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Chicago gets new prescription for better health

Chicago Tribune, August 17, 2011

Vowing to improve the health of Chicagoans and cut the government's soaring healthcare costs, Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to a sweaty fitness room in Humboldt Park on Tuesday to unveil a comprehensive health agenda that includes a citywide "wellness plan." As part of Emanuel's effort to launch initiatives in his first 100 days, the mayor and Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair presented a Healthy Chicago plan that outlines 12 priority areas -- and dozens of measurable health goals the leaders hope to achieve by 2020. The priorities include reduced tobacco use, obesity reduction and prevention, HIV prevention, adolescent health, cancer disparity reduction, better access to healthcare, healthy mothers and babies, communicable disease control and prevention, healthy homes, violence prevention, and public health infrastructure. Choucair says they have identified more than 120 strategies to address them. The leaders did not specify concrete sources of funding for all the programs outlined in the agenda but said they believed their aggressive plan would attract more outside funding by demonstrating the city's commitment to targeted, transparent and evidenced-based health improvement strategies.