Supporting Home and Community-based Health Services for Chicago’s Medically Underserved

Loyola University Chicago – Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Martin Luther King Award
NOMINEE:  Melody Cibock
Graduate student, MSN/MBA, Health Systems Management
Melody has committed herself to righting the injustices of health and health care for a tremendously underserved population – people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She has committed herself to public service and community leadership in improving the health status of this fragile population.
As a Chicago area Schweitzer Fellow she is a true embodiment of the Schweitzer program’s ethic and vision. She is a wealth of idealism and altruism and has made these traits powerful tools in alleviating some of the challenges facing people with developmental disabilities.
There are two parts to Melody’s work. She is teaching people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to take a more active role in their health care decisions and general wellbeing. Melody instituted a program called “Ask the Nurse” at two Chicago community centers. Clients anonymously drop questions into a box and Melody hosts a group setting where she addresses these concerns. She also hosts one-on-one counseling for clients with sensitive issues.
Equally important, Melody has worked assiduously toward heightening the awareness and sensitivity needed among the health care professions to work effectively with this population, making contact with a number of developmental disability experts throughout the country and creating a comprehensive resource guide for professionals.
In a caring and compassionate example of the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr, Melody organized a bountiful and beautiful Thanksgiving dinner for her clients at the community center. She enlisted the help of other nurses and Schweitzer fellows in hosting this event. It was her way of introducing other healthcare professionals to this special population, many of whom had never met an individual with an intellectual disability.Melody has done all of this with the goal of promoting the health and well-being of a population of people she holds dear. She has done all of this to reduce the broad spectrum of health and health care disparities affecting people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She has done all of this to make the world a more welcoming and healthier place for those who might be otherwise overlooked.

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.  Melody, through her accomplished work with this extraordinary population, is the embodiment
of Martin Luther King Jr’s words. She has proved herself to indeed have a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

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