Press Release
 May 27, 2014
Shelia Porter (312) 814-3524

State Public Health Department Recognizes Thelma Kuska for Excellence in Pediatric Care

Ron W. Lee, MD Pediatric Care Award – Lifetime Achievement

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program honors Thelma Kuska, RN, BSN, CEN, FAEN, with a special pediatric care Lifetime Achievement award for her contributions to childhood care. The Ron W. Lee, MD – Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are given annually by IDPH and EMSC 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.

“Thelma’s dedication to pediatric care is evident in her ongoing efforts to provide community education, training and outreach to help prevent injury,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

Thelma has been an emergency nurse for over 20 years. For the past 17 years, she has contributed to community injury prevention education for children, adolescents, health care and safety providers. Since 1990, Thelma has trained over 500 nurses throughout Illinois on traffic safety and injury prevention. In addition, her community outreach has led to the passing of graduated licensing for young drivers, mandatory reporting of blood alcohol content of patients involved in motor vehicle crashes, and the passage of the primary seat belt and child booster seat law. Her recent efforts have focused on the prevention of distracted driving for teens, which has become an increasing concern, particularly with texting and driving. Thelma has recently been appointed to the National Child Passenger Safety Board.

“Thelma Kuska has gone above and beyond her nursing profession by her contributions to pediatric care, injury prevention and safety,” said Vicki Bacidore, RN, MSN, ACNP- BC, CEN, TNS, Loyola University, Chicago, and President, Illinois Emergency Nurses Association (IENA). “Thelma currently chairs the IENA Institute for Quality, Safety & Injury Prevention Committee and Government Affairs Committee, and has advocated for Emergency Department nurses to develop child safety seat programs.”

The Ron W. Lee, MD 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.

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

IDPH continues to implement its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness, influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety and improved health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization; reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.

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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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TTY 800-547-0466
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