The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has delivered the final versions of the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and the State Health Assessment (SHA) to the Illinois General Assembly. The documents were delivered ahead of the statutory Dec. 31 deadline. Together they form the basis of Healthy Illinois 2028, a five-year plan to address major public health concerns and improve the overall wellbeing of Illinoisans.
“As we begin this New Year, I am excited to start working with partners across Illinois to reach the goals of a Healthy Illinois 2028,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are proud of the thoughtful, inclusive, and deliberate process that was used to complete the State Health Assessment and the State Health Improvement Plan. These documents will serve as a blueprint for building a more responsive public health infrastructure aimed at improving equitable access to care and health outcomes for all Illinois’s residents.”
The State Health Assessment identified five major priorities to be addressed over the next five years. The State Health Improvement Plan lays out goals for addressing those priorities. The documents were developed with the input and participation of dozens of public health and health experts and advocates from the public and private sector across the state. The partners also took testimony from witnesses in a series of statewide virtual public hearings held in conjunction with the State Board of Health in late November 2023.
The five main priorities in the SHA and SHIP (and the goals within each one) are:
1. Increase opportunities for tobacco-free living
2. Decrease preventable chronic diseases through nutrition
3. Increase opportunities for active living
4. Increase community-clinical linkages to reduce the incidence and burden of chronic diseases
COVID-19 and Emerging Diseases
1. Decrease disparate health outcomes related to COVID-19 and other communicable and emerging diseases
2. Increase community resilience to communicable and other emerging disease threats
3. Strengthen and improve public health system infrastructure and coordination to prepare for and respond to public health threats
Maternal and Infant Health
1. Improve accessibility, availability, and quality of equitable reproductive health and well-woman/person preventative health care services across the reproductive lifespan
2. Promote a comprehensive, cohesive, and equitable system of care and support services for all birthing persons to have a healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery, and through the first year postpartum
3. Promote a comprehensive, cohesive, and equitable system of care and services to improve birth outcomes and support infants’ healthy development in their first year
4. Strengthen workforce capacity and infrastructure to screen for, assess, and treat mental health conditions and substance use disorders among pregnant/postpartum persons
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder
1. Improve the mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) system’s infrastructure to support and strengthen prevention and treatment
2. Reduce mortality due to mental health conditions and substance use disorders through harm reduction and preventative care strategies
3. Increase access to age-appropriate community-based care to reduce institutionalized treatment and incarceration
4. Improve the resilience and recovery capital of communities experiencing violence
Racism as a Public Health Crisis
1. Build the public health system’s capacity to advance health and racial equity and dismantle oppressive systems
2. Develop and maintain a diverse and skilled public health workforce for antiracist public health to dismantle systems of oppression
3. Address historical and ongoing practices that perpetuate environmental racism to advance environmental justice
During the first year of the plan, IDPH and its partners will develop strategies to achieve these objectives and timelines for implementation of each goal within the five major priority areas.
The SHA and SHIP were developed in conjunction with the Illinois Public Health Institute and the University of Illinois Chicago Policy, Practice, and Research Center.