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Fall 2017
Welcome to the first issue of Telligen Community Initiatives (TCI) new e-newsletter. We hope you will enjoy this new way for us to share news and provide updates about the work of our grantees. Our goal is to provide an informative communication resource to highlight some of these grants and show how our partner organizations are making impacts to help us all live healthier lives. 

Since 2013, we have awarded more than $4 million to nearly 100 organizations in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado. I hope you will take a moment to learn about the work of TCI’s extraordinary and inspiring people and organizations. And, to our many community partners, thank you for your tireless commitment to improving the health of our communities.

Matt McGarvey , Executive Director
Giving makes a difference

Nearly $375,000 in grants awarded to Colorado nonprofits in the first year of funding

The Telligen Community Initiative Board of Directors awarded a total of $374,919 in grants to 15 nonprofit organizations for the initial grant offering in Colorado. Grants up to $25,000 were provided to nonprofit organizations supporting health care workforce development, health innovation and health equity to low income, uninsured and other vulnerable populations in Colorado. Congratulations to our inaugural 2017 Colorado grantees. Learn more
Fighting Homelessness through Technology – One Phone at a Time

Streetlight Chicago , a new app funded by TCI and VNA Foundation aims
to provide teens and young adults in-need with shelter and critical services
At the end of the day, when most people return to the comfort of their homes for the night, in Chicago there are thousands of young people with no place to call home. Instead, they may sleep under bridges, in cars, or crowded along with others in an abandoned house or on the floor of a friend’s apartment.
With a homeless youth population of approximately 11,200, Chicago is underserved with less than 400 available shelter beds. There is also limited, accurate communication about the availability of these beds each night.  

While youth who are experiencing homelessness may not have a place to call their own, their mobile phones and access to the internet plays an indispensable role in daily life. It’s easy to dismiss cellphones as a luxurious distraction, but for the homeless, the ability to call or text for help can be a matter of life or death. Without a permanent address, a mobile phone and social media are their connections to safety, friends, school or jobs. 

To address this unmet need, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Young Invincibles , a research and advocacy group, worked together with the VNA Foundation to create a more effective way to communicate with homeless youth by developing Streetlight Chicago, a mobile phone application. This app provides real-time information about the availability of beds at shelters on any given night, as well as key facts about health services. 

Launched last November, the app is free and more than 1,000 users have already downloaded the app with an average of 600 monthly visits. 

“Streetlight puts real-time, critical information directly in the hands of young Chicagoans facing homelessness,” said Young Invincibles Midwest Director Erin Steva.

In addition, the app also provides information about legal aid programs, food programs, job placement
services, locker storage, emergency contacts, weather warnings and other social service resources.

Through a multi-year grant from VNA Foundation and a $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative, the developers have been able to promote the application through trainings and community outreach, expand the content to include a mental health toolkit, and build a website component to supplement the mobile app that allows user to access to key information from computers and not just cell phones. 

“We welcomed the chance to partner with Streetlight Chicago to empower young adults in-need of basic human needs that most of us take for granted,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of Tellligen Community Initiative. “The app and the new website gives users the knowledge to find resources to improve their safety, health and well-being, as well as services to help them transition out of homelessness.” 

The new website version has allowed Streetlight Chicago’s reach and impact to expand by allowing Chicago Public Schools and social serv ice providers to find youth the support they need through computers. Streetlight also added a new feature called “Book a Bed.” It allows youth who work or attend school at night to reserve a bed remotely if they can’t be present when overnight beds are distributed. 

“With this app, we are creating a safer and healthier community; and, most importantly, we can better support young people in Chicago to help them find a new path and hope for the future,” added Steva.
Latest News from TCI Synergy Center
“The Synergy Center is a unique opportunity and an incredible gift to our organization. We see a significant savings to our budget to direct more fundraising dollars to community efforts to serve Iowa’s children, families and communities.”

Liz Cox, Executive Director
Mental health specialists for primary care
providers in Iowa is video screen away

Project ECHO is leveraging videoconferencing technology to link experts
with clinic providers at the frontlines of behavioral health care
Many Iowans struggle to get access to mental health services. The problem is more serious in rural and underserved communities, where the availability of mental health specialists is severely lacking and most care is supplied by primary care providers. 

“The state lacks behavioral health specialists and the majority of mental health care in Iowa is provided in a primary care setting,” says Bery Engebretsen, M.D., chief medical officer of Primary Health Care, Inc . (PHC). “Providers are challenged with managing more complex cases and keeping up with rapid advances in treatments.”
Engebretsen, along with the Iowa Primary Care Association , six Federally Qualified Health Center sites of PHC, and other medical professionals, are behind the Iowa launch of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). ECHO was founded by Sanjeev Arora at the University of New Mexico . PHC’s program is designed to connect community health providers with mental health experts who serve as mentors and share specialized information about medication, behavioral counseling and support.

“Project ECHO provides a way to build a more connected medical community to address this growing need in Iowa,” added Engebretsen. “The program leverages videoconferencing as a tool to build a case-based approach to continuing medical education to help primary care providers manage the most complex cases. It is not simply didactic continuing medical education.”

Engebretsen is joined by a core specialty content team of pharmacy and behavioral health specialists, including Janice Landy, M.D., chief of psychiatry at Broadlawns Medical Center , Iowa’s only major public hospital and one with a longstanding reputation for
mental health programming. Also on the team are
Kathy Warren LISW, and Sarah Grady, Pharm D. of Drake’s College of Pharmacy .

Every other week, Dr. Landy and the team connect with primary care participants from six of PHC’s clinical sites through live video conferencing. The 80-minute sessions include brief lecture topics and then patient case reviews. All participants listen, ask questions, and offer their advice. “All teach, all learn,” is a core concept of ECHO.

Based on the early success of the program, the team is embarking on an expansion of Project ECHO to other community health centers in Iowa, and also considering a second project focused on chronic pain and opioid management.

One of the benefits of Project ECHO is the satisfaction it offers to medical professionals through collaboration. It is a “burnout” antidote.

“I’ve developed great professional relationships through Project Echo,” said Landy. “We are building a more connected and supportive medical community – one where we can share experiences, expertise, and improve the quality of life for our patients, families and communities together.”

The pilot project is funded by a one-year, $50,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI). TCI has supported Project ECHO-based work in Illinois and Oklahoma as well, making it an intervention that has transferability in different regions of the country.
PROMYS project exposes students to science-related careers
Finding and hiring the thousands of skilled workers needed to fill a wide variety of science-related roles is a big challenge for many companies and organizations these days.

Given this growing need, there are a number of organizations working hard to provide youth – especially those from low-income, disadvantaged areas – exposure to the many career opportunities available in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. One such organization is the University of Chicago’s Center for Asian Health Equity (CAHE), which introduced the Chicago Southside PROMYS this past June.
PROMYS, which stands for Program in Research for Outstanding Minority Young Scientists, is an eight-week program designed to introduce African-American, Asian-American, and Latino high school students from Chicago’s low-income, Southside neighborhoods to different STEM careers, especially those related to the public health and biomedical research. 

“Our program supports a personalized learning approach that matches the individual interests of the scholars and interns to the STEM-based researcher,” says Dr. Karen Kim, MD, MS, director of CAHE, and dean of faculty affairs.

Students apply for the program and each participating high school student is matched with a researcher or mentor from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago State University.

“We selected 12 students from 91 unique applications,” explains CAHE Associate Program Director Jennifer Oh. “Those who participated had a very positive experience and liked being able to dig deep and get firsthand exposure to a variety of science-related career paths.”

Utilizing a mix of coursework, observations and hands-on workshops, the PROMYS curriculum focused on teaching participants various skills, such as cross-cultural competency, public speaking, resume writing, social determinants, logic models and research methods. In addition, participants also attended career exploration tracks where they had an opportunity to meet with professionals in the public health and biomedical fields.

“PROMYS is unique compared to other similar STEM programs because it connects high school students
with undergraduate peer mentors, and teaches a combination of both hard and soft skills,” says Oh. “The near-peer mentoring model also provides high school students who are new to research the opportunity to learn from other students who are similar to them in terms of age, ethnicity and family background, which creates a sense of comfort and familiarity.”

For the first cohort of the program, the use of near-peer mentoring appears to have worked well, as Oh indicates they received a lot of positive feedback from participants, as well as parents and mentors. But the early exposure offered to various career options is what the PROMYS program hopes will have the greatest impact over the long-term.
“The importance of early exposure to career opportunities cannot be overstated, especially in the STEM fields,” says Dr. Seeba Anam, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Chicago who served as a professional-level PROMYS researcher/mentor.

“The ability to visualize yourself in your own research career is much easier when you find yourself physically occupying a seat in a lab meeting, or contributing to field work or data collection. The ability to engage meaningfully with a specific research project demystifies the process and makes a career in the sciences a more tangible goal.”

Learn more by watching the video below:
Youth & Family Counseling launches
innovative mental health collaboration

The Waukegan Integration Program will deliver more than 800 counseling sessions to the underserved in 2017
Mental health issues, including the lack of viable treatment and care options, remain a major concern for many communities around the country. Waukegan, Illinois, is one such community.

Given their ethnically diverse population and high levels of unemployment, illiteracy, gang activity and homelessness, Waukegan residents are faced with the types of problems that commonly plague many low-income, urban communities nationwide. There is also an urgent need for accessible mental health care services among underserved residents of Waukegan, as well as neighboring North Chicago.

As a longtime provider of affordable mental health counseling to low income families, Youth & Family Counseling (YFC) of Libertyville, Illinois, is working to improve access to behavioral health care and to find ways to bring services to people who need care the most. This is why YFC recently established the Waukegan Integration Project in conjunction with two other organizations – Waukegan Public Library and Erie HealthReach Waukegan Medical Center , a Federally Qualified Health Center.

“Offering connections to mental health services inside a strong community anchor, like the library, and integrating psychotherapy services within a primary care facility is making a difference in so many lives,” says Janelle Moravek, executive director of Youth & Family Counseling.

The organization expects to deliver approximately 800 counseling sessions at Erie HealthReach and the Waukegan Public Library by the end of 2017. Funding for this program is being provided, in part, by a $25,000 grant from Telligen Community Initiative, as well as other key funders.

Through YFC’s program, people can check out a lot more than books at the Waukegan Public Library — they can also receive mental health consultations. YFC’s licensed, professional counselor is placed at the
library 20 hours each week, providing at-risk visitors with access to support groups, one-on-one counseling and assistance, including referrals to local human services.

The Waukegan Integration Project also includes a partnership with Erie HealthReach to integrate primary and behavioral health care by offering these services in the same building, allowing for improved access and better coordination of care for Erie’s at-risk patient population. YFC’s licensed clinicians are providing counseling services at Erie’s Waukegan facility, serving children, teens, adults, couples and families for a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, neglect, and more.
“Emotional disturbances and mental illness are pervasive – they cut across all demographics,” explained Frances Baxley, a physician and Erie HealthReach’s medical director. “None of us is beyond reach of these problems, but finding strategies for healing can be more difficult when you live in poverty.”

Dr. Baxley believes the partnership with YFC is vital to bringing mental health services to these communities and improving the health and well-being of individuals and families served. 
“As a doctor, I experience moments in the clinic that include tears, anxiety or confusion. It’s a comfort to be able to say to my patients, ‘down the hall, we have counselors who can help you.’ Patients return to me after counseling sessions describing opportunities to explore parts of themselves never accessed before. That’s the best medicine I know of,” said Dr. Baxley.