Press Release

May 22, 2006

Gov. Blagojevich recognizes a doctor and nurse for their excellence in pediatric care and childhood injury prevention initiatives

Doctor honored with Lifetime Achievement Award, nurse with Community Service Award

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, presented Karen Sheehan, M.D. and Dawn Frank, RN, with the Ron W. Lee, M.D.-Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards for their contributions to childhood care. The awards are given annually by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program to recognize those dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in one of three award categories - Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence and Community Service.

“It is important to honor those who take so much care with our children, our future,” said Gov. Blagojevich. As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children, but sometimes accidents or illness happen, and that is when we turn to those is pediatric care to help our children through difficult situations.”

This year’s recipients of the Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are:

  • Lifetime Achievement – Dr. Karen Sheehan, M.D., MPH – Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • Clinical Excellence – Dr. Salil Gupta, M.D., FAAP – St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Belleville
  • Clinical Excellence – Dr. John Hafner, Jr. – Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria
  • Community Service – Dawn Frank, R.N., BSN, TNS, Lake Forest Hospital’s Grayslake Outpatient and Acute Care Facility, Grayslake
  • Community Service – Marion Unit 2 School Board, Marion

“It is my honor to present, on behalf of the Governor, these awards to Dr. Karen Sheehan and Dawn Frank for their dedication to the highest quality of pediatric care and their solid commitment to research, injury prevention initiatives and improving the quality of life for children and their families,” said Dr. Whitaker.

Karen Sheehan, M.D. is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. For almost two decades she has been actively involved in childhood injury prevention initiatives and is recognized at city, state and national levels. As an emergency department physician at a busy Chicago pediatric trauma center, Dr. Sheehan has been a daily witness to the devastation that injuries have on young lives. Early in her career, she became the co-founder of the Cabrini Green Youth Program, which later expanded to multiple sites and became incorporated as the Chicago Youth Program. This program works to provide a safe, structured environment to underserved high risk youth and facilitates their ability to grow up under more protective and proactive conditions. She was also instrumental in securing designation for Children’s Memorial Hospital as an Injury Free Coalition for Kids site, through which mentoring is provided to other hospitals and injury prevention advocates throughout the Greater Chicago area. Through this program, Dr. Sheehan leads a number of initiatives, including the Stop the Falls Coalition, which provides education and window guards to parents and the general public in order to prevent childhood falls from windows. She has also been responsible for the development of a comprehensive Injury Prevention and Research Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital which oversees 15 prevention and research programs, and is recognized as a model for injury prevention programming and public policy development. In addition to these injury prevention efforts, she continues her emergency medicine practice as well as volunteering for a youth health clinic, where she provides medical care and promotes good health habits to families in her community.

Dawn Frank, RN is the Nurse Manager for the Grayslake Outpatient and Acute Care Center in Grayslake. She has been a registered nurse for 29 years, devoting the majority of her nursing career to emergency care at Lake Forest Hospital. In 2003 when Lake Forest Hospital was building their Outpatient and Acute Care Center in Grayslake, she left her position in the emergency department to assume responsibility of this center. In its first year of operation, she saw that the volume of patient visits exceeded initial projections by 21 percent and also found a higher representation of pediatric cases than expected. Dawn began to assure the offering of pediatric friendly and focused healthcare services. She soon recognized that many of the visits to the center were related to injuries that had occurred within the home and community. With this information in hand, she began to plan community education programs and wellness services for young children and their parents. In addition, she began to rally support from various departments and individuals at the hospital and within the community to host a Pediatric Safety Fair in order to provide families with information and education related to a variety of health issues such as first aid, choking hazards, poison prevention, family nutrition, stranger danger, health wellness and other safety, emergency care and health related programs. The 2005 Safety Fair drew families from a number of surrounding northern communities, as well as from southern Wisconsin. Described by her co-workers as an energetic and creative person, she was nominated for this award by her institution because they feel that she goes above and beyond her scope of responsibilities and has made a significant difference to the health and well-being of children throughout Lake County and southern Wisconsin.

The Illinois EMSC program is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Loyola University Medical Center. It was established in 1994 to ensure that the emergency medical care needs of children are adequately addressed.

The Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care awards are presented each May. Dr. Lee was the director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and was instrumental in establishing and fostering the EMSC program in Illinois. He passed away in 1998.


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Illinois Department of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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