WILL COUNTY, Ill. – The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the health inequities facing communities throughout Illinois. Three organizations in Will County have been awarded funding to implement health equity strategies, State Senators Meg Loughran Cappel and Eric Mattson announced Friday.  


“Every person – no matter their ZIP code or economic status – should have access to essential health care needs,” said Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “Through collaborative efforts, we can ensure we are putting the state on a path toward greater post-pandemic healing.”

Activating Relationships in Illinois for Systemic Equity (ARISE) is a joint initiative of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Center for Minority Health Services and The Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-Being and Equity (WE) in the World.

ARISE for Will County, Junior Medic LLC, and Coordinated Care Alliance Will County are three of the 18 organizations across Illinois awarded funding to address systemic health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Health inequities and lack of access to care were brought to the forefront during the pandemic,” said Mattson (D-Joliet) “No person should have to struggle without basic necessities like food, medications and other resources. This initiative will help combat those health inequities head on.”

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ARISE intends to support socio-economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities outside of Cook County that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Further, organizations will be able to address enduring health inequities in their communities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The selected ARISE Community Equity Zone communities will engage in a rigorous “learning-and-doing” capacity building program to advance health equity in the short, medium and long term. The community coalitions will address inequities in mental, physical and social well-being in communities that are experiencing the brunt of these disparities by connecting people to vaccinations, food, and other well-being needs. They will also address underlying community needs such as humane housing, reliable transportation, and the root causes of these inequities, including racism and poverty.

To learn more about the ARISE initiative, people can visit www.weintheworld.org/arise-project.