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Hank De Zutter, Malcolm X instructor who co-founded media workshop, dies at 80

By BOB GOLDSBOROUGH
Chicago Tribune

HankDeZutterHenry W. “Hank” De Zutter was equal parts journalist, activist, college instructor and provocateur, with a deep desire to further racial equality and a practitioner’s skill at communicating his ideas clearly.

A longtime instructor and lecturer at Chicago’s Malcolm X College who early in his career was an education reporter for the Chicago Daily News, De Zutter co-founded both the Chicago Journalism Review and the Community Media Workshop.

“Like Studs Terkel, Hank knew how to listen to sources in a way that put them at ease to tell their story better,” said Thom Clark, who co-founded the Community Media Workshop with De Zutter in 1989.

De Zutter, 80, died on July 14 of complications from a fall that he suffered on July 10 in his Lincoln Park apartment, said his daughter, Amanda Kotlyar.

Born Henry Wayne De Zutter in Chicago, De Zutter grew up in Skokie and Northbrook and graduated in 1959 from Glenbrook High School, where he was captain of the golf team, editor of the school newspaper and class valedictorian. He studied at Williams College in Massachusetts before receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1963.

De Zutter worked as a reporter for the Lerner Newspapers chain while earning a master’s degree in journalism in 1965 from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

De Zutter and his first wife, Janet Jonjack, enlisted in the federal Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTA, program, training in the South Bronx and then working as community organizers in Baltimore.

In the spring of 1967, the Chicago Daily News hired De Zutter as an education reporter. The following year, he helped found the Chicago Journalism Review, a short-lived but influential publication spawned in response to what he and other journalists felt was heavily pro-police coverage during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

In 1970, De Zutter joined the staff of Malcolm X College, working for the next several decades as an English and journalism instructor while also teaching classes at times at Truman College and at Columbia College.

“I think his most important accomplishment was that of mentor to so many second-chance students and the untiring support he provided aspiring journalists of color,” Clark said.

In 1989, De Zutter and Clark formed the Community Media Workshop, a foundation-funded effort to help community-based organizations get better press and tell their stories directly to a wider audience.

Under their leadership, the organization, which now is called Public Narrative, helped community groups write news releases and deal with the media and published a detailed directory of Chicago’s journalists and media organizations.

For years, De Zutter freelanced for the Chicago Reader, writing long stories for its “Neighborhood News” column. From 1991 until 1996, De Zutter and Clark interviewed and photographed people on the street for their weekly “Snap Judgments” column.

“During his years with the Reader, we’d often cover the same stories — planning for the never-held 1992 World’s Fair, public housing demolitions, big urban renewal projects,” recalled former Tribune reporter and columnist John McCarron. “Hank took a bottom-up approach — how does it affect folks already living (in a community) — but with empathy, not the up-against-City-Hall self-righteousness so common with the neighborhood left.”

In 1995, De Zutter wrote a cover story for the Reader titled “What Makes Obama Run?,” which was the first in-depth look at future President Barack Obama as he ran for state Senate.

“Hank made an unknown guy known to me and a lot of other people in Chicago,” said retired Chicago Reader senior editor Michael Miner. “It put (Obama) on the map.”

In 1978, De Zutter wrote a 30-minute TV documentary that aired on WBBM-Ch. 2 about youths playing basketball on the streets of the South Side in the late 1970s. Titled “Going Up Easy, Coming Down Hard,” the documentary included a look at the early careers of streetball stars and future professional basketball players Billy Harris and Sonny Parker.

In 1992, De Zutter and his second wife, Pamela Little De Zutter, who collaborated several times on articles for the Reader, were featured in Terkel’s book “Race: What Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession” due to the fact that theirs was an interracial marriage.

“I don’t even see dirty looks given to us. When we go out together, people seem happy to see us,” De Zutter told Terkel in the book. “I feel people see us as a symbol of change and hope, especially when we have our blended family.”

A jazz aficionado, De Zutter reviewed the 10th annual Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant Park in the Tribune in September 1988. Five years later, De Zutter wrote a children’s book, “Who Says a Dog Goes Bow-Wow?,” which explored how animal sounds are expressed in various different languages.

“What we see is so often determined by what we say, or are taught to hear,” De Zutter told the Tribune upon the book’s launch.

De Zutter retired from Malcolm X College in 2002, and from the Community Media Workshop in 2004.

De Zutter’s first two marriages ended in divorce. In addition to his daughter, De Zutter is survived by his third wife, Barbara Belletini Fields; two sons, Max and Chris; a stepson, Agward “Eddie” Turner; two stepdaughters, Jayne Mattson and Ana Boyer Davis; two sisters, Joyce Mooneyham and Wendy Callahan; five grandchildren; and four stepgrandchildren.

A private memorial service is being planned.

Bob Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2024

Contact Information:
Jann Ingmire
(312) 520-9802
communications@isms.org
 

Lake County physician sworn in as president of Illinois State Medical Society
 

CHICAGO – Piyush I. Vyas, M.D., was sworn in as president of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) during its recent annual meeting. He was previously elected president-elect in 2023.

Dr. Vyas received his medical degree from MS University of Baroda in Baroda, India, and completed his radiology residency at Cook County Hospital. 

Dr. Vyas is board-certified in diagnostic radiology. Since 2004, he has been an attending physician at Lovell Federal Health Care Center, where he served as chief of radiology and nuclear medicine until 2018. Since 2018, he has been the associate director, Clinical Support Services. He was also assistant professor of radiology with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science from 2005 to 2016 and served as vice chairman of radiology from 2012 to 2016. Currently he is an associate professor of radiology at Rosalind Franklin and actively involved in teaching medical students. He is also a valued member of the admissions committee at the university. 

He has been an ISMS member for 40 years and has served for many years as an ISMS alternate delegate and delegate to the AMA, as well as a past trustee and chair of the ISMS Governmental Affairs Council. Dr. Vyas served as president of the Lake County Medical Society for two separate terms and served on multiple committees, at the county and state level. He is also a past president of the Indian American Medical Association.

Dr. Vyas’ term as ISMS president will run through April 2025. 
 

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Founded in 1840, ISMS is a professional membership association representing Illinois physicians in all medical specialties, and their patients, statewide.  



 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2024

Contact Information:
K. Eric Larson
(847) 997-2109
elarson@eyso.org
 

Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras to premiere new compositions at Terra metallicum on Saturday, April 13
 

ELGIN, Illinois. (April 11, 2024) – Wanees Zarour, a renowned performer, educator, and expert in Middle Eastern music, will join the award-winning Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras (EYSO) as guest artist for a genre-bending evening of musical collaboration and performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the Auditorium at South Elgin High School at 760 E Main St, South Elgin.

EYSO’s flagship Youth Symphony and its Brass Choir will perform with Zarour, who has been working with EYSO student musicians in rehearsals this past month, and through a masterclass at the high school earlier in the day. They will premiere two new compositions at this concert.

Zarour is an award winning Palestinian-American composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist steeped in maqam and jazz music. His compositional and arranging styles transcend borders and draw from traditions spanning the entire globe. 

For millennia, the complex and rich relationships between the natural world and humankind have captivated scholars, scientists, philosophers, and artists. Fruitful and fraught, timeless, and fragile, these relationships inspire a tremendous spectrum of artistic expressions that imitate, investigate, and emulate the interconnected worlds of nature and humanity. In EYSO's 48th season, explore how sound reflects the natural and built worlds around us — and how the two are united through music.

To see a more complete list of performances or for tickets, go to www.eyso.org/concert. In addition to traditional in-person seating, tickets are available to experience the concerts via live streaming.

About EYSO
The mission of EYSO is to create a community of young musicians, enriching their lives and the lives of their families, schools, communities and beyond, through the study and performance of excellent music.

EYSO serves students from 70 Chicagoland communities and has a national reputation for providing students with an engaging musical experience and a comprehensive learning environment of curiosity, imagination, critical thinking, and collaboration. Students explore a thematic curriculum each season — one that helps students develop artistically and technically, and prepares them for a future of complex ideas, creative risk-taking, and leadership as global citizens. This approach has led hundreds of alumni to successful careers as professional musicians, educators, and strong leaders in every field. The theme of EYSO’s 48th season is GAIA through which students explore how sound reflects the natural and built worlds around us—and how the two are united through music. 

EYSO is accepting applications to audition for the 2024-25 season at www.eyso.org

To learn more about EYSO, visit www.eyso.org or call (847) 841-7700.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2024

Contact Information:
Monique Whitney
(505) 480-4150
email: monique@truthrx.org greynolds@ipha.org
 

Illinois pharmacists rally at State Capitol to end prescription drug middlemen patient steering, support increased state oversight

Community pharmacists call attention to increasing prescription drug costs, decreased access to care and emerging pharmacy deserts correlated to pharmacy benefit manager practices.

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL (March 5, 2024) – Illinois pharmacists will gather at the State Capitol today to rally in support of HB 4548 and SB 2790, proposed legislation which would eliminate controversial practices by prescription drug middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. The rally is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. and will be held near the Lincoln statue, located at the east end of the State Capitol and will include brief remarks by bill sponsors and constituents negatively impacted by PBM prescription drug pricing practices.

If enacted, HB 4548, sponsored by Rep. Jones, would protect patients’ right to receive prescription medication from the pharmacy of their choice, banning the lucrative PBM practice of “steering” patients to PBM-owned or affiliated pharmacies or mandatory mail order. Sen. Koehler’s SB 2790 would empower the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services with greater oversight of PBM contracts; monitoring of payments made to PBMs and pharmacies; and ensuring PBM rebates negotiated on behalf of HFS are fully paid to HFS.

“We applaud Representative Jones, Senator Koehler and the many members of our state legislature who are championing these critical measures that would protect the state’s patients and pharmacy providers,” said Illinois Pharmacists Association President Rupesh Manek, RPh, pharmacist and Rochelle-based pharmacy owner. “The proposed legislation is evidence of a responsible governing body aware of the pitfalls that come with overpaying pharmacy benefit managers for services that should be provided in the interest of fiscal responsibility, not overcompensating shareholders.”

Last May, Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino released the results of a Performance Audit of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, finding the state’s Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) department did not have complete copies of the contracts between managed care organizations and PBMs necessary to conduct monitoring of contract provisions, or between PBMs and pharmacies to be able verify accuracy or rate of reimbursement to pharmacies. The result of passage of SR 792 in 2022, the Performance Audit of the Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) PBMs identified over $200 million over 2 years in spread pricing overbilling to the MMC prescription program.

Anne Cassity, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said “NCPA commends the Office of the Auditor General for its diligence in revealing gross overpayment to PBMs in Illinois’ Managed Medicaid program. Sadly, Illinois is joining numerous other states in recognizing how PBMs harm both the patients and payers – both public and commercial – they purport to serve. We urge Illinois to join the ranks of states who have established comprehensive PBM regulation with strong enforcement provisions to ensure patient access to pharmacy services at their neighborhood community pharmacy.”

PBMs manage patients’ prescription drug benefit, acting as the liaison between the patient, the pharmacy, and the patient’s employer or health plan sponsor. Since 2019, numerous studies have uncovered evidence of PBMs practices that result in endpayers paying significantly more for patients’ prescription medication than the patient’s pharmacy was reimbursed (a practice called “spread pricing”); and patients “steered” away from their pharmacy of choice to PBM-owned/affiliated pharmacies. Additional studies have shown the drug manufacturer rebates PBMs negotiate increase a drug’s list price year over year, causing patients to pay more out of pocket because of rebate-inflated costs. For more information on the rally or how PBM practices are affecting Illinois patients and taxpayers, contact Illinois Pharmacists Association at IPhA.org. Learn more about NCPA, the country’s largest organization of independent pharmacy owners, at NCPA.org. To understand how PBM practices affect patient care and affordability of medication for consumers and end payers, visit PUTT’s website at TruthRx.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 4, 2024

Contact Information:
William Nissen, publisher of the elderparole.org website
(312) 882-6338
email: wmjnissen@gmail.com
website: https://www.elderparole.org/
 

Advocates to deliver letters of support for elder parole bill, HB 2045, to governor, lieutenant governor, and legislative leaders in Springfield on March 6, 2024
 

CHICAGO (March 4, 2024) - Advocates for the passage of HB 2045, which would establish an elder parole process in Illinois, plan to hand deliver more than 900 signed letters of support for the bill to the Springfield offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and legislative leaders on March 6, 2024.

The elder parole bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-27th), would provide a parole process for approximately 1,000 people in Illinois prisons who are aged 55 years or older and have served at least 25 years.

The letters come from people across the State of Illinois and beyond, including people incarcerated in Illinois prisons. Most of the letters make the following points in support of enactment of the bill:

• The Illinois prison population has been steadily aging.

• Older inmates are often sick and infirm.

• Illinois is not providing the medical care that is needed by these aging inmates.

• A court-appointed monitor has identified elder abuse in Illinois prisons where preventable deaths have occurred due to the state’s failure to provide proper medical care.

• The medical care that is being provided is very costly to the state and the cost will only worsen as more inmates age.

• The Joe Coleman Medical Release Act is not solving the problem because too few people are sick enough to qualify and many of those who qualify are being denied release.

• Many older inmates have maintained close ties to their friends and families, who will support them in transitioning to life outside prison.

Under the bill, no one would be entitled to release, but rather eligible people would be given the opportunity to present their individual circumstances to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and request release.

The bill requires the board to decide whether to grant parole based on several considerations, including rehabilitation, character references, participation in educational and work programs, and criminal and disciplinary history. The bill also provides that victims’ families would be notified and given the opportunity to participate in the parole hearing.

In 1978, Illinois abolished discretionary parole for those sentenced on or after Feb. 1, 1978. Since then, the growth in the prison population has far outpaced the increase in the state’s general population, and the percentage of the prison population 55 years or older has also increased significantly.

Dr. John Raba, the former medical director of Cermak Health Services, which provides health care at the Cook County Jail, is the court-appointed monitor in a class action where state officials have entered into a consent decree requiring that adequate medical care be provided in Illinois prisons. Dr. Raba has reported that the state is not meeting the needs of older prisoners and does not have the resources to provide such care.

According to Dr. Raba’s reports, the inadequate health care is resulting in elder abuse and avoidable deaths. Dr. Raba has recommended that a pathway to early release of prisoners be established. This bill would establish a reasonable pathway.

Rep. Slaughter has explained the need for this bill as follows: “This bill would establish a much needed mechanism for considering on an individual basis whether there is no longer any public interest to be served by continuing to imprison an individual who has aged and served significant time, because the individual has become rehabilitated, is not a threat to public safety, and neither the public nor the individual would benefit from that individual’s continued imprisonment. The
people covered by the bill are the least likely to re-offend and the most expensive to care for, given medical expenses and end-of-life care.”

Here are links to the text of most of the letters to be delivered and to a fact sheet for the bill:

Text of letter supporting enactment of HB 2045: https://bit.ly/3sd6aE9

Fact sheet for HB 2045: https://bit.ly/3P5jvph

 
 
 
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