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Stories by Kristen Thometz

‘Rewarding’ Immigrant Experience Compels Chicagoan to Aid Refugees

Shaifali Sandhya (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Chicagoan Shaifali Sandhya knows what it’s like to be a foreigner. Now a U.S. citizen, she wants to discover refugees’ stories and address their “silent traumas” in the hope of making their resettlement easier. 

NIH Awards Local Scientists $2.4M to Create Visual Prosthesis

An illustration of the intracortical visual prosthesis system developed by researchers from seven institutions, including the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Chicago.  (Courtesy of Philip Troyk and Vernon L. Towle)

Researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Chicago are part of a team developing a visual prosthesis that aims to restore partial vision in people who have become blind.

Researchers Discover Cell Potentially Linked to Nearsightedness

(Northwestern University)

Northwestern scientists have discovered a new cell in the retina which may cause nearsightedness, or myopia, when disrupted.

Chicago Ranked As One of the Healthiest Cities in the US

The Windy City is the gold standard for health and well-being, according to an assessment of city policies aimed at improving residents’ health.

Alzheimer’s Study Findings a ‘Double-Edged Sword’ for Women

Women perform better than men on memory tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study. But could this mental advantage be masking early markers of the disease in women?

Not My President’s Day Rally to Protest Trump Policies, Values

While Presidents Day serves to honor America’s presidents, thousands in Chicago are expected to mark the Feb. 20 holiday with protests against the current administration. “It’s a protest of policy,” said one organizer.

Chance the Rapper’s 3 Grammy Awards ‘Incredible,’ ‘Unfathomable’

Longtime Family Friends Proud of Rapper’s Success

(Chance the Rapper / Facebook)

The West Chatham native’s historic performance at the Grammy Awards, winning three awards without a record label, was both “incredible” and “unfathomable,” say longtime family friends.

‘Selfish Joy’ Motivates Local Doctor’s Humanitarian Work

Dr. Victoria Brander (Courtesy NorthShore University HealthSystem)

Meet Dr. Victoria Brander, who has been performing hip and knee replacements in countries around the world for more than a decade. 

New Group Aims to Study, Address Root Causes of Chicago Gun Violence

Hoping to capitalize on the violence prevention research already being conducted locally, the group hopes to spur new research initiatives and facilitate ongoing community-based violence prevention efforts.

Former Johnson Publishing Building Considered for Landmark Status

The landmark designation process started Thursday for the 110,000-square-foot S. Michigan Avenue building designed by black architect John Warren Moutoussamy.

New City Medical Director to Focus on Mental Health, Addiction

(Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar)

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently hired a behavioral health medical director to better address substance use disorders and mental health issues in the city. Meet Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar and learn more about her role.

Women’s March Inspires Trump Taxes March Chicago

Thousands have expressed interest in a march urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. “We want to see your taxes, Mr. President,” said organizer Taran Brar.

City, UIC Form Academic Public Health Department

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Julie Morita and UIC School of Public Health Dean Dr. Paul Brandt-Rauf sign an agreement formalizing the yearslong partnership between the two organizations. (UIC School of Public Health)

Wednesday morning officials from the Chicago Department of Public Health and UIC signed an agreement to strengthen and formalize their yearslong partnership. 

‘Bad Joke’ of Illinois Finances, Politics Prompt Out-of-State Moves

(©2017 Darris Lee Harris)

Thousands of people moved out of the city and state over the past three years. Two former Illinois residents weigh in on their decisions, while another wrestles with the idea of packing his bags for good.

Study Offers Cancer Patients More Access to Targeted Drugs

(Yale Rosen / Flickr)

For some cancer patients who have run out of treatment options, a nationwide study may be a beacon of hope by providing them with more access to targeted anti-cancer drugs.

Obama Library to be ‘Center for Citizenship’

(Obama Foundation / YouTube)

Hours before the inauguration of Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama released a video outlining their plans for the future Obama Presidential Center.

Updated Details Released for Women’s March on Chicago

UPDATE: Chicago Police via Twitter announce Saturday that the 11:30 a.m. march to Federal Plaza is canceled due to the large number of rally participants, estimated by some to be 150,000. The rally will go on.

Can Apps be Used to Treat, Predict Mood Disorders?

Can an app reduce a person’s depression or anxiety? Or predict when someone might have a manic episode? Researchers from two local universities say yes.

Sanders-Inspired Rally to ‘Save Health Care’ Happening Sunday in Chicago

 Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention. (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)

Politicians and health care advocates across the country will hold rallies Sunday calling for the protection of millions of Americans’ health care coverage. Get the Chicago rally details.

State Agencies Owed $18M in Domestic Violence Funds

After failing to receive $18 million in funding from the state’s stopgap budget, state agencies are hopeful the latest grand budget bargain will deliver those funds.

Prevent Peanut Allergies: Give Kids Peanuts

Infants as young as 4 months old should be introduced to peanut-containing foods to prevent the development of peanut allergies, according to new guidelines.

Chicago Drops to No. 3 City for Bedbugs

After four consecutive years of reigning as the top city for bedbugs, Chicago drops to the No. 3 spot, according to a recent study by pest control company Orkin. 

Women to March, Rally in Chicago Day After Trump is Inaugurated

Thousands of women are expected to march through the city on Jan. 21 – regardless of the weather. “It could be 4 degrees out and we’ll be marching,” said organizer Liz Radford.

Can Someone Die of a Broken Heart?

Carrie Fisher, left, died Tuesday. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, right, died Wednesday after having a stroke. She was 84 years old. (Debbie Reynolds / Facebook)

Before her death Wednesday, actress Debbie Reynolds reportedly said she missed her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died Tuesday. Can stress or grief cause death? Local doctors explain what broken heart syndrome is.

17 New Illinois Laws to Know in 2017

(Meagan Davis via Wikimedia Commons)

Higher city property taxes and a slew of new state laws go into effect at the start of the New Year. We give you the rundown.