Health & Medicine Supports Efforts of Local Foundations to Fund West Suburban CHWs - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Health & Medicine Supports Efforts of Local Foundations to Fund West Suburban CHWs

January 29, 2019

On January 22nd, Community Memorial Foundation and Healthy Communities Foundation announced that they jointly invested $535,000 in a pilot program to engage a community health worker (CHW) network in the Western Suburbs.

Funding will be used to support Community Health Workers at Aging Care Connections, Alivio Medical Center, BEDS Plus, Healthcare Alternative Systems, and Mujeres Latinas en Acción. Health and Medicine will coordinate the program which will be evaluated by the Chicago-based Sinai Urban Health Institute.

CHWs are front-line public health workers with established, trusted relationships within their communities. These relationships enable the workers to serve as liaisons between community members and local health and social service providers, with the goal of facilitating access to services and improving the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.

Health & Medicine has long been committed to recognizing CHWs as an integral part of our healthcare teams. In 2014, we helped draft and garner support for Illinois’ first CHW legislation. We are excited to participate in this new pilot project which will help link individuals to resources that can measurably impact their health outcomes and help achieve health equity in their communities

Funding will be used to connect west suburban residents, served by the two foundations, to a diverse range of services, including adult and family health care, homelessness prevention, behavioral health care, and crisis prevention.

In addition to this effort, Health & Medicine will continue to advocate at the state level and with health systems to strengthen the role and recognition of CHWs as integral to the healthcare team.