All posts by Judith McLean

We are thrilled to announce that our 2019 Share the Care Ball award recipients will by Dr. Peter J. Smith and Commissioner Karen Tamley. Two remarkable people who have made a significant difference at Almost Home Kids and in their very distinguished careers.

Please join us at the Share the Care Ball to celebrate their acomplishments:
Date: October 25, 2019 at 6:30 PM
Location: Hotel InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
Click here for tickets.

Share the Care Champion: Peter J. Smith, MD, MA
Dr. Smith is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Smith also a faculty member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Smith attended the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate degree, Duke University for Medical School, and completed his Masters in Theology (Ethics) at Boston College.  He completed his general pediatrics residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (Washington University) and two fellowships at Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard).  He is board certified in two subspecialties of pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD) and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP).

Dr. Smith’s clinical service at Almost Home Kids has meant at least weekly rounds at the Chicago site since it opened, 24/7 telephone call for a large portion of that time, and countless hours of off-site clinical management (putting in orders, making phone calls, checking labs, and emailing other clinicians).  Almost Home Kids prides itself in working as a team, and Dr. Smith has been a crucial team member in Chicago since it opened.  Dr. Smith served on the AHK Board prior to the Chicago site opening and has been a very successful and effective spokesperson for Almost Home Kids, most recently testifying at both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in Springfield for the successful Medicaid Rate increase request for Almost Home Kids Transitional Care program.

Previous to his work at AHK, he was Chief of the Medical Staff at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, which also serves children with medical complexity.  Along with being Medical Director at AHK in Chicago, he serves as Medical Director for two residential schools (the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School and at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education).  He also has busy outpatient clinics, currently at Comer Children’s Hospital, the Erikson Institute, and at Easter Seals of DuPage and Fox Valley.  Both families and colleagues respect him as a hard-working and passionate advocate for children with complex medical needs.

Dr. Smith is also a teacher.  He started and was the first Program Director for the first training program in the Midwest for pediatricians who want to become experts in the care of children with developmental and behavioral difficulties (a Fellowship in DBP).   He has also created and continues to develop the medical education program (for medical students, residents, and fellows) at Almost Home Kids and is in the process of creating a similar program for Nurse Practitioners.

Most importantly, Dr. Smith is a husband, father to four wonderful children, sibling to five brothers and one sister, and son to parents that taught & inspired him to serve others, especially children.

Share the Care Exemplar:  Commissioner Karen Tamley
Karen Tamley serves as Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) under Mayor of Chicago, Lori E. Lightfoot. Commissioner Tamley was first appointed to head the MPPD by Mayor Richard J. Daley and also served under Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. MOPD promotes the full inclusion of people with all types of disabilities and strives to make Chicago the most accessible city in the nation.

In her role as Commissioner, Ms. Tamley leads disability policy and accessibility initiatives in the areas of transportation, city infrastructure, technology, emergency planning, education, and employment. She also oversees the delivery of direct services including in-home supports, home accessibility modifications, and employment services to thousands of youth and adults with disabilities.

In 2016, Commissioner Tamley was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States Access Board, which develops national accessibility guidelines and standards. In March of 2019, she was elected Chair of the Access Board.

Commissioner Tamley was instrumental in making it possible for Almost Home Kids to open in Chicago in 2012 by helping us connect and work with various city entities such as the fire department and building department and as an ardent champion of our program for children with medical complexities and their families, paving the way to bring our model of care to the city of Chicago. Throughout her life and career, she has been a tireless advocate for children and adults with disabilities and a resolute campaigner to ensure accessibility is seamlessly woven into everyday life, making a tangible difference both locally and nationally.

Ms. Tamley serves in a volunteer capacity on several Boards including co-chairing the Disabilities Fund Advisory Board of The Chicago Community Trust, and as a board member for Meals on Wheels Chicago, Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club and the Kohl Children’s Museum. Ms. Tamley has also been the recipient of numerous awards such as 2019 TaleBlazer Award (Tellin Tales Theater), 2015 Motorola Excellence in Public Service (The Civic Federation of Chicago), 2015 Leadership Greater Chicago Distinguished Leader Award (Leadership Greater Chicago), 2007 Athena Award Nominee, Athena International, (Women’s Leadership), 2006 Justin Dart Distinguished Citizen award (Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois), 2000 Edward V. Roberts Award and the Excellence in Independent Living Award (Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living). Karen is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and a Fellow on the Leadership Greater Chicago organization.

Ms. Tamley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and she and her husband Kevin Irvine have a 13-year old daughter Dominika and live in Chicago’ Albany Park neighborhood.

 

16 first year residents from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital attended the Keith Veselik MD Medical Education Program (KVMEP) Lunch and Learn sponsored by Almost Home Kids and held at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. Dr. Peter J. Smith talked with them about the need for physicians trained to care for children with medical complexities and the availability of opportunities for the residents to gain experiences at Almost Home Kids in Chicago and Naperville. The residents viewed a brief presentation and then had their questions about the type of children cared for answered by Dr. Smith.

The group was then able to tour the 6th floor Almost Home Kids location and had a few more questions answered before they returned for their afternoon work at Lurie Children’s. We were excited to welcome such an engaging and attentive group of residents, all of whom asked thoughtful and probing questions – we are hopeful some of them will sign up for our four-week rotation and gain an even better understanding of the training, logistics and knowledge needed to successfully care for children with medical complexities in the community and perhaps at their future practice.

To learn more about AHK’s medical education programs, please contact Ponda Barnes, Director of Sponsored Programs at pobarnes@almosthomekids.org or call 312.227.8196

Almost Home Kids (AHK) is excited to expand our nurse practitioner team! We are looking for an experienced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with a passion for providing care to children with medical complexities. AHK is a community based pediatric healthcare center that provides transitional care and respite care. AHK is affiliated with Lurie Children’s Hospital. Our mission is to provide a bridge from hospital to home for children with medical complexities.

Position: 0.5 FTE Nurse Practitioner
Location: Almost Home Kids in Naperville, IL (7S 721 Route 53, Naperville, IL 60540
Qualifications: Experienced PNP or FNP with pediatric experience.

Will also consider new grads with relevant RN experience (PICU, NICU)

If you are interested, please apply on-line by clicking here

Questions? Email the AHK Nurse Practitioner Team Lead: Abby Riley, APRN, Nurse Practitioner at Almost Home Kids: call 312.229.0170 x250 or email alriley@luriechildrens.org

Happy First Birthday, Almost Home Kids at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois!!!

During our first year Almost Home Kids in Peoria reached many milestones!

  • Completed 10 Transitional Care patient admissions
  • Discharged to home / hospital 5 Transitional Care patients
  • Accomplished 13 different Respite Care admissions & discharges
  • Achieved a 100% overall parent satisfaction scores for clinical care services and training
  • Received nearly 400 hours of volunteer support
  • Received donations from 33 different 3rd party events/donation drives

The first year celebrations kicked off with staff and Almost Home Kids families enjoying a cookout on the patio, complete with a photo booth!

Thank you to Michael Fleming and Keith Hubble of Thrivent Financial for generously donating food for the cookout and wish list items through Thrivent’s Community Action Funding.  The supplies donated will go a long way to benefit children and families in Central Illinois as they prepare to transition home.

Our birthday cake was donated by Hy-Vee on Orange Prairie, thank you Hy-Vee!

#ThriventFinancial #Hy-Vee

Designed for Kids – An Evening of Furnishings and Fundraising (Ethan Allen Showroom, 1500 North Halsted Street, Chicago)

Thursday, September 12, 2019 – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Please join us for tasty sips and light fare, and luxurious raffle featuring Ethan Allen furnishings, fashion, food and more! All raffle proceeds benefit Almost Home Kids.

REGISTER HERE for this free event!

Almost Home Kids Young Associates Board (YAB) is looking for new members! AHK’s YAB is comprised of young professionals in the Chicagoland area dedicated to strengthening the message of Almost Home Kids through awareness and fundraising events. Throughout the year, the Board holds meetings, social outings and participates in community activities to support the mission of Almost Home Kids. Bites and drinks will be provided – no ticket required!

About the Young Associates Board:
The mission of the Young Associates Board is to raise awareness and funds for Almost Home Kids through community initiatives, involvement and fundraisers. This is to be achieved by having a group of enthusiastic, dedicated, caring young professionals excited about the cause and working towards meeting these goals.

EVENTS:
To plan and execute social, educational and volunteer events for Almost Home Kids in an effort to raise money and awareness of Almost Home Kids Chicago location. Currently our main event is the spring soiree ‘No Place Like Home’ which raises upwards of $20,000 each year. Various other smaller events such as wish list donation drives supplement the fundraising goals of the YAB.

MEETINGS:
The YAB meets monthly from 6 to 7 pm in the Chicago Loop area. Conference call dial in also available for those not able to make it in person. All members must attend at least 70% of all meetings in a year.

LEARN MORE:
Reach out to any of the YAB Executive Members:
Roxana Gavriliuc – President – roxana.gavriliuc@gmail.com
Mo Salem – Vice-president – maureen.salem@plantemoran.com
Naz Salehitezangi – Secretary – nsalehitezangi@gmail.com

“There is a silent crisis in the United States due to the extreme shortage of specialists who care for children with medical complexity (CMC) specifically, and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) in general.  We are developing an innovative program to address this crucial workforce issue” 
Peter J. Smith, MD, MA, Almost Home Kids Medical Director – Chicago

Their Futures Depend on What You Do Today

Almost Home Kids (AHK), an affiliate of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is announcing a new Scholars Program in Developmental & Behavioral Pediatric (DBP), Mental Health (MH) and Complex Care (CC) for Advance Practice Registered Nurses. Officially referred to as The Coleman Foundation Scholars Program in Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics for Advance Practice Registered Nurses.

Nationally there are more than 3 million children with special healthcare needs, growing at 5% annually, they are among the most rapidly growing subgroups of the pediatric population. In Illinois, there are currently 14,000 children who are medically complex. Advances in medicine and technology are allowing children who are medically complex to live longer lives which results in an increased need for supportive services from medical the community.

Parents and providers report that families face 9-12-month delays to see a sub-specialist in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) for diagnosis and treatment interventions and the same is true for children and adolescents waiting to see a psychiatrist for mental health services. Many children with complex care needs are forced to be hospitalized longer than necessary, putting these children at higher risk for poor health outcomes due to limited availability of providers, such as Almost Home Kids.

Recognizing the need to increase the core group of medical professionals competently trained to care for these children, AHK has developed a new initiative with a goal of educating Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN’s) in the sub-specialties of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Mental Health, and Complex Care.  With advanced training, APRN’s will be able to diagnose, manage, co-manage, and refer as needed, children for developmental disabilities (including cerebral palsy, autism, and learning disabilities), medical complexities (including epilepsy, genetic abnormalities, neurological impairment, feeding and respiratory problems), and behavioral issues (including ADHD, anxiety, depression, and incontinence).

Here’s What You Can Expect

The APRN scholar will participate in an intensive one-year, 50 week, two days, 20 hours per week, training program partnering with  the University of Illinois at Chicago’s LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders), the Ohio State KySS (Keep Your Child Safe and Secure) online Mental Health Fellowship, ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) training at Advocate Illinois Masonic Developmental Center, DuPage Easter Seals, Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)  and Professional Development Training at Erikson Institute. Program faculty including Anita D. Berry MSN, CNP, APN, CPMHS, APRN Scholars Program Director and Peter J. Smith MD. MA, and Ann B. Karch MD, Medical Directors.

Our Team

Anita Berry MSN, CNP, APN, PMHS
AHK Manager APRN Fellowship Program

Click here for Ms. Berry’s CV

Anita Berry has dedicated her career to pediatric nursing, working in several leading hospitals and outpatient facilities as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Currently Anita Directs the APRN Scholars Program in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Mental Health and Complex Care. Prior to this role she worked at Advocate Children’s Hospital as the Director of the Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, where she educated providers and staff in primary care practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, residency and nurse practitioner programs throughout the state of Illinois, on child development and mental health.

Anita is an accomplished lecturer and teacher having received several awards for her dedication to the families and the community, most recently including the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) 2016 Kelly Reed Advance Practice Community Impact Award for Excellence in the Community and Beyond, and Children’s Hospital of Illinois 2016 Robert D. Hart, M.D. Endowed Lectureship Speaker. Anita has served as editor for Pediatric Nurse Practitioner primary care textbooks, published in numerous peer reviewed journals, and has spoken professionally at multiple conferences.

Anita enjoys spending time with her husband Mark, her five grown children and their spouses, and her nine young grandchildren. Her education and career experiences are driven by her passion to help parents and children be the best they can be.

Peter J. Smith, MD, MA
AHK Chicago – Medical Director

Click here for Dr. Smith’s CV

The medical director for AHK Chicago is Peter J. Smith. Dr. Smith is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Smith is also a faculty member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Smith attended the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate degree, Duke University for Medical School, and completed his Masters in Theology (Ethics) at Boston College.  He completed his general pediatrics residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (Washington University) and two fellowships at Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard).  He is board certified in two subspecialties of pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD) and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP).

Dr. Smith’s direct clinical service has included inpatient care (he is former Chief of the Medical Staff at La Rabida Children’s Hospital), work in residential schools (he is Medical Director both at the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School and at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education), and outpatient clinics (currently at Comer Children’s Hospital, the Erikson Institute, and at Easter Seals of DuPage and Fox Valley).  Both families and colleagues respect him as a hard-working and passionate advocate for children with complex medical needs.

Within the region, Dr. Smith has held several leadership positions.  He has served on multiple Committees of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) related to children with complex medical concerns, and he chaired one of these committees, the Committee on Children with Disabilities.  He has previously served as Medical Director for the Child and Family Connections team in DuPage County (CFC#5).

Nationally, Dr. Smith has been elected as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SODBP) for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, he has served on the Executive Committee for the Council on Children with Disabilities (COCWD) for the national AAP (as a liaison from the SODBP).  He also previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is involved in developing national standards for the healthcare of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Smith is also a teacher and scholar. As a teacher, he has many roles. In one of these roles, he started and directed the first training program in the Midwest for pediatricians who want to become experts in the care of children with developmental and behavioral difficulties (a Fellowship in DBP).   He has also developed the medical education program (for medical students, residents, and fellows) at Almost Home Kids.  Dr. Smith’s scholarship has focused upon the ethics of care for children with special needs as well as the training of doctors to care for children with medical complexity.  He has authored multiple articles in scientific journals as well as several chapters in the textbooks used by specialists in this field. Dr. Smith is a frequent presenter at local, regional, and national scientific meetings as well as at formal educational programs for doctors.

Most importantly, Dr. Smith is a husband, father to four wonderful children, sibling to five brothers and one sister, and son to parents that taught & inspired him to serve others, especially children.

Ann B. Karch M.D.
AHK Chicago & Naperville – Associate Medical Director

Click here for Dr. Karch’s CV

Dr. Ann Karch Serves as Associate Medical Director for both Chicago and Naperville. Dr. Karch is a board certified general pediatrician with a special interest in children with developmental disabilities stemming from college summer work at Easter Seals Camp Wawbeek in Wisconsin. She has been a member of the AHK Medical Advisory Committee since 2012. Dr. Karch earned her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin. She completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago where she subsequently served as Chief Resident in Pediatrics.

Dr. Karch has worked as a pediatrician in private practice and has had several opportunities to work as a pediatrician with international medical teams. She has volunteered with teams in Bolivia, the Philippines, and Kenya (all with the Diocese of Joliet Partnership in Mission); and with Operation Smile in the Philippines. Ann and her husband, Gary, live in Glen Ellyn, where they raised three sons.

Career Benefits to Scholars

The DBP-APN Advanced Training Program will provide the scholar with varied clinical and educational opportunities to prepare them for autonomous practice. Upon completing this program, APRNs will have the depth, breadth, volume, and intensity of foundational knowledge coupled with appropriate clinical experience to independently manage children with the conditions served by DBP clinicians.  Graduates of this APRN Advanced Training Program will be well positioned to be thought leaders in the field.

Program Curriculum

Scholars will participate in case-based discussions and journal club. The scholar will be provided opportunities for the following during the Advanced Training Program:

  • understand the complex developmental processes of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, in the context of their families and communities
  • understand the biological, psychological, and social influences on development in the emotional, social, motor, language, and cognitive domains
  • understand the mechanisms for primary and secondary prevention of disorders in behavior and development
  • analyze pathophysiology for various disease processes
  • develop diagnoses, formulate treatment plans and evaluate patient response to treatment
  • utilize evidence-based practices in delivering quality, cost-effective care
  • educate patients and families about disease process and prevention
  • develop organizational skills vital to effectively managing patient caseloads
  • develop effective communication and presentation skills essential to work with an interdisciplinary team
  • develop an age-appropriate treatment plan for mental health problems based on biopsychosocial theories, evidenced-based standards of care, and practice guidelines, including differential diagnosis for mental health problems
  • demonstrate behaviors that reflect a commitment to continuous professional development, ethical practice, an understanding and sensitivity to diversity and a responsible attitude toward patients, profession and society
  • evaluate the relationships among access, cost, quality, and safety and their influence on health care
  • demonstrate critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning skills in clinical decision making

Scholars will receive a certificate of completion from Almost Home Kids as well as certifications from ADOS-2 training, the KySS Program, and LEND.

Scholars will not receive any compensation for participating in this program and must secure professional liability insurance with limits of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence, $3,000,000 aggregate to participate in clinical rotation at the various sites.

Summer is heating up and Labor Day will be here before we know it!

Spend a day on the golf course for the kids, or support someone else who’s up to the challenge of 100 holes of golf! Our annual Golf Marathon is a great opportunity for friends of AHK to get their networks engaged with our mission by supporting Golf Marathon participants at $1 a hole (or whatever amount is feasible). In return participants receive boxed lunch, cold beer and beverages all day, and a barbecue feast at the completion of 100 holes.

Register now at http://team.almosthomekids.org/2019Golf

Escape to the elegance of Italy at our eighth annual Share the Care Ball – Italia at Hotel InterContinental Chicago on October 25, 2019. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner, silent and live auction and lively entertainment by the Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra and special guests. All proceeds benefit Almost Home Kids Chicago.

We will be recognizing two amazing champions of our cause: Dr. Peter J. Smith and Commissioner Karen Tamley.

Date: October 25, 2019
6:30 PM Cocktails
8:00 PM Dinner and Program

Location: Hotel InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
(505 N. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611)

Attire: Black Tie

Click Here for Tickets 

If you are interested in a sponsorship option (details below), please reach out to Judith at jmclean@almosthomekids.org 

Event Sponsorship Options
Platinum – $25,000

  • 2 Tables of 10 in a VIP location
  • Premier logo inclusion on event signage*
  • Title heading on Invitation
  • Title heading location on program and on display during the event*
  • Recognition during the evening program
  • 10 Parking Passes

Gold – $10,000

  • Table for 10 in a VIP location
  • Prominent logo inclusion on event signage*
  • Prominent logo location on Invitation
  • Prominent logo location on program and on display during the event*
  • Recognition during the evening program
  • 5 Parking Passes

Silver – $7,500

  • Table for 10 in a premier location
  • Prominent logo inclusion on event signage*
  • Prominent logo on Invitation
  • Prominent logo on program and on display during the event*
  • Recognition during the evening program

Bronze – $5,000

  • Table for 10 in a prominent location
  • Name or logo included on Invitation*
  • Name or logo included on program and on display during the event*
  • Recognition during the evening program

*subject to print deadlines (tbd)

We had a fantastic evening of wine tasting at Larkin Hall last week as we hosted our 6th annual summer event – the second one to showcase wine and wine tasting. Nearly 150 guest raised $25,000 of much needed funds for Almost Home Kids thanks in part to an amazing raffle with items from Paul Hobbs, Forth Wines, Daniel, Da Vero and the East Bank Club to name just a few.

Jenni Wagoner (Wine Director for Sepia & Proxi) served as our host and introduced us to 8 amazing sommeliers and wine professionals from some of Chicago’s top restaurants and wine retailers who helped describe the wines and enhance the tasting experience.

Our wonderful event committee led by Bregan Herrold and Julia Chappell organized an impressive raffle, excellent beer and wine at the bar and a sumptuous display of heavy apps from Blue Plate catering to make the evening event even more enjoyable.

Special thanks to CIBC, Maverick Wines, Vin Chicago, Plum Market, Wine ’till Sold Out and Revolution Brewing for their sponsorship and support and to Cassandra Sakai (The Girl and the Goat), Jamel Freeman (Bellemore), Jim Bube (Hogsalt), Rebekah Mahru (City Winery), Peter Schwarzbach and Greg Spaulding (VIN Chicago), Samantha Hunt (Cherry Circle Room) and Ryan Baldwin (Waldorf Astoria / Margeaux Brasserie)