Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
HEALTH CONTEXT LLC
Public Health Consulting
5116 Bissonnet #120
Bellaire, TX 77401
A native of Israel, and a graduate from New York University, Ilana began her professional life as a physical therapist. She worked for three decades in a variety of health care environments helping individuals learn, modify and, at times, redefine their mobility and physical functioning. While working as a physical therapist, Ilana earned her Masters of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Her Masters’ research analyzed the self-reported observations of individuals, to assess the influence of everyday behaviors on their recovery from chronic pain, following treatment in a specialized program. This work reinforced her growing interest in the influence of context on life narratives.
In search for a more expanded understanding of health and function in older adults, Ilana earned her doctorate at the University of Texas School of Public Health, where she found that post-modern theories provided a valuable foundation for her dissertation research. Ilana engaged nine older African American women, in three age groups, in conversations about their lives, through which they examined the construction of aging and health. Her study helped her recognize the power of authentic conversations to transcend racial, ethnic and other barriers.
Now working as a qualitative researcher she serves community–based organizations along with their funding and academic partners, to address issues of social and health disparity. In a recent four-year employment with Collaborative for Children, Ilana served as the Director for a grant-funded multi-agency and community-based children’s mental health initiative. The project depended on building and sustaining successful collaboration among families, private and public organizations, schools and care-providers at all levels. It was a powerful learning experience, highlighting the great promise of collaborative work even in the presence of the serious social and regulatory challenges.
In her consulting practice, Ilana promotes the use participatory approaches as she advances her skills in facilitating dialogues and hosting critical conversations. She continues to serve on the governing council of Care for Elders (CFE), which is now a part of a United Way of Houston. CFE promotes collaboration of diverse stakeholders to increase access to services, enhance the quality of care, and improve the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers.
In May 2013, Ilana enrolled in the International Certificate in Collaborative Practices (ICCP) program through the Houston Galveston Institute (HGI), and attended the Intensive Summer Institute (ISI) in Mexico, for a delightful immersion in post-modern participatory practices. Attending HGI biweekly theoretical meetings and the Anderson Salon group meetings keeps her engaged in the conversation. At present, Ilana is working with fellow Taos Institute Associates, Sue Levin, PhD of HGI, and Randall Butler, of The Institute for Sustainable Peace, in designing a workshop titled: “How do we host multiple voices in powerful conversations about hard topics in Houston?” that will be offered in September 18 and 19, 2015.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Ilana derives great joy from her role as a grandmother, and an artist focusing primarily monotype prints. A recent collection of her prints appears in the second issue of the literary online magazine Origins (Spring 2015).