Violence Prevention Program Has a New Name


L to R:  Evelyn Torres, Pathways Advocate; Leena Thomas, Pathways Data Assistant; Kate Lawler, Pathways Director; Quinn Davis, Apna Ghar Counselor and Medical Advocate; and Susan Pieters, Between Friends Adult Education Coordinator.

The month of October marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for reflection as we look back on the success of Swedish’s Violence Prevention Program and forge ahead to the future. Since its inception in 2015, Swedish Hospital’s Violence Prevention Program (VPP) has secured over 2 million dollars in grants and donations with which we have served over 1700 survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault and trained over 2600 providers and staff to recognize and respond to these forms of harm. We remain grateful to the Swedish Hospital Foundation Board, for without their vision and commitment in providing the initial seed money to establish the program, these milestones would never be realized.

In these turbulent times of COVID-19, Kate Lawler, VPP Director, notes that the increased stresses of daily life have put people who are in unsafe relationships in greater risk. “Calls to domestic violence hotlines have increased sharply; the economic downturn, increased alcohol consumption and mental health concerns coupled with homeschooling children have compounded family stressors.” During the lockdown period from mid-March to late-June, fewer survivors came into the emergency room due to a fear of being infected.  However, those who did come showed indicators of escalated violence, such as head injuries and strangulation compared with the same period from last year–an increase of 113%. ”  The numbers of domestic violence and sexual assault cases in the emergency department started to increase again after the stay-at-home order ended.  Given the 5 years of successfully working with trauma survivors through the VPP program, staff are prepared for this moment and ready to assist survivors with support, resources, information, and the tools to make choices to ensure their safety.

As the program continues to evolve, the Violence Prevention Program has changed its name to more accurately reflect the support that we offer survivors of interpersonal violence. The new name is Pathways: Walking Beside Survivors of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, and Sexual Assault. Specifically, the program encompasses:

  • Pathways to training and education for medical providers and staff. 
  • Pathways to on-site crisis intervention and immediate safety planning.
  • Pathways to community partners for counseling, case management, legal advocacy, shelter and transitional housing
  • Pathways to care and forensic evidence collection by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
  • Pathways to trauma-informed medical, dental and mental health services.
  • Pathways to prevention through education, awareness-raising and advocacy.
  • Pathways to healing and hope.

The name change is explained by Kate Lawler, who describes, that “We wanted to move away from a name that focuses on the harm that is done, and rather, place emphasis on the role that we have in shaping the road ahead.  Each person’s path moving forward is different and multi-faceted.  Our role is to provide information, options and support as survivors set out on the pathway or pathways that make most sense for them.”  The Pathways program is funded by grantor such as 5th/3rd, and the Department of Justice, foundations and the generosity of donors like you. To make a gift to Pathways, please contact please visit the donation form, or call the Foundation office at 773-293-5121 or email

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Food Access to Cancer Patients in Need


L to R: Syeda Farid, Cancer Center Nutritionist, and Katherine Williams, Cancer Nurse Navigator/Director of Survivorship Program

The COVID-19 crisis has been hard on everyone, but particularly for Swedish patients who are receiving treatment for cancer during this pandemic. These patients have unique restrictions and requirements that, are unfortunately, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.  Many of our patients with weakened immune systems are now afraid to go to the grocery store and feel isolated and alone. Combined with job loss, reduced work hours and an overall limited income, many of our patients have confided in the Cancer Center staff that they are constantly stressed and worry about having enough money to buy groceries.

Thanks to funding from the National Breast Cancer Foundation and private donors, grocery gift cards have been provided to patients to purchase food items that are healthy, nutritious and items they would not normally have access to due to limited funds. According to Katherine Williams, Cancer Nurse Navigator/Director of Survivorship Program, these gift cards “…allow patients with limited food budgets to splurge-maybe by purchasing organic versus bottom-line produce or choosing a better cut of meat. For those who were laid off during COVID and find themselves in treatment, having a gift card literally means they can eat.”  She continues, “the grocery gift cards allow patients to make their own choices for food which appeals to them personally. Since every chemo treatment affects patients’ taste differently- what one person may crave or want is very different than another. The gift cards give them the power to purchase what they want, when they need it. Giving patients back their power is priceless.”

Syeda Farid, Clinical Dietitian/Nutritionist at the Cancer Center finds that many of her patients are grateful for the free grocery gift cards and surprised to find that they can positively change the trajectory of their treatment.  As Syeda explains, “With a gift card, a low-income patient can now purchase food that helps with their specific GI and nutritional needs without feeling guilty about taking away from the family’s food needs and limited resources. One patient even shared that she was able to buy organic meat and an avocado for the first time in her life.  Not only was this mother of 3 now provided the luxury of purchasing higher-quality meats, seafood and organic fruits and vegetables, but she tolerated her treatments better, missed fewer appointments and didn’t feel so tired and lacking in energy.

Another cancer patient, a single mother living with a sick relative expressed her gratitude for the grocery gift cards by saying, “ …that because of the Mariano’s gift card, I was able to get more energy by eating many small meals and healthy snacking.  Thanks to the free food,  I’m able to buy better  food for myself and now don’t have to worry about running out of money for food at the end-of-the month. That is when I usually have to depend on frozen or canned food. I don’t like eating canned food but I force myself because I have no choice. Thank you for providing me better options and better health.”

To many of our cancer patients, the grocery gift cards have been life-changing by providing them access to nutritious and healthy foods tailored to their specific needs. Syeda puts it in perspective when she notes that, “The gift cards have made a major impact on the physical and emotional health of our cancer patients. A $25 gift card seems like a small token, but for our patients, it can mean maintaining the nutritional support needed to continue their cancer treatment uninterrupted and giving them a chance to renew their overall health.”  If you would like to help support low-income cancer patients through this program, please contact please visit the donation form, or call the Foundation office at 773-293-5121 or email,

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The Virtual Silent Auction and 50/50 Raffle Goes Live!


Click Here to Bid, Buy and Donate Now!

Silent Auction begins at Noon on September 22 and
ends at 8 p.m. on September 27

Live Raffle pull on Monday September 28 at 11:30 a.m.

Proceeds from our virtual silent auction will be used to support programs such as COVID-19 Rehabilitation services, Violence Prevention, Housing Connections, and Helping Hands.  These programs directly impact the neediest members of our community, our neighbors and our friends, and those who have nowhere else to go to get their health care needs addressed.  

If you interested in donating an auction item, please call 773.878.2492 or email

Thank you for your support!

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