2022-23 Fellows – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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2022-23 Fellows

For more information about this program please contact:

Karol Dean
Director, Schweitzer Fellowship kdean@hmprg.org

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2022-23 Fellows

  • Overview


The 2022-23 Schweitzer Fellows include 28 outstanding students representing 12 schools, 9 disciplines, and 18 academic programs. The Program’s interdisciplinary approach exposes students to real-world inter-professional collaborative care. Each of the 2022-23 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.


Ashley Aguilar, University of Chicago, Public Policy with a concentration in Health Administration and Policy

Ashley Aguilar is a first year Masters of Public Policy student at the University of Chicago. She proposes a culturally competent weekly workshop for low-income 8th grade students on various ideas related to objective and subjective well-being through which she wishes to address physical and mental health needs related to self-esteem and self-actualization.


Tina Barrett, National University of Health Sciences, Naturopathic Medicine

Tina is planning a second career as a medical educator and using the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship she is hoping to instruct and empower young black men in their health.


Isaiah Brown, University of Chicago, Medicine

Isaiah Brown is a first year Medical Student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Through training barbers as community health workers, starting a Black, Adult free clinic, and developing a culturally relevant health curriculum, he hopes to uplift and support Black men’s health in the Chicago land area.


Nicholas Cooper, DePaul University, Nursing, Masters Entry to Nursing Practice Program  

Nicholas Cooper (he/him) is a student in DePaul University’s Masters Entry to Nursing Practice Program. He is working to support transgender youth in receiving holistic, gender-affirming healthcare.


Cindy Cruz, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing

Cindy proposes the development of a series of short and supplemental Un Minuto Conciente (Mindful Minute) presentations focused on mental health care for the pre-diabetic adult participants of Alivio Medical Center’s Prevent T2 program, in order to help them build coping strategies that will facilitate their success in achieving a healthier lifestyle.


Jennifer Cunningham, University of Illinois at Chicago, Nursing, Doctor Nursing Practice, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Primary Care

Jennifer aims to build resilience in children and their families to reduce risk of abuse or neglect while also mitigating some of the effects of adverse childhood experiences.


Amy De La Torre, University of Illinois, Medicine 

Amy proposes to teach Mental Health classes designed for underrepresented minority students in the Medicina Academy Apprentice Program (MAAP) in the Hispanic Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The curriculum will equip the students with knowledge, skills, and resources to support and promote their mental health literacy and wellness amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


Salma El-Behaedi, Northwestern/UNC, Medicine

Salma proposes to initiate a patient education program for breast cancer patients who are underinsured or uninsured to better navigate the adverse effects associated with their cancer treatments at Northwestern Hospitals.


Jean Gavina, University of Illinois at Chicago, Nursing- Doctorate Nursing Program

Jean proposes to implement a Health Education Program for Filipino Americans and minority populations. The program will provide guidance and resources for effective health education and health promotion to support healthier lifestyles.


Zhong Huang, University of Chicago, Medicine

Zhong proposes to conduct a series of Asian-American history and academic skills workshops for Asian-American high school students at the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community. These workshops will serve to empower Asian-American youth and guide their racial identity formation.


Austin Hwang, Northwestern University, Medicine

Austin proposes to initiate health literacy classes for Rohingya refugees/immigrants living in the greater Chicagoland area. These classes are intended to promote health outcomes for Rohingya refugees/immigrants.


Brice Jones, Loyola University, Medicine

Brice proposes an academic pipeline program focusing on violence prevention and youth advocacy. This initiative will establish proven methods to combat health disparities and educational inequities through a community-based participatory approach.


Boram Kim, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Counseling, Art Therapy and Counseling

Boram Kim proposes a project that Memory of Tree Rings is a group art-making project using different sizes of wooden slices that are reminiscent of residents’ past experiences living with memory impairment at the Central Baptist Village (CBV), a life plan community Northwest of Chicago.


Rebecca Lai, Rush University, Nursing, Advanced Public Health Nursing

Rebecca proposes to assess socioemotional health of Asian American adolescents at a tutoring center and engage them in comprehensive sexual health education. This programming will help empower youth to understand their right to access reproductive health services and give them tools to navigate their relationships and sexuality.


Samantha Maurer, Midwestern University, Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine

Samantha proposes to empower children in foster care at LYDIA Home through educational activities teaching them about their own developing health and ways they can take ownership of their own well-being.


LaWanda McCraney, Adler University, Clinical Psychology

LaWanda proposes to initiate art therapy workshops for African American and Latinx high school students enrolled in the Sojourner Scholars program at Illinois Humanities. The workshops will provide artistic and creative expression of difficult emotions for the youth who have endured traumatic situations.


Meghan Murphy, Saint Xavier University, Nursing

Meghan proposes to initiate a project alongside Heartland Health Centers focused on disease prevention through weekly family engagement and education activities exploring health literacy, nutrition, physical fitness and social health.


Travis Nielsen, Loyola University, Medicine and Public Health

Travis proposes a project is designed to empower bilingual high school students who come from underprivileged backgrounds to learn about public health and make a difference in their communities by improving access to preventive health services for adult, Spanish-speaking immigrants in the Cicero community.


Aishwarya Nugooru, Rush Medical College, Medicine

Aishwarya proposes to initiate educational sessions for minority, underserved high school students at Richard T. Crane High School in West Side Chicago. The weekly sessions will educate topics in financial literacy and healthcare literacy to youth in order to bridge gaps in financial education and address generational poverty.


Anne Osuji, University of Illinois at Chicago, Medicine

Anne proposes to incorporate culturally-appropriate heart healthy eating habits for women previously experiencing homelessness at Deborah’s Place. The recipes and mindfulness practices will provide simple and healthy lifestyle modifications for women to improve cardiovascular outcomes, culminating in a program cookbook and wellness guidebook.


Jenna Pasanen, University of Illinois at Chicago, Criminology, Law, and Justice

Jenna proposes to implement a program preparing incarcerated women at Cook County Jail for a successful return to their communities. The sessions will explore local resources and services that can support women in reaching their goals and improving their well-being.


Havisha Pedamallu, Northwestern University, Medicine and Public Health

Havisha proposes a culturally competent preventive health education programs for South Asian immigrants. She will work with the SAATH and SAHELI studies, which aim to promote health eating and exercise in the South Asian community, and topics will aim to target false beliefs and misconceptions and discuss important health concepts that pertain to this specific community.


Jennifer Plascencia Lopez, University of Illinois Chicago, Public Health

Jennifer proposes implementing a high school mentorship program for first-generation, underserved youth in Chicago. The program will provide college readiness skills, professional skills development, and health career pathway exploration.


Juaquan Savage, University of Illinois at Chicago, Dentistry

Juaquan proposes to initiate weekly Mouth meetings which address nutrition, oral health and socioemotional support.  These classes will provide education and mentorship for students on the Southside of Chicago.


Tanner Shull, University of Illinois at Chicago, Public Health

Tanner proposes to establish a group of mothers and community leaders within Little Village churches and organizations that will act as health promoters to encourage and link those members to receive preventive health care such as cancer screenings, diabetes classes, and primary care. Tanner proposes to expand the 5+1=20 health promoter program in Chicago Public Schools of Pilsen to include schools in Little Village. The program builds up the leadership and health education capacity of high school students and encourages them to promote those lessons through community and family events. Together, this program seeks to improve the current 20-year life expectancy gap experienced by Hispanic and Latino populations in Chicago from the five most prevalent diseases and infections in that population.


Sharmain Siddiqui, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Medicine

Sharmain proposes a youth farming apprenticeship program in Little Village, to foster sustained engagement in minority youth on health-justice oriented agriculture, particularly in regards to the growing food sovereignty movement in Chicago.


Niam Vora, University of Illinois Chicago, Pharmacy

Niam aims to develop the nation’s first Transitions of Coordinated Care program for released HCV/HIV prison patients from the Illinois Department of Corrections. The program will serve as a case management/social support program to ensure recently incarcerated populations have access to medication, therapy, addictions resources, health literacy and insurance.


Jim Zhang, Rosalind Franklin, Medicine

Jim proposes to initiate a mental health education program, centered around art and mindfulness, for the intellectual and developmental disabilities community at the Arts of Life. The program will be delivered to the organization’s Chicago and North Shore campuses to bridge mental health disparities that severely affect this population.