Ill. Community Health Workers receive funding from IDPH, CDC

ILLINOIS (KFVS) – Trained by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) and Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA), a group of Community Health Workers will continue offering resources in Illinois thanks to new support from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Leaders such as Dr. Tracey Smith of IPHA and Ollie Idowu of the IPHCA joined Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration today to announce the COVID Health Equity Pandemic Health Navigator Project. A $10 million program allowing Community Health Workers to continue connecting vulnerable constituents with basic human needs and health resources.

Dr. Smith said the Community Health Workers played a significant role in Illinois’ COVID-19 mitigation efforts whose usefulness goes far beyond the pandemic.

“Community Health Workers are a trusted source for communities dealing with long-standing health equity issues in Illinois,” said Dr. Tracey Smith, director of community health at the Illinois Public Health Association. “Many of the Community Health Workers we hired during the COVID-19 pandemic have already found positions utilizing the skillsets our training provides. We are grateful to IDPH for enabling us to continue this work and further strengthening Illinois’ public health infrastructure.”

Community Health Workers are frontline public health workers with a close understanding of services and needs in their respective areas.

According to IDPH, over 650 residents completed the Illinois Public Health Association’s training program to become Community Health Workers in the Pritzker administration’s Pandemic Health Navigator Program.

With this training, they were able to connect thousands of people quarantined by COVID-19 with food, medicine, and safe shelter.

“Illinois is fortunate to have a trained and active Community Health Workforce supported by federally qualified health centers, local health departments, providers and community-based organizations,” said Laura Vaught, IDPH chief of staff. “With U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Health Disparities funding, our COVID-19 pandemic response programs can realign to meet needs throughout Illinois.”

The COVID Health Equity Pandemic Health Navigator Project will be available in 27 Illinois counties, including Alexander, Boone, Cass, Clay, Douglas, Fayette, Franklin, Hardin, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Lawrence, Macon, Marion, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Rock Island, St. Clair, Saline, Union, Vermilion, White and Winnebago.

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