Health Care Workforce Initiatives
In our work to improve the health of all people in Illinois, Health & Medicine recognizes that developing a robust, highly-trained, and culturally-competent health care workforce is central to achieving our mission. Our decades of leadership promoting the development of workforce policies and strengthening the health careers pipeline have made Health & Medicine Illinois’ leading health workforce research and policy organization.
Our workforce programming promotes policies and strategies to ensure that Illinois has the workforce necessary to meet the needs of a rapidly changing health system and an increasingly diverse population. Our efforts focus on the following areas working to shape and expand current policy while also developing the next generation of health care providers:
State Workforce Policy and Planning Initiatives
Health & Medicine has served as a lead stakeholder in all state and regional health workforce initiatives. Policy makers, state agencies, and advocates routinely turn to Health & Medicine for our workforce expertise, and our perspective helps inform and align the numerous ongoing reform initiatives in our region. Learn more about our policy and planning efforts and access workforce reports and resources here.
Advancing Community Health Workers in Illinois
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an important health care workforce helping residents—often in underserved communities—manage chronic conditions, develop healthier lifestyles, and gain access to care. In 2014, we drafted and garnered support for a bill - the first of its kind in Illinois – formally recognizing CHWs as an integral part of our healthcare teams. Health & Medicine’s policy and research around CHWs aims to support this important, emerging healthcare workforce.
Chicago Area Health Education Center
Complementing our policy work, Health & Medicine administers the Chicago Area Health Education Center (AHEC), part of a national network that works to develop, train, and retain a diverse healthcare workforce. Chicago AHEC inspires Chicago high school students and community college students to enter the health professions by providing them with mentoring, job shadowing and other career development opportunities and connecting them with a Speakers Bureau comprised of underrepresented health professionals, reaching over 1,500 students last year. Learn more.
Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program provides a platform for health professions graduate students to design and implement projects that improve the health of underserved populations in Chicago. Each year, 30 exceptional Fellows provide 200 hours of service, promoting their development as leaders in public service and helping to foster a workforce committed to serving the communities that need them most. Learn more.
Together, these initiatives help the State of Illinois to build a 21st century health workforce, a necessary part of ensuring access to healthcare for all people and eliminating health inequities in Illinois.
Feb 18, 2014
We are very happy to announce that Representative Robyn Gabel has introduced House Bill 5412 formally recognizing the important role of Community Health Workers in our evolving healthcare system.
Mar 27, 2014
In Illinois, CHWs help residents manage chronic conditions; develop healthier lifestyles; increase rates of preventive screenings; and improve access to health care and social services. CHWs are able to engage with communities through outreach, enrollment, and patient education. Rep. Robyn Gabel has introduced HB5412, which recognizes the important contribution Community Health Workers (CHWs) make to our healthcare teams. HB5412 will be voted on in the House of Representatives during this spring session. If you would like to support the bill, you can contact your Representative.
May 29, 2014
HB5412,a bill that formally recognizes Community Health Workers (CHWs) as an integral part of our healthcare teams, passed both houses of the Illinois legislature today. Health & Medicine, along with other key stakeholders, such as 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.
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.