ADA Stories: Evadney Stephens

Why does Evadney Stephens call downtown Chicago home?

“Oh my goodness. I live down there because it’s so accessible now,” says Stephens, a lab technician at Rush who uses a wheelchair.

Thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act, which became law 25 years ago, public transportation has become increasingly accessible to people who are disabled.

“Now I can take a bus, even in the chair, because the buses have ramps,” she says. “I can take taxis. They have ramps and I can just roll up into them now. Things have changed so much.”

Give Yourself Time for Good Health


By Jennifer Ventrelle

Worried about that extra luggage you might acquire around the holidays, adding to an already expanded waistline? A review of studies evaluating holiday weight gain determined the average gain during the six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to be only 0.8 pounds. However, for those individuals who were already overweight or obese, the gain was as much as five pounds. A more recent evaluation indicated that obese participants show greater increases in body fat over the holiday season compared to their normal weight counterparts.

Even if the number of pounds gained varies greatly, there’s the phenomenon commonly called “holiday creep.” We gain the most weight during the holidays and rarely shed it afterwards, so it accumulates over the years, until by middle age, we are a bit too hefty around the middle and elsewhere.

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Reginald ‘Hats’ Adams, 1940-2015


Reginald “Hats” Adams planned to be a pool shark after he was expelled from high school. While he spent the next several years winning money with his pool stick, Hats ultimately devoted more than half a century to improving the health, well-being and education of Chicago youths like himself.

The director of the Department of Community Affairs at Rush University Medical Center since 1980, Hats died on Friday, after a lengthy illness, in his home in Country Club Hills with his wife by his side. He was 75 years old.

“Years ago, Rush grappled at times with how best to serve our community and most effectively relate to our many community stakeholders. Hats was invaluable in these efforts,” says Larry Goodman, MD, Rush’s CEO. “More than anyone I know, he has helped Rush focus on those things that are important and make a real difference.”

“My history with Hats went back 33 years, and I was his boss on paper for quite a few of those years, but it was Hats that guided me rather than the other way around,” adds Peter W. Butler, president of Rush.

Throughout his Rush career, which began in 1968, Hats paid particular attention to the educational concerns of minority students. Thanks to his efforts, in 1990 Rush launched its Science and Math Excellence (SAME) Network in response to the low science, math and reading test scores in Chicago schools in the area surrounding Rush.

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The Problem With Antibiotics

Red capsules

By Sarah Won, MD

We’ve all woken up with a sore throat that progresses to a runny nose by the next day. By the third day, we have a hacking cough, a pounding headache from the sinus congestion, and even fevers with chills. We drag ourselves out of bed and go to the doctor, hoping that a pill or antibiotic can get us feeling better.

The majority of the time, however, we have one of 20 different respiratory viruses that cause the cold or flu-like symptoms. And antibiotics cannot kill viruses. So if it’s viral, the antibiotic cannot get you better.

What do antibiotics kill, then? Antibiotics, like amoxicillin or the Z-pack (azithromycin), kill bacteria. But antibiotics kill indiscriminately. Did you know our bodies are made up of 100 trillion bacteria? 99.99% of these bacteria do not cause disease — as long as a careful balance is maintained, they work the way they are supposed to work, and stay in the places they are supposed to stay.

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Young Rush Nurses Take the Lead

Rush University Medical Center is widely recognized as a leader in nursing excellence, and that leadership starts early.

The Illinois Nurses Foundation and the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition recently chose eight nurses and nursing faculty members at Rush for the organization’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader Award winners. Only one other institution in Illinois had more than one nurse who received the award, which was given to honor leadership and commitment well beyond the nurses’ years.

Learn more about the nurses and the work they do:

‘My Particular Disability Is not Visible’

You wouldn’t know by looking at him that Christopher Miller was disabled.

“My particular disability is not visible,” says Miller, an outreach coordinator with the Road Home Program at Rush. “I went to war, I saw combat, but when I came back it took several years, quite frankly, to figure that I did, in fact, have a disability. There was something going on.”

The Marine Corps veteran sought help for his post-traumatic stress disorder, the kind of help that he and the Road Home Program provide for fellow veterans and their families. And it made all the difference.

“Once I got treatment and therapy and different options like that,” he says, “it turned my life around.”

Maria Brown, DO: ADA a ‘Sea Change in Social Policy’

Maria Brown, DO, has long been an advocate for people with disabilities. She has also experienced it firsthand.

As an adult, she developed a degenerative spine condition that for several years required her to use a walker to get around.

Here Brown, a family medicine physician at Rush, discusses how the Americans With Disabilities Act has affected her and millions of others across the U.S.

“This is something that cannot be taken for granted,” she says. “It’s an amazing sea change in social policy in my lifetime.”