In the past year, the SCY/PAACT team has grown in many ways. We hope to familiarize partners with who is on the team and what they do – in the hopes of making SCY better conveners for community organizations.
Hey there Kate! I appreciate you taking the time to talk and for us to let SCY partners get to know you a little more. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background? I’m Kate Spitzer-Cohn, Program Coordinator with SCY, working primarily on our Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition. I started working at Lurie Children’s in 2013, and have worked on a variety of projects and programs here. My background is in psychology, and I’ve long been interested in the intersection between mental health, physical health and social determinants of health.
What drew you to violence prevention? Before working for SCY, I worked on the Illinois Violent Death Reporting System, so I saw a lot of what happens when violence ISN’T prevented. It’s great to get to work in a place that is trying to prevent some of those end results from happening.
What is the best part about working in youth-centered work? One of the most interesting areas I’ve gotten to work on with SCY is our school policy work around youth substance use prevention. Youth researchers created a report around questions they had asked about why their peers were using substances, and it was so interesting to see how they were able to gather great data based on their understanding of their own lives and the world around them. Youth have such thoughtful perspectives when we take the time and effort to get them.
As mental health is a priority among the team, what is your favorite form of self-care? I have a 1 year old puppy named Sadie (pictured above), and dog park trips and snuggles with her are the best! She keeps me laughing and is a great point of connection with other people, too.
Do you have any hidden talents? I practiced and competed in karate for 20 years, but it’s been a while now! So once upon a time, there were all sorts of cool things I could do…but now, maybe not so much!