The Latest News

Forum on Medicinal, Recreational Cannabis Use is Nov. 14

Dr. Jack Herrmann will talk about the ongoing - and rapidly evolving - debate on medicine and recreational use of cannabis at a Community Health Forum event Nov. 14.

The program, the last of a monthly series presented by the Stephenson County Health Department and FHN, is free to attend. The session will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas Street in Freeport. Refreshments will be served, and reservations are not necessary.

The talk will be moderated by Alan Wenzel and public input and questions are welcome.


FHN Festival of Trees Events Start Nov. 10

A Saturday-morning showing of Disney's Nutcracker and the Four Realms on Nov. 10 will kick off this year's FHN Festival of Trees events.

The movie is one of five in the FHN Holiday Movie Series that will be presented at 10 a.m. each Saturday through Dec, 8 at the Classic Cinemas Lindo Theatre, 115 S. Chicago Avenue in Freeport. Admission is just $4 (FHN is paying $2 of the $6 ticket price) and seating is limited. All children attending will receive a holiday gift.

The theme of this year's Festival of Trees is a quote from American author T.A. Barron: Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern and so do you.

The Festival of Trees includes a host of events for people of all ages, from this year's CASINO-BLANCA Gala Nov. 16 to a community tree lighting Nov. 18 and the popular Community Festival of Trees on display Dec. 3 - 29 at the Freeport Public Library. (People's Choice voting runs through Saturday, Dec. 15.)

For more information on all of this year's Festival of Trees events, visit


FHN Grant Funds to Target Underage Alcohol Use in Jo Daviess County

FHN Family Counseling Center, with funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success (SPF-PFS) grant, is focusing on substance use prevention efforts to impact the higher-than-state-average underage alcohol use in Jo Daviess County.

Underage alcohol use is no longer just a college or high school concern. In fact, the age at which kids start experimenting with alcohol is younger than ever. By the time students reach eighth grade, it has been reported that one-third of all Jo Daviess County adolescents have used alcohol in the past year. One-half of Jo Daviess County 12th graders surveyed have reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and one-quarter of the students surveyed admit to "binge" drinking, which is 5 or more drinks at one time in the past two weeks.

Apart from being illegal and risky to both the drinker and the community, the reports have found that drinking increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents among drivers under 21. In addition to motor vehicle accidents, adolescents who drink are also at greater risk for alcohol-induced brain damage and poor performance at school or work. Research shows that adolescents who begin drinking under the age of 15 interrupt key processes in brain development. This interruption makes them more likely to develop serious alcohol problems later in life.

Preventing underage drinking is a primary goal of the SPF-PFS Grant. Assisting the community in understanding the significance of the problem and what they can do to prevent underage drinking is important to this initiative, as well as implementing and evaluating evidence-based prevention approaches.

Effective prevention efforts among adolescents are vital to reduce the risks associated with alcohol use. Data from the 2018 Illinois Youth Survey, as well as data from other community sources, helps to pinpoint contributing factors that are most prevalent.

The most successful prevention strategies address the identified local contributing factors.

Thanks to the funding from the Department of Human Services and the support of FHN and the Jo Daviess Juvenile Justice Council, two evidence-based strategies are being implemented in the county. All Stars, Building Bright Futures, a multi session youth prevention education program, is being implemented at all of the Jo Daviess County middle schools. A Parent Communication Campaign was introduced in fall 2017 and will continue in various media outlets through spring of 2019. Look for the advertisements, posters, social media posts, and billboards that support the messaging.


FHN's Geller Receives Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award

FHN Medical Staff President and Infectious Disease Specialist Robert Geller, MD, MS, FACP, FIDSA, has received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who's Who, the worlds premier publisher of biographical profiles.

"This well-deserved honor was bestowed upon Dr. Geller in honor of his achievements, leadership qualities, and successes he has accrued in his field," said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. "We are honored to have him as a part of FHN."

In addition to his roles at FHN, Dr. Geller serves as a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois and is a member of the Stephenson County Board of Health. At the start of his career, he joined Cornell University as a clinical assistant professor of medicine. Subsequently, he worked in private practice in internal medicine and infectious disease. He has also been a clinical professor of medicine at UW-Madison.

A diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Geller holds a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering from New York University and a medical degree from Cornell. Upon graduation from medical school, he pursued an internship and residency through Bellevue Hospital and a second residency through North Shore University Hospital. In order to keep abreast of changes in the field, he became a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a member of the American Society of Microbiology, and the American Society for Physician Leadership. For his professional accomplishments, he has been honored with inclusion into two editions of Who's Who in the Midwest and two editions of Who's Who in the World.

In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Dr. Robert Geller has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website,


Nine Area Schools Win FHN Miles And Minutes Cash

Nine area schools will get checks from FHN this fall, thanks to their dedicated fans who counted their exercise minutes through the summer with FHN's Miles And Minutes program. FHN's Miles And Minutes encouraged participants to be active and log various types of physical activity to win prize money for the school of their choice.

Miles And Minutes winners were chosen in two main categories – miles per school system (normalized based on the number of students in each school system to help ensure that all schools had an equal chance to win, no matter their size or how many participants they enlist) and average miles per participant. The winners are:

Miles per School System:

Aquin Schools – 112,625.96 miles ($2,000)
Tri-County Christian – 105,199.52 miles ($1,000)
Orangeville – 75,654.73 miles ($500)

Average Miles per Participant:

Eastland – 497.57 ($2,000)
Dakota – 415.49 ($1,000)
Orangeville – 277.6 ($500)

This year, we added a special prize for the school with the most Family Activity points. (Winners in the other categories were not eligible for this prize.) Freeport was this year's $500 Family Activity winner, with 10,533 points.

Schools that do not win a prize in the two main categories are eligible for Sweepstakes prizes. In the Sweepstakes category, drawn at random, this year's winners are:

Pearl City – ($500)
West Carroll – ($400)
Warren – ($300)

The free program had 452 participants who logged a total of 1,713,369 minutes of exercise from May 28 through September 2. (That'''s more than 28,500 hours of exercise!)


Freeport Dental Connections and FHN Family Dental to Combine Forces

Mark Gridley, FHN President and CEO, and Dr. Thomas McCoy, Freeport Dental Connections CEO, announced today that they have reached a definitive agreement to merge FHN's Family Dental practice into Freeport Dental Connections practice. Subject to final approvals, they expect the transaction to close on or about September 30, 2018.

As part of the agreement, Dr. Donald Doak, Dr. John Thompson, and Dr. Maria Boy will assume management of Dental Connections in Freeport on or about October 1, 2018. Over the next several weeks the FHN Family Dental staff will relocate to the Dental Connections location at 2661 W. Stephenson St. in Freeport. All existing FHN Family Dental patients and insurance plans will transition with Drs. Doak, Thompson, and Boy. Specific details will be communicated directly to existing patients of both practices.

According to Gridley and McCoy, the combination of these two well-established practices will better serve the Freeport area for the future. Gridley stated, "One of our goals was to partner with someone who shared our values and could dedicate more resources to the dental practice. With Dental Connections' sole focus on dentistry, we believe our dentists, dental staff, and most importantly our patients will be even better served for the future."

According to Dr. McCoy, "We wanted to increase our presence in the Freeport market and are excited to have the FHN Family Dental dentists and staff join our team. We appreciate the confidence FHN has placed in us and look forward to continue serving the Freeport community."


FHN Offering Drive-Through, Walk-Up, and Traditional Flu Shot Clinics

FHN has added three new, convenient flu shot clinics to its regular schedule of clinics throughout northwest Illinois.

This year, adults can choose to receive their flu shot at one of two drive-through clinics at the FHN Family Healthcare Center – Burchard Hills, 1010 W. Fairway Drive in Freeport:

Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 – 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 4 – 6:30 p.m.

See the full 2018 Flu Shot Schedule

In addition, a special walk-up clinic will be held from 3 – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Highland Community College Farmers Market in south parking lot C.

Fees and restrictions for these special flu shot clinics are the same as for FHN's traditional clinics: If you are an adult under 65 years of age, you will get a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against 4 strains of influenza for $28.

If you're over 65, you will receive a high-dose version of the vaccine ($62). There will be no out-of-pocket expense if you are covered by Medicare Part B (please present Medicare card) or a Medicare HMO accepted by FHN (list available at each location – covered persons MUST present the Medicare HMO card instead of the Medicare card for the billing process).

Immunizations may be paid for by cash, credit card, or check payable to FHN. Please note that these prices are only available at these flu shot clinics; other rates may apply in FHN offices. No other insurance coverage can be accepted at these flu shot clinics, and per government regulations, no Medicaid cards can be accepted at these locations. Because of federal guidelines to prevent identity theft, everyone must present a photo ID to receive an immunization.

For their own safety, children should be immunized at their regular healthcare provider's office. Persons with allergy to eggs or the flu vaccine, those with an illness accompanied by a fever or depressed immune system should not receive the flu immunization at these locations. For more information, call FHN Community Services at 815-599-7437.