Quincy ARISE Coalition gets state funding for post-COVID efforts

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Luanna Flagg of the Adams County Health Department and Selena Stegeman represented the ARISE Coalition, which received state funding.

QUINCY — The Quincy ARISE Coalition, a partnership between Quincy Medical Group, YWCA Quincy, Bella Ease and the Adams County Health Department, received a grant of $135,000 from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday.

The IDPH announced up to $3.7 million in grants to 18 organizations around the state to address systemic health disparities that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARISE (Activating Relationships In Illinois for Systemic Equity) is federally funded program. It is a joint initiative of the IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services and the Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World. Rather than just treating the symptoms and manifestations of health and life inequities, ARISE seeks to address underlying vital community conditions and root causes of health inequities, especially in rural areas across the state.

Selena Stegeman, director of business intelligence at Quincy Medical Group, and Luanna Flagg, health educator with the Adams County Health Department, were among those who spoke at Tuesday’s press conference. The Quincy ARISE Coalition brings together community organizations with a common interest in taking actions to understand and improve inequities that are inherent in our community.

“Our coalition came together in the spring of 2022 for the purpose of addressing post-Covid community needs,” Stegeman said. “Early on, our coalition learned that rural America has unique challenges with social inequities that are different than urban communities. Communities in west-central Illinois are geographically distanced, creating challenges including lack of transportation, access to healthcare, food insecurity, limited job opportunities and proximity to social services.”

The United Way of Adams County completed a community needs assessment last fall with a focus on understanding the state of local financial stability, education and health through a collection of primary and secondary research. It resulted in the identification of health challenges and social determinants of health that need to be addressed.

“The need has never been greater. Using this research and additional data and funding provided through this grant, the Quincy ARISE Coalition will use a data-driven approach to identify, understand and take necessary actions to help educate members of the community and reduce inequities that exist in healthcare,” Flagg said.

ARISE Coalitions are formed throughout the state. Each coalition has a range of one to four people with lived experience who are part of the discussions and decision-making processes to change health inequity.

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 also will address underlying community needs such as humane housing, reliable transportation and the root causes of these inequities, including racism and poverty. 

“Although we are operating in different parts of the state, we will come together as one coalition in-person and monthly throughout the project. This networking will provide support among coalitions and uplift our common goals for change,” Stegeman said.

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