5/11/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Bright Spots

Monday, May 11, 2020

Good afternoon, IDHS Staff:

"When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece." - John Ruskin

I want to continue to celebrate National Nurses Week by recognizing nurses on staff at IDHS who are serving Illinoisans and providing vital services to our patients and residents.

COVID-19 has reminded us of the value and impact nurses bring to our medical facilities, our healthcare system, and our entire society. With nearly 4 million registered nurses nationwide - nurses deliver an array of healthcare services. Here at IDHS, we do not have to look very far to know how important they are, including today's Bright Spots, Keli Rice and Abimbola "Abi" Oyejola.

Abimbola Oyejola (RN, Clinical Nurse Manager)

Abi has been a Clinical Nurse Manager at Chicago-Read Mental Health Center (CRMHC) for three years. Before coming to CRMHC, she worked at Kiley Developmental Center in Lake County. Abi says working with people with developmental disabilities was her passion, and that she learned a lot from the experience: "It taught me patience."

As she transitioned into work for the Division of Mental Health, she gained a better understanding of the disease process. Abi hopes to eventually use these experiences and her B.S. in Nursing and M.S. degree in Health Informatics to lead CRMHC into incorporating Electronic Health Records.

Abi felt called to nursing to help people, which is apparent when you see her on her unit, A North. Abi credits her "awesome group" of colleagues as one of the things she likes most about working at CRMHC.

Abi Fun Facts:

  • Abi is crazy about her family and enjoys spending time with them. "Chilling with family is my safe space."
  • Abi enjoys rest and sleep when she can.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, Abi has become quite adept at meeting with friends through virtual means.

Abi, we are fortunate to have innovative nurses like you, mixing love and skill to provide the best care for our patients.

Keli Rice (RNI, Shapiro Center)

Keli has been with Shapiro Center for 24 years, and now serves as a Medical Service Nurse in Unit 201. Keli graduated from Kankakee Community College, and remembers being inspired by nurses in her family and seeing the impact that they had on the people they were providing with care.

As the pandemic has impacted Shapiro, Keli has been educating staff and individuals about COVID-19, providing emotional support and encouragement, ensuring that staff are equipped with proper PPE, swabbing individuals for COVID-19 testing, handling medication, and providing additional support to licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

This pandemic has truly proven Keli's beliefs about nursing - it is a unique profession where one must be able to share extensive medical details, while also being a teacher, guide, mentor, healer, and caregiver.

Keli Fun Facts:

  • Keli is married with three children (a daughter and twin boys).
  • Favorite Food: polenta cacciatore.
  • Favorite quote: "I inspire my patients; more often they inspire me." - Anonymous
  • Plans after social distancing: Watching twin boys play hockey and moving daughter into college.

Keli, thank you for your 24 years of service. I look forward to our continued celebration of National Nurse Week.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS