Improving Patient Health, One New Program at a Time

Over the years, Erie Family Health Center (EFHC) has had several National Health Corps positions across its thirteen sites, but this is the first year that a member has been placed at the West Town location. As the first member to serve at Erie Family Health Center West Town, I have been fortunate enough to work alongside my supervisor and program managers to create and implement two new health promotion programs that are available to patients across all EFHC sites.

The first project I was assigned to was a collaboration between EFHC and Top Box Foods. Top Box Foods is a non-profit that works to improve access to healthy foods in the Chicagoland area. At EFHC, patients, staff, and community members can order from a list of seventeen different boxes of foods, and customers can pick up their boxes monthly at one of our locations. As a health educator, I am responsible for educating patients and staff at our different sites about the program, placing and submitting orders, and assisting the Top Box team during delivery days. Due to the success of Top Box at our EFHC sites located in the West Town and Humboldt Park areas, the health center recently decided to expand Top Box to our northern Chicago sites in the Evanston/Skokie area. I have had the opportunity to work with my supervisor on planning and executing the expansion of Top Box Foods at EFHC. My experience working with Top Box has been gratifying as I have been able to increase patient access to healthy, affordable food!

The second program I have had a chance to work on is EFHC’s partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital to provide discounted car seats to patients. The grant was confirmed in November, and our first car seats were distributed in February. I was again given the opportunity to work alongside Erie staff members during the whole process of creating the program. I attended a three day car seat safety technician training, and collaborated with my supervisor to create the original program proposal, as well as develop a presentation covering important content to cover during the car seat class. Now that the program is up and running, I work with our case managers, who see patients from all thirteen sites, to enroll patients in the monthly car seat classes. During the class day, I educate patients on the importance of car seats, and help patients pick up their ordered car seats.

In summary, serving at EFHC has been an amazing opportunity as the staff have given me the freedom to work alongside my supervisor and different program managers to help create and implement different health promotion programs. The Top Box Foods and Lurie Children’s car seat programs are my two favorite programs that I work on at EFHC and I am so grateful to have served my AmeriCorps year with Erie Family Health Center.

This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2016-17 member Georgia Hutchins.

Georgia is a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center - West Town and Humboldt Park.