves, and helps patients by connecting them to an institution that is rooted and significantly invested in the neighborhood.
Today Lawndale Christian Health Center looks forward to a future full of challenges and opportunities. We are proud to work in an area rich in history and culture, with strong spiritual foundations and hard working people.
We also recognize that our community still despairs over the problems that plague it and desire to be an increasingly valuable resource for improving the health of our neighbors. Our hope is that in doing so we truly fulfill our mission of showing and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.