Saint Anthony Assures Community Wellness Amid Election

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

Saint Anthony Hospital President and CEO Guy A. Medaglia stated the hospital’s expansion of its support services to tend to the growing concerns of patients due to the current election. In a press statement Medaglia stated, “No matter what happens with immigration and health care reform, Saint Anthony Hospital has and will be here to serve our communities. We will never turn anyone away. As a community health care provider, we are here to serve everyone who comes through our doors.” To guarantee the communities’ needs, Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper spoke to Jim Sifuentes, vice president of Mission and Community Development at Saint Anthony about the program’s community outreach and counseling services.

Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper: Talk to me about the Community Wellness program. What exactly does it offer to residents?

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Jim Sifuentes: Saint Anthony Hospital’s Community Wellness Program offers free services to all community residents in four key areas of social needs, including family support services, community nursing, mental health and health care navigation. We operate three Community Wellness Centers – one in Little Village at 2826 W. Cermak Rd. (773.523.5079), another in North Lawndale at 3810 W. 16th St. (773.522.5299) and the other at Saint Anthony Hospital, 2875 W. 19th St. (773.484.4268). All these services are available at each site to anyone who needs them.

As a health care provider of undocumented immigrants, how would you describe the level of worry from patients?

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

The undocumented community faces a constant threat of separation. Many families are mixed-status in which many of the children are U.S. citizens, yet parents or siblings may be undocumented. The worry of forced separation is real. The election results further exacerbated this worry. The day after the election many children asked their parents in tears what this means for their families and for themselves. Under the current administration, many youth had for the first time in their lives experienced a sense of normalcy by being recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The uncertainty of how far the repercussions for having turned over their personal information to immigration weighs on them daily. Their anxiety has been on the minds of the mothers and fathers that we encounter in our family support and mental health services. Saint Anthony Hospital’s social service and community outreach programs are committed to being a source of support and stability for those who live in this precarious situation and supporting the work of our partner community organizations that are stretching themselves to address the many challenges being faced by community residents.

How will Saint Anthony aim to work even closer with elected officials to maintain its services?

We have always worked closely with our elected officials in regards to serving the community. We will continue to work alongside them as many of them are well aware of the concerns and challenges that our community faces. They will be their voice that will champion the equality we seek for all those that are looking for a better life in our country.

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