Dr. Kari Wolf
bhwc press conference

Growing Illinois’ behavioral health workforce

In 2017, Dr. Kari Wolf launched her campaign to begin growing Illinois' behavioral health workforce. In March 2023, with SIU Medicine as the primary hub, the Behavioral Health Workforce Center (BHWC) was officially launched to create and build innovative initiatives to recruit, educate and retain Illinois' behavioral health professionals. 

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art express paintings

Brushing away isolation

Loneliness and isolation are worsening mental health in seniors. Creating community and providing education can help create the solution.

Lee leads Art Express, a program within the Smith Alzheimer’s Center at SIU Medicine that gives those with dementia a chance to express themselves without having to verbalize their feelings. On its face, it’s a valuable program as it gives those with dementia a better quality of life. It allows caregivers to breathe.

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“Most of the elderly hesitate to get help for depression and other mental health issues due to the stigma associated with mental health. They just don’t bring it up when they see their provider. The current generation is a little bit more open compared to the previous one, but there is still a lot more work that needs to be done.” 

- Dr. Kalyan Kandra, assistant professor of psychiatry 


Kari Wolf: Turning ripples into waves

Kari Wolf, MD, has never been afraid of making waves. The chair of SIU Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry joined SIU Medicine in 2016, and within her first year in Illinois, she looked at systemic ways to build up Illinois’ behavioral health workforce. Her work eventually led to the launch of the Behavioral Health Workforce Center in 2023, with SIU Medicine serving as the primary hub to provide coordination and support. While creating innovative ways of delivering mental health services, Wolf makes sure everything she does is through the perspective of training the next generation of health care providers. 

Wolf also strives to safeguard her own mental health through a work-life balance. Her family and personal interests keep her grounded so she can continue to impact systemic changes for better mental health for everyone. 

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photo essay

A day in the life of a resident physician

Julio Mendoza Estrada
OB-GYN chefs

New emphasis on student, resident mental health, wellness

No one ever said medical school was easy. The prevalence of mental health struggles in medical school is well-known, and studies show that medical students experience disproportionately higher rates of depression and burnout. So, what is SIU School of Medicine doing to help its learners?

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“I make it a point to tell the students, at the end of the day you're still human. Just because you are working toward this amazing degree does not lessen your emotions when you go through stressful times or struggle with balancing life and ambition.” 

- Stephanie Forgas, LCPC


Dr. Kevin Simon

On Par golf outing

Support Simmons Cancer Institute

16th Annual Butterfly Release

June 8, 2024

The SCI Butterfly Release is a beautiful way to honor the living and celebrate the memory of loved ones by sponsoring a butterfly in their names. The emergence of a butterfly is a sign of new life and its flight symbolizes freedom and happiness.


Denim & Diamonds Gala

October 12, 2024

Denim & Diamonds provides the seed funds for critical and innovative cancer research and compassionate patient programs to further address the growing needs of our patient population. Join us for this spectacular evening as we fight cancer together.

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