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Welcome to the blog for Health & Medicine. Founded in 1981, we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as an independent, freestanding center driven by a singular mission: formulating health policy, advocacy and health systems to enhance the health of the public.


Introduction to Issue Brief Series: Criminalization of People of Color as a Barrier to Diversifying the Health Workforce

December 12, 2017 Written By: Chicago AHEC

Chicago AHEC at Health & Medicine is pleased to share this issue brief series on Criminalization of People of Color as a Barrier to Diversifying the Health Workforce. Please read our introduction to the series below and our issue briefs. We will continue to update this page as briefs are released. Issue Brief One: Disproportionate […]

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Health Inequities

September 5, 2017 Written By: Margie Schaps and Wesley Epplin

Crain’s Chicago Business’ and the Better Government Association’s recent report on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration funneling Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars to Navy Pier provides an opportunity for health advocates and researchers to ponder TIF usage in Chicago. Unacceptably, the pass-through appears to contradict both the law and the explanation the Mayor gave to the City Council for the $55 million expenditure of public funds.

To Address Ageism, We Need to “Reframe” Aging

August 25, 2017 Written By: Renae Alvarez

On Friday, August 11th the Health & Medicine Communications and Development team and Center for Long-Term Care Reform Staff attended the American Society on Aging (ASA) Roundtable on, “Ending Ageism and Reframing Aging, Your Role as an Advocate” presented by ASA President & CEO Bob Stein. Stein encouraged the audience to share this work and bring it to our organizations so that we can start conversations around how our society systematically stereotypes and discriminates against people on the basis of their age. I can certainly get behind that. But once the conversation starts, then how do we redress ageism today?

Make No Mistake: Health Policy is a Moral Issue

August 1, 2017 Written By: Guest Author

As a physician and bioethicist, I have spent the last 30 years caring for people during their most vulnerable times, helping them make important health decisions—sometimes life and death decisions. Behind the medical curtain, I witness the capriciousness of the lottery of life. People do not choose their genes, their parents, or the school district in which they grew up. They do not decide to get cancer, heart disease or to have a catastrophic accident. Life happens, and all of us will need health care at some point. When we do, we will likely experience a profound vulnerability. How we respond to one another's inescapable medical vulnerability is the moral question of our time.

Trauma among Chicago’s Court-Involved Youth

July 19, 2017 Written By: Paula Satariano

Juvenile justice (JJ) populations experience high levels of trauma that have been found to impact their capacity to access healthcare and lead healthy lives. In response, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group’s Court-Involved Youth Project began to collaborate with the Illinois ACES Response Collaborative on policy development and program recommendations for justice-involved youth.

Report Release: Efficient Health Workforce Data Collection in Illinois

July 17, 2017 Written By: Tiffany Ford and Wesley Epplin

Illinois has seen large gains in health insurance coverage in recent years, and in the diversity of its population; however, the State has significant shortages of different types of health professionals in many parts of the state, which can limit healthcare access. Illinois currently ranks 25th nationally in primary care percent of need met, with roughly 60% of its need met. Illinois does not systematically track data on its health workforce, and has an outdated and inefficient approach to collecting data on the providers in the state. The current license renewal data collection is inadequate for determining health professionals’ practice locations, amount of time in practice at each location, and the diversity of the health workforce.

Health & Medicine Responds to Illinois’ Managed Care “Re-Boot”

June 30, 2017 Written By: Sharon Post

Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform responds to the Rauner Administration’s plans for a major Medicaid managed care “re-boot.” This Critical Issues Policy Brief raises three questions for the Medicaid managed care re-boot and calls on State policy makers to work with stakeholders, including MCOs, Medicaid providers, and Medicaid members to address these issues to set a stronger foundation for a new managed care program in Illinois. Read about the Critical Issues here.

Behind the Buzzword: What is “Integrated Care”?

June 13, 2017 Written By: Sharon Post

Health & Medicine is hosting a forum on Wednesday, June 21 to share lessons from members of our Behavioral Health-Primary Care Integration Learning Collaborative. “Integrated care” has become a buzzword in health policy and we’d like to define what we mean by integration in the Learning Collaborative. We’d also like to describe Health & Medicine’s goals for the forum, which are to engage audiences around the lessons learned in two years of the Collaborative, to advance the discourse around state-wide mental health and Medicaid reforms, and to magnify the voice of people with mental illness and substance use conditions in these discussions.

Learning from National Leaders in Trauma: Lessons from the MARC Convening

May 11, 2017 Written By: Maggie Litgen

Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) is a learning collaborative of 14 communities actively engaged in building the movement for a just, healthy, and resilient world. Coordinated by the Health Federation of Philadelphia with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, MARC Communities are translating the science of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) into policies that foster resilience.

Everything is health: Tracking Legislation in the Illinois General Assembly

May 5, 2017 Written By: Tiffany Ford and Wesley Epplin

The World Health Organization defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

CPS, Health Equity, and Illinois’ Revenue Problem

April 3, 2017 Written By: Tiffany Ford and Wesley Epplin

As Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continues to struggle with budget cuts—and the system’s recent lawsuit about discriminatory education funding starts winding its way through the courts—we face another attack on our public education system and on Chicago’s youth. CPS leadership, along with Chicago and Illinois elected officials, share the blame for this failure. CPS budget cuts steadily chip away at investments in our collective future—our children—through reductions in teachers, necessary support staff, and outdated textbooks. These cuts worsen opportunity gaps, building on both historical and current structural racism and class inequity enacted through public policy, and are reinforced by our regressive state tax policy. This is an avoidable problem and we expect our elected officials to fix it.

Fighting the Forces of Reaction: The Quentin D. Young Equity Project

March 29, 2017 Written By: Sekile Nzinga-Johnson and Karen Loda

On November 19, 2016 Health & Medicine launched a new initiative that honors the life and work of our organization’s founder, Dr. Quentin D. Young. Quentin was a life-long leader in social justice movements. The Quentin D. Young Equity Project (QDY Equity Project) aims to shape the next wave of progressive activists to build on his legacy.

Fighting the Forces of Reaction: The Quentin D. Young Equity Project

On November 19, 2016 Health & Medicine launched a new initiative that honors the life and work of our organization’s founder, Dr. Quentin D. Young. Quentin was a life-long leader in social justice movements. The Quentin D. Young Equity Project (QDY Equity Project) aims to shape the next wave of progressive activists to build on […]

Ending Police Violence is a Public Health Responsibility

March 24, 2017 Written By: Tiffany Ford and Wesley Epplin

Health & Medicine hosted a forum this past Friday, March 17th where presenters and attendees explored how public health can aid in prevention efforts and policy change toward counting police-involved injuries and deaths. Our discussion intentionally had a broad focus on decriminalization of people generally, and more specifically on people of color and people living in poverty. In light of this discussion and related inquiry surrounding our choice of topic and speakers, we drafted this blog post to help frame 1) police violence as a public health (and health equity) issue and 2) how we can move toward police accountability.

The Only Choice for Public Education and HBCUs is to Fund Them

March 7, 2017 Written By: Sekile Nzinga-Johnson

Last week, Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education, drew a faulty and ahistorical connection by positioning historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as the "real pioneers when it comes to school choice". Devos’ school choice agenda is not a viable choice for most Americans nor were HBCUs founded as an educational choice for Blacks who were systematically denied access to American colleges and universities. They each are representative of unjust policy agendas that disinvest from communities and intensify inequity. Because I value education, I think the Secretary of Education might benefit from learning from a case study on the invaluable impact that a public school education and a HBCU education has on the lives of many Americans, including my own.

Justice is, By and Large, Just Racist

February 22, 2017 Written By: David Fischer

In Illinois, our Juvenile Justice population is largely youth of color.* As we move further into an age of juvenile decarceration, the claim often made by politicians is that only the worst offenders are being held in secure confinement. This can give us the notion that only those young people committing violent crimes—those that pose a “threat” to our community and safety—are being held in secure confinement.

Living our Values: Health & Medicine’s New Maternity Leave Policy

January 31, 2017 Written By: Ann Duffy

There's been a lot of talk lately about maternity leave policies in the U.S. We all know by now that America is behind the rest of the world when it comes to offering new moms (and dads) paid time off after the birth of a child. The Family and Medical Leave Act mandates 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new moms—but is applicable only to organizations with 50 or more employees. I found out I was pregnant in November 2015, prompting me to read every news item related to maternity leave—many about how horribly we treat new moms in our society. So I decided it was time to try my best to update Health & Medicine's maternity policy.

Setting the Foundation for Health Reform

January 24, 2017 Written By: Margie Schaps

Last week in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Health & Medicine’s Executive Director Margie Schaps was invited to present on the future of healthcare at Northwestern University. Presenting to students from the Priztker School of Law and the Feinberg School of Medicine, Schaps offered an overview of historic roots of health inequities as well as the impact of the Affordable Care Act and directions for future work. We are pleased to share her presentation here.