A gift for healthy futures

March 20, 2018

Lurie Children's efforts to address child health issues in Chicago received a major boost last fall, thanks to a $12 million giftfrom an anonymous donor in support of the hospital's Healthy Communities program.

"This very generous gift will be used to connect three areas that are closely intertwined: supporting youth with mental health challenges, protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect and working against the violence that is gripping Chicago," says Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, Head of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Lurie Children's. "Lurie Children's has been active in these areas for many years, and now we have the opportunity to expand this work with our many community partners."

The gift will support the following projects:

The Juvenile Justice Collaborative, which connects youth involved in the criminal justice system with needed community services to avoid incarceration. The program is a partnership between Lurie Children's Strengthening Chicago Youth and the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department.

Lurie Children's Illinois Violent Death Reporting System, which evaluates violence patterns to provide opportunities for violence prevention.

A first-of-its-kind software tool developed at the hospital, which will be made available to caregivers and children's advocates to help determine if an injury is accidental or due to child abuse.

A new group therapy program at Lurie Children's, which will provide greater access to mental health services, and partnerships with community pediatricians to support children with mental health conditions.

Expanded training in schools to recognize trauma and intervene to support children will be provided through Lurie Children's Center for Childhood Resilience.

The new Survey of Children's Health in Chicago will measure health needs and public attitudes regarding mental health, child maltreatment and violence involving and affecting youth. The survey will be conducted in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Dr. Matt Davis is the A Todd Davis, MD, Professor in General Academic Pediatrics; and the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Research Professor for the Director of Child Health Research at the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Heroes magazine.

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