2019 Work-Group Breakout Sessions - Click + to Expand


AM and PM Session TitleSupporting Healthy Lifestyles and Healthy Communities 

Chronic diseases and conditions are among the most common and preventable of all health problems --with 7 out of 10 deaths nationally attributed to chronic disease (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Health and wellness are influenced by the places in which people live.  St. Clair County has one of the highest obesity rates in the state of Illinois.  Poverty and Food insecurity rates in the county are well above the national and state averages.  The County ranks 100/102 in Health Behaviors in the County Health Rankings.   Poverty, lack of education, food access, hunger, environmental and community conditions (such as safety, transportation, and infrastructure) adversely influence health and health behaviors in our community.  

Communities can be transformed to support well-being and make healthy choices easy and affordable.  As part of the Healthier Together movement, the Chronic Disease Workgroup is committed to promoting policies, systems, and environments that support healthy lifestyles and healthy communities.  We are a collective of organizations working to purposefully coordinate programming, supports, and resources in a multilayered approach in targeted census tracts as a means of maximizing impact.  Join us as we discuss where we are and where we hope to be!

Session Facilitators:

Greg Davenport is the Executive Director at the East Belleville YMCA. At the East Belleville location, Greg's team has been significantly involved in the Gateway Region YMCA's community health programming - working to provide evidence-based resources for preventing and battling chronic disease. Greg has spent his entire career in the nonprofit sector. He holds a BSBA from Rockhurst University and an MS from Fontbonne University. 

Amy Funk is a SNAP-Ed Unit Educator with the University of Illinois Extension’s Illinois Nutrition Education Program (INEP).  INEP provides nutrition and wellness outreach throughout the state, engaging schools and communities at multiple levels. Ms. Funk is one of 15 SNAP-Ed educators in the state focused on policy, systems and environmental change at the community and school level.   She offers technical support specific to wellness and nutrition policies to several Metro East School Districts, coordinates, and implements various nutrition and wellness initiatives, provides policy and environmental supports to local food pantries, and is a lead contact for multiple health coalitions in the region.  She provides backbone support to the Make Health Happen ESTL Coalition and is co-chair of the St. Clair County Chronic Disease Workgroup. 

Session Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will learn about key health behaviors and health disparities that are adversely impacting health outcomes in the county.
  2. Attendees will learn about current strategies being implemented in the Belleville and East St. Louis area to collectively improve health and enhance quality of life.
  3. Attendees will identify opportunities to collaborate more effectively as agencies to Increases the quality, availability, and effectiveness of educational and community-based programs designed to improve health in targeted footprints.
  4. Attendees will identify where they or their agency can get involved in outlined workgroup efforts. 

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

Session TitleTogether, We Can! One Community’s Journey Toward Reducing Crime and Violence

Violence is a public health issue. Too many lives have been directly and indirectly negatively affected by persistent violence in our communities. This breakout will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about promising place-based initiatives underway in St. Clair County that are bringing together diverse partners—including local law enforcement, researchers and residents—to analyze crime drivers and pursue strategies that reduce crime, spur revitalization and build community-police collaboration.

Session Facilitators: Jessica Fort, MA, Community Justice Specialist, East Side Aligned; and Dr. Charles H. Rogers Jr., Pastor, Mt. Calvary, Church of God In Christ in Washington Park, Illinois.

Jessica Fort is a Community Justice Specialist with East Side Aligned, where she facilitates efforts to reduce crime and violence within Greater East St. Louis. As a native of East St. Louis, Jessica’s passion for her community and interest in law enforcement led her to pursue a B.A in Sociology and an M.A in Criminal Justice, both from McKendree University. She is also the first African American woman to complete and graduate from the Criminal Justice Master’s Program at McKendree University. Jessica has over five years of professional work experience in public service positions for Illinois Department of Corrections, Missouri Department of Corrections- Division of Probation/Parole, and Children’s Home and Aid. In conjunction with her professional career, Ms. Fort has over 10 years of volunteer experience with East St. Louis Community Camp, Concerned Citizens of Precinct 12, and New Life Community Church. She currently resides in her hometown, East St. Louis, IL, where she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends and practicing yoga. 

Dr. Charles H. Rogers Jr. is the oldest of three children born to the late Pastor Charles H. Rogers Sr., and Mrs. Velma G. Rogers. He attended Columbus Public Schools in Ohio, and is a graduate of the Walnut Ridge Senior High School.  Dr. Rogers served in the United States armed forces as an Army, Radar Repair Specialist and an Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist in the Air Force Reserve. Dr. Rogers received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering, a Master of Biblical Studies degree, and an earned Doctor of Theology degree. Throughout the course of his thirty-three year, secular career Dr. Rogers has held many notable positions to include Vice President of Network Engineering, Bank of America Corp.; Systems Engineer for Cisco Systems, Inc.; Manager of Network Services for Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Senior Network Services Manager for DSW Inc.; Director of Infrastructure for Safelite AutoGlass, and is currently the Sr. Manager of IT-Engineering for Express Scripts Inc.  Dr. Rogers accepted the call to the ministry in 1984 and was ordained in 1989. On June 16, 2001 he was officially installed as Pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Church of God In Christ, in Columbus, Ohio. In August 2017 Dr. Rogers was appointed to pastor the Mt. Calvary, Church of God In Christ in Washington Park, Illinois. He was officially installed on September 29th, 2018. 

Session Objectives:

  1. Attendees will learn key principles and tactics for engaging residents and other community stakeholders in developing a community-based crime reduction strategy for their neighborhoods.
  2. Attendees will learn how local churches are coming together with the assistance of Ameren to launch a Brighten the Block program to reduce crime and how it can be replicated in other neighborhoods.
  3. Attendees will learn how two community-based groups are coming together to coordinate their efforts to reduce crime. 

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

Session TitleHow Can the Community Assist Our Schools?

People without high school diplomas suffer a greater burden of acute and chronic illnesses and live, on average, eight less years than their counterparts with high school or college education. Within St. Clair County there are dramatic disparities in high school graduation rates. Educational administrators identify a complex array of factors in the lives of today’s children and in the school environment that constrains academic success. Some of these factors are difficult for schools alone to address. Often unrecognized and untapped, the community can serve as a resource to help address some of the additional needs of children, families, and shortfalls in the school environment. This presentation will discuss some ways in which communities can help schools and their students.

Panel Session Moderator:  Rita Boyd, RN, PhD, Associate Emeritus Professor of Nursing, SIUE School of Nursing

Rita Boyd, RN, PhD is retired from SIUE School of Nursing where she taught undergraduate and graduate students for 15 years. Her area of clinical expertise is clinical/public health nursing. Dr. Boyd has long advocated for students to partner with community agencies to learn about population health and to serve the complex needs of the community. Her PhD is in community health education. She has published in the area of community health and men’s health promotion. She also serves on the Council of Partners for Healthier Together and the Board of Directors for Age Smart Community Resources.

Panel Members include:

Dave Deets has been a school administrator for 11 years and currently serves as the Superintendent of Harmony-Emge SD 175 in West Belleville.  Mr. Deets is active within several organizations, including the West End Belleville Promotional Group, Belleville Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, Egyptian Trust Insurance Benefits Committee, and the Health Education Workgroup. Harmony-Emge School District 175 is proud that all three district schools – Ellis Elementary, Harmony Intermediate, and Emge Jr. High – are recognized as either a State or National School of Character. 

Karan Onstott, Associate Professor of Health Promotion & Wellness, McKendree University 

Diana Wilhold, Director BJC School Outreach & Youth Development. Diana has been with BJC since 1991. She has Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in special education and a Masters degree in non-profit leadership and public administration and policy.

Session Objectives 

  1. Attendees will learn about the connections and pathways of influence between education and health.
  2. Attendees will review steps the education workgroup undertook to determine their priorities and direction.
  3. Attendees will examine the dual aims of promoting educational attainment and health literacy.
  4. Attendees will discuss practical ways the community can support schools in meeting the growing, diverse needs of today’s students.

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

AM Session TitleSubstance Abuse in Pregnancy – Making an Impact and Improving Outcomes

Substance abuse nears epidemic proportions with the most vulnerable victims of this epidemic being the babies born to substance abusing mothers.  Early identification of women at risk is essential to delivery of a healthy infant, yet challenging, given the potential for poor attention to prenatal care often noted in those mothers who use substances during pregnancy.  An opportunity exists to reach women-at-risk at their first entry point into prenatal care, often the emergency department or inpatient obstetrics department. Learn how healthcare providers are addressing this issue and changing the way we identify and treat the patient to promote the best outcomes for mom and baby.

AM Session Facilitator: Donna Stephens, DNP, RNC-OB

Doctor Stephens graduated from BAC in 1981 with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, McKendree College in 1988 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, University of Missouri in 1992 with a Master’s Degree in Nursing and McKendree University in 2018 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree.  She has been an OB nurse for 33 years in various roles from Labor and Delivery nurse, Nurse Educator, Clinical Nurse Specialist to Nursing Director.  Her primary interest and course training is related to substance abuse in pregnancy with a goal to promote early identification through screening, referral to appropriate resources, and support and education for the pregnant substance user.  Dr. Stephens also started a local NarAnon chapter in Belleville to support families and friends of addicts.

AM Session Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will identify contributing factors to the substance abuse epidemic.
  2. Attendees will learn about the benefits of early identification of pregnant substance users.
  3. Attendees will recognize available resources in the community.
  4. Attendees will discuss the impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome on that patient and the community.
  5. Attendees will identify ways to reduce the stigma associated with substance abuse in pregnancy.  
Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

 PM Session TitleThe ABCs of Safe Sleep for Babies

Every baby deserves to celebrate his or her FIRST birthday.  But sadly, many babies die before age one.  The death of a child before the age of one year is a measure of a community’s overall health status.  Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.  Sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of death for infants from one month to one year of age.  Come and learn the ABCs of Safe Sleep and hear how local partners in St. Clair County are working together to promote evidenced-based practices and common messaging to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

PM Session Facilitators: Lori Winkler, MSN, RN, TNS and Cynthia Price, MPH

Lori Winkler has worked in emergency medicine as a paramedic and emergency department nurse providing emergent medical care and prevention education to children and adults for more than 30 years.  Today, Lori coordinates community outreach injury prevention programs for the Safe Kids St. Louis Coalition led by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. The coalition’s focus areas include child home safety, passenger safety, bike & pedestrian safety, poison safety, and gun safety. 

In May 2017, Lori received St. Louis Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing  Award for her efforts to reduce infant mortality from unsafe sleep practices, by educating parents and providing safe sleep environments for parents in need.  Lori was also awarded the Nancy Fedak Ross “Community Nurse of the Year” award at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in May 2018.  She is a member of the Emergency Nurses Association and has received her Trauma Nurse Specialist certification from the Illinois Board of Nursing. 

Lori’s goal is to prevent children from ending up in emergency departments and to reduce preventable infant and child deaths. 

Cynthia L. Price is Program Manager for SIHF Healthcare Healthy Start Program. Healthy Start works to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy, reduce infant mortality, and reduce disparities in maternal, infant and child health in St. Clair County.  Ms. Price is co-chair of the St. Clair County Maternal Child Health Workgroup and coordinator for the Healthy Start Consortium. 

Before joining Healthy Start, she was a Pediatric Research Patient Coordinator at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). Her work at WUSM included clinical and community-based research with pediatric and perinatal patients. 

Cynthia received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and her Master’s Degree in Public Health from St. Louis University School of Public Health and Social Justice.  

PM Session Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will receive an overview of infant mortality in St. Clair County.
  2. Attendees will learn about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), and identify factors associated with increased risks for these outcomes.
  3. Attendees will identify ways to lower the risk of infant sleep-related deaths in our community.
  4. Attendees will discuss initiatives (efforts, work) taking place in St. Clair County to increase infant safe sleep practices and reduce infant mortality.
  5. Attendees will identify ways they can engage in efforts to reduce infant mortality. 

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

Session TitleSuicide - Why So Many Men in their Middle Years?

Nationally forty percent of individuals who die by suicide are Men in the Middle Years between the ages of 35 and 64. The St. Clair County Coroner’s Office reports an even higher rate locally with fifty-three percent of men in this age range dying by suicide (2018). Men today are facing tremendous pressures that are leading to mental health issues and substance use. Men are seeing suicide as a means to cope with stress, depression, despair and hopelessness and to end their pain. Men representing our community will present information that will help community members gain a better understanding and insight to suicide and Men in the Middle years and call community members to action to help be a part of suicide prevention.

Session Facilitators: 

Tom Smith (Moderator) is a co-founder of Karla Smith Behavioral Health which offers a clinical and whole-life path to on-going recovery for anyone with a mental illness or substance abuse problem and their families.  The organization is named after his daughter, Karla, who suffered from bipolar disorder before taking her own life.  Smith is the author of a number of books, including The Tattered Tapestry: A Family's Search for Peace with Bipolar Disorder; A Balanced Life – 9 Strategies for Coping with the Mental Health Problems of a Loved One, and The Unique Grief of Suicide.

Darrell M Coons, MDiv, CCISM, CTSS serves as Chaplain for several local fire departments. He is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management and is an Approved Instructor for the ICISF. He is a Certified Trauma Service Specialist, a member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and team leader for the St. Clair County Disaster Mental Health Volunteers. He is also a certified QPR Trainer.

Nicholas Dodson, AFL-CIO Labor Liaison – Labor Engagement began work for his family business at age 13 in 1973. His career has included working at an underground Arizona copper mine and in home improvement sales, plumbing and piping, and in the safety fields of the construction industry as an authorized instructor of OSHA courses and FA/CPR/AED courses where he continues to work part-time teaching safety courses and FA/CPR. He is currently employed by United Way as the AFL-CIO Labor Liaison and is a Past President of Union Local 360 Plumbers and Gasfitters, Past President of the Building and Construction Trades Delegate Council and has served as an officer on other Regional Labor Councils. Recently assisted on the executive planning committee for the University of Missouri Extensions’ “Opioids in the Workplace” 2-day conference held at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

Joe Malone, LCSW MSW, is the St. Louis VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator and a Suicide Prevention Team Member at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, Jefferson Barracks Division. He is an Air Force Veteran. He has a Masters in Social Work and Masters in Education. He is married and a father of two sons and loves to snorkel, read, and travel. 

Session Objectives

  1. Attendees will gain an understanding of Suicide among Men in the Middle Years.
  2. Attendees will learn about mental health and substance use issues and why suicide keeps rising for men in the middle years.
  3. Attendees will gain knowledge of the relationship between suicide and occupations that are a high risk of suicide for men and other key risk and protective factors.
  4. Attendees will learn effective approaches, strategies, programs, and resources and brainstorm possible solutions the community can implement to support men’s wellness.

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

AM Session TitleThe Opioid Crisis in St. Clair County

St. Clair County communities have felt the impact of the opioid crisis over the past several years.  Individuals struggle to access services, and families have been devastated by the loss of loved ones to overdose deaths.  Learn how local agencies, coalitions, businesses, and other groups are working together to reduce the impact of opioids in St. Clair County.  Hear about how addiction happens, new treatment options, availability of NARCAN, and community resources.  

AM Session Facilitators:

Karen Tilashalski, Project Coordinator for Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths Program, Chestnut Health Systems is working on a Prevent Opioid Overdose Death grant through the Illinois Department of Human Services.  She is focused on harm reduction of people with opioid use disorder.  Her work involves community awareness, NARCAN® training and distribution, coalition work, and data collection.  Karen holds a Masters in Education degree from SIUE. Karen has worked as a prevention specialist for 15 years and as an educator for over 40 years.

Brent Cummins is the current Director of Adult Addiction Treatment and Recovery Support at Chestnut Health Systems. He has over 17 years of experience providing and overseeing evidence-based substance use treatment in Southwestern Illinois. Brent has a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with Gender Competency & Adolescent Treatment Endorsements. He is also a Certified Clinical Supervisor for the Community Reinforcement Approach; a comprehensive behavioral program for treating substance use problems. Brent currently manages several local, state, and federal projects focused on improving outcomes for individuals living with opioid use disorders. 

Chris Hoell is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Violent Crimes Division of the United States Attorney's Office. The U.S. Attorney's Office covers the lower 36 counties of Illinois, including St. Clair and Madison. Working with federal, state, and local law enforcement, the USAO prosecutes large-scale narcotics cases, including smuggling, manufacturing and distribution. Chris is also the office's Prevention and Reentry Coordinator and works with convicted felons returning to the community after federal prison sentences. Chris has worked as a prosecutor at the state and federal level for over 13 years. 

AM Session Objectives 

  1. Attendees will learn what opioids are and how addiction happens;
  2. Attendees will understand the impact of opioids on St. Clair County communities, families, and individuals;
  3. Attendees will identify resources and supports available to individuals and families in St. Clair County;
  4. Attendees will understand small steps they can take to help keep reduce substance use in our communities.
Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.

PM Session TitleWhat You Need to Know About Vaping

Youth in St. Clair County are exposed to numerous risk factors related to substance use.  New in the past few years is a huge increase in the number of youth who report using vape and electronic cigarette products.  Information is available about the potential health risks associated with vaping.  The presenters will share information about these products, including what they look like and how harmful they are to youth.  

PM Session Facilitators:

Mike Luther holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  Mike has been a Prevention Specialist with Chestnut Health Systems for the past year.  His work is supported by a Substance Abuse Prevention Services grant through the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use, Prevention, and Recovery.  He currently provides youth prevention education and outreach services in the Belleville and Swansea communities.

Natasha Morrow has been a Prevention Specialist with Hoyleton Youth and Family Services for almost 3 years through funding made possible by the Substance Abuse Prevention Services grant from the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services. Natasha provides Prevention Education to middle school aged youth in Clinton and Washington county schools as well as a variety of community and school based prevention services geared towards reducing substance use among youth. 

PM Session Objectives 

  1. Attendees will be able to identify vaping products;
  2. Attendees will learn about the potential health risks for St. Clair County youth;
  3. Attendees will learn about small steps they can take to help keep reduce substance use among youth;
  4. Attendees will identify resources and supports available to youth and families in St. Clair County

 Session Slides and Handouts will be posted once available.


2019 Breakout Session Objectives

At the breakout sessions, you will…

  1. Learn about the work-group approach being supported by the Healthier Together movement and the collective impact results they are striving to achieve.
  2. Learn about successful strategies and best practices for addressing the health priority.
  3. Discuss the sustainability of the programs and activities being conducted by the work-groups and share ideas for enhancement.
  4. Identify opportunities for collaboration with other attendees.
  5. List concrete action steps for you and/or your organization to address the health priority.