On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D., released a new Public Health Agenda—Healthy Chicago—the City’s first comprehensive public health plan.
“Strong public health is critical to quality of life of residents across Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. "This agenda addresses the real health concerns facing our city so we can make Chicago a healthier place – with healthy neighborhoods, people and homes.”
The Mayor first called for the creation of a Public Health Agenda in his transition report. Healthy Chicago will give the CDPH direction for the next five years by outlining goals and issues to prioritize.
Specifically, the CDPH has established 12 priority areas in Healthy Chicago. These areas result from the acknowledgement that health is not simply biology and genetics but is also rooted in social and environmental influences that are less easy to categorize. Consequently, the CDPH plans to work not only with traditional health partners, but also with religious, educational, and business communities to improve the City’s health and address the following issues:
“We have seen dramatic improvements in many areas but it's only the beginning,” said Commissioner Choucair. “This agenda is an aggressive call to action – and we are already working with City departments and agencies, healthcare providers and community organizations to realize our vision for a Healthy Chicago.”
Healthy Chicago follows a health report released on Monday by the Chicago Department of Public Health in conjunction with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. The report—A Profile of Health and Health Resources within Chicago’s 77 Community Areas—was the first comprehensive study of its kind, and brought up several of the issues addressed in the Healthy Chicago. To learn more about the report, click here.
In addition to Healthy Chicago, Mayor Emanuel has been working to address Chicago’s food deserts and expand urban farming. He seeks to half the city’s food deserts by the end of his first term, and has created a summit of executives from six major grocery stores to do so. With regards to urban agriculture, Mayor Emanuel has also amended the Municipal Code in order to support urban farming, create jobs and encourage community development.