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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

October 31, 2001 Contact: Sherri McGinnis (312) 996-8277; smcginn@uic.edu


The first Spirit of Women Dream Catchers Awards, sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago's National Center of Excellence in Women's Health, will be presented Thursday, Nov. 1. The awards recognize community heroes - women who have made contributions to work, family and health - that have affected the lives of others. The winners will be announced at a noon ceremony, and all honorees will be recognized at a reception at 5:30 p.m. Both events will be held at UIC in the Illinois Room of the Chicago Circle Center, 750 S. Halsted St.

The three categories for nominations include: a youth recipient aged 14-21; a community recipient aged 22 and over; and a women's health care provider. Ten women will be honored in these areas, and three regional winners will be selected to participate in the national event held in Scottsdale, Ariz., in April.

The Spirit of Women Awards, held in conjunction with the UIC Women's Leadership Symposium, is a national program that celebrates ordinary women accomplishing extraordinary feats. The national Spirit of Women network comprises leading hospitals with programs of excellence in women's health. UIC Medical Center is the only hospital in Chicago with this distinction.

Honorees include:
Community Category Winner

  • Marianna Bulanda, founder of the Tinley Park (Ill.) chapter of Newborns in Need, recruits friends, family and neighbors to sew baby clothes and other items for disadvantaged infants.

Youth Category Winner

  • Alexandra Roetzer, from Batavia, Ill., is a 17-year-old survivor of a rare form of cervical cancer who is organizing other young cancer survivors.

Healthcare Provider Category Winner

  • Kim Riordan is co-director of the Hospital Crisis Intervention Project at Cook County Hospital, a domestic violence training and advocacy program.

Youth Category Honoree

  • Jacqueline Elam has participated in several Peer Intervention Programs as a role model for other teenage mothers balancing family, school and work.

Community Category Honoree

  • Georgia Waller has been a teacher and activities coordinator for the UIC NCAA National Youth Sports Program for 24 years.

Health Care Provider Honorees

  • Juanita Crespo is co-founder of Amigas Latinas, a group for Latina lesbian and bisexual women, and client services/outreach coordinator for the Lesbian Community Cancer Project. She is also the co-facilitator of the only Spanish-speaking Latina lesbian/ bisexual support group in Chicago.
  • Marsha Pearlman is a breast cancer survivor, an operating room nurse and case manager at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, who has written care guidelines for breast cancer patients and also teaches new operating room nurses about compassion and listening skills.
  • Mary Sommers is responsible for the midwifery program at Alivio Medical Center. In 1992, she founded the maternal/child home visiting and education program, the only bilingual program in Chicago to help mothers breastfeed.
  • Mary Ellen Johnson is a graduate of UIC's Jane Addams College of Social Work who has worked in adoption placement, as an oncology social worker, and with battered women and their children.
  • Laura Miller is director of the Women's Psychiatry Team at UIC and works with mentally ill women who often lack insurance or access to healthcare and are overwhelmed by their medical and social situations.

- UIC -

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