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Call for Artists: Asthma Van Decal

Mobile Care Chicago and the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation are inviting artists from the Chicagoland area and beyond to design the exterior of a brand-new medical treatment van launching in Lake County. The artist with the selected design will be compensated a total of $2,000, and their design will be seen all throughout Lake County as we reach kids who need free, accessible care. Read on for details!

Mobile Care Chicago is a non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. MCC’s mission is to deliver no-cost medical and preventative care, education, and support to low-income children and families within their communities aboard mobile medical clinics. Mobile Care specializes in asthma and allergy care, including screening and diagnosing those who are unaware that their health issues stem from asthma. 

Asthma is a severe health issue that disproportionately affects disinvested communities across Chicagoland and Lake County. The need for comprehensive asthma care is high in Lake County, and children need accessible care – a mobile unit that will treat them from the comfort and convenience of their school. 

Luckily, there will soon be an Asthma Van in Lake County! The medical unit, which is slated for launch in February 2023, is MCC’s first full-time mobile clinic based outside of the Chicago area. The mobile unit is a collaborative project between MCC and Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, a charitable organization based in Lake County. CDRYAF’s mission is to educate, advocate, and provide services for families and youth suffering from asthma, with a focus on lessening the potentially adverse health effects on asthmatic youth and young adults involved in athletics within underserved communities.

We want kids to be excited to see the van and receive treatment on it, and for families to be able to recognize the medical clinic as it drives from school to school. That’s where you come in! Help us create a unique van decal, and walk away with some $$$! 

We need a new Asthma Van decal design, and we want to work with Lake County creatives to pull it off! See below for compensation and details. 

  1. Submit your art/design portfolio to enter! Link can be found at the end of this post.
  2. After reviewing artist portfolios, Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation and MCC will select three finalists, who will each be compensated $500 for a mock-up of the Asthma Van wrap. Using a flat lay template provided by Mobile Care, finalists will create a design that speaks to: 
  • Community and Care 
  • CDRYAF’s mission and/or MCC’s mission

2. From there, an internal team will vote on the final design. The artist whose design is selected will be compensated $1500, on top of the $500 mock-up fee. The winning designer will walk away with $2000 in total.

Requirements:

While there are no experience requirements, MCC suggests all applicants be proficient in Adobe InDesign + designing within a flat lay template.

The selected finalists will be sent a creative brief, and will be paid $500 each upon completion of the mock-up. Selected finalists will have 10 days to submit a mock-up, so applicants should be comfortable with that turn-around time!

Applicants should be from or currently living in Cook County, Illinois + Lake County Illinois

PORTFOLIO SUBMISSIONS CLOSE January 30!

Meet Mike and Helen Redding of the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation

Big things are happening in 2023. At the start of the new year, we announced that we are expanding into Lake County in partnership with the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, founded by Mike and Helen Redding. It was important that we share Mike and Helen’s story in their own words – read on to learn about their journey and how they first connected with MCC!

Mike and Helen Redding with MCC team members Louisa Pavlik (Grant Writer) and Melissa Reyes (Medical Program Coordinator)

Tell us your story- how did CDRYAF come to be?
In November 2003, our youngest son Christopher passed away, at age 18, from a fatal exercise induced asthma attack while jogging near our home, just hours before returning to college (Drake University) later in the afternoon. It was only the second asthma attack suffered by Christopher in his life time…the first occurred just one year previously while he was running track at a high school meet. Christopher’s untimely death revealed to us how little we knew about asthma—we thought that the first asthma attack was an isolated event; after all, Christopher was strong of mind and body, spending much of his time in the weight room at Lake Zurich High School!

Determined that no other family should undergo a senseless tragedy due to a lack of education about asthma, the CDRYAF was formed to provide asthma screenings, asthma management education to youth, families, athletic personnel and communities, access to recreational opportunities (such as asthma camps) for youth with asthma, and college scholarships to graduating high school student athletes with a diagnosed case of asthma. CDRYAF also advocates for legislative changes for improved asthma management policies such as standardized asthma management protocols and stock albuterol to assist asthma exacerbations while students are in school.


Tell us a little bit about yourselves….
As 38-year residents of Lake County (Lake Zurich), the Redding Family and its 9-year old community based charitable organization, hold strong ties in Lake County. The Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation received its 501(c)(3) designation in 2014 and launched operations in 2015. The Foundation is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors and operated primarily with the assistance of our working Board of Directors, volunteers, and collaborating partners. Our programs include asthma screenings and management, asthma management education (workshops and health fairs), college scholarships to graduating high school student-athletes with a diagnosed case of asthma, and advocacy for improved asthma management policies in Illinois schools.

On a personal note, we are the proud parents of three sons (Paul, Michael Jr., and Christopher), grandparents of six grandchildren and great grandparents of one grandson.

Helen is the Founder of the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation. She spent more than 42 years in the banking industry and retired as a Senior Vice President from Citigroup, Illinois in 2013. Helen is actively involved in community and civic activities as a proud member of both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated.

Michael Sr. is the Co-Founder of the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation and also retired after spending more than 40 years in Telecommunications and Food manufacturing industries.


We’d love to get to know Christopher!
Christopher was a 3-sport scholar-athlete, honor student, and Captain of the Lake Zurich High School Football team where he led his team to the IHSA Class 7A semi-finals. Christopher played the position of running back, and was the second highest rusher and scorer in the school’s history. Active in high school athletics, Christopher was also a member of the Wrestling and Track teams. While Christopher was undoubtedly a gifted athlete, Lake Zurich High School alumni, coaches, and teachers remember Christopher most as a person of strong character and leadership ability.

Christopher was a member of the National Honor Society and volunteered with Lake Zurich High School’s peer mediation and mentoring program. He was elected Homecoming King during his Senior year of high school. Following his graduation from Lake Zurich High School in 2003, Christopher attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where he majored in Business Administration and was a member of the football team.

Christopher was not only an outstanding student-athlete who did not smoke cigarettes nor drink alcohol but was a young man of faith who studied his Bible and worshipped God. Immediately upon enrolling in college at Drake University, Christopher joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes which is a national organization. A few of Chris’ hobbies were computer technology, social media, playing video games with his many friends, and dancing at some of the local dance clubs. Some of Chris’s long-term goals were to play college football along with playing in the NFL and eventually forming his own software company.


What are your proudest accomplishments since launching CDRYAF and why?
We started our Foundation to help other families avoid the same tragedy as ours, so educating families and advocating for asthma-friendly policies for those families in underserved communities have been among our proudest accomplishments. This is Christopher’s legacy!

How and when did you first meet Matt and the Mobile Care Chicago team?
We first met Matt in 2014 when he served as a Program Manager for Mobile Care Foundation. My vision to start a Foundation to help youth in underserved communities began with educating myself and conducting a great deal lot of research on asthma and asthma disparities in many zip codes in
the Chicago area. We are talking months of research which taught me that barriers to medical ac
cess was one of the greatest issues for youth in underserved communities who were using hospital emergency departments as their primary care physicians!

My great idea…why not take the medical access to the youth in those communities…meet the kids where they are…start a mobile asthma van! My research led me to an already existing Mobile Asthma Van…Mobile Care Foundation! I called Matt and requested a meeting to learn more! Matt was very gracious, informative, and gave me all the time I needed to learn about and understand the Mo bile Asthma Van program, which became my dream and long-term vision! We became partners with Mobile Care, assisting with screenings and asthma management education to schools and community groups located in underserved communities, and even “borrowing” the Mobile Asthma Van for our planned community events. Mobile Care was our first partner and has been the best partner for a small, emerging organization like the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation since that first meeting. We were always treated with dignity, respect, and equally even though we were newly formed and much smaller. So, when the opportunity came to collaborate on acquiring and operating a Mobile Van jointly, it was the realization of our dream!


What made you want to continue working with MCC?
As noted above, the kindness, dignity, and respect with which we have always been treated; the cooperation to achieve mutual goals of stamping out asthma in underserved communities, and the willingness to always assist the CDRYAF when needed! Working with Mobile Care will assist our mutual goals….CDRYAF benefitting from the 22-years of expertise of Mobile Care operating mobile clinics and Mobile Care benefitting from CDRYAF’s community ties in the Lake County area.


Tell us a little more about the Lake County’s need for accessible health services- How will launching a mobile unit impact your foundation and community?
With assistance from the University of Chicago ACHIEVE program, we recently conducted an assessment of asthma in the Lake County area. We received data indicating the severity of asthma in Waukegan, Zion, North Chicago and other communities in Lake County. Launching a mobile van in Lake County will assist in mitigating these issues as we eliminate barriers to medical access and pro vide specialist care which will allow youth in these underserved communities to control their asthma, reduce emergency department visits, and improve school absenteeism and missed work days for parents and guardians.


What is your ultimate goal with CDRYAF?
Our goals are to own and operate a mobile van that serves families in underserved communities in the Chicago Metropolitan area while also providing asthma education and promoting asthma aware ness and prevention. Long-range goals also include sponsoring or operating an asthma camp where youth can learn to manage their asthma in a fun learning environment.


What are you most excited about for 2023?
Working with Mobile Care Chicago which has a proven history of success.

Next Stop, Lake County

Dear Readers,

I’m thrilled to announce that Mobile Care Chicago is launching a new Asthma Van in 2023, dedicated to delivering asthma and allergy care to children in Lake County! The Lake County Asthma Van, which is slated for launch in February 2023, is our first full-time mobile clinic based outside of the Chicago area. The mobile unit is a collaborative project between our staff and the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, a charitable organization based in Lake County. 

Mobile Care Chicago’s journey into Lake County began over 10 years ago. Thanks to funding from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, MCC conducted an extensive needs assessment of Lake County in 2010 and 2011. The data strongly suggested that pediatric asthma specialists were not available for families who were on Medicaid or were uninsured. Furthermore, families faced similar access barriers to those in Chicago: long distances to reach adequate medical care, inability to take time off of work, dependence on urgent/emergency care, and clinics that charged large fees for appointments. A lot has happened since 2011, but the basic reality expressed in our report, unfortunately, has not substantially changed.

Over my tenure at MCC, we’ve repeatedly tried to launch a Lake County Asthma Van, only for funding or infrastructure to stop us in our tracks. As you likely know, a full-time mobile unit costs about $400,000 per year to operate, and MCC takes sustainability very seriously. We do not want to enroll someone in medical care for a chronic condition if we are not confident that we will be able to sustain their good health year-over-year for the length of their childhood. 

I was blessed to meet Helen and Mike Redding in 2014, when they were also looking to launch an Asthma Van. Since that time, we’ve worked together on many education and awareness projects. Neither of our two organizations could sustain a Lake County Asthma Van on our own, but together we have been fortunate enough to secure funding for the new mobile unit, as well as the first year of expenses. It would take too long in this message to introduce Helen and Mike in a way that would do justice to their incredible passion for this project, as well as the years of effort they’ve put into making this dream a reality. The achievement of launching this mobile unit carries greater meaning for having brought it to fruition together.  

We are already reaching out to school districts in Lake County to let them know that free, high quality asthma and allergy care will soon be available. I know some folks on this email thread have connections to school districts in Lake County, and if you think your school district could benefit I’d appreciate if you’d email me so we can talk. Our initial focus is Waukegan, North Chicago, and Zion, but I recognize that the need is much greater than that and I look forward to speaking with schools, hospital systems, and primary care offices who may be looking for a place to make referrals. 
Finally, thank you for your support! As I said, this project is the fulfillment of over a decade of work, not to mention the 23 years during which your contributions allowed us to create our nationally-recognized model of care. On behalf of everyone here at Mobile Care Chicago, thanks for making it all possible. 

Matt Siemer
Executive Director
 

Meet Nurse Conway!

It would be nearly impossible to work with schools without a school representative, and in most cases our point person is the school nurse. We started working with Nurse Conway in 2014. She is an integral part of our model-of-care and why we’re able to reach so many students in the South Suburbs. She is also the first person we call when we’re going to try something new and innovative  – she was involved in Lung Fest, COVID testing/vaccination, implementing universal consent forms, and launching home environment assessments. All of our clinics team appreciate the hard work Nurse Conway does to make our school visits run smoothly!

We asked Nurse Conway for her perspective on MCC and the importance of accessible care:

Why is having easy access to health services important? 
Easy access to health services is critical to the well-being of our students.  It would be fabulous if all of our families had equal access to health services at the same level.  Unfortunately, that is not our reality for various reasons.  Having services available at school through Mobile Care levels the playing field for all students which ultimately has a direct impact on learning.  If we are able to close that gap by providing critical health care services, our students will be able to perform at their highest capacity.

How has Mobile Care positively impacted your students?

Since partnering with Mobile Care Chicago, our district has been positively impacted in various ways.  For instance, our students now have access to services earlier in development during those critical years of growth.  They are able to be monitored by a service that can follow them and intervene with a medical plan if necessary.  Our students are now spending less time out of school because their needs are being met through the services mobile care provides.  We have also seen a steady increase in medical compliance as mandated by ISBE.  Students that are in need are scheduled for an appointment on the mobile van and are brought up to date with all the necessary medical requirements for their grade levels.

What makes Mobile Care an ideal organization to work beside?

It has been a pleasure to work with the staff from Mobile Care Chicago!  They are flexible, reliable and consistent.  They are here on their scheduled days on time.  They are always professional and knowledgeable.  They have been flexible over the years and just always willing to make sure that at the end of their day, they have provided the services that parents have consented to with the highest level of quality.  They have made my job as a school nurse that much more rewarding!

What health service do you wish more students could easily access on a van like Mobile Care’s? 

Definitely vision and mental health services.  Those are the 2 things that are needed a lot more frequently than in previous years, but the access is limited.  This is across all ages and grade levels.  Our students would benefit tremendously from having greater access in these 2 areas.  It’s not as rewarding to provide a parent with outside resources, not knowing if the service will actually be provided.  There’s less chance the parent will actually follow up, which impacts the student negatively in the long run.

What is your favorite Chicago spot!

I do love Blue Aguave Tequila Bar on Kinzie.  I also enjoy the wine tastings at Cooper’s Hawk Winery.

Miles for Mobile Care is Live!

I’m ready to get my miles in!
How do I start? 


1) Head on over to our GiveLively fundraising page: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/mobile-c-a-r-e-foundation/miles-for-mobile-care-2022

2.) Donate, or set a fundraising goal! Start a team with your family or friends. To start or join a team, click “I want to fundraise for this!” on the right side of the page.

3.) Share the link to your team page with friends via text, email, and social media – anyone who donates to your page is now on your team!

I want a t-shirt!! How does that work? 

When you make a donation, you’ll get a confirmation email from GiveLively with a link to order your free shirt.  Anyone who donates $35 or more is eligible while supplies last (we’ll let you know when we are running low!) Make sure to check spam. Email rlessing@mobilecarefoundation.org with any questions.

Can I order more shirts if I donated more than $35?

Yes!! If you donated a higher amount and would like more shirts, feel free select the quantity equaling your donation amount- for example, since shirts are valued at $35 each, a $70 donation= 2 shirts! $140 donation = 4 shirts!

Miles for MCC ends on November 29!
Help us raise $10,000 so we can reach more communities in need of free, quality, health services. 

And the winner is…. Pabs Prints!

At the beginning of September, we hosted an open contest to find the perfect design for our official Miles for Mobile Care T-Shirt. We decided on three finalists that submitted amazing artwork, and we are happy to announce that local artist Pablo’s (PabsPrints) design was the chosen one!

Pablo Trees is a Colombian born emerging artist and designer that’s been in the Chicago art scene for a few years now. His choice to start his own business led to the creation of ‘Adfectus’ @adfchi, a streetwear line. Soon Pabs Prints was born, and Pablo discovered his calling in the design and merchandise world. As the first place winner of our T-Shirt design contest, we knew Pablo offered something special and refreshing to Mobile Care Chicago. Luckily, we were able to get to know Pablo a little more:

Tell us a little bit about yourself!!   

My name is Pablo Alejandro I am an immigrant from Bogota, Colombia moved to Melrose Park when I was 5, since middle school I’ve always had a passion for clothes. After I felt respect from my peers for what I was wearing I fell in love with the confidence I got from my outfits. I’ve drawn my whole life but my main focus was clothes when I first started expressing myself. I’ve always been told artist never make any money people used the idiom “You’ll be successful when Pigs fly “ so that sparked the motivation for my art brand Pabs Prints and I use the pig with wings as a mascot to do exactly that make pigs fly

What inspired you to enter the Miles for MCC design contest?

After meeting your team I instantly fell in love with what you’re doing for the community I have a 5 year old myself so the thought of other kids being healed all across the city made me instantly want to work with you.

Name a few artists who inspire you.

My closest friends inspire me JPAK4EVA, Flthy Rich, Sillouette Matte.

Favorite Chicago spots?

I love Phillys best, Marz Brewing Co for the Taco Sublime tacos, Royal Palms, Fulton Market has been pretty fun lately and Humboldt, Logan, La Estrella Mini Mart is one of my favorite spots too!

What is your personal mission through your work, what message do you hope to spread through art and design?

My mission with my work is to prove to myself and the people around me that you can live comfortably off of your art. I want to encourage everyone around me to strive for financial freedom and motivate others to follow that passion that’s burning inside of them waiting to come out.

Where do you hope to end up next? What kind of projects do you hope to work on in the future – and how can we find you on social media or online?

I hope to move closer to the city and build more than just an online community. I hope to see myself collaborate with bigger brands. My next project is my yearly Halloween collection with new characters, F/W 2022 and my new solo podcast “Proud Disappointment Podcast” you can find that on my YouTube and I am on all social media platforms: @pabsprints


If you want to see more of Pablo’s artwork follow this link!

Mobile Care Chicago got selected for The Anne M. Davis Mobile Health Award!

On Thursday, September 8th, 2022 we found out that Mobile Care had been selected to be a recipient of The Anne M.Davis Mobile Health Award.

This award has only been given three other times since it was founded in 2010. It recognizes innovations in mobile health, and it is hyper-rigorous. For one thing, there’s no application process: the VNA Foundation only selects those on its radar, and to get on that radar, an organization must stand out as innovative, unique, and impactful. From there, a non-profit has to be nominated by the Foundation’s Executive Director, and the award is granted via vote of the Foundation’s full board. The Anne M. Davis Mobile Health Award comes with a $10,000 prize.

Mobile Care Chicago received the award for two reasons: one, the Flex Van, the first of its kind in the country; second, because of our efforts to integrate our dental and medical programs through the expanded functions of our EHR systems, also a first for a mobile program.

Lastly: we wouldn’t have the means to be such an adaptable and innovative clinic without your continued support, so thank you!! Thanks to you, we’ve been able to continuously update our vans to be adaptable and safe, implement more efficient technologies in order to reach and retain patients who need us, and hire the best staff out there – all things that set us up to receive an award like this. We are truly grateful.

You can watch the conversation here and learn more about why MCC received this great recognition!

The Impact of Free & Charitable Clinics

Each summer, after the close of Mobile Care Chicago’s fiscal year on June 30, our programs conduct an anonymous patient survey. We ask about a number of factors related to our mission, especially what we can do to continue to improve communication and convenience. The vast majority of our organization’s innovations are in response to suggestions from our families, creating an annual process of adaptation before the school year starts and our clinics again kick into high gear. For that reason, these past ten years, I’ve made time to read all of the hundreds of surveys personally.

As a free and charitable clinic, our survey always ends in the month meant to celebrate the vital role that we play in our Nation’s health infrastructure (August is Free & Charitable Clinic Month). Free clinics across the country provide safe, convenient, non-judgmental spaces for people seeking medical care. Without free clinics, many people who live in areas that lack medical infrastructure, or who avoid preventative visits because they’re uninsured or have barely-there private insurance, their primary source of medical access is an Emergency Department—the most expensive option that’s least capable of managing chronic conditions.

As one parent whose child has been using our clinics for six years wrote on their survey: “MCC has been giving us a great service, since we have been coming to the asthma van my daughter has not been in the emergency room. Thank you MCC!”

40% of our patients had used an Emergency Department in the year before joining their mobile unit. After one year in our programs, only 3% of those same patients had been back to an Emergency Department. That staggering contrast says something about the power of these clinics to change the trajectory of people’s health. Moreover, free clinics reverse a frustrating economic burden that, paradoxically, is placed on people least able to pay for it: the high cost of medical care in emergency settings. The average ED visit in Illinois cost $1,818 in 2017, which means that if we just take the 37% of our patients who were dependent on an ED and haven’t returned, across all of our programs, we saved the healthcare system a cool $3,796,202.16 last year. (Assuming we all believe that health care costs haven’t gone up in the last five years.)

If we focus specifically on asthma, one of the highest drivers of preventable health care costs including ED visits, the State of Illinois reports that asthma costs $3,266 per person per year. For each asthma patient we take on, we save the healthcare system $2,198.27. 

We at Mobile Care don’t get any of those dollars (though, to be clear, we would take them if the State insisted), so the money itself isn’t the point. What’s represented is that free clinics are able to be a reliable source of medical care and, more importantly, health education that saves people from waiting until something gets so awful that they can’t continue normal activities. Moreover, what’s represented is that preventative care and health education, when offered without barriers like cost, transportation, long wait times, and in a language people can understand, it’s highly effective at making sure people get better and therefore don’t require emergency care. As another parent put it, 

“The staff ensure that you feel welcomed and help you understand why they prescribe the meds and how they work. This helps a lot! Even the kids understand and are more willing to take the medications as directed. Thank you!”

As we celebrate free and charitable clinics this month, what strikes me most is their ability to reach people left out of the traditional health care system, and to facilitate sustained change in their health and wellness. Thank your continued support as we strive to reach as many people as possible this fiscal year with free, quality, preventative care.

 
Matt Siemer
Executive Director

Did you know this about Asthma?

A crucial part of our mission is to help children with asthma receive the free quality care they need. Even though it’s possible that some of you already know these facts, it’s important to highlight that asthma is still a concerning health situation that affects millions of Americans on a daily basis. Here are five of the most pressing facts about asthma. Let us know any other facts regarding this chronic illness. Information courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). 2019 National Health Interview Survey Data. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/nhis/2019/data.htm and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Mobile Care’s Medical Director Dr. Andrea Pappalardo explains bad allergies on The 21st Show episode “Extreme Allergies Are In The Air”

Mobile Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Andrea Pappalardo participated in the NPR podcast “The 21st Show” on July 12th and addressed the extreme allergies that are in the air this year, arguably worse than the last five years. Dr. Pappalardo spoke with Brian Mackey about the growing number of allergy patients she encounters and the ever-growing quantity of allergens in the air. She breaks down the causes and the effects of allergens that enter the body and the concerning number of patients suffering from adverse allergic reactions. Listen to the full episode in the link below to learn more about how 2022 has shown to be a bad year for allergy patients and why there are new unprecedented factors in the allergy field.

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/475680317/the-21st

Mobile Care Chicago