May 2022 McK-UDOS Coalition Newsletter



While the state of Illinois has ended its mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions, we want to continue to advocate for precautionary measures and guidance to help reduce the spreading of COVID-19 through proper hand washing, social distancing, respiratory etiquette and cleaning and disinfecting regularly. We are currently fully reopened with all programs and services available for in-person and virtual access.

McK-UDOS Coalition Meeting Minutes

Date: Thursday, May 12, 2022
Time: 11:30 am- 1:00 pm via Zoom


Attendance: 12 participants

Abigail Torres (MAHA), Joseph Mele (DEA), Carlos Rodriguez (WestCare Illinois), Jessica Casiano (Chicago HIDTA), Marshay Johnson (Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center), Peter Xu (Project Vision), Karina Cordova (Saint Anthony Hospital Community Wellness Program), Kaitie Panka (Youth Outreach Services), Erin Virgo (Respiratory Health Association), Andrew Piotrowski (MAHA), Allison Precht (MAHA), Lina Xie (MAHA)

2. PRESENTATION- The Seven Challenges by Carlos Rodriguez (WestCare Illinois)

  • Method of approaching discussion of substance use
  • Engage youth with questions to get them to open up and reflect. Ages range from 14-18 years and up to 21 years old.
    • Examples:
      1. Challenge #2 – “what do you like about (insert substance here)?”
      2. Challenge #3 – “what are some unintended consequences of using (insert substance here)?”
  • This approach can be implemented in schools, or in more private settings (i.e. the home)
  • Currently being implemented at 7 alternative schools
  • Individuals interested in bringing in The Seven Challenges to youth can reach out to Carlos at [email protected]


      • Nalaxone, overdoes reversal medication, is now available in Chicago Public Libraries through CDPH on the South and West side of Chicago
      • Asian Heritage Month event co-hosted by MAHA and other partner organizations took place on May 14th from 11am to 3pm in Chinatown Square
      • MAHA was approved by IDHS Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) for a Substance Use Treatment License!
        • MAHA can provide direct treatment support services to clients dealing with substance use disorder
        • MAHA will provide counseling and therapy services to adults and adolescents
        • MAHA is still working on hiring currently for qualified addictions counselor(s)
        • More information will be shared with the coalition to promote this service at a later date


              • Carlos Rodriguez (WestCare Illinois)
                • WestCare Illinois will be implementing 4Safe at 2 neighborhood festivals this year and more information will be shared at a later date
                  • Fiesta del Sol in Pilsen
                  • 1865 (Juneteenth) Celebration
                • Student volunteers will get free passes to the festival
                • Student volunteers can also get their community service hours for probation or for graduation
                • Activity: They will help to identify positive behaviors with the goal of preventing underage drinking or drug use at the festivals
              • Kaitie Panka (Youth Outreach Services)
                • One Summer Chicago (, opportunities for youth employment over the summer
                • YOS is looking for job placement sites for 100 students in the North and West side of Chicago neighborhoods
                • Interested individuals that would like to host or know of any sites that would like to partner can contact Kaitie at [email protected]
              • Peter Xu (Project Vision)
                • New coalition member: Case Manager from Project Vision
                • Assist with identifying community resources for parents and youth
              •  Erin Virgo (Respiratory Health Association)
                • New coalition member: Senior Program Manager from RHA
                • RHA focus on tobacco and on lung health but hope to expand scope of focus and services to more audience groups
              •  Marshay Johnson (Chicago Children's Advocacy Center)
                • CCAC was approved for a grant that will allow “drop in” program for clients to be seen immediately for a 1-hour session to provide assessment to identify for further follow-up services

              4. OPEN DISCUSSION

              • Brainstorming Activity – What are some projects for the coalition to work on in 2022-2023?
              • This jamboard will be referred back to periodically throughout the year
              • Ideas shared:
                1. Youth programs, summer activities
                2. Resource Guide for the community to gain information about prevention and treatment services
                3. In-person meetings
                a. This is something we would like to again in the future!
                4. Creating a weekly newsletter to share updates/events taking place in the community

                5. OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS 

                • Fentanyl test kits are now available for distribution at MAHA. Interested individuals in picking up test kits and receiving training can reach out to Andrew at [email protected]
                • Peter Xu
                  • Project Vision hosted an art show at the Springhill Suites (old Chicago Public Library Chinatown Branch), 10-3 PM this Saturday
                • Lina announced her departure from MAHA and McK-UDOS
                  • Andrew will be taking over McK-UDOS coalition in Lina’s absence

                7. NEXT MEETING

                • Next Meeting – Thursday, July 14 from 11:30am – 1:00pm