Health Education and Promotion Programs

Health education and promotion programs provide educational resources or opportunities for promoting preventive lifestyle behaviors and the self-management of disease.

5+1=20

5+1=20 aims to educate high school students at Chicago Public Schools on the five diseases prevalent in the surrounding underserved community (asthma, hypertension, HIV, diabetes, and cancer). Participating schools include Benito Juarez High School, Crane Medical Preparatory Academy and the Marine Math and Science Academy. 5+1=20 is based on the idea that knowledge of these 5 common conditions plus 1 informed high school student (or person) can extend one’s life by 20 years (individuals without health insurance have a life expectancy of 20 years less than the general US population). Twice a month, Rush student volunteers teach a health topic related to the five diseases to high school students. The content of the interactive health lectures ranges from disease prevention to practical skills such checking blood pressure. The high school students have opportunities to spread their knowledge through 5+1=20 health fairs at their schools. Health fair activities include BMI calculations, blood pressure screenings, vision screenings, glucose level checks, referrals, and health education. Health fair participants include families and friends of the students as well as other members of their communities.

  • Services: BMI, blood pressure, glucose levels, vision screenings, referrals, health education
  • Populations served: Adolescents and adults
  • Community partners: Chicago Public Schools - Benito Juarez High School, Crane Medical Preparatory Academy, Marine Math and Science Academy

Asthma Camp at ABC Polk Bros. Community Center

Asthma Camp is an 8-hour program held at the ABC Polk Bros. Community Center at 3415 West 13th Place on the West Side of Chicago one to two times per year. The camp aims to provide asthma management education and access to respiratory care for children aged 5-18 that are affected by asthma. An interdisciplinary team of Rush students and respiratory therapy faculty volunteers lead evidence-based learning stations for general asthma information, the science behind asthma, good habits to have when living with asthma, asthma triggers, medication management and devices, and more. All stations and information is geared towards educating the children and their families on living a healthy life with asthma.

  • Services: Educational activities
  • Populations served: Asthmatic children, adolescents and their family members
  • Community partners: ABC Polk Bros. Community Center, Chicago Public Schools

Mexican Consulate Health Organization

MCHO strives to promote healthy living in the Mexican community in Chicago through monthly events held at the Mexican Consulate at 204 South Ashland Avenue on Chicago’s Near West Side.  Events include educational sessions and basic health screenings. Rush student volunteers provide services consisting of health education, distribution of health information pamphlets written in Spanish, and screening services such as BMI calculation, blood pressure, and blood glucose monitoring. Referrals are given as needed.

  • Services: Educational presentations, BMI calculation, blood pressure screenings, blood glucose monitoring, referrals
  • Populations served: Adults and children representing the Mexican community
  • Community partners: Mexican Consulate

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Program

MLK Day is an annual event in which all RCSIP programs and student groups come together to hold a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rush students, faculty, and staff engage in health and wellness-related activities that in the past have included collecting personnel supplies to ship to the military overseas, preparing breakfast at homeless shelters, providing health screenings for underserved populations, and opening up Rush teaching labs to give Chicago Public School grade school and high school students opportunities to explore and learn about healthcare careers.

  • Services: Various; collecting and shipping supplies for overseas based military, preparing breakfast at homeless shelters, health screenings, teaching labs, health education activities
  • Populations served: Adults, children and veterans
  • Community partners:  Franciscan Outreach, Laurence Armour Day School, Chicago Youth Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Facing Forward, Salvation Army, Chicago Public Schools and various other community organizations

Original Change Project

OCP is a rapid-response and consulting group that helps various local community groups organize, plan and operate small to mid-size health-related activities in places such as churches, schools and neighborhood clubs.

  • Services: Volunteer recruitment, blood pressure screenings, eye exams, blood glucose monitoring, health education
  • Populations served: Various community groups
  • Community partners: Various local community partners

RU Caring

RU Caring organizes mid to large-scale health fairs in the community with an emphasis on comprehensive health and wellness. Rush student, faculty and staff volunteers from a variety of educational, clinical and operations-based programs at Rush University collaborate to plan, operate, and offer a range of services to health fair participants. Health fair services can include blood pressure checks, BMI calculations, physical exams, dental checks and cleaning, vision screenings, hearing screenings, immunizations, disease screenings, health and nutrition education, fitness exercises, health benefits enrollment, referral for follow-up care and back to school supplies for underserved youth.

  • Services: Blood pressure and BMI checks, focused physical exams, dental, vision, hearing, and disease screenings, immunizations, health and nutrition education, fitness exercises, health benefits/enrollment support and referrals
  • Populations served: Adults, adolescents and children
  • Community partners: Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Department of Public Health, Alderman’s office, and other community partners

RCSIP Wellness Center at Facing Forward

The Wellness Center at Facing Forward is held on Thursdays from 5-7:30pm at Facing Forward to End Homelessness’ Sanctuary Place at 642 North Kedzie on the West Side of Chicago. Sanctuary Place is a permanent housing community for displaced women that provides peer support and on-site case management. The Wellness Center specifically aims to decrease cardiovascular risk and improve respiratory health through a comprehensive approach based on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple Sevens guidelines. Weekly activities consist of Rush student volunteers performing health screenings for BMI and blood pressure, providing group life coaching sessions (all life coaches have motivational interviewing training and monthly supervision sessions), presenting a health education lecture, and concluding with an exercise session. Other activities include a monthly healthy cooking demonstration, weekly knitting meetings as a method for stress reduction and smoking cessation, a “telling your story” activity with the aim of improving spiritual and mental health, a walking group, and periodic screenings of blood glucose, cholesterol and respiratory health testing.  All Wellness Clinics are supervised by Rush faculty volunteers.

  • Services: Life coaching, BMI checks, blood pressure checks, glucose levels, cholesterol levels, respiratory health, health education, exercise sessions, healthy cooking demonstrations, walking group, knitting group, communication activities
  • Populations served: Formerly displaced adult females
  • Community partners: Facing Forward to End Homelessness

RCSIP Wellness Center at Oakley Square

The Wellness Center at Facing Forward is held weekly from 5-7:30pm at Oakley Square at 2333 West Jackson on the West Side of Chicago. Oakley Square is a section eight housing community with approximately 600 residents with an age range of newborns to older adults. The Wellness Center specifically aims to decrease cardiovascular risk and improve respiratory health through a comprehensive approach based on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple Sevens guidelines. Weekly activities consist of Rush student volunteers performing health screenings for BMI and blood pressure, presenting a health education lecture, and concluding with an exercise session. Other activities include a monthly healthy cooking demonstration, reproductive health education sessions for adolescents, healthy eating for children sessions presented to residents that have children, and periodic screenings of blood glucose, cholesterol and respiratory health testing.  All Wellness Clinics are supervised by Rush faculty volunteers.

  • Services: BMI checks, blood pressure checks, glucose levels, cholesterol levels, respiratory health, health education, exercise sessions, healthy cooking demonstrations, walking group, knitting group, communication activities
  • Populations served: Young children through older adults
  • Community partners: The Community Builders, Inc

RCSIP Youth Advocates

The YAs are a group of Rush student volunteers that work at the Rush Adolescent Family Center (AFC), three Rush School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) and at Oakley Square, a section eight housing community. AFC is located on the Rush campus and provides reproductive health services and health education for underserved male and female youth and prenatal care for underserved female youth. The Rush SBHCs are located at Orr Academy High School, Crane Medical Preparatory High School, and Simpson Academy, a Chicago Public School for pregnant and/or parenting girls. The SBHCs act as a healthcare safety net for underserved youth and their services consist of health promotion programs and full service clinics that provide primary care, intermittent care, prenatal care, reproductive health services, and mental health services to students. SBHCs at Simpson Academy and Orr Academy also provide health services for children at onsite daycare centers. YA volunteers provide evidence-based reproductive health education services, participate in annual all-school sexually transmitted disease screening days,  follow-up on patient and partner treatment, and conduct adolescent risk assessments with  subsequent referrals and follow-up based on assessment findings.  YAs at Simpson Academy also organize large monthly birthday celebrations for the Simpson students during their lunch hour (10:30-1pm). All students with birthdays in that month are celebrated with personalized cake, cards and gift bags provided by the Rush Auxiliary Board. For many of the Simpson students, this is the first birthday recognition that they have experienced. All YA volunteers receive training in conducting the risk assessment and providing follow-up, and delivery of evidenced-based reproductive health education.

  • Activities: Reproductive health education, risk assessments, referrals and follow-up, screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, birthday celebrations
  • Populations served: Sixth through twelfth grade pregnant and/or parenting girls, children of adolescent parents, adolescent through young adult males and females (low 20’s)
  • Community partners: Rush School Based Health Centers and the Rush Adolescent Family Center, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Department of Public Health, The Community Builders, Inc