New center at Lurie Children’s Hospital to focus on early childhood wellness
‘It’s all about building the child rather than repairing the broken man,’ said Dr. Thomas Stanley, Lurie’s president and CEO.
Parents and educators in Chicago can look for a big boost in support for the mental health care and overall wellness of the city’s youngest children.
The Schreiber Family Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago will supply organizations such as day cares and schools with resources, including training to help nursing mothers and mental health care toolkits.
“It’s all about building the child rather than repairing the broken man,” said Dr. Thomas Shanley, Lurie’s president and CEO.
The center will allow Lurie’s Magoon Institute for Health Communities — a project that supports hundreds of health and education organizations around the city — to expand their offerings to organizations that serve children under 5 years old.
“What happens to children at their earliest stages of development has a profound effect on their trajectories,” Shanley said.
The new center was established with $25 million from Kathleen and John Schreiber of Lake Forest, who announced the donation at a news conference Friday at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning at 3701 W. Ogden Ave. in North Lawndale.
Officials chose the site because the hospital has already partnered with the early education provider to train staff in recognizing and responding to trauma in children.
“The work’s been great and we’ll get to do so much more of it now, so it’s exciting,” said Carmen Holley, a mental health consultant at Lurie’s that works with the Magoon institute.
The center also aims to help parents at home, said Mariana Glusman, associate medical director of the center, including connecting expectant parents with a doula and helping make a household safe for a curious baby.
“There are so many things that happen that, unless they live in an extended family household, they’re not going to get the help that they need,” she said.
Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.