Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.

SMART CHICAGO IS MOVING!!!

Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams           kyla.williams@uilabs.org

Sonja Marziano       sonja.marziano@uilabs.org

Denise Linn               denise.riedl@uilabs.org

Leslie Durr                 leslie.durr@uilabs.org

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at www.smartchicagocollaborative.org or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

Health Insecurities: Does Data Show Improvement?

Is There A Backwards Slide?

In a June 2016 GALLUP article  by Jeffrey M. Jones and Nader Nekvasil it was reported that U.S. Healthcare Insecurity was at a  record low as “fewer Americans reported not having enough money to pay for necessary healthcare and/or medicine.”

These findings are based on interviews conducted daily from January 2008 through March 2016 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Gallup and Healthways classify Americans as healthcare insecure if they report being unable to pay for healthcare and/or medicines they or their family needed at some point in the past 12 months.

Overall, the percentage of U.S. adults with healthcare insecurity has dropped 3.5 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013. This drop in healthcare insecurity coincides with the decline in the percentage of uninsured Americans, which has fallen from 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 — just before the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that Americans have health insurance went into effect — to 11.0% in the first quarter of this year.

The increase in the percentage of Americans having health insurance is likely a key reason why fewer Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare. Generally, those without health insurance are at least three times more likely to report not having enough money for healthcare/medicine than their counterparts with health insurance. In the most recent quarter, 41.8% of the uninsured said they had struggled to pay for healthcare costs, compared with 12.3% of those with insurance.

As a certified ACA In-Person Counselor it is quite frightening to consider the cost in lives that an ill-advised, ill-conceived repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cost. This gives me great pause and concern about how the most vulnerable populations will survive.  I worked with hundreds of families between 2014-2015 in Illinois who were able to gain and afford coverage under the provisions of the ACA. Families that otherwise who would have not received emergency and necessary care, including surgeries that saved lives. These changes will not only affect the Black and Brown communities, they will impact all impoverished communities. The buzz words being offered are “everyone will access to healthcare” well you can have “access” to a multitude of services in a free country. However, if you can’t afford them is it really accessible.

As reported in CRAINS Chicago Business, in Illinois, more than 1 million people gained insurance under the ACA, and, of those, 650,000 qualified under a Medicaid expansion that House Republicans appear keen to let bleed. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office project that the ranks of the uninsured would double by 2026, which would mean a step back into the time warp of too many people delaying treatment and then landing in emergency rooms after their problems are critical. For taxpayers, it’s much cheaper to keep tabs on a diabetic than it is to pay for kidney dialysis or limb amputations—two very real outcomes when the disease goes untreated.

What Do We Stand To Lose?

While Medicaid expansion, minimal essential coverage, zero lifetime maximums and free preventative services are on the table to be repealed, another provision of the ACA is the requirement for hospitals to conduct “community health needs assessments” to justify the tax exemptions they receive for providing “charity care”. These community health needs assessments uncovered and confirmed what may sociologists and human service professionals already new. There are other social determinants to health. Health is holistic and includes more than a patient’s medical history. These social determinants include but are not limited to:

  • Access to healthy food (Food Deserts)
  • Susceptibility to violence (Domestic and Community)
  • Housing Insecurities
  • Unemployment
  • Access to transportation
  • Behavioral Health

Many hospitals as a result of the CHNAs developed or grew programs to address these problems in their communities. “These plans will improve population health, reduce costs and result in better quality care. Furthermore, these plans provide new opportunities for hospitals to invest in upstream interventions– working to make policy, systems and environment improvements that will impact the communities in which they serve.”-Bechara Choucair, M.D, Former Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health

“If the ranks of the uninsured or underinsured grow, then charity care will increase. And the ability to do some of these more creative efforts will be hampered.” said -Joan Quinlan VP for Community Health Massachusetts General

Tools We Can Use

The Chicago Department of Public Health will be deploying an updated version of the Chicago Health Atlas which will include the findings, strategies and implementation plan from Healthy Chicago 2.0.  Data from this collaboration is being used to identify and address 10 priority areas to focus community health improvement efforts on over the next 4 years. These priority areas include both health outcomes and social determinants of health, as well as public health infrastructure elements like partnerships and data.

The Chicago Health Atlas is a resident facing Web site for displaying aggregate health-related information on a map so that people can see the prevalence of specific health conditions in their area and find out how they can improve their health and get  information about health care provider options in their communities.

What Now: After The Vote?

So, what now? What next? This is a small victory, a reprieve if you will. This will undoubtedly rear it’s head again before this Presidency ends. We must continue to “Listen.”  Listen to the stories of the residents and Americans whose lives and health was positively impacted by their ability to obtain health care either through the Marketplace or through expanded Medicaid coverage. We listen to the lawmakers from our state and follow their comments and votes on the measure which will change the lives of many Chicagoans. We listen to seek to understand  the elements that do need to be changed; and change them for the good. This is not a partisan issue. Everyone in Illinois who is concerned about the well-being of our fellow citizens should be concerned about the impact of this process on our city and our state.

 

 

Leslie Durr Joins Smart Chicago as Project Coordinator

Leslie DurrLeslie Durr  joins the Smart Chicago Collaborative as a Project Coordinator.She will serve as the point person for projects including Chicago Health Atlas, Smart Health Centers, Foodborne, Hive Learning Networks and Youth-Led Tech. She will also be working to add several new projects to our portfolio.

Her experience includes program development and grant management in the non-profit sector, most recently with the Southland Health Care Forum as the Project Director for the State of Illinois Get Covered Campaign.

Leslie has her Master of Science in Human Service Administration from Spertus College and Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Jackson State University.

You can follow her work on Twitter.

Please join us in welcoming Leslie Durr.

Smart Health Center Navigators Assisting in Nutrition and Weight Loss Programming at Fantus Clinic

328px-Seal_of_Cook_County,_Illinois.svgHere’s an update on our work at Cook County Health System General Medicine Center at Fantus Clinic over the last few weeks.

Health Navigator Zaundra Boyd has been helping nutritionist Carole O’Neil and Dr. Caroline Poku as they develop and deliver nutrition counseling to overweight patients with diabetes. She creates materials, interfaces with patients and shares her own story of health. She’s worked with dozens of patients who express a need for better self-management weight-loss tips because of their history of non-adherence to eating plans, contributing to their erratic blood glucose and pressure readings.

Americorps National Health Corps member Anne Lin is also helping out with this program. She teaches about weight loss apps like MyPlate for people with lower digital skills and helps build a weight history graph with each patient. The basic idea is to work with them to think back on their life, and try to identify factors that may have contributed to weight gain or loss in the past. This self-reflection helps them understand the program and feel a measure of control.

Americorps National Health Corps member Katie Reed does a cooking segment in the Diabetes class for Spanish-speaking patients at Fantus on Thursdays. She researches meals and demonstrates healthy eating. She works with Dr. Melody Christians and Dr. Martinez as they plan their lessons. Katie discusses whether or not they like the dish, if they can replicate it at home, and what they would want to add to or change about each recipe.

Health Navigator Planning Meeting led by Kyla Willams and Patrice Coleman

 

Listen In: Podcast Debut of “Dirty Little Secrets (Episode 2)- Birth Control and Bladder Control”

Smart Health Navigator, Michelle Vu, has released the second episode of her podcast, Dirty Little Secrets (Episode 2) – Birth Control and Bladder Control! This episode features a two brand new segments: “Birth Control with Clare and Nilofer” – where they discuss different birth control options, and “The Sex Situation Room” where, in this episode, they discuss what happens when you urinate during sex.

Dirty Little Secrets is a sex education podcast dedicated to debunking myths around sexual health, rights, identity, and reproductive justice. Sex is still a very uncomfortable and taboo topic, despite how sexualized society has become. Michelle Vu, Sexual Health Educator and Smart Health Centers-Health Corps Member, will guide listeners through a variety of difficult, interesting, sometimes embarrassing, but super helpful discussions so sex is no longer a “Dirty Little Secret.” All of the content discussed is appropriate for ages 13 and up. Younger audiences should only listen with adult supervision. Smart Chicago highly recommends this podcast as a teaching tool for educators and parents.

Listen Here:

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Explore the full Smart Health Centers podcast playlist here:

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Read about the birth of the podcast series and other Smart Health Centers news here.