Making my health a priority has been my focus this year ever since getting my health insurance reinstated. I waited a long time. I had insurance through Medicaid a few years ago, but then I was sent a letter requesting that I submit information for renewal evaluation. I immediately complied by delivering the documents in person to my DHS office. A few weeks later I received a second notice saying they had not received my renewal documents, It offered me one last chance to submit them. This time I mailed the documents in question. Once again, a few weeks later I received a third notice from DHS. However, this one was a termination letter for failure to comply with the renewal process. I called. I complained. I begged. I cajoled. All of my cries fell on deaf ears, or full voicemail boxes to be more precise. ONE GIANT WALL, standing in the way of my health. For almost two years I lived without a net, suffering in silence, pain and fear because I felt I had nowhere to go, no one to turn to.
Thanks to the ACA I have insurance again, finally. One wall removed, but there are still more to be broken down. As a black female I am likely to encounter many more walls in my pursuit of health. Fair? No, not at all. Which is why Swedish Covenant Hospital has formed a special health awareness council, The Council will convene discussions to search for solutions for #BreakingDownWalls that prevent women from receiving the health care that they need, and most definitely deserve. I am pleased to join forces with other State, City and Community leaders to work to remove gender-based health disparities in Chicago
Women’s Health Awareness Council launches three-part speaker series and social media campaign, focused on city’s ‘invisible’ women’s health issues.
“Despite the massive health care overhaul initiated by the Affordable Care Act, thousands of women in Chicago still lack access to basic health services as a result of systemic, cultural and lifecycle issues that have persisted for decades before the law’s implementation. To help break down the walls that prevent Chicago’s women from receiving the health care they need, more than 30 elected officials, community leaders, major philanthropies and respected health care providers have partnered to launch the Women’s Health Awareness Council, a collaborative program coordinated by the Women’s Health Initiative at Swedish Covenant Hospital. Throughout the fall of 2014, this group of key stakeholders will raise awareness of under-the-radar health issues and develop innovative solutions that will have a tangible impact on the health of Chicago’s women.”
Starting September 4th there will be a series of three Women’s Health Awareness Council meetings that will feature unique topics designed to ignite a conversation throughout Chicago and help eradicate gender-based health disparities. Each meeting will be streamed online and include a moderated session where viewers can ask questions of the guest speakers and Council members:
· Barriers to health care for women: Understanding the power of language, culture and race
Sept. 4: Noon – 1:30 p.m.
· The ACA and breast cancer: Danger for disparities still exists, despite law’s intentions
Sept. 25: Noon – 1:30 p.m.
· Violence against women: Exploring health care’s role in serving victims of human trafficking, domestic violence & sexual assault
Oct. 30: Noon – 1:30 p.m.
To ignite conversation and increase awareness of these issues, the Women’s Health Council is also launching a national social media campaign, #BreakingDownWalls, which recognizes women creating transformative change in the world of health care and beyond. Videos and other content from this campaign can be viewed and shared by visiting the campaign’s Tumblr blog.
The first discussion is focused on the deeply-entrenched societal factors that result in health disparities for many of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations. It will feature a keynote presentation delivered by Dr. Monica Vela, associate dean for multicultural affairs at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Vela is a leader in scholarship and education related to health care disparities and the importance of diversity in medicine. Her work in piloting and implementing an innovative new curriculum on health care disparities has been presented nationally and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist and ABC 7 political analyst Laura S. Washington will moderate this session. Washington’s column has been published by the Sun-Times since 2001, and she is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio. All three meetings will be hosted at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Lincoln Square.
You can learn more about the people on and behind the Women’s Health Awareness Council, as well as access communications toolkits and meeting agendas at the website.
#BreakingDownWalls is something I have consistently invested my energy in as a part of my mission to improve the overall health and wellness of children and their families. I believe change is always possible, but it takes an educated and determined community to make it happen. Please join the movement, and together we can be the change.
If you enjoyed this post please read other Miss Lori health posts such as Qualifying Life Events Reopen Door To ACA, How To Choose a Doctor As Your Primary Care Physician, 10 Things I Would Do With Health Insurance, and Miss Lori Is Using Smoothies To Reach Healthy Goals With Her Kids.
Miss Lori can be found at MissLori.TV, Wearetherealdeal.com, TheChicagoMoms.com and now on BABBLE.com with her new blog SMILING On With Miss Lori. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, TOUT and LinkedIn.