All posts by gwenaviles2018

Chicago’s Natural Healer

By Gwen Aviles
Medill Reports

Not too long ago, most “real” doctors would not consider employing natural medicine. In fact, naturopathic procedures were so stigmatized that even Dr. C. Leslie Smith, one of the pioneers of holistic medicine in the Midwest and an acupuncturist with her own practice in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, never foresaw herself practicing it.

Smith was training to become a general surgeon at the University of Illinois College of Medicine when hardship struck. With only one year of school remaining, she developed a repetitive stress injury in her arms, which impeded her ability to operate.

“The more I tried to compensate with my left hand, the more my right hand became inflamed and vice versa,” she says. At one point, her arms became completely immobilized and nothing—not the physical therapy she was completing nor the narcotics and anti-inflammatories she was prescribed—could mollify her acute pain.

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Reopening ‘War Against All Puerto Ricans’ in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

By Gwen Aviles
Medill Reports

Authored by high-profile former New York State Representative Nelson A. Denis, “War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony” is one of the most well-known books about Puerto Rico’s colonial status. And ever since Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico—leaving thousands of people without basic necessities like electricity and water—the book has only become more popular.

Katy O’Donnell, an editor at Nation Books which publishes “War Against All Puerto Ricans,” says they have “seen a 54 percent growth in sales over the same period last year, so there has been a bump post-Maria.”

The increase in book sales seems to demonstrate that people are taking a genuine interest in the U.S. territory—and its relationship to the mainland—as it grapples with the aftermath of the most destructive Caribbean storm in the past 60 years. But like the island, the book has a deep-rooted and tumultuous political past.

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Meg Wolitzer discusses “The Female Persuasion” at Women and Children First bookstore

By Gwen Aviles
Medill Reports

Seating was difficult to come by at the Meg Wolitzer author talk held by Women and Children First bookstore in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago on April 24.

The event was crammed with aspiring authors, feminists and aspiring feminist authors alike clamoring to get a look at literary greatness. Those who failed in the game of musical chairs were sprawled on the wooden floor with their Moleskine notebooks, craning their heads to get a peak at Wolitzer in conversation with Greta Johnson, a Chicago-based journalist and WBEZ host. When even floorspace ran low, some attendees plopped themselves on the stepping stools meant for reaching the highest bookshelves, while others leaned against bookcases.

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Questions about nursing and masculinity persist

By Gwen Aviles
Medill Reports

Take a second and think of a famous nurse.

Who popped into your mind? Maybe Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton or Mary Breckinridge?

The assumption that nursing is an almost exclusively-female field continues to persist, even as more men have steadily entered the profession since the 1970s. A recent study by Elizabeth Munich and Abigail Wozniak, economists at the University of Louisville and University of Notre Dame, respectively, found that about 13 percent of nurses in the United States were men as of 2015, an increase from 2.2 percent in 1960.

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The ‘rebels’ behind Puerto Rico’s longest running newspaper

By Gwen Aviles
Medill Reports

Housed in a cozy office on Calle Borinqueña in San Juan, Claridad—Puerto Rico’s longest running newspaper—has a staff of a mere 10 people. But the paper’s lack of personnel is eclipsed by its resolve.

The political publication, which was founded by the socialist party nearly 59 years ago, has been advocating for Puerto Rico’s independence since its advent.

“We believe in the independence of Puerto Rico and we’re very verbal about it,” said Yarimar Gonzalez, Claridad’s administrative director.“We’re not shy about expressing that.”

Claridad’s political transparency and dedication to exposing governmental corruption has not come without sacrifice, however. The paper does not receive money from large organizations—as some others in Puerto Rico do—and therefore relies on donations, profits from its online store Claritienda and money made from the festival its staff organizes every year.

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