Colleen Cicchetti, PhD, Executive Director of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR), is this year’s recipient of the UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Award in recognition of her work with CCR. This award honors Chicagoans who have made an extraordinary impact in the lives of children. Dr. Cicchetti is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The other recipient is Phyllis Glink, Executive Director of the Irving Harris Foundation. Glick and Cicchetti will be honored for their work advocating for children, families and communities to have access to proper nutrition, education, mental health supports, protective environments and opportunities to play.
“I am honored to accept this award from UNICEF and like many, I credit UNICEF with my first introduction to the concept that if everyone does a little, we can take on big problems to make kids healthier and safer,” said Dr. Cicchetti. “Lurie Children's and the Center for Childhood Resilience are committed to promoting mental wellness for ALL kids by inviting the citizens of Chicago and Illinois to ‘step up and step in.’ Together we can advocate for and create safe communities, schools and recreational environments for kids where they can thrive.”
The Center for Childhood Resilience's (CCR) aim is to build the resiliency of children and youth with a focus on under-served and under-represented populations throughout the Chicagoland area and statewide. Through innovative, sustainable and evidence-based strategies, CCR engages youth-serving organizations in a public health approach to address the impact of trauma and promote mental wellness.
CCR’s multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals share insights and best practices through trainings, consultation, advocacy and research to advance mental health services and build strong communities. They collaborate with educators, community agencies, civic and government leaders, parent organizations, and philanthropic groups who work with and advocate for children.
Last year, CCR provided training and consulting services to over 2600 school and communitybased clinicians and staff to improve their support and interventions for children struggling with social and emotional issues and faced with life–changing, traumatic experiences. In addition, CCR launched the “You Are Not Alone” Project to address public health concerns about the mental health and well-being of historically marginalized youth. Through this initiative, CCR has led 48 trainings for over 1,600 educators, community providers, community navigators, mental health providers, pediatric providers and families with universal and early intervention strategies to address clinically significant symptoms of distress in underrepresented children and youth. As a result of the Center’s distinguished reputation for implementing high-quality, collaborative, effective and evidence-based programs and their strong relationships with school districts and youth-serving agencies, CCR is posed to lead an expanded agenda of mental health advocacy, research, policy change, and education on a national scale.