Darlene Oliver Hightower is associate vice president for community engagement and practice at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC), where she manages implementation and evaluation of community programs aimed to improve health in RUMC’s community areas, partnering with interdisciplinary teams to address health inequities and oversee community- and school-based clinics and community outreach programs.
Prior to joining RUMC, Darlene was executive director for Public Allies Chicago and national vice president of programs for Public Allies, Inc., where she oversaw an $8 million federal AmeriCorps grant that funded Public Allies’ signature national service apprenticeship program. As associate director for the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, Darlene worked to address health disparities in breast cancer outcomes for African American women in Chicago and raised more than $1 million in funding.
Before working in the nonprofit sector, Darlene was a partner in a law firm handling civil rights litigation, and in 2008 she was appointed as an administrative law judge with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. The Chicago Community Trust selected Darlene as a 2012 Emerging Leadership Fellow, and in 2015 she was selected as a fellow of the University of Chicago’s inaugural Civic Leadership Academy.
Darlene holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology (with high honors) from Bradley University and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.