Author Archives: Michael Remensnyder

Hektoen Clients Awarded New HIV Prevention Funding for PrEP and Data to Care

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently awarded two new HIV Prevention awards to Hektoen Institute, on behalf of its clients, Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center and Provident Hospital HIV Program, to implement Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) outreach and intervention for high-risk HIV-negative individuals, as well as to utilize improved data techniques to track and reengage those people living with HIV/AIDS who have fallen out of care.

These awards from CDPH are part of $5 million in City and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds recently awarded to community-based organizations and health care providers to increase education, testing and linkage to care efforts aimed at reducing new infections, particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM), adolescents and young adults, African American females, and other at-risk populations.

Hektoen Institute has managed grants for HIV care and prevention in Chicago for over 20 years and currently serves as grant manager on behalf of seven different agencies, six of which are part of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS). The current awards expand Hektoen’s HIV prevention portfolio to include PrEP implementation and innovative use of data.

For more information, please contact us or read the CDPH press release.


While I am Here: the life and legacy of Anne Larson Zimmerman


Nurses & the Humanities at the Hektoen Institute of Medicine is please to invite you to this celebration of the life of Anne Zimmerman (1914 – 2003), a woman who was passionate about nursing and nurses economic welfare.  Written by Gerry Gorman and directed by Christian Helem and Electra Tremulis.  This work is the culmination of a year’s research by nursing students and nurses.

WHEN: Friday, September 30, 2016

TIME: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.


University of Illinois at Chicago College or Nursing

3rd floor Event Center

845 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60612


Register at eventbrite by September 15th


See for parking information.  Visitor parking is available in the B2, C4 Wood Street and Paulina Street structures.

Hubbard Street Parkinson’s Project

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is proud to offer the oldest Parkinson’s dance program in the Midwest, Hubbard Street Parkinson’s Project.

The program uses contemporary dance techniques to work to slow the progress of the disease, as well as providing a community of support for our students. All Hubbard Street Parkinson’s Project dancers explore improvisation, technique and artistry in the long-running class and community.

Classes are designed to be drop-in for participants or as multiple opportunities for dancers to meet and learn together. Participants in this workshop will experience a standard Parkinson’s Project class, with opportunity to ask questions and discuss how to apply movement activities to their work.  Workshop presented by Kathryn Humphreys and staff, the Director of Youth, Education, and Community Programs.

Refreshments 5-5:30 Class/Demonstration 5:30-6:30 Discussion/Application 6:30-7:30

Friday, March 4, 2016
Hubbard Street Dance Center
1147 W. Jackson (at Racine)
Chicago, IL 60607
Free parking in Target Lot closest to Hubbard Street Building Accessible by CTA: Blue Line Racine Stop or Bus #126 Racine and Van Buren for specifics see www
Program Donation $20.00 and $10.00 for students.
Make check payable to Hektoen Nurses and the Humanities
Mail to:
Hektoen Institute
Attention: Dennis Ronowski & Mary Ann McDermott
2240 W. Ogden, 2nd Floor,
Chicago, IL 60612
Mary Ann McDermott
RSVP confirmed upon receipt of payment.

Everyone is welcome to the program. Space is limited.

RSVP is required before
February 29th

Drug Recycling Programs Offer Promise but Are Slow in Coming

Programs take unused medicines and make them available to those who cannot afford the medications.

Phrama_1A pharmacist checks on a prescription for a patient behind the counter on Sept. 28, 2006, at Uptown Pharmacy in Westerville, Ohio.

By Tyler Kendall Feb. 19, 2016, at 1:45 p.m.+ More

Although 42 states allow the recycling of unused medications as a way to get prescriptions to people who can’t afford them, about 35 million Americans a year still can’t afford to buy their medications because the state programs are just getting off the ground and many have complicated rules for recycling.

Meanwhile, $2 billion worth of unused medications no longer needed by patients are destroyed each year by pharmacies, hospitals and nursing homes, according to a University of Chicago study.

Despite implementation of the Affordable Care Act, having insurance doesn’t mitigate the high costs of drugs, especially for those with low incomes. In addition, a number of people do not have enough coverage for many chronic, complicated conditions that require expensive and multiple drugs.

On the supply side, drugs often go unused because health care providers and pharmacies must have a constant stockpile of medications, patients heal without using their full prescriptions or they switch medicine midway through treatment.

“Every step in the supply stream has a little bit of excess medicine,” says George Wang, co-founder of SIRUM, a nonprofit drug recycling organization. “The little bit of excess medicine in what is a $300 billion pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. happens to be a lot of excess medicine.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 states have laws allowing for the establishment of drug recycling programs.

“Getting those laws in place and to a point where it allows for an efficient process has taken a lot of time,” Wang said. “Each of these laws is state by state, it’s patchwork. It seems arbitrary that you can’t cross a state line.”

Nursing homes, assisted care living facilities, hospitals, pharmacies, wholesalers and manufacturers can donate excess medications to safety-net clinics and pharmacies. Individuals cannot participate in the system– the exchange of the medication is strictly between licensed entities to ensure quality control.

These laws provide guidelines such as donated drugs cannot be expired, there needs to be participation by a state-licensed pharmacist or pharmacy in the verification and distribution process, and each patient who is to receive a drug must have a valid prescription form. Some states have more restrictive laws, covering only certain drugs, while others are more all-encompassing, even including over-the-counter medications.

Priscilla VanderVeer, deputy vice president of communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said PHRMA doesn’t track whether individual member companies participate in recycling programs and it doesn’t have a set policy.

“The biggest challenge is that you can’t guarantee the quality of the drug, the ingredients in the drug and how the drug may have been stored,” she said. “Our companies cannot control that when it’s taken out of the closed distribution system and put into these other programs.”

The complicated logistics required to make donations efficient and safe are a stumbling block that some nonprofits like SIRUM are trying to address, according to Wang.

In December 2015, another co-founder of SIRUM, Kiah Williams, won the first annual Forbes Under 30 $1 Million Change the World Competition. The company received recognition for its technology that connects unopened, unexpired surplus medication to people in need through facilitating donations between licensed entities.

“It’s a win-win for all of the parties,” said Wang. “The people donating to us don’t have to pay for all the medicine to be destroyed and then we’re able to take it off their hands and give it to someone who needs it.”

Because the process occurs state by state, this has slowed efforts as well as resulted in medication remaining within confining borders.

Wang and others have suggested a federal law would make drug recycling easier and address the problem of not being able to donate medications across state lines.

“If you can verify that those medications are still potent, this could be good on a national level and could ultimately result in reducing health care costs,” says Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “However, sometimes recycling things is more costly than throwing away and recreating the drug. But if it can be done cheaper, and you could do it in a way so the system is efficient to run to get the verified medication repackaged, why not?”

Benjamin suggested developing agreements between bordering states as a practical first step. Areas such as metropolitan DC, which extends beyond the capital and into Maryland and Virginia, or the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, often have people who cross state borders to work and receive medical care.

“That would make a lot of sense to do,” added Benjamin.

Wang said the progress in getting the final states on board with drug recycling laws and programs would be a way to force a federal effort. An effort underway in Illinois, where a team is working with SIRUM to draft legislation, provides a template for all states.

“Illinois is not cookie cutter, but in a way Illinois can mirror any state,” “says Levi Moore, government affairs consultant at the Hektoen Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit based in Chicago that manages health care and medical grants. “You have super urban, big suburban, middle America central and then just pure rural areas. We’re looking at this to be a statewide effort. To show that this bill does impact every county in the state, that it does benefit every county in the state, strengthens it.”

Raising awareness by having laws enacted and expanding initiatives is vital to making sure the programs remain successful and continue to grow, according to Wang.

“In five years, we hope this is the standard in the health care industry,” he said. “You don’t even think twice that of course you recycle these medicines, it’s natural. Just like you would recycle a coat, you should be recycling any unused pill.”