Recently, the hospital launched Healthy Communities, an initiative designed to maximize the positive impact the medical center and its partners have on child health in the community. Healthy Communities builds on decades of Lurie Children’s experts’ successful public health outreach and will address priority areas such as access to care, social determinants of health, violence-related injury and mortality, and mental health as identified in Lurie Children’s Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan.
“A third of our patients come from under-resourced Chicago neighborhoods in which children lack access to opportunities,” says Patrick M. Magoon, President and CEO of Lurie Children’s. “The Healthy Communities team will help us strengthen our commitment to improve child health with a particular focus on these communities.”
Public health outreach programs that have grown from Lurie Children’s include Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC); Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY) which recently launched the Juvenile Justice Collaborative to decrease juvenile violence; and injury prevention work including window fall prevention and home safety education.
“For decades Lurie Children’s has worked outside the walls of the hospital to improve the health of children and adolescents,” says Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Healthy Communities and head of the hospital’s Injury Prevention and Research Center. “This will be an opportunity to better align these efforts with our clinical work and maximize our resources to make a greater impact in our community.”
Mary Kate Daly, MBA, who has been at Lurie Children’s for 16 years in communications, and community and government relations, is Executive Director. LaDarius Curtis joined Lurie Children’s as Manager of Healthy Communities and Community Relations.
Lurie Children’s Community Volunteer Corp
One of Healthy Communities’ initiatives is the Community Volunteer Corp. Created in 2014 with generous funding from Kohl’s Cares, the Community Volunteer Corp program is an opportunity for community members, hospital volunteers, and staff to serve as advocates for childhood health and safety throughout Chicago. “There are many people who want to support Lurie Children’s but can’t commit to our regular, weekly volunteer program,” says Teri Foster, Director of Volunteer Resources. “The Community Volunteer Corp provides another great way for individuals in our community to volunteer and support our mission.”
During the summer months, volunteers attend community events, neighborhood festivals and health fairs to share targeted safety and health information with children and their families. Volunteers help educate families on topics such as poison prevention, bike safety and pedestrian safety by bringing interactive games and educational materials to share at these community events. In 2016, it is estimated that our volunteers reached more than 3,000 families participating in 12 events across the city.
Lynnaya Cager, Manager for Admitting Services, has been part of the Community Volunteer Corp since 2016. She says, “I decided to get involved with the Community Volunteer Corp because I saw this as a great opportunity to go out in our community to educate potential patients and families of the many things that we offer here at Lurie Children’s.” She continues, “I see the work we are doing making a difference in the community. I enjoy interacting with the children and their families as well as my fellow volunteers. It means a great deal to me to be able to represent the organization I work for as a volunteer in these under-served communities.”
If you are interested in becoming part of the Community Volunteer Corps for summer 2017, please contact Andrea Bell, Coordinator for Volunteer Resources, e-mail her at email@example.com.