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Illinois hospitals unite to address violence

Seven hospitals, two public health departments, a community college and an assisted and extended living center from across a three-county region in Illinois received “Award for Excellence” plaques for addressing domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse as a public health concern.

The awards were presented by Illinois Health Cares, a state-wide health initiative working to educate and bring awareness about the adverse health consequences caused from direct and indirect exposure to violence.

IHC special projects coordinator Christine Chalkey for LaSalle, Livingston and Bureau counties recognized the facilities and individuals saying, “Every hospital across the three counties realizes the importance of working together to end violence and should be commended for their collaborative efforts to educate and bring awareness to employees, patients and the public about the bad health effects caused by exposure to violence.”

IHC is a health initiative that works with health care professionals to educate about the bad effects of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse causes on health.

According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, each year more than $4 billion is spent for medical care to treat the adverse health consequences caused from domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.

IHC provides doctors, dentists, nurses, EMTs and other health care professionals with free training, resources, tools and supports to use while screening for violence during health care examinations.

“By educating health care professionals about the effect of violence on health and providing them with the proper assessment tools, this health initiative hopes to bring down the related health care costs while properly treating victims and ultimately stop abuse,” Chalkey adds. “Health care professionals, as first responders, play a critical role in helping end the cycle of abuse and violence. It is essential to prepare them to identify, assess and assist victims with safety planning, and provide referrals to needed services.”

Sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, IHC funds eight sites with a local branch headquartered in Streator.

For information on becoming active in the free health initiative, contact Chalkey at ADV & SAS 815-673-1552, ext. 320, or email christinechalkey@yahoo.com .

Others receiving certificates of appreciation but who are not pictured include Dr. Paul Bonucci, medical director of emergency services at IVCH, Peru. Other health care professionals and social service workers honored include from Tommy Hobbs, Joan Fernandez and Gene Voglesang, all from IVCH, Peru; Jackie Yacko of St. Margaret's, Spring Valley; Rex Conger, Jennifer Hoffman and Marcia Hartwig, Perry Memorial Hospital, Princeton; Mendota Community Hospital, Lynn Klein and Linda Brandt of Mendota Community Hospital; and Rosemary Cain and Kelly Frazier, Freedom House, Princeton.

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