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AHA Institute for Diversity and Health Equity Along With Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Announce Grant Program Award Recipients

CHICAGO – The American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity (IFDHE) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) today announced grant program awards to support the work of 13 Illinois hospitals and health care organizations in reducing disparities in health care.

The awards range from $25,000 to $100,000. They will be used to support new programs designed to help the awardees eliminate an identified health care disparity in their local communities and work toward ensuring safe, equitable and high-quality health care for all of their patients. Award funding will be directed to program efforts focused on maternal and child health, pediatric asthma, adult diabetes, breast cancer and geographic disparities, including access to care in rural communities.

Grant recipients are both AHA member hospitals and part of a BCBSIL provider network. The one-year, joint-collaboration grant program was announced in December 2019.

Health care organizations earning program awards are:

  • Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin
  • John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago
  • Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood
  • Norwegian American Hospital, Chicago
  • OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria
  • Passavant Area Hospital, Jacksonville
  • Riverside Healthcare, Kankakee
  • Saint Anthony Hospital, Chicago
  • Swedish Hospital, Chicago
  • UnityPoint Health Methodist, Peoria
  • University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago
  • University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center, Chicago

“Finding innovative ways to bridge health equity gaps in many underserved communities is an urgent priority, especially in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Elisa Arespacochaga, vice president, AHA Physician Alliance and interim executive lead of the AHA’s IFDHE. “By earning these highly sought-after grant funding awards, recipients throughout the state will be able to better identify ways to serve more people in their communities at this critical time.”

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois stands with those advocating for solutions to address inequity and racism in all its forms. Quality healthcare requires a focus on equity but too often it is left unexamined. We created this grant program to stimulate more hospitals, with support of their executive leadership, to commit to identifying and eliminating disparities in the care they deliver,” said Derek J. Robinson, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “This program is just one of the ways that we are supporting providers on their quality journey as we integrate equity of care into our business relationships.”

More information on the grant program is available here.


About the American Hospital Association
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

About the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity
The Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, works closely with health services organizations to advance health equity for all and to expand leadership opportunities for ethnic minorities in health management. For more information, visit

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Media Contacts

Sean Barry
American Hospital Association

Colleen Miller
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

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