Blog

Committed to health equity

At Advocate Aurora Health, our mission is to help people live well. To do that, we must improve the longevity and quality of life for all patients and communities we serve. ​

Health equity is about closing gaps in outcomes, care and well-being for patients, communities and team members.

Advocate Aurora Health is committed to building health equity, ensuring access to care and improving health outcomes in communities through evidence-informed services and innovative partnerships by addressing medical needs and social determinants.

We developed a targeted strategy with six focus areas that will allow us to positively impact health outcomes for patients and meet the needs of our communities. Below are those strategies and just a few of the many examples of how we are addressing health equity.

Access/Primary Medical Home: Primary care is critical for improving population health and reducing health disparities. Advocate Aurora Health connects people with care and services at the right time, in the right place to reduce emergency department visits and hospital readmissions.

A hospital-based mobile integrated health system was created to improve care coordination and reduce readmissions among chronically ill patients as they transition from hospital to home. In 2020, 132 patients were enrolled, and 240 visits were provided with only one patient readmitted in 30 days.

Access/Behavioral Health Services: Mental health is integral to overall health and well-being. Advocate Aurora Health provides behavioral health assessments to expedite the referral of patients to appropriate levels of care and to supportive resources.

In 2020, we completed nearly 22,000 behavioral health assessments for patients presenting in our emergency departments and more than 10,700 telephonic assessments for patients in acute mental/behavioral health crisis.

Workforce Development: Unemployment affects health through financial deprivation and social and emotional strain. Advocate Aurora Health provides skill-building programs to improve employment skills for community members and workforce development programs for team members.

The NAVIGATE program aims to create an inclusive workforce, providing team members from low-income zip codes with opportunities to develop new skills, determine a career pathway and connect with tools and resources. These benefits were provided across 27 sites to 328 team members, of which 76% are persons of color.

Community Safety: Violence affects the victim, their family and social network, the perpetrator and ultimately the entire community. Advocate Aurora Health implements programs to support patients and individuals at all levels.

Forensic Nurse Examiners (FNEs), also known as SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) nurses, are experts in the medical, legal and emotional needs of sexual assault survivors. Nearly 1,000 sexual assault examinations were provided by these specially trained nurses last year.

Housing: Adequate and safe housing is critical to positive health outcomes. Data indicates that poor-quality housing is associated with various negative health outcomes, including chronic disease and injury and poor mental health.

The Safe Home Environment (SHE) program is a wraparound service for pregnant women receiving services through Aurora Sinai Medical Center’s Safe Mom, Safe Baby Program and who are threatened by domestic violence. The program connected nine pregnant women to safe, affordable and supportive long-term or short-term housing in 2020.

Food Security: Lack of accessible and affordable food is a major population health issue in our communities. Food insecurity can lead to poor health outcomes.

Advocate Aurora Health launched an innovative pilot program Healthy Living Food Farmacy at Advocate Trinity Hospital to make a positive impact on patients facing socioeconomic barriers to better health. In 2020, the Food Farmacy distributed 48,116 pounds of food and engaged over 166 patients for a total of 1,660 visits.

Philanthropy has and will continue to be pivotal in our ability to provide high-quality, equitable health care within our hospitals, in patient homes and in our communities. Thank you to our many donors who have supported these efforts over the years.

We look to charitable partners to help accelerate our ability to transform care and reimagine health. Philanthropic support will further our ability to help address the complex factors that impact health beyond what is diagnosed in a medical setting or written on a prescription pad.

For more information on how to partner with Advocate Aurora Health, please contact Jenny Shaw at jennifer.shaw@aah.org or make a donation online.