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 was created. 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.