Tag: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Loyola Seeking Participants for Race-based Stress Reduction Program

Friday, December 8, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews 

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago is seeking African American women between 50 and 75 years old to participate in an eight-week Race-Based Stress Reduction and Resilience Program for African American Women.

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Loyola Breaks Ground on Major Stormwater Abatement Project

Wednesday, October 19, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Elected officials and Loyola representatives during a Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, groundbreaking ceremony on the Maywood campus. | Courtesy Loyola Medicine

At least a dozen elected officials and hospital representatives were on hand on Oct. 17 for the ceremonial groundbreaking of a stormwater abatement project on the site of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

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How Loyola’s Medical School in Maywood Became a Sanctuary for DACA Recipients

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Dr. Mark Kuczewski, a Stritch medical professor, in his office. | Alexa Rogals/ Wednesday Journal 

A local professor has put a medical school located in Maywood on the front lines of the national controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.

Continue reading “How Loyola’s Medical School in Maywood Became a Sanctuary for DACA Recipients”

How a Loyola Initiative Is Spreading Health in Proviso Right Under Your Nose

Friday, September 15, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Attendee’s at the Sept. 9 Voices at the Table event, sponsored by PP4H, get active with dance. | Michael Romain/VFP

On Sept. 9, a few hundred people circulated in and out of the playground of Lexington Elementary School, 415 Lexington St. in Maywood. The school closed in 2015, which made the site of last Saturday’s festivities — what the host organization, Proviso Partners for Health, called Voices at the Table — particularly ironic, like a rose blooming from concrete.

Continue reading “How a Loyola Initiative Is Spreading Health in Proviso Right Under Your Nose”

In Maywood, a Gardening Revolution Could Be Slowly Taking Root


Christopher Epps, the full-time gardener responsible for cultivating the Proviso Giving Garden in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

Saturday, July 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The closing of Aldi in Maywood last year, and Ultra Food in Forest Park and Meijer in Melrose Park this year, have created something of a desert in Proviso Township when it comes to places residents can go to get fresh produce.

But on Madison St. in Maywood, right across the street from Proviso East High School and adjacent ReUse Depot, there’s an oasis.

“I grew too much,” said Christopher Epps, 36, during an interview on Saturday. Epps is the full-time gardener who is slowly, deliberately making the Proviso Partners Giving Garden the start of what he hopes will be a paradigm shift in how Proviso Township residents relate to the food they eat.

He pointed his soiled hand to raised beds of carrots, egg plants, bell peppers, jalapeños, yellow and blue watermelons, collard greens, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, tomato, rhubarb, basil, cilantro, dill — all of it grown organically on a sliver of land that’s roughly the size of someone’s backyard.

“I’m aiming to grow 4,000 pounds of [food],” Epps said. “Right now, I’m at, like, 487. At this rate, I might get more than 4,000 pounds.”

The work of Epps and the Giving Garden are the result of around $2.5 million in grants that Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H) will receive over five years from Trinity Health.

Formed in 2014, PP4H is a coalition of stakeholders that united to fight against childhood obesity in the western suburbs.

The community stakeholders include “Loyola University Health System, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, as well as Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action, Proviso East High School, Quinn Community Center, Green Business Network and more than a dozen other community and social service organizations, government agencies and businesses,” according to,” according to a 2016 Loyola statement announcing the series of Trinity grants.

Epps said he partnered with PP4H and Trinity in order “to teach all of the kids in the area how to grow food.” The grant funding allows Epps to work the garden full-time, 40 hours a week. Epps volunteers another 45 hours on top of the hours for which he’s paid. 

“This was a trial period,” Epps said of the garden, adding that if all goes according to his ambitions, the Madison Street garden will be the first of 13. He plans to set down 12 more gardens in Bellwood, Broadview and Maywood over the next three years.

Each Saturday this summer, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., volunteers will be selling produce grown in the Giving Garden on Madison at a farm stand erected in front of ReUse Depot. Prices for vegetable bundles, such as carrots and chard, range from $1 to $3.

What isn’t sold is donated to charities and social organizations like the Quinn Community Center in Maywood, where all of the produce from the garden is stored after its picked.

By September, Epps said, the garden’s produce will be sold on shelves in four corner stores — two in Maywood, one in Forest Park and one in Oak Park.

“The idea is to make Proviso Township a sustainable food hub,” said Epps. “Some people have to leave outside of the township just to get food and it shouldn’t be that way. You can have a neighborhood that way but you can never have a community that way.”

Epps said that the idea of eating organic produce is a learning process for many residents, one that he helps expedite by often giving away food to residents who live nearby and to the elderly.


Keion Mackey, a Berkeley resident who volunteers with the Proviso Giving Garden in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

“This is food is healing people,” he said. “It’s also a tool for the elderly in the neighborhood to come out. Each morning I speak with them and we exchange ideas.”

The garden is also a place to cultivate young minds like that of Keion Mackey, a teenager who lives in Berkeley but who volunteers his time on the weekends at the garden.

“I’ve been gardening since I was little, when I did it with my grandmother,” he said. “It feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life. My family owns land in Arkansas and Mississippi that we lease to the government to grow soil.”

Alyssa Post, a rising senior at Illinois State University and aspiring dietician who is undergoing an internship at Loyola, said her time at the garden is essential to her career path.

“When I graduate this upcoming spring, I have to do dietetic rotations and Loyola has a master’s program that I eventually want to enroll in,” she said.

Until then, she takes in the hard-earned mastery of Epps, who was on an entirely different career trajectory before taking up gardening.

“Five years ago, I was a forklift operator at Waste Management,” he said. “I was stuck, though. My pay had peaked at around $19. I said, ‘I need to do something else.’ I saw an ad for an internship with the Chicago Botanical Garden. I applied, got it and graduated at the top of my class. They introduced me to PP4H.”

Epps said that, in addition to scaling up, his plans for the Madison St. garden point are sky high — quite literally.

“It’s going to get better,” he said. “I’m thinking about expanding to the roof. You know McCormick Place has the largest rooftop garden in the Midwest. I helped put it up there.” VFP

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Artwork of Local Proviso Students Featured in Community Exhibits

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Artwork created by one of numerous Proviso Township High Schools students on display during Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s Black History Month Exhibition. | Proviso Township High Schools District 209 

Proviso student artworkMonday, March 13, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

[Proviso Township High Schools District 209] Proviso East and PMSA artists had their work represented in two community art exhibits this past month.

The Triton College Annual High School Show and the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s Black History Month exhibition. Triton College, in River Gove, held their reception on Feb. 15. Proviso East had 27 participants, including:

Jala Reid, Cynthia Perra, Amari Johnson, Dominique Wallace, Javonte Dunbar, Kurt Sturgill, Daria Maritnez, Zahory Verdin, Chastity Williams, Jared Charo, Nayelli Mendoza Palomares, Jocelyn Gonzales, Elvin Cortez, Fatima Morales, Brian Barraza, Kevin Stoletto, Jonathan Reyes, Lillian Lopez, Kianna Walker, Gerrund Caffie, Gregorio Velazquez, Andy Miranda, Isabel Saucedo, Keisha Hood, Celeste Loya, Emmy Carpena and Leila Tellez.

PMSA had 10 participants: Elena Buenrostro, Jailene Mireles , Justin Blaylock, Ariadna Perez-Davila, Cynthia Suaste, Nyah Peaches, Lucas Rosa, Melanie Hernandez, Jennifer Orozco and Van Ma.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine hosted an artwork contest with the theme, “Aspire to equality and justice.”

The students who participated in the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Student Art Contest were from Maywood and surrounding areas.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, a reception honoring the exhibiting artists was held at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine where their art was displayed. Many students from Proviso East and PMSA submitted their artwork.

The following Proviso East High School artists participated in the artwork contest:

Kiana Walker, Jay’lan Crout, Gerrund Caffie, Gregorio Velazquez, Malcome Ross, Brian Barraza, LaDashia Fields, Laura Avila, Kennedy Jackson and Nya Mitchell.

Marcia La Porte, Fine Arts and World Languages department chair, stated, “We are all very proud of our students’ hard work and dedication to their own creative process. We appreciate these local opportunities to showcase the finished product.”

La Porte also thanked visual arts instructors at Proviso East High School, who include Allison Hardiman, Daphne Hill, and Felicity Rich. VFP

For more photos, click here.

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Art as Prescription for the Soul: Loyola Med Students, Public Find Solace in Obama’s Likeness, Their Own

Screenshot 2014-10-28 at 8.51.44 AMArtist Jennifer McNulty stands next to her 3-D photo mosaic of President Obama. Below, the photos of various African American firsts are adhered to small tiles that make up Obama’s face. Photo by Michael Romain for the Village Free Press.

Screenshot 2014-10-28 at 8.52.25 AMTuesday, October 28, 2014 || By Michael Romain

MAYWOOD | From several feet away, the image appears to be the corrugated face of President Barack Obama. Walk closer, and the smaller images of other black pioneers — Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Jesse Jackson, Paul Robeson, Maya Angelou, W.E.B. DuBois — begin to crystallize.

The act of quietly contemplating each piece is a kind of medicine, a brief but profound respite from the often stressful world of medical study.

“We care for the human soul and art is just another dimension of that, which helps balance the hard science that we live, do and teach on a daily basis,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, Dean and Chief Diversity Officer at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine here in Maywood.

The pieces of art were aligned on the walls of the school’s atrium during an October 13, reception, the first official opening of the installation of photo mosaics by Oak Park-based artist Jennifer McNulty. The current installation, which will be in place for about a month, is one among a series that will feature various local artists. The medical school presented the exhibition in cooperation with the Oak Park Arts League.

Among the crowd of medical students, administrators and faculty members were a family of four from Oak Park, friends of the artist, whose faces were photographed, digitally edited, adhered to glass or mosaic tiles and assembled onto a map of the Chicago region.

McNulty said that for each piece, she conducts hours of research into the lives of those faces adhered to the tiles. For her photo mosaic of Chicagoland, she took extra precaution.

“For the Chicago piece, I really wanted to be sure that each person was born in Chicago and had an impact on Chicago a lot,” she said. “A lot of research was involved, but that’s also the part that gets me intimately acquainted with each piece.”

McNulty obtained her undergraduate degree in advertising from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and has done graduate work in illustration at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. For 15 years, she worked as an illustrator at magazines and newspapers around the country.



Maywood Fine Arts Porgie and Bess

The artist’s current style, however, was inspired when she and her family moved to London for a period.

“I started to see a lot of mosaic tiles everywhere — in old churches and everything — and I thought, ‘How interesting if I could combine my illustration style with these tiles,'” she said. “So, I began to teach myself mosaics.”

McNulty said that the Obama piece took about a month-and-a-half of research and three to four weeks to physically create.

The research process is an excavation of the past. Her art — a Lazarus-like resurrecting of human life and memory once buried in a textbook conception of history.

In her work, the living merge with, are even partly compiled from, the dead — take away Thurgood Marshall’s tile and Obama’s likeness becomes incomplete.

There’s also the relationship of parts to the whole — remove the Oak Park family from the Chicago mosaic and that landscape loses credence.

It’s all a fitting commentary on the hospital complex — an institution dedicated to healing, making whole — in which the work is exhibited.

From Dean Brubaker’s perspective, the exhibit goes even deeper than that.

“Art is another way that we see God’s beauty in everything.” VFP

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