Mini-Medical Camp Provides Students with New Insight


“I learned that I must follow my dreams and never give up no matter what others say and even when it seems impossible.”

So writes a student attendee at the Summer Youth Mini-Medical Camp provided virtually by Swedish Hospital doctors and medical staff this past summer.  Thanks to funding from the Swedish Hospital Foundation and our generous donors, 160 students from neighborhood public high schools and under-resourced schools across Chicago learned about clinical medicine through interactive lectures and discussion sessions during this week-long event in August 2020. Dr. Denis Williams, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Chairman of Surgery at Swedish Hospital, developed the camp in collaboration with Jennifer Dixon, a Community Organizer, to provide students the opportunity to interact with medical professionals and become familiar with a range of jobs available in the medical field.

What drove Dr. Williams to apply for the SH Foundation grant and develop the Mini-Medical Camp was his desire to have students from all walks of life see a future for themselves in medicine. According to Dr. Williams,

“You can’t become what you can’t envision; many young students across the city are interested in medicine but may not have exposure or the critical guidance and the resources to learn more about the fields during their formative years. As is well-known, exposure to certain concepts and ideas at a young age is likely to positively impact decisions in the future and leave lasting encouragement.”

Medical staff were carefully selected to reflect the diversity of the student participants and included some staff members who ended up in their chosen field following non-traditional pathways.  All medical staff presenters volunteered their time to teach and included Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Nurses and Surgical Assistants. For many of the students, the experience left them with a new perspective. According to one student,

“I learned that the Swedish Hospital is very diverse because there were guest speakers that came from different countries and they never felt discouraged by not being able to reach their dream career solely because they weren’t born in the U.S.A and I feel like now you hear a lot about young people feeling discouraged to chase their dreams because of their background.”  

Even life-lessons were imparted to the students, one of whom reflected, “I learned that I might not get into medical school on my first try, and that’s okay. Even if I don’t get in, I should continue to work so I can achieve my goal.

The 2020 Youth Mini-Medical Camp was so successful for both student participants and medical staff alike that there are plans to hold a similar camp during the summer of 2021. For more information, please send all questions to: . To learn more about how you can help support similar programs, contact us at 773-293-5121 or email us at

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3D Community Members Create Face Shields for Swedish Staff


Swedish Shield designer, Richard and mother, Deborah Beien

When the going gets tough, the tough put their creativity and determination to work and help change the world. Richard Beien and his mom, Deborah Beien, of the Budlong Woods neighborhood in Chicago, are helping protect the staff at Swedish Hospital from COVID-19 exposure with their newly developed 3-D printed Facial Shield.

March 19th, while watching Rachel Maddow speak about a community mask drive at Massachusetts General Hospital, Deborah had an idea. Why not do something similar for her neighborhood hospital, Swedish Hospital?  She immediately called her son, Richie, who as Founder and Lead Engineer at Limitless Studios (a 3D engineering & manufacturing studio), enjoys a good challenge and helping others.  Richie immediately went to work looking for existing online face shield patterns, printing them out, making revisions, and refining the pattern. Deborah and Richie worked throughout the night and into the following morning, adding elastic, creating a shield from an old report cover and finally creating a prototype worthy of critique.

The next morning, they contacted Jennifer Blitz, Director of Development at Swedish Foundation, and a neighbor, to ask about the possibility of making them for the hospital staff. Jennifer contacted the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer and brought over the prototype for inspection. On Sunday morning, the medical team at Swedish gave the thumbs-up to the prototype and asked for the community’s help in producing them.  While Richie finalized the design, crafted instructions and specs that he would give out free to community members, he also reached out to 3D makers across Chicagoland for help in production.  Deborah created a Facebook page devoted to the project, “3D Printed Face Shields for Swedish” and posted on over 20 neighborhood Facebook pages encouraging members to spread the word and solicit donations of filament and elastic.

Jennifer, meanwhile, was busy sourcing plastic sheeting which could be used as the shield. After many failed attempts at office supply stores and online searches, she entered a Staples office supply store on Clark Street and found success.  General Manager, Peter Pekarek, understood what was needed and generously provided over 400 sheets of plastic, free for the project. As Peter commented, “If we can help keep your staff safe, then that is what we need to do. You tell me how many pieces you need, and I will make sure you have it”.

Richie and Deborah worked all Saturday night printing headgear sections, resetting the machine every 1.5 hours, and getting up in the middle of the night to keep printing. On Sunday morning, Richie and Deborah had 10 face shields ready for use, which were immediately delivered to the ED.  The Swedish medical staff were delighted with the masks and asked if more could be made by community members.

Four days later, Richie and Deborah had provided instructions to over 100 community members; from teachers and engineers to elementary and high school students, retirees and fellow medical personnel. Responses to assist have come in from as far away as Florida and California. Over the past 4 days, Richie and Deborah have slept a total of 10 hours, but they’re happy to be useful in a crisis and delighted that Swedish can use their talents and skills. According to Deborah, “It makes me happy to know that I can help during this crisis. I really want to help those on the front lines, they need it, we can help, and the medical staff at Swedish deserve to feel protected”. When asked why Richie feel so passionate about this project, Richie responds, “I want to help; I was just sitting at home not really contributing but searching for ways that I could get involved. I’m always searching for ways to use 3D technology to help solve a problem. This was a perfect project, because with 3D printing you can respond very quickly with a product that can help keep people safe. I was happy to try and find a way to use my skills to help.”

Update: As of April 7h, the 3D Printed Face Shields for Swedish Facebook page has over 470+ members and the team has created and delivered over 3,500 face shields to health care professionals and front-line workers across Chicagoland.

From an idea to a community movement. When a community works together, wonderful things can happen. To view a photo gallery of our helpers and the face shields in action, please click here.

If you would like to join the 3D Makers community face shield drive, please visit, their Facebook page.

If you have new medical supplies you can donate, please click here.

For more information about the Swedish Hospital Relief Fund, please click here  To learn more about Swedish Hospital Foundation, please click here, or call 773-293-5121.

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Community Generosity Helps Swedish Prepare for COVID-19 Crisis.


Over the past two weeks, the outpouring of support from our community has been both humbling and inspiring. During this time of crisis, community members have rallied around the hospital and its staff to provide food, supplies and monetary donations.  This critical support ensures that Swedish Hospital has the resources needed to help the most people—including our providers and staff— as they combat the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.

People from across the city are helping in several ways, including:

Donation of Oofos Clogs

Oofos, a footwear company founded in Boston, have generously donated 250 pairs of clogs to Swedish staff last Friday, to the delight of nurses and medical staff throughout the building. Made with a special foam insert that reduces stress to a wearer’s feet and knees and crafted from a special material that can be easily disinfected between shifts and machine-washed, these clogs are already a favorite of medical staff here at Swedish. 

Donation of 3D-Printed Face Shields   

In an effort to extend the useful life of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks for our frontline staff, inventors and innovators in our community have come up with creative solutions. One such project uses 3D printers and simple plastic sheeting to create face shields for healthcare workers to wear over their face masks. Designed by a concerned community member and approved by the Medical staff here at Swedish, the community-driven production of 3D printed face shields has secured over 800 life-saving devices in just 2 weeks. Over 70 individuals have donated hundreds of hours and their own supplies to ensure the safety of Swedish Hospital staff.  To learn more about this grassroots effort or to join, please visit the Facebook page, 3D Printed Face Shields for Swedish

Donation to Our Relief Fund

We have established a Relief Fund which will be used exclusively to provide additional resources to support our staff and clinicians who are working tirelessly to ensure the best possible care for our patients. A Team Member Crisis Fund, has also been established to assist Swedish team members who are financially impacted by COVID-19. To donate to our crisis funds, click here.

Meals for Staff

The Swedish Hospital staff is working around-the-clock to keep us all safe while we are staying home and practicing social distancing to keep them safe. Generous community members have provided meals from a number of local restaurants to help fuel our staff with meals during this critical time. This is also a chance to support our local restaurants and delivery drivers. No home-cooked meals, please. To donate a meal for our front-line staff, click here to select a date/time and the department to support:

Donation of Medical Supplies

Over 250 donors have contributed more than 18,000 medical items including goggles, gowns, face masks, gloves, and other medical supplies. We need everyone’s help in obtaining masks, gloves and more during the Covid19 pandemic. If you are or know a local dentist, oral surgeon, surgical center, construction crew or others who may have reduced operations or are closed currently and have a supply on hand of the following, please reach out to by clicking here

Many thanks to the generosity of our donors during this unprecedented time. To view a list of donors, click here. You are helping Swedish staff who dedicate their lives to serving the sick and most vulnerable. They are our heroes, and your kindness during this time is gratefully appreciated.

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Eileen M. Hallman Scholarship Benefits Swedish Nurses


“I heard this lovely voice speaking to me, and I knew I had to find out more about her.” –Dr. George Hallman.

And so begins the fairy-tale romance of a young nurse, Eileen McKeever, recently graduated from Swedish Covenant Hospital’s School of Nursing, and a 19-yr old airman, George Hallman, injured during the Korean war and rehabilitating at Hines Veterans Hospital in Chicago. After a chance encounter at a Hospital telephone booth, George was immediately smitten and spent the next several months trying to win her affection. Eileen, who was adamant about adhering to the hospital policy of not dating patients, eventually gave in to his boyish charms and began secretly dating George until his discharge, almost a year later.

Once wed, they moved from Chicago to Georgia so George could obtain his degree in Psychology. Eileen went back into the field of nursing and together, they welcomed two sons. The family moved once more to South Carolina, where Eileen worked as an Occupational Health Nurse for the next 25 years, and George worked as a University Professor in Psychology. According to George, life for the Hallman family was happy and full of adventure. George and Eileen spent their free time running marathons and triathlons across the globe, including the Boston Marathon three times and two above the Arctic circle.

They were an inseparable couple for 62 years until Eileen passed away in June of 2019.  In a loving tribute to Eileen’s life of generosity, compassion, and service to others, Dr. Hallman created the Eileen M. Hallman Scholarship, an endowed scholarship at Swedish Hospital which will provide tuition assistance to a Swedish nurse seeking to continue his/her education. For Dr. Hallman, Swedish Hospital’s School of Nursing was where Eileen’s passion for nursing began and believes that Eileen would have been delighted to provide that same opportunity to another student nurse.

To learn more about creating a lasting tribute to a loved one, please contact the Foundation office at 773-293-5121, or email at

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Heritage Society Member Profile: Melody Hansen


Nursing has shaped Melody Hansen’s life; she’s spent many years in a hospital setting and couldn’t be happier. Melody is not only a valued member of the Swedish Hospital Volunteer Team but also a member of our Heritage Society, thanks to a generous gift to Swedish in her estate plan. With her future gift Melody is helping to ensure that the hospital will continue to be a place of education and healing for the next generation.  

The call of nursing runs deep through Melody’s blood. Upon graduating high school, Melody immediately started nursing school at Ravenswood Hospital, where she found her life’s passion.  Upon graduation, she was hired as a staff nurse at Ravenswood Hospital and stayed for another 45 years, working in a variety of nursing and supervisory positions. “I love nursing,” Melody explains. “I was born at Ravenswood Hospital, went to nursing school there and would have stayed there the rest of my life if not for its closing in 2002.”

When Ravenswood Hospital closed, Melody really missed the patients and her life’s purpose.  She promptly accepted a position at Kindred Healthcare, where she worked as a Nurse Manager for another 7 years.  Melody retired from nursing in 2010, but couldn’t stop thinking about ways to help others and get back into the hospital setting.

Luckily for Swedish Hospital, Melody lives nearby. As Melody explains, “I retired in the winter and by summer I wanted to go back to the hospital, that was my life. Swedish was close to home and I was a member of the Covenant Church, so I felt a connection with the hospital.” In 2011, she began volunteering for Swedish and has become an important member of the Volunteer Department over the past 9 years. You can find Melody working every Monday in Wound Care, and every Thursday in the Education Department.

When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering at Swedish, Melody is quick to respond, “the staff are very appreciative for what you do, so it makes it very pleasant to work here. I understand how busy the medical and administrative staff are, so I know that anything I do for them is helping. I like to know that I’m making their day less stressful and their life a little easier and I enjoy getting up and having a purpose.”

Melody’s generosity to Swedish doesn’t end with her volunteer service. Melody is also a member of the Swedish Hospital Foundation Heritage Society, a group of loyal donors who name the hospital as a beneficiary in their estate plans. When asked why she plans on giving a gift for the future, Melody explains, “I am giving because I believe in the institution. I see what good things are being done and how committed the doctors and staff are to the patients. I also believe in the programs that the Foundation has supported and fostered. There is a family feel here at Swedish; it feels warm and inviting, and you don’t find that everywhere. I think that the programs you have created are compassionate and care about those less fortunate, and I want to see those continue.”

To learn more about the Heritage Society and planned giving, contact the Foundation team at (773) 293-5121, email us at:, or visit the planned giving website.

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