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
Dr. John Schneider MD, MPH 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
Alida M. Bouris 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.
David Pitrak, MD
Dr. Pitrak is the Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health. He attends clinics for patients with HIV infection, as well as primary and other acquired immune deficiencies. He leads the Expanded HIV testing and Linkage to Care program (XTLC), a large testing program (35,000 tests in 2012) funded by the CDC, that has achieved a 91% LTC rate for the program.
He conducts conduct HIV clinical trials and clinical research related to immune function in immunocompromised hosts and continues to run a lab for studies of cellular immunology. His studies have focused on HIV-infected patients, solid organ transplant recipients, and stem cell transplant recipients. In particular, his lab is set up to examine neutrophil function, neutrophil apoptosis, activation and apoptosis of CD4+ T cells, cytokine profiles, and flow cytometry. His group is also studying the incidence and clinical significance of hypogammaglbulinemia and in HIV patients who have received solid organ transplants, and characterizing the antibody deficiencies resulting in hypogammaglobulinemia. Learn more.
Russell Brewer, DrPH, MPH
Director of Health Equity Research
Dr. Russell Brewer currently serves as Research Associate Professor at the University of Chicago Medicine and Director of Health Equity Research at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination. From 2011-2017 he was the Director of the HIV/STI Portfolio at the Louisiana Public Health Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has more than 19 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.
Jessi Dehlin, LCSW
Associate Director of Administration
Associate Director of Administration Sr.
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 diagnoses of chronic mental health disabilities 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 social administration professional interests. 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. Jessi also has two cats who often join in team meetings, Rafi and Cass. And her hobbies include yoga, organization, bullet journaling, and a good feminist-charged anti-heroine movie, documentary or book
Mainza Durrell, DrPH, MBA
Director of Research
As Director of Research, Dr. Durrell 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
Rebecca 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.
Aniruddha (Anu) Hazra, MD
Director of STI Services
Dr. Anu Hazra 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 Epidemiology
Anna Hotton is Director of Epidemiology at CCHE and a Research Assistant 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
Moira McNulty 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.
Mai Tuyet Pho, MD, MPH
Director of Health Policy Research
Dr. Mai Tuyet Pho 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
Dr. Jessica Ridgway 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 Engagment
Jessica 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
Kimberly Stanford, MD, MPH
Director of ED STI/HIV Testing
Dr. Stanford 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.
Ellen Almirol, Senior Research Data Analyst
Ellen Almirol is a Senior Data Analyst 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.
Ariel (he/him/his) is a PhD student in Sociology. He is originally from Chile, where he obtained his BA and MA in Sociology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He moved to Chicago in 2017 to get his PhD. His research seeks to advance the intersection between social epidemiology and political sociology by understanding how exposure to institutional and policy contexts throughout the life course can moderate the way social stratification shapes health inequalities. On the side, he is also interested in understanding people’s attitudes towards social policy in general, with a particular focus on health care systems, shedding light on the nuances of the deservingness heuristic in this specific policy area. Ariel will be joining MAARC to support research on issues related to opioid-related stigma, people’s knowledge about opioid use disorder (OUD) and treatment for OUD, recovery from OUD, and the criminality of opioid misuse.
Leticia Boughton Price
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.
Operations & Development Senior Coordinator
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.
Bryan Brickman (he/ him/ his), Research Data Analyst
Bryan is a recent graduate from UChicago with a degree in math. He is working with Dr. Aditya Khanna implementing network model simulations on the Midway High-Performance Computing Cluster. Bryan has a passion for problem solving and understanding systems, and hopes to find ways to put these skills to use with groups addressing social issues―particularly healthcare access in America and decarceration.
Bryan has more hobbies than time, including building and repairing electronics, cooking, reading, computer gaming, rock climbing, and piano.
Bryan lives with his partner Laurel, a clinical social worker specializing in gender and sex therapy, and their pet Roomba
Engagement in Care Specialist/PrEP Navigator
Xavier “Xavi” Burgos is an Engagement in Care Specialist / PrEP Navigator at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination at UChicago Medicine. Xavi has over a decade of experience developing and coordinating community and university-based projects on the issues of youth development, civic engagement, affordable housing, social marketing, and advocacy media for marginalized communities.
Senior Coordinator, Network Testing
Billy 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.
Natascha Del Vecchio
Natascha is a data analyst for CCHE. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Texas Austin and is currently finishing her Master’s in Biostatistics from the University of Texas Health Science Center. While working towards her graduate degree, she spent the past year working for Dr. Kayo Fujimoto and collaborating with the Houston Health Department analyzing data related to HIV transmission risks.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Sam is a Clinical Research Coordinator working 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.
Dylan Eller (he, him, his), Research Analyst
Dylan received his Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology from the University of Missouri. He has a strong passion for preventing disease through research and statistical analysis. Dylan has contributed analytic work to various CDC-funded grants and also served as a deputy editor for the medical journal: Evidence Based Practice. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys playing golf, weight training, and going to Chicago White Sox games.
Ariana “Rey” Flores (They/Them/Theirs), Research Assistant.
As recent graduate from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, Ariana “Rey” Flores (They/them) focused their studies on racial health inequalities in queer identified individuals and is excited to continue contributing to their community at CCHE. They are passionate about queer and community health, interested in the social factors that lead to poor health outcomes. They’ve previously worked with queer adolescents to foster confidence and social connections to the larger community, in addition to lobbying for queer and sex-positive education legislation in Illinois and New York.
Senior Data Analyst
Eleanor (Nora) Friedman 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.
HIV Medical Assistant
Damaris 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 2 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.
Kendall is an Outreach Specialist for CCHE and has spent over a decade working in LGBTQ spaces and communities. A recent graduate of Chicago House and Social Service Agency’s Community Health Apprenticeship Program, they are excited to be able to work with young people to improve their health literacy, provide helpful and targeted counseling, and empower their choices in/for sexual agency. Kendall’s practice is premised upon the idea that engaging and communicating with people in affirming and intentional ways is instrumental in cultivating meaningful and supportive relationships and encouraging healthy behaviors. Their formal academic background is in biochemistry and they are equally passionate about media analysis and critique, environmental sustainability, and movements for social justice. They also love cooking and rock climbing.
Manager of Outreach and Care Engagement
31 years old, African American leader in the discussion of systemic effects on young, black, gay, men. With more than 10 years of experience in social services, being a catalyst of change in the lives of those suffering, traumatic life experiences. From health equity to destroying barriers for his community, Noel is unapologetic about enhancing life for young, men of color. Entrepreneur, activist, social support developer, and community organizer: Noel works today so that outcomes for his community will be better tomorrow.
Christian Johnson, Clinical Research Coordinator II
Christian (he/him/his) is a St. Louis native, University of Missouri (Mizzou) and Georgia Southern University alumnus. Christian is extremely passionate about helping others, especially underserved and vulnerable populations. In Christian’s free time, running and all things Marvel are at the top of the list and he is very excited about joining the team at The University of Chicago.
Supportive Services Coordinator
Marceita has over ten years’ experience working and volunteering for non-for profit organizations and churches throughout the Chicagoland area. She has enjoyed working professionally with diverse populations including youth, adults, individuals who identify as LGBTQ, and survivors of domestic violence. Working within the community, of which she herself was raised, has made her that much more passionate about providing quality care.
Marceita completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2006. She went on to complete her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University in 2016. She has held a number of positions within the social service field including SASS worker, Outreach Case Manager, Outpatient Therapist, and Employment Counselor. Marceita’s primary interest is based on utilizing a holistic approach to assist high-risk clients receive the quality care they deserve.
Chyntell Jones(she/her/hers) is a self-identified Trans Community Outreach Worker with more than three years of experience working in the LGBTQ community. Chyntell currently works at Costco for the last 7 years. She attended “G Skin and Beauty” (Esthetic school) and graduated in November of 2018. Chyntell will also be taking part in the “TRANS MARCH on DC” for injustice on transgender women. Chyntell loves shopping and reading about any and everything that effects the community. She also admits she is addicted to her cellphone and virtual reality game called IMVU.
PrEP Enagement Specialist
Keyira is our PrEP Engagement Specialist at The Village. Within our supportive services team, she primarily manages the Chicago PrEPline but she also does resource counseling for our participants; Keyira works closely with various members of our research team to aid in the discovery and implementation of best practices for disseminating information about STI/HIV prevention methods like PrEP. She has always had an interest in the social service sector; in the past, Keyira has provided resource counseling, STI/HIV prevention information, and linkage to care to marginalized individuals who were in the process of recovery, reentry, or facing homelessness. Keyira holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago, where she also double minored in Minority Studies and Sociology; She is currently working on obtaining her AM degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration by enrolling in their Extended Evening Program.
Francis Lee, PhD (he/him/his) is our new postdoctoral scholar who comes to us from the University of California, Irvine, where he obtained both his PhD in Sociology and his MS in Statistics. Dr. Lee’s research employs statistical network modeling to understand how various social processes, such as stigma, affect HIV diffusion in vulnerable populations. He has also published papers on modeling respondent inaccuracy in social network analysis. He enjoys reading, Duolingo, and hiking in his spare time.
Data & Quality Assurance Coordinator
Mayra “Alex” Malagón is the Data and Quality Assurance Coordinator of the Center for HIV Elimination. 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 and visiting unique coffee shops in Chicago. Mayra holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Benedictine University and a BA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Iowa.
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.
Ralph Meneghetti, Senior Implementation Research Coordinator
Ralph joins CCHE as a Senior Implementation Research Coordinator. His Previous research experiences includes coordination and management of behavioral health and clinical research studies focused on HIV and substance use disorders at the Substance Use Research Unit at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE), and the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s research program. Recent;y, Ralph spent a year providing street-level outreach and health navigation services to unhoused, people who use drugs throughout Los Angeles County as a team member at the Los Angeles Community Health Project. His interests include working with underserved individuals with co-occurring disorders and prevention of HIV; HCV and STI. Ralph completed his undergraduate work in Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley and graduate studies in Human Geography with an emphasis in health and social-cultural geographies at San Francisco State University. He recently relocated from Los Angeles to Chicago, his hometown, with his two cats, Paco and Oscar.
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Infectious Diseases
Michelle Moore, APN, AAHIVMS is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner with the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Department of Infectious Disease & Global Health. Her clinical practice focuses on those living with HIV and the prevention of HIV, Women’s Health/family planning, Sexual Health, Travel Medicine and providing affirming care to folks who identify within the LGBTQ community.
Darnell N. Motley
Darnell N Motley, PHD (he/him/his), Research Assistant Professor Appointment with the Department of Medicine
Darnell N. Morley PhD, 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.
Instructor of Medicine
Jade Pagkas-Bather, MD, MPH
Communications and Operations Assistant
Will Pettway (they/them/theirs) is a joy-centered theatre artist from the South Side of Chicago who recently Graduated with a degree in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago. They have worked with numerous theatres around the city creating theatre that aims to be part of social change. Their background also includes time as an sexual health educator and organizer with the Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health. Outside of work, Will is a stand-up comedian and can walk on their hands; although, they haven’t figured out how to do both at the same time yet.
Research Assistant Professor
After earning her MPH in epidemiology at UIC and working with the Women’s Interagency HIV Study in Chicago, Maria Pyra went to the University of Washington and completed her PhD in Epidemiology. Dr. Pyra’s work focused on PrEP use among women in Africa and she is excited to translate that work into improving PrEP adherence and retention among at-risk populations in Chicago. Her partner and I just moved to Oak Park with our 2-year-old daughter and 13 yr old dog. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, swimming, and reading.
Andrew Richardson DNP, APN is an Adult-Geriatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner with the University of Chicago Medicine’s Center for HIV Elimination. His clinical practice and research efforts have focused primarily on those living with HIV and the prevention of HIV. He has published and presented on these topics in both lay and academic contexts. He received his Doctorate of Nursing Practice with a focus in Psychiatric Mental Health from UIC.
Infectious Diseases Clinic Manager
Richard Rodgers 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.
Adam (he/him/his) is a second-year at Chicago majoring in economics and public policy. He lived in Denver, Co for most of his life but recently moved to Chicago. and is pleased to be living here. Adam loves working with kids and has been doing so for several years now. IN his free time Adam enjoys watching and playing sports and staying up to date with current events and politics. Adam looks forward to getting to know and helping all the kids at CCHE.
Daniel Sheeler (he/him/his), Software Developer
Daniel Sheeler 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.
Anisha Shrestha, Research Data Analyst
My name is Anisha Shrestha and I am originally from Nepal. I moved to Michigan for my higher studies in 2018 and it’s been a great learning experience. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Information Management from Orchid International College. I have a Master’s in Data Science and Analytics from Grand Valley State University. One of the things that I am most passionate about is working on research projects that involve bringing forward insight to the end-user through the analysis of large datasets. I love these particular research projects because they allow me to learn something new and have a detailed analysis of any topic. I have worked as a research and data analyst at the University of Michigan in Summer 2020; during my time here, I worked with the Great Lake datasets for Lake Michigan; I’d identify any patterns that exist in the data set as well as model different variables and quantify the datasets to get a deeper understanding of the variables affecting the ecology of the Great Lake Environment. Working on this project gave me an opportunity to work closely with a mentor – a faculty member or other experienced researcher’s scientist who helped me hone my problem-solving skills.I look forward to working as a Research Data Analyst. Other roles that I am interested in includes predictive modeling, performing statistical analysis, and qualitative and quantitative analysis across sub-disciplines to gain a strong mechanistic understanding of different datasets.
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.”
Pharoh Swain is a HIV/STI testing intern with CCHE. Pharoh will be doing testing for walk-in clients and research participants at The Village. Pharoh started with the center this past month and will be with us for a year.
Clinical Social Worker, Infectious Diseases Clinic
Michelle 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.
Rommell Tate (he/him/his), Outreach Coordinator
Rommell Tate (Roe) is a Community Outreach worker with a record of results in Medicaid, Community Relations, and Communications in the managed care sector.
Before coming to CCHE, Roe served as the former Business Analyst and Executive Assistant – NextLevel Health Partners. There he was responsible for marketing NextLevel Health to eligible citizens by creating relationships with people important to their customer base. He has established connections and built relationships with community leaders that had access to their patient populations of adults on Medicaid. Additionally, he was a part of the Marketing and Communications team, serving as a support to drive the company’s social media strategy, all while creating a more robust social media presence.
As a Community Outreach worker, Roe has been focused on building long lasting relationships with community leaders and helping make communities healthier.
Clinical Research Coordinator
DeJuan Washington is a Clinical Research Coordinator for CCHE. He is a Milwaukee native with a B.A in Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from Marquette University. DeJuan has nearly 5 years of experiences in diversity and inclusion work within higher education. His passions are embedded in work that is centered around unpacking social/cultural issues within minoritized communities with the goal of implementing equity minded practices. He is most excited about working with individuals from underrepresented populations that are living with HIV and helping to connect these populations to adequate resources.
Jeannette is the Research Coordinator 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.
Senior Linkage to Care Coordinator
Lindsey Wesley-Madgett is our HIV/HCV Linkage to Care Specialist, 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.
Contractors / Students / Trainees
Adult Health Clinical Psychology Intern
Byron Brooks is an adult health clinical psychology intern in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. His research and clinical interests focus on health and well-being among queer and trans people of color. He is also passionate about training other healthcare providers about how to be more culturally-sensitive in their practice. Byron will provide individual and group mental health services starting January 2020.
Joel D. Jackson serves as a subject matter expert and facilitator for several programs at The Village through the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE). He is also the University of Chicago—Medicine (UCM) Manager of Education and Training in the Department of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. He coordinates the hospital’s cultural competence training strategy and is the lead facilitator of the UCM 18-Hour Cultural Competence Course.
Joel received his Bachelor of Arts in 2000 as the first male to major in Women’s Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He also has over 15 years of experience working in social justice, facilitating anti-oppression training and serving in the field of HIV prevention. Prior to moving to Chicago 4 years ago, he lived in St. Louis, MO and worked for 2 years at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Center for Diversity & Cultural Competence. He also formerly worked at Project ARK (AIDS, Resources & Knowledge) for 10 years, an affiliate of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.
Joel really enjoys the work that he does with the University of Chicago Medicine and the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination. He views himself as another care partner helping to enhance quality health care and contributing to a legacy of positive growth, inclusion and health equity for the greater Chicago community.
Ruby Massey – Student Research Assistant
She is a third year undergraduate in the college originally from Chicago, Il. She’s Majoring in the Biological Sciences with a specialization in Global Health and minoring in Health and Society. She plans to attend medical school after graduation and hopes to continue doing research in the field of infectious disease and global health. In her free time she volunteers in the Hyde Park neighborhood through an RSO on campus and is a member of the Womxn’s Club Rugby Team.
Zanariah (ZiZi) Phillips
Zanariah (ZiZi) Phillips 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.
Quincy Raggs, Temporary HIV Prevention & Care Specialist
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.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Nora Spadoni is a rising UChicago third year, majoring in anthropology and planning to attend medical school. She is interested in the social determinants of healthcare, especially women’s reproductive health. She also works as a tour guide, volunteers in the hospital, and performs with University Theater on campus.