ICAN! launches 5-year initiative to address unmet contraceptive need in Illinois


Three Chicago-area community health networks become contraceptive care Quality Hubs; new digital platform connects patients to best-in-class care without the financial barriers

(CHICAGO) May 12, 2021 – Illinois Contraceptive Access Now – ICAN!, in collaboration with AllianceChicago, today launched a new, five-year initiative to advance reproductive equity in Illinois by improving the quality and coverage of contraceptive care at community health centers.

“We share ICAN!’s commitment to addressing reproductive health disparities faced by women of color and women with low resources,” said Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, speaking on behalf of the Council for Women and Girls. “We look forward to working together to advance programs and policies that improve access to affordable, high quality family planning services across Illinois.”

During a 2021 demonstration year, ICAN! will partner with three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)—Erie Family Health Centers, Near North Health and PCC Community Wellness Center—to adopt person-centered contraceptive counseling as a standard of care. These contraceptive care “Quality Hubs” will be featured on ICAN!’s new digital platform,, wherein users can connect to telehealth or in-person appointments with high quality providers equipped to provide same-day access to all birth control methods at low or no cost.

“In keeping with AllianceChicago’s mission to improve health through innovative collaboration, and our focus on technology enabled health care, we are proud of our role in helping to incubate ICAN!,” said Fred D. Rachman, MD, CEO of AllianceChicago. “ICAN!’s inventive service approach addresses the critical need to reduce barriers to information and access for young women needing contraceptive services.”

Dr. Stephanie Cox-Batson, chief medical officer of Near North Health stated: “Near North has been working to close the health disparity gap for women of color for more than 50 years. ICAN! is so important because it will help us to expand our reproductive health offerings, and allow us to reach more women in a compassionate and timely manner. A project like this is long overdue.”

A Community Advisory Board and Youth Advisory Board will represent the needs and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), young people and people with low resources in all aspects of ICAN!’s design and delivery.


Dr. Toni M. Bond, a founder of the reproductive justice movement who serves as ICAN!’s director of Community Engagement stated, “Our strategy is grounded in the reproductive justice framework. As such, our goal is not to direct individuals toward particular contraceptive methods. Rather, ICAN!’s objective is to create the conditions for individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health using a patient-centered contraceptive counseling model. This places the individual and their unique life realities at the center of the provider-patient relationship.”

Despite Illinois’ progress in the area of reproductive health, an estimated 500,000 people of childbearing age fall into the contraceptive coverage gap, facing persistent barriers to high-quality contraceptive care due to immigration status, religiously affiliated health care and coverage, confidentiality concerns and the lack of insurance. Where contraceptive care is available, quality varies widely and is dependent upon individual providers’ training, biases and their health center’s infrastructure.

“Broaching sexual and reproductive health in primary and preventive care should become the norm; no longer siloed and stigmatized,” says Kai Tao, ICAN! principal of Impact & Innovation. “When community health systems can provide respectful, evidence based, trauma-informed contraceptive care, communities can exercise bodily autonomy and feel supported in their reproductive well-being across the lifespan.”

ICAN! Executive Director Katie Thiede stated: “Our nation’s dual crises of public health and racial injustice have highlighted the urgent need for more equitable health care delivery, and have compounded the existing unmet need for high quality contraceptive care. Together with health care providers, state agencies, reproductive health and justice advocates and community-based organizations, we strive to create an Illinois where every person has the ability to decide if, when and under what circumstances to be pregnant and parent.”

ICAN! is a five-year, $20 million commitment to help close the contraceptive coverage gap in Illinois by: Building the capacity of community health networks to serve as contraceptive care Quality Hubs; empowering, engaging and educating patients and advancing policies that expand access to high quality contraceptive care for individuals with low resources. As an initiative informed by the reproductive justice framework, ICAN! stands in solidarity with communities of color whose right to parent in safe and healthy environments is routinely violated by racist and xenophobic violence.

ICAN!’s effort to advance contraceptive equity is one piece of the greater struggle against all forms of racial and economic oppression that adversely affect individuals’ reproductive lives. ICAN! is funded in part by generous grants from the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, and supported by Arnold Ventures and Bayer.

AllianceChicago is a health center-controlled network and practice-based research network, linking more than 50 organizations serving Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) patients across Illinois and 18 other states. AllianceChicago serves as an incubator for innovative healthcare solutions.

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