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.

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.

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.

Kristy Faith / Creative Commons

A 10-year-old boy in the New Haven area had developed a bad case of chronic asthma — he could no longer play sports with his friends and had to take high doses of steroids. He was constantly missing school and ending up in the emergency department.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A strike threat by thousands of nursing home workers across Connecticut has been withdrawn after a large group of the nursing home facilities reached a new contract deal Friday.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Democratic lawmakers are pushing a new public option health care proposal, angering Republican colleagues so close to the end of the legislative session.

Supporters are calling the new plan Connecticut Option — it’ll be a program overseen by the state and offered through insurance companies or a network created by the state.

Patrick Raycraft / The Hartford Courant

The owner of an apartment complex in the North End of Hartford has twice been called into court to answer for housing violations, but the New York-based landlord has dodged both appearances. The latest was Tuesday.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The passage of legislation in several states that effectively bans abortion sparked nationwide protests Tuesday, including in Hartford. But the steps of the state capitol also hosted a counter-protest, objecting to a bill in the Connecticut legislature which would place new restrictions on so-called crisis pregnancy centers.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Legislators said Thursday that they are holding off on changes to the state’s childhood vaccination laws, including the religious exemption.

Mark Mirko / The Hartford Courant

A Connecticut couple once decided to create and cryogenically freeze human embryos so that they could expand their family. But then their marriage ended, and a question remained: what should happen to a remaining frozen embryo?

GOVERNMENT OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND / CREATIVE COMMONS

New and corrected data on school vaccination rates were released Friday after the state gave out controversial and disputed information last week.

Officials from the state Department of Public Health said they worked with school officials to identify and correct errors in a report that shows the number of unvaccinated children attending every school in the state.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Unionized nursing home workers have reissued a notice of their intention to strike for an increase in wages, giving legislators a new deadline Thursday.

Members of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU, voted to go on strike June 3 if they don’t see more funding in the next state budget go toward wage increases for industry employees.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The owner of Barbour Gardens, a subsidized housing complex in the North End of Hartford, was expected to appear in court Tuesday to face criminal housing charges, but the New York-based landlord was a no-show.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Dr. Suzanne Lagarde and her team at Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven see a steady stream of patients most days. People come in for routine wellness checks, or when they’re sick or injured.

And sometimes, a primary care physician could use the help of an e-consult.

Mark Mirko / The Hartford Courant

Connecticut’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday about what should happen to frozen human embryos when a couple gets divorced.

The Supreme Court case, which was started by a divorced Connecticut couple who created frozen embryos while married, joins a group of legal cases across the country that don’t neatly fit into one specific area of the law.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The union representing workers at 20 Connecticut nursing homes has withdrawn a strike notice, saying it’s seen meaningful commitment to find new funding for employees. 

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