Stories by Kristen Thometz

Research Collaborative Partners with Communities to Address Chicago’s Gun Violence

A group dedicated to addressing Chicago’s gun violence offers an update on what it’s learned through conversations with community members impacted by gun violence in the North and South Lawndale neighborhoods. 

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 8-11

Bud Billiken Parade (kojoman68 / Flickr)

A huge South Side parade, food festivals, acrobatic felines and natural wines usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Annual Conference Spotlights Local Efforts to Address Health Inequities

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

Hundreds of researchers, community organizations, policymakers, health care professionals and students gathered Monday at Malcom X College to discuss mental health, gun violence, the opioid epidemic and other topics.

Study Finds More Than 1 Million Americans Have a Sesame Allergy

(Uwe Baumann / Pixabay)

Illinois recently passed a sesame-labeling law, but federal law doesn’t require such labeling when it comes to the ninth most common food allergen. What a new study tells us about its prevalence.

Report Details Progress, Shortfalls of Illinois’ Cancer-Fighting Policies

(Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay)

A new report praises Illinois for raising taxes on tobacco products and increasing the legal smoking age to 21, but says there’s still more work to do when it comes to reducing cancer rates.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Aug. 1-4

(Scott Witt / Lollapalooza 2018)

A massive Grant Park music festival, cultural celebrations, canoes and fresh produce. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

City of Chicago Launches Website Dedicated to 2020 Census

(Stephen M. Scott / Flickr)

The new website answers common questions about the census, offers a timeline, resources and more in an effort to ensure a complete count of Chicago residents next spring.

Northwestern Memorial Tops ‘Best Hospitals’ List for Chicago, State

(Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

For the eighth consecutive year, Northwestern Memorial Hospital has been named the best hospital in both the Chicago metro area and the state by U.S. News & World Report.

Health Officials Investigate 2 Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease at Suburban Hospital

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

The individuals were both patients at Rush Oak Park Hospital within the past three months, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

UChicago to Study Police-Involved Shootings, Officer Training

Researchers have received $1.2 million in grants to study police-involved shootings in the U.S. and to develop a police training program designed to improve officer decision-making in high-stakes situations.

New Analysis Details Health of Chicago Children at Neighborhood Level


Researchers analyzed the results of a 2015-2016 survey to assess the health of Chicago’s youngest residents in nine communities. Among their findings: widespread food insecurity and not enough physical activity.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: July 25-28

(Nkechi Chibueze / Happy Black Chick Photography)

An Afro-futuristic convention, cardboard creations, a poetry block party and neighborhood festivals usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in Chicago.

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.