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The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy: Ensuring the Health of People Who Are Noncitizens

Approximately 900,000 people living in Illinois are not U.S. citizens, including about a half-million people who are undocumented immigrants. They experience unique health risk factors, but they are also not eligible to receive insurance under the ACA. On April 14, 2016 at Loyola University School of Law, Health & Medicine held a meeting of the Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy to explore how Illinois can better ensure the health of noncitizens in its efforts to work toward health equity.


Additional event video available below.


This discussion explored the overlap among immigration and health policies and looked at both healthcare access and other facets of community health with regard to noncitizens.

Forum Speakers, Presentations, and Resources:
  • Linda Rae Murray, Board Member, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (Moderator) - View the presentation here
  • Jesús "Chuy" García, Cook County Commissioner, 7th District
  • Claudia Fegan, Chief Medical Officer, Cook County Health & Hospitals System
  • Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Executive Director, Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste (PASO) (West Suburban Action Project)
  • Luvia Quiñones, Health Policy Director, Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights - View the presentation here
  • Andrea Kovach, Senior Attorney, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law - View the presentation here
  • Erendira "Ere" Rendon, Director of National Partnerships, The Resurrection Project
  • Reading List: Health & Medicine would also like to share a sampling of articles and other sources that can help provide some background information on ensuring the health and healthcare of noncitizens and undocumented immigrants. We hope this collection will provide a useful starting point for further reading and investigation for forum attendees and others. View the reading list here.
Health reform and other areas of Illinois and Federal policy need to address the needs of noncitizens. The panel discussion offered perspectives on the following issues:
  • Historical perspective on the fight for immigrant rights and health access
  • Health impacts of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, detentions, and deportations, and the threats of these, on undocumented immigrants, their families, and communities
  • Advocacy efforts to counter discrimination and attacks against undocumented immigrants
  • A Cook County effort to develop a direct access program for people who are uninsured, Healthy Communities Cook County (HC3)
  • The Healthy Illinois Campaign, which seeks to extend insurance to all people in Illinois, including all noncitizens
  • Shaping health policy within our public institutions that protect and advocate for citizens and noncitizens

About The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy:
Each policy forum in The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy series will focus on health reform efforts both in Illinois and in the Chicago area, including discussions of best practices from around the country. Click here to learn about our last Chicago Forum event, Challenges to the Healthcare Safety Net in a Reforming Healthcare Environment.