Northwestern Undergrads win Illinois Health Matters Young Leader Award

Two Northwestern University Weinberg students Brittany Zelch (Class of 2015) and Emery Weinstein (Class of 2016) recently won the Illinois Health Matters Young Leader Award. Illinois Health Matters is an organization that provides Illinois-specific updates about healthcare reform, aiming to lower disparities in health care across populations by providing information on access to health care and in-depth consumer guides to health coverage. The organization runs a blog that makes federal and state regulations on health care more accessible to the public, showcasing helpful entries on topics like the costs, benefits and savings of various health care plans.

Zelch and Weinstein submitted an entry to the blog titled “The Missing Link: Putting Health into Your Hands,” in which they addressed the health reforms brought about by the passage of the Affordable Care Act. In their post, Zelch and Weinstein introduce the HIRCULES Health Hub initiative, which was first conceived by Northwestern University Professor Michael Diamond and co-founded by Zelch and Weinstein. Since the Affordable Care Act promotes preventive care, HIRCULES aims to increase health literacy and community awareness of preventive measures in our health care system. In order to lower costs and improve health outcomes, the initiative hopes to empower Evanston and Skokie residents to take control of their health via library health desks and a virtual database that provides health-related resources in the community.

Zelch and Weinstein’s entry was selected to be run on the Illinois Health Matters blog and they won the organization’s Young Leader Award. During her time at Northwestern, Zelch majored in biology and minored in global health studies. She also served as co-president of the Northwestern GlobeMed chapter. Weinstein is passionate about comparative health care systems and is currently studying health policy and economics, a major she created, and minoring in global health studies. Both students remain actively involved in the HIRCULES Health Hub and its efforts at improving health outcomes in the Evanston and Skokie communities.

Zelch & Weinstein’s full blog post can be found at:


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