Protect Immigrant Health Now!
The Protect Immigrant Health Now! Campaign was introduced in February 2017 by the Chicago-area Public Health Woke Coalition, a grouping of over 19 organizations committed to addressing the threats to health and wellness the Trump Administration has imposed on immigrant communities. Protect Immigrant Health Now! strives to ensure that the Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS) remain a safe and welcoming institution for all. The coalition presented CCHHS with data and personal stories reflecting the increased fear and discrimination that immigrants have felt in the health system in recent months, and recommended six steps CCHHS should take to ensure their facilities are truly safe and welcoming for all patients.
The Protect Immigrant Health Now! campaign demands that the Cook County Health System live up to its promise to welcome and protect immigrants and all people by:
Placing abundant and clear signage in multiple languages assuring a welcoming institution
Giving staff training and resources addressing needs of marginalized patients and families
Establishing referral systems for legal services, know your rights information and other resources needed by immigrant and other marginalized communities.
Clarifying, revising and strengthening policies and procedures that focus on protecting immigrant and marginalized patients.
Identifying and monitoring indicators and neighborhood stress in immigrant and marginalized communities.
Designing and implementing best practices for clinical and public health providers to deliver appropriate care.
Members of the Protect Immigrant Health Now! have testified at several CCHHS Board Meetings, discussing the barriers to care that immigrant families face in the health system.
Despite this testimony and months of pressure from physicians, nurses, researchers, community health workers, and community residents, the CCHHS Board has not acted on a single demand.
View the written testimony from Linda Rae Murray, Wesley Epplin, and Sue Avila here.
CCHHS Report Card
After eight months of many meetings and promises, the Protect Immigrant Health Now! coalition released a report card on the progress made to meet those demands.
At best, CCHHS' overall grade is a D-. The easiest demand to meet, abundant and clear signage still has not appeared. Staff education, an essential component, still has not happened except within the Cook County Dept. of Public Health and few ACHN clinics. This despite direct recommendations to CCHHS leadership by this Board’s workgroup. There has been no movement on establishment of a referral system, monitoring indicators of neighborhood stress and implementation of best practices for clinical care.
View the complete report card here:
In February 2017 CHE Cook County partnered with the Chicago area Public Health Woke Coalition to promote the Protect Immigrant Health Now! Campaign. Protect Immigrant Health Now! Is a response to the accelerated attacks on immigrant and Muslim communities in recent months. Although health systems have previously been considered “sensitive locations” that prohibited ICE activity, the Trump Administration’s encouragement of aggressive ICE tactics have threatened patient health and safety.
Across the country, immigrant communities have faced increased discrimination and fear in accessing health services: in addition to facing barriers to care due to poverty and other social determinants of health, now undocumented parents are afraid to apply for health coverage for their children due to fears of deportation, patients are afraid to seek preventative care for chronic conditions, and patients, caregivers, and providers alike have been targeted for ICE deportations in healthcare settings.
There is a clear need for added protections for immigrants in healthcare settings. In February 2017, the Protect Immigrant Health Now! Coalition met with the Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS) to demand that they explicitly and actively work to make CCHHS a safe and welcoming environment for all. Despite the many meetings and promises, CCHHS has failed to act on any of the Coalition's recommended steps.
This failure to take basic steps threatens to undermine any trust that Black, Brown, immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, refugees, and other communities might have that our health system stands with them.
AIDS Foundation of Chicago; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council; Centro de Trabajadores Unidos-Immigrant Workers Project; Coalición Nacional para Latinxs con Discapacidades; Collaborative for Health Equity Cook County; Enlace Chicago; EverThrive Illinois; Health & Medicine Policy Research Group; Healthy Illinois Campaign; Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health; Our Revolution Illinois/Chicago; Protect Our Care Illinois; Public Health Awakened; Radical Public Health; Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago; Seventh District Health Task Force of Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia; Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation; Syrian Community Network; University of Illinois School of Public Health Coordinating Center for Public Health Practice
For more information or to get involved please contact: