The Institute of Medicine of Chicago is an independent non-profit organization of distinguished leaders in the health field who collaborate to improve the health of the public. Drawing upon the expertise of a diverse membership and other regional leaders, the IOMC addresses critical health issues through a range of interdisciplinary approaches including education, research, communication of trusted information, and community engagement.
With the health of the public at its core, IOMC is building new programs and services to better meet the needs of its members and the Chicagoland community, counties and the State of Illinois.
2021 — From the president's Desk — Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker
Letter from the IOMC President Cheryl Rucker- Whitaker
A MESSAGE TO OUR FELLOWS and COLLEAGUES
Dear Fellows and Colleagues,
It is fall, and the weather changes leaves to beautiful golden and red hues that we enjoy in the Midwest and other areas of the country. We hope there is some time in your busy schedules to enjoy nature and the environment. This time is also nearing the end of the calendar year, and we look ahead to the upcoming year.
We have accomplished many of our objectives and continue our focus on serving the people of Chicago, the counties, and the State of Illinois. Numerous legislative initiatives have captured our attention. The American Rescue Act, CARES Act, COVID-19 Recovery Emergency Rental Assistance, COVID-19 vaccine initiatives, the Delta variant booster, and more are bringing about change and support to our communities. Our public spaces and streets are providing preferred sources to connect with each other and communities during this difficult time of the pandemic.
Recently, President Preckwinkle, County Board Commissioners Donna Miller, Brandon Johnson, and Frank J. Aguilar, the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, and the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) announced another round of Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA 2) to support residents of suburban Cook County. The latter are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability due to the pandemic. The program will dedicate an additional $75M, funded through the American Rescue Plan, to provide emergency rental assistance to tenants and landlords, prioritizing preference given to suburban Cook County’s most vulnerable residents. Nevertheless, time is short as the applications are open only until Oct. 29. Let us help those who can benefit from this program!
The COVID-19 virus deaths eclipsed 700K in the US (Chicago Tribune 10.3.2021). While the State of Illinois surpassed 25,000 COVID-19 deaths, the state’s Department of Public Health reported Fri. Oct. 3, 2021 (Health News Illinois). The debate about vaccinating or not continues within organizations, businesses, and healthcare. Let’s do our part!
Health equity and actions involve a broad spectrum of populations. IOMC created a strong focus over the past 12 months on health equity and addressing issues in our virtual sessions. We focused on learning about systemic change during the time of a pandemic at many levels, socio-economic and with children, youth, and the elders. More to the point, many of us asked ourselves if we need to unlearn what we thought we knew about systemic change.
Since fall 2020, our State of Health of Chicago series has conducted 16 sessions with over 40 speakers with over 1000 attendees. Three more sessions are scheduled for October thru December 2021. They include maternal health inequity and health injustice, innovative therapies, and sound and failing leadership.
In January 2022, we will report at a special session what we learned, our observations from numerous speakers, and their insights, research, and recommendations for going forward with actions for the year. We hope you will join us for this robust session. We are reviewing several published reports on critical issues such as racial equity in healthcare, the opioid crisis in Black/African Americans, the state of health of diverse populations, mental and behavioral health services, the aging population crisis, and more.
IOMC is planning its 2022 calendar and includes programs on mental health, homelessness, chronic kidney disease, opioids, social determinants of health, career trends, interdisciplinary education with our communities, and more. Also, we are planning to launch work groups to collaborate on particular projects and white papers. These opportunities are for Fellows in good standing.
We hope you will renew your 2022 membership so IOMC can continue to bring accredited programs of interest to all and consider joining a work group. Finally, we are looking forward to getting together in person in 2022 to reunite with each other. It has been too long, and miss seeing everyone- right now, we need to support the public health directives as colleagues and leaders.
Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker, MD, MPH, FACP
President and Chair of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago
2021-2022 Board of Governors
Check out the 2021-2022 Board of Governors here.
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