March 10, 2022 Reprint from The Chicago Crusader Submitted by Grady Norwood, Jr.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly

The funding package includes Rep. Kelly’s Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, $50 Million in Community Violence Prevention

Yesterday, March 9, 2022, Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-02) voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations, which includes her bipartisan bill, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, and all 10 of her Community Project Funding requests.

The Omnibus also includes elements of Congresswoman Kelly’s work to improve and expand telehealth service nationwide, and $50 million in community violence intervention funding. Congresswoman Kelly wrote to the Appropriations Committee last year to request a serious investment in evidenced-based community violence prevention.

“I am thrilled that these critical investments and my bipartisan maternal health legislation, largely based off of my comprehensive MOMMA’s Act, have been included in our funding package,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “These investments are not just about recovering from the pandemic, but protecting people, correcting injustices and improving our healthcare system for everyone. The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act will improve the maternal care received by women of color and save lives. The telehealth study included in the omnibus will allow us to better understand how telehealth services were utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that this vital healthcare service remains available to people across the country. 

“Gun violence prevention funding is important for communities in every single state. The $50 million investment included in our funding package will empower communities to engage in evidence-based prevention practices and save lives. 

“I am proud to have voted to pass this funding bill to keep our government open, ensure that our government workers and servicemen and women are paid, and to invest in the futures of our communities.” 

The bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act includes major provisions from Congresswoman Kelly’s MOMMAs Act and would improve maternal health outcomes by implementing evidence-based practices and support training programs to eliminate biases that affect care for racial and ethnic groups. Additionally, the bill would provide funding to establish rural obstetric networks to improve birth outcomes and reduce maternal morbidity in rural areas.

The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would:

  • Authorize a grant program to improve maternal health outcomes by developing evidence-based best practices, improving maternal mortality review committee data, and evaluating new models of care.
  • Authorize a grant program to address implicit and explicit bias training for health care providers.
  • Create a study to develop recommendations for teaching within health professional training programs to reduce and prevent biases that could impact maternal care.
  • Authorize a grant program for developing integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women and infants, with grants and reporting of study outcomes.

Additionally, the legislation includes significant elements of Congresswoman Kelly’s bill, the Evaluating Disparities and Outcomes of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Emergency Act, to examine the utilization of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The omnibus bill will direct the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), to examine telehealth utilization, expenditures, payment policy, and impacts on access to care and quality for Medicare beneficiaries. This study may further breakdown telehealth utilization data by services provided, provider type and geographic location of patients and providers. The legislation also directs the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at HHS to submit a report on instances of fraud, expenditures and savings. This OIG report request, and telehealth utilization study was also included in Congresswoman Kelly’s bill, Evaluating Disparities and Outcomes in Telehealth During the COVID-19 Emergency Act.

The 2022 funding omnibus includes all 10 of the Community Projects Congresswoman Kelly requested last year. More information about each of those requests is available below.

Pembroke Township Integrated Infrastructure Pilot
Amount Requested: $3,000,000

Amount Received: $3,000,000

Intended Recipient: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on behalf of Community Development Corporation of Pembroke and Hopkins Park (CDC of PHP)

Explanation of Request: The project would extend scalable access to approximately 850 residences, businesses, and community anchor institutions throughout the entire 52-square-mile Pembroke Township footprint. Pembroke is a very rural, historically impoverished, and dramatically un/underserved community that lacks communications and energy infrastructure, including wireline broadband, cellular, and natural gas.

SouthCom Technology Upgrades

Amount Requested: $275,500

Amount Received: $276,000

Intended Recipient: SouthCom 9-1-1 Dispatch Center, 21113 Dettmering Street, Matteson, IL 60443

Explanation of Request: This project will provide funding for systems that will provide more detailed information to the public and coordination amongst first responders. It will also provide quicker response times, more efficient dispatching, and allow SouthCom to provide a higher level of service to member agencies and the citizens in the Villages of Matteson, Richton Park, and Olympia Fields.

University Park Police Department Cameras

Amount Requested: $20,000

Amount Received: $20,000

Intended Recipient: University Park Police Department, 650 Burnham Drive, University Park, IL 60484

Explanation of Request: The purchase of 22 body worn cameras and 7 squad car cameras used to enhance community and law enforcement trust relations, traffic enforcement, case credibility and to meet new Illinois police reform mandates. The purchase will aid in training, crime prevention, enhance public trust and Officer safety.

Ascending House

Amount Requested: $200,000

Amount Received: $200,000

Intended Recipient: Chicago Southland Economic Incubator, 1904 174th St, Hazel Crest, IL 60429

Explanation of Request: Ascending House will provide the necessary software, tools (video conference room, studio, printing lab), and connections to interns and new employees that start-ups may not have access to otherwise due to high costs or lack of know-how. Funding will go towards creating a video conference center, a podcast studio, and an advanced printing lab, providing the E-Commerce Entrepreneurs training program, operating the InternMatch Illinois which is a match-making platform for small businesses to find the right interns, and building a commercial kitchen.

Chicago Public Schools Enrichment Program

Amount Requested: $495,000

Amount Received: $500,000

Intended Recipient: Chicago Public Schools, 42 W Madison St Chicago, IL 60602

Explanation of Request: This is a project that would upgrade arts programs, facilities, and technology at six CPS schools: Haley Elementary School (ES) for Fine and Performing Arts, Washington ES for Fine and Performing Arts, Corliss HS for STEM, Owens ES for STEM, Powell ES for Personalized Learning, and Smith ES for Personalized Learning.

Behavioral Health Telemedicine for Emergency Room Access

Amount Requested: $625,000

Amount Received: $625,000

Intended Recipient: Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, 20201 Crawford Avenue, Olympia Fields, Illinois 60461

Explanation of Request: This project funding will enable the emergency room to treat and diagnoses patients at the time of admission to the emergency room. Currently, Franciscan Health does not have 24 hour a day 7-day coverage for behavioral health patients- causing a delay in diagnoses and treatment. Behavioral health physicians are difficult to recruit and utilizing telehealth is a cost-effective option and allows patients to be treated in real time.

Career Center Technology Upgrades and Guidance Counselor Support

Amount Requested: $177,630

Amount Received: $175,000

Intended Recipient: Kankakee Area Career Center, 4083 N 1000 W Road, Bourbonnais, IL 60914

Explanation of Request: Kankakee Area Career Center has a great need to upgrade equipment and technology related to curriculum and add a professional counselor. The project will focus on four programs for technology/equipment upgrades: Fire-Rescue-Emergency Medical Responder; Certified Nurse Assistant Training and Health Occupations; Engineering and Design; and Automotive Technology. The Career Guidance Counselor will serve students in 12 occupational programs. Kankakee Area Career Center serves almost 800 students daily (890 pre-enrolled for next year), with no professional guidance counselor on staff.

Childbirth Simulator

Amount Requested: $90,879

Amount Received: $90,000

Intended Recipient: Olivet Nazarene University, One University Avenue, Box 6012, Bourbonnais, IL 60914

Explanation of Request: Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) offers a four-year Baccalaureate Nursing degree preparing students to be effective and competent Registered Nurses. ONU has a full and well-equipped simulation lab with the exception of the childbirth simulator. Purchasing a new childbirth simulator will provide students with the knowledge and practice to be competent and enter the nursing workforce. Funding this project will help prepare students for hospital units and contribute to a safer environment for patients and medical staff.

CTA Red Line Extension – Workforce Development

Amount Requested: $1,500,000

Amount Received: $1,500,000

Intended Recipient: Chicago Transit Authority567 W. Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661

Explanation of Request: The Red Line Extension (RLE) Project will extend the Red Line south 5.6 miles from the 95th Street Terminal to 130th Street in the City of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois. The proposed heavy rail extension will include four new stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street. The Workforce Development project would provide workforce training and support services, such as mentorship, training, transportation, and childcare grants, as well as placement of candidates in jobs on CTA projects and external projects.


I have functioned as a Business and Media Consultant over the past sixteen years and spent many years developing my capacity to function in our ever evolving use of technology, communication, education and training.