Health and Human Services Workgroup

Work to Date

The Health & Human Services Workgroup has made significant progress since we convened monthly meetings beginning in July 2021. In the process of establishing baseline data, workgroup members initially compiled a list of over 25 health-related disparities. This list was then prioritized and condensed to the top four themes which would be the focus of its efforts. Those themes include: Preventive Care, Access to Care (including follow-up care), Patient & Provider Education, and Health Literacy. Trust and implicit bias were also identified as one of the top themes, but the workgroup decided that those are fundamental when understanding and addressing all the aforementioned health disparity themes and therefore would not be their own separate focus but rather should be integrated into all work to reduce race-based health inequities.

As the workgroup began its work, the tri-county Partnership for a Healthy Community (PFHC) was concurrently conducting the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP) process. PFHC is a community-driven partnership of public and private partners working together to address priority health issues in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties of Illinois whose vision is to foster a thriving community that is inclusive, diverse, and sustainable to ensure health equity and opportunity for well-being for all. The CHNA/CHIP process is conducted every three years to assess priority community health issues and support the identification and implementation of evidence-based interventions.

The co-chairs met with Monica Hendrickson, Peoria City County Health Department (PCCHD) Administrator, to discuss a collaborative model that would enhance the CHIP process by adding an additional level of assessment through the use of a racial equity impact assessment/review tool when implementing all evidence-based interventions. Workgroup members would review proposed interventions through the lens of the four identified disparity themes previously mentioned and provide feedback/recommendations to PCCHD. Similar models have been adopted in other cities/municipalities, i.e. Seattle, St. Louis, to address racial justice and equity.

Workgroup Members:

  • Francesca Armmer
  • La'Shay Carter
  • Thembi Corner-Garcia
  • Shacorrah Evans
  • Rachel Hearn
  • Mike Kennedy
  • Tristan Mackey
  • Kamlesh Macwan
  • Anne Morrow
  • Nicole Robertson
  • Jaclyn Shallat
  • Crystal Slaughter
  • Barbara Smith
  • Julia Issa-Ghantous, Steering Committee Liaison

Next Steps

Equity Impact Review graphicThe comprehensive nature of the CHNA and CHIP processes have resulted in a tri-county perspective that will be foundational in the strategic implementation of health care practices for the next three years.

The three priority areas identified by the CHNA are: mental health, obesity, and healthy eating/active living. Each clearly plays a role in the disparities identified above.

Through a collaborative process, we will work with PCCHD to foster an integrated focus on racial equity into the CHNA/CHIP implementation process in Peoria City/County.

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Indicators of Racial Disparity

Race-related health inequities in Peoria County are abundant and complex. Multiple external factors have been identified to impact health; i.e., social determinants of health. Examples of key indicators of racial health disparities in Peoria County include:

  • An average Peoria County White person will live 79 years compared to 64 years for a Black person.
  • The Black infant mortality rate is 3.25 time higher than for White infants.
  • Teen birth rates for Blacks is 4.7 times that for Whites.
  • Blacks also have higher death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Blacks live with sexually transmitted diseases at rates over ten times that of Whites.

The question of how to address these complex issues is key. The causes are many-faceted, historic, and intertwined. To assert that there is a quick remedy or that these numbers could be materially changed in a year would be disingenuous and discouraging to those who are working on the issues. However, we believe that there are answers.

The workgroup has examined how to address these issues from many different angles and with a long-term strategic approach. It concludes that the proposed approach centered around the CHNA/CHIP process shows the most promise to demonstrate measurable progress in the health arena in the near future and to most effectively utilize existing resources and community partnerships. Most importantly, this approach creates a template for the longer-term efforts which will be required to impact the disparities noted above. Consequently, our yearly indicators now and in the future will be developed around and be consistent with the CHNA/CHIP processes, but with a REIA focus.