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Erie Henson Garden Initiative Program

Tuesday, June 28th, 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.”


Erie Family Health Center’s New Memory Health Program

Thursday, May 26th, 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.”


Salud and the City Pictures

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Erie Beats

Erie Family Health Center would like to thank everyone who attended Salud and the City on February 24, 2011. Because of your support, Erie was able to raise funds to support all of our programs! If you were able to join us for the event we hope you had a great evening at LaSalle Power Company and enjoyed the live band, South of 80! If you missed the event don’t worry, we have you covered. Click here to check out photos on Flickr!

Erie Teen Center

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Erie Teen Center’s Comprehensive Approach and New Walk-In Services

Not many will argue that teenage years can be a very confusing time in a person’s life. No longer a child, but not quite an adult, teens consistently performing a balancing act between these two worlds. Peer pressures from the media and social groups also can become an obstacle in a teen’s life. For teens in need of somewhere turn, Erie Teen Center becomes a haven of support and information for adolescents trying to mull their way through this challenging time.

Erie Teen Health Center has been in operation for over 25 years. It is the only freestanding, comprehensive teen health center in the Chicagoland area. While most adolescent sites only offer family planning services or care for young women, Erie Teen Center offers a multitude of services for young adults ages 12 to 24, including reproductive care, well child care, school and sport physicals, behavioral health services, health education and case management. The response from the teen patients has been overwhelmingly positive and most patients hear about Erie Teen Center through word-of-mouth. Last year alone, Erie Teen Center provided over 6,000 patient visits.

While adolescents and teens tend to be a healthy population in general, they also are a group who is more likely to participate in high risk behaviors—yet teens have the lowest rates of accessing preventive health care. “This is a critical point in their development, and many adolescents are not seeking care,” says Amy Valukas, site director of Erie Teen Center. “Studies have found that preventive, primary, reproductive and behavioral health services that are matched to teens, with a focus on reducing high-risk behaviors, have the potential of improving the health of young people.” From the moment teens enter Erie Teen Center, everyone from the front desk staff, to the nurses, medical assistants and providers are educating these teens about reducing risk behaviors and promoting good self care.


Erie Named Chicago Tribune Top 100 Workplaces!

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Erie Beats

Erie Family Health Center was named one of the Top 100 Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune! Erie staff members and board chair Brian Marsella attended an event hosted by the Tribune on Tuesday, November 9 at the Chase Auditorium to be recognized for this honor. The group also have the opportunity to meet and speak with Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz.

Watch a special video message from Erie’s President and CEO Dr. Lee Francis or read our company profile online! Be sure to pick up your copy of the Chicago Tribune today for a special feature magazine!

Aetna Foundation Grant Will Help Support Erie Henson School-Based Health Center

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Erie Beats

This month Erie was presented with a check for a grant we received from the Aetna Foundation for the Henson Wellness Program at Erie Henson School-Based Health Center. The support from Aetna will allow Erie to provide the Henson Wellness Program to directly help reduce childhood obesity through three types of innovative programs: 1. BodyWorks afterschool program, 2. Building Active Lives Around Nutrition Centered Education (BALANCE) classroom-based curriculum and 3. Henson Garden Initiative.

The BodyWorks program will provide obese or overweight girls with the tools/strategies to improve eating and exercise habits. The BALANCE program will help children incorporate good nutrition and physical activity into their daily lives. The launch the Henson Garden Initiative will increase knowledge of nutrition while engaging children in physical activity by planting and maintaining a garden at Henson Elementary. All three of the programs are important to help children live healthier, happier lives. Thank you Aetna!

Help Erie Patients Succeed this School Year

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Erie Beats

Whether or not you’re a parent, you know that it’s that time of year again: Chicago children are heading back to school! And Erie Family Health Center wants to make sure students have everything they need on the first day. In addition to new backpacks and fresh notebooks, thousands of kids -like Giselle, Daniel and Jordan- have access to affordable, high quality health care through Erie’s three school-based health centers. Please help Erie make this upcoming school year a healthy one! With your donation, Erie will be able to provide medical care, behavioral health services, and comprehensive health education to more children.

Through your support, a child with asthma will receive an inhaler and get the support he needs to manage his condition, a parent will be linked to food stamps, a fifth grader will be able to tend the vegetable garden on campus, and the therapist will help another child deal with the feelings of depression and anxiety that led to poor grades and disruptive classroom behavior.

Make a donation by September 30th so kids can start the year off healthy and ready to learn!

The End of an Era

Friday, September 10th, 2010

For anyone who has lived or worked in Chicago in the last 21 years, this has been quite the week. The news that long-time Mayor Richard M. Daley will not seek re-election has been a jolting surprise for nearly everyone. For most Chicagoans like myself, the thought that we would hear the following words this week, “Today, I’m announcing that I will not seek a seventh term as mayor of the City of Chicago,” was completely unexpected. Some felt Mayor Daley would serve this role until he died, others hoped he would be ousted during an election and still others assumed he was simply waiting for his son to be experienced enough to take the reins. Either way, most people felt that Richard Daley would continue to be an ever-present, consistent force in Chicago politics. The story has even gone beyond the city limits of Chicago and has been reported on in the Washington Post, LA Times, Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. We might be as bold to go ahead and say that the whole nation was taken by surprise this past week.

His Legacy

As the shock has begun to wear off, the process of looking back on Mayor Daley’s 21 years of service to Chicago is inevitable. Most articles in the papers this week center on a few key themes: his common, but rarely spoken about verbal gaffes, the raging deficit in Chicago and the observation that whenever Mayor Daley wanted to get something done, it got done (example: Meigs Field). As we move forward as a city there is no doubt that Mayor Daley’s impact on our everyday lives will go on. Whenever we stride through Millennium Park, admire the beautiful Michigan Avenue Tulips or celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, many will fondly remember his service to Chicago. And yes, many will also remember the grave financial position the city was in when he left office and his sometimes dictator-like style of getting things done. Mayor Daley’s legacy today is one of mixed feelings and the future view of that legacy will likely be determined by the strides or shortfalls of our next Mayor.


Erie’s Oral Health Program Featured in ADA and NNOHA Newsletters

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Erie Beats

Read more about Erie’s Oral Health Program in the August editions of the American Dental Association and National Network for Oral Health Access!

American Dental Association (ADA) page 2

National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) page 3

Health Beats: July 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Before you know it the kids are going to be back in school and you will be thinking: ‘where did the summer go?’ But before sending the kiddies off to school you should be sure to get them their required school physicals and vaccinations in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, which is celebrated in August!

2) This week an incredibly insightful study was released on the social and economic impact of long-term obesity. The study, which used national data for 5,000 high school students over two decades, found that those individuals that had been overweight in high school and continued at that weight were less likely to advance their education and more likely to live at lower income levels than their classmates who were a healthier weight at age 18.

3) Well blogosphere, it just got a little bit easier to access dental care in the state of Illinois. In the last few months Governor Quinn has signed three bills making dental care more accessible; one of the most recent bills allows 10-day permits to out of state dentists that wish to cross the border to volunteer at dental clinics. The Chicago Dental Society’s blog, Open Wide, has a great rundown of the bills here.

4) As the city of Chicago heats up, so has the violence throughout the city. Painting a gloomy picture, overall crime is down in the city but murder rates are up. Just this past week, nine people were shot while walking near a bus terminal on Chicago’s south side.

5) Good news for women who have previously had c-sections: if you have another child you may not be required to have another c-section. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new guidelines this week that allow most women to forego having another c-section.