Over the past dozen years, Washington Square’s grant making program, while not adopting a particular disease or population sector, has developed various targets. For example, early on and to this day HIV, as a disease, has been a focus of the Foundation’s grant making. Population groups, such as minorities, seniors and women, have been targeted from time to time.
This year has witnessed a variety of grants which have focused on children in all the Foundation’s grant making areas, direct health care services, education and research.
Provision of an improved delivery system of primary care and on-going pediatric care, as well as improving the training of pediatric health care practitioners, including physicians and parents, is the goals of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program at Bethany Hospital. The program, part of a national initiative, is in the final phase of the third year pilot. This program, it is hoped, through funding of a “healthy steps specialist”, a nurse practitioner trained in advanced theories and science of child development, will bring lasting health, social and educational benefits to families enrolled in the program.
Often times, the real health care need for children is effective diagnosis and treatment. Today’s resurgence of TB is a real threat to our city’s children. The funding for the past two years of a pilot program at Infant Welfare to diagnosis TB and to provide observed therapies has made a real marked increase in the level of therapy compliance. TB is curable if it is treated as prescribed. Infant Welfare has developed a successful program to accomplish this treatment goal, in coordination with the Chicago Board of Health.
Unfortunately, not all disease can be prevented, and at La Rabida Children’s Hospital young patients are able to receive chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. The concept is, simply put, “children should not be in hospitals”; however, if they must, it should be for the shortest possible time, in an environment that is as non-threatening as possible. The Washington Square Treatment Day Therapy Room at La Rabida meets this goal.
Education for professionals and patients/clients, focusing on a broad definition of health care, is a key component of prevention. Today “health care” has broader definitions than ever before. Sexual abuse of women, ands, especially children, is a societal disease that must be prevented and, when necessary and possible, treated. The Washington Square Training Facility at La CASA will allow health care and non-health care professionals, as well as family members, to be trained in the latest aspects of dealing with this societal disease.
Other specialty services for children funded this year include a Therapeutic Day School Computer Specialist at the Easter Seals Therapeutic Day School for autistic children and a therapeutic recreation program for severely mentally and physically challenged children at Keshet. Various specialized camps have received grants for recreational and medical equipment to allow children with severe chronic and life threatening conditions to have recreational experiences. Programs to treat asthma, as well as to help teenage mothers learn parenting skills, were funded this year. Should new borns in the southern suburbs need the highest level of care, a grant to the Hope Children Hospital at Christ Hospital will help provide the latest in neonatal intensive care.
Finally, in the area of advanced medical science, Washington Square has made a major contribution to the new Human Liver Cell Bank for the Children’s Transplantation Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital. Chicago will be on the leading edge of liver transplantation research for children.