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.
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
Jessi (she/her/hers) joined the center in 2017 as the Manager of Supportive Services. Her previous work experience includes project development, project management, and conducting individual therapy with a range of client populations from low income men and women with chronic mental health diagnoses and addictions to women reentering the community from incarceration. With CCHE being a young organization, Jessi saw administrative needs that the Center had, which aligned with her own professional interests around organizational development and supporting staff. In 2019, Jessi moved into the Senior Manager of Center Growth & Development role, where she oversaw the Center’s strategic planning, internal HR, staff development and foundation grant writing. As a social worker in an administrative role, Jessi is able to bring a unique perspective when approaching the CCHE’s organizational needs and growth, making meaningful relationships with collaborators and community members, keeping her focus person-centered, and advocating for necessary policy change within the larger system of the University. Now as the Associate Director of Administration, Jessi focuses on organizational growth and advances, moving the Center forward in its goals. Jessi has two cats who often join in team meetings over zoom, Rafi and Cass. Jessi’s hobbies include yoga, bullet journaling, spending time with friends and family, and thrill seeking!
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 Services
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.
Darnell N. Motley, PhD
Director of Structural Interventions
Darnell N. Motley 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.
Jade Pagkas-Bather, MD, MPH
Director of Status Neutral Care
Full Bio: Instructor of Medicine
Jade Pagkas-Bather, MD, MPH
Dr. Pagkas-Bather is interested in HIV prevention efforts among minority men who have sex with men (MSM) using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). She is also interested in ways to combine PrEP with other STI prevention strategies among this population through community outreach, and collaboration with local organizations in order to make HIV and STI prevention efforts more patient-centered and less stigmatizing.
Mai Tuyet Pho, MD, MPH
Director of Health Policy Research
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 Engagement
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, Manager of Data Analytics
Ellen Almirol (she/her/hers) is the Manager of Data Analytics 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.
Research Specialist (she/her/hers)
Erin (she/her/hers) recently graduated from DePaul University’s Master of Public Health program with a concentration in Community Health Practice. Her public health interests lie within examining the social determinants of health and structural barriers that prevent individuals from achieving each step in the HIV care continuum process. Additionally she is interested in harm reduction efforts, specifically looking at overdose and disease transmission prevention and how stigma and shame contribute to opioid-related harm.
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.
Data Analyst (he/him/his)
Abass (he/him/his) is a public health professional with close to 10 years’ experience in community health intervention design, evaluation and management. Abass has worked with international non-governmental agencies as well as research institutes in many capacities as community health officer, monitoring and evaluation officer and data coordinator.
He has completed a master’s in public health degree in 2020 and has since been the lead data analyst in Texas, Department of State for Health Services in COVID 19 responses where he was responsible for data collation and analysis from all the state counties. Abass’ interest is in the use of public health data to evaluate and guide policies in prevention and mitigation of the spread of infectious disease and poor health outcome while maintaining equity in access to care and treatment.
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
Supportive Services Coordinator (HIV-PACT) (she/her/hers)
Jessica (she/her/hers) has been working in the Healthcare field for about 13 years. In 2015 Jessica began working with an FQHC organization. During that time, she was introduced and had the pleasure of working with patients who were living and newly diagnosed with HIV. During my time there Jessica fell in love with learning and growing with the people within the community. In 2019, Jessica became a part of the Gastroenterology team at The University of Chicago Medicine. While working in that department was an exciting and educational experience, she felt like something was missing. 2020 The GI department moved to a different floor where the team shared a clinic space with Infectious Disease. During the time shared, Jessica was able to work with a different dynamic group of patients, and she believes she found what was missing. With this new position, Jessica is excited to help patients receive the help and resources they may not know that CCHE and UCM offers.
Assistant Care Manager
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.
Qualitative Data Analyst (she/her/hers)
Alicia (she/her/hers) is a qualitative researcher with a diverse background in public health, mental health and quality improvement research. She received a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018, and is currently attending the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice as a part-time graduate student. Her primary interests include bringing a social work approach to qualitative research, understanding the lived experiences of marginalized communities and exploring ways to improve health equity, outcomes, and access for vulnerable groups. She has experience conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups in many different settings, and she is excited to expand her research horizons to the realm of HIV prevention. Outside of work and school, Alicia enjoys dancing and exploring Chicago neighborhoods by trying new coffee shops.
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.
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.
Engagement in Care Specialist
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 4 years. She also has experience working with TGNC/gender affirming community. Her interests include delivering effective HIV prevention services for POC who identify within the LGBQT community, women’s health, & sexual health.
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.
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.
Research Assistant (she/her/hers)
Ruby (she/her/hers) is originally from Chicago, IL and is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago with a degree in Biological Sciences and specialization in Global Health. She worked at CCHE as a student during her third and fourth years before beginning her full time. Ruby is currently taking a gap year while applying to medical schools and plans to matriculate in 2023. In her free time, she plays rugby, goes for hikes, and loves to take long walks with her dog.
Research Specialist (she/her/hers)
Bella Matthews (she/her/hers) is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, and received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University with a double major in Political Science and Global Studies with a double minor in Human Rights and Spanish. This August, Bella will be graduating from UChicago with a Masters in Sociology from the MAPPS program.
Bella’s thesis focuses on the historical reimagining of public safety within the Black community of Indianapolis in the 60s and 70s. Exploring questions about communities providing for their own safety when the state apparatuses fail to do so, as well as outlining the importance of a localized approach to historical work and their connection to the broad understanding of community safety are what drive this upcoming work. With this in mind, she hopes to continue this work through a Ph.D. program in the future.
As a current graduate student at the University of Chicago, Bella has come to truly value and contribute to the formulation of new knowledge surrounding forgotten communities, whether that is through community organizing, youth advocacy or equity for all within the state. Not only is it important, but vital for institutional change. She carries these themes as well as dedication and passion to everything she does.
Bella has been serving as an interviewer for the N2 project for cycle 5! She is excited to join the team full time as a research specialist and is looking forward to getting to work with the CCHE team for a mission as important as ours here at the Center.
Probably one of Bella’s biggest fun fact is that she has about 30 plants in my 1 bedroom right now, so if you ever want to talk about plants please reach out to her! Also, she is still pretty new to Hyde Park, so fun activities, places to go, and the overall history of the neighborhood are always welcome!
Makenna Meyer is a fourth year undergraduate at UChicago majoring in biology and statistics. She is planning to eventually pursue degrees in public health and medicine, and is interested in learning more about the social determinants of health and how to expand access to healthcare. She is also a Resident Assistant, plays for the UChicago Ultimate Frisbee team, and loves to cook and read in her free time. She is super excited to be working with the CCHE!
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.
Supportive Services Coordinator (he/him/his)
Devin, AM’22 (he/him/ his) is an abolition social worker interested in HIV prevention and treatment in urban and rural settings, as well as how we can affectively Get To Zero new transmissions without reliance state surveillance. Devin focuses on present-moment awareness, harm reduction, and behavioral function.
Research Coordinator (she/her/hers)
Darjai (she/her/hers) was born and raised on the South side of Chicago in the South Shore neighborhood as the only child to a single mother. She attended Kenwood Academy High school and scored a full ride scholarship to Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. There, Darjai received her BS in Biology. She decided to return home and began working as a Quality Assurance Lab Technician at Marie’s Salad Dressing. Within one year of working, she enrolled into graduate school at Chicago State University. While working full time at night, Darjai would attend school in the afternoon and after two years of tasting a lot of salad dressings and dips, she graduated with her Master in Public Health and began working for non-for-profit organization where she was a care coordinator for seniors over 65 years old. Unfortunately, the organization closed down but gratefully Darjai was offered a position at Rush Medical University as a research assistant. Now, six years later, Darjai is excited to be working at The University of Chicago Medical Center as a research coordinator!
Communications and Development Coordinator
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.
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, Supportive Services Coordinator
Quincy Raggs (he/him/his) identifies as a worker that is a “Jack of all trades”. Quincy studied Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. Quincy speaks 3 languages fluently and has a strong background in HIV/STI prevention and has worked and collaborated with various Chicago based organizations, focusing on community education, testing, and linkage to care. In his spare time, he collaborates with a few non profit organizations where he teaches, promotes and performs traditional Afro-Latin genres of music from the Caribbean.
Senior Implementation Research Coordinator (she/her/hers)
Ishida (she/her/hers) worked for NORC @ the University of Chicago as a Field Manager for over 16 years and at NORC for over 30 years. A Field Manager is one who provides administrative leadership and support for the Field Interviewers (FIs) on the Project/s they have been assigned to manage-a connection between the field and project staff. Ishida managed day to day activities with FI’s, track their work, have weekly meeting, keep them updated on progress, sign time sheets & expenses. Field Managers often assist with interviewer recruiting tasks, training field interviewers, write and review project materials, lead troubleshooting teams, mentor the interviewing staff and to complete other tasks as directed by the Regional Manager.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Supportive Services Coordinator (he/him/his)
Tiyamika Williams (she/her/ hers) grew up in multiple states and countries but went to high school in Chicago. She recently graduated with a Bachelor’s in public health from Agnes Scott College in Decatur GA. Tiyamika is an advocate for holistic wellness in her community and is excited to join the CCHE team. Fun fact: Tiyamika is a Sagittarius 🙂
Byron Brooks, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is a clinical health psychologist committed to promoting health and well-being among queer and transgender folks of color. Dr. Brooks’ clinical, research, and service interests are rooted in clinical health psychology, positive psychology, and diversity science in order to bolster resilience and mitigate health disparities among racial and sexual minorities. Most recently, Dr. Brooks provided psychotherapy to clients at CCHE during his pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Chicago. Currently Dr. Brooks is an assistant Professor of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago and co-directs the clinical psychology externship training program at CCHE.
Scott Hunter, Academic Associate (he/him/his)
Until just recently, Scott was Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Pediatrics, and Director of Neuropsychology at the University of Chicago. A cisgender gay psychologist, whose research and clinical efforts have focused over time on the developmental impact of medical and contextual factors in children, adolescents, and emerging adults, Scott has worked since graduate school on understanding the intersection of gender and sexual identity, socioeconomic status, racial, cultural, and ethnic identity, and neuropsychological and behavioral risk and resilience. An expert on executive functioning and its development, Scott has supported clinical and research training of graduate students in Psychology and the broader social sciences, and medical students, residents, and fellows. He has guided the development of the Q&TPoC Psychotherapy Program at The Village, and collaborated on research on Black MSM with Dr. Schneider and the CCHE team. Presently, Scott is working in the pharmaceutical industry as a Senior Scientific Expert in Neurodevelopment, with WCG MedAvante-ProPhase, and is a Clinical Professor with the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, focusing on teaching and supervision. With CCHE, Scott will continue to collaborate on current research and the psychotherapy program’s supervision needs. He is excited to be working more closely with the broader CCHE team!
Harita Shah, Associate Professor of Medicine (she/her/hers)
Harita Shah (she/her/hers) is a primary care physician in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her research is focused on the use of community-based participatory research and implementation science to address disparities in HIV prevention and outcomes, particularly among Latino/a/x communities. Her work has included directing public health campaigns that combine community-based outreach and social marketing to improve access to PrEP (preparate.info) and to COVID-19 services for Latino/a/x populations. She is currently working on a needs assessment for Latino/a/x sexual and gender minorities in Chicago, focused on neighborhood-level HIV-related social determinants of health.
Contractors / Students / Trainees
Temporary Data Analyst (she/her/hers)
Emily has over a decade of experience working as an applied epidemiologist at state and local health departments. Much of her career has focused on infectious disease surveillance, where she primarily collected data for outbreak detection and response. This included a few years working for the Maryland Emerging Infections Program, where active surveillance data were also routinely used for conducting observational studies. Her formal epidemiology education was obtained through Tulane University’s MPH program. In her free time, Emily is an avid utility biker who likes spending time with her family and learning new things from her preschool and kindergarten age children.
Student Research Assistant (she/they)
Aashana (she/they) is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. They are majoring in Biology, with a specialization in Global Health, and minoring in English & Creative Writing as well as Gender & Sexuality Studies. She plans to attend medical school with the aim of obtaining an MD/MPH dual degree, to practice medicine in emergency situations in philanthropic spaces around the world. Aashana is from Mumbai, India, and in their free time, they enjoy making videos about their travels, writing for various organizations on campus, and working out.
Temporary Data Analyst (he/him/they/them)
Larry Dean began organizing in 2014 as a member of BYP100 in 2014, while completing his degree in African American Studies at Roosevelt University. As a student, he worked as a electoral fellow at Chicago Votes participating in a mass voter registration drive focused on young students of color. He also worked as a Restorative Justice Intern at the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice & Transformation where he worked in schools conducting peace circles for students.
Larry has worked on multiple campaigns in Chicago including the Fight for 15 campaign to raise the minimum wage in Illinois in 2015. He also worked on the successful Bye Anita campaign to unseat the former states attorney Anita Alvarez.
In 2020, Larry was selected for the inaugural Black to the Future Policy Fellowship. This program was started by Black Futures Lab as an incubator for community organizers, activists, and policy leaders to be trained in legislative policy and developing policy implementation strategies. Larry developed policy plans for the Chicago Public Schools’ Board of Education to create digital art workshops for all students during the pandemic. Larry hopes to continue his education and receive his Masters in Public Policy.
Psych Extern (she/her/hers)
Ruby Koltun Dienstag, MA is a doctoral student of clinical psychology at Adler University. She is completing her advanced clinical practicum training at The Village/CCHE this year.
Ruby’s professional work is centered on gender, sexuality, race, and systemic inequity. Ruby’s research is focused on Transgender and Gender non-conforming populations who practice ethical non-monogamy.
As a therapist, Ruby is determined to build therapeutic relationships that are genuine, supportive, nourishing, collaborative, and creative. Ruby approaches therapy from an intersectional feminist orientation, and she sees clients as the experts on themselves. Furthermore, Ruby understands the therapeutic space as an opportunity for assessing the ways systemic inequities have impacted the client’s lived experience as well as the strategies they have developed for facing these systems. Ruby is outgoing, enthusiastic, humorous, and dedicated to creating a dynamic that is non-judgmental and empowering for clients.
Community Engagement Specialist (he/him/his)
Terry Dudley (he/him/his) is a Black queer activist with extensive knowledge and experience regarding STI and HIV prevention, testing, and treatment among men who have sex with men and the LGBTQ+ community. He has a strong history and involvement as a community organizer. Terry grew up on the South side of Chicago, an experience that shaped his understanding of the needs of queer folks of color as well as their strengths and resilience. Terry uses this experience to inform his work, in which he strives to lift the voices of marginalized people within their communities and help them grow. Terry has been a part of youth participatory research and presented findings from the research at different events, like the 2019 Howard Brown Health Midwest Health Symposium in Chicago and the 2018 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Diego. He has two articles (both of which he is a co-author) based on the work published in scientific journals: Social Science & Medicine (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.08.001) and the Journal of LGBT Youth (https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2020.1774031). One of Terry’s proudest moments was when he was recognized as one of POZ 100’s HIV Advocates of 2020, a list that includes some of the nation’s biggest names in LGBTQ+ healthcare, entertainment, and media. Terry received this for his work with one of the largest LBGTQ agencies in the Midwest. Enrolling in a bachelor’s program in UIC’s School of Public Health has allowed Terry to achieve this goal. For so long Terry has felt as though he had to prove his potential because he does not have a degree. He is now in his 2nd year and looking forward to graduating in 2025 and continuing this work.
Temporary HIV & STI Tester (he/him/his)
KJ (he/him/his) was been born and raised in the South suburban area in a single-family home. KJ has been a phlebotomist for almost 5 years and he recently graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s degree in correctional support services. KJ has been in education with CPS for 12 years and worked with CCHE in the past and is happy to jump on board with the Center again.
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.
My name is Ryan Pryor. I am 24 years old. My pronouns are he/him/his. I spent two and a half years at Illinois State University where I studied Chemistry at first and then moved to Sociology. I love helping people and hope to one day change the world.
Luxmi Mathivannan, Student Research Assistant
Luxmi (she/her/hers) is originally from Bethesda Maryland and is currently a third-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago. She is pursuing a degree in the Biological Sciences and in Education and Society. Luxmi became interested in researching HIV/AIDS after volunteering with AIDS Healthcare Foundation and she is excited to learn more about HIV care through conducting research with CCHE.
Jump! Intern (he,him/they, them)
Andy Travis, Student Research Assistant
Andy (he/him/his) is a second-year at UChicago, planning on majoring in Biological Sciences (with possible minors in Spanish and Health & Society). He is interested in pursuing a career in public health and/or medicine. Andy is from Michigan, and in his free time he enjoys reading, playing board games, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Student Data Analyst (he/him/his)
Theo (he/him/his) is a graduate student in the Master’s Program in Statistics at UChicago. He has previous experience working on public health research at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Medicine. He is interested in using big data analytics and statistical modeling to contribute to public health research projects. Theo is from Hong Kong, enjoys traveling to exotic places, and is currently on a quest to try out all the best restaurants in town.
Americorps Volunteer- Outreach (she/her/hers)
Amýa Jackson (she/her/hers) has worked within the community of HIV prevention for almost 10+ years. She started her work with Dr. Margo Bell at Stroger hospital in 2012. She has also worked for Chicago House & Howard Brown Health. Even after taking a leave from the field, Amýa still helps provide resources and information to youth in the community. Amýa describes this work is her calling.
Jason Jincong Freeman
Jason Jincong Freeman (he/him/his) is a first-year doctoral student in the University of Chicago Department of Public Health Sciences and volunteers as a data analyst at the Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior to that, Jason obtained a Master’s degree in epidemiology from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and completed his one-year postgraduate fellowship training at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. While at CDC Jason analyzed National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data and programmed two national pilot surveys. His research is quantitative, focusing broadly on HIV prevention, non-AIDS-defining cancer prevention, clinical trials, and health disparities among racial and ethnic or sexual and gender minorities, particularly men who have sex with men. Jason will be joining Dr. Anu Hazra’s team to work on the Prevent Anal Cancer (PAC) Palpation Study.
Americorps Volunteer- Outreach (all pronouns)
‘Dhee Lacy (all pronouns) started his work in Healthcare in 2010, working at Taskforce (a small organization on the West side of Chicago) as a Health Educator. Currently, Dhee is a part of the Sexual Reproductive Outreach Team at Howard Brown. Most of his work consist of going into the community, teaching STI/HIV 101, providing health screenings for free and training others on basic HIV screening and counseling skills. One of Dhee’s ultimate goals is to start a nonprofit that provide resources for black and brown queer/trans folk on the South and West sides of Chicago. Outside of work, Dhee is a professional dancer/choreographer and is also apart of the ballroom community.
Research Volunteer (he/him/his)
Eddie Ning (He/Him) is a high school student at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy who has a strong passion for public health and infectious disease research. Outside of school work, he has started and involved himself in numerous projects to introduce himself to communities he belongs to while simultaneously working to improve conditions for the general public. As of now, he is focused on working on his non-profit organization (Elixir) that will introduce high school and college students living in the suburban and rural areas with contraceptives and treatment, especially for those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. In his free time, he likes to listen to k-pop and true crime podcasts (let him know if you have any recommendations for either)! oduce high school and college students living in the suburban and rural areas with contraceptives and treatment, especially for those belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community. In his free time, he likes to listen to k-pop and true crime podcasts (let him know if you have any recommendations for either)!
Americorps Volunteer- Outreach
Karma Pleasant (Karma) is a legend of ballroom, member of the LGBT community, community activist, healthcare worker and more. Karma has served over 10 years as a member of Chicago’s very own LGBT community. Always wanting to be the voice of reason, Karma is recognized as someone that the community trusts. Karma, a former employee of Taskforce has received many acknowledgments, awards and certificates for healthcare and education. Karma studied and trained themselves in understanding HIV/STIs and how to navigate through hardships to assist community needs and connect individuals with resources.
Karma spent years helping other leaders in the community create safe spaces for people in need. Karma has a big dream of one day being able to start a foundation / sponsorship that is geared towards helping individuals who identify as non-binary to accomplish any hardships or difficulties they may face in life.
With continuing to do community work, Karma plans to grow in the healthcare field and also advocate as much as possible for all community needs.
Natasha Powell (she/her/hers) is a rising second year student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She graduated from Oberlin College with a major in Psychology. She has a strong interest in LGBTQ+ health, and she is currently one of the board members of OUTPatient, Pritzker’s LGBTQ+ affinity group. She is also a co-director of the Trans Health Initiative, a collaborative student organization bringing together students with an interest in trans health from MD, DO, PA, and PT schools across the Chicagoland area.
Research Volunteers (he/him/his))
Mark Richardson (he/him/his) is an MPH student at the University of Chicago specializing in data science. Originally from Miami, Florida, Mark received a degree in Economics from the University of Miami and a degree in Biology from Florida International University, then in the fall of 2021 moved to Chicago. Mark’s previous research experience has all been involved in physical therapy and exercise interventions in the elderly population in order to tackle aging-related health problems such as dementia and fall prevention, areas which he is still interested in. Towards the end of his time as an undergraduate, Mark became interested in population-level health research and the statistics behind it, thus kicking off his time as a graduate student at the University of Chicago.
Research Volunteer (he/him/his)
Raj (he/him/his) is a second-year Neuroscience major at the University of Chicago. Outside of school, Raj volunteers with the Trevor Project and works as a research assistant investigating the effectiveness of community health workers on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In his free time, Raj enjoys exploring Chicago with his friends, reading dystopian novels, and hiking local trails.