University of Illinois Cancer Center Leadership: Prendergast Is Cancer Center DEI Associate Director

The University of Illinois Cancer Center named Heather Prendergast, MD, MS, MPH, an administrative and academic leader with more than 25 years of combined experience in emergency medicine, health care administration, public health and translational science training, as its new Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

In addition to her work at the Cancer Center, Prendergast will continue to serve in her roles at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago campus — where she earned her medical degree — as Associate Dean Clinical Affairs, and as Professor and Vice-Chair Academic Affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

Prendergast’s Work in Health Care and Health Equity

Among her many professional accomplishments in health care and health equity, Prendergast spearheaded submission to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for the Inaugural Healthcare Transformation Initiatives Collaborative on behalf of the University of Illinois Physicians Group, which resulted in a subsequent award of $17 million to establish the UI Health 55th and Pulaski Health Collaborative.

The center partners with three federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and community-based health care organizations to provide comprehensive services to residents on Chicago’s southwest side.

Prendergast on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Illinois Cancer Center

Prendergast also co-leads a health equity pilot program focused on improving health outcomes for underrepresented groups and improving diversity in the physician workforce along the continuum of medical students, residents and faculty.

“Representation matters and having diversity throughout our UI Health organization in key areas is important and will serve as a guiding light to make sure that our plan to enhance diversity for the Cancer Center is impactful and sustainable,” Prendergast said.

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