UChicago Medicine, Sinai join Chicago ARC as healthcare partners for health equity innovation

July 27, 2022

Former J&J, Anthem Executive Kate Merton, Ph.D., welcomed as executive director of first-of-its-kind, health equity-focused global innovation collaborative

The Chicago ARC, a new venture collaborative focused on accelerating health equity solutions, has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the University of Chicago Medicine and Sinai Chicago — as the organization’s first Founding Healthcare Partners. The Chicago ARC also officially welcomed Kate Merton, Ph.D., as its executive director.

The Chicago ARC was founded on the belief that where you live, work, and play should be positive drivers of your health and how you receive healthcare. Chicago ARC Healthcare Partners will play a crucial role in directing and piloting new technologies to transform healthcare and improve health equity in Chicago and beyond.

Areas of focus and impact for the Chicago ARC include maternal and child health, chronic disease management, rural healthcare, aging in place, behavioral and mental health, and cancer diagnosis.

“We’re creating an innovation community in Chicago centered on the healthcare providers and communities they serve,” said Merton, who previously launched the digital health incubator for Anthem and ran the East coast region of JLABS, J&J Innovations’ science incubator and accelerator lab. “With unprecedented access to and involvement from Healthcare Partners, startups will be able to direct their efforts for the greatest impact and benefit from Partner expertise and clinical networks to test, model and scale new solutions.”

Chicago ARC builds upon the proven ARC model (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) of Sheba Medical Center — a Newsweek Top-10 global hospital — which brings together startups with experienced operators and an extensive healthcare partner network.

The Chicago ARC is being developed as the centerpiece of the $3.8 billion health-focused of Bronzeville Lakefront development.

“Health systems in Chicago and the Midwest create Sheba’s North American epicenter for bringing global innovation and U.S. healthcare communities together – and the Chicago ARC is bringing that community together in new ways to invite more global investment and innovation,” said Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief digital transformation officer and chief innovation officer for Sheba Medical Center. “Now, by combining expertise and market opportunity, Chicago ARC and its Healthcare Partners will catalyze new solutions for some of our biggest healthcare challenges. Sheba Medical Center will share our experience to impact equitable healthcare and benefit from learning together with Chicago-area health systems and the community.”

Areas of Focus for Healthcare Partners

Healthcare Partners will pilot technologies that meet the needs of healthcare professionals and the communities they serve, create a community of learning to connect local and global best practices, and promote collaboration and joint projects. In addition, organizations have prioritized areas for increased focus or additional collaboration.

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago: “The South Side of Chicago has experienced shrinking health care resources for many years. Partnering with the Chicago ARC creates the dual benefit of identifying and integrating global technologies that meet the needs of our patients and healthcare professionals while enabling the University of Chicago to bring its research and innovation expertise to a local and global community seeking to address health inequities. As a partner, we plan to help enhance and utilize UChicago as a community engagement and collaboration epicenter to understand — and address effectively — the South Side community priorities and needs.”

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, president and CEO, Sinai Chicago: “As the largest private safety-net health system in Illinois, the communities Sinai Chicago serves face some of the city’s most severe systemic barriers and suffer the greatest health inequities. Sinai has a successful track record of working in collaboration with the communities we serve across the South and West Sides of Chicago. Working with the Chicago ARC will support Sinai in scaling our existing programs and resources to further serve our patients equitably and effectively.”

The Chicago ARC also presents significant opportunities for international collaboration, in a model that can be replicated in other U.S. markets. “The work Chicago ARC is undertaking with partners in Israel is an example of how Israel and the United States can share expertise to have a significant impact on the realization of equitable healthcare through innovation and community collaboration,” said Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest. “The top research institutions, health systems partners, and providers of Chicago and the Midwest – like those the Chicago ARC is bringing together – present an excellent opportunity for Israeli startups looking to establish and expand their presence in the U.S.”

About Chicago ARC

The Chicago ARC is on a mission to accelerate tomorrow’s healthcare solutions to those in need today. Its venture collaborative provides a trusted U.S. partner for startups, accelerating market entry and growth through matched commercial opportunities, investment, and end-to-end support. The Chicago ARC will be the centerpiece of a $3.8 billion health-focused Bronzeville Lakefront along the scenic shore of Lake Michigan next to downtown Chicago and the largest convention center in the Western Hemisphere. Chicago is the top U.S. city for foreign direct investment, corporate relocations, life science VC funding growth, and female founders. The region is home to over 1,600 life science companies, three tier-1 research institutions, and over 28,000 physicians. For more information, visit

Published June 30, 2022 PRNewswire


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