Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center Community Service Program Targets West Side Children in Homeless Families

April 12, 2000

A community service program that targets the health care needs of homeless families in Chicago received a shot in the arm recently when the Chicago-based John R. Houlsby Foundation awarded the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center's Kids-SHIP program a grant to expand the fledgling program.

In Kids-SHIP, which stands for Kids Shelter Health Improvement Project, Rush pediatricians make house calls to area homeless and women's shelters to provide health care to the shelter's clients. The program grew out of a vision that Rush pediatric psychologist Jeannie Aschkenasy, PhD, had in 1987 when she read about a man collecting spare change for a group called Common Cents.

"He said that homeless people are like pennies, that no one notices them anymore," Aschkenasy said. With Rush' Kids-SHIP program, those pennies are turning into possibilities for homeless families in Rush's neighborhood. The path leading to the current state of the program took some planning and research first. Before the clinic opened, Dr. Aschkenasy, along with Dr. Beth Volin, director of the Rush Pediatric Primary Care Clinic and Clinical Coordinator Michelle Camburn, completed a medical-needs assessment, contacting shelters that help women and children to find out what health care services homeless children need. That initial research was funded by a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"The assessment was a Field of Dreams test," said Aschkenasy. "We wanted to know if we built it, would they come?" Since the program began in July of 1998, they have come. The program started as effort to treat children who visited the Rush Pediatric Primary Care Clinic. Now, thanks to the additional funds from HUD in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Human Services and an additional grant from Houlsby, Kids-SHIP is an outreach program staffed by two Rush pediatricians who visit as many as 10 Chicago shelters on a regular basis.

"The trick is to get kids to come here and we can't do that effectively unless we reach out to where they are," said Volin. She indicated that the Rush pediatricians see an inordinately high number of children with asthma, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, and developmental and educational problems. On their first visit, children receive a thorough, three-hour consultation and exam from a licensed social worker Colleen Flynn psychologist Aschkenasy, pediatric nurse Regina Taylor, and Dr. Volin herself. "Once we get them into our clinic, we often treat the teenage parent too or we refer adult parents to appropriate physician," Dr. Volin said, adding that Kids-SHIP families receive care from top Rush specialists.

"With homeless families, medical services are often not enough," said Brady Harden, president of The Inner Voice, Inc., a non-profit agency that runs many Chicago homeless shelters that work with the Kids-SHIP program. "The psychological, social work, transportation and child care services provide by Kids-SHIP, in addition to the medical services, are innovative."

Dr. Aschkenasy's goal is to grow the Kids-SHIP program enough to branch out further into the city, reaching more needy children in the future.
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center includes the 809-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital; 154-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center for the Elderly; Rush University (Rush Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Graduate College); and seven Rush Institutes providing diagnosis, treatment and research into leading health problems. The medical center is the tertiary hub of the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive healthcare system capable of serving about three million people through its outpatient facilities and seven member hospitals.

Rush University Medical Center

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to