The Refugee Immigrant Child Health Initiative (RICHI) was founded in 2017 with the mission of improving the quality of care for our immigrant patients and their families.

RICHI logo


  • Educate healthcare providers to assess the medical, legal, and social needs of newcomers and create immigrant-friendly healthcare spaces in Illinois 
  • Gather resources for healthcare providers to assist their patients with behavioral health, legal, and community organization referrals to coordinate care of children and families 
  • Provide education and quality improvement opportunities for pediatricians working with refugee and immigrant populations 
  • Train a network of medical and behavioral health providers to perform forensic asylum examinations 
  • Inform physicians about opportunities to advocate for legislation and policies that benefit children 
  • Connect with community and legal organizations to assess the medical needs of target populations 

Since 2017, RICHI members have advocated on behalf of immigrant children and families

  • Signing onto a Supreme Court amicus brief in support of DACA
  • Providing and soliciting comments opposing proposed Public Charge rule changes
  • Writing to Congress to argue for the necessity of Medical Deferred Action
  • Formed professional relationships with legal, social service, and health care organizations to better support immigrant families through culturally-competent care and communications
  • Engaged in crucial capacity building around the performance of medical and psychological forensic assessments in support of pediatric and family asylum cases through its Midwest Human Rights Consortium (MHRC)
Protecting Immigrant Families

Public Charge

Public charge is a feature of immigration law that enables federal officials to deny visa or green card requests they determine someone is likely to rely on public benefits, such as TANF or SSI, for support – making them a “public charge.” While prior administrations used this provision only in cases where these benefits would act as individuals’ primary source of income, the rules have now been amended to apply to a wider pool of applicants.

For more detailed information on the exact provisions affected by the public charge rule changes, and for resources you can pass along to any of your patients who may be affected by these changes, please visit the following sources:

Add Your Voice

To join RICHI’s efforts to improve the health of immigrant children and families across Illinois, please contact Tim Herring, Coordinator, Health Equity Initiatives at