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Erie Family Health Center


Posts Tagged ‘education’

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.”


Erie Family Health Center’s Outreach Services

Wednesday, April 27th, 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.


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.


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!

Health Beats: April 28, 2010

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Beats this week:

1) Did you know that this week is National Infant Immunization Week? Well, it is! Illinois public health officials took this week to remind everyone to get their infants vaccinated. In Illinois, approximately 80% of children receive the recommended vaccinations by age two.

2) Reports and sex education experts have drawn one conclusion about the sexual health of Illinois residents: sexual transmitted infections remain high (and have increased) while sexual health knowledge continues to decrease. For example, Illinois currently ranks 8th out of 50 states for highest rate of gonorrhea infections. A 2009 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to explain these alarming rates of STIs and points to a variety of misconceptions people have about sex, pregnancy and preventing STIs.

3) A free clinic in Los Angeles treated 1,200 people on the opening day of the clinic. The clinic, which is a temporary clinic set up for one week in the Memorial Sports Arena, utilized around 300 medical volunteers to provide health, dental and eye care.

4) A study released this week reported that parental involvement is key in maintaining the health status of adolescents with Type I diabetes. The study found that when parents did not closely follow their child’s condition, the child often experienced complications related to their disease.

5) Governor Quinn and other Illinois legislators are working to move thousands of people with mental illnesses out of nursing homes and into community settings in order to provide them with better quality of care. This move would provide these individuals with the intensive counseling and other treatment they need in order to lead more independent lives.

National Public Health Week: Eliminating Health Disparities in Erie’s Communities

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Earlier this week, Beats Per Minute took you into the world of a very important public health issue: health disparities in underserved communities. Cancer, diabetes and oral health – all of these issues hit very close to home for the communities served by Erie Family Health Center. For Erie, creating a healthier America begins at the community level, where care and prevention interventions are specifically designed to meet the needs of our patients and community members. Today, in honor of National Public Health Week, Beats Per Minute would like to give you the inside scoop on those Erie programs designed to reduce and eliminate health disparities experienced in our community.


For the patients in Erie’s communities, early screening for breast and cervical cancer can be problematic, especially for those who are underinsured or uninsured and without the funds to pay for the procedures. Erie has a long-standing commitment to educating women on the importance of getting screened and working to provide better access for screening, either through Erie or external referrals. In early 2008, Erie became a lead agency for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). Through this program, Erie can provide either through our facilities or outside agencies free screening for breast and cervical cancers to women who qualify for the program. In the first half of this fiscal year alone, Erie enrolled nearly 400 women in the IBCCP program and provided culturally competent education about the importance of screening to nearly 12,000 people.


National Public Health Week: Eliminating Health Disparities One Community at a Time

Monday, April 5th, 2010

The American Public Health Association has designated this week National Public Health Week. Since 1995, the United States has used this week to highlight the importance of public health and the need for improved health in our country. This year’s theme is ‘A Healthier America: One Community at a Time.’ This theme resonates with community-based health organizations, like Erie Family Health Center. For Erie, creating a healthier America begins at the community level, where care and prevention can be designed specifically for the needs of the local community.

For Erie and other public health advocates around the country, one of the most important health issues facing America today are the health disparities that exist in medically underserved communities. That means that certain groups of people in our country—like those with lower incomes—experience health problems at greater rates than the general population. At Beats Per Minute, we would like to highlight a few of the health disparities that hit home in the communities that Erie serves.


California and Illinois: They Are More Alike Than You Think

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

California. The Golden State. Hollywood. Movie Stars. Disneyland. The Redwood Forest. If the United States was a class of fifty high school kids, California would be the Prom Queen, class president and valedictorian. It’s a place where stars are born, the surf is always high and the sun always shines.

So even when the news coming out of this sparkling gem out West isn’t positive, it certainly still remains center stage. We’ve read, seen and listened to all the reports that have covered the California budget crisis. As legislation continues to pass hands between Governor Schwarzenegger and Californian lawmakers, the press continues to write all about it.

Meanwhile, the state of Illinois sits at the back of the class, averting its eyes and twiddling its thumbs. Us Illinoisans don’t want to brag (really, we don’t) but Illinois has its very own budget crisis – one that rivals the state of California. This comes as shocking to many, but by the time the Times Magazine article, “The Great California Fiscal Earthquake” hit the presses, Illinois was staring down the barrel of its own financial meltdown.