Knitting lessons

Knitting has been one of our most popular classes, says Behavioral Health Consultant Kristin Alexander: “I think the number one thing the class is doing is building community,” she says. Photos are from one recent knitting class.

Julia and Diana knitting

Heartland Health Centers patient Tasneem Qureshi started coming to yoga, nutrition and other classes at our Devon Avenue location because she was afraid of needles.

“I’m a diabetic, so I have to keep myself busy,” says Qureshi. She has been managing her blood sugar with pills for 11 years. But recently her primary care physician at Hertland told Qureshi she would have to inject insulin unless she could reduce her blood sugar levels.

“After that, I attended a bunch of Heartland’s wellness classes,” she laughs. Those included yoga, tai chi, nutrition and knitting. So far, so good: she continues to manage her diabetes with pills under her doctor’s care.

Insulin injections may terrify Qureshi, but a different kind of needle bothers her not at all: the knitting needle. She learned to knit at age 13 in Pakistan, where she grew up. “My mom taught me knitting sweaters, jackets, hats, socks” and more, she says.

Today Qureshi continues knitting for her family while also teaching others in the knitting group that Heartland Health Centers started at Devon Avenue in November to help patients reduce stress. “I think Tasneem can knit anything,” says Community Health Education Coordinator Claire Brady.

Brady, Americorps member Madeline McGovern, and Behavioral Health Consultant Kristin Alexander brew tea, bring yarn — some people bring their own while others use materials donated by community residents and area knitting shops Close Knit, Knit 1, and Nina — and help others in the class. The group also practices breathing exercises and explores other approaches to managing stress.

McGovern, who helped create the knitting class, says she learned from her mother while growing up outside New York City.

At one recent Tuesday meeting, Qureshi was teaching Ezequiel Gonzalez, who also received a referral to join the group. Although Gonzalez has never knitted before, he catches on quickly. A videographer by profession, he also casts small sculptures that he shares with the group. One of his pieces, a replica of a baby’s foot, is a hit with fellow knitter Ifeoma Ezunagu, who is expecting her first child in June.

Ezunagu is knitting a hat using a technique Qureshi showed the group in a previous class, and already has completed a one-inch-long piece. She says the group offers a great chance to get out of the house, serving as her main social outlet besides church, since she is new to Chicago.

Across the table from Ezunagu, Julia Houska is knitting a scarf for herself. Houska recently moved to the area from Ohio for graduate studies at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Houska, who also attends Heartland yoga classes, says she likes having a designated time each week to knit. “I promised a blanket to my sister two years ago,” she says. “But I saw this yarn and I really like it!”

It is too soon to tell the impact the knitting group has had on participants’ health, Brady says. But nutrition and other wellness groups Heartland runs have had a clear success in reducing blood sugar levels and other health effects. Alexander, who also facilitates walking and gardening groups at Devon, says knitting has been one of the most popular classes so far. “I think the number one thing [the class is doing] is building community,” she says. “People feel comfortable coming to Heartland.”

Learn more about our Health Education and Wellness classes online here, or please call 312-718-0660.

February is  National Children’s Dental Health Month!


Taking care of your children’s teeth is vital to their long-term health. Below are 8 dental facts from our dental team that’ll help you keep your child’s smile healthy and clean.


Did you know…?

  • Every child should have at least one dental visit by the age of 1
  • Everyone should brush their teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day
  • Everyone should visit the dentist twice a year
  • Even baby teeth need to be cleaned after eating, using a soft toothbrush!
  • Bottle and/or breastfeeding should stop around 12 months of age, or it could lead to severe dental disease
  • Don’t put your baby/toddler to sleep with a baby bottle! This could cause damage from constant exposure to the liquid.
  • The health of your baby teeth can affect the health of your adult teeth!
  • Untreated dental infections can impact your overall health too, not just your mouth!

Make an appointment for your child to see a dentist today!

Click here to learn more about our dental services.



January 31, 2018

A 6-week health education program focused on developing healthy lifestyle habits to prevent and manage chronic health problems.

In this 6-week health class you will:

  • Find out how healthy eating can improve your condition
  • Create an exercise program that works for you
  • Learn ways to improve communication with your family, friends, and healthcare providers
  • Develop your own weekly health goals
  • Learn problem-solving strategies to help cope with pain, fatigue and frustration
  • Gain support and encouragement from others living with ongoing health conditions

Where: 845 W. Wilson Ave. Lower Level

When: Fridays March 30-May 4, 1-3 pm

Dalia Morales

An NBC-5 /Telemundo reporter interviewed Dalia in December as part of stories about her work helping people, especially immigrants such as herself, to access care at Heartland Health Centers

Our own Dalia Galvan Morales, manager of Health Care Access and Immigrant and Refugee Services, has helped put a face on the immigration crisis.

She has worked with Heartland Health Centers since becoming one of the earliest recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, program.

Last month Telemundo, NBC-5 and Chicago Public Radio discussed the challenges that many DACA recipients face as the federal government fails again and again to address her situation and that of nearly a million more like her across the country.

Chicago Public Radio also featured her in a story about ‘Dreamers Discuss Helping Other Immigrants Amid Uncertainty.’ Here are links to the pieces:

Telemundo story

NBC-TV Channel 5 story

WBEZ Story

‘Dreamers Discuss Helping Other Immigrants Amid Uncertainty’

We’re proud of Dalia for her work and for sharing her story!

January 4, 2018

Join us on Wednesday mornings for a low-impact group indoor exercise session. You’ll learn simple exercises that you can do at home in the winter.

When: Wednesdays 11 am-12 pm

Where: HHC Albany Park, 3737 W. Lawrence Ave.

This group is open to any current patients who use alcohol or other drugs.  We will focus on learning more about substances and their use as well as how to reduce the harm of using substances. This is a drop-in group and patients are welcome to join at any time.

Where: 845 W Wilson

When: Wednesdays at 10:30 am to 12 pm starting January 10th

December 4, 2017

Heartland held its annual Turkey Raffle, this year at our 2200 W Touhy clinic. Ten families were the lucky winners, and  all came over in record time to pick theirs up. Each turkey was big, fresh and hormone free, ranging  in size from 15 – 20 lbs, depending on the number of people in their household.  Pictured above is one of our patients with Melissa Hart, Site Manager of our Touhy clinic which has just undergone a lovely renovation, with new flooring, windows, electrical and lighting, HVAC, countertops and a new paint job!

November 6, 2017

Knitting is a great way to relax and be mindful. Meet new people, learn a new skill, and reduce your stress in this weekly group. All experience levels are welcome, from beginners to experts. No supplies are required, as we received donations from local knitting stores.


October 25, 2017

¿Debería mi hijo recibir la vacuna contra la gripa?

¡Sí! Aquí está la razón…

La vacuna contra la gripa previene la gripa (el “flu”).  La gripa es un virus común que causa fiebres altas repentinas, toz, cansancio, y dolencias en el cuerpo.

¿Por qué es importante que mi hijo sea inmunizado contra la gripa?

  • Niños pequeños sufren más con los problemas causadas por la gripa. La gripa causa problemas con respirar, enfermedades pulmonarias, y problemas causadas por las altas fiebres. Estos problemas de la gripa pueden hospitalizar a niños y hasta causar la muerte, especialmente a niños menores de 5 años. Para prevenir esto es importante que todos los niños, especialmente los más jóvenes, reciban la vacuna contra la gripa.

¿Qué puede pasar si mi hijo recibe la vacuna contra la gripa?

  • Lo más común es que el aria donde recibió la vacuna se enrojece y se inflame, y uno entre cinco niños puede tener dolor. Algunos niños pueden tener fiebre, dolor de cabeza, o dolencias en los músculos por 1 ó 2 días, pero no es la gripa. Hay otros efectos secundarios más raros.
  • A su hijo no le puede dar la gripa con la vacuna porque la vacuna está hecha de un virus muerto. La vacuna contra la gripa no es para prevenir los resfriados normales que las personas reciben durante el invierno.
  • La vacuna empieza a trabajar después de 14 días de haberla recibido. Trate de mantenerse alejado de personas que estén enfermas con la gripa en esos 14 días.

¿Cuándo necesita mi hijo recibir la vacuna contra la gripa?

  • Cada niño (entre los 6 meses o mayor) debe obtener la vacuna cada año (septiembre a marzo).
  • Niños entre 6 meses a 9 años, recibiendo la vacuna contra la gripa por primera vez necesitan dos vacunas. La segunda vacuna es puesta un mes después de recibir la primera. Después de esto, su hijo solamente necesitaría una vacuna cada año para prevenir la gripa.
  • La vacuna contra la gripa se puede dar con otras vacunas.

Si su hijo tiene seguro médico, no hay ningún costo para la vacuna contra la gripa. Si usted paga de su bolsillo el cuidado médico de su hijo, no hay costo adicional para la vacuna contra la gripa.

Para más información, visite

Heartland Health Center
1300 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 751-7850

Lunes-Jueves: 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
Viernes: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sábado: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

October 25, 2017

Should my child get the flu shot?

Yes!  Here’s why…

The flu shot prevents the flu.  The flu is a common virus that causes a sudden high fever, coughing, and feeling very tired and sore all over.

Why is it important for my child to be immunized against the flu?

  • Young children suffer more with the problems caused by the flu. The flu can cause trouble breathing, lung diseases, and problems from very high fevers.  These problems from the flu can put children in the hospital and even cause death especially in children under 5 years old.  To prevent this, it is important for all children, especially very young children, to get the flu shot.

What can happen if my child gets the flu shot?

  • Most often, the spot where the flu shot was given can become red and swollen and may hurt for 1 out of 5 children. Some children may get a fever, headache, or their muscles can hurt for 1 or 2 days, but this is not the flu.  There are other rare side effects.
  • Your child cannot get the flu from the flu shot because the shot is made from a killed virus. The flu shot is also not meant to prevent normal colds people get during the winter.
  • The shot starts to work 14 days after getting it. Try to stay away from people who are sick with the flu during those 14 days.

When does my child need the flu shot?

  • Each child (ages 6 months and older) is due for a flu shot every year (September to March).
  • The 1st time your child gets the flu shot until 9 years old, he/she will need a 2nd shot one month later. After that, your child will only need to get one flu shot every year to prevent the flu.
  • The flu shot may be given at the same time with other shots.

If your child has health insurance, there is no cost for the flu shot. If you pay for your child’s healthcare, there is no extra cost for the flu shot.

For more information, go to

Heartland Health Center
1300 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 751-7850


M-Th:  8:30 am – 8:00 pm
F:  8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sat:  8:30 am – 12:30 pm


¿Debería mi hijo recibir la vacuna contra la gripa?

¡Sí! Aquí está la razón…