Illinois Colorectal Cancer Alliance to Reduce Mortality and Enhance Screening (IL-CARES) is Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening in the target population. The overall aim of IL-CARES is to establish a multilevel, multi‐faceted framework to increase organized approaches to CRC screening and prevention in partnership with a diverse group of healthcare system sector partners. IL-CARES builds on CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program, Cook County Colon Cancer Alliance to Reignite and Enhance Screening program (2015-2020), that worked with community health centers and select rural local health departments to address colorectal cancer disparities and increase screening rates up to 30% at partnering health systems.

The program purpose is to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among a defined target population of persons 50-75 years of age within a partner health system, defined geographical area (Cook County), and disparate populations. This project is aligned with achieve the CDC national level screening target of 80% by 2018.


Evidence demonstrates that colorectal cancer screening saves lives. CRC screening not only detects disease early but also prevents cancer by finding and removing precancerous polyps through colonoscopy. CRC screening rate in IL is at 66.7%, placing it in the last quartile across the Nation, according to Federal data. CRC particularly affects the racial/ethnic minorities with African Americans having the highest mortality rates from CRC and Hispanic and Asian Americans having the lowest screening rates. Further, some rural counties in IL have among the highest incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer in the State contributing to the burden of unnecessary health disparities. One of the regions, the Southern Seven region comprised of the southern tip of our State is one of three national hotspot areas with the highest mortality from colorectal cancer.
Specifically, our target population includes underserved patient population served by our partnering Federally Qualified Health Centers extending from urban to rural counties and communities served by our partnering local health departments, including the Southern Seven region.


1. Friend Health
2. VNA Health Care
3. Community Health & Emergency Services, Inc.
4. Southern 7 Health Department
5. Illinois Comprehensive Control Program
6. Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
7. Illinois Primary Health Care Association
8. Northwestern Medicine
9. Rush University Medical Center
10. Medumo
11. Hope Light Foundation


  1. Use an organized approach through three phases of implementation: pre-implementation, implementation, and post-implementation;
  2. Conduct clinic-level organizational readiness assessments during the pre-implementation phase to assure organizational capacity/readiness to implement EBIs and identify resources needed;
  3. Implement multiple EBIs to target multilevel influences that hinder the recommendation and uptake of CRC screening;
  4. Conduct rapid Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to monitor ongoing performance at the provider and clinic levels and make adjustments as needed;
  5. Utilize supportive strategies and technology to accelerate and facilitate the adoption and impact of the selected EBIs, that includes, but not limited to, portal and FIT Registry.
  6. Establish a referral network with each health system to facilitate timely linkage to care, including follow-up diagnostic colonoscopy and cancer treatment; and
  7. Apply knowledge translation to disseminate and build capacity across the State.

The program purpose is to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates by implementing evidence-based interventions (EBIs) in primary clinics and health systems serving a defined target population of persons 50-75 years of age within partner health systems, defined geographical area (Illinois), and disparate populations. IL-CARES will implement evidence-based interventions (EBIs) – client and provider reminders, provider assessment and feedback, and reducing structural barriers in our partner health systems utilizing a variety of proven methods and innovative technology. To achieve our goals, we aim to:

IL-CARES is wholly funded through grant 1 NU58DP006764-01-00 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Manasi Jayaprakash, MD, MPH, Program Operations Director,