4/2/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Spotlight

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dear IDHS Colleagues:

Today, like any other day, we continue to persevere and push through to ensure that people in our communities have access to resources that feed their families, provide housing, independence, and more.

For many IDHS staff, we have been able to establish remote working opportunities to support you in doing your job, and employees helping employees, including our tireless IT staff, have helped make that a reality - we thank you. As we all continue to adjust to modified systems and processes, our ability to provide services and support will improve.

Also, across our different hospitals, developmental centers, and offices, many of you are still working on the frontlines to provide the services that families need. Where our business community continues to be impacted, and students remain home due to school closings, the demand for assistance from our offices will continue.

These frontline heroes include people like Jennifer Brown, the first of many Bright Spots that we hope to highlight in the coming days. However, I know that Jennifer is not alone in this work. She is led by her Local Office Administrator, Margaro Rosario, and joined by dedicated case workers like Candy Osaigbovo. I received an inspiring email from Candy yesterday who said, "We may not be the frontline medical people, but we are the faceless ones who bring food to the table and make medical access possible for thousands. The person standing in line to buy food or waiting to be tested today may hold a LINK card or medical card approved by you and me. At times like this, this job ceases to be a job; It becomes a ministry."

I agree wholeheartedly.

Bright Spot: Jennifer Brown (Human Service Case Work Manager, Humboldt Park)

During these times, when people need us most, Jennifer Brown is encouraging her colleagues to "do what you say you are going to do," when it comes to serving customers. With seven years at IDHS, Jennifer has great admiration for her Humboldt Park colleagues who continue to show up every day and to make sure residents have the basics they need. Every day, Jennifer and her colleagues are making it possible for clients to drop off documents, meet with case workers, and to receive status phone calls about their application.

Beginning her career at IDHS as a Social Service Career Trainee, Jennifer also now serves as an AFSCME Union Steward and is encouraging all of her colleagues to stay dedicated during these uneasy times. To protect herself and her colleagues, Jennifer is demonstrating regular cleaning practices by wiping down surfaces and limiting the number of people in the facility. Staff working to provide benefits should be reminded that during this time, we are only collecting basic information in-person and then scheduling calls to complete the process to make it quicker and safer for all parties.

Jennifer Fun Facts:

  • Jennifer is married with three children.
  • Her first plan after social distancing is to go to the park to enjoy a day of great weather with her children.
  • Jennifer thanks Governor Pritzker, AFSCME, and Margaro Rosario for helping her work through these trying times.

Jennifer, well done.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS