Mile Square Health Center Supports Englewood Children
The need for children’s mental health services keeps growing, especially in underserved areas of Chicago. Diagnosing a child with a mental health illness is a challenge since the city ofChicago shuttered half its mental health clinics in 2012 due to budget cuts.
To reach these kids, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, a statewide private foundation, funded a new mental health program for residents in the Englewood community at the Mile Square Health Center – Englewood.
At the Center, young patients are provided a continuum of care that ranges from general pediatric care with mental health screenings, counseling and medication management.
With funding from the Foundation, Metropolitan Family Services and UIC Mile Square Health Center have implemented an integrated-care model, with high-quality primary care and mental health providers working together, says Heather Higgins Alderman, president of the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, which partnered with these established community organizations.
“In Englewood, we found a real need for services and the opportunity to collaborate with two very respected providers in Metropolitan Family Services and UIC Mile Square,” Alderman says.
The field of pediatrics is changing, admits Kristen Kenan, MD, pediatrician at the Center, who appreciates the integrated healthcare model they employ daily. “The kids we see [in Englewood] are exposed to a tremendous amount of toxic stress in their lives in both frequency and severity,” Kenan says. “That stress has the potential to adversely affect their interactions with their peers, achievement in school and often carries through to all parts of their lives. It limits their ability to reach their full potential.”
Michelle Churchey-Mims, program director at Metropolitan Family Services, oversees the child and adolescent mental health programs at the Center. “In order for families to be healthy, their emotional, mental and physical well-being should be addressed,” she says.
“We are excited to be part of an initiative that is bringing integrated medical care that addresses the overall health needs of children and families in Englewood,” she says.