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Call for Nominations for the 2015 Schweitzer Leadership Award

Feb 20, 2015

The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship is seeking nominations for their 2015 Schweitzer Leadership Award which recognizes an individual who has done significant work to mitigate the social determinants of health in our community, and whose commitment to service has influenced and inspired others. The nomination deadline is Friday, March 5, 2015 and the winner will be honored at an awards event this June.
To submit a nomination, send an e-mail to, with the subject “Leadership Award Nomination.” In the body of the e-mail, include your contact information, the contact information of your nominee, and an answer to these questions:
• Why is your nominee an ideal candidate for the Schweitzer Leadership Award?
• Please describe the ways in which your nominee has mitigated the social determinants of health in his/her community, and the ways in which his/her commitment to service has influenced and inspired others.
• Please be sure to include your name, contact information, and affiliation(s) with the person you are nominating.

Nominations may have a maximum  of 1,000 words, and only individuals living in the Chicago area are eligible for the award. We also invite you to download a nomination flier to share this exciting opportunity with your network.

Health & Medicine’s Phyllis Mitzen Discusses Aging in Place on WTTW Chicago Tonight

Feb 11, 2015

Phyllis Mitzen, a policy consultant for Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform, was recently featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. Mitzen participated in a discussion on “The Village Movement: How Elders are Aging in Place” addressing the nation's growing collection of "virtual villages" which are providing engagement, services, and a new way of looking at how we age. In addition to her work at Health & Medicine, Mitzen is President of Skyline Village Chicago and also coordinates a program for social work students interested in aging at University of Chicago, SSA where she received her Masters in Social Work. Her Chicago Tonight segment can be viewed here.

Health & Medicine Remembers Ray Werntz

Jan 19, 2015

Health & Medicine is sadden by the passing of long-time Board Member Ray Werntz. We are honored to count Ray among our community of supporters and are deeply grateful for his many years of service to our organization. We will remember him for his decades of work helping employees across Illinois and their families improve their health status. We invite you to read more about Ray's life and work below.

Raymond B. Werntz Jr., age 72 of Wheaton, Illinois, passed away January 7, 2015 in his home, surrounded by his wife Lorna (neé Shopland) and three daughters (Carrie, Jamie and Alexandra).  Throughout his recent years as president of WellnessOptimized Inc., he passionately worked to improve and promote his co-designed HIP (the Health Improvement Plan), an employee medical benefit plan that teaches members to wisely use health resources to improve their own health status through knowledge, accountability and engagement.  As he bravely battled cancer the last 4 years of his life, he applied the knowledge he acquired as a patient to enhance HIP.  

Previously, as President of the Consumer Health Education Council (CHEC) in Washington, D.C. a program of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Ray worked to promote solutions to America’s uninsured issues.

Retiring after 32 years as Vice President, Compensation and Benefits from Whitman Corporation, a Chicago-based multinational holding company (formerly IC Railroad, IC Industries), Ray promoted, through national presentations and advocacy, a business case for employer investment in employee health and increased employee engagement in their own health.  

Ray received his BA and MA in History and Philosophy from DePaul University (Chicago) and JD from the John Marshall Law School (Chicago).  He also served on boards of private and public sector organizations established to address health care policy, delivery, quality, education, and access for low income Chicago residents, including the Center for Employee Health Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Midwest and National Business Groups on Health, and the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group.

Born in Chicago, Ray was the beloved husband of 30 years of Lorna Shopland Werntz and was devoted to his daughters, Carrie (Brian) Birkholz, Jamie (David) Howe and Alexandra (Sean Johnson) Werntz. He was the son of the late Eloise and Raymond B. Werntz and proud grandfather of Sean and Kaelen Birkholz, and Kristi and Nicole Howe.  He is survived by his brothers Frederic (Lois) Jones, Michael Werntz and Gary (Susan) Werntz; as well as nieces and nephews.

Health & Medicine Co-Sponsors "Innovations in Healthcare"

Jan 15, 2015

Health & Medicine is pleased to join area advocates, universities, and non-profit organizations as a co-sponsor of Leadership Greater Chicago’s upcoming event Unleashed Healthcare: "Innovations in Healthcare."  The convening, which will take place on February 23, 2015 at 8:00am at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, will focus on the many complex questions of healthcare including how to reduce costs and increase value and ways to improve patients’ experiences and outcomes. Speakers include Nina Antoniotti, Executive Director of Telehealth at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Michael Gelder, Senior Health Policy Advisor to former Governor Pat Quinn. For more information about the event click here.