Tell us about your organization and the work you do there.
For over 30 years, Alivio Medical Center has been a vital resource and advocate for thousands of families in the underserved Latino community in Chicago. From its humble beginnings as the only medical center in Pilsen serving fewer than two thousand patients, Alivio has grown into a nationally recognized leader providing high-quality, cost-effective health care. We have created a bilingual and bicultural environment that serves the Hispanic community, the uninsured, and the underinsured without the exclusion of other cultures and races. Today, Alivio proudly serves more than 24,000 patients.
Alivio currently operates one urgent care center and six community health centers. In addition to providing health care, Alivio cares about the issues that affect the daily lives of the people it serves. Alivio champions three key issues: universal health care, immigration reform, and a fluent bilingual/bicultural health care workforce.
What communities do you serve?
We currently serve Berwyn, Cicero, Little Village, Pilsen, and Back of the Yards.
What populations do you serve?
We mainly serve Hispanic immigrants with a growing Chinese population.
Why did you decide to join the Illinois Kidney Care Alliance?
Latinos are disproportionately affected by diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Access to health care also plays a role. We are committed to advocating for our patients and their health care needs.
What do you hope the alliance accomplishes?
We hope IKCA is able to raise awareness about the effects of kidney disease in Latinos and promote bilingual and bicultural resources like Alivio, which focus on prevention and decreasing illnesses that ultimately lead to a greater risk of kidney disease.
What policy changes do those living with kidney disease need now?
Lawmakers should expand health insurance coverage to all. Our communities are stronger when every person has access to care and coverage, creating healthy communities. Uninsured residents will eventually fall into more expensive care when it’s too late.
What is something most people don’t know about dialysis/kidney disease?
Hispanics are 1½ times more likely to have kidney failure compared to other Americans. In 2010, 13% of new kidney failure patients were Hispanic.
If you can share one story about the work you and your organization do, what would it be?
Alivio doesn’t turn any patient away, regardless of ability to pay. We advocate for universal health care and immigration reform.