Understanding and Navigating Chicago's Migrant Situation - City Club of Chicago

Understanding and Navigating Chicago's Migrant Situation

moderated by WBEZ's Kristen Schorsch
Dr. Aimee Hilado, Rev. Kenneth Phelps and Deputy Mayor Beatriz Ponce De León

Monday, Oct 30, 2023

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Dr. Aimee Hilado

Aimee Hilado, Ph.D., LCSW is a ZERO TO THREE Fellow, licensed clinical social worker and academic researcher specializing in immigration trauma and immigrant/refugee mental health. Dr. Hilado is an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice where she teaches and conducts research on understudied pathways to promoting mental wellness and adjustment for newcomers. Her research lab studies diverse communities across different immigration statuses – refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants, unaccompanied children – and across the lifespan from early childhood to older adults with a focus on mental health outcomes in the context of the organizations and health systems they interface. Dr. Hilado’s work extends our understanding of contextual trauma theory, models of adaptive coping and healing, and environmental and sociopolitical conditions that adversely influence mental health. She completed her PhD in Social Work at Loyola University, where she also earned an MSW. She received an MS in Applied Child Development from the Erikson Institute. Her work has been published in Psychological ServicesJournal of Early Childhood Research, and Early Childhood Research and Practice. She also contributed to chapters in Refugee Mental Health (American Psychological Association, 2021) and Migrant Workers: Social Identity, Occupational Challenges, and Health Practices (NOVA Science Publishers, 2016). Her most recent edited book is Models for Practice with Immigrants and Refugees: Collaboration, Cultural Awareness, and Integrative Theory (Sage Publications, 2017). 

Beatriz Ponce De León

Beatriz Ponce De León serves as Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights in Chicago. As the first person to hold this newly created position, Ms. Ponce De León works with the Mayor to provide Chicago’s vital and culturally vibrant communities the resources they need to thrive and contribute to the life and vitality of the city by raising their families and being productive members of their communities. Ms. Ponce de León brings to the role a breadth of expertise on a wide range of issues, including immigrant rights and integration, education equity, bilingual education and language diversity, adolescent rights, health-care access, voter engagement, and community development.

Most recently, she worked for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) in several roles, including Assistant Director of the Division of Family and Community Services, Chief of Staff for the Division of Mental Health, and Healing Illinois Project Manager. At IDHS, she was instrumental in developing and launching new projects, building staff capacity and leadership, leading strategic planning and organizational development, and assisting with the state’s asylum seeker support efforts.

Rev. Kenneth D. Phelps

Rev. Kenneth D. Phelps is the Senior Pastor at Concord Missionary Baptist Church. 

Kristen Schorsch

Kristen Schorsch is a reporter on WBEZ Chicago’s government and politics team, where she covers public health and Cook County.

A journalist for 20 years, she’s covered health care, government, crime, courts, higher education and news of the weird (think coffin parties) for Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Southtown and the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Kristen has won more than a dozen local and national awards for her work. Her stories have sparked policy changes and spurred investigations. One of her investigations was featured in two books about inequality in Chicago. She was a 2021 fellow with the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Kristen is a former longtime board member of the Chicago Headline Club and co-founded the organization’s annual FOIAFest conference about public records and transparency. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois.

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