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Staff

Health & Medicine maintains a small staff with broad policy and organizational development expertise (including part-time consultants working on our long-term care projects) as well as a group of diverse, highly qualified graduate students and committed volunteers – allowing us to remain focused and on mission while successfully stewarding operational resources.

Staff

Margie Schaps , MPH, Executive Director

Margie has been Health & Medicine Policy Research Group’s Executive Director since 1993. Prior to taking the position, she was a Health & Medicine board member and served as the organization’s vice president. While maintaining overall responsibility of all of Health & Medicine’s activities, her specific policy expertise is in public health systems development and women’s health. Prior to joining Health & Medicine, Margie, who holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois and a Bachelors Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, served for eight years as the Director of the Women’s Health Resource Center at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, the nation’s first hospital-based comprehensive primary care center for women. She is passionate about creating a just health system that will improve the health of the public; speaks nationally and locally on a variety of health systems issues, and has published articles on women’s health issues, heath care safety net issues, health system reform, and public health policies.

Contact Margie Schaps
Renae Alvarez , Policy Analyst, Long-term Care

Renae started at Health & Medicine in August 2015 as Policy Analyst for the Center of Long-Term Care Reform. Renae was previously the Illinois LEND Project Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Institute on Disability and Human Development. She earned a MPH from the UIC School of Public Health in Community Health Sciences and a BA in Psychology and Human Development from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Her interest has been promoting positive development for individuals from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds in low-income communities, specifically with disabilities. In her free time, Renae enjoys cooking, biking, yoga, traveling, and exploring Chicago’s music and food scenes.


Contact Renae Alvarez
Maya Bauer , Schweitzer Fellows Program Coordinator

Maya joined Health & Medicine in January 2017 as the Schweitzer Fellowship Program Coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts. Previously, Maya worked on community educational programming and food justice as the Educational Outreach Coordinator at Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana, Illinois. She is passionate about her work with public arts, social justice, and community organizing. In her free time she writes letters, spends time with loved ones, makes art, cooks, and dances.


Contact Maya Bauer
Ann Duffy , Director of Finance and Operations

Ann, who joined Health & Medicine in December 2010, holds a Bachelors Degree in English from The University of Georgia. Prior to Health & Medicine, Ann worked for several years at a non-profit animal shelter in Colorado. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her daughter.

Contact Ann Duffy
Wesley Epplin , Director, Health Equity

Wesley joined Health & Medicine as Policy Analyst in July 2013 and focuses on the healthcare and social safety net, public health and healthcare workforce, and healthcare reform.  He earned a Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health and a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Wesley previously worked at the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice on workforce training and capacity building, evaluation, and implementation of the State Health Improvement Plan. He is also currently engaged in activism with Radical Public Health, a group at the UIC School of Public Health that works to expand the role of the field in identifying and eliminating the many forms of oppression and violence that contribute to health inequities. In his spare time, Wesley enjoys gardening and cooking, writing, and traveling both around the US and abroad.


Contact Wesley Epplin
David Fischer , Senior Policy Analyst, Court-Involved Youth

David joined Health & Medicine in October 2014 to work with and on behalf of incarcerated youth across Illinois.  Prior to joining Health & Medicine, David was the Program Director for an organization that supported LGB/T youth in schools.   He has also been active in organizations dedicated to dismantling systems of racism, supporting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and providing shelter and socialization to homeless animals. An animal lover, when not working, David is active in the trap, neuter, release program in his community.



Contact David Fischer
Tiffany Ford , Policy Analyst

Tiffany joined the Health & Medicine team in May 2016 after graduating with her Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Through policy and advocacy, she works to address the social and structural determinants of health in Illinois, with an ultimate goal of equal opportunities for positive health and well-being for all.

Tiffany earned her Bachelor of Science in Human and Social Development and Economics from the University of Miami and is an avid Hurricanes fan. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, traveling, and playing flag football.

Contact Tiffany Ford
Morven Higgins , Development and Communications Manager

Morven joined Health & Medicine in 2014. Most recently, she worked in development and education at a non-profit theatre company in Evanston. She also has past experience in corporate communications and non-profit administration. She holds a BA in English from the University of Chicago.

Contact Morven Higgins
Frances Lai , Project Coordinator, ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Program

Frances joined Health & Medicine in September 2016. She spent the last decade working as a development officer for various Chicago-area non-profit cultural and higher education institutions. At Health & Medicine, Frances is looking forward to learning and being a part of the ACEs team. Frances earned an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and a BA from the University of Chicago.

Contact Frances Lai
Maggie Litgen , Manager, ACEs Program

Maggie Litgen has served the nonprofit community for 20 years in a variety of roles. As a direct services social worker, Maggie utilized a trauma-focused model in her interventions with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Maggie worked with larger systems, such as the Chicago Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the foundation community, and the medical field to improve service delivery to vulnerable and disempowered populations. She convened providers and powerful stakeholders to create systems change in each position and also helped create the Westside Coalition for Homeless Youth and the Prostitution Alternatives Roundtable. Maggie created new innovations within United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as the Director of Community Investment. Most recently, shew was the Head of Assessment at Graettinger Cole Impact Consulting.

She received a master’s degree in Social Work from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration with a post-graduate certificate in Social Work with Older Adults and received a BA from Loyola University Chicago. Maggie studied human rights in El Salvador and Guatemala, and has lived with families in these countries, Costa Rica, and Paraguay.




Contact Maggie Litgen
Karen Loda , Administrative Assistant & Event Coordinator

Karen joined Health & Medicine in June 2016 as the Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator.  She has a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her free time, Karen volunteers for Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence agency committed to ending the cycle of violence and helping those who have been affected by it.  She also enjoys improv, comedy, music, and exploring new foods and places.  


Contact Karen Loda
Sekile Nzinga-Johnson , Senior Director of Programs

Sekile joined Health & Medicine in June of 2016 after 18 years of working as a professor of Social Work and Gender & Women’s Studies. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (Morgan State University), a Master’s Degree in Social Work (Ohio State University) and a doctorate in Human Development (University of Maryland). She is the founding director of Nazareth College’s Women and Gender Studies Bachelor of Arts program. As an engaged scholar, Sekile’s work and teaching have centered on the intersections of race, class and gender in women’s reproductive lives, child welfare & family policy, women’s labor and higher education. She recently edited, Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering and the Academy (Demeter, 2013) and is completing her second book manuscript, Lean Semesters: The University as Hyper Producer of Inequity (Johns Hopkins University Press).

In addition to her academic life, Sekile’s social work practice and expertise focus on  Black women’s and girls’ health and mental health, reproductive health care access, healing from sexual trauma, teen parenting, maternal and infant mental health, youth sexual development, program evaluation, and university-community collaborations. She currently serves as the board co-chair for the Chicago Abortion Fund, a reproductive justice focused not for profit organization that funds abortion care and fights to eliminate economic barriers to reproductive health care access. Sekile also is a former member for the New York State Midwifery Board and is a co-founder of the National Institute of Justice’s, Girls Scouts Behind Bars Program. She was recently awarded UIC’s Institute for Race, Research and Public Policy’s Faculty Fellowship.

In her free time, Sekile enjoys going to thrift stores, running, and gardening.

Contact Sekile Nzinga-Johnson
Sharon Post , Director, Center for Long-Term Care Reform

Sharon Post started at Health & Medicine's Center for Long-Term Care Reform in December 2013 after working for eight years as a health care researcher for the Service Employees International Union. At SEIU Health Care Illinois/Indiana, Sharon worked extensively on Medicaid, ACA implementation, and state health care reform, with an eye toward their impact on low-income communities. Sharon is also active in the Chicago Political Economy Group and Northside Friends Meeting (Quakers).  She received a BA in Social And Historical Inquiry from Eugene Lang College, the New School for Liberal Arts.


Contact Sharon Post
Sharon Powell , Director, Chicago AHEC Program

Sharon Powell joined  Health & Medicine in 2013 as Director of the Chicago AHEC Program.  She brings over 20 years of experience with community affairs, training, and grassroots organizing to her health education and outreach work in the Chicago Public Schools, at Columbia College Chicago, and in communities across the Chicago area. She is a former Director of Outreach and Education at Chicago Women’s Health Center.  As a consultant (S L Powell Public Affairs Services), her clients included  Illinois Literacy Resource Development Center, City of Chicago, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, and New City YMCA. Sharon holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Drake University and MA in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary. With an interest in the field of reproductive health and alternative conversations about the body, Sharon is a current member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.


Contact Sharon Powell
Magdalena Slowik , Director of Development and Communications


Magda joined Health & Medicine in 2013. She has fifteen years of experience in institutional advancement, working predominantly in graduate schools and policy think tanks. She holds a BA in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.


Contact Magdalena Slowik
Ray Wang , Policy Analyst; Program Director, Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows Program

Ray has been the director of the Schweitzer Fellowship Program since 2005. Like the fellows he works with, he has a passion for service. Community work has been a theme throughout his life; from teaching English to immigrants, to working with food pantries. Ray, who has had a longstanding interest in health but “got distracted by the arts,” holds a BA from Columbia College and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. In his “previous life” he was an accomplished film maker and taught film and video for ten years. Prior to joining Health & Medicine, Ray worked for the Chicago-Cook County Community Health Council, where he coordinated community outreach events and advocacy efforts for the uninsured and underserved throughout the city. He is committed to developing new models for working with underserved communities and fosters this goal within the fellows he works with.

Contact Ray Wang

Consultants

* Martha Holstein, PhD; Long -Term Care Contact Martha Holstein
* Phyllis Mitzen, MSW; Long -Term Care Contact Phyllis Mitzen

Interns

Rachel Lackland, AHEC Administrative Assistant
Nicole Laramee
Sylvie Turner
Interested in becoming an HMPRG Intern? Send us your inquiry and a resume.