This month’s issue of Connections features town and gown partnerships between six Jesuit institutions and their surrounding communities. Some are new, like Creighton University’s Global Connections and Engagement program in Omaha, NE, while some, like Canisius University’s Hamlin Park Initiative in Buffalo, NY, are well-established. All serve to enhance the schools’ relationships with their local town or city, creating opportunities for mutual cooperation and collaboration.
We also have two important schedules to share in this issue: AJCU conferences; and national programs and events that are open to Jesuit alumni this fall. One of our upcoming conferences, the annual AJCU Federal Relations Conference, is featured in Cyndy Littlefield’s Federal Relations report.
It’s been a very busy summer for us here at AJCU. We welcomed three new staffers: Dr. Stephanie Russell, in a new position, vice president for mission integration; Mike Wieczorek, our new executive assistant to the president; and Karen Larios, in another new position, assistant director for federal relations. Stephanie is based in Milwaukee, but will be spending considerable time traveling across the country to offer support to our conference members, administrators and board of trustee members on incorporating the Jesuit mission into their work. Mike W. and Karen are both on our staff in Washington, D.C., and we are grateful to have them on-board!
All of us at AJCU wish you a successful start to the new school year.
All the best,
Deanna I. Howes
By Cynthia Littlefield, Vice President for Federal Relations
Crunch Time on the Hill
Congress returns this week after a six-week hiatus. At stake is the need to resolve funding to combat the Zika virus and provide a resolution for all FY17 funding bills before the rapidly approaching end of the fiscal year on September 30th. Most on Capitol Hill agree that shutting down the federal government, if Congress fails to resolve either or both funding imperatives, would be political suicide; thus, the next three weeks will be critical to resolving the first step toward reaching a final funding resolution.
Both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, H&HS and Education marked up the appropriations bills in June and July, with a realization of an increase for the Pell grant maximum award by $120 over FY16. The Senate used some of the Pell grant surplus funding to fund Pell grants and other programs. Campus-based aid programs, including the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study, were level-funded in both the House and Senate bills at $733 million; TRIO was level-funded by the Senate and increased by $61 million by the House; GearUp was level-funded by the Senate and increased by $22 million by the House; Title II Teacher Partnerships were level-funded in the Senate and zeroed out by the House; and the International and Foreign Language Education programs were level-funded in the House and cut by $4.895 million in the Senate.
The ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus wants a Continuing Resolution (CR) until September 30, 2017, while the rest of House Republicans and Democrats want a CR after this year’s election for November or December. We don’t yet know the outcome of the election, but it will surely guide the direction for FY17 appropriations. In the months ahead, AJCU will strive for continued funding for federal student aid and other higher education programs.
State Authorization Regulations
In our last Federal Relations report, we discussed the Labor Department’s overtime regulations as well as transgender student guidance from the Department of Education. On July 26th, the Department of Education released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on State Authorization for Distance Education. AJCU joined other higher education associations to comment on the American Council of Education’s letter to the Department. While there are fifty state authorization requirements for each state, it is a heavy expense for colleges and universities to authorize distance education programs for every student enrolled in the program. Luckily, the Department included Reciprocity Agreements for about forty states to resolve these complicated issues. These agreements are helpful to colleges and universities because they minimize cost and time, but larger states such as California, New York and Pennsylvania, have not yet agreed to them. The Department has to complete Final Rule by the end of October in order to meet the November 1st deadline for a July 1, 2017 compliance date.
AJCU Federal Relations Conference: September 21-22, 2016
The 19th annual AJCU Federal Relations Conference will be held on Capitol Hill on September 22nd, immediately following the annual Committee for Education Funding Legislative Conference and Gala on September 21st. This year’s conference will focus on HEA Reauthorization, taxes and regulations. Federal relations directors, legal counsels, presidents and financial aid directors are invited to attend. Please write to CyndyLit@aol.com for more information.
By Canisius University Communications
The Hamlin Park Initiative is a program developed by Canisius University to promote a stronger, safer and more beautiful residential neighborhood in the vicinity of the College in central Buffalo, NY.
“The Hamlin Park community is a terrific place to live and raise a family, and Canisius is committed to doing its part to promote home ownership and assist in our neighborhood’s revitalization,” said Canisius President John J. Hurley.
Since 2011, Canisius has been renovating and selling houses that were previously acquired by the College many years ago for student residences in surrounding neighborhoods, to buyers who commit to being owner-occupiers. When sold, the property deeds include a restrictive covenant to ensure that the properties remain owner-occupied for up to 15 years.
The program was developed in response to concerns that available neighborhood properties were being scooped up by investor landlords who would convert them to rental properties for students from Canisius and other nearby colleges and universities. The presence of so many students in what had historically been a middle-class residential neighborhood was seen by many to be a destabilizing factor.
“If we were to list these homes on the open market, they would likely end up in the hands of investor landlords who in turn would rent them to students, and that’s not what we want,” said Hurley. “The owner-occupied covenant recognizes that families living in nearby homes benefit both the College and the neighborhood. This is another way the College can contribute to the neighborhood’s stability.”
The College has partnered with Belmont Housing Resources of Western New York on some of the home renovations and sales, and has also done some of the renovations itself. To date, seven houses have been renovated and sold. “We wanted to ensure that the houses were brought up to a certain standard of repair and appearance before they were sold,” said Hurley. “This has made an instant impact.”
Belmont Housing Resources currently has three additional Canisius-owned homes under contract for which it is seeking federal housing funds for renovation and sale to buyers within income limits.
Canisius has also worked with Habitat for Humanity on two other projects involving houses owned by the College. In both cases, the Canisius Habitat student chapter was involved in renovations of the homes, both of which were donated to the Habitat program. “The result was the same,” said Hurley. “We had two houses that would have been cost-prohibitive to renovate that Habitat was able to transform into homes for two Habitat families.”
The Hamlin Park Initiative works in conjunction with another Canisius program that has been in existence for more than a decade: the Employer Assisted Housing (EAH) Program. EAH is a benefit offered by Canisius to enable any full-time employee to purchase a home near the College.
Eligible full-time employees receive grants in the form of forgivable loans to assist with down payments or closing costs associated with the purchases of homes in designated areas. The loans, ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 (depending on the home’s location), are forgiven over five years if the employee remains at the College and lives in the home.
Since its inception in 2002, the EAH Program has helped 43 faculty and staff members buy homes. “The response to this program has been heartening,” said Hurley. “Staff members at every level have qualified for the program and are now living here in the city of Buffalo.”
The real estate value of the sold homes is more than $6.7 million, while the value of the loans offered by Canisius is more than $250,000. “Canisius University is a major presence and factor in the city of Buffalo,” said Hurley. “It has been our home for 146 years. And like any good neighbor, we take an active role in helping to further the city’s growth and development by sharing our resources.”
By Creighton University Communications and Marketing
So much depends upon this little red shopping cart, stacked with toiletries and bedclothes, being navigated through the aisles of the Family Dollar. After all, it contains everything a family of six — fleeing the chaos of a war-torn, faraway nation — will be provided as they begin a new life in a small apartment in a new country and a new city, in Omaha, Nebraska.
Creighton University students, faculty and staff are taking part in a new outreach program: every Friday, over the course of the next year, they are helping refugees resettle in Omaha.
The program, called Global Connections and Engagement in Omaha, is part of the new Creighton Global Initiative (CGI) that Creighton President Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., announced in his inaugural address last fall.
Thirty campus proposals were awarded nearly $1.5 million through CGI in April. While many involve experiences abroad, Fr. Hendrickson has said that international service can sometimes begin right at home.
“CGI will take more of Creighton out into the world,” Fr. Hendrickson said in announcing the initial awards, “and it will bring more of the world to Creighton.”
This particular CGI-sponsored project assists Lutheran Family Services (LFS), which has been aiding in the resettlement of refugees in the Omaha area for more than half a century. It is one of many initiatives throughout the year in which Creighton collaborates with community partners to improve the quality of life for all in the city. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Creighton is particularly involved in projects reaching out to the poor and marginalized.
“It is about more than service, although that is important,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “It is about encouraging our students to become engaged in the community; to listen to the needs and challenges; to learn how to effectively work with community partners; to stand in solidarity with those who, for whatever reason, find themselves disenfranchised; and to use their unique gifts and talents to build relationships and to make a difference, in our city and in the world.
“These types of experiences can be extremely informative in shaping our students for a life of service and community involvement, whether they stay in Omaha after graduation or canvass the globe in careers and vocations.”
Here is a look at a few such other projects:
Project Homeless Connect Omaha
Creighton has served as the host of Project Homeless Connect Omaha for the past nine years. This past April, more than 500 homeless individuals attended the one-day event, which provides “one-stop shop” access to over 40 service providers at Creighton’s Kiewit Fitness Center.
Project Homeless Connect Omaha, a nonprofit organization founded by 1979 Creighton graduate Ed Shada, is one of the most significant events in the metro area serving the homeless.
Along with Creighton, event partners include local individuals, organizations and businesses. City and state agencies and departments are also active participants. Since it began in 2008, the event has served an average of more than 300 area homeless individuals each year. Creighton faculty, staff and students, along with members of the Omaha community, volunteer as navigators assisting guests every year.
In addition, Creighton health sciences students and faculty have provided basic health care services at the event. Over the past nine years, the total number of volunteers has exceeded 3,500.
Reaching Out, Moving Forward
This past summer, several hundred people from the Creighton and Omaha communities participated in the inaugural Let’s MOVE, Let’s REACH Festival, a physical activity day sponsored by Creighton’s Department of Health Sciences Multicultural and Community Affairs (HS-MACA) and its Center for Promoting Health and Health Equality (CPHHE).
The event was funded by a nearly $1.5 million three-year grant received in 2014 by HS-MACA and CPHHE. The grant, called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked to reduce health disparities within the African-American population.
Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, M.D., principal investigator, associate vice provost for health sciences and professor of preventive medicine and public health at Creighton, said that the University’s Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity-Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (CPHHE-REACH) program is a partnership that has joined forces with community stakeholders in Douglas County, Nebraska, to solve this issue. The festival, held in North Omaha near the Creighton campus, was a way to do just that, and included a variety of physical fitness activities, such as basketball, Zumba, Tai Chi and a 1-mile walk/run.
“The day’s about having a lot of community involvement and participation, reducing health disparity and having fun,” said Mervin Vasser, assistant director of HS-MACA.
Health Clinics Serve Those in Need
Creighton’s student-run, student-founded Magis Clinic, located at the Siena-Francis House homeless shelter near campus, has provided quality, compassionate health care to the underserved in Omaha since 2004.
Recently, the clinic has expanded its offerings to include: a Student Navigator Program, in which undergraduate students serve as patient liaisons; a student-run pharmacy; an ultrasound clinic, staffed by medical students and radiology residents; and a Sexual Health Clinic, which began offering HIV and Hepatitis C testing in January.
“The goal of the Magis Clinic is to provide health care services to those who cannot easily access this fundamental right,” said Creighton senior Emma Schaffer, who served as a student navigator. “I believe that to build a strong community, it is vital to take care of the most vulnerable populations. Providing access to health care to people who are homeless increases the overall health of the Omaha community.”
At the Porto Urgent Care Clinic, which opened in 2009 at the Heart Ministry Center, north of campus, Creighton faculty, staff and students are helping meet the health care needs of the uninsured and under-insured in a community where 30 percent of households live below the poverty line.
“We have established a reputation in the community as a trusted partner,” said Martha Todd, Ph.D., who earned a Master’s degree from Creighton in 2007, and is an associate professor of nursing and one of the co-founders of the clinic. “We want patients to know we will follow through on what we say.”
In 2015, the clinic served more than 900 patients, offering a holistic, inter-professional approach to health care. The clinic recently added mental health and occupational therapy services. Creighton students and faculty in the health sciences are joined by undergraduate and law students in providing services at the clinic.
By: Evangeline Politis, Communication Specialist, Loyola University Chicago
Last June, Loyola University Chicago hosted more than 300 university professionals, city managers and mayors from dozens of cities across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. All were participating in the International Town & Gown Association’s 11th annual conference, connecting people from around the world to discuss topics ranging from neighborhood redevelopment to community partnerships.
Loyola was chosen to host the conference this year because of its longtime involvement with the town-gown movement, said Summur Roberts, director of Community Relations for the University.
“At Loyola, we really embrace the connection between the campus and the community,” Roberts said. “I talk about it as one phrase: ‘campus-community.’ It’s not ‘the campus’ and then ‘the community.’ It’s all one thing.”
The University’s commitment to the communities around its campuses is well documented and a primary focus of its Center for Experiential Learning. The center places interns in service positions around the community, including at Catholic Charities and Misericordia, a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities. Since 2007, Loyola students have also participated in Labre Ministry, forming relationships with downtown Chicago’s homeless and providing food and friendship.
Now, under Loyola’s current strategic plan, “Plan 2020: Building a More Just, Humane, and Sustainable World,” the University is taking an even more active role in the neighborhoods surrounding its three Chicagoland campuses.
Last spring in Maywood, IL, home of its Health Sciences Campus, Loyola hosted its first-ever Health-EQ Conference. The daylong event gathered leaders from organizations around the community to set priorities to address critical health disparity issues in the area.
Participants determined that leveraging the many resources and areas of expertise that Loyola already has in place is most important. Attendees identified the main issues as environmental exposures, the stress and trauma of violence, housing inequality and mass incarceration. They plan to develop a Health Equity Collaborative and an associated strategic plan with a call for proposals from across the University. Together, Loyola and the surrounding community will put science and medicine to work for all, especially those who are the most vulnerable and marginalized.
Back in Chicago, Loyola launched Lake Shore Community Partners earlier this year propelled by a goal to develop an innovative community outreach program that improves the quality of life for residents through both economic and social efforts. Leaders from Loyola and the community identified four immediate priority areas: health, business, education and safety.
Partners for Health
The new Loyola Community and Family Services clinic is providing low-cost mental health services to families living in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods. Developed by a number of University partners, the clinic aims to create stronger, healthier families in the community.
“There is a great need for mental health services across our city, but it is especially needed on the city’s far North Side,” said Richard Renfro, Ph.D., the clinic’s director. “Very few mental health clinics cater to marginalized families and children who are without the resources needed to seek health services. My hope is that this clinic sends a strong and positive message that Loyola is committed to the needs and well-being of our community members.”
Services include group therapy, psychological testing and evaluations, and school-based services and consultations. Located on campus, the clinic serves as a facility for training externs from the schools of Social Work and Education, who will provide services under staff supervision at local schools.
Partners for Business
Housed in the same building as the clinic is Loyola’s community partnership storefront and the first “tiny shops.” Supporting Lake Shore Community Partners’ business initiative, last spring Loyola offered all-inclusive, short-term license agreements to two local businesses—Third Coast Comics and Local Goods Chicago.
Loyola’s Department of Community Relations continues to work in coordination with the Rogers Park Business Alliance and Edgewater Chamber of Commerce to encourage economic development within “RogersEdge.” Together, goals will be set, an improved social media presence will be established, and a focus on increased attendance will be prioritized. The department hosts a variety of regular community programming, including Summer on the Plaza and the Loyola Farmers Market, in collaboration with the Institute of Environmental Sustainability. This summer, promotional street pole banners were also installed around the area where the two communities meet.
“I am passionate about economic development that respects the historic culture of our Rogers Park and Edgewater communities, while balancing incoming development into RogersEdge,” said Jennifer Clark, associate vice president of campus and community planning at Loyola. “Our local branding efforts and community programming will help put in place an economic infrastructure that will serve future generations.”
Partners for Education
Loyola’s partnership with these communities also extends into schools. The University is involved in more than 50 initiatives in K-12 schools, both public and private, and is actively working on new programs that can broaden and deepen its commitment to them.
Since 2012, Loyola has worked in partnership with local education leaders to develop Nicholas Senn High School in Edgewater into a quality neighborhood school and create a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program. The University helped establish two four-year programs where students can focus on one of two concentration areas—digital journalism or global environmental studies—as they earn their diploma.
Senn has also benefited from the School of Education’s new teacher preparation program that places aspiring teachers in classrooms around Chicago throughout their four-year education, meaning even incoming freshmen get hands-on experience during their first semester.
The response from the school’s students has been notable, as 110 seniors applied to Loyola—an enormous increase from just eight applications four years ago. Last month, the school was also listed at #11 on Chicago magazine’s list of top 20 public high schools.
The University’s work goes beyond the classrooms. In July, nearly 100 faculty and staff members participated in a day of service at Eugene Field Elementary School in Rogers Park. Volunteers spruced up the school’s curb appeal with new landscaping and benches and brightened its interior by painting several vibrant murals. Loyola also donated and installed 20 computer workstations.
“As administrators, staff, parents and community partners work to make the lives better for Eugene Field students, Loyola’s gifts will endure as lasting evidence that teamwork and collaboration can produce something awe-inspiring and beautiful,” wrote Cynthia Williams, the school’s assistant principal, to the volunteers. “Because of your contributions and outpouring of support, our school has been forever changed.”
Partners for Safety
The Partners for Safety initiative launched last February with a State of the Neighborhood Forum open to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Loyola’s Campus Safety department joined Alderman Joe Moore and representatives from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Transit Authority to discuss existing safety initiatives and address questions from the audience. Loyola is planning to host these forums on a bi-yearly basis, and is focused on developing programmatic priorities for the upcoming academic year.
For more information on Lake Shore Community Partners, visit LUC.edu/lscp.
By Joe DiGiovanni, Senior Communication Specialist, Marquette University
Located in the historic Avenues West neighborhood of Milwaukee, Marquette University sits within only a few square miles of some of the city’s other iconic brands and organizations that draw millions of visitors annually. While the businesses differ in the products and services they deliver, they all possess a deep love for Milwaukee and the West Side communities they call home — a home that needed to return to its former luster.
Marquette, uniquely called by its Catholic, Jesuit mission to serve its urban neighborhood, was positioned to help lead the renaissance. In 2014, President Michael R. Lovell convened senior leadership from more than 30 organizations to develop a community partnership, called the Near West Side Partners. The nonprofit agency includes five anchors located in the neighborhood — Marquette, Harley-Davidson, Potawatomi Business Development Corp., Aurora Health Care and MillerCoors.
The University continues to lead the way in the partnership. Nearly 25 departments at Marquette are committed to the effort, including trustees, working team leadership, faculty researchers, and student interns and volunteers.
In addition, a project administered by a Marquette committee, Promoting Assets and Reducing Crime (PARC), works directly with the initiative to address safety issues, neighborhood identity and branding, housing, and commercial corridor development.
“To take our shared neighborhood to the next level, we must better leverage these assets and ensure that residents, employees, students and visitors feel safe,” Lovell said. “PARC gives us the tools to do that.”
The efforts are paying off. Property sales increased by 16 percent from 2014 to 2015 and seven formerly vacant homes were sold to owner-occupants. A total of 23 percent of the commercial corridor properties increased in value while 71 percent had no change.
There has been a development of a new park, a new community garden, the closure of two nuisance properties, and the opening of three restaurants and a gas station.
“We’re proud that Marquette University calls Milwaukee’s Near West Side its home and proud of its long-standing commitment to making the Near West Side the best place to live, work and play in Milwaukee,” said Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners. “Marquette’s leadership and vision were essential to the development of this unprecedented partnership.”
Some of Milwaukee’s most beautiful and historic buildings and churches are found in the area, which boasts affordable housing and a diverse population of residents. PARC is a key focus of Near West Side Partners. A, $1.5 million initiative to revitalize and sustain the area as a thriving business and residential corridor, PARC promotes economic development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses.
PARC provided for a fully-funded Community Prosecution Unit — led by an assistant district attorney and a full-time community prosecution coordinator — that works daily with the Milwaukee Police Department, key government agency and community-based organizations to reduce crime, prevent domestic violence and improve the quality of life for the area’s residents.
Data and research are central to making these efforts successful. PARC works with Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking to lead efforts gathering and analyzing key public health and safety data to guide planning and evaluation of the key initiatives.
Others are noticing the work provided by Marquette in helping the area. In July, The Washington Center, an independent, nonprofit organization that provides students opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., selected Marquette as one of only five universities in the nation to receive its 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.
Marquette’s work with Near West Side Partners was a key factor in the University receiving the award.
“As a Catholic and Jesuit Institution, an important aspect of our mission is to make a significant impact in our community,” Lovell said. “This award signifies that we are making strides toward fulfilling that mission.”
Some of the other initiatives by Near West Side Partners include:
- A competition, modeled after the reality TV show Shark Tank for $10,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of in-kind services. Proposals from eight finalists ranged from a food truck to a company that wants to build custom furniture from salvaged materials from foreclosed Milwaukee homes.
- A three-year campaign to raise $5 million to help finance development projects, which has already secured $2 million.
- An effort to bring a grocery store to the community. Most of the neighborhoods in the area have been designated “food deserts” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the lack of grocery stores.
- A brainstorming session, called a “charrette,” where residents and key players from the area and the city met to decide the scale and types of development – housing or retail – they would support on underused land.
- Participation in National Night Out, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make the neighborhoods safer.
- Working with the city to target problematic parcels of land to increase property value and build the tax base.
By Luke Graham, Writer/Editor, Regis University
Josh Kreimeyer’s wide grin and raised cheekbones give him away.
The Regis University affiliate faculty member in the Division of Counseling and Family Therapy knows he’s in a good space. Sitting in a brown leather chair in mid-August, his excitement is audible. “This,” Kreimeyer said, motioning with his hands to the left and right, “is a game-changer.”
By “this,” Kreimeyer is talking about a recent partnership that Regis entered into with the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 16,000 square-foot center, which officially had its grand opening in late July, houses more than 30 organizations that support active-duty military and veterans. Other organizations include legal services, employment assistance, life transition peer-navigators and behavioral health services, among others.
On the second level, Regis’ Center for Counseling and Family Therapy occupies a counseling room where Kreimeyer and associate professor Jim Ungvarsky bring Master’s students twice a week to help with counseling sessions for military, veterans and their families.
Students pursuing Regis postgraduate Counseling Military Families Certificates are gaining valuable real-world experience by providing counseling on site. The work fills a need in the community by providing veterans and their families with low-cost or no-cost counseling. Considering a lack of resources, and often long wait times to see counselors through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the work the students are providing becomes all the more important.
The partnership, and the exemplary work of Regis’ counseling program, has also led to a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Springs Health Foundation for the University’s Division of Counseling and Family Therapy. The funding will support the delivery of behavioral health services to couples, children and families at Mt. Carmel, as well as Regis’ Center for Counseling and Family Therapy on its Colorado Springs Campus.
The partnership is a natural move for Regis, which in recent years has catered programs to fit the needs of veterans. In addition to two Veteran Resource Centers, the University recently created the Regis University Military Scholars Fund. The fund helps military students and dependent children or spouses of service members who died in the line of duty to complete their academic degrees at Regis University.
“This partnership is huge for our students,” said Linda Osterlund, associate dean of the Division of Counseling and Family Therapy. “This will set us apart as they will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by providing supervised counseling and family therapy services to military personnel and their families.”
It becomes all the more paramount in the military town 65 miles south of Denver. Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, and has the largest population of veterans in Colorado.
With so many veteran-focused organizations under one roof, Mt. Carmel is a one-stop shop for military, veterans and their families.
While that may seem like a novel concept, the idea of having everything under one roof is essential for veterans. While in the military, anything a person would need is easily available. But as soon as one leaves, entering civilian life can be tough.
“Getting out is like when you left high school and went out on your own,” said Rick Simmons, a 24-year Air Force veteran who will begin his Master’s and start working with veterans at Mt. Carmel this fall. “That’s the feeling a veteran has when he leaves the service.”
Simmons, who is a work study at the Colorado Springs Campus Veterans Resource Center, said seeing what’s happening with Regis and Mt. Carmel is a powerful thing for veterans.
Sitting at the Regis Veterans Resource Center on a recent day, Simmons talked about volunteering earlier in the day at Mt. Carmel.
A veteran came in and said that he couldn’t get in touch with his family. He didn’t have a place to stay, food, money or a job. In less than an hour, he’d been counseled, found housing, built a resume and even got a job.
“For 30 minutes we were rallying around this guy,” Simmons said. “He walks out crying. It’s fascinating to see all the agencies come together and on any given day that’s how it is.”
To Kreimeyer, that’s what this partnership is all about. As a U.S. Army veteran, he knows how tough leaving the service is. Like many veterans, he grappled with adjusting back to civilian life after returning from service.
Eventually he found counseling and got a postgraduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Regis’ Division of Counseling and Family Therapy. He also helped develop Regis’ postgraduate Counseling Military Families Certificate and worked to move the program 100 percent online.
Now he’s helping veterans like himself, while also giving students a first-hand look at what it takes to be a successful counselor.
“There is nothing like this out there,” Kreimeyer said. “This is what makes Regis great. This is a very rich environment that other programs don’t have. When you counsel people, you have people’s lives in your hands. That’s scary. But here we have a robust training that gets them ready. It’s usually crawl, walk, run. With this, students are already walking and running.”
By Kristen A. Graham for Saint Joseph’s University
A novel health care model at Saint Joseph’s University helps the uninsured and reduces hospital costs
When Sam Schadt saw John enter the clinic, he knew something was wrong. Schadt, then a fellow in the Institute of Clinical Bioethics (ICB) at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) and the coordinator of the St. Cyprian Health Promoter program in nearby West Philadelphia, was taking patients’ vital signs, alongside others who had been trained to complete health screenings. John was clutching his stomach and showed signs of delirium. Schadt took his height, weight and blood pressure. The pressure reading was so elevated he thought he had made a mistake. He took it again, with a different device, confirming that John’s pressure was skyrocketing. Schadt rushed him to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, all the while wondering how John would be received. He had emigrated from Nigeria two months prior and didn’t have health insurance.
For Mercy Health System, the Delaware Valley’s largest Catholic health care system, a burgeoning African population in West Philadelphia meant more people arriving in emergency rooms with dire conditions. The men and women, largely poor, lacking health insurance and often undocumented, might go years without a physician’s care, resorting to hospital treatment only as a last resort.
By law, patients who arrive at emergency rooms must be stabilized, regardless of their ability to pay for care. And for a Catholic health care organization operated by the Sisters of Mercy, treating the vulnerable, regardless of their ability to pay, is a given. Mercy admitted John and alleviated his symptoms, providing medication for his hypertension and education about nutrition.
“Mercy took him and gave him the quality of care that everyone deserves,” says Schadt, a 2014 SJU graduate and now a student at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“The sisters would never turn anyone away,” says 1975 SJU graduate and ICB Director Rev. Peter A. Clark, S.J., a professor of theology and religious studies and health services.
The number of people who arrive in Mercy emergency rooms with conditions that require costly, ongoing care has the potential to affect the health system’s ability to function. Fr. Clark, who also serves as the health system’s bioethicist, sat on the Mercy Hospital Task Force on African Immigration that was charged in 2010 with finding a balance between caring for the needy, a core mission of the Sisters of Mercy, and meeting the bottom line. He brought insights developed during one of his SJU courses, Just Health Care in Developing Nations. On a two-week class trip to the Dominican Republic in 2006, Fr. Clark and his students witnessed firsthand how men and women in the local community received medical training at clinics and were sent into barrios to help people deal with health-related issues.
That model inspired an idea: Could he and others create a similar “Health Promoter” program in the Philadelphia area, a community-based model built by partnering with existing organizations to provide health care, reduce costs and improve the health of people in desperate need?
“We felt this could be something that would be beneficial, both to the city and the health system,” says Fr. Clark.
The Health Promoter pilot program, a joint venture of the ICB and Mercy Health System, began in 2012 with monthly clinics. At first, the program zeroed in on John’s community — the Nigerian population of worshippers at Philadelphia’s St. Cyprian Church. Mercy medical residents educated 10 men and women from the community as Health Promoters, as well as ICB student fellows, focusing on both prevention and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, HIV, obesity and hypertension. Once trained, the Health Promoters conducted screenings for blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and oxygen saturation levels, and body mass index. They provided education — including nutritional and lifestyle counseling — and monitored patient health and compliance. When the situation warranted, they helped the people they served get treatment at a hospital or clinic.
Rev. Aloysius Ochasi, ICB assistant director and adjunct faculty member in theology and religious studies at SJU, is a Nigerian native and connected with the community, encouraging local volunteers to ensure the program’s sustainability.
“They have been very receptive,” says Fr. Ochasi, who earned an SJU master’s degree in 2011.
The program started small and grew steadily, spreading to help the French-speaking West African people who also worshipped at St. Cyprian. It then expanded to Living Spring, a nearby Protestant church. The recurring clinics proved popular, and eventually, Mercy asked if the program might extend further.
Suburban Community Hospital in Norristown, Pennsylvania, about 40 minutes from Saint Joseph’s campus, was coping with high care costs from a largely uninsured Spanish-speaking population and looked to the Health Promoter program for help. Fr. Clark and his team agreed to take the model to St. Patrick Church in Norristown, whose congregation includes a large Hispanic population. The monthly clinics are held in the church basement after Sunday Mass.
The numbers bear out the program’s success. In the past two years, Mercy has not paid for any patient in clinic areas to have dialysis, says Fr. Clark; infant mortality at St. Patrick has also improved. But the program’s growing acceptance in its targeted communities is equally as important as the numbers. That’s significant, because suspicion is common among the undocumented population — people are afraid to give their real names for fear of being deported. But they have been made to feel comfortable in their church communities, and now, with their Health Promoters.
Though the three Health Promoter locations keep Fr. Clark and his team fully engaged, the model may continue to expand. If new communities reach out, the ICB stands ready to serve them.
“I really do think we’re putting the Jesuit ideals into action,” says Fr. Clark. “This is one of those areas where the students see firsthand what it means to be a vulnerable person and what it means to do something about it.”
Adapted from an article by Kristen A. Graham in Saint Joseph’s University Magazine, Summer 2016: sju.edu/magazine.
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) sponsors over 30 conferences (affinity groups) within the AJCU Network. The conferences provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and best practices; support the professional development of their members; and present opportunities for AJCU representatives to discuss collaboration and challenges in Jesuit higher education.
Most of the AJCU conferences host meetings at least once a year, and many of them facilitate regular communication among members through AJCU listservs. The following conferences and AJCU-affiliated programs will meet in Fall 2016:
National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education
September 16-17, 2016, University of Scranton
Contact: Rev. Patrick Howell, S.J., Seattle University
(206) 437-4537, PATRICKH@seattleu.edu
AJCU Federal Relations Conference
September 21-22, 2016, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Contact: Cynthia Littlefield, AJCU
(202) 862-9893, CyndyLit@aol.com
Education Deans Conference
September 21-23, 2016, Gonzaga University
President: Dr. Vincent Alfonso, Gonzaga University
(509) 313-3594, firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts & Sciences Deans*
September 29-October 1, 2016, Fordham University
Chair: Rev. Bob Grimes, S.J., Fordham University
(212) 636-6300, email@example.com
Graduate School Deans*
September 29-October 1, 2016, Fordham University
Chair: Dr. Eva Badowska, Fordham University
(718) 817-4400, firstname.lastname@example.org
*These conferences will be held in conjunction with each other.
Jesuit Community Rectors (HEROs)
September 30-October 1, 2016, Creighton University
Chair: Rev. Greg O’Meara, S.J., Creighton University
(402) 280-2776, email@example.com
Jesuit Graduate Enrollment Professionals (JGAP)
October 13-14, 2016, Marquette University
President: Maureen Faux, Loyola University Maryland
(410) 617-5817, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Academic Officers
October 13-15, 2016, Loyola University Maryland
Chair: Dr. Stephen Freedman, Fordham University
(718) 817-3043, email@example.com
October 16-18, 2016, Loyola Marymount University
Chair: Dr. Dennis Draper, Loyola Marymount University
(310) 338-7504, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Resources Directors
October 19-21, 2016, Saint Louis University
Contact: Mary Sue Krieg, Saint Louis University
(314) 977-2358, email@example.com
October 30, 2016, J.W. Marriott, Washington, D.C.
[Held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing]
President: Terran Mathers, Spring Hill College
(251) 380-4490, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission & Identity
November 2-3, 2016, Saint Louis University
Midwest Rep: Kathy Coffey-Guenther, Marquette University
(414) 288-6672, email@example.com
Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA)
November 9-11, 2016, Le Moyne College
President: Jeanne Rosenberger, Santa Clara University
(408) 554-4366, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 9-12, 2016, University of San Francisco
Chair: Debbie Danna, Loyola University New Orleans
(504) 864-7550, email@example.com
Deans of Adult & Continuing Education (DACE)
November 16-18, 2016, Loyola Marymount University
President: Dr. Rick Fehrenbacher, Seattle University
(206) 220-8269, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesuit Criminal Justice Educators Association
November 16-19, 2016, New Orleans, LA
[Held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology]
Chair: Patricia Griffin, Saint Joseph’s University
(484) 686-0800, email@example.com
Theology & Religious Studies Chairs
November 17-18, 2016, San Antonio, TX
[Held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature Conventions]
Chair: Dr. J. Patrick Hornbeck II, Fordham University
(718) 817-3240, firstname.lastname@example.org
This fall, many Jesuit alumni events will be taking place across the country. Below is a full list that will be updated throughout the fall. Questions or suggestions? Please contact AJCU’s director of communications, Deanna Howes: email@example.com or (202) 862-9893.
Wednesday, September 21st: Detroit, MI
Jesuit Alumni and Friends of Detroit Fall Luncheon with Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J.
Click here to register online.
Wednesday, September 28th: Chicago, IL
Faith in Action: Two Sides of the Same Coin (speaker series sponsored by the Midwest Jesuits and Charis)
Click here to register online.
Friday, September 30th: Washington, D.C.
DC Loyola Club Fall Luncheon with Cokie Roberts
Click here to register online.
Thursday, October 6th through Friday, October 21st: Multiple Cities
Jesuit Refugee Service: Lampedusa Concerts For Refugees (featuring Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller and The Milk Carton Kids)
Click here for more information.
Saturday, October 22nd – Sunday, October 23rd: Multiple Cities
Jesuit Friends and Alumni Sunday Masses
Click here for more information.
Sunday, October 23rd: Chicago, IL
Jesuit Connections Inaugural Chicago Area Mass and Reception
Click here to register online.
Thursday, November 3rd: Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Loyola Club Luncheon with Rev. Greg Chisholm, S.J.
Click here to register online.
Saturday, November 12th – Monday, November 14th: Washington, D.C.
Ignatian Family Teach-In For Justice 2016
Click here to register online.