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Children’s Health Conference Successful

Jason Kotecki was the keynote speaker last week at the First Annual Southern Illinois Conference on Children’s Health on the John A. Logan College campus. Kotecki’s presentation was entitled, ‘Escape Adulthood: Living and Working With Less Stress and More Fun.’ (Logan Media Services photo)

Jason Kotecki was the keynote speaker last week at the First Annual Southern Illinois Conference on Children’s Health on the John A. Logan College campus. Kotecki’s presentation was entitled, ‘Escape Adulthood: Living and Working With Less Stress and More Fun.’ (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – A three-day health conference focusing specifically on children was well received on the John A. Logan College campus last week.

Organized by the Southern Illinois Coalition for Children and Families, the conference kicked off last Thursday, Nov. 1 with a welcome from Lori Longueville, Director of the Child Care Resource and Referral Center at the college.

Keynote speaker was Miriam Link-Mullison, Director of the Jackson County Health Department. Panelists were: Diane Land, Community Health Coordinator for Southern Illinois Healthcare; Brad Burklow, Clinical Director of Project Connect; and Angie Bailey, Director of Health Education at the Jackson County Health Department.

Jason Kotecki, who helps individuals and families turn stress into laughter and having more fun each day, was the featured speaker on Friday, Nov. 2.

His presentation was entitled, “Escape Adulthood: Living and Working With Less Stress and More Fun.”

Other presenters included: Molly Johnson, a Family Nurse Practitioner; Nancy Maruyama, a Registered Nurse; Angie Hampton and Casey Carlile, both Family Nurse Practitioners; Kathy Chan, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition; Sherri Lukes, Registered Dental Hygienist; Mary Alice McCubbins, Registered Nurse.

Lindsay DuBois of Springfield and Lacey Gibson of Carbondale were busy taking photographs and posting comments on Facebook and Twitter about the children’s health conference as volunteers  of WSIU Public Broadcasting last week. It marked the first time WSIU had organized a social networking initiative to share a conference online. (Logan Media Services photo)

Lindsay DuBois of Springfield and Lacey Gibson of Carbondale were busy taking photographs and posting comments on Facebook and Twitter about the children’s health conference as volunteers of WSIU Public Broadcasting last week. It marked the first time WSIU had organized a social networking initiative to share a conference online. (Logan Media Services photo)

The closing keynote speaker was Maichle Bacon, President of the Illinois Public Health Association speaking on “The Importance of Improving Children’s Health.

Topics ranged from treatment of childhood obesity and preventing sleep-related infant deaths to healthcare reform, concussion recognition and improving oral health.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, Dr. Diane Craft, Professor of Physical Education at the State University of New York at Cortland, was the keynote speaker. Her presentation was on “Active Play for All: Including preschoolers with special needs in physical activities with their peers.”

Other panelists were: Kristen Parks, nurse consultant with the Egyptian Health Department; Marilyn Murry, infant toddler specialist with the Child Care Resource and Referral Center; Jodi Braid, Doctor of Dental Medicine; Jeff Franklin, Project Director with the Illinois Delta Network; Beth Spezia, WSIU Public Broadcasting; Terry Brown, Medical Director with St. Joseph’s Memorial Hospitals Sleep Disorders Center; Milly Kaiser, independent consultant; Marla Wood, Registered Nurse with the Hamilton Memorial Hospital District; John Shadowens, Manager of Prevention Services with the H Group; Kirsten Shaper and Sherell Sparks with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders; Julie Short, Mental Health Specialist; Marcella Donkin Bono, Clinical Education Specialist with Trauma Services at St. Louis Children’s Hospital; Brad Burklow, Clinical Director with the Child and Adolescent Division of the Egyptian Health Department; Kathy Hollowich, Project Leader for STAR NET, Region IV; and Nancy Maruyama, Executive Director for Education and Community Outreach SIDS of Illinois, Inc.

Also present were children’s authors Rick Gravatt and Logan’s own Marilyn Toliver.

Missy Brown, Director Consultant with the Child Care Resource and Referral Center at Logan, said the feedback obtained from participants was all positive.

“We were thrilled with that, as well as the excitement for the future of this conference and continued partnerships with those in the health community,” Brown said. “It was wonderful to have early childhood professionals and healthcare professionals learning from each other around such an important topic as children’s health.”

Brown said her favorite moment on Saturday was when the SIU School of Preparatory Arts performed during lunch.

“It was amazing to see the talent that is being fostered in our Southern Illinois children, knowing how much that contributes to their overall health and well being.”

The conference was presented by the Southern Illinois Coalition for Children and Families with support from Child Care Resource and Referral at JALC; Illinois Action for Children; JALC; Southern Illinois Healthcare; First Southern Bank; Murry’s Child Development Center; and Southern Stock Charities.