Communications from SPW

February 9, 2016

Our First Podcast, and More

Zach and team at the recording sesssion“ ‘Well what did you expect to happen with so many men around you? You were bound to get an ass grab. We dealt with that kind of thing all the time; I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss over it.’ That was my mom’s response to me. Now, I’m afraid to even talk to my spouse because I know he’s going to think that I was flirting.”

Ninety seconds into this conversation, I was already well in over my head. Continue reading “Our First Podcast, and More”

November 9, 2015

Survivors, I Believe You

At the Duckworth briefingWe recently held a town hall panel discussion in partnership with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s office about the most common needs of MST survivors and how to get survivors to those resources. The morning featured an extremely powerful, raw talk by a survivor sharing with us her experiences. In the question and answer session, community members had an opportunity to ask resource providers and a survivor about how we can direct survivors to appropriate help. The ensuing conversation was rich and informative. I took the opportunity to ask this panel of subject matter experts, “How can we support a survivor at the point of disclosure?” Continue reading “Survivors, I Believe You”

July 28, 2015

Outside the “Box”: Living the ADA

Larry Voss and Carol Gill, image contributed
Carol Gill and her husband, Larry Voss, in 2015. Both had polio very early in life and use wheelchairs.

“If you wanted to go anywhere you had to plan ahead, even if it was just to the drugstore. Participating in society – going to a theatre, a restaurant – everything was hit or miss.”

That’s Carol Gill, remembering life before the Americans with Disabilities Act, which turned 25 years old this month.

“You went into a store,” she recalls, “and the aisles were too narrow. And people would give you a ‘dull look’ when you’d point out the aisles were not accessible.”

Enactment of the ADA was the culmination, as Arlene Mayerson notes in her history of the law, of a long back-story of people challenging “societal barriers that excluded them from their communities” and parents of children with disabilities fighting “against the exclusion and segregation of their children.”

Continue reading “Outside the “Box”: Living the ADA”

June 25, 2015

Illinois Dodges Disaster on Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling

ACA rally in front of Supreme Court. Signs read Obamacare Awesome, and Protecting Our CareIllinois just dodged a bullet with the outcome of King v. Burwell. If the Supreme Court had ruled against subsidies being challenged in the case, working people and families in the state collectively would have lost more than $49 million a month to help purchase health insurance.

In its decision, the court affirmed the legality of the provision of premium tax credits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in all states, whether they established their own health insurance marketplace or used the federal marketplace. Continue reading “Illinois Dodges Disaster on Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling”

May 20, 2015

Skip the Platitudes – Honoring Families of the Fallen

Jim Frazier saluting flag
Jim Frazier salutes at a Memorial Day ceremony Photo by Stacey Wescott courtesy of Chicago Tribune

“I never know what to say to the families,” the general said. He was a four-star general in charge of a large Air Force base. But he was – as so of us many are – stumped by this simple human problem: what words to speak when confronted with a wife or husband or parent or a sibling of a service member who had lost their life. And I said, “General, it’s really pretty simple. Use their names. If you know the name, say ’Tell me something about ___.’ And then shut up. And listen.”

The person recalling this is Jim Frazier, a Gold Star dad who works with the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services program. Since losing his own son in Afghanistan, Jim has spent more than a decade helping families of military casualties.

“One of the premises I start with” in working with bereaved families, he says, is that “all we have is memories. People we’ve lost live in our memories, and that way in our hearts.”

Continue reading “Skip the Platitudes – Honoring Families of the Fallen”

April 23, 2015

Introducing the Healthy Chicago Hospital Collaborative

Healthy Chicago Hospital CollaborativeHDA and the Chicago Department of Public Health have partnered to create a new initiative that hopes to maximize the health benefits and services that Chicago hospitals can bring to their communities.

Under the Affordable Care Act, charitable nonprofit hospitals are required to conduct community health Needs assessments and to implement community health improvement plans. The collaborative hopes to help hospitals better improve services for the populations they serve by working together and with other partners to implement plans that address common priorities identified in their assessments.

Continue reading “Introducing the Healthy Chicago Hospital Collaborative”

March 9, 2015

Rauner’s Budget is Bad Medicine for State’s Health Services

Bruce V. Rauner, governor-elect of Illinois, waves to the audience during his introduction at his inauguration ceremony in Springfield, Ill., Jan. 12, 2015. As Illinois' governor, Rauner will serve as the commander in chief for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Illinois National Guard while they are not under federal activation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lealan Buehrer/Released) Courtesy of Wikipedia

The much-anticipated “turnaround budget” from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner feels more like a “look back,” parading out failed ideas from past years. Rauner says this budget “preserves services to the state’s most vulnerable residents”—but a quick review suggests this is far from true. Instead, we see a budget that:

• Further decimates a fragile community mental health system
• Reduces access to lifesaving drugs for people living with HIV and prevention services for those at risk of HIV
• De-funds critical substance-abuse treatments
Continue reading “Rauner’s Budget is Bad Medicine for State’s Health Services”

February 4, 2015

“Success Story” Jenny Lay-Flurrie Honored by White House

Jenny Lay-Flurrie leads an innovative technology team at Microsoft despite having been deaf almost her entire life. She was recently named one of the 2014 White House “Champions of Change.” She was recognized as “an example of someone who is not only able to accommodate her disability in the workplace, but was able to turn a disability into an asset.” Continue reading ““Success Story” Jenny Lay-Flurrie Honored by White House”

January 28, 2015

Boosting Employment for People with Disabilities

Medicare and Medicaid - The Next 50 YearsAs an individual with a disability, HDA’s Joe Entwisle has unique insights into the public and private systems that Social Security Disability Insurance supports. He recently joined a panel of experts to discuss the future of the SSDI trust fund, whose dwindling reserves threaten the social safety net.

“Supporting Work: Strategies to Boost Employment for People with Disabilities” was a roundtable organized by the National Academy for Social Insurance. Continue reading “Boosting Employment for People with Disabilities”

January 29, 2014

Does Your Cab Driver Have Health Insurance? Why Not Ask…

Yellow cab in Chicago in the rainIn his State of the Union address, President Obama called on us all to remember that citizenship “demands a sense of common purpose… an obligation to serve our communities.” He went on to challenge us on how we exercise the “spirit of citizenship.” Today I started my own personal journey towards a “spirit of citizenship” by actually engaging with people I encounter everyday on health insurance. On this cold day, I started with cab drivers.

Fortunately, I was able to tell them about a new initiative of Enroll Chicago that is targeting cab drivers. Continue reading “Does Your Cab Driver Have Health Insurance? Why Not Ask…”