Host organization: Rush University Medical Center

The goal of the Center for Excellence in Aging (CEA) at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois is to advance care for older adults and their families through clinical services, research, education, community outreach, community leadership and empowerment, and health policy advocacy. The CEA improves how health professionals deliver care and prevent diseases by taking the lessons learned from research and applying them to clinical and community settings. Rush University Medical Center is a nonprofit academic medical institution with a strong focus on health equity and improving the health of the communities it serves. 

Issue: Structural barriers for undocumented older adults with complex needs

Illinois has one of the largest populations of undocumented individuals (400,000+) in the United States. Due to their immigration status, undocumented individuals face pervasive and structural barriers excluding them from the services older adults depend on to successfully age in place. Even though the undocumented community contributes greatly to the economy through income, property, and sales taxes, they are blocked from receiving most public benefits, including health insurance and housing aid. The resulting unmet needs of this population, particularly aging individuals, leads to poor individual outcomes and impacts public systems of health, healthcare, social services, and the need for public housing throughout the state.