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.
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. 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.
Aditya Khanna, PhD, MS
Director of Network Modeling
Aditya Khanna, PhD, MS is a computational epidemiologist and statistician. His research combines biosocial data and computational modeling tools to understand infectious disease dynamics and prevention mechanisms. He works on assessing the applicability of models and modeling frameworks, and on developing interventions to eliminate new HIV infections. Modeling networks is a predominant theme in his work, including sexual networks through with pathogens transmit, and social networks, which channel information that impacts behaviors. He is the recipient of a pilot award through the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research to expand his work on peer change agent identification and dynamic network structure.
Dr. Khanna completed his PhD in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management (QERM), and MS degrees in Statistics and QERM at the University of Washington (UW). He was a part of the Network Modeling Group at the UW, and completed a fellowship in the International Clinical Research Center in UW’s Department of Global Health. He was a volunteer in the Seattle Shanti program, offering emotional support to HIV-infected individuals. In Chicago, besides his research, he has mentored undergraduate and graduate students in their independent research. Outside of work, he practices Capoeira Angola, as a member of FICA Chicago. Further details on Aditya’s life and work are available here.
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
Assc. Director of HIV Care and Prevention
Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker for the Section of Infectious Disease and HIV clinic at the University of Chicago providing patient care and linkage to care services. Jessica was recently named the Associate Director of HIV Care and Prevention with the section. She serves as the program director for the Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care (xTLC) and FOCUS programs, working with local partner hospitals and health clinics to routinize HIV screening. 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.
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.
Project Assistant IV
Patricia Braboy (she, her, hers) is a lifelong resident of the Southeast side. Her goal is to help make South Shore an area where generations of her family can live and grow. Patricia has been educating youth about their sexual health for 4 years. Her major goal when providing education is to help to eliminate the taboo that comes with conversations around STIs and Sex.
Patricia is a proud graduate of Jackson State University. She’s is currently enrolled in the University of Michigan’s sexual health educator certification program. Her hobbies include extreme couponing for her friends and family and the extreme sport of parenting twin boys.
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.
Sr. Manager of Center Growth & Development
Jessi is the Senior Manager of Center Growth and Develompent. Jessi 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 severe mental health disabilities and/or addictions to women reentering the community from incarceration. Jessi’s interests lie in the prevention of HIV by using a holistic approach to address additional barriers and obstacles that those at highest risk face. Jessi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her Master’s in Social Work, with a concentration in Mental Health, and her Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology & Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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.
Dr. Mert Edali (he/him/his), Postdoctoral Scholar
He received his B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering from Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, in 2011. Later, he joined the Department of Industrial Engineering at Bogazici University as a master’s student and received his M.Sc. degree in 2014. He received his Ph.D. degree from the same department in 2019. Prior to joining CCHE, he has been working as a research assistant and lecturer in the Department of Industrial Engineering at Yildiz Technical University since 2013. His main research interests include agent-based modeling, system dynamics, simulation model analysis, and machine learning.
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 Flores (They/Them/Theirs), Research Assistant.
As recent graduate from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, Ariana 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.
HIV Research Specialist
Kangkana Koli is a recent graduate from the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts in the Social Sciences Program. While in MAPSS she studied political science with a focus on race, ethnicity, and politics. Originally from Detroit, MI, Kangkana has always been interested in the intersection of these topics and how they impact an individual’s lived experiences. She is excited to bring her knowledge and experience to CCHE and the N2 project and contribute to the larger goals of this organization!
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.
Babak Mahdavi Ardestani
Underlying Dr. Ardestani research approach is the belief that improved theoretical insights and better evaluation of complex systems for policymaking decisions can be achieved through operationalization of methodological individualism by using more realistic agent-based models (ABM). He has previously applied ABM in various research domains, including residential segregation, electricity system (smart grid) and social care system. His latest research interest is the application of computational modeling in the epidemiology of infectious diseases.
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.
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.
Jada Pagkas-Bather, MD, MPH
Instructor of Medicine
Jada 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.
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.
Student Resource Counselor
Camilla received her bachelor’s in social work at Northeastern Illinois University, and is currently a graduate student at the School of Social Service Administration. Currently, she works in an inpatient unit of a hospital in Chicago, where she provide patients with emotional support, psychoeducation, resources, and advocacy within the medical team. She is eager to explore the interdisciplinary of her profession further and learn from different modalities of service. The HIV elimination program will help her broaden her experience working with the population that she is passionate about while exploring and learning from LGBTQI individuals, which is a population that she is eager to support and learn more about. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city, trying new foods, and catching up with her favorite TV shows.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Kris Rosentel is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Ending the Transmission of HIV, HCV, STDs, and Overdose in Rural Communities (ETHIC) project. Kris’s research interests include spatial access, criminalization, harm reduction, and LGBTQ health. Their previous experience includes working in drop-in programs and clinics serving LGBTQ groups. They have also conducted research related to LGBTQ service access, sex work criminalization in Chicago, and employment among sexual and gender minority youth of color. Kris holds a Master’s in Social Service Administration and a Bachelor’s in Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of Chicago.
Senior Project Manager, MAARC
Clovis is the Senior Project Manager of the MAARC and the Developmental Core Co-Administrator for the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research. He first joined the center in 2017 as an Administrative Specialist. He recieved his Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the Lyman Briggs School at Michigan State University and went on to recieve his Doctor of Medicine from the Philippines.
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.
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
MD Candidate, Pritzker
Nick is a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is currently working on a project to determine predictors of HIV Testing and Treatment among young Black MSM and transgender women who are in jail. His previous experience includes job training programming for formerly incarcerated adults in Chicago with St. Leonard’s Ministries and working with health care providers in the New York City jail system. Nick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago. He is interested in the implementation of public health interventions in jails and prisons.
MD Candidate, Pritzker
Ben is currently a medical student at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He served nine years in the U.S. Army as a Chinese and French linguist. He then spent three years as a U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer in Mali and China. He graduated with an A.A. in Mandarin Chinese from the Defense Language Institute in 2002, magna cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Hawaii Pacific University in 2006, and a pre-medical certificate from Goucher College in 2016. He worked for two years with President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) across Mali to expand HIV testing and treatment on military bases, and he worked with the Chinese Aibai NGO in Sichuan to destigmatize HIV infection in Southwest China and advocate for progressive government policy regarding HIV/AIDS. With Dr John Schneider and in partnership with several Greek physicians and NGOs, Ben’s is working on a research project that explores the network characteristics of Athenian MSM especially in regards to assortativity of risk-behaviors. He is originally from Colorado and lives in Chicago with his partner who works at the Israeli consulate and their dog, Osiris. Ben is interested in a career as an Infectious Disease physician and global health.
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.
Leilani Douglas, Temporary Research Interviewer
Rodal Issema (), PT data analyst
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.
MD Candidate, Pritzker
Ryan Judd is a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is currently working on a project to screen patients for medical, social, and healthcare-related barriers to HIV care and determine whether these screening results can be used to predict which patients are likely to be lost to follow-up care. Ryan is also working with the social work team on a data-sharing program with the Chicago Department of Public Health to improve re-engagement efforts across the city. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Biochemistry from Ohio State University.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Maya Osman-Krinsky (she/her or they/them) is a third-year undergraduate in Linguistics and Global Studies at UChicago. Their interests include translation in clinical settings and how cultural competency trainings approach structural barriers to prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Maya enjoys singing, biking, cooking, and writing, and is planning to pursue a Masters in Public Health after graduation.
Frania Mendoza Lua
Frania Mendoza Lua – SSA PhD student
MD Candidate, Pritzker
Kellie is a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is currently working on a project assessing the impact of social network attitudes and experiences of stigma on PrEP awareness and use in men who have sex with men. Her previous experience includes HIV-related research and program implementation work for the US Office of Rural Health Policy, as well as instrument development and semi-structured interviews to investigate the sexual and reproductive health needs of young HIV+ women in South Africa. She is particularly interested in prevention science focusing on HIV in an international context, as well as the clinical practice of HIV care. Kellie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University.
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.
Phlebotomy Intern 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.”