FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2022
+1 217 336 6992
Illinois’ Pandemic Health Navigator Program to end in June
Nationally recognized program supported nearly 130,000 Illinois residents
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The following statement is attributable to Tom Hughes, Executive Director of the Illinois Public Health Association, and Ollie Idowu, President and CEO of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, about the discontinuation of the Pandemic Health Navigator Program:
“The hardships Community Health Workers addressed through the Pandemic Health Navigator Program are not novel to COVID-19. As this virus transitions to the endemic phase, we will continue strengthening Illinois’ service sector with any resources available to us.
In the past year, hundreds of Illinoisans answered our call to become Community Health Workers and served the neighborhoods they live in. They reconnected those quarantined by COVID-19 with basic human needs, such as food, medicine and health care, and safe shelter. They used their insights to help neighbors apply for government programs that kept roofs over their heads and utilities connected during work stoppages. They were there to listen and counsel on how to navigate the pandemic’s many traumas. They hosted health fairs and vaccine clinics that drove Illinois’ vaccination rates above the national average.
Perhaps most importantly, Community Health Workers addressed health inequities in the communities they served.
We are grateful the Illinois Department of Public Health trusted us to supervise this landmark community health program. Though the Pandemic Health Navigator Program is ending on June 30, we encourage anyone still in-need to seek the help they need from the community-based organizations that made it all possible. We look forward to collaborating with them again soon.
About the Illinois Public Health Association
The Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) is the oldest and largest public health association in the State of Illinois. As one of the largest affiliates of the American Public Health Association, IPHA is widely recognized as a leader in the field of public health advocacy, health education, and promotion.
About the Illinois Primary Health Care Association
As the sole nonprofit trade association representing Illinois’ Community and Migrant Health Centers, IPHCA serves to improve the health status of medically underserved populations by fostering the provision of high-quality, comprehensive health care that is accessible, coordinated, community-directed, culturally sensitive, and linguistically appropriate. IPHCA provides training and technical assistance to existing and potential Health Center Program award recipients and look-alikes. A leading area of focus for these trainings and technical assistance is improving clinical quality of care and health outcomes, which includes preventive health services and screenings.
About the Pandemic Health Navigator Program
Launched in March 2021, the Pandemic Health Navigator Program (PHNP) provided more than 80 community-based organizations and federally qualified health centers the resources they needed to hire and train Community Health Workers. A full directory of active providers is available online at helpguidethrive.org.
Community Health Workers responded to nearly 48,000 resource requests received through the State of Illinois’ contact tracing efforts and another 80,500 requests from the community. More than 98 percent of all resource requests were addressed within 48 hours of their receipt.
Funding for the program was made possible by Federal COVID-19 relief dollars disbursed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In all, $54.5 million was allocated to set up and maintain PHNP in regions 2 – 9. Though PHNP was scheduled to end on October 31, 2021, the program’s many successes and ongoing need prompted the Department to grant service extensions through June 30, 2022.
IPHA continues advocating for sustainable funding sources that would allow Community Health Workers to continue their work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations interested in learning more about how to apply for grants should check the IPHA website regularly at www.ipha.com or contact IPHCA at (217) 541-7300.