We Choose Health
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We Choose Health Initiative

We Choose Health was a multi-year Illinois Department of Public Health initiative to encourage and support the implementation of proactive health programs that fell under three categories: Healthy Eating and Active Living; Smoke-free Living; and Healthy and Safe Built Environment. We Choose Health awarded 21 grantees, covering 60 counties and impacting almost 3 million people. $3.8 million went directly to communities to implement programs that addressed nutrition and access to healthier foods, increased physical activity and promoted breastfeeding; reduced exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing complexes and outdoor places; improved the quality of screening and treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol; improved communities' built environments to increase opportunities for physical activity; and improved the social and emotional health of students. Strategies were targeted toward serving residents in rural counties and racial and ethnic minority groups in urban areas to reduce health disparities.

Specific grantees were awarded, August 6, 2012 (Grants Awarded to Improve Health and Wellness).

A multi-sector Leadership Team and workgroups were established to oversee and provide guidance for the implementation of the We Choose Health initiative. Workgroups provided resources and advice for how We Choose Health can best implement strategies to reduce the burden of chronic disease at the community and state levels.

For more information and best-practice tools, access the Best Practice Guide.

The Community Transformation Grant (CTG)

We Choose Health was supported by the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was awarded after a highly competitive national application process. IDPH and its state and community partners used these funds to implement We Choose Health. The funding period concluded in September 2014.

The Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program was funded under the Affordable Care Act and supported states and communities that addressed social determinants of health. By promoting healthy lifestyles, especially among population groups experiencing the highest rates of chronic disease, these grants helped improve health, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending.

State Health Improvement Plan

Under Public Act 93-0975, Illinois is required to produce a State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) every four years. The SHIP must include priorities and strategies for health status and public health system improvement in Illinois, with a focus on prevention. It also must address reducing racial, ethnic, geographic, age and socioeconomic health disparities. The plan is produced by a team of public, private and voluntary sector stakeholders appointed by the Governor.

In 2011, the Governor appointed members to the SHIP Implementation Coordination Council who produced an action plan for the 2010 SHIP Implementation (SHIP period 2010-2015). The 2010 SHIP Priority Health Area Indicators document was published in fall 2014. The 2010 SHIP will inform the planning process for a new 2021 SHIP that will be published in 2016 (SHIP period 2016-2021). Through examination of these measures, planners will decide which of the identified priorities require additional focus during the 2021 SHIP period (2016-2021), and where resources should be concentrated.

A new Council will be appointed soon. For more information, please visit www.idph.state.il.us/ship/icc.htm.

Access the 2010 SHIP Priority Health Area Indicators document here.

We Choose Health was a multi-sectorial, multi-pronged approach to improving health in Illinois as envisioned in the SHIP. The work of IDPH, local Illinois communities, and other stakeholders under We Choose Health serves as an important pilot project for broader state health improvement initiatives. At the same time, the goals outlined in the SHIP guide many of the priorities brought to the forefront through We Choose Health.