Cook County Health is Making an Impact.
As part of our mission to elevate the health of Cook County, we strive to do more than provide care in our communities.
Now more than ever, we’re committed to using our voice to raise awareness on the issues that impact our homes, our neighbors and our communities locally and nationally. Our goal is to bring real issues to light, create a forum for conversation and provide solutions to impact change.
As an urban safety net health system with one of the nation’s busiest Level I trauma centers, Cook County Health is on the front lines of Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence.
More than 1,000 people have been shot in Chicago in 2018. Despite Chicago and Illinois having some of the strictest gun laws in the U.S., it continues to be the epicenter of this modern public health epidemic. The experience in Chicago and Illinois demonstrates why state-by-state laws are not sufficient and why we need federal gun control laws.
Cook County Health supports common sense gun regulations and other measures to combat the mortality and morbidity caused by firearms, including:
Banning high-capacity automatic/semiautomatic firearms, bump stocks and silencers
Strengthening permits and universal background check requirements for all gun owners, including mandatory training and a waiting period
Requiring anyone who sells a gun to have a dealer license
Requiring reporting of a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours
Funding research on gun violence to develop public health interventions
Investing in trauma informed care services to support victims of gun violence in their recovery
In 2017, Cook County Health received $2.6 million to establish new pilot programs to fight the county opioid epidemic. Programs will include a second Community Triage Center, expansion of the system’s medication assisted treatment options and case management services, and new fentanyl screening capabilities. Funding in support of these initiatives was awarded to Cook County Health by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (IDHS-DASA). These funds are part of an Opioid-State Targeted Response (STR) grant award (TI-080231) to IDHS-DASA from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Cook County Health currently offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT) at most of its community health centers and is actively working to expand access throughout its clinic network and through partnership with community treatment providers.
Stroger Hospital has launched a pilot program to initiate MAT in the Emergency Department in coordination with addiction medicine providers to reduce the risk of overdose and attrition between an ED visit and an outpatient appointment with a substance use specialists.
Through Cook County Health Cermak Health Services at the Cook County jail, detainees with a history of opioid use are offered training and naloxone upon release to reduce the incidence of post-detox overdose.
Cook County Health partners with three community health centers – Esperanza Health Centers, PrimeCare Community Health, and Heartland Health Centers – to offer medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder within their primary care clinics.
Cook County Health and CCDPH are working with medical providers to improve and develop safe prescribing protocols, including an annual training module.
CCDPH facilitates a panel of opioid addiction experts to provide awareness and education training on opioid addiction throughout the community as well as its own workforce.
Click on our white paper below to learn more about how Cook County Health is addressing the opioid epidemic.
Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death for Americans, taking a life every 13 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cook County Health would like to encourage residents to know the importance in recognizing the warning signs in others.
“Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor,” said Dr. Diane Washington, executive director of behavioral health at Cook County Health. “Many people who do not have a mental illness can still suffer profoundly after a break-up, job loss or a health scare. We should reach out to someone who might be struggling to lend a hand in support.”
Although more than 50% of those who commit suicide reportedly have not attained any psychiatric diagnosis, more than 90% of people who commit suicide are found to have at least one mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
There are effective treatments, like medication and therapy with a mental health professional, to address some of the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide.
Despite this, suicide rates continue to increase in the U.S..
Here are suicide warning signs:
Talking about wanting to die or researching ways they can kill themselves
Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or being a burden to others
Increasing drug or alcohol use
Extreme mood swings
Getting too much sleep or too little
Isolating themselves from activities or groups they used to be involved in
Everyone can help prevent suicide by learning the warning signs, removing firearms, medications and other potential tools for suicide among people at risk and contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a confidential, toll-free number to people considering self-harm. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition, CCH’ Community Triage Center (CTC) in Roseland provides evaluation, crisis stabilization and treatment for patients presenting with psychiatric and/or substance-related crises 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To make an appointment with a mental health professional at Cook County Health, you can also call 312-864-0200.
Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force
Cook County Health and other area hospitals have joined the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force to close the gap in breast cancer mortality rates between African-American and white women.
From 2006 to 2013, a 2017 study published in Cancer Causes & Control showed that the mortality rate from breast cancer among black women dropped by 13.9 percent, driving it below the national average.
The results were so dramatic that the Chicago Department of Public Health gave the Murphy’s group and its partners –– Cook County Health and Hospital System; Rush University Medical Center; Mile Square Health Center; Sinai Health System and Centro Comunitario Juan Diego –– $700,000 to expand their model, which had been credited nationally for the success. The task force is housed at Rush.
Overall, the goal is to take aim at what experts call structural inequities in the quality of care black women receive.