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Health & Medicine Urges CCHHS Board to take Leadership Role in Protecting Immigrants and other Marginalized Groups

On April 28, 2017 Health & Medicine’s Director of Health Equity, Wesley Epplin, testified before the Cook County Health & Hospitals Board in response to changes in immigration policies in the County providing recommendations on  issues System's leadership and staff should respond to in order to protect patients. An excerpt from his statement is available below and the full text can be viewed here.

Good morning.  I am Wesley Epplin and I serve as the Director of Health Equity at Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.  On behalf of Health & Medicine, I urge the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board and leadership to take swift action to protect access to the human right to healthcare and the safety of people seeking healthcare in your hospitals and clinics.  This fits well within this institution’s mission, which is, in part, “To deliver integrated health services with dignity and respect regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.”

In the shadow of increased threats from the Federal Government—with regard to the President’s verbal and written threats, statements of policy and intention, and changes in practice, especially of Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents—we urge action to provide greater real and perceived protection and safety for the patients in your clinics and hospitals.  

Health & Medicine is especially concerned about protecting all immigrants, including those with and without documents, and other marginalized groups, including LGBTQ people, Muslims, and people of color.  The increased threats and acts of oppression and violence from elected officials in the U.S. Government are focused on such marginalized groups.  An attack on any one of our people—and any community—is an attack on all of us.