Last week, the Ounce was honored to host the newly appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, for a visit to our Hayes Investment Center, where much of our doula and home visiting work happens in support of pregnant mothers, new parents and young children. We were joined by Alderman Pat Dowell, who represents Chicago’s 3rd ward, where the Ounce’s Educare Chicago school is located, as well as Jen Vidis, Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike has made it a priority to identify areas where we can integrate and promote services to improve the health of women, infants, children, adolescents, as well as children with special health care needs. Ald. Dowell has focused on enhancing school programs in Chicago’s 3rd ward. Through her work to improve the infrastructure in her district, she has sought to improve educational access and outcomes for Chicago families.
Last week’s visit brought city and state leaders together to discuss the critical work the Ounce is doing with children and families in providing home visiting and doula services to families across Illinois.
The meeting further engaged participants in a conversation about how best to address critical public health issues facing mothers and young children, both in the city and across the state, and the role that prenatal to age three early childhood services can play in improving outcomes for young children and their families.
The Ounce is thrilled to continue growing the relationships with the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Public Health and excited to work together to improve the health outcomes of all Illinois children and families.