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Rush Archives Blog

From the Rush Archives: International Day of Charity, Sept. 5, and RCSIP

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-09-03T08:00:00-05:00 in History, Archives | Comments

-Post contributed by Rush Archives Work Study Student Kirsten Petrarca, Doctoral Student in Audiology, Rush University.

The United Nations designated the International Day of Charity as September 5 in 2013. The International Day of Charity raises awareness for local, national, and international philanthropic organizations. 

Rush University and Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) support many philanthropic efforts throughout Chicago. In 1991, Rush Medical College students and the Medical Center's Department of Preventive Medicine established the Rush Community Service Initiatives Program (RCSIP)

CAPTION: St. Basil’s Free People’s Clinic from the Rush Medical College Alumni Directory, 1993. [1]

Although a primary goal of RCSIP was to expose students to primary care, community health, and behavioral medicine, the RCSIP programs had a profound effect on the community. For example, in 1992, 100 Rush students and 25 physicians from RUMC provided care at St. Basil’s Free People’s Clinic. Over time, the students and physicians developed this service project to provide weekly medical care. 


One of the first mentions of RCSIP can be found in the 1991 Report of Stewardship (Annual Report) of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center* [2]. This description of the new program stated:

A new volunteerism at Rush is in keeping with the highest traditions of medicine. The Rush Community Service Initiatives Program (RCSIP) was formally established in July 1991, as a result of a series of student-generated projects to serve Chicago’s inner city. 

The aim of RCSIP is to create a thriving network of community service programs that match student initiative and enthusiasm with the desperate social and health care needs of large segments of the Chicago population. RCSIP aspires to serve as a model for academic medical centers where it can be used to train future physicians in primary care, community health, and behavioral medicine.

To learn more about this early RCSIP initiative, explore the Fall 1992 issue of Rush’s The Magazine, “Building a Community Service Network.” [3]

CAPTION: A Rush medical student cares for a patient at St. Basil’s Free People’s Clinic. From Rush’s The Magazine, Fall 1992.

To learn more about RCSIP as we approach its 30th anniversary next year, read “‘How Can I Make an Impact?’” – a feature on RCSIP during its 25th anniversary in 2016. [4]

Did you know? The date of September 5 was chosen by the United Nations for the observance of the International Day of Charity to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Learn more about this day here:

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS.

*Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center was renamed Rush University Medical Center in 2003, to better reflect its status as a leading academic research center. 

All documents and photographs belong to the records collections of Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill. Contact the archivist for permissions and full citations.

Rush Archives Resources:

[1] Rush Medical College Alumni Directory, 1993:

[2] 1991 Report of Stewardship (Annual Report) of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center:

[3] The Magazine, Fall 1992:

[4] "How Can I Make an Impact?" by Mark Donahue, University News, May 2, 2016:'how-can-i-make-impact'


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