Nicole Leonard | Connecticut Public Radio
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Nicole Leonard

Nicole Leonard joined Connecticut Public Radio to cover health care after several years of reporting for newspapers. In her native state of New Jersey, she covered medical and behavioral health care, as well as arts and culture, for The Press of Atlantic City. Her work on stories about domestic violence and childhood food insecurity won awards from the New Jersey Press Association.

While an undergraduate journalism student at Boston University, Nicole was a reporter for The Daily Free Press and a radio host at WTBU. As an intern, her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe and Boston.com. In her downtime, she watches way too many movies and television shows, which complicates her goal to become a better runner.

Naturegirl 78 / Creative Commons

Public health officials are warning Connecticut residents that they should take extra precautions to avoid the risk of contracting the eastern equine encephalitis virus from a mosquito bite.

The state Department of Public Health issued an advisory Wednesday urging people to limit their time outside between sunset and sunrise while the virus, also known as EEE, continues to pose a threat in the Northeast region of the country.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, sat beside their attorney in Hartford Superior Court Monday as they fought to advance their lawsuit against the state Department of Public Health over the release of school vaccination data.

Monday’s hearing centered around the state’s motion to dismiss the entire case. 

Vaping360 / Creative Commons

Three more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease that is possibly related to vaping.

The announcement Friday by the state Department of Public Health brings the total number of cases to five people. State officials are working with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a surge of severe respiratory illnesses across the country.

SLAWOMIR FAJER / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Open enrollment for health insurance plans on Access Health CT — the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange — begins in November, but before that happens, the state Insurance Department needs to approve new premium prices.

Anthem and ConnectiCare are both seeking increases, and insurance representatives answered to state officials at a public information hearing Wednesday on the reasons why.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Lucinda Canty is a researcher who focuses on maternal mortality. As part of her Ph.D. program at UConn, she interviewed several women who had severe complications in childbirth.

And while the specific details of their stories varied, they all pointed to a similar conclusion.

“With pregnancy, women are so vulnerable, and then you add labor on top of that, you need someone to be there to advocate and encourage you,” Canty said, “and we have a health care system that, even myself as an educated women, I still feel intimidated by it.”

Government of Prince Edward Island / Creative Commons

Fewer Connecticut kindergarteners are getting vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, and more students are getting religious exemptions for mandatory vaccines, new data shows.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Governor Ned Lamont is pushing back on his own Department of Public Health’s recent decision to withhold further data on school vaccination rates. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Executives and labor leaders at a group of skilled nursing homes in Connecticut that are set to lose Medicaid funding plan to challenge the state’s decision — they said otherwise, their nursing homes face severe financial cuts. 

Nicholas King/SmokeTastic / Creative Commons

State officials are investigating two cases of severe respiratory symptoms that health experts say may be related to vaping or e-cigarette use.

The Department of Public Health said in a statement Wednesday that two Connecticut residents have been hospitalized with respiratory issues including shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.

Officials say both patients admitted to vaping and e-cigarette use with both nicotine and marijuana products.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

At 8:30 a.m. on a Friday morning in Torrington, a group of counselors in lime green shirts gathered around the flag pole at Camp MOE for a quick game of WAH.

It was the last day of camp for the season — they were waiting for director Katherine Marchand-Beyer to make the morning announcements before children arrive. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Marion Bradley always knew that getting breast cancer was a possibility. After all, she had a family history of the disease, so she wasn’t shocked when she was diagnosed with an early stage of the cancer about five years ago.

But that didn’t make it any less scary.

SCANTAUR / Istock/Thinkstock

Plaintiffs in a nationwide class-action lawsuit are challenging how Medicare pays out for health coverage of hospitalizations and related rehabilitative services.

Gary Graves / Creative Commons

At first glance, it looks like Connecticut is one of the best states for the well-being of children.  

The state is ranked eighth in the country by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s most recent Kids Count report, which measures how children and families do in education, community and family, health, and economic well-being.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A group of Connecticut residents, advocates and state leaders in Hartford are demanding systematic change in public housing assistance, in the wake of several scandals over shocking conditions at public housing complexes. Many say the help available to tenants from the federal government is inadequate.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

For more than six years, Connecticut legislators and advocates have been trying to pass legislation that expands workers compensation benefits for first responders, particularly for those who develop job-related post-traumatic stress.

And when they finally succeeded this year and Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill into law earlier this month, advocates and workers cheered in victory. But for emergency medical service professionals, who are not included in the new law, it was a different story.

SAM COX / Creative Commons

One person has died and another is sick at a physical rehabilitation and senior wellness center in Rocky Hill after contracting Legionnaire’s disease.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Lisa Kwesell started getting emails and notices mailed to her home last year about her employer’s new wellness program, which was marketed as voluntary and an opportunity to help workers manage or improve their health.

She’d worked for Yale University as a part-time unionized employee for 14 years, and this was the first time she was being offered the opportunity to join a wellness program.

Michael Hamann / Creative Commons

Jim Webb has been drinking the tap water in his Glastonbury home for 15 years. When he first bought the house, he got the water tested, because it comes from a private well.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

The AARP Foundation and a New Haven law firm have filed a class action lawsuit against Yale University over how the college implements its employee wellness program.

The lawsuit claims that Yale’s wellness program, which is marketed as a resource to help employees and their spouses improve their health, violates several discrimination and health privacy laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

RHODA BAER / NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE / CREATIVE COMMONS

A civil lawsuit being brought by two Bristol parents against the state Department of Public Health over school vaccination data was delayed in court Monday as attorneys for the state try to get the case tossed.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

As oral arguments were being heard Tuesday by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana in a multi-state lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut senators at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., were making the case as to why Americans need the federal health care law.

Sen. Chris Murphy said eliminating the ACA without any replacement plan in place would result in a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Kristen Whitney Daniels was 15 years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — a lifelong disease.

“As if I wasn’t awkward enough as a sophomore in high school, I also acquired this chronic illness that completely upended my life,” she said.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Fifty years ago in the summer of 1969, during an era of extreme homophobia, police in New York City carried out a violent raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. In the immediate days after, members of the gay community held protests and demonstrations in the city.

The riots gained momentum and eventually led to the modern day LGBTQ civil rights movement.

Outgoing UConn President Susan Herbst, alongside Board of Trustees chairman Tom Ritter, signs the university's new contract agreement with the Big East on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees unanimously voted Wednesday to bring its non-football sports programs back into the Big East Conference and leave the American Athletic Conference. The vote was one of the final steps in making the move official. A formal announcement will be made by conference officials Thursday in New York City. 

FRANKIE GRAZIANO / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

Newly released emails and documents from an unsealed multi-state lawsuit against major generic drug manufacturers show correspondence between company leaders on drug price increases, Congressional investigations and more.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The United States Court House building in Hartford is home to an office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, which has recently been directed by President Donald Trump and his administration to carry out mass raids and deportations in major cities of undocumented immigrants.

Seth Wenig / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democratic lawmakers are getting ready to take on child vaccination legislation in the next session, which won’t start until January or February.

Sam Smith, 21, of New Haven, supports a state bill that would allow teens to get PrEP, an HIV prevention medication, without parental consent. This way, he said people won't have to choose between their health and the privacy of their sexual activities.
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

It was during his freshman year of high school when Sam Smith approached his doctor — he had been exploring his sexuality for a couple years.

“I was like, hey, I’m having sex with guys,” he said, recounting the doctor’s visit. “What do I do?”

Smith hoped that his doctor would suggest pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is a daily pill that can prevent someone from contracting the HIV virus if they’re exposed to it.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic legislators and government officials stood with a small crowd of supporters at the Legislative Office Building in March to announce that it was time that Connecticut created a public option health insurance program. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

People crowded together on the top step of the Connecticut Supreme Court, shielded from the pouring rain under the building’s stone portico.

Kamora Herrington stood in the center of the group in front of a large white banner painted with the words “CT Black Women.” She spoke into a megaphone mic, her voice amplified over the street traffic and rain.

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