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By Jim Williams
/ CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – A physician on the city’s South Side is sharing his talents and knowledge well beyond his hospital.
We first told you about . Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of his passions — teaching teenagers how to jump into action in an emergency.
And where he’s doing this volunteer work is an important part of the story.
It’s a tall order for these high school students.
“From how to deal with gunshots, how to deal with someone who’s dying from a heart attack or cardiac arrest. How to recognize a stroke.”
The man who guides them comes from their community: Dr. Abdullah Pratt, a native South Sider, physician, and med school professor at the University of Chicago.
He founded a program that teaches teenagers life-saving skills – the University of Chicago Medical Careers Exposures and Emergency Preparedness program (UCMCEEP).
For weeks they’ve been in classrooms. On Saturday, they’ll be where Doctor Pratt works — the U of C emergency room.
“Right here, where there are trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, nurses, and techs practice our skills so we can save lives every day,” Dr. Pratt said.
Learning how to do CPR with an interactive mannikin, how to do ultrasounds, and insert intravenous needles among many other skills.
“We try to identify students who have identified themselves as having an interest in medical careers and so it’s our job to expose them to those career paths with people who look like them.”
Consistent with Dr. Pratt’s mission to heal the sick and hurt, mentor young people, and address the results of poverty.
When asked about his passion and why it was important, he says there’s a gap in healthcare in certain populations in the city.
“The studies and all the evidence we have today explain why there’s such a gap in health care between the African American, Latin X Americans, and our indigenous populations especially in Chicago,” Dr. Pratt said. “It focuses primarily on the lack of providers, the lack of health literacy and so we respond to that by directly doing the things that can produce those type of answers in an equitable fashion so that our patients, our community can have the care that they need.”
Dr. Pratt introduced us to the program last year and was inspired to become an activist and mentor after the murders of people he knew — including his brother, in addition to the healthcare inequities in the Black community.
He says students feel empowered from the skills they’re learning – knowing they can help save someone’s life.
“It’s got to be somebody’s purpose, and if it isn’t the young person that comes from the streets who knows these communities the best, then who is it?” he said.
In the last couple of years, Dr. Pratt says they’ve trained more than 2,000 teenagers and hosted many free life-saving workshops for the community.
For more information on the program and how you can sponsor their work, visit the UCMCEEP website.
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, is a general assignment reporter for CBS2. He also anchors the station’s weekend evening newscasts, and he is the producer/host of the documentary series “Stories 2 Tell.”
First published on August 5, 2022 / 4:32 PM
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