Stories by Kristen Thometz

Advocacy Group Develops Plan for Child Health Equity in Illinois

(cherylholt / Pixabay)

A statewide coalition says it will focus its efforts on health care policies that increase children’s access to care and mental health services and address underlying social factors that impact health.

Study: Late Night Light Exposure Doesn’t Affect Circadian Rhythm

(Krzysztof Kamil / Pixabay)

If you wake up in the middle of the night and start browsing social media or turn on the TV, you might have difficulty falling back asleep or feel groggy later on, but your sleep-wake cycle should remain intact, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Federal Report Finds Child Drownings on the Rise

(g. p. / Pixabay)

Pools are a popular way to beat the heat during the summer months, but a new federal report warns of the dangers they pose to children. 

Hot Weather, Pollution Fuel Unhealthy Air Conditions in Chicago

(Roman Boed / Flickr)

Rising temperatures this week could lead to unhealthy air quality, particularly for people with respiratory conditions, as the heat combines with pollution from vehicle emissions and other sources, says the American Lung Association. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 18-21

(Photo by chalk artist Anat Ronen)

Colorful sidewalks, a massive music fest, Mexican fare and a moon bash usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Study: Perinatal Depression Screenings May Miss Suicidal Thoughts

(fancycrave1 / Pixabay)

Mandated screenings for perinatal depression may overlook a significant portion of women who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, according to a new study from the University of Illinois. 

Stay Hydrated, Cool to Prevent Heat Exhaustion, Says Health Official

(vargazs / Pixabay)

Rising temperatures and humidity in Chicago this week could make it feel as hot as 105 degrees outside. If proper precautions aren’t taken, you could experience heat exhaustion or heatstroke. 

Local Health Official Lauds Trump’s ‘Comprehensive’ Order on Kidney Disease

(SharonMcCutcheon / Pixabay)

President Donald Trump issues an executive order to revamp care for kidney disease, which affects 37 million Americans. “It’s really comprehensive,” said Dr. Holly Kramer, president of the National Kidney Foundation.

Chicago Rally Planned Ahead of Possible Immigration Crackdown

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

As Chicago braces for a possible immigration crackdown, dozens of immigrant and refugee rights organizations from across the state say they’re “taking a stand” with a rally Saturday. 

CDC: Pools Linked to Increase in Diarrhea Outbreaks

(Pexels / Pixabay)

Sound advice from public health officials for your text trip to a public pool: don’t swallow the water. Officials say a parasite that caused a national increase in diarrhea outbreaks between 2009 and 2017 can be found once more in public pools.  

Sinai Health Opens $6.5M Unit to Address Mental Health Emergencies

(Holy Cross Hospital / Facebook)

The new crisis stabilization unit at Holy Cross Hospital will serve as an alternative to emergency rooms which are often crowded and ill-equipped to handle psychiatric emergencies.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 11-14

(Taste of Chicago / Facebook)

Outdoor eats, hidden gardens and a retro roller skating party usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

Artists Hope Memorial to Burge Torture Survivors Spurs Empathy, Action

Chicago artists Patricia Nguyen and John Lee’s design, “Breath, Form & Freedom,” has been selected for a public memorial dedicated to those who were allegedly tortured by former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. (Patricia Nguyen and John Lee rendering)

A memorial dedicated to those who were allegedly tortured by former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge is one step closer to reality, now that a final design has been selected.

4,000-Mile Cycling Trip Raising Funds for Be the Match Stops in Chicago

Fort Collins, Colorado residents Bob Houser (from left) and Bob Falkenberg are cycling across the country with Washington, D.C. resident Annie Lipsitz to raise funds for Be the Match, a nonprofit that helps patients who need bone marrow or umbilical cord transplants. (Bob Houser / Facebook)

A trio of cyclists who have been touched by leukemia are traveling across the country to raise money and awareness for Be the Match, a nonprofit that helps patients who need bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 4-7

West Fest Chicago (Photo by Ann Phan)

Music fests, hot air balloons, finger-licking ribs and an art fair usher in the holiday weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Health Official Urges Caution if Handling Fireworks This 4th of July

While the dangers around illegal fireworks may be more obvious, legal alternatives like sparklers aren’t necessarily safe, says a local health official. (Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July. But too often, celebrations can end with a trip to the hospital if fireworks are mishandled and proper precautions aren’t taken. 

AAA: Friday After July 4th Will be Worst Day for Travel in Chicago

(ruifo / Flickr)

If you plan on hitting the road Friday afternoon, be warned: it’s projected to be the worst time for travelers in Chicago, according to AAA, with delays as much as two times the normal commute. 

Google, University of Chicago Sued Over Patient Data

(Kristen Thometz / WTTW News)

A partnership between Google and the University of Chicago resulted in a violation of patients’ privacy rights, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by a former patient of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

4 Test Positive for Legionnaires’ Disease at Suburban Hospital Since 2018

Colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) with moderately-high magnification depicts a large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Among the cases at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn are two people treated within the past two months, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

‘I Feel Trapped’: Photos Capture Experiences of People Who Use Drugs

“I need help with direct stuff like free maintenance programs, a stable home, legal help so I can sit and get grounded, and relax. I need a place to sit down.” (Photo by Chicago Recovery Alliance participant.)

People who inject drugs typically aren’t part of traditional advocacy because of risks associated with going public. But a local research project allows them to share their experiences without the fear of potential repercussions.

10 Things to Do this Weekend: June 27-30

Chicago Pride Parade in 2011 (Keith Hinkle / Flickr)

A massive parade, dance lessons, mariachi ensembles and lots of hot sauce usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Survey: Cost, Lack of Time Prevent Parents from Providing Healthy Foods

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Finding time for sit-down family meals and the cost of healthy foods are among the top challenges Chicago parents face in providing healthy meals to their children, a new citywide survey finds.

Fireworks on July 4th: Where to Watch Around Chicago

Navy Pier summer fireworks in 2011. (Michael Mayer / Flickr)

Fireworks will light up the skies all over the Chicago area in celebration of Independence Day on Thursday, July 4. Here’s where you can watch.

10 Things to Do this Weekend: June 20-23

(Credit: Vocalo)

Celebrations of pride, music fests, pop-up theater, craft beers and dragon boats usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Cook County Health Program Focuses on ‘Whole Person Care’

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

How addressing homelessness, access to food and other social needs improves a patient’s overall health – and reduces costs. A 2017 study found treating patients with just one risk factor was $65 more per month than those with none.