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Leadership

The Chicago Center for HIV Elimination was conceptualized in the summer of 2012 as a way to integrate the research, clinical, and community-based activities at the University of Chicago that are strategically positioned to eliminate new HIV transmission events.

John Schneider, MD, MPH

Director

Full Bio

Dr. John Schneider MD, MPH (he/him/his) is an infectious disease specialist and network epidemiologist in the Departments of Medicine and Health Studies. His NIH funded research focuses on how social networks can be leveraged to improve the health of at risk populations in resource restricted settings. Clinically, he specializes in adolescent and adult HIV primary care and has a specific interest in provision of high-quality care to LGBT community members. He has extensive experience with advancing the physician patient relationship in resource restricted settings, including his current clinic at a Federally Qualified Health Center on the South Side of Chicago and during his time working in Southern India.

Dr. Schneider’s research employs social and sexual network analysis to accelerate prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Sexually Transmitted Infections among high-risk male adolescents and younger adults in resource restricted settings. This research program was fostered by a unique co-mentorship structure with Ken Mayer and Ed Laumann (internationally recognized leaders in HIV prevention science and sexual network analysis respectively) during his post-doctoral fellowship and career development awards. With support from a Lancet international fellowship, his HIV research program started in South India where he lived and worked focusing upon community-based HIV prevention among mobile high-risk men including long-distance truck-drivers and men who have sex with men. His work now operationalizes novel prevention intervention strategies in resource restricted settings through: 1) rigorous social network assessment; and 2) leveraging social network structures as human interventions integrated with biomedical prevention. He has expertise in using technology-supported network approaches, such as cell phones and Facebook, to recruit and retain difficult to reach populations into HIV prevention studies both in the United States and India. Using these methods, he has completed some of the first formal network analyses of Black MSM as part of an interdisciplinary team at CCHE. He also has experience assessing the acceptability, willingness to use and modeled efficacy of most prevention methods proposed for high-risk men. This work is continuously informed and improved by his clinical work in a major epicenter of the domestic HIV epidemic. Dr. Schneider also enjoys spending time in the outdoors, including biking, birdwatching and trekking. Learn more.

Alida Bouris, PhD, MSW

Co-Director

Full Bio

Alida M. Bouris (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor in the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. Her primary research area is in the development of family-based interventions to prevent HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, and unplanned pregnancies among Latino and African American adolescents and young adults. She also is working on the development of family-based interventions to support the health and well-being of sexual minority youth. Within these areas of research, Professor Bouris is primarily working with African American and Latino young men who have sex with men and with Latino adolescents and young adults.

At SSA, Professor Bouris teaches courses on social work practice and cognitive-behavioral therapy. She has published extensively in the field of adolescent health and HIV prevention and is Co-Principal Investigator of the newly developed STI and HIV Intervention Network (SHINE) at SSA. Professor Bouris’s research has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Her current research is examining the role of families in supporting the sexual and mental health of young MSM.  Learn more.

Ellen Almirol, MAMS, MPH

Associate Director of Biostatistics

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Ellen Almirol (she/her/hers)  is the Associate Director of Biostatistics trained in Epidemiology and interested in behavioral and health outcomes across the HIV primary and secondary prevention continua, particularly among women in marginalized communities. Her previous experience include serving as the Assistant Project Director for the Women’s HIV Interagency Study (WIHS), and a statistician for the UCLA Global Center for Children and families, focusing on maternal and child outcomes in a cluster-randomized controlled trial over eight years post-birth. Ellen received her dual Master’s in Medical Sciences  (MAMS) and Public Health (MPH) from Boston University and her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego.

Russell Brewer, DrPH, MPH

Director of Health Equity Research

Full Bio

Dr. Russell Brewer (he/him/his) currently serves as Research Professor at the University of Chicago Medicine and Director of Health Equity Research and Southern Initiatives at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination. He has more than 25 years of experience in program development, implementation, evaluation, and public health research in a variety of settings (e.g., non-profit, governmental public health, and philanthropy) and levels (e.g., local, state, and national).   

His HIV research and programmatic efforts are focused on addressing the socio-structural barriers (e.g., incarceration, stigma) to HIV prevention and care among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM), persons living with HIV infection, and criminal justice-involved populations in Chicago and the Southern United States (US). From 2010-2012, he was an HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Scholar conducting research to explore the relationship between incarceration and HIV among BMSM enrolled in the HPTN 061 study. From 2008-2011, he was Program Manager at FHI 360 (formerly AED) in Washington, DC where he managed the partnership component of an NIH-funded national education initiative designed to build awareness and support for HIV vaccine research among African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and gay/bisexual men of all races. He is a peer reviewer for multiple journals and former member of the American Journal of Public Health Editorial Board. He received his Doctorate degree in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Brewer is an explorer at heart and has lived in Liberia, Seychelles, Kenya, and 8 US cities.  Learn more.

Michael Castro, MPH, CHES

Assistant Director of Testing & Outreach

Full Bio

Michael Castro (he/him/they/them) is the Assistant Director of Testing and Outreach for CCHE. Michael has been working in HIV & STI prevention for nearly 10 years with experience in LGBTQ research, linkage to HIV care, HIV prevention, and local governmental programing. His passions lie in providing comprehensive sexual healthcare to clients most vulnerable to HIV & STI’s in a culturally sensitive and responsive way. Michael holds a Master’s in Public Health from CUNY Hunter College, a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Science Studies from Quinnipiac University, and is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Outside of work Michael enjoys crocheting, sewing, baking, and spending time with his husband and two dogs.

Jessi Dehlin, LCSW

Director of Development & Administration

Full Bio

Associate Director of Administration

Jessi (she/her/hers) joined the center in 2017 as the Manager of Supportive Services. Her previous work experience includes project development, project management, and conducting individual therapy with a range of client populations from low income men and women with chronic mental health diagnoses and addictions to women reentering the community from incarceration. With CCHE being a young organization, Jessi saw administrative needs that the Center had, which aligned with her own professional interests around organizational development and supporting staff. In 2019, Jessi moved into the Senior Manager of Center Growth & Development role, where she oversaw the Center’s strategic planning, internal HR, staff development and foundation grant writing. As a social worker in an administrative role, Jessi is able to bring a unique perspective when approaching the CCHE’s organizational needs and growth, making meaningful relationships with collaborators and community members, keeping her focus person-centered, and advocating for necessary policy change within the larger system of the University. Now as the Director of Development & Administration, Jessi focuses on organizational growth and advances, moving the Center forward in its goals. Jessi has two cats who often join in team meetings over zoom, Rafi and Cass. Jessi’s hobbies include yoga, bullet journaling, spending time with friends and family!

Mainza Durrell, DrPH, MBA

Director of Research

Full Bio

As Director of Research, Dr. Durrell (she/her/hers) will provide oversight for all of CCHE’s research programs including the Methodology and Advanced Analytics Resource Center (MAARC). She will also have a leadership role in developing the research agenda for the Center. Dr. Durrell is bringing more than a decade of experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of HIV/AIDS prevention interventions in minority and underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Prior to joining CCHE, Dr. Durrell worked at Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, where she managed multiple research projects, led cross-functional research teams and collaborated with stakeholders at different levels. She successfully launched and led the implementation of performance monitoring systems, evaluation and research for Jhpiego’s Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention program that was implemented in 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Early in her career, she served as Director for HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute at Chicago State University, whose mission was to address the disproportionate incidence and complex burdens of HIV/AIDS in minority populations through research and policy.

Dr. Durrell received her Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Loyola University Quinlan School of Business.

Rebecca Eavou, LCSW, AM’11

Director of Prevention Services

Full Bio

Rebecca (she/her/hers) is the Director of Prevention for CCHE. She oversees program and staff development for the Center. Her previous experience includes research study design and implementation, counseling with adolescents and young adults, adolescent STI/HIV prevention, and wrap-around case management for individuals and families living with or affected by HIV. Rebecca is particularly interested in implementation science and the translation of research into clinical practice among individuals at increased vulnerability for HIV infection. Rebecca holds a Master’s in Clinical Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago.

Learn more.

Nora Friedman, PhD

Staff Scientist

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Staff Scientist

Eleanor (Nora) Friedman (she/her/hers) is PhD trained epidemiologist with eight years of experience in study design and data analysis of infectious diseases. She completed her PhD at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2013, writing her thesis on the effect of dengue virus infection on pregnant women. She served in two postdoctoral fellowship positions at the Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, she serves as the senior data analyst on the Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care (xTLC) and FOCUS programs.

Aniruddha (Anu) Hazra, MD

Director of STI Services

Full Bio

Dr. Anu Hazra (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health. His research and clinical interests center around sexually transmitted infections and their impact on sexual and gender minorities as well as other vulnerable populations. He is passionate about the equitable delivery of healthcare to LGBTQ people of color.

His past work at Fenway Health identified patients at highest risk for syphilis infection and reinfection as a means to implement primary care strategies to establish syphilis control.  He plans to continue this STI work at CCHE with a focus on transgender women of color and Black men who have sex with men.  His other clinical interests include complex HIV management, hepatitis C treatment, high-resolution anoscopy, treatment of opioid use disorder, and medical education.  He is certified in office-based treatment for opioid use disorders and aims to address the clinical needs of the opioid crisis within our sexual and gender minority populations.  In addition to his HIV primary care clinic, he has also runs a walk-in STI clinic at the University’s medical center.  Learn more.

Anna Hotton, PhD, MPH

Director of Biostatistics and Computational Modeling

Full Bio

Anna Hotton (she/her/hers) is Director of Biostatistics and Computational Modeling at CCHE and a Research Associate Professor Appointment with the Department of Medicine. Dr. Hotton is an epidemiologist with expertise in complex study design and quantitative methods. Her current research focuses on the impact of socio-structural stressors on HIV/STI risk and patterns of care engagement. Future goals include application of computational modeling approaches to advance understanding of mechanisms by which structural barriers impact HIV related outcomes among diverse groups, including MSM and transgender women.

Dr. Hotton received her MPH and PhD in epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She has been engaged in collaborative HIV/STI prevention research with academic and community partners in Chicago for over eight years, serving as a biostatistician on numerous NIH and CDC funded studies. Past and ongoing work has involved evaluation of primary and secondary prevention interventions, and studies aimed at understanding psychosocial and contextual influences on risk behavior, PrEP uptake, and engagement and retention in care. Learn more.

Moira McNulty, MD, MS

Director of HIV Testing

Full Bio

Moira McNulty (she/her/hers) is a Clinical Instructor in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health. Moira’s research focuses on HIV testing and how it can be optimized to engage individuals in the HIV care and prevention continuum. She is also interested in strengthening existing academic partnerships with public health entities and is currently working with the Chicago Department of Public Health. In her clinical practice she cares for individuals living with HIV as well as providing PrEP for individuals at risk.

Learn more.

Darnell N. Motley, PhD

Director of Structural Interventions

Full Bio

Darnell N. Motley PhD (he/him/his), is a clinical community psychologist committed to promoting sexual health among individuals who experience multiple forms of oppression. Dr. Motley’s research examines and challenges the ways that structural factors (like racism, homophobia, and health stigma) attempt to limit the experiences of racial, sexual, and gender minorities, as well as individuals living with HIV. More specifically, DR. Motley uses qualitative research to inform the development of interventions intended to impact social determinants of sexual health. Most recently, Dr. Motely was the lead researcher for the LGBTQ Health team at University of Chicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) And is now joining the University of Chicago and CCHE as Research Assistant Professor.

Jade Pagkas-Bather, MD, MPH

Director of Status Neutral Care

 

Full Bio

Dr. Pagkas-Bather (she/her/hers) is interested in HIV prevention efforts among minority men who have sex with men (MSM) using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). She is also interested in ways to combine PrEP with other STI prevention strategies among this population through community outreach, and collaboration with local organizations in order to make HIV and STI prevention efforts more patient-centered and less stigmatizing.

Mai Tuyet Pho, MD, MPH

Director of Health Policy Research

 

Full Bio

Dr. Mai Tuyet Pho (she/her/hers) is an infectious diseases physician and health outcomes researcher. Her work seeks to improve health outcomes and public policy at the intersection of HIV, HCV, and substance use. She has trained in decision modeling and health economics under the mentorship of Kenneth Freedberg, Rochelle Walensky, Milt Weinstein and David Meltzer. Current projects includes understanding the shifting epidemiology of HCV and opioid overdose, network characterization of people who inject drugs in rural communities, linkage to HCV care at reentry for criminal justice involved individuals, economic evaluation of routine HCV and HIV screening and treatment coverage policies, discrete choice experiments to examine heterogeneity in willingness to pay for therapy, and qualitative analyses on optimizing shared decision making surrounding HCV in marginalized populations.

She is the recipient of a K99/R00 Award for her work in comparative and cost-effectiveness modeling for HCV treatment and is co-PI for a UG3/UH3 cooperative agreement aimed at understanding the epidemiology of HCV and HIV and expanding harm reduction services among people who inject opioids in rural Illinois. Her work has been supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research and Grand Challenges Canada.

Dr. Pho served as the interim Chief Medical Officer at the Illinois Department of Public Health and is currently a Medical Advisor for Healthcare Policy and Research in the Office of the Director. She leads multiple efforts at the Department around the opioid epidemic and HCV, including analysis on fatal and nonfatal overdose, HCV surveillance, naloxone overdose prevention and GME education around safe opioid prescribing. She is a member of the Illinois Statewide Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, subcommittees on Prescriber Practices, Criminal Justice Populations, Medication-Assisted Therapy, and Public Awareness and Education. She is an active infectious diseases clinician providing inpatient specialty consultation and outpatient care in HIV and HCV. She currently mentors medical students, graduate students and Fellows who are interested in public health, health economics and public policy. Learn more.

Jessica Ridgway, MD, MS

Director of Predictive Analytics

Full Bio

Dr. Jessica Ridgway (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health. Her research focuses on the use of predictive analytics to improve care along the HIV care continuum. She also utilizes clinical informatics to improve HIV testing and linkage to prevention services including PrEP care among high-risk HIV-negative individuals. In her Infectious Diseases clinic, she provides primary care for adults and pregnant women with HIV, as well as PrEP care.

Dr. Ridgway’s research involves using “big data” in the form of advanced electronic medical records to understand and predict risk factors for falling out of care at each stage of the HIV care continuum. She developed an electronic algorithm to identify high-risk HIV-negative clients to guide prevention outreach and PrEP referral. She is currently creating a tool to predict HIV-positive clients’ risk of poor retention in care to guide multidisciplinary, personalized retention interventions. She leads the  CDC-funded Data to Care Initiative, an effort to use electronic algorithms to identify and re-link HIV-positive patients back into care. Dr. Ridgway  also serves as the Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at University of Chicago, where she oversees clinical informatics for infection prevention. Learn more.

Jessica Schmitt, LCSW, AM’15

Director of HIV Clinical Engagement

Full Bio

Jessica (she/her/hers) is the Director of HIV Clinical Engagement and a licensed clinical social worker for the Section of Infectious Diseases and CCHE. Jessica oversees implementation of HIV care and prevention initiatives at The University of Chicago’s Medical Campus with the HIV Prevention and Care Team (HIV-PACT) to improve access to services for people living with HIV and those vulnerable to HIV. She serves as the program director for the Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care (xTLC) and the Gilead FOCUS program supporting routine HIV and HCV screening, working with local partner hospitals and health clinics to improve routine screening programs. Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s in International Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Learn more.

Kimberly Stanford, MD, MPH

Director of ED STI/HIV Testing

Full Bio

Dr. Stanford (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Emergency Medicine. Her research focuses on the use of the emergency department visit to address the social determinants of health, including infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, homelessness, and human trafficking. Dr. Stanford coordinates the HIV screening program in the emergency department (ED), and she developed an innovative ED syphilis screening program that was introduced in 2019. Her future goals include expanding these programs to other emergency departments locally and nationally, as well as increasing screening for other STIs in our emergency department. Her current research projects focus on utilizing syphilis screening as a means of improving HIV prevention and PrEP uptake, as well as optimizing ED visits early in pregnancy to include STI screening and linkage to prenatal or abortion care. In addition to her work on HIV and STIs, she has developed a human trafficking policy and educational series for the adult and pediatric emergency departments and has an ongoing project to improve understanding of the barriers to placement in shelter of the ED homeless population.  Dr. Stanford mentors emergency medicine residents working on projects in all of these topics, she is active in social emergency medicine on a state and national level, and she works clinically in the adult emergency department.

Team

Micah Arnold

Micah Arnold

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Data Management & Reporting Analyst

Michael (Micah) Arnold (any pronouns) is a recent graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Statistics and a professional background in clinical research. Their interests lie in examining and mitigating biases in machine learning and big data analytics and how bias in analytics can exacerbate inequalities, especially in healthcare. In their free time, Michael enjoys knitting, trying out new recipes, and traveling.

Erin Augustine

Erin Augustine

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Research Specialist

Erin (she/her/hers) recently graduated from DePaul University’s Master of Public Health program with a concentration in Community Health Practice. Her public health interests lie within examining the social determinants of health and structural barriers that prevent individuals from achieving each step in the HIV care continuum process. Additionally she is interested in harm reduction efforts, specifically looking at overdose and disease transmission prevention and how stigma and shame contribute to opioid-related harm.

Patricia Braboy

Patricia Braboy

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Assistant Manager of Administration


Patricia V. Braboy (she/her/hers) is a proud 2014 graduate of THEE Jackson State University. She is currently enrolled in the University of Michigan’s sexual health educator certification program. She is a lifelong resident of the Southeast side. She wants to make the South Shore community an area where generations of her family can live and grow. Patricia has a passion for educating youth about their sexual health. Her major goal when providing education is to help reduce the taboo and stigma that comes with conversations around Sex & Kink in the African-American Community. You can follow her work at @sexedwithpb. Patricia is forever grateful for her position, it has truly been life changing. She is very excited to continue her work and growth at CCHE.

Leticia Boughton Price

Leticia Boughton Price

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Senior Supportive Services Coordinator

Leticia Boughton Price, MSW, BA, empathetic, encouraging and enlightening individual with over 20 years of working with youth and families.  My experience includes working with diverse and “at risk” populations connecting them to resources and services in and around Chicago;  managing a food pantry that served over 1500 individuals and families per month; building collaborative relationships, advocating for the statewide recognition of Community Health Workers in Illinois; and being recognized by Senator Richard Durbin as “a force of nature,” as he presented me with the first ever Richard Durbin Community Health Worker of the Year leadership award.  I like skiing, camping, getting my “roll on” (rollerskating), Netflix and my Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Johnny Bresett

Johnny Bresett

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Research Coordinator

Johnny (he/him/his) is a Ph.D Candidate in Health Education at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His Public Health interests include substance-use disorders, harm reduction, and rural health. Johnny has worked on different research projects with individuals with substance-use disorders, as well as being a former substance-use counselor over the past 8 years.

He completed his masters in community health in 2018 at the State University of New York at Potsdam and his bachelors in Anthropology in 2015 at the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Jessica Byrd

Jessica Byrd

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Supportive Services Coordinator (HIV-PACT) 

Jessica (she/her/hers) has been working in the Healthcare field for about 13 years. In 2015 Jessica began working with an FQHC organization. During that time, she was introduced and had the pleasure of working with patients who were living and newly diagnosed with HIV. During my time there Jessica fell in love with learning and growing with the people within the community. In 2019, Jessica became a part of the Gastroenterology team at The University of Chicago Medicine. While working in that department was an exciting and educational experience, she felt like something was missing. 2020 The GI department moved to a different floor where the team shared a clinic space with Infectious Disease. During the time shared, Jessica was able to work with a different dynamic group of patients, and she believes she found what was missing. With this new position, Jessica is excited to help patients receive the help and resources they may not know that CCHE and UCM offers.

Nene Clark

Nene Clark

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Community Health Worker

NeNe Clark (she/her/hers) is African-Caribbean American and born in North Carolina, but originally from the west side of Chicago. Nene loves all things tropical (fruits, scents, scenery, etc). Her favorite color is Red and favorite foods are Caribbean and Chinese food. Nene has been in the public health field for 4 and a half years and identifies as a trans woman, so she has the living and working experience when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Nene’s goal is to help end HIV and discrimination against Black and Brown Trans individuals in the Chicagoland area and around the world. 

Lisa Corday

Lisa Corday

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Jump Intern

Lisa Nicole Corday S.M.E , (she/her/hers) the new J.U.M.P. intern is the building. She identifies as a Trans Woman of color who loves historical movies and has a zest for high fashion. Having over 10 years in the LGBTQA Ballroom Scene Lisa is well known as well as respected within her community, mentoring and guiding many of those who have come to her seeking knowledge and support. As a Trans CHW with years of experience working in the field has a strong focus on HIV Prevention within the LGBTQA community. Lisa’s passion for helping others has her to continue educating herself on the advancements in the fight against HIV.

Having the pleasure of being apart of NMAC BLOC Training Program which was life changing she soon found herself with a meaningful opportunity, becoming an Ambassador for the National Trans Visibility March on DC in an effort to fight for the right to be included on the US Census as well as shining a light on the many of her Trans Sisters that have been murdered and met with the social injustices of society.

Starting out her career in Community Health Lisa was a CHAP Apprentice with Chicago House where she received training in HIV Prevention, Counseling and Testing.  After completing her apprenticeship she was offered a 4 month internship at Chicago House where she experienced the internal workings of a non profit organization, learning the ins and outs of Chicago House. Later after completing her internship she was offered a CHW position with Heartland Alliance which she accepted and excelled in her work there impressing her co-workers and giving the opportunity to organize and put together a free ball for the community which turned out to be a success. As she progressed in the field her work in helping those like her soon led her back to where it all began Chicago House in collaboration with Howard Brown Lisa was offered the position of Career Specialist. She knew that she had been giving the chance to help trans women like herself find employment and thus put them in a position where they would not have to subject themselves to Sex Work. After 2 years of dedicating herself to helping people in her community both young and old seek employment she embarked on yet another journey in her career. Joining the team at Sinai Health Systems who partnered with the Aids Foundation of Chicago in an effort to help Black Women of color who were HIV Positive and recently released from prison connect with care.

Now she finds herself joining the team of C.C.H.E where she is ready to take on new challenges and learn all the things that will be offered to her.

Shalissa Corpus

Shalissa Corpus

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Assistant Manager of Implementation Research 

Shalissa Corpus (they/them/theirs) is the Assistant Manager of Research Implementation. They are an Austin, TX native with a Bachelors degree from the University of North Texas in Human Development and Family Sciences and a minor in LGBT Studies. It was there where they found a passion for combating the stigma that surrounds both sex and people living with HIV. After their schooling they went on to work at UT Southwestern Medical Center where they worked on the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Project for Dallas, TX. While working on the NHBS Project they helped pilot a new cycle for the Trans community and led interviews in a collaborative project with Amelia Court on depression and people living with HIV. After their time with UTSW they went on to work more closely with patients at Prism Health North Texas and it was there where they created TX Trans Pride a free celebratory event for all members of the trans community full of trans inclusive resources and gender affirming items. Brandon is a passionate person that finds joy in providing service to the communities they serve and works to create positive lasting changes in the places theylive. They are new to Chicago and looking forward to the adventures to come with their time with the University of Chicago. Shalissa is working with Dr. Mai Pho on the PROMOTE and ETHIC grants.

Nell Crittenden

Nell Crittenden

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Senior Implementation Research Coordinator

Nell (she/her/hers) is an experienced anti-oppressive researcher and educator, joining the team as a Senior Implementation Research Coordinator. She holds a master’s in social work policy and administration from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago, as well as a B.A. in Politics, Sociology, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Willamette University. Nell’s work includes leading comparative studies on culturally responsive and trauma-informed pedagogy in UChicago graduate classrooms and creating new analytical intersectional feminist/ Black womanist frames to inform domestic violence research advocacy agendas. Prior to joining the CCHE team, Nell has lead initiatives with the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health, Crown Family School, Partnership for College Completion, and Texas Low-Income Housing Services. In her free time, Nell enjoys reminiscing about consistent weather patterns in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, baking gluten-free + vegan snacks, and gossiping about her sassy Chihuahua doggie-niece, Lolla.

Billy Davis

Billy Davis

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Assistant Care Manager

Billy (he/him/his) is the Team Lead Operation & Outreach, Disease Intervention Specialist, & Project Coordinator for TRIP (Transmission Reduction Intervention Project). He has been working in HIV & STI prevention, screening, and counseling for nearly 10 years. His passion for bringing education and supportive services to the community is only surpassed by his ability to use his networking skills for referrals and outreach services. Billy utilizes his skills and knowledge to ensure success of current programs at The Village as well as to develop new programs and initiatives for the community.

Alicia Dawdani

Alicia Dawdani

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Qualitative Data Analyst

Alicia (she/her/hers) is a qualitative researcher with a diverse background in public health, mental health and quality improvement research. She received a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018, and is currently attending the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice as a part-time graduate student. Her primary interests include bringing a social work approach to qualitative research, understanding the lived experiences of marginalized communities and exploring ways to improve health equity, outcomes, and access for vulnerable groups. She has experience conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups in many different settings, and she is excited to expand her research horizons to the realm of HIV prevention. Outside of work and school, Alicia enjoys dancing and exploring Chicago neighborhoods by trying new coffee shops.

Cami DeMarco

Cami DeMarco

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Manager of Research Implementation

Prior to joining CCHE, Cami (she/her/hers) worked at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, of Cook County Health, where she managed the operations of a variety of HIV/AIDS, STI, and COVID-19 clinical trials. Cami was a member of the CORE Center Research Committee where she provided insight for project feasibility/implementation and also sat on the Protocol Intensity Committee of the NIH’s AIDS Malignancy Consortium where she offered evaluation support for protocols in development. Her professional interests include infectious diseases as related to prevention, social determinants of health, community-based participatory research, and health equity. Cami holds a Bachelor’s in Science (BS) and Masters in Public Health (MPH) from DePaul University. She is an adjunct professor within DePaul’s MPH program. Outside of work Cami enjoys spending time with family and friends; traveling with her husband; walking their dog Chewie (Chewbacca); reading; and crafting/candle-making.

Ankshita Dasgupta

Ankshita Dasgupta

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Research Specialist

I am Ankshita Dasgupta, a first year MPH student in the Epidemiology and Global Health track. I am an international student from India and was raised in Muscat, Oman. My research interests are mainly community-based participation and understanding community needs. I have previously worked at the IPPH as a student RA and helped with participant recruitment. I love spending time outdoors and absolutely adore dogs! I am super excited to be a part of the CCHE team!

Samantha Devlin

Samantha Devlin

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Assistant Manager of Implementation Research

Sam (she/her/hers) is the Assistant Manager of Implementation Research and works with Drs. Ridgway and McNulty. She is from Oak Lawn, IL and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She received a Master of Science in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame in 2019. Her work at CCHE is in qualitative research involving PrEP and women.

Terry Dudley

Terry Dudley

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Community Engagement Specialist

Terry Dudley (he/him/his) is a Black queer activist with extensive knowledge and experience regarding STI and HIV prevention, testing, and treatment among men who have sex with men and the LGBTQ+ community. He has a strong history and involvement as a community organizer. Terry grew up on the South side of Chicago, an experience that shaped his understanding of the needs of queer folks of color as well as their strengths and resilience. Terry uses this experience to inform his work, in which he strives to lift the voices of marginalized people within their communities and help them grow. Terry has been a part of youth participatory research and presented findings from the research at different events, like the 2019 Howard Brown Health Midwest Health Symposium in Chicago and the 2018 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Diego. He has two articles (both of which he is a co-author) based on the work published in scientific journals: Social Science & Medicine (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.08.001) and the Journal of LGBT Youth (https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2020.1774031). One of Terry’s proudest moments was when he was recognized as one of POZ 100’s HIV Advocates of 2020, a list that includes some of the nation’s biggest names in LGBTQ+ healthcare, entertainment, and media. Terry received this for his work with one of the largest LBGTQ agencies in the Midwest. Enrolling in a bachelor’s program in UIC’s School of Public Health has allowed Terry to achieve this goal. For so long Terry has felt as though he had to prove his potential because he does not have a degree. He is now in his 2nd year and looking forward to graduating in 2025 and continuing this work.

Alton Dueks

Alton Dueks

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Project Coordinator

Alton (he/him/his) is a native of Chicago. I’ve been  working as a case manager for nearly 20 years in numerous Chicago neighborhoods.  Proud Turtle dad and recent cat dad!

Jesus Estrada

Jesus Estrada

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Research Coordinator

Jesus Estrada (he/him/his), is a graduate from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s in psychology and minoring in children’s studies and biology (Neuroscience). He started working in the HIV field in the year of 2018 at a community agency. After Jesus’ small journey there, he decided to pursue his passion in working in the clinical setting, which led him to Cook County Health. There, Jesus started as a health educator and worked up the ladder to become a Regional HIV and PrEP coordinator. While expanding and having many PrEP programs under my supervision, he managed to successfully train providers in PrEP care, certify clinical members to become HIV testers, and involve PrEP and LGBTQ+ health studies into primacy care physician’s repertoire. Jesus worked with many specialties such as Peds/adolescent, geriatrics, Infectious Disease, and Family Practice. He am really excited to be part of the research team at UChicago and opening a whole new chapter to his career. One fun fact about me is that he loves going to the gym as much as he loves food 🙂

Damaris Garcia

Damaris Garcia

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Engagement in Care Specialist

Damaris (she/her/hers) is a registered medical assistant for the Section of Infectious Disease and Sexual Wellness Clinic at the University of Chicago. She provides transportation for patients in the emergency department presenting with STI symptoms to the sexual wellness clinic. Damaris has been working in HIV & STI prevention and screening for 4 years. She also has experience working with TGNC/gender affirming community. Her interests include delivering effective HIV prevention services for POC who identify within the LGBQT community, women’s health, & sexual health.

Rachael Gardner Purdy

Rachael Gardner Purdy

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Senior Implementation Research Coordinator

Rachael Gardner Purdy, LICDC, MACM, LPC, LSW (She, Her, Hers) is an experienced and compassionate clinician with licenses in Ohio and Illinois.  Rachael has her independent license in Chemical Dependency, License in Social Work, License in Professional Counseling in the state of Ohio. Her license in professional counseling has reciprocity in Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Minor in Theatre Arts from Ohio University, a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries and a Master of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Rachael received two Student Enrichment Program scholarships while in her master’s program to study Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and completed the advanced program. She gained her certification in ADHD and ADD assessment.

Rachael is very passionate about her work and wants to help individuals gain insight and understanding in their own challenges and strengths, as well as, their limits and abilities. As a proponent for the use of holistic healing, Rachael is studying for her certifications in RYT200 yoga, yoga for trauma, meditation, and wellness coaching. Rachael specializes in behavioral and mental health, substance use/abuse/dependence, and trauma.  She is an advocate for Social and Racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, diversity, inequality, and equality. Currently, Rachael is considering going back to school for a PhD.

Amya Jackson

Amya Jackson

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HIV & STI Tester

Amya (she/her/hers) has been working in the medical field since 2012. She just recently received her phlebotomy certificate. Amya studies dance and still pursuing dance to this day. Amya also has a fur baby and feels like helping people is her calling.

Joe Mason

Joe Mason

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Research Data Analyst

Joe (he/him/his) is originally from Austin, Texas where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computational Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. He is interested in all things data, having worked as a Vaccine Data Analyst for Merck while studying for his Master’s in Data Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Back in his local Texas community, he previously spent his time volunteering as a firefighter/EMT. Outside of work, Joe enjoys hiking, tennis, and paddleboarding when he doesn’t fall in the water too much.

Mayra Malagon

Mayra Malagon

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Data Management & Reporting Analyst

Mayra Malagón (she/her/hers) is the Data Management and Reporting Analyst with a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from Benedictine University and a BA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Iowa. Her primary interest is in improving health outcomes through evidence-based practices, particularly in vulnerable populations. She has experience in mental health and substance use treatment, as well as, data analysis, policy development, and program expansion. In her spare time, she enjoys reading poetry, traveling, and visiting unique coffee shops in Chicago.

Priya Mathur

Priya Mathur

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Research Assistant

Priya Mathur (she/her/hers) is from Madison, Wisconsin. I went to college at Washington University in St. Louis and studied Biology and Spanish. In St. Louis, I loved working with a healthcare nonprofit focused on serving immigrant populations. My experiences there deepened my interest in public health and preventative medicine. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health at UChicago and am eager to start working as a Research Specialist!

Bella Matthews

Bella Matthews

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Research Coordinator

Bella Matthews (she/her/hers) is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University with a double major in Political Science and Global Studies with a double minor in Human Rights and Spanish. This August, Bella will be graduating from UChicago with a Masters in Sociology from the MAPPS program.

Bella’s thesis focuses on the historical reimagining of public safety within the Black community of Indianapolis in the 60s and 70s. Exploring questions about communities providing for their own safety when the state apparatuses fail to do so, as well as outlining the importance of a localized approach to historical work and their connection to the broad understanding of community safety are what drive this upcoming work. With this in mind, she hopes to continue this work through a Ph.D. program in the future.

During her time as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Bella has come to truly value and contribute to the formulation of new knowledge surrounding forgotten communities, whether that is through community organizing, youth advocacy or equity for all within the state. Not only is it important, but vital for institutional change. She carries these themes as well as dedication and passion to everything she does.

Bella is currently a research coordinator with CCHE. Probably one of Bella’s biggest fun fact is that she has about 30 plants in my 1 bedroom right now, so if you ever want to talk about plants please reach out to her! Also, she is still pretty new to Hyde Park, so fun activities, places to go, and the overall history of the neighborhood are always welcome!

Makenna Meyer

Makenna Meyer

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Research Data Analyst

Makenna Meyer (she/her/hers) is a recent UChicago graduate with a major in biology and statistics. She is planning to eventually pursue degrees in public health and medicine, and is interested in learning more about the social determinants of health and how to expand access to healthcare. She is also a Resident Assistant, plays for the UChicago Ultimate Frisbee team, and loves to cook and read in her free time. She is super excited to be working with the CCHE!

Daisy Montero

Daisy Montero

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Research Specialist

Daisy Montero (they/she – any with respect) is a Research Specialist at CCHE. Proud child of Mexican immigrants, Daisy’s a first generation college graduate from the University of Michigan -Ann Arbor with a B.S in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience.  As a Chicagoan, they have the duty and passion to give back and help their community thrive in mental and physical wellness, education, research, and/or advocacy. As someone who’s always had an innate curiosity for understanding why and how things work and why people behave the way they do, their passions lie in research based on underrepresented populations, cultural humility, evidence-based care/trauma-informed care, and community engagement/culture.

 

During their undergrad, they participated in two research labs. Robinson Lab (Behavioral Neuroscience Lab, Department of Psychology) and Resilience In Context (Department of Psychology), which investigated factors that promote resilience in adolescents who navigate contextual risks associated with living in poverty, specifically the effects of exposure to community violence. The undergrad team’s poster presentation titled, ” ‘We’re all affected by it’: A Mixed-Method Study of Familismo, Community Violence Exposure [CVE] & PTSD in Latinx Urban Adolescents” was submitted and approved for the 29th Annual UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference. Their passion for research sky-rocketed from there.

 

Their approach to everything in life is with a “Echale ganas!” (give it your all!) mindset, which were the daily words of encouragement from their father. Their personal goals are to increase education, awareness, and engagement for BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ individuals within healthcare as well as monolingual Spanish speakers in the Chicagoland area and beyond. In their free time, they enjoy drawing, watching video essays, reading, sight-seeing nature, social action and community change, video games, current events and news, memes, and influencing their niece and nephews to like everything they did growing up. (lol such as Ed, Edd, and Eddy and Kirby.)

Jackson Montgomery

Jackson Montgomery

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Project Coordinator

Jackson (he/him/his) is a midwesterner through and through, he grew up in a small West Michigan town and is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Prior to working with CCHE, Jackson was involved in undergraduate research at the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities and Michigan Medicine wherein he assisted on studies focusing on improving adolescent sexual and behavioral health outcomes. His research interests include expanding access to HIV prevention and education tools for racial, gender, and sexual minorities, and the ways in which digital health technologies impact sexual health outcomes. Outside of work, Jackson enjoys the simplicity of life by grabbing a coffee with friends and exploring the Windy City.

Devin Nicolai

Devin Nicolai

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Senior Supportive Services Coordinator

Devin, AM’22 (he/him/ his) is an abolition social worker interested in HIV prevention and treatment in urban and rural settings, as well as how we can affectively Get To Zero new transmissions without reliance on state surveillance. Devin focuses on present-moment awareness, harm reduction, and behavioral function.

Jacqueline Olson

Jacqueline Olson

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Research Administrative Coordinator

Jacqueline Olson (she/her/hers) is a lifelong Chicagoan – aside from her time in Ann Arbor studying psychology at the University of Michigan. There, she worked for the Department of Intergroup Relations, where she was trained and certified as an inter-group dialogue and workshop facilitator. Prior to arriving at CCHE, she did management consulting work for nonprofits in the arts and education space. Her current passions include learning sewing and crochet, (re)learning French, playing cello, and exploring all the green space the city has to offer.

Darjai Payne

Darjai Payne

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Research Coordinator

Darjai (she/her/hers) was born and raised on the South side of Chicago in the South Shore neighborhood as the only child to a single mother. She attended Kenwood Academy High school and scored a full ride scholarship to Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. There, Darjai received her BS in Biology. She decided to return home and began working as a Quality Assurance Lab Technician at Marie’s Salad Dressing. Within one year of working, she enrolled into graduate school at Chicago State University. While working full time at night, Darjai would attend school in the afternoon and after two years of tasting a lot of salad dressings and dips, she graduated with her Master in Public Health and began working for non-for-profit organization where she was a care coordinator for seniors over 65 years old. Unfortunately, the organization closed down but gratefully Darjai was offered a position at Rush Medical University as a research assistant. Now, six years later, Darjai is excited to be working at The University of Chicago Medical Center as a research coordinator!

Zanariah (Zizi) Phillips

Zanariah (Zizi) Phillips

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Project Assistant IV

Zanariah (ZiZi) Phillips (she/her/they/them) was raised in Rogers Park, Chicago. She attended school at Gale Academy where she discovered her gender truth through an event called Gender Bender Day. “It felt good to express myself as an unassigned gender”. In High school she was a part of a Physical Education class that was based on dance. She soon succeeded from this and starting dancing at the All City Dance Ensemble in 2006. After that, ZiZi started an internship for the Joffrey Ballet that ended in 2007. Zanariah is still building her technique and performance abilities with the aspiration to become a professional dancer. She recently got a scholarship at Joel Hall Dance Center and will be training throughout this year. Zizi has also invested her talents and experiences to advocate for the trans community around the country as part of YEPP and Forty to None Campaign by the Cyndi Lauper foundation The True Colors Fund.

 

 

Sophie Plotkin

Sophie Plotkin

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Research Specialist

Sophie (any pronouns) moved to Chicago from Boston for undergrad, and graduated with a degree in anthropology and creative writing, with their research focusing on abolitionist movements, community care, and the role art plays in the two. They joined CCHE as an N2 interviewer because they were excited by the opportunity to do meaningful community-centered work, and they’re grateful for the opportunity to develop that work further as a research specialist for CCHE!

 

Ryan Pryor

Ryan Pryor

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Software Developer

Daniel Sheeler (he/him/his) is a Software Developer at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination working on agent-based modelling and simulation software.  Daniel has experience developing software on the scale from embedded devices to massively parallel physics simulation codes.  He previously worked on various scientific software projects at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago.  Daniel holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s in Physics both from the University of Chicago.  In his spare time, he enjoys contributing to the Linux audio open source software community where he has most recently contributed to the software synthesizer zynaddsubfx, the digital audio workstation ardour, and the desktop mixer jack_mixer.  Much of his open source work can be found in his github account.

Quincy Raggs

Quincy Raggs

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Supportive Services Coordinator

Quincy Raggs (he/him/his) identifies as a worker that is a “Jack of all trades”. Quincy studied Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. Quincy speaks 3 languages fluently and has a strong background in HIV/STI prevention and has worked and collaborated with various Chicago based organizations, focusing on community education, testing, and linkage to care. In his spare time, he collaborates with a few non profit organizations where he teaches, promotes and performs traditional Afro-Latin genres of music from the Caribbean.

Ella Remund Wiger

Ella Remund Wiger

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Research Data Analyst

Ella will be the Research Data Analyst for the Biostats – Biobehaviorial team and will be primarily working on N2 and the fMRI study. She received her BA in Psychology from Coe College and recently graduated with her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her primary interests are in infectious disease epidemiology, issues of health equity, and social determinants of health. She has experience in HIV research, data analysis, and quality assurance testing. As a QA analyst, she developed a passion for data quality. Outside of work, she enjoys reading fiction, spending time outside, visiting family, and baking (especially pies).

 

Ishida Robinson

Ishida Robinson

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Senior Implementation Research Coordinator

Ishida (she/her/hers) worked for NORC @ the University of Chicago as a Field Manager for over 16 years and at  NORC for over 30 years. A Field Manager is one who provides administrative leadership and support for the Field Interviewers (FIs) on the Project/s they have been assigned to manage-a connection between the field and project staff.  Ishida managed day to day activities with FI’s, track their work, have weekly meeting, keep them updated on progress, sign time sheets & expenses. Field Managers often assist with interviewer recruiting tasks, training field interviewers, write and review project materials, lead troubleshooting teams, mentor the interviewing staff and to complete other tasks as directed by the Regional Manager.

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers

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Infectious Diseases Clinic Manager

Richard Rodgers (he/him/his) is the clinic manager for the HIV and Infectious Diseases clinic in the University of Chicago Medicine. Richard has worked with the Section of Infectious Diseases since 2004 and is a critical part of ensuring high quality patient care. He has a particular interest in making a difference in the lives of patients living with HIV and AIDS. Richard received his Nursing degree from Dawson Technical Institute.

Daniel Sheeler

Daniel Sheeler

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HIV & STI Tester

Ryan Pryor (he/him/his) spent two and a half years at Illinois State University where he studied Chemistry at first and then moved to Sociology. Ryan loves helping people and hopes to one day change the world.

Toniya Stone

Toniya Stone

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HIV & STI Tester

Toniya (she/her/hers) is one of the HIV & STI tester based at The Village. She recently received her Certificate of completion for Phlebotomy. Toniya is also a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, among many other professions. Toniya is self-described as a “Queen of All Trades” and a “Master of Most.”

Michelle Taylor

Michelle Taylor

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Clinical Social Worker, Infectious Diseases Clinic

Michelle (she/her/hers) has been the social worker for the Section of Infectious Diseases and the HIV clinic at the University of Chicago for fourteen years. She is also the lead linkage to care coordinator for the Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care Initiative (xTLC) and is often the first contact for new patients. Michelle received her Master’s in Social Work from Tulane University.

Jordan Victorian

Jordan Victorian

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Research Coordinator

Jordan Victorian (they/he) is a researcher with background in Black, feminist, and queer frameworks for social change. They received an MA in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where they are currently a doctoral candidate, and before that studied culture, gender, and sexuality at Washington University in St. Louis. Their research has focused on promoting anti-oppressive and liberating approaches toward Black sexuality, non-monogamy, and alternative sexual practices in general. Jordan is excited to join the CCHE team!

Jeannette Bailey-Webb

Jeannette Bailey-Webb

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Assistant Manager of Implementation Research

Jeannette (she/her/hers) is the Assistant Manager of Implementation Research for the Building Agent-Based Models of Racialized Justice Systems (BARS) project.  She has been a part of Public Health Education and Health Promotion programs in Correctional Settings 20+ years. Her previous experience includes Women’s Health Promotion, Employee Health support,  HIV testing and counseling, research study implementation, Correctional Health Education ( for various incarcerated populations ), STI prevention, and discharge planning for individuals with HIV.  Empowerment of Women and Youth are just a few of her passions related to Research and Health Education. She has also worked with the University of Illinois at Chicago on research projects that support the same goals. Jeannette has a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  She is currently working with the CCHE team to implement the multi-site LINK2 – research project that will provide support for youth impacted with HIV.

Lindsey Wesley-Madgett

Lindsey Wesley-Madgett

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Senior Linkage to Care Coordinator 

Lindsey Wesley-Madgett (she/her/hers) is our Senior Linkage to Care Coordinator, she works with people living with HIV or HCV through our Data2Care program, xTLC Program, and our HCV project. Lindsey previously worked with our xTLC program at an FQHC. Lindsey is a Certified Medical Assistant, African-American Education and  HIV/STI Prevention Instructor, Certified HIV Prevention and Partner Services Counselor, Certified HIV tester.

Allison Wilson

Allison Wilson

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Research Specialist

Allison (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate from The University of Alaska Anchorage with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Justice. She is interested in developing and disseminating substance use disorder treatment practices and interventions for justice-involved individuals – particularly accessibility to treatment and support resources upon community reentry that promotes positive intergenerational family health and reduces recidivism. Additionally, she is interested in understanding the experiences of marginalized communities, exploring ways to eliminate barriers of stigma to promote accessibility to treatment resources for all, and justice policy reformation. She has experience working with justice-involved populations, conducting qualitative interviews, and has served in several RA positions during her undergraduate studies. Outside of work she enjoys painting, playing golf, spending time outside, and taking care of her two cats Dorito and Kitty Cudi.

Affiliates

Byron Brooks

Byron Brooks

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Academic Associate

Byron Brooks, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is a clinical health psychologist committed to promoting health and well-being among queer and transgender folks of color. Dr. Brooks’ clinical, research, and service interests are rooted in clinical health psychology, positive psychology, and diversity science in order to bolster resilience and mitigate health disparities among racial and sexual minorities. Most recently, Dr. Brooks provided psychotherapy to clients at CCHE during his pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Chicago. Currently Dr. Brooks is an assistant Professor of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago and co-directs the clinical psychology externship training program at CCHE. 

Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter

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Academic Associate

Until just recently, Scott (he/him/his) was Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, and Director of Neuropsychology at the University of Chicago. A cisgender gay psychologist, whose research and clinical efforts have focused over time on the developmental impact of medical and contextual factors in children, adolescents, and emerging adults, Scott has worked since graduate school on understanding the intersection of gender and sexual identity, socioeconomic status, racial, cultural, and ethnic identity, and neuropsychological and behavioral risk and resilience. An expert on executive functioning and its development, Scott has supported clinical and research training of graduate students in Psychology and the broader social sciences, and medical students, residents, and fellows. He has guided the development of the Q&TPoC Psychotherapy Program at The Village, and collaborated on research on Black MSM with Dr. Schneider and the CCHE team. Presently, Scott is working in the pharmaceutical industry as a Senior Scientific Expert in Neurodevelopment, with WCG MedAvante-ProPhase, and is a Clinical Professor with the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, focusing on teaching and supervision. With CCHE, Scott will continue to collaborate on current research and the psychotherapy program’s supervision needs. He is excited to be working more closely with the broader CCHE team!

Harita Shah

Harita Shah

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Associate Professor of Medicine

Harita Shah (she/her/hers) is a primary care physician in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her research is focused on the use of community-based participatory research and implementation science to address disparities in HIV prevention and outcomes, particularly among Latino/a/x communities. Her work has included directing public health campaigns that combine community-based outreach and social marketing to improve access to PrEP (preparate.info) and to COVID-19 services for Latino/a/x populations. She is currently working on a needs assessment for Latino/a/x sexual and gender minorities in Chicago, focused on neighborhood-level HIV-related social determinants of health.

Students/ Temps/ Trainees

Abby Cliffe

Abby Cliffe

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Clinical Social Work Intern

This spring Abby graduated from Lane Tech High School with honors. She is majoring in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the fall. During my senior year, Abby took a wide range of courses – from AP Biology to AP Research to Maker Lab. Throughout high school, I also participated in the Omega humanities program where I learned how to fuse my science knowledge with the interpersonal aspects of healthcare.

I spent three weeks later summer attending an intensive Biology course at the University of Chicago. That experience coupled with my time spent in the Omega program has increased my desire to learn more about the intersection of medicine and humanity. After graduation, I hope to go to medical school and eventually become a pediatric oncologist.

 

In my free time, I enjoy swimming, performing in musicals, and singing. 

Aashana Daru

Aashana Daru

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Student Research Assistant

Aashana (she/they) is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. They are majoring in Biology, with a specialization in Global Health, and minoring in English & Creative Writing as well as Gender & Sexuality Studies. She plans to attend medical school with the aim of obtaining an MD/MPH dual degree, to practice medicine in emergency situations in philanthropic spaces around the world. Aashana is from Mumbai, India, and in their free time, they enjoy making videos about their travels, writing for various organizations on campus, and working out.

Miles Dunna

Miles Dunna

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Social Work Intern

Miles Dunna (he/him) was born in West Africa and raised in St Paul, Minnesota. He moved to Chicago in 2021 to further his career in diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is currently a graduate student in the social work rogram at the University of Chicago. In his spare time, he enjoys the performing arts, staying up-to-date with popculture, listening to podcast, exercising, and going on walks with his dog, Denzel. 

 

Scott (Fan) Gao

Scott (Fan) Gao

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Student Research Assistant

Scott recently graduated with a BS in Psychology from Emory University and currently a first-year MAPSS grad student at the University of Chicago. During his time at Emory, Scott worked as a research assistant at Hamann Cognitive Neuroscience lab, and his research interests lie primarily in the fields of emotional memory. In Scott’s free time, he enjoys playing the piano, and is currently on a mission to master the guitar. Scott is also obsessed with iced coffee.  

Marie Grace Giramahoro

Marie Grace Giramahoro

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Student Data Analyst

Marie Grace Giramahoro is a Master of Public Policy candidate and Pearson Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she is completing a certificate in Data Analytics to complement her degree. Before joining the University of Chicago, Grace worked as a Research intern in the Research and Evaluation Department of the Global Education, Employment and Engagement Business Unit at FHI 360. In that role, she contributed to research studies in early childhood development policy implementation by conducting literature reviews, providing data collection support, and conducting data analysis. Additionally, she supported the USAID-funded Elimu ni Jibu project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which aims to improve education access and quality for populations affected by conflicts and crises. Grace has also worked with underprivileged communities in countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, and India. Her work involved conducting ethical assessments of contemporary social issues and analyzing how they are being addressed in various countries. Grace is thrilled to be joining the team at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE) and is eager to contribute her skills and knowledge to the organization’s important work. In her free time, she enjoys community service, traveling, exploring new restaurants, and watching movies. Grace holds a Bachelor of Science in International Agriculture and Rural Development with a concentration in Economics and Development, and a minor in Business from Cornell University.

Crystal Johnson

Crystal Johnson

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2024 Jump! Intern

Crystal Johnson (she/they) is excited to join CCHE as a Jump! Intern in 2024, bringing a rich blend of education, real estate acumen, and ministry experience to champion informed advocacy within the community. A lifelong learner and ardent supporter of education, Crystal has dedicated numerous years to outreach programs for the homeless, educating ministry leaders, fostering inclusive learning environments, and empowering women to confidently navigate bold paths.

 

Over the past four years, Crystal served as a dynamic Community Life Architect, orchestrating vibrant events and fostering a spirit of neighborly love in her apartment community. Recently appointed as the Assistant Operations Manager at Empower Global Inc., Crystal plays a pivotal role in facilitating programs that educate community leaders on the intersectionality of faith, LGBTQ+ issues, and HIV support and prevention.

 

Currently pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences at Northwestern University, Crystal aspires to become a medical doctor and a public health advocate, working passionately to eliminate racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ related healthcare disparities. Additionally, Crystal is a licensed minister at the Powerhouse Church of Chicago, an affirming ministry that provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals and advocates for HIV/STI testing, prevention, and elimination.

 

In her spare time, Crystal hosts the Say What NICU Mama podcast for NICU parents, encouraging them to “Breathe, Get Informed, and Advocate” for their babies in the NICU. Beyond podcasting, Crystal enjoys watching sci-fi movies, writing, and raising her two sons with her partner. Eager to continue expanding her knowledge of public health, Crystal is committed to honing skills that will enhance her effectiveness as an impactful community leader.

Shriya Kotta

Shriya Kotta

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Student Research Assistant

Shriya Prasad Kotta (she/her/hers), a student of literature and seeker of connection, humbly treads the path of creative expression. Having completed her Master of Science in Modernist and Mental Health Literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Shriya’s academic pursuits have deepened her appreciation for the complexities of human emotion and the healing power of storytelling.

Currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Creative Writing at the University of Chicago, her poetic endeavours transcend mere words, seeking to weave a tapestry of hope and connection amidst the fabric of diverse communities.

For Shriya, poetry is more than an art form—it’s a vessel for empathy and understanding that transcends geographical boundaries. Her desire to foster “imagined communities” where shared suffering finds solace knows no bounds, as she explores the intersections of pain, identity, and belonging.

Inspired by her Indian heritage and Telugu roots, Shriya finds solace in the universal language of human experience, transcending geographical and cultural divides. Her exploration of public health issues stems from a genuine desire to broaden her understanding of the world and contribute to collective well-being.

With humility and reverence for the power of words, Shriya seeks to infuse the local intricacies of her own experiences with the universal themes of pain and resilience. In her sincere pursuit of unity and empathy, she aspires to offer a gentle voice of comfort and connection in an often tumultuous world.

Miles Kross

Miles Kross

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Student Research Assistant

Miles is from New York City. Previously, he worked for the Developing Minds Lab at Skidmore College, where he focused on ingroup-outgroup dynamics in children and how that plays a part in many modern social constructs. More specifically, he focused on how assigned ingroups compare with inherent ingroups and how those impact interactions with outgroups. When he is outside of the lab he likes to play the double bass, make ceramics, and experiment with fashion. 

Quin Lei

Quin Lei

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Psych Extern

Quin Lei, MA (they/them/theirs) is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical-Community psychology program at DePaul University. They are completing their advanced clinical practicum training at The Village/CCHE this year.

Quin identifies as a queer, transgender non-binary, Chinese American person who is committed to serving the LGBTQIA+ community. They approach therapy through a client-centered framework informed by intersectionality, evidence-based practices, and anti-racism. Quin is committed to highlighting and fostering client agency and empowerment in the therapeutic relationship through collaborative decision-making, respectful communication, and emphasizing client expertise on their own lived experiences. Additionally, their therapeutic practice aims to promote client well-being, highlight resiliency, and explore the impact of intersecting systems of oppression on mental health.

Geoffroy Liegeon

Geoffroy Liegeon

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Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Geoffroy Liegeon (he/him/his) is a board-certified infectious diseases physician in France. He worked as an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the Paris Cité University. He completed a Ph.D. in clinical research at the graduate school of public health of Paris Saclay University. With a background in nephrology, his first research works were dedicated to the renal toxicity of tenofovir in different populations, including HIV-infected patients, HBV-infected pregnant women, and PrEP users. Geoffroy has notably coordinated an NIH-funded project in Thailand to evaluate the risk of kidney dysfunction among pregnant women receiving tenofovir to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HBV.

His research interests now focus on the design, development, and assessment of new methods and their implementation to advance the agenda of infectious disease prevention, particularly HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Geoffroy leads a clinical trial to evaluate a simplified on-demand HIV PrEP regimen for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand. He also coordinates a study in France to assess the impact of long-acting PrEP agents on PrEP persistence and coverage among oral PrEP-experienced MSM. Both studies are funded by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS. He joined the CCHE as a post-doctoral scholar to learn about implementation science for HIV prevention and treatment.

Sadie Metcalfe

Sadie Metcalfe

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Student Research Assistant

Sadie Metcalfe (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate sutudent at the University of Chicago. She is double majoring in HIPS (History, Philosophy, and Social Science fo Health and Medicine) and Gender and Sexuality Studies, and completing pre-medicine coursework. Sadie has worked extensively with Planned Parenthood and the Los Ageles Departmnet of Pubblic Health as a peer educator, advocate, and intern. She is passionate about sexual and reproductive healthcare, especially for underserved and minority populations. In the future, Sadie wants to practice medicine as an OB-GYN, but also be a public health advocate. In her free time, Sadie enjoys exploring Chicago with her friends, running by Lake Michigan , and watching baking shows. 

Dante Painter

Dante Painter

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Student Research Assistant

Dante has had many previous work experiences in past positions. Dante has worked in a small-town hoagie deli, a craft beer store, in high-end catering as a bartender, as a server/barback in a devil themed restaurant, in America’s oldest ice cream company (est. 1861) in one of America’s oldest public markets, and most recently as a barista in a luxury hotel. Now, Dante is a full-time grad student in the Crown School of Social Work at UChicago, focusing on developing his clinical skills in mental health. Other trivia about Dante: He has 1 cat named Clementine (a tortie), he loves bodymod, plays classical piano, his favorite genre to read is horror, and Dante’s home-state is Pennsylvania. Dante is looking forward to working as part of UChicago and CCHE, pairing well with his social work field placement at Chicago House.

 

Dennis Rivera-Cash

Dennis Rivera-Cash

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Social Work Intern

Dennis Rivera-Cash (he/him/él) is from upstate New York and is a first-year AM/PhD student at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. He earned his BA in sociology from Vassar College and his MPH in community health science and practice from New York University. Dennis is committed to ending the HIV epidemic in the Univted States and his spent the past eight years working on several HIV prevention studies and initiatives in New York City.

He recently served on the New York City HIV Planning Group, where he collaborated with group members in updating New York State’s 2022 – 2026 Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan. Currently, he works as a remote project coordinator at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. There, he supports the development and pilot of an economic empowerment and HIV intervention targeting transgender and nonbinary people living with HIV or navigating HIV risk. As a researcher, Dennis is broadly interested in understanding how intersectional oppression and multilevel stigma drive HIV-related disparities among populations disproportionately affected by the epidemic. His particular areas of focus include couples-based HIV research and interventions that target GBTQ+ Black and Latino/x men and transgender and nonbinary people. Dennis is excited to join CCHE as a social work intern and looks forward to gaining direct practice experience serving Chicago’s South Side communities.

Bryce Rogers

Bryce Rogers

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Student Research Assistant

Bryce Rogers (he/him) is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago with a Bachelors in Comparative Human Development and a professional background in public health and social services. Bryce is currently attending University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice as a full-time day student. He is interested in mental health, improving health equity, and understanding the lived experiences of all marginalized communities. After graduate school, he hopes to apply his interests professionally as a therapist. In his free time, Bryce enjoys traveling, music, and cooking with his partner.

Esbeidy Torres Hondal

Esbeidy Torres Hondal

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Student Research Assistant

Esbeidy Torres Hondal (she/they) is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Esbeidy holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Tecnologico de Monterrey, with a Certificate in Political Studies from Sciences Po Bordeaux. Esbeidy has 4+ years of experience working for NGOs’ projects and international research in health, development, and corporate and international finance; they are the co-founder of Xicamiti Initiative, an organization focused on financial inclusion. They are originally from Mexico and can communicate professionally in Spanish, English, and French. Esbeidy aims to contribute to their welcoming new community and learn about the impact of policy put into action. 

Andy Travis

Andy Travis

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Student Research Assistant

Andy (he/him/his) is a second-year at UChicago, planning on majoring in Biological Sciences (with possible minors in Spanish and Health & Society).  He is  interested in pursuing a career in public health and/or medicine.  Andy is from Michigan, and in his free time he enjoys reading, playing board games, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Dejuan Washington

Dejuan Washington

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Temporary Sr. Research Coordinator

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, DeJuan (he/him) relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana to be closer to family and loved ones. His professional background is in educational leadership and public health research with a unique focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion work. He holds a BA in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master’s in educational leadership and policy analysis from Marquette University. In his spare time, DeJuan loves to spend quality time with loved ones and binge-watching Netflix series. DeJuan is elated to be a part of the CCHE team!

Ashlynn Wimer

Ashlynn Wimer

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Student Research Assistant

Ashlynn Wimer (she/they/ze) is a fourth-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago. While technically a math major she dabbles in many areas, and has experience working on STEAM outreach with a non-profit in Wisconsin, repairing and maintaining digital fabrication equipment in the campus maker space, and investigating access to gender affirming hormone therapy from a spatial perspective. They plan to pursue a MA in Computational Social Science after graduation and hope to eventually pursue a career in public health investigating the impacts of politics on access to healthcare. Ashlynn is from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and in zir spare time ze enjoys playing with 3D printers, shooting zir bow with questionable accuracy, and going on hikes.

Ben Zhang

Ben Zhang

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Student Research Assistant

Ben Zhang (he/him/his) is currently enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Social Sector Leadership & Nonprofit Management program. Ben was previously a film producer in China and an active participant in HIV/AIDS advocacy.

Wale Washington

Wale Washington

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2024 Jump! Intern

Wale (he/him) describes themselves as a very down to earth person and I love to smile because it’s healthy to smile and laugh a little bit!

Volunteers

T Carey

T Carey

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Research Volunteer

Tishiya Carey is a dedicated researcher with a focus on HIV, aging, and cancer research. She is currently a Post Baccalaureate Cancer Research Trainee at the HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Tishiya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Cultural Studies with a concentration in Pre-Medical Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Chicago.

Throughout her academic and professional journey, Tishiya has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to biomedical research. She is a recipient of multiple awards from the National Cancer Institute, including the iCURE Award of Scientific Merit and the iCURE Award for Best Scientific Design. Her research endeavors include leading a project on the longitudinal analyses of cancer in an aging HIV population and studying patient outcomes and responses to treatment.

Tishiya’s commitment to research is further exemplified by her presentations at esteemed conferences such as the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities and the National Cancer Institute Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities Professional Development Workshop. She has also been actively involved in leadership and volunteer roles, notably as the Leader of the HIV and AIDS Malignancy Branch Patient Support Group.

In addition to her research pursuits, Tishiya is fluent in Spanish and has been actively involved in community outreach and mentorship programs. Her passion for addressing health disparities and fostering global consciousness is evident in her diverse experiences, from her participation in the Global Citizenship Program at Washington University to her role as a Volunteer Tutor at the City Faces Tutoring Program.

Nikki Kasal

Nikki Kasal

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Americorps Volunteer- Outreach  

‘Dhee Lacy (all pronouns) started his work in Healthcare in 2010, working at Taskforce (a small organization on the West side of Chicago) as a Health Educator. Currently, Dhee is a part of the Sexual Reproductive Outreach Team at Howard Brown. Most of his work consist of going into the community, teaching STI/HIV 101, providing health screenings for free and training others on basic HIV screening and counseling skills. One of Dhee’s ultimate goals is to start a nonprofit that provide resources for black and brown queer/trans folk on the South and West sides of Chicago. Outside of work, Dhee is a professional dancer/choreographer and is also apart of the ballroom community.

 

Victoria Umutoni

Victoria Umutoni

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Research Volunteer

Victoria Umutoni (she/her/hers) is a PhD student in Epidemiology in the Public Health Sciences Program. She has previously worked as a Global Health Corps fellow in rural Rwanda and worked as a research analyst on the influenza and COVID-19 surveillance in Tennessee. She has worked on research projects focusing on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health as well as cervical cancer. Her masters’ thesis focused on the association between smoking and anal HPV infection in men.

She graduated from Emory University with a degree in Human Health and Anthropology and a master’s in Public Health from Vanderbilt University. Victoria aspires to have a career as a researcher working on infectious diseases and plans to use her research to influence policies.

Ryan Koch

Ryan Koch

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Research Volunteer

Ryan is currently

completing his Masters of Public Health degree through George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health. He has a background in biology, psychology, and medicine, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in both biology and psychology at the University of Missouri and later a Doctor of Osteopathy at Kansas City University. Before medical school, he worked as a case worker for those with chronic persistent mental illness, and after receiving his medical degree, he worked as a psychiatry resident for two years before switching gears to focus on public health. He is passionate about addressing health disparities in underserved populations, especially among the LGBTQIA+ population. He currently lives in Kansas City with his boyfriend of over 10 years and his two dogs, Nala and Moo.

 

 

Safia Singer-Pomerantz

Safia Singer-Pomerantz

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Research Volunteer

Safia (she/her/hers) is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. She is planning on pursuing a career in medicine with a major in HIPs (History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine) and a minor in Human Rights and Chemistry. In Summer 2022, Safia was a student in the Mount Sinai Emergency Medicine Summer Research Program in New York City where she served as a research associate/health educator in an urban emergency department, interviewing and enrolling patients in a study that examined ways to increase immediate initiation of PrEP in vulnerable populations. She also volunteers at the Chicago Community Health free clinic which serves uninsured adults and increases access to care. As part of a three-year independent research program in high school, she explored the physical and mental health sequelae of migration on children asylum seekers to the U.S. in a mixed-methods study and co-authored the resulting paper in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. She is interested in research as a tool for advocacy and advancing health equity. She hopes to continue working at the intersection of health and human rights, exploring the impact of social determinants of health on HIV prevention and transmission, and focusing on interventions in resource-limited settings. She is also a cellist and in her free time, she plays in the UChicago Symphony and UChicago Chamber Program in a quartet with her friends.