Health Tips

We are dedicated to helping provide you and your family with information and tools to help you make life-long healthy choices.

In this section, we will regularly provide articles and tips from Heartland Health Centers physicians and staff all geared to help you keep up with your own health care, cook healthier, stay well and prevent illness.


The Healing Benefits of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine wheel

January 23rd is recognized as International Integrative Health Day. Many Americans are still unaware of the healing benefits of integrative medicine. 

The healing benefits of integrative medicine 

Integrative medicine treats the whole person -mind, body, spirit, and community.  Integrative medicine physicians combine conventional “Western” medicine with other modalities of healing.  This allows physicians to expand their medical toolkit by including various types of  therapies. Integrative Medicine Physicians work with healers of many modalities within the community. Some examples of less conventional healing approaches include: 

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Herbal medicine
  • Supplements
  • Meditation
  • Energy Work
  • Ayurvedic Medicine

Read more about integrative medicine at Heartland Health Centers

Tips to have a great video visit at Heartland Health Centers

Dr. Sonia Oyola on a tablet - telehealth video visitYou don’t have to drive to a clinic and sit in a waiting room to see your medical team! To get the most out of your visit takes a little work and planning.

Here are some tips prepared by our clinical team to help you have a great appointment.

Healthy tech knowhow

  • Find a quiet private space with good lighting: Consider facing a window and not having the window behind you.
  • If you can, close all other programs on your phone or computer:, the website we use for video visits, works best on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
  • Use a computer, tablet, or cell phone with a working microphone and camera: Try propping up the camera with books so your hands are free and your provider can see your face.
  • Meet us where your internet is strongest: If you can, use a wired connection or sit near your wi-fi.

Help your provider help you 

  • Write down your questions or concerns beforehand: This will ensure that you don't forget anything.
  • Check your temperature, weight, and blood pressure before the visit: If you have diabetes, check your sugar; if you have diabetes or high blood pressure and need a machine, please let us know during your visit.
  • Have your medications and any papers you will need nearby: We want to make sure that you are taking your medications correctly and have enough refills.  We also want to see your records and any documents you have received from other medical teams.

You can download these tips in English or Spanish here

Family Planning Q & A with Advocate Illinois Masonic Nurse Midwives

word cloud associated with Illinois Family Planning Program
Heartland Health Centers partners with the Advocate Illinois Medical Center Nurse Midwifery Service – the oldest nurse midwife program in the state of Illinois – to provide birth & pregnancy, well woman and family planning care.
In November 2020 we spoke with Certified Nurse Midwives Alison Conte and Karen Wennerberg to learn more about the services they provide to our patients. They shared about the history of their service, the hierarchy of effectiveness of birth control methods, how they have been advising women during COV ID-19 and more. 
Read more and get tips in our latest blog post "Family Planning Q & A with Advocate Illinois Masonic Nurse Midwives."

Routines really help! Mental health tips during COVID-19 pandemic

dog sniffing the flowers on sidewalk

Our Behavioral Health Consultants – counselors integrated with primary care teams in Heartland Health Centers’ community and school clinics -- reflect our “whole-person” approach to health care. They have some tips and advice for mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Try to have a routine. Going for a walk, yoga videos, time for yourself, meditation, deep breathing videos in Spanish – these are a few samples of routines that patients have found helpful. 

Focus on what you can still do. Things you can still control, like making a favorite meal or going for a walk, can stop you from feeling overwhelmed by what is happening every day; focus on those, not what has changed.

Look for new things to do that are simple and feel OK. It can be hard to learn new skills in the middle of a situation but you can try new hobbies. One patient decided to try taking care of plants, another was picking up painting. Find things that are simple and acceptable and feel OK.

Carry your identity wherever you go. Carry your identity into the pandemic time — continue or adapt habits to maintain emotional and physical health

Gratitude for the little things.  We often will be reminded of what we no longer have or what plan was cancelled because of social distancing. But acknowledging what we do have at this time can bring perspective. The warmth of sun on your skin, the new flowers budding on your neighborhood walk or just that book you finally got around to reading.  

Read more and get more tips in our latest blog post "Counselors busier than ever caring for patients’ behavioral health"



Five tips to a happy, healthy you!

5 holiday health tips meme

As we move into the New Year, what are some ways you can work towards being the happiest, healthiest you?  Here are a few health tips from HHC that can help you get started!

1. Wash your hands for 15 seconds.  Using soap, warm water, and spending a few seconds vigorously rubbing your hands, will wash viruses down the drain.  It’s highly recommended that you do this every time you sneeze or cough and especially before meals.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also good to have around the house or in a pocket or purse.

Get four more tips in our latest blog post with seasonal health tips here

Sickle Cell Anemia - new research from Chicago offers hope

Diagram of red blood sickle cellSickle cell anemia has been in the news recently thanks to increasing awareness of the severity of the disease within the African-American community and among others across the U.S. and due to new treatments emerging. 

Inspired by World Sickle Cell Day last June and in advance of September’s Sickle Cell Awareness Month, here’s a quick update of health information and developments prepared by Heartland Health Center’s Ron Chacko, MD.

Read our latest blog post about sickle cell anemia here

Acupuncture can help with chronic pain

acupuncturistSince we started offering acupuncture in 2017, we have found it helpful for patients with chronic pain — some with daily pain for 20 years.
Acupuncture is provided by students and faculty from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and a local acupuncture provider during a seven-week program that also includes Tai Chi, education and stress-reducing activities. Offering these services as group visits allows patients who are uninsured or underinsured to access complementary modalities that they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Read more here

Simple victories boost nutrition in big ways

March is healthy nutrition month! 

It's always time to eat right but especially in March as we celebrate healthy nutrition (not to mention getting ready for spring and opportunities to get outside and move around more).

Read our latest blog post about nutrition in English here or leer en español aquí.

STI Awareness

by HHC Provider

Working at a school-based health center, I perform a lot of STD testing, some for students requesting the test due to risky behaviors, others just as routine screening with their annual physical exams.  It is always surprising how many positive tests we get on patients who think they are not at risk or....READ MORE

Have fun trying out our staff recipes

Some will be super healthy all around and some will be a healthier take on a traditional and delicious but not so healthy recipe. Our first recipe embraces soul food. Watch for the next recipe as we build our collection of recipes from the different cultures in our local communities and from around the world,  

Chicken Schwarma
By Dr. Marcia Katz, Family Medicine


I love to cook. The Sunday New York Times magazine has a food section whose regular contributors are Mark Bittman and Sam Sifton.  I saw the recipe and thought, wow, not only does that look delicious, it looks... READ MORE

View All Staff Recipes


Wellness tips from Dr. Mayefsky

Don't forget there are many simple things that can help keep you well and can prevent illness. Dr. Mayefsky will regularly bring us some of his most useful tips to keep us on the right track.


Cover your cough...but not with your hand!
by Dr. Jay Mayefsky, MD

  • Respiratory illnesses like the flu, colds, and whooping cough are spread from person to person by breathing in germs in the air or by touching...READ MORE

Choking Hazard Foods
by Dr. Jay Mayefsky, MD

  • Most choking deaths occur in children under the age of 4, and 50% of choking episodes are caused by foods. There are over 160 deaths...READ MORE