Because SwedishAmerican originated from community need, the organization always has been focused on the well-being of Rockford and the surrounding region. This focus extends beyond healthcare delivery and encompasses efforts to transform the population’s health through education and screenings. The health system’s educational programs reach thousands of people each year. Some, such as the Cardiology Millennium Conference, Heart Care: Ask the Experts and Planting the Seeds of Hope (breast cancer awareness), have been offered for more than a decade. Building on the momentum of these successful initiatives, SwedishAmerican has expanded the scope of its educational efforts. In addition to a growing number of health presentations in regional communities, the health system also has introduced several large-scale events.
Because accidents are the leading cause of injury and death for children ages 14 and under, the SAM’s Safety Fair originated in 2011. Held in conjunction with Emergency Medical Service Week and named after SwedishAmerican’s mascot, SAM, the event has successfully raised safety awareness among hundreds of area children. Engaging, interactive stations provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about roller skate and skateboard safety; water and sun safety; sports safety; Stranger Danger; firearms safety and animal safety. The event is an excellent example of SwedishAmerican’s relationships with various community partners. Community participants have included fire departments from Rockford, Byron, Roscoe and Oregon, as well as the River Demons Roller Derby team, Dolphin Swim Club and SwedishAmerican’s Caring Canines Program.
According to national statistics, the number of prostate cancer cases is increasing and there is a one in six chance that American men will be diagnosed with the disease. For this reason, in 2011 SwedishAmerican introduced a creative men’s health event called “Guys Night Out,” with a goal of raising awareness about prostate cancer. Attendees enjoyed complimentary rounds of billiards, as well as burgers, brats and beverages. In addition to a presentation by UW Health Urologist Dr. David Jarrard and Q & A with a medical expert panel, United Way President and CEO Paul Logli shared his personal story. All attendees received a $25 voucher for a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening at any SwedishAmerican Medical Group clinic. The event addressed a significant need to educate the community about men’s oncology health issues by linking a fun activity to a serious cause.