Successful Model Integrates Medical Practices with Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes
Erie Family Health Centers, a community health system providing high-quality and affordable health care to Chicagoans, continues to see successful patient health outcomes due to its integrated “health-ownership” model. Through this system-wide approach to care, patients are guided to take ownership of their health to reduce and better treat preventable chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and even poor bone health.
Traditional healthcare models have almost always been about “sick care” and medical interventions once an individual becomes ill or injured. However, with about half of all American adults living with preventable chronic diseases, many of which can be attributed to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity, medical professionals know that the best results come from patients who take ownership of their health and make behavioral changes in their homes. Recognizing the correlation between patients’ health and wellness practices decades ago, Erie has effectively been integrating proactive preventative services into its service delivery since the very beginning. After years of fine-tuning these practices, this model is demonstrating improved health outcomes, as seen in Erie’s diabetes programs, in which 75 percent of its diabetic patients maintain well-controlled glucose levels.
“Health care is evolving. What happens to patients between doctor’s appointments is as important as, or even more important than, what happens during an appointment,” said Dr. Lee Francis, President and CEO of Erie Family Health Centers. “Taking ownership of your health by changing certain behaviors, such as eating healthier foods and exercising, can be just as crucial to your health as taking medicine in specific circumstances. We want our patients to be healthy and have these programs in place to help guide and encourage them to be healthy on their own.”
Erie Family Health Centers’ “health-ownership” model combines traditional medical practices with additional wellness programs lead by health educators trained in lifestyle and behavioral changes. Each patient goes through a medical and behavioral screening process to assess medical and wellness needs. The assessments help Erie staff understand each patient’s level of motivation or readiness to make a behavioral change, such as those related to obesity, healthy eating or smoking. Staff then determines which programs are best suited for each individual, and patients are encouraged to become active participants in the wellness programs. To help this process, Erie provides support through ongoing consultations, follow-up calls and long-term specialized care when appropriate.
Each of the wellness programs are educational, culturally-sensitive and hands-on to help participants seamlessly take ownership of their own health and lifestyle. Erie Family Health Centers offers wellness programs such as –
- Diabetes Month-by-Month: a monthly education class to help participants understand diabetes and how to better control it
- Diabetes Prevention Program: an intensive, evidence-based lifestyle program helping at-risk participants avoid being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
- La Vida Sana, La Vida Feliz: an exercise and nutrition program for pre-diabetic participants
- Share Our Strength’s® Cooking Matters: a class that teaches participants how to cook healthy meals on a budget
In addition to such classes, Erie also offers the USDA’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program and a running club. A partnership with Top Box Foods was also created to help participants buy high-quality fruits, vegetables and protein at a discounted rate. Each of these programs contribute to serving all of Erie’s patients, an overwhelming percentage of whom come from low-income and Latino communities. Such populations face barriers to accessing healthy foods and active living opportunities, making these programs all the more necessary to achieve successful patient health outcomes.
Recognized as a “Health Center Quality Leader” for the past three years by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Erie Family Health Centers’ clinical support team and medical providers continue to work hard to address social determinants of health through education and wellness programs that have proven to directly improve health outcomes.
Top Box Foods is Coming to Erie Division Street Health Center on July 13!
Visit Erie for your week’s groceries – provided by Top Box Foods! Cook a healthy, warm meal for the family at a steep discount. Top Box buys fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats, poultry and fish from trusted vendors in bulk to keep costs low.
Place your order here and select “Erie Family Health Center – Division Street” as your preferred pick-up location.
Erie Division Street Health Center
11 a.m. to noon
Friday, July 13
2418 W. Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Contact Krysten Sessoms at 312.432.2715 for more information.
Christian F. Hagn, Jr. from Chicago wishes he had known more about asbestos before he abruptly lost his 66-year-old father, Christian A. Hagn, Sr. (1938-2004), to mesothelioma.
“My dad got exposed on the job. I hope I wasn’t exposed, too,” said Christian, Jr. “Companies know that asbestos is killing people, but they keep it on the low. My dad had no protection. They told him it was just dust. Just clean your face, wash your clothes in the laundry, and everything will be fine. It was cheaper for them to lie.”
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer most commonly found in the lining of the lungs, and it is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The most common way people are exposed is in the workplace. Electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, boilermakers, bricklayers, iron workers, and mechanics are at risk. Jobs like mining and mixing raw asbestos into a wide range of products releases deadly clouds of asbestos fibers. The result of prolonged exposure often goes unnoticed for many years until it becomes fatal.
Christian Sr. worked for 22 years as a skilled pipefitter for Union Local 597, using his craft at a number of US companies. Born in the mountainous Bavarian region of Germany, Christian Sr. followed his dream to live in the US and eventually immigrated in 1957. Christian Sr. found work in various refineries, factories and plants in the US where he was exposed to asbestos. While much of his exposure occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, he did not experience any symptoms of the disease until over 30 years later.
“I remember that day very clearly,” remembers Christian Jr. “I thought I was taking my dad to the doctor to treat a cold. To my surprise, the doctor walked into the room and asked my father if he had worked with asbestos before, and he said yes.”
On October 30, 2004, a doctor diagnosed Christian’s father with mesothelioma: “Based on what we see wrapped around your lungs, you have six months.” Christian Sr. responded: “Six months for what?” “Six months to live,” said the doctor. “You have mesothelioma.”
Christian Sr. passed away one hour before Christmas Eve on Dec. 23, 2004, less than two months after receiving the diagnosis. The funeral service was held a few days after Christmas Day. Instead of celebrating the holidays with his father, he was mourning his loss. This is the day that changed Christian’s life forever.
“My dad passed away before my son turned three. He barely knew his grandfather. He barely remembers his image, and that hurts because you are never going to get your loved one back.”
Christian was devastated after losing his father to mesothelioma. He said: “I didn’t even know how to spell mesothelioma or even what type of cancer this was prior to the loss.” He found hope again when he met with attorney Nicholas Vogelzang from Vogelzang Law.
“He showed me how to get the justice I deserve. The reality is you will never get your family back, but you can get the companies that took them away to pay. If it wasn’t for Nick caring, these companies would have gotten away,” said Christian.
With the money Christian received from the settlement, he invested in real estate and soon began giving back to other families. “You have to save the money and be smart,” he said. “I got into real estate and I used the money to help others. I bought homes as investment properties for other families to help them and their kids to go to better schools.”
Even though Christian lost his father to mesothelioma, he remains hopeful and in peace. “Thanks to Nick and his law firm, I can say that if you are smart with your money you get from the settlement, you can set it aside for future generations and college tuition, which is what I did for my son,” said Christian. “I was a son of a victim and it amazes me how some people are afraid to pursue and go after these companies for compensation.”
After speaking with other pipefitters, Christian shared that many people are also afraid to sue because they think they are going to hurt the union and affect their pensions, which is not the case. “Companies that made or work with asbestos have to pay something. Otherwise, it would have been a total loss – not only a family member loss, but also a financial loss,” said Christian.
Christian is dedicated to spreading awareness about asbestos and mesothelioma in order to help others.“I found an asbestos tile when I was doing a house restoration one day and I told the contractor to stop working and to get out. The contractor did an asbestos test and sure enough it came out positive. Asbestos had to be professionally removed and it still exists today, but people are not aware and it is very deadly,” he said. “I want to speak to other families who are going through the same experience. I try to do the right thing in life. I recommend Nick and I appreciate all the help and the excellent job he did. I can’t thank him enough.”
If you or someone you know is going through mesothelioma and wants to get in contact with Christian, visit Vogelzang Law’s Forum: http://184.108.40.206/community/.
Nicholas Vogelzang, Lead Counsel, of Vogelzang Law has represented more than 200 families with every imaginable type of asbestos exposure throughout the country, resulting in more than 200 million in settlements and verdicts. He is committed to helping families fight and get the justice they deserve. There is no cost to file.
For more information on asbestos, mesothelioma, and how you can get help, visit www.vogelzanglaw.com or call 312-466-1669.
Every year, Girls in the Game impacts more than 3,600 girls by helping them find their voice through sports, health and leadership activities. This October 11, celebrate all that Girls in the Game does to empower girls by participating in The International Day of the Girl Child. Along with the UN and many international organizations, Girls in the Game will be drawing attention to the work they do to strengthen girls, help them discover their voices and create the leaders of tomorrow.
Help Girls in the Game create more leaders and gamechangers this year. Girls in the Game has empowered over 40,000 girls since 1996, and will support thousands more this year.
Just last year, Girls in the Game proved how much stronger girls are after participating in their programs:
76% of girls demonstrated significant increases in GRIT (perseverance & determination)
88% of girls supported using non-violent strategies in a conflict
91% of teens improved their body image
“Sometimes, it is difficult to find the confidence to break the stereotypes that tell us it is harder for a girl to beat the odds. Girls in the Game serves as proof that it can be done. For over two decades it has reached out to young girls, welcoming anyone who wants to join and has taught us to cultivate the perfect character needed to succeed despite any struggles,” -Mily, Girls in the Game Alumna
You can help girls like Mily to be confident, to breakdown gender stereotypes and to become a gamechanger in their communities. Make a gift today.
Erie Family Health Centers celebrated the grand opening of their newly renovated and expanded Erie Teen Center at 2418 W. Division St, offering comprehensive services to city teens (12-24). It is the only stand-alone, full-service facility in Chicago providing services to teens of low-income communities who are exposed to violence and other problems. The center, which will be able to serve an additional 2,000 patients, will provide confidential services including counseling, pregnancy and prenatal care, along with care for those with HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) was also present and cut the ribbon at the ceremony.
Join us this summer for Reason to Get Fit! A bilingual fitness program for beginners, instructions will be given in both Spanish and English. Everybody is welcome to join at any time during the summer. We will hit the park for cardio, yoga, strength training, and more of what you love.
Where: Humboldt Park (at the corner of Division and California) If weather is bad please meet us at 2701 W Thomas St, 2nd Floor
When: Every Tuesday at 6:00pm- 7:30pm (No class July 4th, meet July 6th, 6pm. No class August 1st)
Find dates here.
Classes are free. Join anytime. No registration needed.
Contact us for more information and questions at:
Phone: (773) 489-3439
Facebook @ Reason to Give