Access to Care

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: “Mending the Safety Net” is a unique pilot project which aims to strengthen resources and supports for primary care prevention, and chronic disease management for low-income underserved Asian American communities in Chicago. Through a unique community-clinic collaboration, this demonstration project seeks to create sustainable, effective linkages between safety-net clinics and communities through partnerships between Asian-serving community-based organizations (CBOs) and community health centers (CHCs) to improve access to ambulatory care (outpatient preventive and chronic disease management) for low-income Asian American populations in the Chicago metropolitan area. This collaborative partnership approach between CBOs and CHCs targets vulnerable, high risk communities, not otherwise engaged with traditional health care systems.

TARGET POPULATION: Low-Income Asian American populations in Chicago


  • Community-Based Organizations (Multiple)
  • Heartland Health Centers


  1. Bring together diverse Asian community-based organizations in Chicago in partnership with a local community health clinic to identify existing gaps and opportunities in ambulatory care access for low-income underserved Asian community members.
  2. Build the leadership and organizational capacity of target community-based organizations and community health clinics partners to enhance consumer demand for resources and supports.
  3. Use findings from Goal #1 and increased capacity from Goal#2 to pilot a referral intervention (“community health referral coordinator”) to coordinate, encourage use of, and enhance access from the community-based organizations to ambulatory services at the partner community health clinic.

Using the social influences of ethnic-serving community-based organizations, Mending the Safety Net aims to reach low-income underserved Asian Americans who are not utilizing the outreach and primary care services of community health clinics. Partnering with community-based organizations is acritical component of our efforts to increase access to ambulatory care. Persuasion often occurs through the two-way communication of social influence, most commonly in the form of local opinion leaders, such as community leaders and their community health workers, who are embedded in social networks and well-positioned to impact access behavior. The use of “community health referral coordinators” will provide effective communication to low-income underserved Asian Americans and navigate them to community health clinics (i.e. increasing consumer demand).

Funding for this project has been provided through a community grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois

CONTACT: For more information please contact Angela Forfia at 312.372.7070, ext: 232 or