Log in


  • 9 Sep 2022 5:15 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A coalition of law enforcement groups renewed calls Wednesday for policymakers to allocate some of the millions of dollars headed to Illinois from opioid settlements to support early childhood programs.  [Health News Illinois] 

    Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley, speaking on behalf of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois, told reporters during a virtual press conference the best way funds can be used is for early interventions.
    "The research is very clear that, whether it's in the education context or the context we're talking about here, the earlier the intervention, the better,” Hanley said.
    Illinois officials earlier this summer laid out plans to spend the state’s roughly $760 million share of a nationwide opioid settlement with three drug distributors and a pharmaceutical company.
    That includes the creation of an officer within the Department of Human Services to administer the funds and ensure they align with the state’s opioid overdose action plan.
    Rock Island County State's Attorney Dora Villarreal said it's important to focus additional resources on programs that aid the most vulnerable residents.
    "We strongly believe that more needs to be done to protect all the children affected by this epidemic," she said.
    Law enforcement leaders issued a statement this spring calling for funds to be used to reduce the likelihood that children will grow up to abuse opioids and commit crimes.


  • 8 Sep 2022 11:27 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    So much loss...

    Carol Schumacher of the Navajo Nation had grappled with untimely deaths; her mother died at 65 of pulmonary disease, and her father died at the same age in a car crash caused by a drunken driver. But she was not prepared for the devastation of Covid: Since it arrived in the U.S. more than two years ago, she has lost 42 family members to the virus.

    Dealing with the massive death toll strained her own health, Schumacher told our colleagues. “I just wasn’t mentally prepared to deal with so much loss,” she said.

    That loss has been tragically common among Native Americans, the C.D.C. revealed last week: From 2019 to 2021, their life expectancy fell from 71.8 years to 65.2. Covid was largely to blame.

    May need to open free account to read full article.

    Full article here> 


  • 7 Sep 2022 6:14 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine boosters that provide extra protection against the omicron variants have arrived in Illinois. [Health News Illinois]

    There are about 150,000 doses in Chicago, which are available at pharmacies and other healthcare sites, Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a press conference Tuesday.

    “We need Chicago to get this updated vaccine,” she said. “It's new, it's different and it will give better protection than what we've had previously.”

    The city will make the boosters available through its in-home vaccination program.

    Arwady said they plan to host family vaccination clinics at City Colleges of Chicago through November and provide flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics in all 50 Chicago wards this fall. 

    About 36 percent of reinfections in the city are from residents initially infected with omicron, she added.

    “So if you think you're counting on, ‘I've had COVID, I've had a prior vaccine, I don't really need this updated vaccine,’ please don't count on that,” Arwady said.

    IDPH said it expects to receive 580,000 doses of the booster within the week, which will head to pharmacies, hospitals and other providers. The state agency urged residents to go online and search for booster availability and to receive it when possible.

    As of Monday, 1,234 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, up 72 from Sunday and down 106 from the prior week.

    Of the patients in the hospital, 125 were in intensive care units, down 13 from Sunday and down 50 from the prior week. Twenty-two percent of Illinois’ ICU beds were available, up 1 percentage point from the prior week.

    There were 38 patients on ventilators, down five from Sunday and down 18 from the prior week.

    Thirty counties are now at a “high” community level of COVID-19, the level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people mask indoors in public spaces. Sixty counties are at a “medium” risk level.

    IDPH reported 1,990 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Tuesday. The new cases bring the state total to 3,706,263, while the death toll is at 34,759.

    The seven-day average for new cases on Tuesday was 3,341, down 245 from the prior week. The seven-day average for daily deaths is eight, down three from the prior week.

    The seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 26.2, down 1.9 from the prior week.

    Illinois vaccinators have administered 23,253,568 COVID-19 vaccine doses, including 4,755,491 booster shots. The seven-day average for doses administered is 3,293.


  • 6 Sep 2022 6:54 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois health officials are urging residents to receive the new COVID-19 boosters. [Health News Illinois ]

    "These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants, which are now the dominant strain of the virus,” Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a Friday statement.

    IDPH expects an initial shipment of 580,000 doses within the week, while the city of Chicago expects to receive 150,000 initial doses.

    Meanwhile, Illinois is seeing a small uptick in COVID-19 cases.

    There were 26,127 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported last week, a 7.5 percent increase from the prior week. There were 70 deaths reported last week.

    The new cases bring the state’s total to 3,696,385. There have been 34,747 deaths.

    The seven-day average for new cases on Friday was 3,732, up 261 from the prior week. The seven-day average for daily deaths is 10, down two from the prior week.

    The seven-day rolling average case rate per 100,000 people is 29.3, up 2.1 from the prior week.

    As of Thursday, 1,263 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down 25 from Wednesday and down 47 from the prior week.

    Of the patients in the hospital, 154 were in intensive care units, down 14 from Wednesday and down four from the prior week. Twenty-two percent of Illinois’ ICU beds were available, up 1 percentage point from the prior week.

    There were 46 patients on ventilators, down eight from Wednesday and down 13 from the prior week.

    Thirty counties are now at a “high” community level of COVID-19, the level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people mask indoors in public spaces. Sixty counties are at a “medium” risk level.

    Cook County continues to be at a “medium” level of community, with a week-to-week decline in both cases and hospitalizations, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. It too requested residents receive booster vaccines once they arrive in the city this week.

    According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, nearly all COVID-19 cases in the Midwest between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3 were BA.4, BA.4.6 and BA.5 omicron variants. The region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    Illinois vaccinators have administered 23,248,758 COVID-19 vaccines, including 4,754,536 booster doses. The seven-day average for doses administered is 5,397.

    About 60.7 percent of total doses administered went to white Illinoisans, while 15.1 went to Latinx residents, 11.3 percent to Black residents and 7.2 to Asian residents. About 2.9 percent went to those identified as “other races” while 2.2 percent are “unknown.”


  • 2 Sep 2022 12:43 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Background: The COVID‑19 pandemic and associated public health measures have disrupted the lives of people around the world. It is already evident that the direct and indirect psychological and social effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic are insidious and affect the mental health of young children and adolescents now and will in the future. The aim and objectives of this knowledge-synthesis study were to identify the impact of the pandemic on children’s and adolescent’s mental health and to evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions employed during previous and the current pandemic to promote children’s and adolescents’ mental health. [International Journal on Environmental Research and Public Health  March 2021] 

    Methodology: We conducted the systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and included experimental randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials, observational studies, and qualitative studies. Results: Of the 5828 articles that we retrieved, 18 articles met the inclusion criteria. We thematically analyzed them and put the major findings under the thematic areas of impact of the pandemic on children’s and adolescents’ mental health. These studies reported that pandemics cause stress, worry, helplessness, and social and risky behavioral problems among children and adolescents (e.g., substance abuse, suicide, relationship problems, academic issues, and absenteeism from work). Interventions such as art-based programs, support services, and clinician-led mental health and psychosocial services effectively decrease mental health issues among children and adolescents. Conclusion: Children and adolescents are more likely to experience high rates of depression and anxiety during and after a pandemic. It is critical that future researchers explore effective mental health strategies that are tailored to the needs of children and adolescents. Explorations of effective channels regarding the development and delivery of evidenced-based, age-appropriate services are vital to lessen the effects and improve long-term capacities for mental health services for children and adolescents. Key Practitioner Message: The COVID-19 pandemic’s physical restrictions and social distancing measures have affected each and every domain of life. Although the number of children and adolescents affected by the disease is small, the disease and the containment measures such as social distancing, school closure, and isolation have negatively impacted the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and adolescents is of great concern. Anxiety, depression, disturbances in sleep and appetite, as well as impairment in social interactions are the most common presentations. It has been indicated that compared to adults, this pandemic may continue to have increased long term adverse consequences on children’s and adolescents’ mental health. As the pandemic continues, it is important to monitor the impact on children’s and adolescents’ mental health status and how to help them to improve their mental health outcomes in the time of the current or future pandemics. View Full-Text

    Download PDF here> 


  • 1 Sep 2022 12:37 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Illinois will launch a new effort to recruit and retain staff at state agencies that provide essential health and safety services, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday. [Health News Illinois]

    Under the plan, the Department of Central Management Services will develop and implement a statewide recruiting campaign focused on direct care staff at the state’s mental health centers, veterans' homes, correctional facilities and homes for those with developmental disabilities.

    The department will implement retention measures targeting employees at facilities that are open 24/7 and work with sister agencies to leverage existing community and workforce partners to fill such positions.

    The proposal comes as staffing shortages continue to affect healthcare and other industries, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker said.

    “No matter the challenges of today's job market, our administration is mobilizing every available resource to make sure every resident has access to the critical services they need and deserve,” he said in a statement.

    AFSCME Council 31, which represents public service workers, said nearly 7,000 positions in state government were vacant at the start of 2022. Roberta Lynch, the union's executive director, welcomed Pritzker's plan.

    “The Pritzker administration is moving forward to reduce the bureaucratic delays in the state hiring process that have been so frustrating to so many, and to redouble its efforts to recruit needed new hires," she said. "In the days ahead, our union will do everything possible to advance these efforts."


  • 31 Aug 2022 8:12 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As a child, Dr. Alika Lafontaine had a stutter and was labelled as having a learning disability. He says teachers told him he would never graduate high school.[CBC]

    "I definitely had learning challenges," Lafontaine told White Coat, Black Art's Dr. Brian Goldman. "People were quick, I think, as a kid, to label me as somebody who just couldn't achieve because of this."

    On Aug. 21, Lafontaine takes over as president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), becoming its first Indigenous leader.

    Full article here> 


  • 30 Aug 2022 5:39 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Racial residential segregation—in which racial or ethnic groups live in separate, unequal neighborhoods—tends to concentrate factors that contribute to racial disparities in health. These include socioeconomic and environmental stressors. Racial residential segregation is associated with differences in death rates, pregnancy outcomes, and chronic diseases. [NIH Research Matters]

    Researchers have been exploring the relationship between racial residential segregation and children’s cognitive development. Lead exposure is known to cause cognitive and developmental problems in children. Kids can be exposed to lead via lead-based paint, lead pipes, or proximity to sources of lead pollution. These factors tend to be more prevalent in poor neighborhoods. But few, if any, studies have evaluated the complicated relationships between residential segregation, lead exposure, and cognitive development.

    An NIH-funded research team from Duke University, Rice University, and the University of Notre Dame linked detailed birth records with lead screening and standardized testing data for almost 26,000 children in North Carolina. The children were all born in the year 2000. Standardized testing occurred 10-11 years later, at the end of fourth grade. The researchers also developed a measure of racial residential segregation in different areas. Results appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on August 23, 2022.

    Overall, non-Hispanic Black children had higher median blood lead levels than non-Hispanic white children. More than 80% of the Black children experienced economic disadvantage. Black children also lived in areas with greater racial residential segregation than white children, both at birth and at the time of the standardized testing.

    Reading test scores declined with higher levels of either blood lead or racial residential segregation at the time of testing. The researchers also found that blood lead levels and residential segregation interacted to affect reading test scores among the Black children. For those with low blood lead levels, test scores were not affected by racial residential segregation. However, among those with higher blood lead levels, test scores decreased as racial residential segregation increased. This effect became more marked as blood lead levels increased.

    Math test scores also declined as blood lead levels increased. But the researchers didn’t find an interaction between blood lead levels and racial residential segregation on math scores.

    Full article here> 


  • 29 Aug 2022 7:37 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was 7 years old.

    I excelled in school, attended a good college, scored well on the MCAT, and was accepted into medical school just as I always knew I would be. It was only as I progressed in my career as a physician that I realized that being a white, middle-class individual had given me an advantage -- I had access that others did not. [MedPage Today]

    There has been considerable talk about admitting more diverse students to U.S. medical schools, but not enough progress. In 2021-2022, U.S. medical school matriculants were 11.3% Black and 12.7% Latinx, not yet mirroring the total U.S. population at 14.2% and 18.7%, respectively.

    Medical school admissions committees evaluate a medical school applicant's academic credentials and life experiences. Often, they strive for fairness by establishing scoring mechanisms applied evenly to all applicants. Fair, perhaps, but just -- not even close. "Fair" forgets that opportunity has not been equally distributed up to the point of a medical school application.

    The MCAT, as used by most medical schools, is a major contributor to the educational injustice of the medical school application process. There remains an unexplained gap in average MCAT scores between white (503.1), Black (494.9), and Latinx (497.1) test-takers (Figure 7). This gap matters as 29% of applicants with a score of 502-505 are accepted compared to 10% with a score of 494-499 (Table 2). If we are serious about diversifying the physician workforce, we must rethink the way in which this examination is currently being used. Why? Because the unspoken MCAT line drawn by the majority of medical schools is keeping potential Latinx, Black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) students from attending; maybe even keeping potential students from applying.

    Full article here> 


  • 28 Aug 2022 8:45 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The new report adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting links between sleep and cardiovascular health.

    Many people dream about being able to have the luxury of an afternoon nap, but it turns out that those who frequently get a dose of daytime dozing may actually face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  [Managed Healthcare Executive]

    A new study published in the journal Hypertension has found a connection between the frequency of daytime napping and a person’s risk of hypertension and stroke. The study backs up earlier reports linking sleep and heart health, though the causal mechanisms behind the correlations have not yet been fully explained.

    In the new report, researchers used a British population health database called UK Biobank. The data set includes more than 500,000 people ages 40 and older who volunteered to regularly provide health and lifestyle information, along with blood, urine, and saliva samples, beginning in 2006.

    Four times between 2006 and 2019, participants were asked about their sleep and napping habits. Respondents were asked to say how often they took naps during the day, with three possible responses: “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” or “usually.”

    Corresponding author E. Wang, MD, PhD, of Xiangya Hospital Central South University, and colleagues wanted to know whether the frequency of a person’s napping might correlate with their heart health. They began with the UK Biobank dataset and then excluded any participant who already had a history of hypertension or stroke.

    What remained was a data set of 358,451 people. After a mean follow-up period of 11 years, the investigators compared those napping reports to incidences of first-time hypertension and stroke.

    Wang and colleagues found that, compared to those who reported “never/rarely” napping, people who frequently napped during the day had a 12% higher chance of developing hypertension and a 24% higher chance of having a stroke. When broken down by age group, those who were under the age of 60 had a 20% higher risk of hypertension if they napped frequently, compared to those who never napped. Among those over the age of 60, the increased risk was 10%.

    The American Heart Association recently included sleep duration as one of eight “essential” health factors and behaviors it says can affect a person’s cardiovascular risk. One of the co-authors of that checklist, Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR, of the University of Arizona, said in a press release that these new findings add to a growing understanding of the importance of sleep.

    “This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps seems to reflect increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues,” he said.

    Full article here>


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software