On Wednesday, NorthShore Health Centers’ team of substance abuse counselors were presented with the Indiana Primary Health Care Association’s Special Exemplary Project Award. The award recognizes healthcare providers that impact areas that are often underserved, which is one of NorthShore’s primary focuses, and a natural part of the work done by their substance abuse counselors.
“It’s a big honor to receive this, especially because it helps put a spotlight on the field of substance abuse treatment,” said Allen Grecula, Director of Substance Abuse Treatment at NorthShore Health Centers. “It’s such an underserved population, because at the end of the day there are so many people with substance abuse issues that don’t get the treatment they need. The more we talk about it, the more we’re out there, the more likely it is someone will realize there are resources to help them.”
Grecula and his team take a creative approach to substance abuse counseling. Sessions include art, music, and cooking alongside traditional methods such as group therapy sessions.
“We help people be expressive through the arts and find ways to talk about what they’re going through,” he said. “It helps people work through some of that shame they feel to say ‘hey, I was able to create this beautiful piece.’”
He also credited NorthShore’s unified, comprehensive approach to healthcare as a critical factor in receiving the award.
“When someone comes to us for substance abuse treatment, we don’t stop with just that,” he said. “We can help people get healthcare insurance, find a primary care doctor, chiropractor, optometrist, or dentist all in one system, under one roof.”
Substance abuse treatment is a challenging field, even more so when taking as creative and personal an approach as NorthShore’s team. Grecula said he is proud of the hard work every counselor put on display to earn the Special Exemplary Project Award.
“It’s hard work, and their passion shines through,” he said. “They show up and help these people who are feeling so hopeless, find hope.”
NorthShore Health Centers CEO, David Hall, presented the counselors with the award, and praised their commitment to treating the underserved with compassion.
“I’m very proud of this team, they go above and beyond,” he said. “They always put the patient first and work outside the box to make sure every patient has the resources they need. I’m so happy to see them get this honor. Their project is unique not just in the state, but in the entire country.”
To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, visit northshorehealth.org.