Ris Orhorha is making waves in America’s multi-million dollar health sector. She is the Founder/CEO, Center for Health Services in the State of Illinois (USA). She is an American of Lagos-Nigeria descent. Her center provides education and health care to children and adults with special needs, like autism and diabetes, in unique ways that attract government and institutional funding.
Speaking to HAMILTONSTYLE Friday, 10 April 2015 in an exclusive interview held in our offshore office in Shaumburg, Illinois, Mrs Orhorha, mother of two, shared her landmark efforts with her three-year-old non-for-profit center after a promising banking career that spanned 10 years…
What is your professional background?
I studied Economics and Health Administration. For about 10 years, did banking, investments, business management, marketing, education and healthcare. I worked with JP Morgan Chase and helped coordinate Chase Good Works. I worked with physicians in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
How has this helped you with your Center for Health Services?
I have brought into our work in the center 26 years of community service experience. I have collaborated with United Way, Salvation Army, Fish Food Bank, Community Crisis Center and Clearbrook Center. I also worked with New School University and Providence House in New York providing support for women and their children; Young Adult Institute (YAI Network) children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I have a passion for helping children and families live more peacefully.
What specific services do you render?
CHS believes everyone deserves good health care and education. Our commitment is to improve lives by funding research, providing education, health care, increasing awareness, advocating for children and adults with social, learning and intellectual disabilities as well as genetic disorders. Our goal is to provide services to families with autism, Down syndrome, sickle cell disease and diabetes. We partner with health care facilities, schools, corporations, families and communities in the Chicago land area and countries around the world. More technically speaking, we provide daily diabetes management, gestational diabetes awareness and training, sickle cell disease and hemoglobin screening, testing and education blood drive, behavior and speech therapy, support network and technical assistance service and family educational conference and parents support groups, various support networks and technical assistance in all the aforementioned. We collaborate with all school districts in Chicagoland area by working with parents, teachers and physicians to provide relevant, effective and efficient implementation of therapy plans for children and young adults with intellectual disabilities in the schools,
provide social and recreational activity programs that are designed to offer children, teens and young adults with Autism or intellectual disabilities, partner with hospitals and village health centers, provide free healthcare services for the families, provide resources or transportation services for family to apply for (PUNS) Priority for Urgent Needs for Services, provide healthcare support and weight management education. Our self esteem program helps children and teens develop a positive behavior.
What plans do you have for Nigeria?
Sickle cell disease is a leading genetic illness in Nigeria and other African countries in addition to people’s vulnerability to malaria. When someone has sickle cell disease and the pain is not under control, it might lead to lots of complications and can be life threatening. We will ultimately take our specialized services to Africa, starting with Nigeria.
What brought this part of you to life despite a very good career in banking?
The idea to start the CHS came when our son, then six years old, brought home information and a donation box for children with Leukemia. He told me he was going to donate all of his money to the children because they needed our help. He emptied his piggy bank into the donation box. He also asked his dad and I to donate, which we happily did (Read the full story here http://www.centerforhealthservices.org/#!our-story/c1qi2
Below are three testimonials for CHS…
I found out about the Center for Health Services at the 2014 Health and Wellness Expo. They were providing free health screenings and backpacks with school supplies for families with special needs and low income families. Due to limited resources, I thought it was a good idea to get the backpacks and school supplies for my children. I also spoke with a nutritionist about my diabetes. The resources provided by Center for Health Services really helped me to manage my diabetes and prevent further complications. The event gave me many great resources and really motivated me to take a more active role in my health and well being – Parent
My child has autism and the services his school provided were not effective enough to help him improve his speech and behavior. Ever since he started attending therapy sessions at Center for Health Services, we have seen a significant improvement in his social and learning abilities. CHS therapists work with my family at home and at the center; their individual therapy sessions are able to give my child the proper time and attention he needs to learn and grow – Parent
You hosted a great event! We look forward to more events. We were able to reach out to many people who needed information through your health fair. It is a team effort and together we can be sure to educate the community on health and wellness at future events – Blue Cross Blue Shield
What keeps centers like yours relevant to the American society?
We have learned a great deal about what kinds of programs have been beneficial for individuals with special needs and genetic disorders. A significant barrier to treatment for children and adults with disabilities and genetic disorders is that there are simply not enough treatment services available for those most in need of such services. Schools attempt to provide services for students, but they are severely restricted in what they can provide because of substantial budget issues. Faced with increasing pressures to reduce medical costs, the broader health care system in the United States and around the world, does not and cannot provide the range of services required to meet the needs of an increasing number of intellectual disabilities and genetic disorders in individuals, both children and adults.
As we speak, our center have immediate plans to do the following things, upon receiving the right funding:
• Acquire tools for diagnosis and education.
• Enhance our facilities to meet the demand for intellectual disability services.
• Expand and strengthen our services within the State of Illinois, across the United States, and to countries around the world where families suffer from intellectual disabilities and genetic disorders.
• Provide computer training and employment support services for youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities and families with low income.
• Provide occupational and physical therapy services
• Expand our gestational diabetes awareness and training capacity; and provide more advance services for women and children.
• Increase our social and recreational activities for children, teens and young adults.
Our biggest annual event is the Health and Wellness Expo coming up on July 25 at the Victoria Park, Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Participants are already registering for this on our website and on Facebook.