New Northwestern Medicine healthcare center aims to increase imaging access, reduce diagnostic delays


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

A computed tomography machine. Northwestern Medicine’s new Sports Medicine and Imaging Center aims to provide patient-centered, accessible and timely care for Northwestern students and Chicago area residents alike.

Angeli Mittal, Print Managing Editor

As a Northwestern student, Adam Bennett (WCAS ʼ95) played for NU’s Division I men’s soccer team. After a knee injury, he decided to go into sports medicine. Now, he’s the new medical director of sports medicine at Northwestern Medicine’s Sports Medicine and Imaging Center.

“Northwestern is near and dear to my heart,” Bennett said. “I’ve learned a lot about sports medicine and have always wanted to come back to home base, which is Evanston.”

The Sports Medicine and Imaging Center opened Dec. 1 at 1704 Maple Ave. It aims to provide efficient appointment scheduling for sports-related injuries, breast care, diagnostic imaging and other services to NU students and Chicago area residents.

Evanston already hosts Northwestern Medicine’s Outpatient and Immediate Care Center, which provides primary care, emergency and other specialized services within a quarter of a mile from the new facility.

With the healthcare center in close proximity to NU’s Evanston campus, Bennett said the facility enables students to receive medical care without needing to trek far.

He also said the center makes it easier for people to decide whether their injury requires imaging, physical therapy or a specific healing period prior to returning to regular activity.

“(People) need physical therapy to get those answers, and they often had to go downtown (to Chicago) or somewhere else in the area,” Bennett said. “But now we have it right downtown. It’s much more convenient for the students and faculty.”

When NU decided to create an orthopedic clinic in downtown Evanston, he was able to bring his vision of accessible medical care to life.

Having worked with national soccer teams and serving as the team physician for the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, Bennett said the center’s location attracts highly trained orthopedic physicians to Evanston.

A computer with ultrasound probes is on the left, a purple bed on the right.
The Sports Medicine and Imaging Center offers ultrasounds for full body imaging, soft tissue lumps, deep vein thrombosis, breasts and more. (Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer)

The facility also offers diagnostic imaging services including mammography, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, according to the center’s Jan. 18 news release.

Director of Ambulatory Breast Radiology Sonya Bhole said this array of imaging is essential for women’s breast care.

“(It) is great to be able to offer (annual screenings) in a community center,” Bhole said. “But we wanted to take one step further and really be able to offer diagnostic imaging — that means any patients that are coming in with symptoms.”

Bhole hopes to start including biopsies and supplemental screening in its care in the spring. She said she hopes to eventually expand beyond Evanston and open small ambulatory centers throughout the Chicago area.

At the moment, Bhole and Bennett both said the center also offers fast appointments and works to ensure a short turnaround between diagnostic screening exams and results.

A white machine on the right and a computer on a cart on the left.
The center offers mammography imaging services for patient breast care health. (Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer)

“We typically pride ourselves on same-day (and) next-day visits and even MRIs and other advanced diagnostics,” Bennett said. “We’re staffed with athletic trainers who are sort of the first-line responders for injured athletes.”

The facility isn’t necessarily able to provide same-day diagnostic testing and interpretation to every patient but is hoping to do so more often as the center gets up and going, Bhole said.

Ajay Chapa, the medical director of ambulatory imaging, said he hoped the center increases the community’s access to physicians.

“What we wanted to do is provide a patient-centered focus,” Chapa said. “We wanted to create a unique experience for the patient, where it’s going to be a ‘one-stop shop’ where they can go see their doctor.”

Bhole said she wanted the center to serve as a place where patients could advocate for their personal care in an intimate, accessible setting.

It brings the quality of Northwestern Medicine’s Chicago location to a local center in Evanston, she said.

“Allowing patients that access really helps us (remove) those barriers to healthcare that exist,” Bhole said. “Being able to offer academic medicine in your backyard is really what we opened this center for.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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