Honoring African Americans in Medicine
Supporting the theme of this year’s annual multi-city tour, The Power of Creative Arts in Health & Healing, HFAS will recognize the contributions of African Americans in Medicine selected from various medical institutions in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, in a celebration of “African Americans in Medicine.”
Dr. Akua Afriyie- Gray
Loyola University Medical Center
Medical Director, Outpatient Center for Women’s Health, Assistant,
Dr. Akua Afriyie-Gray (a-KOO-a a-FREE-a gray), a first generation American, born in Ghana, West Africa and raised in Chicagoland, is an obstetrician gynecologist who subspecializes in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. This unique field focuses on the preserving and treating reproductive problems of girls and adolescents. She began her education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She went on to study medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. While there, she served at the president of her chapter of the Student National Medical Association and chaired the National High School forum at the National Conference in Chicago. She did her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., where she was honored with the string of pearls award for teaching and recognized for her commitment to patient care.
After residency her commitment to patient centered care took her to rural Southern Illinois where she cared for the underserved for seven years. There she developed a love for teaching and helped to develop the ob/gyn curriculum for the family practice residents at her hospital. She was adjunct clinical faculty, teaching the students of the MedPrep program at Southern Illinois University Medical School. She also became interested in taking care of young patients who frequently and preferentially came to her for care. Realizing that she wanted to become more adept in the field, she returned to Washington, D.C. where she did additional training in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and joined as faculty at both Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center. She became active in the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and after training, she returned home to the Chicago area and developed a pediatric and adolescent gynecology clinic and training program for the resident trainees at Loyola University Medical Center where she is now faculty with the title of assistant professor. She is active in student education and is the Clerkship director (head of student education) in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
She remains active in her community, and through her church and community organizations, mentors young people who have an interest in medicine. When counting her many accomplishments and roles, of which have been named only a few, she counts her greatest as being a wife and mother to two wonderful boys.
Dr. Angell Jones
Sinai Health System
Associate Chief Medical Officer and Division Chief of General Surgery
Dr. Anngell Jones is a leader as a clinician, a teacher, a researcher, a community activist and an administrator. A graduate of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Jones serves as the Associate Chief Medical Officer and Division Chief of General Surgery for Sinai
Health System, one of the largest safety net providers of health care in Illinois serving the west and southwest sides of Chicago. She serves as the lead surgeon for the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Clinic and Enhanced Recovery in Colon Surgery at Sinai. She is committed to training the next generation of surgeons and is an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has received numerous awards for her teaching including the Golden Scalpel Teaching award from University of Illinois at Chicago and the Golden Apple Award in teaching from Chicago Medical School. Dr. Jones has also conducted research in disparities in racial disparities in mastectomies as well as surgical procedures. Dr. Jones is deeply committed to bringing education on women’s health and breast health into the African-American community through community churches and other forums. She also trains navigators for the Sinai Urban Health Institute Helping Her Live Breast Cancer Community Program, a community outreach program that is helping to address racial disparities in breast cancer detection and treatment.
Dr. Billie Wright Adames
FORMER Assistant Program Director of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics
Medical professor and pediatrician Dr. Billie Wright Adams was born in Bluefield, West Virginia. Her father, William Morris Wright, was a country doctor who accepted chickens and potatoes in lieu of cash for his services. Adams received her B. S. degree from Fisk University in 1950. The following year, she received her M. S. degree in zoology from the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Intending to begin a career in research, but not wanting to be isolated in the laboratory, Adams enrolled in medical school at Howard University. After receiving her M.D. degree in 1960, she focused her efforts on pediatric medicine, completing her residency at Cook County Children’s Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in hematology at Cook Country Hospital from 1963 to 1964.
From 1964 to 1967, Adams served as a research associate in the Department of Hematology at the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research. She began teach as a clinical instructor at the Chicago Medical School in 1967. Adams served as an attending at Michael Reese Hospital in the pediatrics department in 1970 and then was appointed chief of the Pediatric Hematology Clinic at Mercy Hospital. Two years later, she joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in the Department of Pediatrics as a clinical assistant instructor. In 1976, she was promoted to clinical associate professor. Adams became the project director in 1980 of a United States Department of Health and Human Services funded grant for a Pediatric Primary Care Residency Program at Mercy Hopsital. From 1981 to 1987, Adams served as the Assistant Program Director of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics. Her professional responsibilities over the years have also included acting bureau chief of the Chicago Department of Health, Bureau of Community and Comprehensive Personal Health;
former president of the Chicago Pediatrics Society and coordinator of a medical student training program at Cook County Hospital.
Adams was recognized many times for her dedication to pediatric care. In 1997, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics named her Pediatrician of the Year. She received the 1999 Chicago Medical Society Public Service Award and the 2012 Timuel Black Community Service Award from the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Adams served on the board of the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Adams is the widow of Frank Adams and the mother of Chicago attorney Frank Adams, Jr.
Dr. Billie Wright Adams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 17, 2002.
Dr. Cheryl Whitaker
NextLevel Health Partners, Inc Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Whitaker is a 20-year veteran health care professional who has dedicated her career to finding innovative health care solutions for underserved populations. She has extensive experience in health care information technology where she has sought to leverage I.T. solutions toward better quality care for patients. In her position as Chairman & CEO of NextLevel Health, Dr. Whitaker provides strategic direction to the executive leadership team, focusing on altering the care delivery system by bringing the “medical home” to the “Member’s home.”
Dr. Whitaker most recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of a publicly traded health information technology company where she guided product strategy. She was appointed by Governor Quinn in 2011 to serve as the Inaugural chair of the Illinois Health Information Exchange Authority, where she guided the state’s effort to create secure data exchange for health information.
Prior to that, Dr. Whitaker worked as a Senior Program Officer for the Chicago Community Trust, which for the past 99 years has connected donors to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. She oversaw the grant strategy for all health-related grants given by the Trust including efforts related to health care reform and the health information exchange.
Dr. Whitaker also served as a faculty member at Rush University Medical Center. During this time she received additional certification as a Specialist in Clinical Hypertension and numerous peer reviewed grant awards to facilitate understanding of the needs of marginal populations living with chronic conditions. The Stanford Patient Education and Research Center certified her as a Master Trainer in Self-Management of Chronic Disease.
Dr. Whitaker received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory University and medical degree from the Washington University of Medicine. She has a Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management. Her clinical training in primary care internal medicine was completed at Stanford and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Whitaker’s medical training focused on the care of diverse populations in the Bay Area, which included immigrant populations from across the world, along with a significant HIV population, people struggling with addiction, poverty, and mental illness. Dr. Whitaker also
completed a fellowship in health services research at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a former member of Advisory Board for Northern Illinois American College of Physicians, and an appointee to the Chicago Institute of Medicine. Dr. Whitaker lives on the south side of Chicago with her husband and two children.
Dr. Clyde W. Yancy
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Chief of Cardiology, Vice Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Professor of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc is Chief of Cardiology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He holds the Magerstadt Endowed Professor of Medicine Chair and also holds an appointment as Professor of Medical Social Sciences. He concurrently serves as Vice-Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Yancy is a native of Louisiana and earned a B.S. degree, (Honors), from Southern University; an M.D. degree, (Alpha Omega Alpha), from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and an MSc degree from the University of Texas – Dallas School of Business and Management (Beta Gamma Sigma). He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He completed his fellowship in cardiology at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He has held professional appointments at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Professor of Medicine, Medical Director- Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation and Carl Westcott Chair in Cardiovascular Research) and Baylor University Medical Center (Chief of Cardiothoracic Transplantation and Director, Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute).
He is a former president of the American Heart Association and has held several volunteer leadership positions with the American College of Cardiology. He has also served in various positions with the NIH, NHLBI, PCORI and the FDA. He has over 400 peer-reviewed publications, has been named as one of the most highly cited investigators and is a Deputy Editor for JAMA Cardiology. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
Debra G. Wesley
Sinai Health Systems
President of Sinai Health Systems
Debra G. Wesley is a social entrepreneur, leader and community builder, as well as founder of Sinai Community Institute (SCI), where she serves as president. SCI is a health system-based social services organization with 25 programs and over 25,000 clients per year. She is also Sinai Health System’s executive vice president for community outreach.
Ms. Wesley, a masters-trained social worker (Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago) understands “community” at micro- and macro-levels. Debra has developed innovative, community-based programs that have received national recognition. She facilitated the incubation of the North Lawndale Employment Network and served as its first Board Chair for five years, established Sinai Parenting Institute and other innovative human programs and services. She is the Chair of the I AM ABLE Board of Directors. She is also the chair of the Latino Alzheimer’s Memory Disorder Alliance; a member of the board for the Deal Foundation; a member of the CineCares Foundation and Michele Foods Advisory Board. She completed 20 years as a member Board of Directors for the Westside Association for Community Action, ten years as a member of the Legacy Charter School Board of Directors as well as 4 years as a member of the Board of Directors for Young Women’s Leadership Charter School. She is also a Denali Initiative Class II Harvard University/Babson College Social Entrepreneurial Fellow.
Dr. Derek J. Robinson
Enterprise Quality and Accrediation
Vice President Enterprise Quality and Accreditation
Dr. Derek J. Robinson is Vice President – Enterprise Quality and Accreditation at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation’s largest non-investor owned health insurer, serving more than 15 million members. HCSC operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in IL, TX, OK, NM, and MT. Dr. Robinson, a practicing emergency medicine physician, is charged with leading HCSC’s clinical quality improvement, quality reporting, and accreditation strategies. He is also responsible for the development and implementation of HCSC’s health equity agenda.
Nationally, Dr. Robinson is recognized for his commitment to improving the quality of health care for all Americans. Dr. Robinson is a member of the Quality Rating System (QRS) Technical Expert Panel, the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Core Clinical Quality Measures Collaborative Workgroup steering committee, National Quality Forum (NQF) Standing Committee on All-Cause Admissions and Readmissions. He was recently appointed to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Diversity Leadership Committee. Prior to HCSC, Dr. Robinson was the first physician member of the executive leadership team at the Illinois Hospital Association where he led efforts to improve health care quality and safety for patients across IL. Dr. Robinson is the former Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Chicago Regional Office.
Dr. Robinson is board certified in Emergency Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a diplomat of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. He holds degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana, Howard University College of Medicine, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Following medical school, he completed his residency training in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Robinson is an adjunct faculty member at the Feinberg School of Medicine – Northwestern University and the Indiana University School of Medicine – Northwest. A Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, Dr. Robinson is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and has been the recipient of numerous awards such as Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40, 40 Game Changers Under 40 – Ariel Investments, and Diversity MBA’s Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders List.
He is a married father of two sons and resides in Chicago. During his free time, he enjoys swimming, cycling, and fishing. He is also passionate about mentoring young people.
Dr. Howard T. Strassner
Rush University Medical Center
MD, Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Howard T. Strassner, M.D. received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago followed by his medical degree at the University Of Chicago Pritzker School Of Medicine. Dr. Strassner completed his four-year postdoctoral clinical residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Columbia- Presbyterian Medical Center, The Sloane Hospital for Women in New York, NY. Dr. Strassner then went on to complete a two-year fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Southern California/Los Angeles County Medical Center. Dr. Strassner is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He currently serves as the John M. Simpson Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rush University Medical Center and as the Director of the Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Strassner serves as the Co-Director of the Rush Perinatal Center and the Rush Regional Perinatal Network.
Dr. Strassner has served as the Chair of the Perinatal Advisory Committee of the Illinois Department of Public Health. He was the Secretary of District IV of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the former chair of Illinois Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He has received gubernational appointments to statewide bodies, including the Infant Mortality Reduction Advisory Board and the Governor’s Task Force on AIDS in Healthcare. In 2001, Dr. Strassner was featured in Chicago Magazine’s “Chicago’s Top Doctor” issue , and he continues to be recognized annually as one of Chicago’s leading physicians. He is a member of many local and national organizations, some of which include; Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the Chicago Medical Society. Dr. Strassner is a fellow in both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Dr. Strassner’ s practice and clinical interests are dedicated to Maternal-Fetal Medicine with expertise in high-risk pregnancies, cervical ripening, premature rupture of membrane, obstetric ultrasound, and preconception counseling. In his role as Perinatal Center Co-Director, Dr. Strassner is a key stakeholder in coordinating the efforts to maintain Level III Perinatal Center designation at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Strassner is the author of several peer review publications and book chapters and frequently gives presentations at local and national conferences. He has been principal investigator for numerous clinical studies and has securedremarkable research funding during his tenure at Rush.Dr. Strassner is a longstanding member of the faculty at Rush Medical College and has served as Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1998.
Dr. Kalisha Hill
Presence St. Marys Hospital, Kankakee Chief Medical Officer
Kalisha Hill, MD, MBA, FCAP, FASCP is the Chief Medical Officer for Presence St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, IL. In this role, she also serves as the Patient Safety Officer. Dr. Hill chairs several hospital committees including Hospital Quality and Safety and Utilization Management. She has served as a Physician Advisor and Medical Director of Pathology and Laboratory Services for multiple hospital facilities. Dr. Hill is a practicing pathologist and has served as vice-chair for the College of American Pathologists’ (CAP) cancer committee. Currently, she is a member of the CAP Council on Membership and Professional Development, PathPac Board, Pathology Electronic Reporting, and a Cancer Protocol author (breast cancer and colorectal cancer). Dr. Hill also serves as Treasurer for the Illinois Society of Pathologists.
Dr. Hill is also an independent business owner. As President of Mediexperts, LLC, she provides medical guidance on a variety of issues affecting the health of patients. Case reviews are also offered to give patients coordinated care and guidance in the next steps of treatment. Personalized lifestyle changes are provided to maximize response to therapy.
Throughout her medical career, Dr. Hill has been actively engaged in community health related activities. She has sponsored various community events including Cancer Support Center, Speaking of Women’s Health Conference, and American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Further, Dr. Hill has used her roles in public relation activities such as physician panelist for nursing education, speaker for student career events, judge for the Chicago Public Schools student science fairs at the Museum of Science and Industry, annual speaker for the National Youth Leadership Forum, and created the “ask the pathologist” group forums for Cancer Support Center patients.
Dr. Hill is a wife (Allen Hill) and mother of twin girls (Khari and Alannah). She is a member of the Parent Circle of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Hill and her family have consistently volunteered for the local homeless shelter PADS and community fundraising events.
Presence St. Mary’s Hospital’s mission to treat all patients regardless of socioeconomic status is near to Dr. Hill’s heart. She believes in the equality of human life and that all are valuable and deserving of excellent and compassionate medical care.
Dr. Mark Grevious
Stroger Hospital and Health & Renewal Plastic Surgery
Chairman of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Cook County Hospital and Owner of Health & Renewal Plastic Surgery
Dr. Grevious is a leading double board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon serving patients throughout Chicagoland for more than a decade. He is the Chairman of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Cook County Hospital and Owner of Health & Renewal Plastic Surgery Associates.
Combining his expert skill with a caring, conscientious touch, he performs breast augmentations and reductions, tummy tucks, liposuctions and corrective surgeries for men and women seeking a renewed approach to life- -long health. Dr. Grevious has operated on notable national TV personalities such as Courtney Crozier of the NBC series, Biggest Loser (Season 11), and specializes in helping women to enhance their natural beauty and reclaim their vitality through Mommy Makeovers.
Beyond the O.R., he is regarded as a pioneer in his field, holding two U.S. patents for sternal closure devices and is a highly sought after speaker on health disparities in underserved communities.
In 2008, he began a thriving private practice, Health & Renewal Plastic Surgery Associates which provided the perfect backdrop.
Dr. Michael Davenport
Chief Medical Officer
Michael Davenport, MD is the Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago and leads the overall clinical strategic vision for the hospital. Dr Davenport has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry as a clinician, medical administrator and hospital executive.
Prior to his role at Mercy he served as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at The Methodist Hospitals, a two-hospital system in Gary and Merrillville, Indiana. Dr Davenport has made many contributions to the educational, clinical and administrative aspects of the hospitals development. He also had the opportunity to serve as President and Interim CEO for fifteen months.
Prior to his career at The Methodist Hospitals, Dr. Davenport served in the Advocate Health System as Medical Director of the Advocate Trinity Hospital PHO for one year, and then as Vice President of Medical Management for the Hospital for nine years.
He also served as medical director of several different medical groups in Chicago over the years including Medical Director, Clinical Director and Staff Physician in internal medicine for the Michael Reese Health Plan. Dr. Davenport was also previously a member of the medical staff at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center from 1984 to 1997.
Dr. Davenport is a native Chicagoan and a product of the CPS as a graduate from Lindblom Technical HS. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, followed by his residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital. He is also trained in Lean Healthcare from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Patient Safety Educator. Dr Davenport is a long time member of the Cook County Physicians Association and the American Association of Physician Leaders. Dr Davenport lives in the Morgan Park neighborhood with his wife Loretta and enjoys their grandson, Kingston and playing golf.
Dr. Monica Peek
The University of Chicago
Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine Associate Director, Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research Director of Research, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics Executive Medical Director, Community Health Innovation
Dr. Monica Peek is an Associate Professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, where she provides clinical care, teaches and does health services research in the area of health disparities. Dr. Peek is the Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research, where she heads the Health Disparities and Community-Based Participatory Research Core. She is an inaugural faculty fellow of the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, whose goal is to promote positive patient/physician relationships. Dr. Peek is the Director of Research at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, and the Executive Medical Director of Community Health Innovation for the University of Chicago Medicine. As a 2015 Greenwall Faculty Scholar, Dr. Peek is exploring shared decision-making between African-Americans and their healthcare providers. Dr. Peek received her MD and MPH from The Johns Hopkins University and her MSc from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Peek has authored over 65 peer-reviewed research papers and publications, and has served as the principal investigator of grants from NIH/NIDDK, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Merck Foundation to improve patient/provider communication, shared decision-making, diabetes care and health outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations. Dr. Peek was named one of the “Top 40 under 40” in Chicago by Crain’s Business Magazine and was ranked among Chicago’s Top Female Physicians in 2005. Her work has been featured in national media outlets such as TIME magazine, ESSENCE magazine, JET magazine, CNN, the Melissa Harris Perry show, and The Huffington Post. In 2013, she received the Outstanding Junior Investigator Award by the national Society of General Internal Medicine. Dr.Peek has served as an American Cancer Society medical ambassador and as board member of A Silver Lining Foundation, the Chicago Black Women’s Health Alliance, Project HOOD, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. She is currently a member of the editorial board for the journal Health Services Research, a national Council Member for the Society of General Internal Medicine, and is a National Advisory Council (NAC) member for the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ).
Dr. Norman James
University of Chicago
FORMER Associate Clinical Professor and attending Physician, Department of Medicine at University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital
From 2008 – 2015, I was an Associate Clinical Professor and attending Physician, Department of Medicine at University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital
On a personal note : I am married to Dr Marsha Brazley for over 40 years, father of 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren. I have lived and worked in Chicago for past 42 years. My nonprofessional avocation is duplicatet bridge. I have competed in national tournaments of duplicate bridge in the American Bridge Association for 15 years and have been instructor of bridge at the Midwest Bridge Unit in Chicago for past 7 years.
Dr. Paul A. Jones
Director of Cardiovascular Services
Dr. Jones is a native of East St. Louis, Illinois. He completed his undergraduate studies at St. Louis University followed by his arrival to Chicago in 1982 and subsequent graduation from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency training at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. He went on to complete his general and lnterventional Cardiovascular Medicine fellowship training at Loyola University Medical center in Maywood, Illinois, where he excelled and was awarded the position as chief fellow of the cardiovascular training program. Upon graduation, he served two years as a member of the faculty at Loyola and received a nomination for the most outstanding clinical professor award.
In 1995 Dr. Jones was asked to return to Mercy hospital, an inner city” safety-net” hospital on the south side of Chicago to lead their troubled cardiovascular program, He quickly developed quality-based clinical programs that has gamered national acclaim and recognition for excellent clinical outcomes. These include, but not limited to, the following:
Dr. Jones has developed a national reputation in interventional cardiovascular medicine and for over 15 years, physicians from around the country have attended his “hands-on” endovascular training courses to leam various techniques in peripheral vascular interventions. Dr. Jones has lectured nationally as well as internationally which includes countries like Germany, Australia, Serbia, Croatia, Mexico, etc. Dr. Jones specializes in the non-surgical management of carotid artery disease, aortic aneurysm disease and complex cardiac as well as peripheral vascular disease. He was a pioneer in the development/adoption of percutaneous carotid stenting and the first cardiologist in Chicago to perform percutaneous, non-surgical, repair of several vascular disorders. This includes trans-radial coronary artery interventions, endovascular repair of thoracic as well as abdominal aortic aneurysms. He has received numerous citations and awards, which includes being featured in the Chicago magazine as one of the top 20 doctors in Chicago. He also has received the “Top Doctors Award” in cardiovascular diseases by The Castle and Connelly group for the past consecutive 10 years. In addition he has published several scientific articles, including a book addressing issues surrounding Hypertension and Heart Disease in the African American population.
Dr. Jones is presently Chaitman of the Department of Cardiovascular Services at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He is the founder and President of the Chicago Heart and Vascular Specialists, a group of physicians specializing in comprehensive cardiovascular care. Dr. Jones is also founder of “The Jones Endovascular Institute”, a not-for-profit organization committed to efforts toward “bridging the gap” in cardiovascular care as it pertains to access, education and clinical research to underserved and underrepresented populations. He is board certified in internal medicine, general cardiology and interventional cardiovascular medicine.
Dr. Robert A. Winn
Associate Vice Chancellor, Director U of I Cancer Center
UI Cancer Center, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Robert A. Winn, MD is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community-Based Practice and Director of the UI Cancer Center at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health). He is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and a pulmonary and critical care specialist at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
A dedicated and prolific physician-scientist, Dr. Winn has conducted basic science research in lung cancer for over 15 years. His work, which has been supported by multiple NIH and VA Merit awards, focuses on the development of novel in vitro and in vivo models to study the translational aspects of the role the Wnt pathway plays in lung cancer. He recently identified a novel role of a Wnt signaling mechanism in which lung cancer cells are permanently placed in suspended animation called “senescence,” a defense mechanism activated in response to carcinogenic insults to prevent lung cancer progression. In addition to his original research on the Wnt pathway, Dr. Winn has identified several new molecular targets to be evaluated as potential drug targets in the treatment of lung cancer.
As Director of the UI Cancer Center, Dr. Winn champions the “bench to community” model to research and healthcare. He works tirelessly to bridge the gap between basic science and community-based health care in order to ensure equal access to cutting-edge research and treatments and to eliminate health inequities in Illinois and beyond. He is a principal investigator on several community-based NIH- and NCI-funded projects including U54 ChicagoCHEC, the P20 GUIDE Project, and the UG3 All of Us Precision Medicine Initiative.
As the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community-Based Practice, Dr. Winn oversees management of the UI Health Mile Square Health Center, a 13-site Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) network. His vision for Mile Square is to build a 21st Century model of community-based health care providers that reflects the mission of the academic health center and develops meaningful research programs that, if adopted, can enhance the overall well-being of the community.
Prior to joining UI Health, Dr. Winn was an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He also served as Associate Dean of Admissions at the School of Medicine, Vice Chair of Medicine in the Department of Medicine and Senior Medical Director for the University of Colorado Multidisciplinary Pulmonary Clinic.
Dr. Winn received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, where he served as a chief resident. His fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine was completed at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, National Jewish Health.
Dr. Winn has authored over 50 publications and is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship, leadership, diversity, and service. He has led, served on, and contributed to a multitude of diverse committees to help develop the next generation of physician-scientists. He is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research Minorities in Cancer Research Council (MICR), the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative (All of Us) Scientific Vision Committee, the Project Echo Board of Directors, and the National Cancer Policy Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Dr. Selwyn Rogers
Community Health Engagement at the University of Chicago Medicine.
Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery and Executive Vice President
Dr. Rogers is an acclaimed critical care surgeon and public health expert who has served in leadership capacities at health centers across the country, including most recently as vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Dr. Rogers has also served as the chairman of surgery at Temple University School of Medicine and as the division chief of Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care at Harvard Medical School. While at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), he helped launch the Center for Surgery and Public Health to understand the nature, quality and utilization of surgical care nationally and internationally. Dr. Rogers earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed both his surgery residency and an NIH research fellowship in surgical oncology at BWH in Boston. He completed a surgical critical care fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and BWH. Additionally, Dr. Rogers has a master’s degree in public health from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Terry Mason
Cook County Department of Public Health
Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health
Dr. Mason was appointed the Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health by the Honorable Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in 2013 after serving more than three years as the Chief Medical Officer and six months as interim Chief Executive Officer for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System. The Cook County Department of Public Health is a state-certified local public health department serving suburban Cook County including 125 local municipalities, covering a 700 square mile area, with a large urban population of approximately 2.3 million residents. As the COO, Dr. Mason provides leadership, fiscal responsibility, and performance based accountability in management. He is responsible for public health programs and services for one of the nation’s largest metropolitan health departments, ranging from disease prevention, control and epidemiology; health statistics; health promotion; STD/HIV screening; emergency preparedness; and environmental licensing, inspections and complaints. Before joining the Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the Cook County Department of Public Health, he served as the Commissioner of Chicago Department of Public Health.
Dr. Mason received his BS in Biology from Loyola University and his MD from Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago. He devoted 25 years of his life in private practice as a board certified Urologist. During that period, his focus was on male erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer.
He is a nationally recognized health educator and inspirational speaker who champions holistic approaches to health management . It is Dr. Mason’s continued vision to transform healthcare delivery through the integration of public health and public medicine to create a population based strategy to manage chronic disease.
Dr. Tonja Austin
Franciscan Health Olympia Fields/Chicago Heights Medical Staff President and Family Medicine Attending
Dr. Tonja Austin truly has a heart for people and has always wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to her. She chose to do so by pursuing a career as a Family Medicine Physician, which allows her to care for patients throughout the life cycle — or as she puts it, “from the womb to the tomb.”
Dr. Austin obtained her Bachelor of Science from Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans, majoring in Biology Pre-Med and graduating summa cum laude. She obtained her medical degree from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and completed her residency training at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois. Dr. Austin began her career at a community health clinic on the Southside of Chicago, and quickly became a site medical director. In 2009, Dr. Austin and a partner formed their own health center, South Suburban Family Health S.C., which they successfully operated for seven years. In January 2017, Dr. Austin became an employed physician with Franciscan Physician Network.
In her nearly 20 years as a physician, Dr. Austin has received numerous recognitions. From 2007-2010, the Consumer Research Council of America recognized Dr. Austin as one of “America’s Top Family Doctors.” In 2008, Dr. Austin was awarded the degree of Fellow from the American Academy of Family Physicians for providing high-quality healthcare. In 2016, Dr. Austin was elected to a two-year term as the Medical Staff President at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields, Illinois (now Franciscan Health). Dr. Austin is the first African-Amercian female to hold this position in the organization’s 100 years of existence.
Dr. Austin’s care for her community reaches beyond the walls of the hospital. In 2003, as a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Austin helped to establish a “Stork’s Nest” at Ingalls Hospital in Harvey, Illinois. This program is a national initiative between the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta that provides women with prenatal care and aims to prevent premature births and infant deaths. Since 2006, Dr. Austin has co-chaired the medical arm of “A Taste of Victory,” which is an outreach ministry that provides free health screenings to the public and school supplies to children. In 2016, Dr. Austin became a founding member of the TAU Society, a charitable initiative funded by physicians at Franciscan Health that provides financial assistance to patients and scholarships to clinical staff to help further their education.
Dr. Austin is married to Attorney Ron Austin, and they have two daughters, Dominique and Gabrielle.