New Women’s Health Initiative to open at Swedish Covenant Hospital

When it opens this fall, the Mayora Rosenberg Women’s Health Center at Swedish Covenant Hospital will provide north side women with a comfortable, convenient space to receive health care services. This project would not have happened without the support of numerous elected officials and community leaders—if it was not for you, thousands of north side women would continue to face difficult barriers to accessing health care.

To help our community stay up to speed with this transformative project, we will be sending periodic updates on everything from construction milestones to Q&As with key staff members. We hope you will follow along and share this exciting news with all of your constituents, whether that’s on social media, in newsletters or at community meetings.

For our first installment, we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Sikkila MS, RN, APN. In June, Shannon began her new role as the hospital’s Women’s Health Navigator. In this role, Shannon will help women navigate services and resources across the hospital to ensure that their health needs are met. She will have a pivotal role in the Women’s Health Center once it opens, working closely with patients to determine their unique needs and mapping out their care accordingly. In a recent interview, Shannon discussed the importance of comprehensive women’s health services and her excitement about her new role:

Why did SCH and its partners decide to create a Women’s Health Center?
We recognized that there was a need for women in our community, and throughout Chicago, to have access to comprehensive health services in a comfortable setting. We’re also hoping to increase access to education and other resources related to women’s health. We have some of the best technology that’s available for preventive services, and to put all of those pieces together in one place helps ensure access for women. This is the first program that I’m aware of that aims to bridge all of these services, and I think it will be a model for the future.

Can you explain your role as Women’s Health Navigator?
My role is to assist patients in removing any kinds of barriers they would encounter in accessing preventive services and treatments. These barriers might include child care concerns, transportation or anything else that would prevent them from getting the services they need.

What is your professional background?
After I received my nursing degree, I worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse at Mercy Hospital on Chicago’s south side. I was also a general perinatal nurse. I came to SCH in August 2012 as a breast health navigator.

How will your new role differ from your position as a breast health navigator?
I will be working with a lot of the same patient population, with some expansions in terms of age and health needs. I am excited to be more involved in the entire continuum of health care for women, not limited to breast issues or concerns. I’ll be able to assist women throughout all of their health care needs. Women’s health is something I’m very passionate about, in all of its forms.

Can women call you now, or do they have to wait until the center opens this fall?
Yes, they can call me now! Even though the center is not open, we will move ahead and coordinate care for them. Even if the physical services they need are not in the Women’s Health Center, we will be able to ensure that the patient is appropriately navigated. My goal is to be as accessible as possible. The earlier we can find out what women need, the better our ability to provide those services.

To contact Shannon directly, please call 773-293-4178, or email her at ssikkila@SwedishCovenant.org.

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