The Latest News

FHN Offering Healthcare Scholarships

July 15, 2021 – Pursuing a career in healthcare begins with passion and education. In continuing to encourage ambitious students in our community, FHN is proud to offer multiple scholarships for students in the FHN service area who are pursuing careers in healthcare.

Several scholarships will be offered this year, each with different application criteria:
• Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for up to three $1,000 scholarships
• Diversity Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for one $1,000 scholarship
• Volunteer Resource Scholarship Program for one $1,000 scholarship to an active member of the FHN Student Volunteer Program with a minimum of 40 volunteer hours

The deadline for all applicants is Friday, Sept. 3. For more information and application forms for each scholarship, visit

Join FHN Experts for Walk with a Doc Starting July 24

July 13, 2021 – FHN is proud to be a part of the nationwide program Walk with a Doc, which gives people a chance to take a walk and learn about their health from a local healthcare professional.

The first FHN Walk with a Doc will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 24 by the concession stand at Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Boulevard in Freeport. This FREE 45 “ 60 minute Walk is a safe, fun, family- and pet-friendly way to get some steps, learn about health, and meet new friends.

All attendees at the first Walk will receive their choice of a free t-shirt or pedometer (while supplies last).

FHN Behavioral Health Nurse Practitioner Misty DeHaven, FNP-BC, is the host for the first Walk. In coming weeks, the schedule and topics include:
July 31 “ Katie Alvarado, RN & Jess Harweger, RN “ Imaging and Breast Health
August 7 “ Terry Donat, MD, FACS, FICS “ Ear, Nose, & Throat
August 14 “ Tamisha Bonvillain, FNP-BC, IBCLC “ Family Medicine
August 21 “ Roland Tolliver, DPM, FACFAS “ Podiatry & Wound Care
August 28 “ Tracy Love, RN “ Stroke Awareness
Sept. 4 “ Javeria Qureshi, MD, MPH, FACS “ Surgery

A complete schedule and more information about Walk with a Doc is available at

These events are intended to educate and provide an opportunity for healthy exercise. Specific questions about your or your family's healthcare should be directed to your primary healthcare provider. For assistance finding the right primary care provider, call FHN at 815-599-6860.

FHN Opens New Facility Dedicated to Jo Daviess Patients

July 8, 2021 – FHN is proud to announce the opening of the FHN Jo Daviess Family Healthcare Center conveniently located off U.S. Route 20 in Stockton.

The new facility, opened in June 2021, brings the latest technology to the area, said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “We're proud to make this investment in this region, and our team members are excited to provide state-of-the-art, compassionate healthcare for the residents of Jo Daviess County and surrounding communities here.”

The spacious, airy building was designed to take advantage of natural light to create a comforting, healing atmosphere while offering expanded services including all-digital imaging on site. The clinic's address is 600 North Rush Street in Stockton and the phone number is 815-947-3211.

“This facility was built with patients in mind,” said FHN Chief Medical Officer Keith Martin, MD, FACOG. “It allows us to offer our patients team-based care, which is a relationship-based approach to healthcare. It's more personal, and there's room to involve both primary care providers and medical specialists in each patient's team.”

The building is equipped with the advanced equipment and information technology used by FHN providers, making it much easier to bring in additional expertise on patients' cases when needed. FHN providers offer care in 39 specialized areas of medicine, including cardiology, orthopaedics, obstetrics and gynecology, and behavioral health.

A video tour of the facility (in lieu of an open house due to pandemic safety protocols) is available at Learn more about FHN's providers and specialties at

FHN Experts: Vaccine Helps Stop Spread of COVID-19 Variants

July 7, 2021 – With northwest Illinois in Phase 5 of opening up during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN urge those who haven't yet been vaccinated to get their shots in FHN's latest pandemic update video.

“When the nation first had vaccines, it was a ‘vaccine versus virus' race,” Gridley said. “Now, we're facing a ‘vaccine versus variant' race.”

“When the COVID-19 vaccine spreads, it evolves to create these new variants, like the Delta variant we've heard so much about lately,” Kochsmier said. “Getting more people vaccinated against COVID-19 gives the virus less ‘room' to spread and create these variants.”

All three available COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the virus' new variants, Kochsmier said. She points out that people who have already had COVID-19 must be vaccinated to be protected against the new, more contagious strains of the virus.

Area residents can get vaccinated through their county health department or at a retail pharmacy, Gridley said. There is no cost for a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit to find a convenient vaccination site. COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone age 12 or older.

As we all navigate the uncertain territory of opening up and interacting with other people safely, Gridley urges people to take the time now to schedule checkups, preventive screenings and procedures they may have put off at the height of the pandemic.

“Get out and enjoy our area, support our local businesses, and be respectful of each other. Some people are choosing to keep wearing masks and keeping their distance from others for their safety -please respect people's choices.”

The current FHN COVID-19 update video, as well as all previous pandemic-related videos, can be viewed at

FHN Honoring Dr. Merry with Retirement Wishes

July 2, 2021 – After a long and distinguished career, FHN Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Physician Michael J. Merry, M.D. will retire this month. “Dr. Merry has cared for thousands of area families over several decades,” said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “He has been an integral part of FHN, and we will greatly miss him.”

Rather than a public open house, because of pandemic restrictions FHN is asking former and current patients as well as friends to honor Dr. Merry with cards and online wishes. Cards should be sent care of Kim Stasi to FHN Memorial Hospital, 1045 W. Stephenson Street, Freeport, IL 61032. Online greetings and well-wishes may be sent at

All of the online greetings will be included in a scrapbook for Dr. Merry. Those who wish to participate should submit their greeting or send a card by Friday, July 9.

S. Burchard Avenue Closed Monday

June 18, 2021 – The City of Freeport will close Burchard Avenue from La Cresta Drive to the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills in Freeport from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, June 21. Access to the FHN Burchard Hills location will be available via W. South Street from the east.

All departments at the FHN Family Healthcare Center “ Burchard Hills in Freeport will be open as usual.

Lee Sesslar, MD Joins FHN Ob/Gyn Team

May 11, 2021 – Board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist Lee Sesslar, MD, FACOG has joined the FHN Women's Healthcare team.

Dr. Sesslar earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford and served her Ob/Gyn residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. She has been caring for women in the Rockford area since 2003.

She is welcoming new patients at FHN Specialty Care - Harlem Avenue in Freeport. To make an appointment with Dr. Sesslar, call 815-599-7750.

Dr. Sesslar holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in biology from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She has served as a clinical instructor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. As part of a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, she provided gynecologic care and performed major gynecologic surgeries in remote villages.

Dr. Sesslar is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the Illinois State Medical Society and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

For more information on Dr. Sesslar and the Ob/Gyn services offered at FHN, visit

FHN Experts Urge Caution - and Vaccination - as Area ‘Opens Up'

May 10, 2021 – FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and FHN Family Counseling Center Senior Clinical Case Manager Wendy McGath, BA, MHP, FRD talk about the area's vaccination progress and “opening up” safely in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video.

About 27 percent of the general population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, Gridley said, referencing Stephenson County Health Department statistics. More than 70 percent of the age 65 and older population has received their vaccinations, and anyone age 18 and up can now easily get an appointment to get vaccinated.

“Anyone can schedule an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccination at,” Gridley said. “All available FHN appointments are listed on the appointment request page, and there are plenty of open spots, so we encourage everyone to sign up and get their shot.”

Along with getting vaccinated, Gridley and McGath both urge people to be careful and keep following pandemic safety protocols, even as restaurants and businesses across northwest Illinois open up.

“It might be difficult for people to keep staying home, now that COVID-19 numbers are down and vaccinations are available,” McGath said. “But we're asking that people stay cautious and keep following the COVID-19 hygiene protocols just a little while longer, until we're all sure it's safe.”

McGath said that people who have been vaccinated can feel safe gathering, without wearing masks, in small groups with other people who have received the vaccine. Everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, should continue to follow the CDC guidelines - wear a mask when you're out in public, keep 6 feet away from others, and maintain good hand hygiene by washing and sanitizing hands often.

“We're all still in this together,” McGath said. “We all still need to protect the people who are most vulnerable for just a little while longer.”

The current FHN COVID-19 update video, as well as all previous pandemic-related videos, can be viewed at