Annual Gala 2019 to Benefit Cardiology


Guests will be whisked away to far-off lands when they attend SCH’s upcoming Tropical Paradise, Annual Gala on October 26, 2019. Chaired by Drs. Frederman Concepcion and Rosibell Arcia-Diaz, this year’s event will be held at the Hilton Chicago. The gala will feature elegant dining, themed entertainment, dancing to tropical rhythms, and a large silent auction with one-of a kind items benefitting SCH Cardiology.

Our Cardiovascular Services team at Swedish Covenant is committed to providing each patient with comprehensive care. By coupling the most advanced technology with open communication between primary care physicians and a team of heart specialists to identify and treat a range of heart and vascular conditions, SCH physicians and medical staff work together to provide a continuum of care that ensures the best possible outcomes for our patients.

It’s important to have a team of doctors who really care about you, just ask Carlos Mendez.  Last year, Carlos experienced a slight pain in his chest while exercising. He went to see his SCH primary care physician who suggested he see a cardiologist. A stress test was performed, followed by an angiogram, and then quadruple bypass surgery. After surgery, he completed his recovery in the cardiac rehabilitation program at SCH’s Galter LifeCenter.  Carlos is now feeling great, back to work, doing the things he loves and spending time with his family.  According to Carlos, “There was an amazing team approach; my primary doctor was in constant contact with the cardiologist and surgeon and since Galter is part of SCH, all of my doctors knew exactly how my cardiac rehabilitation was progressing and made suggestions to the Rehab staff.” 

In order to continue providing the highest level of cardiovascular care, all proceeds from Swedish Covenant Health’s upcoming Annual Gala, Tropical Paradise, will benefit the Cardiology Department and its services. Thanks to our generous Elite sponsors of this year’s Gala; Title Sponsor, SCH Medical Staff, Platinum Sponsor, Medical Express Ambulance Service, and Diamond Sponsors, Continental Electrical Construction Company, Covenant Ministries of Benevolence, Covenant Trust Company, North Park University, and PNC.

Can’t attend the Gala? You can support the Cardiology Department by bidding on fabulous items in our silent auction. For more information on supporting the Cardiology Department please contact the Foundation at Foundation@swedishcovenant.org or 773.293.5121.

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Helping Patients Through Music

Mindful Meditation for SCH Employees


Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the stress melt away. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Throughout the year, SCH’s Mindful Meditation Initiative (MMI) offers monthly meditation courses to teach participants how to practice meditation as well as how it can be integrated into their daily lives.  Each 30-minute class includes guided meditation instruction, support and resources for practicing medication outside of class. Studies show that meditation can not only decrease stress, anxiety and depression but can reduce inflammation, pain and the effects of trauma to the body.  In addition, meditation can have a dramatic impact on a person’s job performance, by improving problem solving abilities, creativity, short-term memory, and tolerance.

The initiative was created in 2018 at the request of the SCH’s Physicians Advisory Board who were looking for innovative methods to prevent and treat staff burn-out and increase patient satisfaction.  An 8-week pilot course was developed in response. The pilot MMI included a weekly schedule of 30-minute meditation classes scheduled throughout the day. Four different types of meditation were taught, and participants were encouraged to attend at least 2 classes per week while continuing the practice on their own.

Staff feedback from the MMI pilot was overwhelmingly positive. Staff members reported benefits such as increased patience, sense of calm, resilience and focus, reduced anxiety and blood pressure and an increased ability to find calm in moments of stress.  As some of the participants explain:

After six weeks of classes, mediation has allowed me to slow down, especially when things start spiraling out of control. It has also enabled me to fall asleep faster. L. B., Access Services

A meditation break allows me a renewed focus on my work; it helps me focus on my thoughts and allows me to feel positive throughout the day. Meditation has helped me with my blood pressure. It used to fluctuate throughout the day, but it is now back to normal. A. A., MSO Coding

These sessions helped me immensely with just relaxing and emptying my mind. I have become more adept at meditating now thanks to the program.
-G. S., Legal Affairs

After participating in the meditation class I have seen measurable changes in my blood pressure, sleep quality and overall level of calm. I have signed up for additional classes because the first was so helpful. -Y. S., Wound Care

Working in a hospital can be a chaotic environment. The class allows me to focus my thoughts on the present and be in the moment. In order to deliver the best outcomes for my patients, I must be attentive and responsive to their needs, and not allow my focus to stray to other issues that I may be juggling in the course of my work day. These medication classes allow me to stay focused and perform at a higher level for my patients.
-E. O., Occupational Therapy

Meditation makes me more aware of my breathing and provide me with a sense of calm. In a hospital setting we are often engaged with patients at a difficult moment in their life. If we enter in a state of calm, we are more likely to be the kind of presence that a patients needs in the moment and less likely to absorb the patient’s distress in unhealthy ways.
-K. L., Women’s Health Center

Due to the success of the 8-week pilot course and the growing interest among other hospital staff members (including the Trauma Informed Work Group and nursing leadership), SCH’s Foundation Board provided funding to expand the MMI to a year-round program, free and accessible, to all employees.  This expanded program will not only benefit the participating SCH staff member but the patients with whom they interact.  As Kayla Kulans, Wellness Program Manager explains, “The aim of SCH’s Mindful Meditation Initiative is to not only bring this highly beneficial practice to individual employees but to create a staff community that is more focused, resilient, patient and mindful.”  To learn more about the Foundation’s other donor-funded programs or how you can donate and make a difference, please contact us at: foundation@swedishcovenant.org or (773) 293-5121 

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The VNA Foundation Gives Hope to Victims of Human Trafficking


Imagine having such extreme dental issues that you are up all night in pain and can no longer smile in public. Then imagine that you have no insurance or money to pay for a visit to the dentist—where would you turn? The SCH Dental Clinic, established by the hospital’s Foundation in 2017 to help uninsured and low income patients who came to the Emergency Room looking for dental relief, will now cover the cost of dental care for survivors of interpersonal violence and human trafficking. Thanks to recent funding from The VNA Foundation, the Dental Clinic will be able to help more victims of human trafficking in our community. . This funding will complement grant support from the U.S. Department of Justice and Chicago Dental Society Foundation, as well as other donations from individual and corporate partners.

While dental care is often regarded as a low priority in the medical care of these individuals, to the survivor, it is essential for regaining their self-worth. The Dental Clinic’s Manager, Marilyn Richmond, echoes the importance of dental care in the lives on these patients,

“They come in with toothaches, facial swelling, infections and facial trauma. Most have not had their teeth cleaned in years and have many cavities. We want to get them back on the path to good oral health. After treatment, these patients are very appreciative, they are smiling and grateful.”

Dental care is critical for these survivors, yet seeing a doctor, let alone a dentist who is very close to the survivor’s face, can be triggering, over-whelming and fear-inducing. This is why it’s so important that dentists and their staff be trained on how to appropriately engage with survivors to make them feel comfortable and safe. The Clinic’s Dentist, Dr. John Laftsidis, and his office staff have all been trained on providing trauma-informed care to these patients so that they feel at ease with office visits and medical procedures. As Marilyn notes, “These patients come from difficult situations with a lot of trauma. They may be fearful of someone touching their face. With the specialized training that we’ve received, we begin to break down this wall with kindness and understanding.”

Dr. Laftsidis’ dental care is not only improving the overall health of these patients, but is also aiding their emotional and physiological well-being.  As Marilyn recounts, one patient came in with stained front teeth, many deep cavities and never smiled– she was in constant pain. After several office visits she now smiles. She is not only pain-free, but delighted with her new smile and her new life. As the Dental Clinic staff has witnessed, providing dental care to these survivors is life-changing for the patient.

Regaining a person’s oral health increases their self-worth, their ability to engage with others and provides renewed confidence in interviewing for employment.  As Marilyn notes, “We change people’s lives by allowing them to smile again. Once they get on a path to better oral health, their whole personality changes. I’ve seen it over and over again.” While dental care may seem like a small fraction of care in the grand scheme of treatment, it can serve as the gateway for many opportunities as survivors work towards a better life.

This life-changing program is made possible by donations to SCH Foundation. Every dollar makes a difference. For more information about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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Grateful Patient Profile: Monena Stone


You have to get up early to keep up with Monena Stone– 5am to be exact. Two days a week, rain or shine, Monena meets the Galter LifeCenter (GLC) staff when they open the doors, ready to start her day. She swims for one hour and then exercises for at least another two. At 85 years young, she’s an inspiration to the GLC Staff and has developed quite a fan club of fellow members.

When asked about Monena, Katie Oproglidis , GLC Courtesy Desk Supervisor  eagerly recounts,

“Monena has such a great energy and brightens up everyone’s day. She is a ‘regular’, so  a day without Monena is rare and doesn’t go unnoticed. Monena is highly respected and loved by many at Galter LifeCenter! “

Monena came to Swedish twenty years ago when she decided she needed doctors who were close to home. A routine mammogram seven years ago revealed a lump that was surgically removed, yet provided Monena the motivation to focus on her health in earnest.  She immediately began her healing journey at the Galter LifeCenter, where she has made use of the many resources that the facility and the Integrative Cancer Care Program (ICCP) have to offer.  The ICCP is a collections of services designed to help cancer patients overcome the physical, mental and emotional challenges of the disease, including message therapy, Mindful Meditation, integrative health practitioners and personal training sessions. These ICCP resources are all made possible through donations, which have provided Monena with many opportunities to keep her healthy and joyful.

Monena credits her health and stamina to regular exercise, the programs she attends in the ICCP and the excellent medical care from her doctors at Swedish Covenant Health. She is so grateful for her overall good health that she has been giving back to the hospital for years to ensure that others are provided the same type of compassionate care. When asked why she donates to SCH, Monena explains that it’s because of her doctors and GLC Staff, “They treat me like family. They really care about me and I know that I can always ask questions.”

With help from Swedish Covenant Health, Monena will continue making the world a brighter place for years to come. To learn more about donating to Swedish Covenant Health, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or foundation@swedishcovenant.org

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