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Call for Illinois CHW Advisory Board Nominations

Aug 07, 2014

On July 31st, surrounded by Community Health Workers (CHWs), providers, and advocates, Governor Pat Quinn signed CHW Legislation HB5412 taking an important step towards recognizing the vital work CHWs do throughout Illinois.

The act calls for the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish and appoint the Illinois Community Health Worker Advisory Board. Membership applications for the Advisory Board are now being accepted and you can view the application here.

The Board will develop recommendations for IDPH to develop a training and certification process for CHWs and will also advise IDPH, the Governor, and the General Assembly on all matters that impact the effective work of CHWs.

Health & Medicine is proud of our work drafting and garnering support for this legislation. We are grateful for the support of the many organizations, individuals, and CHWs who helped make these efforts a success. We encourage all of those interested in joining the Community Health Worker Advisory Board to complete an application and help support ongoing efforts in Illinois to highlight the vital work of Community Health Workers.

Governor Quinn Signs CHW Legislation HB5412

Jul 31, 2014

This morning Governor Pat Quinn signed Community Health Worker (CHW) Legislation, HB5412, formally recognizing the vital role CHWs play in promoting access to culturally-competent, high quality healthcare in communities throughout Illinois.

Health & Medicine, along with other key stakeholders, including the Chicago CHW Local Network, the Governor’s office, and the Illinois Department of Public Health, helped draft and garner support for this important legislation, the first of its kind in Illinois. The bill, which was sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and by Senator David Koehler (D-Peoria), adopts the American Public Health Association’s definition of a CHW and establishes an advisory board to provide recommendations and consider essential core competencies.

“Community health workers are trusted frontline public health professionals who have a close understanding of their communities’ needs,” Governor Quinn said at the signing. “This new law recognizes the vital role these professionals play in the health care system, and helps ensure the best possible delivery and quality of services in neighborhoods across our state.”

Health & Medicine is proud of our role in drafting and advocating for this legislation championing the work of this important healthcare workforce.

Read more: Board Member Steve Rothschild, MD, considers what's next for CHWs.

Karen Lewis to Give Keynote Address at Education and Health Equity Forum on August 14

Jul 29, 2014

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group announced today that Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Linda Rae Murray, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer at the Cook County Department of Public Health, will be presenting keynote addresses at the upcoming forum Education & Health Equity: Everybody in, Nobody Out which will take place on August 14, 2014 at Malcolm X College.

The forum, the first event of its kind in Chicago, will bring together education and health professionals - as well as advocates, community members, and researchers – to focus on the reciprocal relationship between education and health.

“As a leader in public health in Illinois, we talk about social determinants of health - factors like racism, poverty, and violence - that impact health outcomes, but these factors could also be described as ‘social determinants of education’ that make students more or less likely to access high-quality, effective education,” Health & Medicine’s Executive Director Margie Schaps said. “Yet there are very few opportunities for professionals from the different disciplines to collaborate and problem solve together. This event is a unique opportunity to break down silos and focus on addressing the common challenges we face.”

Read the full press release here.

Board Member Heather O’Donnell Quoted in Tribune

Jul 25, 2014

Health & Medicine Board Treasurer Health O’Donnell recently addressed the Chicago City Council as they debated a proposed ordinance that would temporarily halt the conversion of single-room-occupancy hotels into market-rate housing.

The Chicago Tribune quoted Ms. O’Donnell’s remarks to the Council in their July 23rd story “Committee OKs hold on residential hotel conversions.” Ms. O’Donnell, who is a vice president at Thresholds a social service mental health organization, told the alderman:

“Without SROs, a great many of the 6,000-plus clients that we see every year, most of whom live on (Supplemental Security Income) of $721 a month because of their disability could either be homeless or institutionalized. I cannot underscore enough how difficult it is for our clients to find safe, affordable housing in Chicago.”