Our Impact – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Our Impact

Nimble and responsive, these are just some of the accomplishments Health & Medicine has achieved in our first four decades:


  • Developed legislation requiring a minimum charity care standard for all not-for-profit hospitals agreeing to provide free care to ER patients whose incomes are below 200% of the federal poverty line.
  • Became a Chicago Area Health Education Center, encouraging students from underrepresented populations to pursue health careers.
  • Worked with community and legislative partners to draft and pass HB5412, Illinois’ first legislation recognizing Community Health Workers.
  • Helped ensure successful opening of the first free standing birth center in Illinois.
  • A founding member of the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative; initiated the country’s first Trauma-Informed Hospital Workgroup to train 16+ area health systems on ACEs, trauma, and resilience.
  • Launched the Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy, convening leaders from communities, health systems, and government to improve health in Illinois.


  • Led the Coalition to establish the independent Board for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System.
  • Public Act 095-0445 allowing freestanding birth centers in Illinois passes, the result of over three decades of work by Health & Medicine.
  • Our Court-Involved Youth Project shepherded passage of an LGBTQ policy—one of the few in the country—in the Cook County juvenile justice system; began training justice system staff on safer custody of LGBTQ youth.
  • Launched the Center for Long-Term Care Reform which educated legislators, helped initiate the Older Adults Services Advisory Committee, and secured an additional $63 million to support home and community-based services.


  • Launched the Chicago Areas Schweitzer Fellows Program to nurture the next generation of service-minded healthcare leaders
  • Sponsored The Bernardin Amendment to the Illinois Constitution which advocated health care for all
  • Formed the Illinois Women’s Health Coalition, which developed a statewide policy agenda and legislative report card for voting records on women’s health, providing advocates with important information and tools.
  • Initiated a proposal for the intergovernmental transfer of funds to capture millions more in matching Medicaid dollars for Illinois.


  • Initiated a project to educate community about environmental causes of illness; worked with city government to create solutions.
  • County leadership asked Health & Medicine to join a commission establishing the need for a new Cook County Hospital, calling for integrating impatient and outpatient facilities, existing health service, and a replacement hospital.
  • Released a comprehensive briefing paper on the medical, ethical, and financial dimensions of AIDS in Chicago.
  • Produced research indicating a lack of birth options for Illinois families, resulting in our Task Force introducing legislation to establish freestanding birth centers.
  • Health & Medicine Policy Research Group is founded in 1981 by a group of health care and policy leaders, including Dr. Quentin Young and John McKnight, to address the factors—poverty, racism, unequal access to healthcare, and other social determinants—that lead to poor health.