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.