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GLOW Gala debut supports Rush's mental health program

Chicago Tribune - 11/8/2017

Nov. 08--The Woman's Board of Rush University Medical Center hosted its inaugural fall benefit GLOW on Nov. 3. Celebrating the board's 133-year history of volunteerism and support, the event raised funds for and introduced Rush's school-based mental health program. Set to launch in 2018, the program will provide mental health screenings and a treatment network in underserved communities surrounding the medical center's West Side campus.

During a cocktail reception in the Art Institute'sTerzo Piano, guests enjoyed dramatic skyline views and a performance by the Patrick Donley musical group. Rush medical and nursing students served as volunteers selling raffle tickets.

Nearly 400 guests enjoyed a seated dinner in Griffin Court that was aglow with soft gold lighting. Tables were topped with 4- and 5-foot-tall gilded centerpieces, some filled with hanging orchids. Woman's Board President Debra Beck welcomed the crowd and spoke about her passion for Rush. "The hospital provides the most warm, compassionate and quality care that you could imagine. They treat everybody like they're a member of the family," Beck said.

Gala Chairwoman Pamela Fitzgerald shared the board's history of hosting one of the longest-running fashion shows in the country. "For 90 years, our fashion show served as the Woman's Board's signature event. This new event will allow us to feature the Principal Project that we fund each year a little more directly, " she said. She then introduced keynote speaker, Dr. Larry Goodman, CEO of the Rush medical system.

Goodman spoke about the West Side Health Collaborative, an effort to engage other hospitals, universities, schools and additional organizations to become "anchors for community health." He also announced the board's goal to fund a mental health initiative for at-risk youth, which will be served by Rush's three school-based health centers operating in Orr Academy, Crane Medical Preparatory High School and Simpson Academy for Young Women.

"We've had teams at these schools for a number of years, and what they have noticed is that since 2010, there has been about a 400 percent increase in the number of students needing and requesting mental health services," Goodman noted. "The health care outcomes in eight neighborhoods on the West Side translate to a shorter duration of life. If you live on the Gold Coast, average age of survival is about 85 years. Three "L" stops to the west of Rush, it drops to about 69 years. ... This can't be a truly great town until it's a great town for everyone."

Pianist and composer Eric Genuis, accompanied by singer Natasha Lynn Foley, Yongxiang Ren on violin and Molly Rife on the cello, provided dinner entertainment. Afterward, guests were invited to view the European Modern collections and join popular DJ Madrid Perry for an after-party in Terzo Piano.

The Woman's Board reached its gala fundraising goal of more than $450,000 to fund the mental health initiative that will "ensure that children have the support they need to cope with the challenges they face."

Since it started keeping fundraising records in 1974, the Woman's Board has raised $33.6 million for efforts at Rush.

Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.

More coverage: Find more photos and events at www.chicagotribune.com/candidcandace. Visit Candid Candace's website at www.candidcandace.com, or follow her on Twitter @CandidCandace.

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(c)2017 the Chicago Tribune

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