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A Postive Step: IDJJ Closes Kewanee

Feb 12, 2016

Health & Medicine and our Court-Involved Youth Project applaud the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice's decision to close its Youth Center in Kewanee.  The difficulties in maintaining high supports and services for youth in that facility, along with the struggle to recruit and maintain quality staff, has left this facility with a high-burden of unmet needs. By closing Kewanee, not only is the IDJJ supporting its current mission of right-sizing the population in its care, but it is also ensuring that those youth who remain receive the highest level of supports and services.

Seeking Nominations for the 2016 Schweitzer Leadership Award

Feb 03, 2016

The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship is seeking nominations for their 2016 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 Monday, February 8, 2016 and the winner will be honored at an awards event on April 29th as part of the Schweitzer 20th Anniversary Conference: Improving Community Health Together.

To submit a nomination, send an e-mail to with the subject "Leadership Award Nomination" and the answers to the following questions in the body of the email:
- 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 a Chicago 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 responds to cuts at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Feb 01, 2016

On January 22, 2016  Lutheran Social Services of Illinois announced significant cuts to its programs in light of Illinois' ongoing budget crises. Health & Medicine (and many other groups committed to the health and well-being of Illinoisans) was dismayed by this development. A Letter to the Editor detailing our response to the cuts was published in Crain's Chicago Business. An edited version of the letter can be seen on Crains website here and the full text is below.

We were saddened and outraged to hear on Friday that Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) will be laying off more than 750 workers affecting vital health and human service programs for about 4,700 of the most vulnerable people in our State.  This happened because the State owes them over $6 million and our leaders refuse to find their way to a budget that funds services and programs for seniors, at risk youth, veterans and their families, and more. Health & Medicine has had the good fortune of working with LSSI and we know firsthand that they both embody a spirit of innovation in human services and are a vital component of care in our community, always giving more than is required and constantly striving to do even better.
LSSI is just one of the many providers that have been forced to lay off staff and cut services.  Our failure to fund essential safety net services will have sweeping financial consequences for our State. In the short term it will cost us more as people delay getting care and end up in emergency rooms, nursing homes, jails and prisons; the costs will be even more staggering in the long term to rebuild the State’s safety net—which has taken decades to assemble—as it further unravels each day. What the state desperately needs is bipartisan leadership towards good-faith budget and revenue negotiations rather than short term grandstanding at the cost of the health of the public and the fiscal stability of the State. Brave votes are needed to pursue revenue solutions to solve our long-term structural budget deficit. It’s time for the State’s CEO to take this responsibility seriously and fulfill the fundamental compact of our civil society.

Health & Medicine Responds to State of the State

Jan 29, 2016

A letter to the editor by Health & Medicine's Executive Director Margie Schaps in response to Governor Rauner's State of the State address on Wednesday, January 27th was featured in today's Chicago Tribune. The article is available here at the Tribune's site and below.

It was 37 minutes past noon during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address on Wednesday when he finally mentioned Illinois’ lack of a budget. Before getting to the most critical issue facing our state, the governor discussed the need to provide innovative services for people returning to communities from prison, including substance abuse services and cognitive behavioral therapy. He emphasized the need for robust early childhood education, moving people who receive care in institutionalized settings back into communities, and a focus on prevention and public health. How will he support these programs when the infrastructure to provide these services is being further dismantled each day that we go without a budget?
All of these things, which are so important to the people of Illinois, depend upon passage of a state budget backed by sufficient revenue. The governor can spout rhetoric about priorities, but the bottom line is that he is derelict in his duty. Does Rauner want to be remembered for his bold new “innovation” of refusing to pass a budget?
Unfortunately, the governor’s words about accountability, innovation, and reform have been undermined by his and the legislature’s collective failure to pass a budget and to advance equitable revenue strategies that have succeeded in other states. The governor must set aside his ideologically driven agenda and work with the General Assembly to do this. As the governor said on Wednesday, “Let’s get it done.”