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:

Maya Bauer
CHW Policy Analyst & Schweitzer Fellows Program Director

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Current Fellows

  • Overview


The 2019-20 Schweitzer Fellows include 30 outstanding students representing 11 schools, 11 disciplines, and 20 academic programs. 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 2019-20 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.

Fellows have created online wish lists of supplies and resources that will help them realize their service project goals. Please visit the Fellows’ fundraising pages to learn more and to support a specific project!

Daniel Ahn, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

Daniel proposes to initiate a workshop-based curriculum and mentorship program for young immigrant men of color at the HANA Center. His project will provide a space for the young men to discuss masculinity and support each other while developing long-term goals in higher education and employment.

Sara Al Azmeh, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy

Sara plans to work on a pharmacy related project that serves refugees from various countries. The project goal will be to guide and educate new immigrants about the healthcare system in general, the pharmacy system specifically, medication management, and disease state management.

Maggie Bridger, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Disability and Human Development
Maggie proposes, along with her project partner, Sydney Erlikh, to develop and deliver a series of creative movement workshops for children and adults with disabilities at Access Living. The workshops will focus on developing an artistic voice and perspective, as well as providing a safe space to explore different forms of movement and build artistic community.
Melissa Bustamante, University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams School of Social Work
Melissa will implement a Latinx Student Union for high school students at UIC College Prep. The program will provide leadership training and will serve as a social support for Latinx students.
Cris Chan, Rush Medical College

Maricristal plans to establish weekly educational sessions for minority high school athletes at Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School. The weekly sessions will address topics to promote preventative health awareness and healthcare careers.

Jennifer Cunningham, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health

Jennifer proposes a literacy program for immigrant children ages 5-7 to help close the achievement gap. The classes will help children to improve their literacy skills and build confidence.


Jacob Dachman, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry

Jacob will initiate oral health seminars, oral hygiene instruction, and oral health status assessment for medically fragile children at United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago (UCP Seguin). Through his efforts, Jacob hopes to raise awareness that dental care is the most common unmet need among children with special needs.

Chike Egbuna, Chicago State University, College of Pharmacy
Chike plans to implement medication adherence sessions for people living with HIV at Howard Brown Health. The sessions will provide insight into managing medication adherence and psychological coping mechanisms.
Sydney Erlikh, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Disability and Human Development

Sydney, along with her project partner, Maggie Bridger, proposes to teach inclusive dance workshops at Access Living for children, teens, adults with disabilities and their families or caregivers. These workshops will promote physical and social emotional health while building social capital through an inclusive creative process that reinforces community.

CiErra Garrett, Rush University College of Nursing

CiErra plans to initiate a therapeutic writing forum for incarcerated women at the Cook County Jail. The forum will provide cognitive behavioral therapy through writing and serve as a support structure for women facing addiction, trauma, grief, or mental illness.

Fadi Hamati, Rush Medical College

Fadi will create focus groups for refugee teenagers through the Syrian Community Network. The groups will provide mental health education and mentorship as well as a safe space for teenagers to discuss issues surrounding identity.

Andrea Hinojosa, Loyola University Chicago, Master of Science in Dietetics Program

Andrea proposes to initiate nutrition focused classes for parents and children at Near North Health Services, WIC department. The classes will provide nutrition focused educational activity such as physical activity to promote family time while also reducing screen time in children.

Fatima Hooda, Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

Fatima will partner with Heartland Alliance, Marjorie Kovler Center, where she proposes to build a curriculum and develop workshops aimed at improving the quality of lives of immigrant survivors of politically sanctioned torture.  She will focus on teaching multi-faceted life-skills around mental health, physiological health, and economic health, which would serve to contribute toward an overall higher quality of life, increased self-reliance, and client empowerment.

Jovanna Johnson, Rush University College of Nursing

Jovanna proposes to initiate a mentor/mentee program for minority students at Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory. The program will serve as a mental health and academic support structure for African American and Hispanic students.

Scott Kupferschmidt, Loyola University Chicago, School of Social Work

Scott proposes to formalize an ongoing cooking and nutrition education program for young adults transitioning out of housing instability at The Night Ministry. This program is composed of weekly classes that teach participants how to plan and cook nutritious, healthful meals while simultaneously providing social engagement and encouraging mutual support.

Itzel Lopez-Hinojosa, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

Itzel will develop curriculum focusing on areas of need i.e. sexual and relationship health, mental and emotional health, and domestic/interpersonal and structural violence. The modules will be implemented in a youth mentorship program at Holy Cross—IHM Parish. The sessions will train both mentors and mentees to gain skills to better advocate for themselves.

Samantha Nau, DePaul University, School of Clinical Psychology

Samantha Nau will partner with the Rohingya Culture Center where she proposes to develop a home-based English literacy program with Rohingya refugee women.

Josie Needs, Rush University College of Nursing

Josie plans to foster community social gatherings for older adults living in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. The gatherings will encourage creative arts, discussion, and wellness education to support healthy aging in this community. 

Teresa Palkowski, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine

Teresa proposes to offer free prenatal birth assistance as a certified birth doula. Through Chicago Volunteer Doulas, she would like to provide psychosocial support to expectant mothers from underserved communities.

Elizabeth Rios, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing

Elizabeth will work with St. Joseph Church in Harvard, IL, where she will initiate educational and interactive workshops to increase awareness of type 2 diabetes for the Latino community. The classes will provide education on the care, management, and prevention of complications of Type 2 diabetes and keeping families healthy. The final goal is also to form a Health Ministry who will be a resource for improving health of the congregation and empowering the Latinos in the community.

Jessica Rodriguez, Northwestern University, Department of Physical Therapy

Jessica plans to initiate an LGBTQIA community group that focuses on education, wellness, and advocacy for culturally competent care. She also hopes to improve competency of providers in order to allow for broader health access and outcomes for this community.

Deborah Rose, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine

Deborah proposes a social engagement program with people recovering from addiction at the Edward Hines Jr, Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, IL. This program will serve as support for the emotional and mental wellbeing of veterans who have been struggling with addiction and chronic substance use.

Martie Sanders, Loyola University Chicago, School of Social Work

Martie will host a garden club at Winthrop Harmony Arts Garden, a community garden and performing arts venue in Uptown, Chicago. The club will be offered to residents living in a nearby CHA high rise building and will provide members with urban gardening education and opportunities to engage in the garden’s ongoing arts activities.

Shirley Scott, MS, RN-BC, C-EFM, APN, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing

At the Young Masterbuilders in Motion, Inc. (YMIM), Shirley proposes to initiate life skill and STI classes for volunteer Ambassadors to teach participants. These classes will empower teens, young women orphans, adoptees, and foster youth alumnae to build resiliency, hope, and a bright future.

Stefani Scott, Erikson Institute, Social Work, Children’s Law and Policy

Stefani will support youth in identifying needs in their community and designing and implementing a community service project to create positive change at the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center in Evanston, IL. The project focuses on empowering youth to organize and use their voice to improve their community and environment.

Fariha Siddiquie, Midwestern University, Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

Fariha proposes to initiate sexual health and literacy classes for at-risk Muslim women through the HEART women and girls organization. The classes will address cultural and religious barriers for refugee, college age, and immigrant women.

Jasmine Solola, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Jasmine proposes to sustain and expand the DASH of Soul Food project, a program aimed to improve hypertension based on the DASH diet principles adapted to culturally appropriate soul food. She is partnering with Deborah’s Place, a supportive housing program for women facing chronic homelessness in East Garfield Park and Old Town, include cooking demonstrations and food pantry partnerships, culminating in a program cook book.

Julia Walczak, Benedictine University, School of Nursing

Julia proposes to initiate Cervical Cancer, Human Papilloma Virus, and HPV Vaccination Education classes for Polish Women and Mothers through the HPV Advisory Council. These classes will provide education for women and their families regarding the importance of vaccination and preventative care in reproductive health.

Yiran Xu, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry

In collaboration with the CCBA (Chinese Community Center), Yiran proposes to host a series of interactive workshops addressing vital health topics commonly encountered in medical and dental settings for the Chinese immigrant population. The template and outline for the workshops will be utilized to train future leaders and educators.

Ryan Mak, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine

Ryan will partner with the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative to create a sports strength and conditioning training camp for youth living in areas marked by violence and diminished life expectancy. These camps will provide youth a safe place to play and train for their sport, while also acting as a vehicle to promote healthy lifestyles that combat chronic disease and values that develop personal character and resiliency.