Heidi Spielmaker, RN

HHC Devon Community Health Nurse Heidi Spielmaker enjoys going on camping trips in the summer, and says this whole grain pancake recipe makes cooking while camping healthy, easy, and delicious, for any meal. On the origin of the recipe, Heidi says:

“These were created so that when we go camping we can easily have healthy and FAST pancakes, only adding a few items at time of cooking. They cook up so yummy and you can add more or less milk to your desired thickness.  Now, sit by the campfire and enjoy these for any meal!! Don’t forget to add maple syrup and butter!”

This recipe can also simply be made over the stove at home, and preparing the dry ingredients in advance is a great way to save time.



  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • ½ cup of old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 Tbs of cinnamon

Then pack the following items in the cooler to mix with dry at time of cooking:

  • Add 2 Tbs of pure maple syrup
  • 1 small container of natural apple sauce ( I bring the pre-packed plastic cups without corn syrup or sugar)
  • ½ to 1 cup of almond, soy or regular milk, whatever you wish
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries!


Mix dry ingredients together in advance and place in sealed container. When ready to cook, add maple syrup, apple sauce, milk, and blueberries. Pour batter into a nonstick pan over a fire, or just on the stove, and cook each side until done.



On August 8 a lively mix of people gathered in the parking lot at 3737 W Lawrence to get a firsthand view of the newest piece of community art adorning the wall by Heartland’s primary care clinic at that location. The CPS and Wright College art students who did the painting, family members, representatives of the many local community stakeholders and Alderman Carlos Rosa were among those who came to celebrate.

Community Connections and HealthCare from the Heart are the two main themes of the mural, there for all to see in vibrant color. It was truly a labor of love by the artists to get this massive project done, despite day jobs, crazy weather, scaffolding nightmares, and a myriad of other unforeseen glitches.

A special thanks to lead artist Christina Heyworth and Rene Lopez-Cabrera who recruited students from the GEAR UP program at Volta, Albany Park Multi Cultural Academy and Roosevelt for the key roles they played in bringing this idea of many months ago to fruition.

A final note: We are still collecting donations as we did not meet our budget by a long shot! Feel free to visit this GoFundMe link if you haven’t already.  We will be forever grateful!

En esta clase vamos a aprender sobre topicos de la nutrición y el bienestar, y practicar destrezas de cocinar. Cada semana vamos a cocinar un o dos recetas saludables, deliciosas, y baratas. Despues de cada clase le daremos algunos de los ingredientes para llevar a su casa. A finales del curso, participantes que han asistido a mas que 4 clases van a recibir un regalo de un libro de recetas.




Gwenn Rausch is the CEO of Heartland Health Centers, a community health center whose mission is to improve the well-being of communities by providing accessible, high-quality healthcare to those most in need, particularly low-income individuals, the uninsured, under-insured, immigrants, and refugees.

“I was at the lowest end of my life before, and now, I feel like I’m at one of the highest,” says Pat Parsons, 70. “I’m involved, I’m enjoying life… what more could you ask?”


Parsons came to Heartland Health Centers to get medication she needed but was unable to purchase after her company abruptly closed and canceled its insurance policy in 2009. A friend told her she could afford Heartland, which primarily serves the un- and under-insured and is required by law to offer sliding-scale fees. But the “whole patient” care she received — part of our commitment to put patients first — was what prompted Parsons to stay, get engaged, and ultimately to commit to serve on our all-volunteer board of directors.

Her story may be unique, but the solutions that her care and the experiences of other community health center patients represent offer lessons for the country as we move forward in solving the health-care crisis. In honor of National Health Center Week, here’s a perspective on community health centers from the CEO of Heartland Health Centers, Gwenn Rausch.

It may be surprising given the headlines about partisan battles on health insurance most of us have been reading, but officials from across the political spectrum mostly agree on providing primary care to people in need. Many will visit one of the 1,375 publicly-funded community health centers across the country that serve as the family doctor to more than 25 million Americans. That includes Heartland Health Centers and a dozen others in Chicago that staff nearly 100 clinics in schools and communities.

The program started more than 50 years ago as a small but bold demonstration project to provide health care in medically underserved areas. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and opioid addiction. Their work has also been demonstrated to save money: on average Medicaid spends 24 percent less on treatment at community health centers compared to other types of medical providers, according to a 2016 study in the American Journal of Public Health.

The patient-centered approach to care builds on community health centers’ legacy of producing innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in communities. One promising practice emerging from our work that our healthcare systems should adopted widely — not just in care for the un- and under-insured is to connect mental and physical care in a more integrated way.

A 2006 study found severe mental illness shortened Americans’ life expectancy by 25 years. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors found that three out of every five persons with serious mental illnesses die due to a preventable health condition. Those afflicted with mental illness are 3.4 times more likely to die from heart disease, 3.4 times more likely to die from diabetes, 3.8 times more likely to die from an accident, 5 times more likely to die from respiratory ailments, and 6.6 times more likely to die from pneumonia and influenza.

While progress has been made, in 2015, JAMA Psychiatry reported that people with mental disorders lived on average 10 years less and attributed 8 million deaths worldwide per year to mental disorders.

Several years ago, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and Heartland Health Centers started providing primary-care clinics inside mental-health treatment centers, providing one-stop shopping for patients who need both kinds of care. Putting patients’ needs first helped us to see that this saved multiple trips for patients who might not have access to reliable transportation.

Co-locating physical- and mental-health care providers also made it easier to put them on the same team and let them share information about patients’ issues and treatment plans. Half of the Trilogy patients who got their primary care from the Heartland Health Centers integrated clinic showed significant weight loss, nearly 60 percent reduced cholesterol levels, and a third quit smoking.

Meanwhile, community health centers have also added more social workers and psychiatrists at community and school health clinics. Quite simply, there is a great need for behavioral health care among our un- and under-insured population. In Rogers Park, for example, mental health disorders cause by far the largest portion of hospitalization rates for mental disorders other than drugs or alcohol and occur 52 percent more frequently than the Chicago average.

But adding behavioral health care is also just good sense, allowing health centers to perfect what we call the “warm handoff,” where a general practitioner, in session, can offer a patient the option to see an LCSW before they leave the office that day. A typical recent case was a 12-year-old who came to a Heartland Health Centers clinic after being hit by a car. Her pediatrician suggested she speak to the social worker after the young woman said she had become too anxious to cross the street by herself.

The social worker and patient discussed deep breathing techniques for relaxation. The following week, the young woman came back saying it had worked well enough to let her cross the street by herself, and she was already using deep breathing to stay calm before taking tests at school.

These practices are helping to save money and provide excellent care in underserved communities. Community health centers come by our whole-patient orientation for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is, we are required by law to have half our board members come from the patients we serve. In the case of Heartland Health Centers, Parsons is not just a customer, she also helps govern the organization. Perhaps that is the most important lesson of all: when consumers have a strong voice in health-care delivery, good ideas result.

Hopefully we will see progress in improving the health care system in the coming year and that progress will enshrine tested practices from community health centers as it comes.

Rina Tang

When she is not busy working as a Health Information Management Clerk at HHC, Rina Tang makes and sells homemade juices, teas, popsicles, and other healthy food products through her small business, From Roots to Juice.  

From Roots to Juice has its own roots in Rina’s long-standing love of healthy eating, cooking, and especially juicing.  Rina would post pictures of her homemade juices on Facebook, and found that friends were interested in learning about, trying, and even buying her products. Rina founded From Roots to Juice in 2013, taking orders through the company’s Facebook page, and the business has continued to grow ever since.

Word has started to spread: a local cafe in Hyde Park, Ancien Cafe & Cycle, recently started selling three of Rina’s drinks, including her pineapple ginger lemonade, after discovering From Roots to Juice on social media.

Rina hopes to continue expanding From Roots to Juice and to partner with more local vendors. Meanwhile, she has been taking online nutrition classes with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and hopes to incorporate the knowledge she gains into her business. Check out From Roots to Juice on Facebook and on Instagram at @fromrootstojuice, and try out her recipe for strawberry mango ginger popsicles at home!

Strawberry Mango Ginger Popsicles

All natural, 4 ingredients, and no sugar added!

Tools you need: Blender, Hand Juicer, Knife, Popsicle Molds, Grater, measuring spoons, measuring cups, small dish

Prep Time:15 mins, 30 mins and 4.5hrs freeze time


  • Strawberries: 1 cup, plus 5-6 additional, stems removed
  • Mango: 2 ripe, seeds removed
  • Ginger-root: 1 tablespoon fresh juiced. Peel and grate approx 1 inch knob, squeeze the juice out with your fingers into a small dish.
  • Orange Juice: up to 2 fresh oranges squeezed. OR 1 cup of juice not concentrate, divided.


In blender, mix strawberries with 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, blend until pureed. Pour mixture into 8 popsicle molds.  To achieve the half mango/strawberry design, place molds in freezer securely tilted. Leave in freezer for 30 mins. Gather remaining 5-6 strawberries and slice thinly. Set aside.

Rinse the blender out and add the mango, remaining 3/4 cup orange juice and 1 tablespoon of juiced ginger, blend until smooth.

Remove the molds from the freezer. The strawberry mix should be a slushy consistency by now. Pour the mango mixture over the strawberry puree, leaving room just below the top. Use a knife to gently swirl some of the strawberry mixture into the mango puree. Add 2-3 of the pre-sliced strawberries along the sides of each mold.  Top off the molds with the remaining mango puree and then insert the stick part of the mold to cover each one.  (If using traditional wooden popsicle sticks, place the filled molds into freezer for 30 mins. BEFORE inserting the wooded sticks).

Place molds back into the freezer and allow a min of 4.5hrs.freeze time.

To pull the  popsicles from the molds once they have completely frozen, run each popsicle underneath a steady stream of warm water (10 seconds for each) to loosen the popsicle from the mold.  Do not twist! Twisting will loosen the popsicles from the stick. Enjoy!


August 4, 2017

Offered at HHC in partnership with CJE Senior Life, This six-week series will focus on managing diabetes and will include topics like action plans, relaxation techniques, exercise, healthy eating, and working with your doctor. If you have diabetes, are a family member or caregiver to someone with diabetes, or have a family history, this class is for you.

When: Tuesdays 1-3:30 pm

Where: HHC Wilson Lower Level Community Room, 845 W. Wilson

August 4, 2017

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi is often used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi promotes serenity through gentle, flowing movements.

Read more here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184

When: Wednesdays from 12-1:45 pm

Where: HHC Devon, 1300 W. Devon Ave.

July 27, 2017

By HHC Provider

Working at a school-based health center, I perform a lot of STD testing, some for students requesting the test due to risky behaviors, others just as routine screening with their annual physical exams.  It is always surprising how many positive tests we get on patients who think they are not at risk or who have no symptoms at all.  That is why I encourage all sexually active persons to “Get Yourself Tested” as the popular campaign by MTV suggests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 20 million new STD cases every year.  The most frequently reported STD is Chlamydia. It is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia.  Though often this disease causes no symptoms at all, it can sometimes cause an abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina or burning pain with urination.  If left untreated, this disease can travel up into the reproductive tract and cause a severe infection and also to infertility later on.

Gonorrhea is a disease similar to chlamydia and can have either similar symptoms (vaginal or penile discharge, burning pain with urination) or no symptoms at all.  Like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea can also affect your fertility or cause a severe infection in the reproductive tract that could require hospitalization.  Because there are such severe consequences to a disease which often has no symptoms, I do recommend at least yearly testing for these diseases, especially those in the most at-risk age group of 25 and younger.  Testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia can be done by a simple urine test or by a swab of the urethra (opening in the penis) or the cervix (opening of the uterus).

HIV/AIDS is one STD everyone knows about but no one thinks they will get.  HIV has no symptoms in its early stages so a person could be infected for several years and not be aware of it.  The virus attacks your immune system, which leaves it open to numerous infections that your body cannot fight, which, if severe, can lead to death.  Though there are many medications now which effectively control HIV, there is no cure.  The medications taken for HIV need to be taken for life and most have side effects.  The CDC recommends testing for HIV in everyone, with yearly testing for those at higher risk.  Testing for HIV is usually done via a blood test, however, there are some sites where testing can be done by a simple swab of your mouth.

Syphilis is another STD which is fairly common in the United States.  Syphilis has symptoms which come in stages.  In the primary stage, you may have a painless sore on the genitals for several weeks.  In the secondary stage you may have a rash on your palms and/or sores in your mouth, fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue.  The late/latent stage of syphilis can occur 10-30 years after the initial infection and causes damage to a number of internal organs like the brain, nerves, heart, etc.  This damage can cause dementia, blindness, paralysis and eventually death.  Testing for syphilis is done via blood test.

This is not a complete list of STDs, but please talk to your health care provider regarding your risks and what tests should be done.  Testing for all the above STDs can be done at all of the Heartland Health Centers.  However, the most important point I want to make is to prevent these diseases from happening to you.  While some of the diseases can be treated with antibiotics, some, like HIV/AIDS have no cure as of yet.   There are several ways you can prevent STDs from infecting you:

  1. Use condoms EVERY time. Condoms, when used correctly, are very effective at STD prevention. Even when someone “looks clean” use a condom.
  2. Limit the number of sexual partners you have. The more partners you have the greater exposure you have to STDs.
  3. Get yourself and your partner tested. Take control of your body and know what you’re getting yourself into!

So come in to one of the Heartland Health Centers and ask your health care provider about getting tested today!

Sources:  www.cdc.gov, http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/

July 27, 2017

Heartland Health Centers Summer Safety

Summer is a great time for you to enjoy various indoor and outdoor activities. Here are a couple tips to keep you and your family safe and healthy while enjoying summer fun.

Water Safety

  • Never swim alone.
  • Always supervise your children when in or around water.
  • Never go in the water unless you know how to swim; swim lessons are available for all ages.
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.

Sun Safety

  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you and your family go outside.
  • Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully, for morning and evening hours.
  • Stay cool with cool showers or baths.

Bike Safety

  • Get acquainted with traffic laws; cyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
  • Never hitch onto or ride in between cars.
  • Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes.
  • A horn or bell and a rear-view mirror, as well as a bright headlight, also is recommended.
  • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections.

Playground Safety

  • Check to make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are safe, soft, and well-maintained.
  • Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, such as stairs and playground equipment.
  • Make sure your children wear appropriate clothing.

Bug Safety

  • Use an effective insect repellent while playing outdoors.
  • Make your backyard a tick-safe zone.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks. Ticks are easy to remove.





By Claire Brady

Community Health Education Coordinator

This mango black bean salad is one of my favorite summer recipes, and it has always been a big hit at summer potlucks and barbecues. I have also introduced it to HHC patients as part of our cooking classes!

This is a perfect recipe for the early summer months of June and July because mangoes are in season and often on sale this time of year.



  • 1 bunch of kale or head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • Other possible toppings: pumpkin seeds, jicama, corn



  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocado(s)
  • 1/3 cup lime juice or the juice of 3 limes
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, optional



To make the dressing, mash the avocado, add lime juice, and continue to mash until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Add the cilantro and spices. When complete, mix the dressing into the kale until the kale is well coated. Prepare the vegetables and other toppings for the salad, and add to the kale and dressing. Enjoy!