Health Chat: Queer and Culture

This health chat features a discussion of experience, identity and intersectionality within queer Ethiopian and South Asian Communities.

This health chat features:
  • Sreela Namboodiri, MD, ABOIM, Integrative Medicine Provider, Heartland Health Centers
  • Robel Hailu, Co-founder, House of Guramayle
  • Colin Mascarenhas, Community Outreach, Desi Rainbow Parents

Have questions or comments about this video?  You can contact Community Health Education Manager Amanda Montgomery at amontgomery@heartlandhealthcenters.org.

Health Chat: Kink

Kink is viewed differently in every culture.  In this health chat we discuss the many terms or definitions associated with the word kink. 

Learn more about the history of kink in the medical sphere and how medical professionals are learning to talk about kink today.  This health chat features: 

  • Amanda Montgomery, Manager of Community Health Education at Heartland Health Centers
  • Anuj Shah, Family Physician and Integrative Medicine Physician at Heartland Health Centers
  • Landy Cranstoun, Family Doctor Primary Care
  • Figaro, International Puppy 2015

Have questions or comments about this video?  You can contact Community Health Education Manager Amanda Montgomery at amontgomery@heartlandhealthcenters.org.  

Join us for a conversation on what you need to know about gender confirmation. 

Learn about important first steps of gender confirmation. We share resources for those beginning their confirmation journey and discuss how family and friends can support someone who is going through gender confirmation.  This health chat features: 

  • Amanda Montgomery, Manager of Community Health Education at HHC
  • Anuj Shah, Family Physician and Integrative Medicine Physician at HHC
  • Cori Blum, Family Physician at Howard Brown Health and Medical Director at Broadway Youth Center

 

 

Have questions or comments about this video?  You can contact Community Health Education Manager Amanda Montgomery at amontgomery@heartlandhealthcenters.org.

Health Chat: Navigating Coming Out

Coming out is a constant journey with many layers.  In this health chat, we discuss what coming out looks like. Who do you come out to? When is the right time to come out? How do you support youth who are coming out? 

Learn more about navigating coming out and get valuable resources for additional support.  This health chat features: 

  • Stephanie Castrejon, Supervisor Outreach and Enrollment at Heartland Health Centers
  • Michelle Phan, General Pediatrician at Heartland Health Centers
  • Faith Knocke, Program Assistant at Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Logan Pierce, Program Coordinator at Lurie Children’s Hospital

Have questions or comments about this video?  You can contact Community Health Education Manager Amanda Montgomery at amontgomery@heartlandhealthcenters.org.

Arianna from Ralla Klepak Fdn gives grant check to Amanda from Heartland Health Centers

As a school year unlike any other comes to an end, staff at our school-based health centers are making plans for the 2021-22 academic year. One of those plans is going to mash up health awareness and performance, thanks in part to a grant from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts.

Youth Health Advisory Councils are a key part of our four high school clinics at Roosevelt, Senn, Sullivan, and Uplift high schools. Building on our work with the councils, next year we’ll offer students the opportunity to process their experiences with physical and mental health through a performance project based on the theme “Our Covid Year.”

“I’m excited about this project,” said Stephanie Blagaich, senior coordinator of practice transformation & quality for our school-based health centers. “We’re hoping students can learn as well as create something that reflects their experiences.” Blagaich and Javonte Barber, manager for administrative services & school relations will partner with school performing arts coaches, who will work with students. 

Blagaich, who started at Heartland Health Centers as a National Health Corps fellow, said peer education is a powerful way for young people to learn about health. “Obviously students are going to listen to their friends and I think that’s something we’re going to maximize,” she said. “Students can learn about performing arts and from providers, then figure out how to bring those things together.” 

Ralla Klepak, the namesake of the foundation supporting this work, was a legendary Chicago attorney whose career accomplishments spanned many areas of the law. She was well-known for her precedent-establishing struggles on behalf of the LGBTQ community and tireless efforts in family law. Her foundation continues her work by providing grants that benefit disadvantaged children and individuals with disabilities. 

We look forward to sharing more news about this project as it develops!

Photo: Amanda Solon, Heartland Health Centers senior Development director, receives a check from Arianna Halpert, program coordinator at the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, courtesy  Ralla Klepak Foundation

Opioid Addiction, Dispelling Myths and Saving Live

Learn more about Opioid Addiction, Heartland Health Center’s Behavioral Health Services, and our Medication Assisted Treatment program.

Medication Assisted Treatment is a patient focused substance abuse program for opioid use disorder.  This health chat features: 

  • Gina Smith, Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Emily K. Berwald, FNP-C
  • Michele Nucup, MAT
  • Rihanna Cheek, MAT

Have questions or comments about this video?  You can contact Community Health Education Manager Amanda Montgomery at amontgomery@heartlandhealthcenters.org.

Exterior of Sullivan High School where Sheryl Dubinsky works

Photo: Sheryl Dubinsky is the counselor at Sullivan High School 

When schools closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, counselors worked with students remotely and sent students to community clinics for procedures (including free family-planning care and prescriptions at our HHC-Wilson clinic).

With schools reopening, we asked counselor Sheryl Dubinsky, LCPC, to share a bit about how our SBHCs adapted to deal with COVID-19.

Sheryl-DubinskySheryl Dubinsky provides behavioral health counseling to students at Heartland Health Center’s School Based Health Center at Sullivan High School as part of an interdisciplinary team, which includes a medical provider, medical assistant and a patient support specialist.

She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and received her master’s degree in human services counseling from National Louis University.

Her professional interests include child/adolescent/family counseling, anxiety and depression, divorce adjustment, parenting, eating disorders, and anger management. For more information, visit HHC’s School-Based Health Clinics’ webpage.

Q: What is a School-Based Health Center?

A: Heartland Health Center’s school-based clinics provide urgent, primary care health care and dental services to students. We provide a welcoming space convenient for both students and parents where we address a myriad of physical and mental health concerns. These services have a positive impact on student well-being and academic success and are a model for the nation. In 2019  we had 11,000 patient visits across our SBHCs.

Q: What is your role at HHC’s School Based Health Centers (SBHCs)?

A: I lead the behavioral health team, which includes four other counselors and myself at seven schools. I also serve as the behavioral health counselor at Sullivan High School. We provide individual, group and family counseling, as well as counseling on nutrition and physical activity, and substance abuse, and psychiatry referrals. (We have 7 schools, there are 3 social workers, 1 PhD, and myself, a counselor).

Q: Why are these clinics so important?

A: So many kids would miss out on help they need if we didn’t have school-based health centers. Having a connection with someone outside the family is really important. At the clinic, they can talk to a counselor who validates their feelings and supports them in the classroom. Students can reach out by email anytime – since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to set-up meetups by phone and computer during the day.

Q: How has the way you connect with students changed during COVID-19?

A. Prior to COVID-19 we saw students in the clinic. We were there for the medical provider to give us a Warm-Handoff if they felt the student would benefit from mental health services. Since March 2020 we have been meeting with students virtually. In November 2020, clinics reopened for the students to be able to come in and get physicals, sports physicals, and counseling. Some of our counselors are going into elementary school classrooms virtually to do a feelings check-in or teach coping skills.

Q: What are some of the challenges with virtual visits?

A: For the most part, the virtual sessions have been successful. Sometimes it’s hard for students to have privacy online, and they may not want their parents to know they’re seeing someone. Yet if we didn’t have virtual visits, so many kids would not get the help they need during this difficult time.

Q: How have students fared during the pandemic?

A: We see a lot of depression, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, anger and lack of motivation for learning in both high school and elementary age kids. Their teachers don’t always know what’s going on behind the computer screen at home. Their parents may have lost their jobs and there may not be enough to eat. High schoolers may be caring for siblings, helping them with remote learning and feeding them, and they may miss their extracurricular activities. Some students are working to help support their family. Some stay up all night and then sleep through their classes during the day.

Q: What about elementary school students?

A: In many ways, remote learning may be hardest on this age group. They don’t have as many ways to connect with friends, such as through social media, and may feel really isolated. Many are stuck at home and lack physical activity. Those with learning disabilities face even more challenges.

Q: How do students feel about coming back to the classroom?

A: Some can’t wait, but others are afraid. They may have had a family member who passed on or got really sick from COVID-19.

Q: What are some examples of students who really needed help and were able to receive mental health services during the pandemic?

A: One student came to me with hallucinations, depression and anxiety. I referred him to a psychiatrist, but he didn’t want to take medication. When he started vomiting and seeing flashing lights, I sent him to a medical provider, they sent him for an MRI. Once any physical issues were ruled out, the student felt much better and opened up to working on his mental health. He’s playing soccer again, and during our weekly sessions, I’ve noticed an improvement in his facial expressions and mood.

Another student came to one of our social workers with suicidal ideations. The student was referred to Screening Assessments and Support Services through the Chicago Public Schools. The student did not need hospitalization, and says she feels better by talking regularly with her HHC counselor.

Q: How do you feel about your work?

A: I’m very grateful to be able to provide support and guidance for these kids, and by extension their families, during these really difficult times. I can’t wait until the students are back in school and have more immediate access to our clinics.

Note: Heartland Health Centers operates school-based health centers in 4 local high schools – Roosevelt, Senn, Sullivan and Uplift – and 3 elementary schools – Gale, Hibbard, & Kilmer – in Albany Park, Edgewater, Rogers Park and Uptown. 

You can also read more about our student services or school physicals, or view our SBHC locations. We’re also grateful to our partners at SMART Student Health and their fierce advocacy for student-based health centers. 

 

Staff in front of window in the new HHC-Lakeview clinic

It is a pleasure to share that HHC-Lakeview is now seeing patients at 3154 North Clark Street!

Lee en Español

Next week we’ll host an online open house. Please watch this space, social media and your email inbox for details.

To celebrate our new Lakeview clinic location, we are hosting a raffle for patients, friends, and members of the community. You can enter the raffle by filling out our survey, or by visiting the new HHC-Lakeview clinic in-person!

Starting next week, we’ll also be starting things off with a bang by hosting an online raffle!

Online Survey Raffle (open until May 23)

The online drawing will have three winners. Each winner will receive one of the following prizes:

  1. One $40 value self-care gift basket
  2. One private yoga session in which the winner can invite up to 5 people to join, plus one free yoga mat and one water bottle
  3. One $50 Lakeview Chamber gift card to use at over 200 merchants in the Lakeview neighborhood

Take the survey to enter the raffle

In-Person Raffle

Stop by 3154 N Clark St. from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 26 to May 21 . The in-person drawing will have five winners. Winners will each receive one of the following prizes:

  1. One $60 value self-care gift basket
  2. One private yoga session in which the winner can invite up to 5 people to join, plus a free yoga mat and water bottle
  3. One-hour nutrition counseling with a licensed dietitian and a $50 grocery store gift card
  4. One $75 Lakeview Chamber gift card to use at over 200 merchants in the Lakeview neighborhood
  5. One $50 Lakeview Chamber gift card to use at over 200 merchants in the Lakeview neighborhood

The fine print: You can enter both raffles but only one time each. Email address or cell phone number required to enter.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our Lakeview providers, please feel free to call 773-751-7800 today!

Learn more about the services offered at our Lakeview location.

Para celebrar nuestra nueva ubicación de la clínica Lakeview, estamos organizando una rifa para pacientes, amigos y miembros de la comunidad. ¡Usted puede entrar en la rifa llenando nuestra encuesta, o visitando la nueva clínica HHC-Lakeview en persona!

Sorteo de encuestas en línea (abierto hasta el 23 de mayo)

El sorteo en línea tendrá tres ganadores. Cada ganador recibirá uno de los siguientes premios:

  1. Una cesta de regalo de cuidado personal valorado en $40
  2. Una sesión privada de yoga en la que el ganador puede invitar hasta 5 personas a unirse, además de un tapete de yoga gratuita y una botella de agua
  3. Una tarjeta de regalo de la cámara de comercio de Lakeview de $50 para usar en más de 200 comerciantes en el vecindario de Lakeview

Tome la encuesta para entrar en la rifa

Rifa en persona (abierta hasta el 21 de mayo)

Pasa por 3154 N Clark St. de 8:30 a.m. a 5 p.m. del 26 de abril al 21 de mayo. El sorteo presencial tendrá cinco ganadores. Cada uno de los ganadores recibirá uno de los siguientes premios:

  1. Una cesta de regalo de cuidado personal valorada en $60
  2. Una sesión privada de yoga en la que el ganador puede invitar hasta 5 personas a unirse, además de un tapete de yoga gratuita y una botella de agua
  3. Asesoramiento nutricional de una hora con un dietista con licencia y una tarjeta de regalo de una tienda de comestibles de $50
  4. Una tarjeta de regalo de la cámara de comercio de Lakeview de $75 para usar en más de 200 comerciantes en el vecindario de Lakeview
  5. Una tarjeta de regalo de la cámara de comercio de Lakeview de $50 para usar en más de 200 comerciantes en el vecindario de Lakeview

La letra pequeña: Puede entrar a ambas rifas, pero solo una vez a cada una. Dirección de correo electrónico o número de teléfono celular necesario para ingresar.

¡Si desea programar una cita con uno de nuestros proveedores de Lakeview, no dude en llamar al 773-751-7800 hoy!

Obtenga más información sobre los servicios ofrecidos en nuestra ubicación de Lakeview.

Megan Erskine headshot

Congratulations to Megan Erskine on being confirmed as Chief Operating Officer for Heartland Health Centers!

Megan joined Heartland Health Centers in 2016 as Director of School Based Health Centers. As Vice President-Specialty Services since 2019, she was the key executive leader responsible for transition of HR and IT services from Heartland Alliance.

She has been instrumental in operationalizing our COVID vaccine operations for staff, partners and patients including current vaccinations at Northeastern Illinois University. In collaboration with our clinical leadership team, she implemented a new patient-centered care model with Medical Home Network, positioning Heartland Health Centers to provide more efficient, cost-effective and timely care for our patients.

As COO, Megan will be responsible for leading and managing all operational and administrative aspects of the organization.

patient about to get vaccination at NEIU

Thanks to everyone who has made possible patient vaccinations at Northeastern Illinois University! Opening this site at Northeastern Illinois University is going to greatly expand access to all our patients and help them receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.

Update: we’ve moved to the College of Business and Management Building, 3601 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., plan to be there through August 18, and primarily administer Pfizer vaccines.

The Heartland Health Centers COVID-19 vaccination site is scheduled to run from April 6 to August 18, 2021 and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. Those who are not current Heartland Health Centers patients may request to be added to their COVID-19 vaccination waitlist by completing our vaccine survey form.

Last week, Heartland Health Centers begin utilizing part of Northeastern Illinois University’s Physical Education Complex to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for our patients–we’re grateful to Northeastern Illinois University as well as to our community partner Centro Romero, which has sent teams of volunteers to assist with welcoming and screening patients at the entrance to the vaccination site. 

“As a public university that serves a significant amount of populations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern Illinois University is dedicated to stopping the spread of COVID-19; not just at our University, but in the neighborhoods in which our students and employees live and work,” Northeastern Illinois University President Gloria J. Gibson said. “In allowing Heartland Health Center to utilize part of our gymnasium to host their mass vaccination site, we are hopeful that more people will be inoculated and this pandemic will subside soon. Whether our students and employees are currently eligible to be vaccinated through Heartland or elsewhere, we strongly encourage all who are eligible to talk to their physicians and get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are able.” 

 

 

Our new partnership with NEIU will allow us to administer up to 1,500 COVID-19 vaccinations per week. Please note that currently we are contacting current patients who are at highest risk of COVID-19 complications first. If and when we are able to expand vaccinations in keeping with the City of Chicago’s vaccination phase schedule, we will share the news here on our website and via our social media. 

Directions to the site are here.  All visitors to campus are kindly asked to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols Northeastern Illinois University currently has in place to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus.

 

Our vaccination site was featured on Chicago Public Radio in early April! listen to the story here.