holmes HC access 102122Aurora – The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the health inequities facing communities throughout Illinois. Two organizations in Kane and Kendall counties have been awarded funding to implement health equity strategies, State Senator Linda Holmes announced Wednesday.  

“The pandemic revealed undesirable inequalities in health outcomes for people in minority and rural communities,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “This makes prioritizing access and inclusion in health care more crucial than ever.”

Activating Relationships in Illinois for Systemic Equity (ARISE) is a joint initiative of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Center for Minority Health Services and The Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-Being and Equity (WE) in the World.

Kane County’s Rainbow Café and Coordinated Care Alliance in Kane and Kendall counties are two of the 18 organizations across Illinois awarded funding to address systemic health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ARISE intends to support socio-economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities outside of Cook County that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Further, organizations will be able to address enduring health inequities in their communities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The selected ARISE Community Equity Zone communities will engage in a rigorous “learning-and-doing” capacity building program to advance health equity in the short, medium and long term. The community coalitions will address inequities in mental, physical and social well-being in communities that are experiencing the brunt of these disparities by connecting people to vaccinations, food, and other well-being needs. They will also address underlying community needs such as humane housing, reliable transportation, and the root causes of these inequities, including racism and poverty.

“This provides an opportunity to implement strategy to fight long standing health inequities made worse by the pandemic,” said Holmes. “A shared community effort can put the state on a path toward greater post-pandemic healing.”

To learn more about the ARISE initiative, people can visit www.weintheworld.org/arise-project.