Episode 13 | Healthcare Behind Bars

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If you ask most medical students why they decided to go to medical school, there’s a good chance that they will say it was, at least in part, to help an underserved population.  When thinking of these populations and their own unique features and challenges, one demographic that is often overlooked is prison inmates. In this episode, we sat down with Dr. Chad Zawitz (Assistant Professor at Rush University Medical Center, and Director of Infectious Diseases at Cook County Jail) to discuss the fascinating world of correctional medicine.  He shares his insights from his 15 years of experience working at Cook County Jail, which happens to be the largest single-site jail in the US, housing approximately 6500 detainees at one time. In this interview, Dr. Zawitz explains how healthcare in the prison system works, the differences in how he approaches medicine in the jail setting (including many of the challenges that he faces), and the barriers his patients face after rehabilitation.Throughout our interview, Dr. Zawitz shares impactful stories where he recalls some of his most formative patient encounters.  Some of the stories you will hear are graphic, yet educational. For a humbling learning experience, take a listen to this correctional medicine episode!

Dr. Chad Zawitz is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.  His clinical interests include Correctional Healthcare, HIV, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Infections, LGBT Healthcare, and Public Health.  Chad has worked in Correctional Healthcare for nearly 15 years at the Cook County Jail and he is a Certified Correctional Healthcare Provider (CCHP) with extensive experience in nearly every aspect of Correctional Healthcare from frontline medical services to administrative duties.  Lastly, Chad is a Principal Investigator/Co-investigator on numerous research and service grants.

Dr. Chad Zawitz