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For more information about this program please contact:

Wesley Epplin
Policy Director

Alizandra Medina
Health and Aging Organizer

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Aging Equity Center

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The Aging Equity Center, formerly known as the Center for Long Term Care Reform, at Health & Medicine promotes equitable aging within communities for all Illinoisans at all ages. 

The Aging Equity Center works toward a just society that enables people to age well across the entire life course and an equitable system of long-term services and supports so that people can live according to their own goals and values, without exploitation or unmet needs. The Center advocates for caregiving that supports both the needs and rights of older persons and caregivers. 

Founding: Health & Medicine’s Aging Equity Center was founded in 2001. At that time, the Center’s focus was on reducing the number of people who were in nursing homes, ensuring nursing home safety, and ensuring essential community supportive services for activities of daily living for those wishing to live with families and remain integrated within their communities. 

The work of the Aging Equity Center is a critical part of Health & Medicine’s focus on both health, considered in the broadest sense, and on access to high-quality healthcare, with a special emphasis on the systems that support health and social care, including policies, programs, and institutions that advance health equity. The Center’s work has evolved over the years, and you can read about our current initiatives below. 

Current Initiatives: 

Illinois Aging Together: A Statewide Movement for Aging Equity 

Illinois Aging Together (IAT) is currently the main initiative of the Aging Equity Center. Illinois Aging Together is a statewide movement for aging equity. It includes a campaign for a strategic action plan for aging equity. We also seek to reframe aging in positive terms of value, meaning, and purpose, and to link aging equity to other justice-focused movements. You can learn more and support the campaign at 

Why is this plan and reframing needed? Illinois’ population is aging. We are all aging all the time and are impacted by the aging of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Older adulthood should be a time for joy, celebration, and fulfillment; however, due largely to a biased presumption that everyone has a nuclear family or family caregiver to help — and a lack of community supports based on that presumption — many Illinoisans struggle with aging. Additionally, health inequities reduce quality of life and cut lives short. Our challenge is how best to support equitable aging for all? 

Illinois needs a strategic action plan for aging equity. We’re building the aging equity movement, and we hope you’ll join! 

Nursing Home Research 

Health & Medicine founding board member and chair of the Aging Equity Center Committee Michael Gelder has been part of a research team conducting a comparative research study of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in older adults throughout Illinois based on residential status in nursing homes vs. the community. Read more here. Michael has also worked to get death certificate data from the Illinois Department of Public Health and is seeking to move this research to a new phase. 

Social Media:


  • Illinois Aging Together Launches Campaign for Aging Plan to Support Older Persons

    September 16, 2021

    Illinois Aging Together is publicly launching its statewide movement for aging equity. The group is campaigning for a strategic action plan for aging, which it hopes to accomplish through state legislation. As Illinois’s population becomes older, there is a significant and growing need––and opportunity––to create a long-term vision for aging in Illinois. Illinois’s population has […]

  • New Study Examines COVID-19 in Cook County Nursing Homes

    August 6, 2021

    A new study looking at factors that contributed to increased COVID-19 infection and deaths among older adults in nursing home facilities found that facilities with poor Medicare quality ratings were associated with increased COVID-19 cases and deaths. The study was led by founding Health & Medicine Board member Michael Gelder. It is well known that […]

  • Health & Medicine Releases Long-Term Care Reform in Illinois: 2019 Agenda for Change

    February 26, 2019

    Health & Medicine and our Center for Long-Term Care Reform have long been committed to improving the way older adults in Illinois live and enjoy their final years with dignity in their homes and communities. With a new administration in place, Health & Medicine intends to take action to ensure that aging issues are prioritized by the new Pritzker administration, as well as advocating nationally for adequate funding and rational policies to support home and community-based services and supports. To that end, we are pleased to share our Aging in Illinois: 2019 Agenda for Change.

  • Rauner’s Veto of HB1424 Jeopardizes Services for Seniors, Persons with Disabilities

    January 10, 2018

    Governor Rauner’s veto of HB1424 as reported in the Sun Times on Sunday, Dec 31, which was intended to preserve the Community Care Program (CCP) may foreshadow a blow to the thousands of older adults and persons with disability who rely on this program to remain living in their communities rather than moving into a nursing home.

  • Health & Medicine unites with advocates, aging community to protect services for Illinois’ most vulnerable population

    August 24, 2017

    The following is a statement on behalf of Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Caring Across Generations, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the withdrawal of rules that would have forced 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors out of the Community Care Program and into the unproven and untested Community Reinvestment Program:

  • June 14-Day of Action: Tell Gov. Rauner and Members of Congress to oppose cuts and caps on Medicaid

    June 13, 2017

    Senate Republicans are working behind closed doors on their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the House bill, the “revamped” AHCA would throw millions off of health care and gut Medicaid, harming older Americans, kids and their families, people with disabilities, and those seeking treatment for substance use disorders. Health & Medicine and Protect our Care Illinois urge you to take time tomorrow, June 14, to join advocates across the country to help us stop this!

  • New Online Resources Released to Support Health Workforce for Older Adults

    April 25, 2017

    Health & Medicine would like to announce two great resources recently made available online: CATCH-ON and ENGAGE-IL. Our own Chicago Area Health Education Center (AHEC) at Health & Medicine and Center for Long Term Care Reform have teamed up to help review and define these two programs as a way to increase access to learning and professional development opportunities for health professionals; promote health careers development to students; and enhance collaborative, community-based health promotion activities.