Public Health

AllianceChicago is actively working to improve the health of communities across the US, by identifying and reducing vulnerabilities and helping people lead healthier, happier lives.​

Our public health initiatives are targeted strategies – formed by collaborating with health experts and local stakeholders – that address specific threats to the health of communities and their residents.

Covid infant surveillance

Active Projects

The purpose of the project is to expand a central repository of data available to diabetes researchers and collaborators in order to improve diabetes for adult patients in CHCs and to engage CHC clinicians and staff in training and other activities to catalyze diabetes research in their settings. Funder: NIH/NIDDKD

The objective of this study is to implement strategies to increase uptake and support PrEP persistence among Black cisgender women in community health center (CHC) settings. AllianceChicago and Health Choice Network will partner with University of Chicago for this 5-year NIH-funded project. This study will take place at 12 locations of care within 3 CHCs, including 4 sites in the Midwest and 8 in the Southern U.S. Funder: NIH

This project was initiated by Alivio Medical Center as a community-driven research question. The study developed from the initial question aims to understand the trajectory of patients who screened at high risk of cancer during the COVID pandemic at an AllianceChicago network Community Health Center (CHC), who subsequently received care at a CAPriCORN data contributing site. The results will be critical in understanding what, if any, care the cohort of patients received post-abnormal screening result at the community health center.

This project was initiated by Alivio Medical Center as a community-driven research question. The study developed from the initial question aims to understand the trajectory of patients who screened at high risk of cancer during the COVID pandemic at an AllianceChicago network Community Health Center (CHC), who subsequently received care at a CAPriCORN data contributing site. The results will be critical in understanding what, if any, care the cohort of patients received post-abnormal screening result at the community health center. Funder: NHLBI

Supporting Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) surveillance work by providing information on infants born to mothers with COVID-19 who were then seen for well childcare at an AllianceChicago Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  Funder: CDPH

AllianceChicago was awarded the eCR Now Challenge award to pilot the implementation of eCR Now Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) in partnership with our EMR vendor, athenahealth (athenaPractice and athenaOne). This pilot was focused on COVID-19 case reporting with the goal of using the lessons learned to expand FHIR API across AllianceChicago’s network for additional diseases over time. Community Health Centers often perform double entry between local health departments and other reporting agencies. Additionally, some case reports may be missing or incomplete, as well as there may be high volumes of case reports at times. These issues are resolved by effective use of eCR.  Funder: CDC/APHL

This project was initiated under the CDC goal to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 90% by 2030. As the recipient of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHCs) funding for this endeavor, AllianceChicago incorporated a form and workflow in the format of a Clinical Decision Support (CDS) tool in order to improve health centers ability to impact HIV prevention,  diagnoses,  care,  and treatment  to  improve health outcomes. Funder: NACHC

Partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop a more in-depth occupational health EHR data collection tool to support health centers in identifying essential workers and those at risk to illness and/or injury due to their occupation. Funder: NACHC

The Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network, or ILINet, is a CDC program which collects influenza surveillance data from healthcare providers. As a part of their work, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides data through their own network to CDC. For this effort, AllianceChicago (AC) was asked by a partner health center to determine if they could provide support to streamline this reporting. AC subsequently identified an opportunity to ease the burden on both CDPH and its Chicago-based member health centers by streamlining reporting from each individual health center into an aggregated report. Funder: CDPH

This is a NACHC-led project to improve blood pressure control for African Americans through a data-driven, rapid cycle improvement approach. AllianceChicago coaches partner health centers through 1:1 meetings, larger workgroups, and NACHC guidance to support provider training, medication adherence, medication intensification, and self-monitored blood pressure initiatives to improve hypertension in this patient population. Funder: CDC

The purpose of this project is to improve diabetes control among health center patients while also tackling diabetes prevention. This program follows the CDC’s approved lifestyle management program by addressing healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management through regular group meetings and support over the year. This approach targets individuals at-risk for diabetes as well as those with diabetes. The curriculum can effectively help participants lose weight, improve healthy behaviors, and cut their risk of diabetes in half. In addition, the program provides participants with a set of self-care tools to assist with healthy living and diabetes control and prevention, as well as education and training that includes attention to health equity and social support. Funder: NACHC

This initiative aims to support community health centers in implementing evidence-based quality improvement initiatives to improve adult vaccination rates. By using data pulls, workflow support, and quality improvement tools, AllianceChicago aims to coach health centers through any barriers they may encounter while trying to increase adult uptake of the Covid, influenza, and pneumococcal vaccines. Funder: NACHC

This multi-disciplinary collaboration uses evidence-based quality improvement strategies to improve capacity of small primary care practices in IL and WI to implement Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) evidence into the delivery of care for the unhealthy alcohol use.​ Unhealthy alcohol use affects 38 million adults in the United States and is a leading cause of preventable mortality and a risk factor for an array of economic, social and health problems that has an estimated annual economic impact of $249 billion. Funder: AHRQ

Multi-state EHR-based Network for Disease Surveillance (MENDS) is an EHR-based pilot chronic disease surveillance system led by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and funded by CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, this project takes chronic disease data and uses weighting and modeling to display and analyze it via two software tools, RiskScape and PopMedNet. Riskscape visualizes the data into charts, figures, and maps to provide quality visuals that help inform work around chronic diseases. The key to this project is its usefulness in analyzing and transforming any healthcare data into visualizations that allow for comprehensive and meaningful views. Any data available in EHRs has the potential to be leveraged via the two tools in use by this project. At AllianceChicago, we have 18 health centers contributing data to this effort, with 6 from Illinois. This project has local partnerships with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and with the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH).  Funder: CDC

OPTIMIZE aims to address inequity perinatal healthcare, particularly for African American women. The OPTIMIZE checklist is a strategy to facilitate coordination and integration of efforts to improve perinatal care for AA women. Aims 1. Develop the OPTIMIZE checklist with interviews and/or focus groups with AllianceChicago CHCs staff and patients 2. Conduct pragmatic, randomized trials in CHCs to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of the OPTIMIZE checklist strategy 3. Conduct process evaluation, including conducting organizational surveys and interviews with clinic staff and patients. Funder: NIH

The goal of this study is to better understand the landscape of pediatric overweight and obesity in populations served by Community Health Centers. The initiative will use quantitative data and a comprehensive, stakeholder driven approach to inform the development of new Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) for use in clinical settings. Funder: NACHC

This study will test a technology-based strategy to promote preconception care and diabetes self-management among English and Spanish-speaking women with type 2 diabetes in primary care. Aims 1. Test the medication reconciliation (MedRec) tool and deliver low literacy print tools to support diabetes self-care as well as post-visit text messaging to encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors to eligible patients 2. Analyze EHR data (e.g., HbA1c, blood pressure) on enrolled participants 3. Request feedback (via brief electronic survey) from 10 CHC personnel on their experience with the project. Funder: NIH

This study leverages the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to improve the security of vaccination programs by improving the quality and efficiency of adverse vaccine event and reporting to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) by using a FHIR-based communication to identify possible vaccine adverse events and engaging clinicians into the feedback loop on VAE reports to ensure validity. Funder: CDC

Partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to optimize postpartum care provision, including addressing high-risk pregnancies in the postpartum period and improved care coordination and developing a quality measure for postpartum care. Funder: NACHC

Covid surveillance

Completed Projects

Partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to collect COVID-19 data to support surveillance and health center workflows around managing COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and treatments. Funder: NACHC

The CHEC-UP project aimed to reduce disparities in well child-care and immunization completion in vulnerable communities through real-time, bi-directional digital communication with patients using AI chatbots and smartphone-based virtual care. CHEC-UP provided an all-in-one patient innovative chatbot technology and coaching to 1) remind parents of upcoming well child visits and immunizations at their medical home; 2) promote dialogue around age-based recommendations; 3) connect families directly to healthcare staff for further questions or concerns; and 4) facilitate targeted outreach for easy scheduling/rescheduling appointments.  Funder: Unfunded

This work supports Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) surveillance efforts by providing information from AllianceChicago Federally Qualified Health Centers around COVID-19 therapeutics administration. Funder: CDPH

Patient-centered approach to develop education materials for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy for elderly Black/African American and Hispanic/Latin populations, disseminated through the EHR and through patient text messaging. Funder: Retirement Research Foundation

Population health approach connecting EHR patient address data with census track data to identify patients at risk for lead and connect them to CDPH lead inspection team. Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This project sought to apply the human centered design framework to develop a rapid cycle intervention to improve screening, testing, diagnoses, treatment and sustained virological response (SVR) achievement within the Hepatitis-C Care Cascade. AllianceChicago worked in partnership with two health centers to pilot the dashboard and workflows iteratively created for this project to enable the closure of care gaps related to Hepatitis-C. Funder: NACHC

The IMPACT project implemented a bidirectional referral tool to the Illinois Tobacco Quitline (ITQL) at two Community Health Centers in Chicago, Heartland Alliance Health and Howard Brown Health, and expanded utilization at third health center, Near North Health. The eReferral system targeted all smokers with a primary care visit during the grant period who were deemed by the provider to be ready to make an attempt to quit smoking. The goal of the project was to increase the number of referrals to the ITQL, increase smoking cessation counseling, and ultimately increase smoking cessation rates. Funder: CDPH

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