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Dr. Fred Rachman’s influence extends beyond the high quality of care he delivers to his pediatric patients at Erie. A true Erie “veteran”, Dr. Rachman arrived at Erie in 1985 with an impressive background and a commitment to Erie’s mission to providing high quality care to patients in need. It was his personal mission to catalyze community health centers and systematically use data to drive quality and improve public health that have set him apart and made him a thought leader in the field.
Dr. Rachman received his bachelor of arts in biology from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland before attending medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Albert Einstein Medical Center, and went on to enroll in post-graduate courses in ethics, economics, and health care management at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
He states he was attracted to Erie because it was “integrated with the community and had a broader view of health.” In addition to his devotion to his Erie patients, Dr. Rachman is an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
His leadership can be witnessed in his role as co-founder and CEO of the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services, where he has been since the Alliance’s inception in 1997. Erie Family Health Center, along with Heartland Health Outreach, Howard Brown Health Center, and Near North Health Service Corporation, are founding members of the Alliance, which has grown to include more than 25 community health centers around the country. The Alliance promotes the thoughtful use of Health Information Technology in the safety net sector to promote access, improve quality and increase efficiency of health care services.
During his time with the Alliance, Dr. Rachman has overseen the successful execution of an electronic health record system (EHRS) that serves as a platform for community health centers nationwide to manage patient information and better drive quality outcomes. In fact, Erie’s use of its EHRS to track patient health outcomes and monitor quality has led Erie to receive national recognition as a Health Center Quality Leader, and improved the health – and lives – of countless patients.
Driven by his vision of a data-driven, quality-focused approach to public health, he has undertaken a wide range of innovative research projects. For example, he collaborated with the Chicago Department of Public Health funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a pilot program that provides instant alerts to physicians if a patient’s symptoms match a disease profile. This measure allows public health alerts to be issued early, which could contain outbreaks of contagious diseases or foodborne illnesses. “This type of rapid dissemination of relevant, up-to-the-minute information to clinicians demonstrates how public health oriented clinical decision support could enable us to manage disease,” said Dr. Rachman.
He was also part of advancing EHRS capabilities to help improve quality of care and patient outcomes at Erie. For example, Erie can now generate a list of patients who haven’t been seen in over a year or who are overdue for screening and testing. We then personally follow-up with these patients, address any challenges to accessing care and schedule an appointment with the patient’s primary care provider. This has helped ensure our diabetic patients are not missing appointments, women are receiving recommended mammograms, and much more.
Dr. Rachman has been a vital member of our team here at Erie Family Health Center. He has demonstrated devotion to his patients, leadership in the health information management field and commitment to clinical research that has benefited not just Erie, but community health centers – and communities – across the nation.
Erie’s Chief Operating Officer, Iliana A. Mora, has decided it is the right time in her career to leave Erie and pursue new professional directions. Iliana is the true Erie “success story” – starting as our Manager of Community Relations and Planning and ultimately becoming Erie’s COO. In all of these roles, she has been a trusted colleague, leader and innovator, always eager to collaborate with internal and external partners to best meet our patients’ needs.
In addition, Iliana has led Erie’s growth over the past 10 years – more than doubling Erie’s size to serving almost 70,000 patients, regardless of their ability to pay, while continuing to provide nationally recognized quality care. Iliana’s contributions represent a legacy that continues to benefit Erie today and will serve our patients well for years to come.
Amy Valukas will step into the role as Erie’s new Chief Operating Officer. In this role Amy ensures that Erie is focused on performance outcomes and the achievement of long- and short-term goals within its strategic plan, while adhering to the organization’s mission, vision and values.
Amy brings more than 20 years’ experience in public health programs, administration and leadership. With over 12 years of diverse and increasingly responsible experience at Erie, Amy has a long history of successfully leading large-scale initiatives and expansions as well as broad knowledge of the evolving healthcare landscape.
We wish Iliana the best as she moves on to her next professional challenges, and we congratulate and welcome Amy into her new role!
Lee Francis, MD, MPH
President & CEO
Erie Family Health Center
Are you having trouble sleeping or do you feel aggressive, worthless, or frustrated? Have you lost interest in your work, family, or hobbies?
If you said yes to any of these, you might have depression. Depression affects both men and women, but men may experience it differently. Studies show that men with depression are more likely to show signs of anger, self-destruction, and irritability rather than displaying outward signs of sadness, like women.
Depression is an illness that can affect your brain, thoughts, mood, and daily activities. Because of the stigma and shame that surrounds mental health, men are less likely than women to acknowledge and seek help to treat depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression interferes with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy most aspects of life over an extended period of time.
There are several factors that contribute to depression in men. Men with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose family members do not have the illness. One’s hormones also control emotions and mood, which can affect your brain chemistry. Additionally, any type of stress like an illness, loss of a loved one, or a difficult relationship can trigger depression.
While you should always seek the help of a professional if you begin to experience depression, the good news is that lifestyle changes like regular exercise, nutrition, and daily meditation are all practices you can incorporate into your routine to help heal it.
Exercise, for instance, releases ‘feel good’ brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters and endorphins, and it reduces the immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. Exercising also increases your body temperature, which can calm and relax your mood. Go ahead and get sweaty! Working out reduces stress and boosts the body’s ability to deal with negative or overwhelming emotions.
Maintaining a healthy diet also decreases depression. Fresh fruits and vegetables like avocados, berries, mushrooms, and tomatoes are power foods that contain healthy fats that your brain needs to improve your mood.
Incorporating five minutes of mindfulness and/or meditation also helps with every day mood problems and depression. Our brain is constantly going, but with mindfulness, you can train your brain to stay in the moment by breathing slowly and focusing on your breath. This can be done immediately when you wake up, before a meeting, or when you’re getting ready for bed.
If you think you might be depressed, one of the first things you can do is get in touch with your doctor or a mental health professional and talk about how you’re feeling. Give us a call at 312.666.3494 (city) or 847.666.3494 (suburbs) to make an appointment today.
There is no better time than summer to continue regular exercise, or start a new routine. As little as 30 minutes of any type of physical activity can lower the chances of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive skills (learning and judgment skills), and reduce depression in adults. For children and adolescents, regular exercise can improve bone and heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), only 45% of the Illinois population engages in physical activity on a weekly basis.
Doing warm up exercises is a great way for you to start any fitness routine. By doing a warm up, you begin to prep your joints and muscles for your work out and get your heart pumping. For example, you can kick your legs forward, stretch and reach your toes, and reach for the sky. It’s important to remember that you don’t want to stay in a single set position with your warm up exercises.
Children and adolescents can mix exercise with friends or community members to make it more enjoyable and fun. Activities like martial arts, gymnastics, yoga, or sports like baseball and volleyball, are great summer activities that bring huge benefits. Not only are they a natural way to let go of stress and have fun with others, it will help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your sleep habits, and keep you in a better mood.
Ultimately, finding an activity that you enjoy is critical to successfully sticking to your health and wellness goals. Whether alone or with a friend, it’s important to remember that starting a new routine takes time – it’s okay to start off slow and build your way up. Talk with your doctor to see what exercise is best for you.
Our new website can be viewed on any device, whether you use a smartphone, tablet, or just want to pop it open on your laptop at home. We’re wherever you are.
Your One-Stop Shop
Access a wide variety of information in just one click (or tap!). Want to look at our list of doctors and nurses? What about pulling up driving directions to Erie Helping Hands? It’s all right there on our home page. And our new click-to-call feature on mobile makes it easier than ever to reach us when you’re on the go.
Calendar of Events
From free yoga and swim classes in the neighborhood to our march in the 2016 Chicago Pride Parade, our interactive calendar is a great resource for patients, donors, and community members. Each site has their own calendar. Easily view events from our calendar or add them to your own calendar so you’ll never forget about them!
Patient stories, messages from our President and CEO and the latest health news and tips can all be found right here on our blog, Beats Per Minute. Have a great story you want to share? Send it to us at email@example.com.
Working as the caregiver for a family’s two small children, Carolie knew that she herself needed care. During her visit to a nearby clinic, a doctor found nothing wrong with her throat.
Over the next months, swallowing became more difficult. The glands in her neck and behind her ears were painful and swollen. Nasal congestion interfered with sleep and her ability to smell or taste food. Her chest felt congested, and she eventually could only breathe through her mouth. Exhausted and worried about her health and job, Carolie considered going back to the clinic she had previously visited. Fortunately, a concerned friend suggested that she call Erie HealthReach Waukegan Health Center instead.
Dr. Frances Baxley, medical director at Erie HealthReach Waukegan, knew Carolie would need further diagnosis, and her lack of health insurance would be a major concern. She referred Carolie to a specialist at Northwestern Medicine under their financial assistance program for low-income, uninsured patients. Meanwhile, Erie navigators helped Carolie apply for Medicaid benefits to help cover follow-up and ongoing care at Erie.
After a referral for biopsy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Carolie was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting lungs and lymph glands and causing chronic disability when left untreated. Symptoms can be controlled through medication and good health practices, including nutrition. Dr. Baxley referred Carolie for treatment to a pulmonologist at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. She also provided nutritional guidance to help Carolie achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Carolie was relieved that she finally had a diagnosis, and grateful that it was something she could live with and control. With Dr. Baxley’s care and proper medication, the pain, swelling and congestion were gone within months. She was breathing, eating and sleeping normally. She soon regained energy and
was able to return to her job, attend family events, and spend more time with her two daughters.
Carolie’s experience has been a turning point in her life. “It’s such a relief to finally have my own doctor, and she is a blessing,” she says. “And I have made sure my daughters are Dr. Baxley’s patients, too.”
Alysha Marie was born as a boy in Puerto Rico. As she became an adult, she didn’t feel at home in her body. Though she looked like a man, she felt she was a woman. Troubled, isolated and unable to face the realities of her life, she experimented with drugs and became addicted. Unfortunately, she contracted HIV and Hepatitis C.
Realizing she needed to change her life, she moved to Chicago, home to a large, diverse Hispanic community and LGBT services. She wanted to regain her health, receive hormone replacement therapy and embrace her identity as a woman. But she experienced major barriers: she had no health insurance and didn’t speak English.
After spending several years searching for a resource that would address all of her many health concerns, a community organization finally referred her to Erie’s Lending Hands for Life program for HIV/AIDS patients at Erie Humboldt Park, where staff members communicated with her in Spanish. She was able to apply for and receive Medicaid benefits through the CountyCare program, giving her better access to treatment provided by Erie and its partners.
Working with Erie case manager David Velez, Alysha Marie began HIV treatment, attended monthly HIV support group meetings and embarked on hormone replacement therapy at Erie. She was referred to a substance abuse treatment program conducted in Spanish. Due to the complexity of her care, she was relieved that Velez helped her succeed in keeping on top of her busy appointment schedule.
“At Erie, I felt comfortable right away,” she recalls. “I was grateful that they spoke Spanish and understood me. They were on my side and worked together as a team to make sure I got the help I needed.”
With her HIV now well controlled, Alysha Marie has been referred through an Erie partnership to begin treatment for Hepatitis C at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is healthier and less isolated. She feels more stable and authentic.
Want to share your Erie story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.