Durbin Meets With Illinois Public Health Association to Highlight $500,000 for Community Health Workers

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) to discuss the $500,000 in federal funding he secured through Congressionally Directed Spending—more commonly known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus appropriations bill for IPHA to conduct trainings and build the capacity of the Community Health Workers (CHW) workforce.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed our health system’s fractures, revealing stark racial disparities and barriers to quality care,” said Durbin.“Community Health Workers have emerged as the bridge between hospitals and neighborhoods, linking patients to services, fostering healthier lives, and even curbing community violence. The future of health care belongs in the community, and the Illinois Public Health Association will undoubtedly shape a healthier tomorrow.”

CHWs are trusted community members who offer support to help individuals navigate the health system and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They are often associated with a hospital, community health center, or community-based organization. During the pandemic, CHWs provided crucial outreach to vulnerable populations to promote vaccine uptake and testing, and assistance with how to apply for public assistance programs.

In 2021, Illinois passed legislation to establish training and credentialing standards for CHWs to pave the way for the eventual Medicaid reimbursement for their services, which would provide a sustainable funding mechanism. Durbin’s earmark to IPHA will support the implementation of this effort.