pexels karolina grabowska 4386466NAPERVILLE – The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the health inequities facing communities throughout Illinois. The Health Equity Response Team of the DuPage County Health Department has been awarded funding to implement health equity strategies, State Senators Laura Ellman and Suzy Glowiak Hilton announced.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic increased health disparities and inequalities in our most vulnerable communities,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “It is important that community organizations such as the Health Equity and Response Team within DuPage County Public Health are empowered to help close the gap.”

Making up 14% of the DuPage County population the positive case rate for Latinx DuPage County residents was five times higher than non-Latinx residents. For Black DuPage County residents, the positive case rate was nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the positive case rate for white residents despite Black residents being 4.8% of the county population. Established in October 2020, HEART works with community agencies to reduce the disproportionate effects of COVID-19. HEART is one of the 18 organizations across Illinois awarded funding to address systemic health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

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.

“Health equity gaps are prevalent across the country, and this funding will help improve care accessibility for DuPage County residents,” said Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs). “The ARISE program will help make critical investments to improve local health care systems and prioritizes wellness for working families.”

To learn more about the ARISE initiative, people can visit