Health Workforce Initiatives - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Connect & Follow Us

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group Logo


Health Workforce Initiatives

Programs & Projects Menu

For more information about this program please contact:

Ronisha Edwards-Elliott
Director, Chicago AHEC and Workforce Programs

Anna Yankelev
Director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives

Karol Dean
Program Director, Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellowship

Go Back

Health Workforce Initiatives

  • Overview


In our work to improve the health of all people in Illinois, Health & Medicine recognizes that developing a robust, highly trained, and culturally competent health workforce is central to achieving our mission. Our decades of leadership promoting the development of workforce policies and strengthening the health careers pipeline have made Health & Medicine Illinois’ leading health workforce development, research, and policy organization. Our efforts focus on shaping and expanding current policy while also developing the next generation of public health and healthcare workers:   

Chicago Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
Complementing our policy work, Health & Medicine administers the Chicago Area Health Education Center (AHEC), part of a national network that works to develop, train, and retain a diverse healthcare workforce. Chicago AHEC inspires Chicago high school and community college students to enter the health professions by providing them with mentoring, job shadowing, and other career development opportunities. AHEC’s Speakers Bureau, which brings current workers representing various health professions to local schools, reached over 1,500 students last year. 

Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program provides a platform for graduate students interested in health equity to design and implement projects that improve the health of divested communities in Chicago. Each year, 28 exceptional Fellows provide 200 hours of service, promoting their development as leaders in public service and helping to foster a workforce committed to serving the communities that need them most.

Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an important health care workforce helping residents—often in underserved communities—manage chronic conditions, develop healthier lifestyles, and access care. Health & Medicine has a long-standing commitment to the CHW model and has been a key player in the formation of CHW legislation at the state level, as well as supporting various CHW initiatives and collaborations. Today, we are excited to serve as the key convener for a CHW learning collaborative in the Western Suburbs of Cook County, which provides professional development, ongoing support, and sustainability guidance for CHWs and their employers. 

Public Health Workforce Collaborative
Health & Medicine is the convener of the Public Health Workforce Collaborative (PHWC) – a coalition of public health employers, training providers, academic institutions, funders, and other relevant stakeholders committed to building a robust, representative, and resilient public health workforce. The PHWC’s mission is to coordinate, expand, and sustain the systems, structures, and supports necessary to assure a skilled, sustainable, responsive, and permanent public health workforce in Chicagoland. PHWC members work together to realize its mission through three Action Teams: Supporting Workers, Career Pathways, and Capacity Building.

Equity Intern Program
In 2018, Health & Medicine created an Internship Equity Committee charged with developing a new model for internships called the Equity Intern Program. This program replaced unpaid intern labor with a paid internship model and established a “one door” application process so opportunities are not limited to the well-connected. Providing paid internships is important in creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive health workforce.