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Health & Medicine Announces 2017 HMPRG Award Winners

Jul 26, 2017

Health & Medicine is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 HMPRG Awards representing leaders in the fields of policy, public health, medicine, research, and advocacy whose work exemplifies Health & Medicine’s mission to promote social justice and challenge inequities in health and health care.

“Today, so many voices for equity are emerging and recognizing this work is more important than ever,” Executive Director Margie Schaps said. “Too often those in our community working for health and social justice aren't given the recognition they deserve. We look forward to celebrating these unsung heroes.”

The 2017 Award winners will be honored at Health & Medicine’s Awards Gala on Oct. 13, 2017 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Tickets and sponsorships are available here.

Health Awards:
Margaret M. Nykaza, D.Min., Harmony, Hope & Healing
Dr. Nykaza  partners with shelters and agencies to provide on-site music programs to those recovering from trauma, improving participants’ social, emotional, and spiritual health.

Suzanne Carlberg-Racich, PhD, MSPH, DePaul University and Chicago Recovery Alliance
Dr. Carlberg-Racich’s work illuminates and corrects social injustice among disenfranchised populations and people who experience stigma that interferes with access to care and other critical services.

Medicine Award: Evelyn Figueroa, MD, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
A professor and administrator, Dr. Figueroa has developed innovative programs to help learners expand their understanding of caring for vulnerable populations.

Policy Award: Chicago ADAPT
Chicago ADAPT advocates for policies and practices enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in public and private life.

Dr. Steve Whitman Research Award: Wrenetha Julion, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Rush University College of Nursing
A professor of nursing, Dr. Julion is an activist for greater diversity and cultural competency among health care professionals.

Group Award: Metropolitan Tenants Organization
The Metropolitan Tenants Organization is a leading force working with low-income renters to make their homes safe and healthy. 
Emerging Leader Award: Lauren Ángeles, Alivio Medical Center
Ms. Ángeles  is a Pilsen-area activist for enhancing community access to prevention programs and services, healthcare services, and wellness programs.

Lifetime Achievement Award—Worker Health, Safety, and Justice: Leslie Nickels, MEd, PhD
We are pleased to honor Dr. Nickels for her remarkable career ensuring worker safety and health through program leadership, training, innovation, research, and teaching.

Health & Medicine Urges County Board: Do Not Under-Fund CCHHS

Jul 14, 2017

On Wednesday, July 12, Director of Health Equity Wesley Epplin spoke at the Cook County Preliminary Budget hearing for FY2018 on the need to increase the tax allocation for the Cook County Health & Hospital System (CCHHS) in the County budget. The Health System has faced several years of reductions in the County’s tax allocation, and Epplin urged the Board of Commissioners not to under-fund CCHHS, which provides vital health services to our community.

“The health system cannot absorb a cut in its revenues of nearly $60 million, as this will lead to cuts in both services and staff, depleting the health system such that it cannot fulfill its mission of providing high-quality healthcare to all people who come through its doors,” Epplin said. “A well-funded health system is not an optional item in the budget. Health & Medicine urges you: Do not under-fund the Cook County Health and Hospital System.  This is a matter of life and death for the patients the system serves and a vital safety net when people need it.”

Click here to view the full statement.

Call Your Congressperson Today to Stop the BCRA

Jun 27, 2017

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group condemns the recent assault on the health safety net. The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), like the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), is an attack on the American people, developed behind closed doors specifically because its provisions are so unpopular. Their hope is the less sunlight shined on this proposal, the more likely it is to pass. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored the BCRA bill and predicts 22 million people would lose coverage if it were passed, an unprecedented  move in the wrong direction.

We urge action! Call your U.S. Congressperson to let them know that you want them to help kill the bill!

What are some of the worst parts of the bill? If passed, it would:

  • End the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion that has helped millions of Americans—including 681,000 Illinoisans—gain lifesaving health insurance.
  • Dismantle the legacy Medicaid system through deep, drastic cuts and caps to the program, harming people with disabilities, seniors, and families with children.
  • Cut tax credits and eliminate cost-sharing, thus raising premiums and deductibles for millions of Americans who buy insurance on the marketplace.
  • Eviscerate consumer protections that have helped people with pre-existing conditions access care, allow states to opt out of the Essential Health Benefits, which requires insurers to pay for a minimum set of health services.
In short, if the BRCA were to become law, it would roll back progress from the ACA and the longstanding health safety net that Medicaid has provided, with catastrophic results.  Knowing full-well the devastating consequences they would reap, the Republicans’ brazen efforts to cut people’s health insurance—and thus their fundamental right to healthcare—are cruel and inhumane. This bill prioritizes $992 billion in tax cuts that will largely benefit the wealthiest Americans over the health of the public. This wanton disregard for people’s health threatens all of us.

Take action to help kill the bill!

The BCRA is a direct attack on human health and life—and it will expand health inequities in our society. It must be stopped. To help kill the bill, we urge you to use the Protect Our Care Illinois hotline: 1-866-877-3303 and tell them that you expect them to vote NO on the AHCA/BRCA bill and that you plan to hold them accountable for their vote. All seven of Illinois’ House Republicans voted yes on the AHCA.

Other Actions:
Has your member of Congress already stood up for the right for healthcare? Illinois Governor Rauner has been missing in action regarding this attack on Illinoisans’ health. Call Gov. Rauner at 312-814-2121 and demand that he publicly oppose the BCRA/AHCA, which would cost Illinois billions of dollars in Medicaid funding and thousands of jobs.

Also, if you know people in states with Senators who are likely to vote yes, urge them to call their Senators now!

Health & Medicine will not stop fighting for the human right to healthcare—for all. Stay in the loop with Health & Medicine by clicking here.  Also, you can sign up for email updates or join Protect Our Care Illinois, of which Health & Medicine is a member.

June 14-Day of Action: Tell Gov. Rauner and Members of Congress to oppose cuts and caps on Medicaid

Jun 13, 2017

Senate Republicans are working behind closed doors on their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the House bill, the “revamped” AHCA would throw millions off of health care and gut Medicaid, harming older Americans, kids and their families, people with disabilities, and those seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

Also, like the House, Senate leadership is doing all they can to rush this secret plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act onto the Senate floor. No committee hearings, no public debate, and no expert testimony will take place before this extremely unpopular bill is likely to get a vote in the U.S. Senate in the next few weeks.

Illinois will be among those hit the hardest by the Medicaid cuts. Because of our state’s historically low spending on Medicaid enrollees, putting a cap on our federal funding is an especially bad deal for Illinois. If the Medicaid per capita cap went into effect, Illinois would have to find savings in our program to make up for the loss of funding. This means:

  • Rationing care for low-income people, including children with special health care needs and frail seniors;
  • Defunding efforts to address public health crises like the opioid epidemic;
  • Jeopardizing the health coverage of veterans – 1 out of 10 veterans depend on Medicaid for coverage; and
  • Harming communities of color who, because of a long history of oppression and discrimination, face persistent health inequities.
Health & Medicine and Protect our Care Illinois urge you to take time tomorrow, June 14, to help stop this! Here are three things you can do!
  1. Call Gov. Rauner at 312-814-2121 and demand that he publicly oppose the AHCA, which will cost Illinois billions of dollars in Medicaid funding and thousands of jobs.
  2. Call your Member of Congress at 1-866-877-3303 and demand that they publicly oppose the AHCA. Sens. Durbin and Duckworth are outspoken opponents of the AHCA, but the Senate bill, if approved, will head to the House for a final vote. Calling your House member now is crucial for building a firewall against this bill.
  3. Share this message on social media using #ILSaveACA and #SaveMedicaid. You can also share these Families USA graphics. If you have friends/family in these 10 states, encourage them to call and tweet at their Senators to Vote NO on #TrumpCarein2018.
Health & Medicine is proud to be a lead agency of Protect our Care – Illinois, a statewide coalition of health care advocates, providers, consumers, and workers, working to prevent the repeal of the ACA, prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and protect and expand access to quality affordable health care.