RSS Feed 2.0

Erie Family Health Center


GinnyErie Henson Garden Initiative Program

June 28, 2011 |

Erie celebrates the first days of summer with the new Henson Garden Initiative Program

The season of summer has finally arrived here in Chicago –and Erie Family Health Center does not plan on wasting a single moment of this balmy, beautiful weather. Recently, a few Erie employees volunteered their time to help break ground on the new Henson Garden Initiative Program, a part of Erie’s Health and Wellness Program at Erie Henson School Based Health Center. This program aims to promote healthy lifestyles to children living within the North Lawndale community through education on healthy eating and the importance of physical activity.

The Henson Garden Initiative is just one facet of the Henson Health and Wellness Program. The Henson Garden Initiative, which is an after school program for the students of Henson, will help children increase their knowledge of nutrition through planting and managing a garden. Since the children will be helping to assemble the garden and grow the produce, the garden will not only serve as an opportunity for education but also as an opportunity for physical activity. Children will also be able to share the information they’ve learned about healthy living to their peers through classroom presentations. Children will be sent home with produce from the garden as well as recipes to prepare with their parents at home. Any additional produce will be donated to the emergency food pantry at Henson, which help teach the students an important lesson on giving back to their community.

There are many benefits to exposing children, especially children living in urban areas, to information about healthy eating. “Exposing children to where their food comes from, how it grows and why it’s important to eat healthy foods allows them to be informed and empowered about making healthy choices,” says Elizabeth Mendoza, an Erie AmeriCorps Health Educator.  “When this information is presented at a young age, the children are then able to get a healthier start in life.”

Continue reading Erie Henson Garden Initiative Program

no comments yet.

StephHealth Beats: June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011 |



Beats this week:  

1) Summertime in Chicago is ramping up and with it comes barbeques, summer cocktails and outdoor sports! Make sure you take the month of June to get your annual check-up; June is National Men’s Health Month!  The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys

2) The story on the source of the E. coli outbreak in Europe that has killed at least 26 people and sickened over 2,700 others continues to unfold. The newest tests have found the E. coli strain in a cucumber from an unknown country. Meanwhile, consumers across Europe are shunning fruit and vegetables, and the German warning against eating cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts is still in place.   

3) With the summer heat Chicago also experiences an uptick in violence throughout. It is only natural, then, that the Huffington Post Chicago section was asking this week, What Can Make Chicago Safer?

4) A study released this week by the World Health Organization has found that mental health problems account for nearly half of all disability among young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Researchers looked at data from 191 countries and estimated that among adolescents and young adults, 45 percent of disability was related to depression, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders, including alcohol abuse.

5) The United States Department of Agriculture made a big announcement this week: there’s a new food pyramid in town, and it’s a plate. The new graphic is meant to replace the old food pyramid in an effort to provide a simple “how-to” for making food choices by providing a clear breakdown of what our plates should look like.

no comments yet.

StephErie Welcomes Senator Durbin!

June 6, 2011 |

On June 2, 2011, Erie Family Health Center was honored to host U.S. Senator Dick Durbin at Erie Humboldt Park Health Center. During the visit, Erie had the opportunity to share our new Family Practice Residency Program and the importance of the Teaching Health Centers funding for the sustainability of the program. Erie’s Family Practice Residency Program, which is carried out in partnership with Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and Norwegian American Hospital, is a community-based residency program that aims to train primary care physicians to meet the health care needs of the millions of Americans that will be insured through health care reform.

Continue reading Erie Welcomes Senator Durbin!

no comments yet.

JaclynOral Health Video!

May 26, 2011 |



Erie Beats

Did you miss the 2011 Golden Toothbrush Awards? Or were you there but want to check out the video featured at the event? Watch the special event video by clicking the play button below to learn more about Erie’s Oral Health program and our patients!

no comments yet.

GinnyErie Family Health Center’s New Memory Health Program

May 26, 2011 |

Erie Family Health Center partners with Northwestern University to bring a brand new health care program to Erie patients

Erie Family Health Center promises many things to the Chicago communities it serves – quality and compassionate health care, a warm and comforting environment, and the promotion of wellness and preventative care. To continually fulfill those promises, Erie understands innovation, creativity, and above all, the ability to search continually for opportunities will lead to better serve our patients every day.

Erie Family Health Center’s new partnership with Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer ’s Disease Center is a perfect example of Erie’s commitment to developing new ways to help all patients achieve optimum health – both physically and mentally. This new Erie venture is supported by a Community Partnership grant from Northwestern Memorial Hospital – La Memoria Project. The new program will provide patients with cognitive impairments with screenings, psychosocial assessments, health education, and a link to critical support services. Kristen Oshyn, a Master’s-trained social work intern will counsel patients living with dementia and their caregivers to provide them with the support and resources at Erie Family Health Center.

Dementia is an emerging public health crisis in Hispanic communities in the United States. Dementia cases among the Hispanic population are expected to increase six-fold during the first half of this century. In other words, 1.3 million Hispanics are projected to have the disease in 2050, compared to less than 200,000 currently living with the disease today. “Elderly Latinos with memory loss and dementia and their families face many barriers in the care and treatment of dementia,” says Kristen.  “This grant was intended to improve the recognition of the barriers currently present for Erie families to access cognitive screening resources.”

Continue reading Erie Family Health Center’s New Memory Health Program

no comments yet.

StephMay is Healthy Vision Month: Keep an Eye on Your Vision

May 23, 2011 |

Americans agree that eyesight has a huge impact on day-to-day living and is one of the senses they fear losing most. Unfortunately, people often do not pay attention to their eye health unless they notice a problem. Many common eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration, often have no early warning signs or symptoms. Having regular eye exams to make sure the eyes are healthy and seeing their best is important for everyone. However, the risk of vision loss and blindness is higher for some people based on race, ethnicity, and other demographic and socioeconomic factors.

You might be at higher risk for eye disease if you have a family history of eye disease; have diabetes; are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native; or are older than 50. Some diseases affect certain populations disproportionately.

- Glaucoma, which affects your side or peripheral vision first, is three times more common in African Americans than in Whites. It is a leading cause of blindness in African Americans.

- Diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness caused by uncontrolled diabetes, occurs more often in Hispanics/Latinos than in Whites.

- American Indians and Alaska Natives are 35 percent more likely to have diabetes than the average adult in the United States, putting them at increased risk of diabetic eye disease.

- Older adults are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, or cataract. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in Whites. 

“If you are at higher risk of eye disease, having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best thing you can do to protect your vision,” says Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

 “A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure where your eye care professional puts drops in the eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil so he or she can get a good look at the back of the eye to check for signs of eye disease. With early detection, treatment can slow or stop vision loss and reduce the risk of blindness.”

 In addition to having regular eye exams, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and wearing protective eyewear are just a few other things you can do to protect your sight. For more information on eye exams, common eye diseases and conditions, and finding financial assistance for eye care, visit Remember, when you take good care of your eyes, you take good care of yourself.

no comments yet.

GinnyHealth Beats: May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011 |

Beats this week:

1) Spring time is here! The month of May not only brings May flowers, but also Melanoma Prevention Month. While we should always be protecting ourselves from the sun, during the spring and summer months it is more important than ever since we’ll be spending even more time outdoors. Visit to learn some great ways to keep your skin healthy.

2) Americans are suffering from asthma at record numbers. What’s even more alarming is that the exact reason for this increase is difficult to pinpoint. Triggers such as cigarette smoking have become less common – yet there was still at 8.2% spike in asthma from 2001 to 2009. To read more about some theories about this finding as well as how to manage asthma effectively, click here.

3) A new five minute questionnaire offered to parents in their child’s pediatrician’s waiting room can help detect autism in children as early as 12 months old. While this test has a high false positive rate, it can also help doctors intervene as early as possible, which has shown to be an effective approach in treating autism.

4) A new hormone treatment is showing signs of reducing the number of premature births. When tested among pregnant women at high risk for giving birth early, it reduced premature births by nearly half. This is a huge advance in medicine, considering premature birth is the leading cause of death and illness in newborns.

5) While previous research pointed to obesity as increasing one’s risk of developing dementia (like Alzheimer’s disease), new research finds that just being overweight can also be a risk. To read more, click here.

no comments yet.

JaclynRead All About It!

May 3, 2011 |

Erie Beats

Check out the digital version of the 2011 Spring Spotlight! We have friends on Facebook. Videos on Vimeo. Pictures on Flickr. We can upload, download and reload documents. We can share stories and thoughts on our blog. The point is times they-are-a-changin’, and Erie Family Health Center is right there with them. Not only have we change the look of Spotlight, we have changed the way you can read it. If you love Spotlight or any of our other publications, you can now view them online on your blackberry, iPad, iPhone and Kindle.

It is a great step forward for Erie. Enjoy this issue- both the hard copy you receive in the mail and the equally excellent edition waiting for you in cyberspace.

no comments yet.

GinnyErie Family Health Center’s Outreach Services

April 27, 2011 |

Erie Family Health Center’s outreach services bring Erie’s mission into the community

If you want to witness some of the exceptional services Erie Family Health Center provides, all you have to do is take a seat in  an Erie waiting room.  You’ll see patients moving in and out, taking with them a reassurance they’ve found a place that truly cares about their health.  If you wander throughout the clinic, you’ll see case managers working diligently alongside patients, educators teaching about the importance of exercise and healthy eating, providers listening to patients’ stories, and support groups learning and offering guidance to one another.

The amazing thing about Erie is that these wonderful services extend beyond the Erie walls. Outreach workers travel throughout Chicago communities to schools and social service agencies, educating and informing Chicagoans about a variety of health issues. By informing others on topics such as oral health, HIV/AIDS, depression, wellness and many others, these outreach workers not only teach participants about how to improve their health, but also spread the word on how Erie Family Health Center can help guide them to a healthier life.

Lauren Ranalli MPH, Manager of Community Programs, sees Erie’s outreach program as a vital part of bringing the message of health into Chicago communities.  “Outreach presentations are a great opportunity for Erie to engage with community members,” says Lauren. “They are a way for us to tell Chicago residents about the comprehensive programs and services offered at Erie.”

Outreach services also offer audiences the chance to focus on a particular topic or facet of their health. Whether it’s demonstrating the proper way to exercise, giving a cooking lesson, or using models to demonstrate the pathways of medication, presentations take a new spin on standard health lessons. “Participants at our outreach presentations can increase their knowledge on a new health topic, such as how to better manage their diabetes or protect themselves from contracting HIV.  They can also gain a new skill, such as how to talk to their child about sexual health or how to read a food nutrition label,” says Lauren.

Continue reading Erie Family Health Center’s Outreach Services

no comments yet.

GinnyHealth Beats: April 6, 2011

April 6, 2011 |

Beats this week:

1) Happy April blogosphere! Spring isn’t the only thing we’re celebrating at Erie this week – we are also commemorating National Public Health Week (April 4th – 10th)! This year, the American Public Health Association is promoting the theme ‘Safety is No Accident’ and advocating Americans everywhere to take the proper precautions in their homes and workplaces to avoid potential injuries.

2) Research currently underway is showing that by examining cells found in women’s breast milk, future breast cancer risk may be able to be identified. Although the research is still in its infancy, it may show promise in the future. To read more, click here.

3) The U.S. teen pregnancy rate for 2009 (the latest year for which data is available) is at its lowest since data began being recorded 70 years ago. Although over 400,000 American teenage girls give birth a year, according to the Center for Disease Control, overall, the teen birth rate has fallen by 37% in the last twenty years.

4) While smoking is definitely a dangerous habit for one’s health, second hands smoke is proving to be extremely damaging as well – especially in children. Researchers at the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine recently published a study which found that children and teens routinely exposed to second hand smoke may be at greater risk for mental disorders such as ADHD, depression and anxiety.

5) Think you can sneak away from calorie counting by eating out? Not so fast. New FDA proposals will require restaurants to clearly post calorie content next to each item on their menu. These new requirements would affect chain restaurants with more than 20 locations, bakeries, grocery stores, convenience stores and coffee shop chains.

no comments yet.