Current Fellows – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Current Fellows

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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 2018-19 Schweitzer Fellows include students from 10 area universities and 20 academic programs, ranging from nursing to disability studies 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. Each of the 2018-19 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 2018, the Schweitzer Fellows for Life network launched Fellows Fest 2018, 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. Click here to learn more and support a project.

Gabriela Aitken, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine

Gabriela proposes to increase Spanish-speaking patient comprehension and healthcare plan adherence at the Loyola Access to Care Clinic. She will create an individualized yet universally replicable teach-back tool and initiate teach-back sessions after medical encounters. She hopes that these one-on-one sessions will improve health literacy while helping low-income, uninsured patients feel supported and empowered to take control of their health.


Mallory Davis, Rush Medical College

Mallory will work to improve the Pilsen community’s knowledge about nutrition and wellness, increase access to healthy foods and physical activity, and improve navigation of the health care system.  She will connect community members with primary care providers in Pilsen by working with Community Garden (22nd and Damen Avenue), Healthy Hood, and 5+1=20.

Nhu Do, DePaul University, College of Nursing

Nhu proposes an after-school program teaching anatomy and science to school-age girls at Erie Neighborhood House. The after-school program will seek to empower immigrant and girl populations to explore STEM and health fields of studies.

Amanda Dobron, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, East Asian Medicine

Amanda will develop and teach classes incorporating pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine such as tai chi, qi gong, dietary therapy and acupuncture. Classes will focus on seniors and patients at Alivio Medical Center and will be held at El Paseo Community Garden and Casa Maravilla – Alivio Medical Center.

Nia Fonéy, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine

Nia plans to develop an innovative nutrition and cooking program for youth and young adults at the Farm on Ogden through Lawndale Christian Health Center. The programming will offer an engaging approach toward healthy eating with an additional focus on mental and spiritual health.

Evan Fry, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry

Evan will focus on conducting health education sessions for seniors with the theme of establishing consistent routines as a way to maintain their overall well-being. These sessions will be integrated with screenings of chronic conditions and oral health in order to ensure the seniors’ health needs are being met and positively impacted through the incorporation of healthy habits.

Dipika Gaur, Rush Medical College

Dipika proposes to host group meetings and develop a tool-kit for emotion and mood regulation amongst formerly homeless women and families at Facing Forward to End Homelessness. The sessions and resources will serve as a first point of accessing mental healthcare for many women and families who have previously lacked these services.

Lincoln Hill, Loyola University Chicago, Counseling Psychology

Lincoln plans to develop psychoeducational workshops/presentations and restorative talking circles for underserved low-income, first-generation, racial/ethnic minority high school students transitioning into college through Evanston Scholars. The proposed project seeks to promote wellness by considering cultural and communal factors related to mental health.

Rodney Johnson, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health – Leslie Nickels Fellow (Learn more)

Rodney will develop an asthma awareness presentation for working women who have children diagnosed with asthma. The presentation will address asthma awareness and the health issues of working mothers in Greater Englewood.

Ronisha Johnson, Rush University, College of Nursing

Ronisha proposes to develop and facilitate a holistic curriculum geared towards increasing student academic success in low-income African American and Latino high school students with ambitions in the healthcare field. The sessions will impart didactic content, leadership opportunities, and foundational college prep skills that will allow students to successfully navigate career and college opportunities.

Sayeeda Kausar, Loyola University, School of Social Work

Sayeeda proposes to do counseling, group therapy and become a support system for incarcerated women who have drug addiction. The sessions will help women better understand substance abuse and also help them move past their addiction.

Divya Khandekar, Midwestern University, Chicago College of Pharmacy

Divya will initiate a program called ‘Music for Mental Health’ for elderly population of South-Asian origin at American Association of Retired Asians. The program will focus on using Indian music as a way of combating loneliness and social isolation in this population.

Sarah Kwon, DePaul University, School of Nursing

Sarah proposes to work in partnership with the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) to expand their current Out of the House program for older adults. Weekly meetings will provide social support, physical exercise, health education, and other activities.

Bhavik Lakhani, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry – The Tarik F. Ibrahim Fellow (Read more)

Bhavik proposes to create the ‘Manu Project’, initiating oral health seminars for the South Asian immigrant population in the Chicago area. Through these seminars, Bhavik hopes to raise awareness about the importance of oral healthcare and address the factors limiting the immigrant population in seeking continuous oral healthcare services.

Andrea LeFlore, University of Illinois at Chicago, Occupational Therapy

Andrea will partner with Facing Forward to End Homelessness to empower women with disabilities as change agents using their strengths to collectively impact their future. Following findings of resident priorities using a participatory action research approach, Andrea proposes to design targeted programming to address issues of occupational injustice, tackle barriers in partnership with residents, and establish a peer mentor program to direct action toward residents’ goals.

Veronica ‘V’ Lozano, Loyola University, School of Social Work

V proposes to create and facilitate an educational/advocacy program or support group for LGBTQ individuals with disabilities to provide mental health and sexual health education. The group sessions will help address their specific intersectional health needs.

Isabel Montoya, Adler University, Clinical Psychology

Working in partnership with Fellow Shaun Morganfield, Isabel will initiate mental health seminars and mentorship programs for 6th-8th grade students and high school students with the support of Mental Health America. The seminars and mentorship program will provide advocacy, education, and social support structure for pre-teens and teenagers.

Jennifer Moreno, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine

Jennifer will develop an educational health career pipeline program in Little Village to promote careers in healthcare among low income, Latino/a, students from the south side of Chicago. The classes will provide education on the current health disparity issues in communities of color in Chicago while empowering minority students to pursue careers in healthcare.

Shaun Morganfield, Adler University, Clinical Psychology

Working in partnership with Fellow Isabel Montoya, Shaun will initiate mental health seminars and mentorship programs for 6th-8th grade students and high school students with the support of Mental Health America. The seminars and mentorship program will provide advocacy, education, and social support structure for pre-teens and teenagers

Molly Narrod, Rush University, College of Nursing

Molly proposes to work with LGBTQ+ adults at iFACES in a community group setting. The major focus of the group meetings is to provide mental health promotion activities and serve as an outlet for social support, self-empowerment, and community leadership. The group activities will provide education on mental health promotion, starting with a focus on activities that encourage self-expression. These activities will encourage self-care and help to grow participants’ social support networks.

Christianah Ogunleye, The University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

Christianah will implement a physical and mental wellness curriculum for female African American adolescents (1st – 8th grade) at the Washington Park Chicago Youth Program. She plans to utilize creative physical expression in the form of gymnastics to emphasize the importance of the mind-body connection and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Viveka Patel, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry

Viveka will initiate a holistic wellness and life-skills program for homeless youth at The Crib, The Night Ministry’s overnight youth shelter. The program will strive to encourage academic achievement through a tutoring/ mentorship program, increase financial literacy through guest speakers, and provide oral health and systemic health education through workshops focused on giving participants the tools and knowledge to sustain healthy habits for their future.

Olyvia Phillips, Benedictine University, Public Health

Olyvia will work with the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club in collaboration with the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, Illinois Chapter, on developing a health education program for 13-17 year old teens who attend the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club. This program will provide a space for teens to engage in activities and discussions to aid in developing their knowledge on health and healthy behaviors.

Kelly Rojek, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine Physical Therapy

Through the use of documentary-style photography, journaling, and physical fitness, Kelly’s PhotoVoice project aims to address the mental health needs of the young African American women by exploring targeted issues related to mental health and positive outlets to manage the daily stressors in their lives and community. Participants will identify a community need related to mental health based on their experiences, will utilize photography to document their experiences with that need, and will develop a plan to influence and facilitate greater change related to mental health in their community.

Zaheera Shabbir, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy

Zaheera will partner with Mile Square Health Center to implement a series of culturally-tailored educational workshops that will be offered to uninsured/underinsured Hispanic patients with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, Zaheera will provide medication counseling at the off-site clinics to increase patients’ access to health literacy opportunities and to further promote health equity.

Alexandra Strawbridge, DePaul University, College of Nursing

Inspired by the impact diet and nutrition had on her development, Alexandra proposes to help a West Chicago grade school expand their current learning garden into a year-long education and family enrichment program.

Elizabeth Weiss, University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration

Elizabeth will build upon Safe Circles, a program for young people participating in the Match Up! Mentorship program at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club that was developed by 2017 Schweitzer Fellow, Megan Garrard. Safe Circles will continue to provide talking circles and creative arts interventions where teens can explore their lives in order to facilitate the development of community, empowerment, and health and wellness literacy.

Yue Xu, University of Illinois at Chicago, Disability Studies

Yue will initiate a psychoeducation program for Chinese immigrant caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities called “Planning for Better Physical and Mental Health of the Whole Family”.  This intervention will provide education on service planning and provide resources and peer support for Chinese immigrant family caregivers.