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For more information about this program please contact:

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

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Current Fellows

  • Overview


The 2016-17 Schweitzer Fellows include students from 11 area universities and a diversity of health professions and public service fields including medicine, nursing, dentistry, psychology, social work, law, and public health. The Program’s interdisciplinary approach exposes students to real-world inter-professional, collaborative care, addressing the triple aim of the Affordable Care Act. This year’s Fellowship recipients belong to the 21st class of Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellows and join a network of more than 525 Chicago program alumni who have provided over 100,000 hours of community service over the course of the Program’s history. Each of the 2016-17 Fellows will design and implement year-long projects to address a variety of urgent health needs (including social determinants of health) facing Chicago’s underserved communities.

In the summer of 2016, the Schweitzer Fellows for Life network launched FellowsFest 2016 (formerly Summer Fest), a campaign to help support our current Fellows' projects. Each of the Fellows has created a "wish list" of supplies and resources that will help them realize their service project goals. To donate to a Fellow's service project, click here.

Karen Aguirre, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Karen will develop a pipeline program to promote healthcare careers among low income, Latinx high school students from the Back of the Yards neighborhood. She will provide education on current health disparities in communities of color within Chicago, professional development, and healthy behaviors, with the aim of empowering minority students to pursue higher education.

Emily Cull, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
Emily will partner with Enlace Chicago in Little Village, to teach social emotional skills to children ages 5-8. She will develop a curriculum that will serve as a component of GREAT Families, an existing multi-family support group aimed at preventing violence and fostering family cohesion and communication.

Woodger Graff Faugas, Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law
Woodger will lead a psychosocial support group for  marginalized youth attending Chicago-area higher education institutions.  He will teach adaptive/coping tools aimed at fostering the students’ mental health, healthy behaviors, and resilience with the stressors they may face. 

Andrew Florin, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Andrew proposes to address early childhood literacy with an after school program for first, second, and third grade children of low-income Hispanic families at the Erie Neighborhood House.  The program will serve to strengthen reading skills, foster a lifelong passion for reading, and provide a positive impact through guidance and mentorship.

Emily Foltz, The University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Emily will work with staff and youth at Experimental Station’s community bike shop / youth education program to develop their academic support, leadership and wellness programs. The program will empower youth to become mentors and leaders within the shop and South Side neighborhood community.

Nelly Gonzalez, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine
Nelly will partner with the Access to Care Clinic in Northwest Chicago where she plans to design, develop and evaluate a Health Coaching program. She will provide personalized, bilingual health education, resource referral and motivational interviewing techniques to influence long-term healthy behavioral change among ATC patients.

Amanda Gvozden, The University of Chicago, Divinity School
Amanda proposes to initiate group and individual lessons on mindfulness meditation for pediatric patients at UIC hospital and their care givers. These techniques, which have been shown to improve health outcomes, will be aimed at decreasing stress levels and improving emotional wellbeing, thus helping patients receive the best care while helping care givers provide the best care.

Madison Hammett, University of Illinois, Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work/School of Public Health
In partnership with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Madison proposes to create a support group for both incarcerated mothers and their children's caregivers. This support group, coupled with referrals to social services, will serve to strengthen the communication and relationships between mothers and families, as well as help to prevent recidivism in the criminal legal system.

Sirene Helwani, Rush University, College of Nursing
Sirene plans to organize and implement interactive health education and action workshops with adolescents on the near west side of Chicago.  She will tailor the classes to address the current health needs of the youth.  She aims to empower them to be leaders in their health and to motivate them to pursue higher education.

Victoria Herrera, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program
Victoria proposes to implement an intergenerational art program for Hispanic young children, adolescents, and older adults at Casa Central. The classes will provide all age groups an opportunity to engage in art making while forming positive relationships across the generations.

Catie Isroff, Rush Medical College
Catie will partner with Haymarket Center, a community-based nonprofit in Chicago’s West Loop that provides detoxification and support services for people in recovery.  Catie aims to increase the breadth of Haymarket’s Women's Health programming by initiating women's health and wellness workshops.  The interactive workshops will address the women’s mental, physical and sexual health.

Amy Krischer, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Occupational Therapy
Amy will  implement joint parent-child programming at Family Rescue. The programming will introduce parents and children to meaningful activities they can participate in together in order to facilitate healthy attachment formation and to create a safe space for parent and child survivors of domestic violence.

JJ Locquiao, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
JJ will co-direct the “Young Doctors Program,” a health career pipeline program for children in North Lawndale originally created in 2010 by a Schweitzer Fellow and sustained and expanded through the leadership of subsequent Schweitzer Fellows and UIC medical students.  JJ plans to expand the Young Doctors program further to include academic and ACT/SAT tutoring for high school students as well as advising with the college application and interviewing process.

Lauren Milburn, Columbia College Chicago, Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling
Lauren will offer Creative Play Space: Mind-Body-Motion, designed for refugee families at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights International FACES program. Encouraging the cultivation of mindfulness through a multimodal approach, the group will provide a diverse array of tools that develop self-regulation, build a trusting and open community, and present a platform for creative expression.

Wendy Mironov, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Wendy will partner with Salud Sin Papeles, a grass roots group that is organizing to improve health and access to health care for undocumented immigrants, their families, and their communities.  Wendy will collaborate on educational materials and workshops for undocumented patients and providers based on the experiences, insights, and challenges encountered by undocumented patients in Chicago. 

Alyson Moser, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health and the Jane Addams College of Social Work
Aly plans to create and implement an adult literacy and job readiness program for the adult residents of Oakley Square Apartments. The program will focus on helping participants with preparing for the GED test, writing resumes and cover letters, and developing career goals.

Carly Offidani-Bertrand, The University of Chicago, Comparative Human Development
In partnership with Growing Power, Carly will create and teach free healthy lifestyle and fitness classes to adolescents living in public housing,  The classes will develop confidence, self-esteem, resiliency and healthy habits among youth as they learn about self-defense, food justice, and active transportation.

Nicole Paprocki, Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Nicole proposes a pipeline program for socio-economically disadvantaged youth into the health professions through a partnership between Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Instituto Health Science Career Academy. High school students will have access to engaging classroom health lessons that align to their science curriculum, a summer career explorers program, and ongoing mentoring from medical students that will support their endeavors to become healthcare providers in their communities.

Hieu Pham, Rush Medical College
Hieu plans to create a mentorship and empowerment curriculum for LGBT homeless youth at the Crib, a shelter at the Night Ministry. The curriculum will provide a creative space for self-expression and self-care, health education, and healthcare access.

Sarah Power, DePaul University, School of Nursing
Sarah will partner with Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) to combat preventable diseases, such as obesity and STDs, and improve health education for African American youth and families in Washington Park.  Interactive education workshops used in conjunction with the development of positive reactional activities will contribute to empowering these individuals  to live healthier lives.

Angela Pruitt, Chicago State University, College of Pharmacy
Angela proposes to initiate heart health seminars for African American young adults on Chicago's south side. These seminars will engage youth in preventative efforts to reduce the incidence and prevalence of heart disease and stroke in Chicago’s underserved communities.

Jessie Reuteler, Rush University, College of Nursing
Jessie will implement an evidence-based youth healthcare access empowerment curriculum through the 5+1=20 community program.  Selected students in 4 Chicago Public Schools will learn navigational skills for insurance and doctors’ visits and build self-advocacy skills and confidence.

Gabija Revis, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry & School of Public Health
Gabija will create an oral health component for the extensive training program used to teach caregivers of medically-complex children and healthcare professionals at Almost Home Kids, a transition facility for children being moved out of intensive hospital care. The oral health program will educate caregivers, medical professionals, and dental professionals at Almost Home Kids and University of Illinois on the specific oral health needs of the medically-complex child in hopes of beginning to shed light on the access to care issues facing this community.  

Ashley Roché, Rush University. College of Nursing
Ashley will initiate educational sessions about end-of-life care and planning with socially isolated elders at Little Brothers–Friends of the Elderly, Chicago Chapter. The sessions will provide support to elders in determining their preferences for end-of life care and ensure that their healthcare plans are implemented according to their wishes.

Kris Rosentel, The University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
Kris proposes to start a peer-led group and offer counseling to LGBTQ youth on the South Side of Chicago. Both the group and counseling will provide social support to the youth; the group will also offer leadership opportunities for youth.

Olga (Golda) Sinyavskaya, The University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Olga will partner with the Chicago Recovery Alliance to increase access to information about Hepatitis C for individuals who use drugs. This initiative will seek to increase the number of participants screened and treated for Hepatitis C.

Alisa Jordan Sheth, University of Illinois at Chicago, Disability Studies
At Misericordia Heart of Mercy, Alisa will work with older adults with intellectual disabilities to collaboratively develop an accessible curriculum and group format that help participants define successful aging for themselves and address future-planning needs. Sessions will aim to provide social learning and self-advocacy opportunities around health literacy, aging, and other member-identified needs.

Karie Elizabeth Stewart, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing
Karie proposes to initiate prenatal classes and education for pregnant African-American and Hispanic mothers in the Austin neighborhood at the PCC Wellness Family Health Clinic. The classes and education will be initiated through the utilization of Centering Pregnancy®.  Her goal is to increase the number of patients that seek prenatal care earlier on in their pregnancy, helping them to experience a healthy pregnancy.

Jessica Williams, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry
Jessica will work with underserved older adults at CommunityHealth to develop a curriculum which promotes oral health literacy. She will host educational seminars in an effort to address the oral health knowledge gaps of the local senior community.