Recent Gifts and Grants

SCH Employees Give Back During 2019


Our employees feel passionately about giving to programs and departments that are close to their hearts, and that was demonstrated in their choice of donations to this year’s WeCare Employee Giving Campaign.  Over $53,000 was donated to ensure that the hospital maintain its healing mission and support the needs of our staff, patients and families. This year, the most popular choice was the Employee Benevolence fund, which provides assistance to fellow co-workers during times of financial hardship or crisis.  The Helping Hands fund, which provides low-income patients in the ED with access to prescription medications, came in second, and the Violence Prevention Program (VPP), which supports survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault, came in a strong third. 

New this year, donations helped create an additional feature in the Healing Garden for families who have experiences the loss of a child. Seed funding from employees for the newly-created Butterfly Garden allowed us to create a peaceful space of quiet reflection. The garden features a statue of a child holding a butterfly, a seating area for relaxation and contemplation, and a special area for the placement of remembrance stones. A special blessing ceremony to mark the dedication of this garden was held on October 8th and officiated by SCH Chaplain Melanie Tornquist.

We are grateful to all who has donated this year, especially the department with the highest participation rate —the Rehabilitation Administration Team!  When asked why she gives, Rehab Admin team member, Rosette Tejada, sums it up, “…to share my blessings.” An Honorable Mention for a strong showing goes to: 1) Women’s Health Center, 2) SCH Managed Care Support, 3) Nursing Education, and 4) Human Resources.  

Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to show your support of Swedish Covenant Health. Regardless of how you choose to give – whether by attending events, donating to the WeCareEmployee Giving Campaign, or the year-end appeal– your gift matters and we appreciate your support. To make a donation, Please download and complete the Employee Campaign Contribution Form and return to the SCH Foundation office, make an online donation or contact the Foundation at or 773.293.5121.

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Bequest Gift from Alyce Chrystall Supports Nurses


Alyce loved to help. Whether it was assisting on her Father’s cattle ranch or caring for her seven brothers and sisters, Alyce felt she was put on this Earth to serve others. It’s only natural then, that after her passing, Alyce is still making a difference in the lives of others. Thanks to the generosity of Alyce five SCH nurses working toward their advanced degrees have been awarded an Alyce B. Chrystall Scholarship to help defray their education costs.

As a little girl growing up on a large cattle ranch in Nebraska, Alyce was known as the caring one of the family; she would often tend to sick animals or help her parents care for her seven siblings. According to Karin, it was Alyce’s nurturing nature that prompted her older brother to pay for her to attend nursing school in Minnesota when she was only 18 years old.  Alone and determined, Alyce graduated from the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing with the dream of serving others and helping those in need.

Nursing was Alyce’s calling, which inspired her career and volunteer choices throughout her life.  Over her 40-year career, she practiced clinical and surgical nursing, worked as I.V. Therapist, an Industrial Nurse, and Personal Secretary, opened an Employee Health Clinic and worked for the Visiting Nurses Association. She retired from the nursing field at age 65, but stayed active by volunteering her time and energy to faith-based, service and social organizations well into her 80’s.

It was Alyce’s mission to serve and care for people.  Karin recounts that Alyce, “…was led by her faith and walked in in great humility and unconditional love for everyone she met. She found the good in all things.” As an act of her lasting generosity and compassion, Karin continued Alyce’s legacy of excellence in nursing and service by establishing the Alyce B. Chrystall Scholarship at Swedish Covenant Health. Karin was impressed with SCH’s active Nurse Alumnae Association and their strong commitment to nursing education scholarships, our continued support of staff professional development, and our affiliation with North Park University’s School of Nursing.  As Karin explains, “Nursing was the heart of Alyce; it defined her. Creating scholarships to help others become nurses was what Alyce would have wanted. I knew SCH  was the place.”

The 5 winners of the Alyce B. Chrystall Scholarship are: Colleen Jennings, OB Charge Nurse, Sommar Johnson, RN, BSN, CCRN , Dane Ligas, BSN, Bianca Pirvu, BSN and Gerelmaa Budmandakh, MSN

To the recipients of Alyce’s generosity, the scholarships are life-changing. According to Sommar Johnson, “This has changed my life and decreased my financial stress. Now I can focus more on school and work. I hope to one day give back and provide someone with the same opportunity I was given.” Colleen Jennings agrees. Feeling humbled and honored to be a recipient, she notes that “this scholarship will allow me to finish my BSN.  It has been a long process due to financial reasons and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.  I hope to make Alyce Chrystall proud.” Karin awarded the scholarships during a ceremony in May, at which time she commented that it was Alyce’s wish to make a lasting impact on the nursing profession.  Her generous act of assisting five nurses obtain advanced degrees and certifications will better the healthcare of thousands of future patients. For more information on ways to support the scholarship program at SCH, please contact the Foundation at: or (773) 293-5121 

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Grant funds onsite domestic violence support


When her husband went to get the car at the end of her hospital stay, a patient finally had a moment alone with her nurse. It was then that she revealed that her husband was abusive. Because of the small window of time the nurse had to act, she gave the patient contact information for advocacy services provided onsite at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The patient was able to schedule a follow-up appointment, where she was given a HopeLine phone (a pre-programmed phone to contact emergency services and support agencies) and was connected to counseling services.

Swedish Covenant Hospital’s partner agencies, Apna Ghar and Between Friends, provide onsite patient advocacy services for survivors of domestic violence. The program is being made possible with funding from the Michael Reese Health Trust. The program breaks down barriers that many survivors face through the referral process, including lack of follow up between referral and if/when the patient contacts a DV agency, lack of continuity between the provider and the referral agency, and the apprehension in having to disclose again.

“We are grateful for the support of the Michael Reese Health Trust, which has allowed us to expand our Violence Prevention Program with a comprehensive approach to responding to the needs of survivors of Domestic Violence,” said Kate Lawler, director of the Violence Prevention Program.

Staff from Apna Ghar and Between Friends are housed in Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Women’s Health Center twice per week to offer safety planning, referrals, and other services to survivors. In addition to office visits, the staff visits patients in the Emergency Department, on inpatient units, and provide universal education on the mother-baby unit. Since the program began, 22 survivors have received services through the program. In addition, partner agencies provide training for hospital staff to identify and respond to survivors of domestic violence.

To learn more about the Violence Prevention Program at Swedish Covenant Hospital, click here, or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or

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Bries Medical Foundation awards grant for medical education


Medical students and residents at Swedish Covenant Hospital now have a new designated learning space, complete with a skills lab to learn mechanical and procedure-specific skills. Located on the first floor of Pro Plaza, the new space consists of five areas that provide ample room for simulation models, lectures, workstations, information technology applied ultrasonography and refrigeration for wet lab simulations. The new space is generously funded by the Bries Medical Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

According to Dr. Clark Federer, Swedish Covenant Hospital provides a robust community hospital training experience beyond the typical community hospital rotation for medical students. Students from four medical schools, including St. George’s University of London (SGUL) and more than 67 residents receive medical training at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“Clinical skills are an integral part of our medical school curriculum at SGUL, with clinical skills labs available to us from the moment we begin our medical school education,” said Whitney Lum, 3rd-year medical student at SGUL.

The new space provides an enhanced atmosphere for learning, where students can perfect skills such as stitching and knotting, or just have a quiet place to study, according to Dr. Federer.

The centerpiece of the project is an expanded surgical skills laboratory. Previously, tools stored in a small unused exam room could be accessed during down times. However, the new space offers expanded opportunities for students and residents to safely and efficiently develop technical skills including knot tying, laparoscopic proficiencies, catheterization, central lines, intubation, and many other skill sets.

“At Swedish Covenant Hospital, residents and physicians work closely with students to improve our clinical skills through teaching and patient encounters, but there are times when students need a bit more practice,” Whitney said. “Fortunately we have been given a dedicated space to practice mechanical skills, while also creating a space to practice physical exam skills needed for patient encounters.”

In addition to the skills lab, the new space includes a conference room with white-boards and a computer with a large wall-mounted monitor that allows students to review recorded lectures, and discuss cases together.

“Thank you to Dr. Federer and Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation for providing such a great space for us to learn,” Whitney said.

To learn more about supporting medical education at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or

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Michael Reese Health Trust funds Violence Prevention Program


The Swedish Covenant Hospital Violence Prevention Program (VPP) has received a grant of $35,000 from the Michael Reese Health Trust. Specifically, this grant will expand the existing VPP to strengthen the program’s ability to identify and respond to domestic violence among patients visiting our Emergency Department. In the coming year, MRHT funding will allow us to implement key programmatic strategies, including training for medical providers and crisis workers, enhanced domestic violence screening tools, and improved connections to community partners and resources. Through these approaches, we will enable our ED team to better understand and recognize the dynamics of domestic violence, and respond accordingly. New assessment tools, training, and policy changes will further support these efforts. Since its inception in early 2015, the SCH Violence Prevention Program has worked across SCH departments to identify and address the immediate needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

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