Hometown healthcare heroes (left to right) DeBorah Miller, RN; Emma B. Olivera, MD; and Adrianna Perkins found themselves on the frontlines of a worldwide pandemic in early 2020, and each has endeavored to find the best way to help her patients.
Dr. Emma B. Olivera is an Oswego High School graduate. She chose a career in medicine early on and received both her bachelor’s degree and graduate medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Of Bolivian and Cuban descent, she was taught early on about the importance of diversity in the healthcare field and has endeavored to end disparities in education and healthcare access through leadership roles in various regional and national organizations.
As a board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Olivera’s philosophy is to provide comprehensive and culturally competent care for infants, children, and adolescents.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, a significant drop in well-child visits has resulted in delays in vaccinations, delays in appropriate screenings, and delays in anticipatory guidance to assure optimal health,” she says.
Pediatricians rapidly adapted to using telehealth when clinically warranted, she adds. The majority of doctor’s offices remain open to assist in the care and guidance of families regarding medical treatment on various ailments of patients.
“Reports have shown the majority of pediatric cases of COVID-19 have been mild,” Dr. Olivera says. “However, there has been an unusual rise in the diagnosis of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). This a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
It is unclear at this time as to what causes MIS-C. However, the CDC notes children with MIS-C often had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care. This is why seeking guidance from a pediatrician remains fundamentally important.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends that parents continue to visit their primary care physician for immunizations, developmental evaluations, acute concerns and infections, she said. Doctors, allied health professionals, and all members of healthcare teams will continue to work together in order to achieve positive healthcare outcomes.
“Together as a healthcare community, we recognize the socioeconomic challenges the public continues to face and we will continue to strive to diagnose, treat and counsel in the safest way possible,” she said.
“All physicians take pride in the trust afforded to the medical profession and are thankful to work every day in a vocation of such determination and heart.”
DeBorah Miller is a proud graduate of East Aurora High School, the nursing school of Waubonsee Community College and will graduate in two weeks from Chamberlain University. This is her 29th year as a registered nurse with clinical and leadership experience in primary care and medical/surgical specialties, in both acute and ambulatory care settings.
“My current position as a Quality Improvement Nurse Specialist with Advocate Aurora Health allows me to lead across our health care ministry in the areas of patient safety, patient relations and in our delivery of quality care,” she says. “My goal is to do my part to ensure that our care environment is a place in which our patients can heal, our staff can serve, and our providers can practice.
“I have seen a lot throughout the duration of my career and the COVID-19 pandemic that has invaded this year has shown to be the most challenging. But nurses are built for ‘such a time as this.’ We are always ‘Game On,’ but it is in times of crisis that we elevate our game to a higher level of care, knowledge, expertise and skill sets.
“Despite challenges, we continuously strive to create the optimal patient and family experience. We have many frontline heroes to recognize and thank for their countless dedication to health care, especially over the past few months. I am deeply honored to represent nurses and to work within a nursing industry that is the most trusted profession.”
Adrianna Perkins graduated from Oswego High School and received a master’s degree in Health Administration from Capella University.
“I worked for Rush-Copley Medical Center for 19 years prior to my current position with Fresenius Kidney Care as an insurance coordinator,” she says.
“As an insurance coordinator, my responsibility is to assist dialysis patients in retaining their medical coverage. If patients feel the financial strain of possibly not being able to afford their health coverage, my job is to offer them assistance by helping them apply to the American Kidney Fund to ease the stress of worrying if they can afford to keep their coverage.
“During COVID-19, some of my dialysis patients have been furloughed or laid off, so their insurance coverage has been affected, which means a loss of coverage. My responsibility is to advise and assist them with other insurance options. Being able to ease the insurance concerns that may be adding stress to my patients is what I enjoy about my job. When my patients tell me I made their day or express their gratitude for listening to them and just being there for them, it is truly rewarding and what motivates me to continue to advocate and make sure they never have to worry about the financial aspect of receiving their dialysis treatments.”