• Description

Immigrants in Illinois are diverse in their ethnicities, cultures, immigration statuses, and economic standing. Unfortunately, themost vulnerable immigrants lack adequate, equitable access to healthcare due to barriers presented by the healthcare system,including limited healthcare coverage options for undocumented individuals. As healthcare becomes a national priority, heightened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, undocumented immigrants have often been excluded from policy solutions. ICIRR andits members have been advocating at the national, state and local levels for many years to ensure that immigrants are included, ifpossible, in all policy solutions. Despite these efforts, many individuals remain uninsured, including over 180,000 who are undocumented in Illinois and many more who are not aware of their health coverage options or their healthcare rights.

With the goal of expanding health coverage and fulfilling one of our organizational goals of community empowerment, ICIRRalong with six key partners in the Chicago suburbs (Mujeres Latinas en Accion, Arab American Family Services, Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, Legal Council for Health Justice, and Shriver Center on PovertyLaw) are launching the Immigrant Health Academy. The Academy will focus on empowering immigrants by helping them understand their healthcare rights regardless of immigration status and how to navigate the complex healthcare system. The Academywill train immigrant leaders with a newly developed curriculum and evaluation process to measure clear metrics of organizing,leadership development, and empowerment.