Health Care Workforce Initiatives – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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For more information about this program please contact:

Wesley Epplin
Director, Health Equity

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Health Care Workforce Initiatives

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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 care 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 research and policy organization.

Our workforce programming promotes policies and strategies to ensure that Illinois has the workforce necessary to meet the needs of a rapidly changing health system and an increasingly diverse population. Our efforts focus on the following areas working to shape and expand current policy while also developing the next generation of health care providers:

State Workforce Policy and Planning Initiatives
Health & Medicine has served as a lead stakeholder in all state and regional health workforce initiatives. Policy makers, state agencies, and advocates routinely turn to Health & Medicine for our workforce expertise, and our perspective helps inform and align the numerous ongoing reform initiatives in our region. Learn more about our policy and planning efforts and access workforce reports and resources here.

Advancing Community Health Workers in Illinois
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an important health care workforce helping residents—often in underserved communities—manage chronic conditions, develop healthier lifestyles, and gain access to care. In 2014, we drafted and garnered support for a bill – the first of its kind in Illinois – formally recognizing CHWs as an integral part of our healthcare teams. Health & Medicine’s policy and research around CHWs aims to support this important, emerging healthcare workforce.

Chicago Area Health Education Center
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 students and community college students to enter the health professions by providing them with mentoring, job shadowing and other career development opportunities and connecting them with a Speakers Bureau comprised of underrepresented health professionals, reaching over 1,500 students last year. Learn more.

Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program
The Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program provides a platform for health professions graduate students to design and implement projects that improve the health of underserved populations in Chicago. Each year, 30 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. Learn more.

Together, these initiatives help the State of Illinois to build a 21st century health workforce, a necessary part of ensuring access to healthcare for all people and eliminating health inequities in Illinois.