Loyola University announced today it is donating $25,000 to support the construction of a SMART Health and Wellness Clinic at Gale Academy. Loyola’s Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Margaret Faut Callahan, presented the check to Gale Academy Principal Augustine “Augie” Emuwa and me today at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus.
This generous one-time grant allows Gale to immediately begin construction of the clinic, which the school hopes to open in time for the beginning of the academic year in September.
I brought the health clinic initiative to the attention of Loyola’s administrators and requested a $25,000 grant from the university, which was the amount needed to start construction this summer. They generously agreed to my request.
This grant represents the largest one-time cash donation the university has ever provided and is reflective of Loyola’s continuing and growing commitment to Rogers Park’s schools. I am grateful for the university’s generosity.
Heartland Health Centers will be the medical provider at the clinic, offering sustainable, academically-focused care, in fidelity to the SMART model. Ginn Group Consulting CEO, Melanie Ginn, developed the SMART model in collaboration with CVS Health.
The SMART model adopts a holistic approach to school-based health care that understands the inextricable link between quality health care and academic performance.
SMART health clinics are located in schools that serve primarily low-income students. They deliver integrative, preventive and primary health care services and solutions-based behavioral health supports directly to the students, their families and the school faculty and staff. The principle underlying these clinics is that better mental and physical health leads to improved academic achievement and higher graduation rates, which are essential to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Two 49th Ward schools already are home to SMART Student Health and Wellness clinics–Sullivan High School and Kilmer Elementary School. As a direct result of these health clinics, not only do the students and their families receive needed health services, but both schools have seen dramatic and immediate increases in attendance rates and academic achievement, as well as reductions in disciplinary referrals.
Principal Emuwa witnessed first hand the success of the SMART model when he was assistant principal at Sullivan. When he took over as principal at Gale last year, Principal Emuwa enlisted the help of Ms. Ginn, who in turn consulted with CVS Health. After they conducted their due diligence, CVS Health agreed to provide $150,000 in seed money with the condition that Principal Emuwa and the school raise $150,000 in matching funds to make the clinic fully operational.
Principal Emuwa immediately asked his local school council, local elected officials and community residents to assist him in his efforts. In true Rogers Park fashion, our community answered the call.
State Senator Heather Steans and her husband, Leo Smith, kicked off the fundraising campaign with a generous $40,000 donation. Other donations large and small soon followed. Community residents organized a successful fundraiser and Gale parents gave what they could in increments of $10, $20 and $50, demonstrating the overwhelming community support for the proposed SMART Clinic.
All told, our community raised over $100,000, an impressive amount, but still not enough to put the clinic over the finish line. The Loyola donation seals the deal and makes a health clinic at Gale a reality this year.
As the relationship with Gale Academy strengthens, Loyola plans to expand opportunities at Gale for Loyola’s students, including teacher preparation and nursing clinical experiences as well as other forms of engaged teaching and learning.
Through its Plan 2020 initiative, Loyola already has established several collaborative projects with Gale, including working with Gale’s teachers to ensure that they are professionally trained to implement Illinois’ “Next Generation Science Standards.”
Loyola’s donation helped begin construction of the clinic, but we are still short of our goal to enable the SMART model to be fully implemented. If you haven’t yet done so, I urge you to make a donation to help make the Gale SMART health clinic completely operational, so that all Gale’s students can take full advantage of its services.
To donate, click here.
Thanks for your support.