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
Schweitzer Fellows Program Director

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Current Fellows

  • Overview


The 2020-21 Schweitzer Fellows include 28 outstanding students representing 12 schools, 13 disciplines, and 18 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 2020-21 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.

Each year family, friends, and the community come together to support Schweitzer Fellows as they begin to implement these innovative public service projects. Our 2020-21 Fellows have created online “wish lists” of supplies and resources that will help them realize their service project goals. 

Brandon Alston, Northwestern University, Sociology

Brandon proposes to initiate community support and empowerment classes for formerly incarcerated black people living in Englewood. The classes will provide education on identifying and describing one’s assets, serve as a social support structure for reentering residents, and empower participants through yoga, meditation and art.

Site: Southside Reentry Network and Teamwork Englewood

Nadia Barrera, Governors State University, Physical Therapy

Nadia proposes to initiate a mentorship program for Latino high school students that will aim to encourage them to pursue a career in physical therapy and bridge the gap in representation of Latinos in physical therapy. The mentorship program will expose them to what physical therapy is and provide a pathway that will provide them with access to necessary resources, partners, and tools to gain knowledge on the necessary steps to pursue a degree and career in physical therapy.

Site: Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School


Nicole Camardo, University of Illinois Chicago, Nursing Midwifery

Nicole proposes to implement sexual and reproductive education classes for adolescents and young adults in Englewood, Chicago. The classes will provide knowledge and education on contraception options and sexual health to decrease teen birth rates and unplanned pregnancies in the community.

Site: I Grow


Hannah Carey, Loyola University, Medicine

Hannah proposes to increase community referrals to Rush University Medical Center’s six-week evidence-based group workshops for chronic disease self-management for low-income older adults. Free community-based health screenings and outreach will be focused in Chicago’s west side and those who screen positive will be guided through the logistics of workshop registration and transportation options.

Site: Rush University Medical Center, Health and Aging Program

Loíza DeJesus, Roosevelt University, Clinical Psychology

Loíza proposed program, Atención, ¡Plena!, will provide culturally adapted mental health service to Puerto Rican teens through an intensive summer culture/support camp at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.

Site: Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC)


Marissa Dupont, Midwestern University, Medicine

Marissa proposes to create and direct an organization of middle school students called Community Health Ambassadors Team, or CHAT, informing and empowering student leaders to better care for themselves and influence the care of their community.

Site: Burr Ridge Middle School

Olivia Ekean, Rosalind Franklin University, Medicine

Olivia proposes to initiate prescription drug educational and health literacy classes, and provide overall wellness checks and structured counseling to underserved populations in Southside Chicago who are experiencing substance (opioid) abuse at the New Hope Community Clinic. The classes will provide a positive space for learning, discussions, structure, building meaningful relationships, and social support for low income men and women who are suffering from substance dependence.

Site: New Hope Community Clinic in Chicago Illinois


Tanya Ghannam, Roosevelt University, Pharmacy/MBA

Tanya aims to rebuild trust towards healthcare professionals in underserved communities by providing educational presentations and basic healthcare screenings for women and children at the Arab American Family Services Organization. Within these presentations, the community will find the resources and support to be proactive and lead healthy lifestyles.

Site: Arab American Family Services (AAFS)

Suzette Guzman, University of Chicago, Medicine

Suzette proposes to address child obesity in a food-poor neighborhood and promote self-esteem by providing healthy eating, nutrition, and cooking classes along with body positivity and exercise workshops through a mentorship program for the 7th and 8th graders at the Montessori School of Englewood.

Site: Montessori School of Englewood

TJ Harper, University of Chicago, Social Work Administration

TJ proposes to implement economic empowerment and health classes for people of low-income and people of color at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The classes will provide information around financial management while also taking a deep dive into the relationship between finances and mental health, serving as a social support for those impacted.

Site: Rainbow PUSH Coalition

John Hawkins, The University of Chicago – Pritzker School of Medicine

John proposes to perform a needs assessment and health education intervention with currently and formerly incarcerated transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people. The intervention will focus on empowerment and identifying community-vetted resources for mental health, gender-affirming, and HIV treatment and prevention care.

Site: Black & Pink (Chicago Chapter)

Amira Kefi, University of Illinois Chicago, Bioengineering

Amira proposes to initiate a data-science class for youths in Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. This class will introduce the youths to the world of big data analysis can make them become more interested in the data-science majors in college. In addition, it will help them explore the world of freelance jobs.

Site: Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center

Rameda Lee, National University of Health Sciences , Chiropractic Medicine

Rameda proposes a stewardship themed, bi-monthly seminar focusing on caring for one’s body as the first possession ever received.  The goal of each session is to pass on essentials that enlighten and make clear that symptoms, conditions, and/or diseases are not foregone conclusions, if people are equipped to be intentional about being well and achieving optimal health.

Site: Greater Open Door Baptist Church


David Mata Vaca, Loyola University, Medicine

David proposes to engage LGBTQ+ homeless youth (ages 18-24) by coaching and providing workshops to increase self-sufficiency at El Rescate Transitional Living Program in Humboldt Park. These will serve as a vehicle for social support, mentorship, and independent living for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

Site: Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Humboldt Park

Megan McDermott, Loyola University, Medicine

Megan proposes to design and implement community building programming for adults and seniors in Maywood. Programming will provide a space for social support, empowerment, and resources to combat isolation.

Site: Quinn Center


Kelly Moore, University of Illinois Chicago, Nursing Practice, Adult-Gerontology

Kelly proposes to connect with isolated elders through Little Brothers– Friends of the Elderly and to explore their health concerns. Specifically, she hopes to engage in Advanced Care Planning conversations to help older adults make their most important end-of-life wishes known.

Site: Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly


Yetunde Osakue-Allison, Rush University, Nursing

Yetunde proposes to initiate sex education workshops for at risk teenage African American girls aged 12-18. These workshops will provide education and serve as a social support structure for the young women.

Site: TBD

Amy Paul, Loyola University, Medicine

Amy proposes to create a Street Medicine program that brings quality medical care to people living in homelessness in west Cook County. She will partner with Housing Forward and the Stritch School of Medicine to build relationships of trust between those living in homelessness and the medical community.

Site: Housing Forward

Mallory Primm, Adler University, Clinical Psychology

Mallory proposes to initiate expressive arts groups for youth at Namaste Charter School. These groups will provide an opportunity for youth to enhance socioemotional learning and serve as a safe space for self-expression and connection with peers.

Site: Namaste Charter School


Emmalynne Pytlowany, Rush University, Physician Assistant

Emmalynne proposes to develop and implement a social empowerment cohort for underserved students at UIC College Prep High School. This group will equip students to discuss mental health, promote awareness about mental wellness, and become leaders for mental health in their communities.

Site: UIC College Prep High School


Marjorie Remy, University of Illinois Chicago, Nursing

Marjorie proposes to initiate health information sessions including mental, sexual, and physical health to adolescent African American girls at Women of Virtue, Chicago. The sessions will help provide a foundation for lifelong integrated health and wellbeing.

Site: Ladies of Virtue

Kayla Schmittau, Rush University, Medicine

Kayla proposes to expand health education at Grace House, a residential program which helps women prepare for their future after exiting the Illinois prison system. Her project will also provide literature, writing, and art exercises as a therapeutic outlet for processing experiences and developing a positive self-image.

Site: Grace House

Courtney Severin, Rush University, Medicine

Courtney proposes to serve the homeless population through The Night Ministry Street Medicine program by collaborating with homeless individuals and emergency department personnel to create a trauma-informed protocol for the care of this population in the emergency department. The interventions applied will help to improve the relationship between the homeless and the healthcare system, as well as to improve the long-term health of these individuals.

Site: The Night Ministry


Jane Sobczak, University of Illinois Chicago, Dentistry

Jane intends to create healthy lifestyles workshops for Chicago youth and their families at Urban Initiatives, a sports-based youth development program. The workshops will provide health education in an effort to create healthier communities throughout Chicago.

Site: Urban Initiatives

Jessie Jingru Tan, University of Illinois Chicago, Public Health

Jessie proposes to initiate mental health assessment and support for Chinese immigrant caregivers who live in poverty. Her project will provide home visit services and group socialization to offer comprehensive supports for immigrant families.

Site: CASL

Pearl Ugwu-Dike, University of Illinois Chicago, Medicine

Pearl, in partnership with BeAlright, proposes to develop a series of interactive workshops based in arts, yoga, dance, and creative expression for families seeking shelter from homelessness or domestic violence in the city of Chicago. The workshops will focus on developing movement and arts as conduits for expression as well as avenues of improving wellness, in addition to providing a safe space to explore artistic identity and build community.

Site: BeAlright