Christine Herman | WOSU Radio

Christine Herman

Christine Herman spent nine years studying chemistry before she left the bench to report on issues at the intersection of science and society. She started in radio in 2014 as a journalism graduate student at the University of Illinois and a broadcast intern at Radio Health Journal. Christine has been working at WILL since 2015.

Losing a loved one to gun violence can cause anxiety, stress and other mental health symptoms. So can simply living in an environment where violence is common.

But experts say early intervention and support can help prevent some of those negative, long-term consequences.


A small but growing number of U.S. women are choosing to have their babies at home. In more than 30 states, including most of the Midwest, it’s legal for certified professional midwives – trained specifically in home birth – to assist them.

Across much of the Midwest, maternal and infant death rates are high—especially among African-Americans. So doctors, public health agencies and non-profit organizations are searching for solutions.

Among them is Sistering CU in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. It offers free home visits from trained volunteers to families with babies up to six months in age. It also recently launched a support group for new parents.


An Illinois Senate bill aims to help children who are at risk of entering state custody because of issues caused by untreated mental illness. The measure comes as states grapple with ways to help parents who face a heartbreaking choice: giving up custody to obtain expensive treatment for a child.


Measles is a potentially deadly illness that is spreading in many parts of the world. Thanks to vaccines, the disease was eliminated from the U.S. almost two decades ago.

But measles outbreaks have sprung up ever since.


Research shows African-Americans are less likely to access treatment for mental illness.

Cultural norms and the stigma associated with having a mental illness are partly to blame, according to Shardé Smith, assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half of his life alone in a prison cell—22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

A law professor in Illinois wants to put a stop to a medical practice that she says treats women’s bodies like cadavers. 

Across most of the U.S., teaching hospitals allow medical students to conduct pelvic exams on female patients without their knowledge or explicit consent. 


Stress is a normal part of life. And there’s even such thing as a “good” level of stress that keeps us going, according to psychology researchers Sanda and Florin Dolcos at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

But severe stress can interfere with day-to-day living, and this can be particularly challenging during the holiday season, they say.

The Illinois Department of Corrections continues to flounder in its efforts to care for inmates with mental illness, according to a new report authored by Dr. Pablo Stewart, a psychiatrist and court-appointed monitor on a 2016 settlement agreement on a class-action lawsuit.

Health care was a big campaign issue across the Midwest, and Tuesday's election results were mixed. Among the winners: medical marijuana.

A new Illinois statute aims to boost flu shot rates among healthcare workers by making it harder for employees to decline the vaccine.

Lawmakers say this is important in light of last year’s flu season that killed more people than car crashes and drug overdoses. But some on the frontlines of public health worry that a law that’s not enforced will have little effect.


Alban Gonzalez / Flickr

When Matthew Timion needed to get his son treatment for mental illness, he did not anticipate it would be so hard to get the insurance company to pay for it.

When Toni and Jim Hoy adopted their son Daniel as a toddler, they did not plan to give him back to the state of Illinois 10 years later.

Ohio is among one of the hardest hit states by the opioid crisis. Yet, for five years in a row, Ohio along with every state in the U.S. has seen a continuous drop in opioid prescriptions.  Still the number of people who die from opioid overdoses continues to climb. This is all part of a national trend captured in a recent report from the American Medical Association.

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