The Elizabeth Gregory Home and Swedish Cancer Institute’s partnership helps women build new lives

April 5, 2024 Swedish Communications

The Swedish Foundation – thanks to a generous donor gift – supports a unique job training program between Seattle’s Elizabeth Gregory Home and the Swedish Cancer Institute.

The Elizabeth Gregory Home (EGH) in Seattle is a place where women who are experiencing homelessness, trauma, or economic insecurity are provided safety, shelter, critical resources, and the opportunity to thrive. In 2022 a donor to EGH inquired about starting a joint program with the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) that would provide job training and a career path for the clients at EGH. 

That generous donation has seeded a partnership between SCI and EGH to be the collective starting point for EGH clients who are interested in a career in the medical field but may have limited or no background training. So guided by the common goal of helping people build better lives and with support from the Swedish Foundation, the Theresa Jane Healthcare Careers Training Program was created. The program starts trainees in entry-level roles, usually in scheduling services or the research department at SCI.

Watch this short video to learn more about how the unique partnership between the Swedish Cancer Institute and the Elizabeth Gregory Home is helping women in crisis build new lives. At top: Beautiful S., an EGH client and Theresa Jane Healthcare Careers Training Program participant. 

“These individuals have the opportunity to be mentored by leadership within each of our departments and learn how to do the job at their own pace,” says Barbara Kollar, administration director at SCI. “If there are any barriers toward their understanding and grasping the information, we’re able to help provide the tools that they need to be successful.”

Bringing trainees into the program is about more than giving them a job, it’s also about helping them gain a fulfilling life, says Laura Roberts, manager at the Swedish Breast Imaging Center.

“We’re able to get them into a job, give them some training along the way, and look at them as a person, not as a situation that they’re at in their life,” she affirms.

Eunice Chua, administrative coordinator for the Theresa Jane Healthcare Careers Training Program at SCI, knows what these women are going through, because she has experienced many similar barriers, such as homelessness and trauma. “Many women in the program have had very traumatic things happen to them,” says Chua.

An immeasurable part of the partnership is giving trainees a feeling of security, building their confidence, and letting them know they’re not alone.  

“You can do this,” says Chua. “I was there, I’ve been where you are. If I can do it, you can do it.”

“Working with the staff is lifechanging,” says Beautiful S. (pictured above), an EGH client and Theresa Jane Healthcare Careers Training Program candidate. “I know that I can grow from here. I believe in myself more and I can work with people who also believe in me. It’s not something that I would ever take for granted.” 

“The people that I work with are not only very educated, but they’re also very good people. They have great hearts,” she reflects.

The trainees have unique stories and reasons why they want to be part of this program, but the hope is that the mentorship they receive will help them build successful careers and whole, fulfilling lives.

“I’m so proud of the team that we’ve put together, and the trainees that are in the program,” says SCI Executive Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of Providence Swedish Clinical Institutes Sara Jo Grethlein, M.D., MBA, FACP.

“Our partnership with EGH was a no brainer… because what they do for the women that they serve is to give them roots. They’re grounding them and giving them everything they need to be productive members of society,” says Evonne Lackey, director of oncology research at SCI. “What [we’re] doing is giving them wings and teaching them what they need to take the next step in their skills and confidence and building a career.”

Michelle Wick, program director at EGH, echoes trainees and mentors about the program’s mutual benefit.

“I think the partnership is beautiful," says Wick. "We both have the same intention, which is to improve the quality of people’s lives.”

About the Swedish Foundation

The Swedish Foundation raises funds to improve the health and well-being of every community we serve. Learn more about how your generous gift can help achieve our vision of health for a better world by providing vital care to those in critical need, helping physicians find new ways to treat patients and supporting our communities.

About Providence Swedish

Providence Swedish has served the Puget Sound region since the first Providence hospital opened in Seattle in 1877 and the first Swedish hospital opened in 1910. The two organizations affiliated in 2012 and today comprise the largest health care delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics. A not-for-profit family of organizations, Providence Swedish provides more than $406 million in community benefit in the Puget Sound Region each year. The health system offers a comprehensive range of services and specialty and subspecialty care in a number of clinical areas, including cancer, cardiovascular health, neurosciences, orthopedics, digestive health and women’s and children’s care. 

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