"CHC Newsletter - Summer 2009"
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: CHC Members The Members Speak..............3 - 9 Carrie F. Berger Jen Pham Real World Impact..............10 - 11 Conor Butkus Molly Pilloton Clark Kiesling Maria Robles About The CHC........................12 Meggan Leary Erica Stringfellow Suzy Lin Stephanie Szuts CHC STAFF: Valerie Paurus Melissa Tobias Program Director Mary Pawlak Carina Vallejos Beverly J. McElmurry Sam Perrym an Ashlee N. W alker Program Manager Trey Sanders OUR HOST SITES: VISTA/Coordinator Chicago Partnership for Health Kristin Monnard Promotion Office Manager Children’s Memorial Hospital – Elsa Almaguer Uplift Community High School Program Evaluators Erie Family Health Center Chang Gi Park Ryerson Elementary School Seonah Lee Greater Auburn-Gresham Writer/Graphic Design Development Corporation Todd Hissong Perspectives Charter School Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers Our Current Funders: Logan Square Neighborhood • The Health Federation of Association PrimeCare Philadelphia Ames Middle School • The UIC College of Nursing McAuliffe Elementary School • The Chicago Community Trust Healthy Eating by Design • The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation Active Living by Design • The Polk Bros. Foundation Organic School Project • The Prince Charitable Trusts Quad Communities Development Corporation The Chicago Health Corps Reavis Elementary School is an AmeriCorps program Respiratory Health Association of in its 14th year that provides Metropolitan Chicago The Resurrection Project meaningful opportunities Jose Clemente Orozco Academy for participants to assist Seven Generations Ahead their communities in Southwest Organizing Project Marquette Elementary School reaching those who face Getting It Done In Chicago! barriers to needed health The Chicago Health Corps 845 S. Damen Avenue, Room 1122 and social services. Chicago, IL 60612-7350 Newsletter - Summer, 2009 2 Phone: 312.996.7393 or 312.413.0068 Fax: 312.996.8945 I’m assigned to Uplift School Health Center IN THEIR OWN WORDS and I’m busy everyday, working more than eight hours everyday, but I love it. I teach reproductive CHC Members Talk About It! health at Uplift and other schools. The very cool thing is seeing the progress in the students. They I’m assigned to the Quad Communities Corporation initiative at Reavis Elementary School. actually learned some things and had fun doing it! My position has evolved over the year. I do a lot of Outside of the classes I’m really excited about an things - Health Coordinator, programming, chaperoning immunization study on middle schools that I’m students, dental van once a month, gardening and involved with. Finding out what barriers there are to cooking classes in a local park, which gives the students immunizing adolescents. Does education help? Does Ashley Walker a chance to work in the garden and take what they grew it lead to a better chance of immunizing children in and cook with it. It really is a ‘full service’ kind of the future? We’re getting ready to write the paper for it which will be thing. submitted to a medical journal - so hopefully it will get published. We’ll also In the past I spent a lot of time working in an be presenting a poster on it at the National School-Based Health Center Clark Kiesling ambulance, and I developed a desire to work on Conference next month. prevention of disease rather than dealing with the I’ve already gained so much from being part of the CHC. One of my big aftermath. I didn’t feel like I was helping the community enough so I found the things at the beginning of the year was to improve personally and to grow. CHC and it sounded like a good program where I could make a difference. Some people think that health should be taken care of by the family, and it And helping other people while I’m doing it, and both have happened should be a separate issue from the schools, but I think the truth is that it’s not being already! taken care of as it should be. It’s an intervention of sorts in different areas, and there’s a big lack of medical care in the communities we serve. Having the health center in the school helps the kids. There is no second place to go. Providing access to care saves money in the long run. A lot of the parents are enrolled with AllKids, and some of them may even have other insurance, but don’t use it. Having a center at the school makes sure the kids are documented, taken care of and no one falls through the cracks. This is a completely different world then what I’ve been used to my entire life. I’m from a middle class family, had all the advantages, and this is total immersion in a different community. It’s 100% African-American, the culture is so different, and the children - I’ve never had the experience of taking care of children. I think I’ve grown tremendously, learning how to deal with kids. One of my first duties was serving as a tutor. It was very difficult at first. I felt most comfortably helping the younger kids, like the kindergarteners. I worked my way up. And there was this one kid... I was sitting in my office and he comes through and goes “What’s your name?” And I say “Mr. Kiesling.” And he goes “OK, Hi Mr. Big Nose!” And he walks out of the room. And I thought, “what just happened? That kid totally set me up!” Later on that week I saw him in tutoring . He had his work out, and he was kind of struggling with it. So, I decided to help him, and pretty soon I was helping him every time I went to tutoring, and we’re best friends now. It’s really fun to see that turnaround! 3 4 I’m a health educator with Erie Family Health Center at Ryerson School. I like it because I get to talk to the kids all the time, and when I go to their classrooms, they remember me. I think what’s surprising is that kids want to learn a lot more than you think they do. Even if they complain about you coming into class, they still have a ton of questions about what you’re talking about. I truly believe in promoting health and health Erica Stringfellow related activities, especially in children. Thanks to this experience, I have a larger understanding of the health care system and I graduated from Westwood with a degree in the barriers to receiving care in different communities. criminal justice and got involved in domestic violence prevention initiatives, which gave me the desire to find a way to use my experiences as well as give back to the community. I’m assigned to Ames Elementary School, and I spend a lot of time assessing the needs of this Hispanic neighborhood. Part of my job is to escort 2nd Grade students to the dental van. On the first day, the kids were Maria Robles petrified, so to break the mood, I pointed to my gym shoes and said, ‘Don’t try to run away ‘cuz I’ll treat you like my children! I’ll catch you!’ The students all laughed, and one asked if I could rollerblade. I said you ‘Get me a pair and I’ll try it if it’ll get you in the van!’ It really broke the mood, and they went into the van, took care of business, came out, and now look forward to their next visit! 5 6 Being assigned to the Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers project at Orr Academy has given me a lot more surprises than I was anticipating. Like the difficulty of teaching kids... I teach nutrition classes there. It’s difficult overcoming some of the barriers that students face. The school is in an underserved community, and it’s in a “food desert,” so when you’re trying to teach about nutrition, there’s no place to buy healthy food. There are fast Conor Butkus food restaurants on every corner... those are the main barriers. A lot of kids didn’t know what a tomato plant or even a whole tomato looks like. When I’m teaching them about vegetables, I’ll say something about zucchini or eggplant, and they don’t know what those are. I think it’s just their lack of exposure to healthful eating. People will know that they’re eating poorly, so that’s not news to them. That’s why they come to the My background is in elementary education and classes. They kind of have some idea of “Oh, I should be eating fruits and I really like to teach. And I’m very passionate vegetables,” but the hard part is to actually teach what food and vegetables about nutrition and health, so the Chicago Health are and then actually get them to eat them. Corps is a pretty perfect fit. I’m assigned to Seven Having health centers in schools helps prevent asthma attacks, helps Generations Ahead which promotes the people to understand how to become responsible health consumers, and I development of ecologically sustainable and think that’s what the whole Chicago Health Corps program is about; healthy communities. I am helping to coordinate a educating students about their farm to school program kind of similar to the their health. Education is the Organic School Project. I teach nutrition education first step, and then creating and garden education at three elementary schools, advocates in the community two are in Pilsen and one is in Logan Square. so they can become more I learned a lot this year. I learned a lot about self-sustaining. I’m coming Melissa Tobias away from this experience community health and all of the different smaller organizations and grassroots efforts going on in with a better understanding of Chicago, and made a lot of really nice connections how to reach students and with people. how to work with them in the sometimes difficult environment that they are growing up in. And also how important the work of the Chicago Health Corps and the Coalition truly is. 7 8 I’m going to Medical School in the Fall, so I Real World Impact of wanted to do something medically related, and I have an interest in public health, so it kind of all fits The Chicago Health Corps together here. I’m assigned to the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago and Sept. 08 - June 09 Chang Gi Park, PhD I teach asthma classes in public schools. I really enjoy it! We do a questionnaire with the kids, and one Access to Care question says “Triggers can make people with • CHC Members performed 4,826 service hours asthma wheeze, cough, or make it hard to breathe.” Suzy Lin The kids are supposed to answer if it’s “true” or providing 1,731 Outreach and Case-Management “false.” There was a boy in the fourth grade reading the sentence, and instead Services to 417 community residents. of “triggers” he said “tigers.” I was going to correct him but before I could he said, “That’s true! Because when a tiger stands on your chest, it’s very Health Education, Promotion, and Outreach hard to breathe.” • CHC Members spent 9,143 service hours providing I think I have a better understanding about “health” now. When you’re 3,056 Health Education and Promotion Services to dealing with people who maybe have something that’s wrong with them, you can’t just give them a prescription medicine. There’s a lot of other factors that 26,355 community residents. go into helping somebody as far as their health. I have a better understanding of a lot of the social factors, cultural factors also. Programs like this are economical in the long run. If you can prevent problems in the first place, then they’re not going to the hospital, they’re not using public money. CHC Delivered Services (by Zip Code) Sept. 08 - June 09 9 10 About the Chicago Health Corps The Chicago Health Corps (CHC) is part of a four-site National Direct AmeriCorps Program, funded since 1995 (with a hiatus during the 2003-2004 Community Members year). The CHC uses Primary Health Care (PHC) as a perspective on health Receiving CHC service delivery in designing its health and development initiatives. The PHC Services framework is consistent with national service as it is a model that emphasizes (by Zip Code) partnership between community residents and health professionals in achieving Sept. 08 - June 09 improved health for individuals, families and communities. PHC uses the strategies of community participation, implementation of appropriate health technology, public education for health, decentralization of resources and decision making, and reducing disparities in health services across geographic or social sectors. These strategies are supportive to the processes of self- learning, self-determination, self-care, and self-reliance on the part of community participants. Within PHC services, community or lay health workers take on important roles in facilitating communication between community members and health professionals and health agencies. In this respect, CHC Members are analogous to community members in their assignments to CHC community host sites. The CHC has been successful in its unique combination of providing opportunities for Corps Members to participate in meaningful community service while being exposed to a variety of educational, social, and cultural experiences in a supportive environment. In its thirteen-year history, the CHC has improved access to primary health care services for low-income Chicago neighborhoods and has trained over 250 Members to reach out to ethnically CHC diverse communities. Corps Members do not replace existing agency personnel, Service Hours but rather expand the health and social service capacity of the community sites (by Zip Code) in which they serve. As a direct result of Corps Member activities, the sites Sept. 08 - June 09 provide vital services to more people, and implement innovative, high quality, culturally sensitive programs. Corps Members themselves are transformed in significant ways: The program strengthens Members’ commitment to an ethic of service by providing hands-on, front line experiences. In the strictest sense Corps Members are neither employees nor volunteers. The services provided by Members are distinct from typical volunteer programs. Given the mandatory term of service of 1,700 hours, and the stipulation that they provide direct health relevant services, Members are able to design, develop, test, implement and evaluate creative health projects under the supervision of health care professionals at their assigned sites. 11 12