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Center for Education in Health Sciences
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Student Profiles

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Maxwell Akanbi
Health Services and Outcomes Research | 2015 Cohort

Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Clinical Investigation from Northwestern University. He is also a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria with specialty training in Internal Medicine & Pulmonology. His prior research focused on elucidating the epidemiology of lung disease, particularly tuberculosis and Chronic Obstructive Airway in Africans with HIV. For his PhD research, he is interested in evaluating interventions to improve lung health outcomes in resource limited settings. He is the co-founder of ‘All Things Health Africa’ (ATHA), a HealthTech start-up focused on health promotion and chronic disease management in resource constrained settings.
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Ariel Chandler
Health and Biomedical Informatics | 2015 Cohort

Ariel is a third year Health and Biomedical Informatics PhD Candidate in the Health Sciences Integrated Program. Her current work is focused on measuring the quality of care coordination in hospitals, through a network-analysis approach aimed at identifying high or low scoring collaborators. She is interested in expanding this work in the future to understand the driving forces behind medical team collaboration and strategies to effectively communicate collaborator scores to providers. She is currently a NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) doctoral fellow. Ariel previously worked at Boston Children’s Hospital on research integrating electronic health record and genomic data, and The Policy and Research Group in New Orleans, LA on projects evaluating the implementation and impact of federally funded public health programs. She received her Bachelors of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University.

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Andrew Wang
Health Services and Outcomes Research | 2015 Cohort

Andrew developed a fascination with health services research during his time at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Tufts Medical Center in Boston conducting large-scale epidemiology clinical research studies. He graduated with a BA in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and an MPH in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University. His prior experiences in health policy include work at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Harvard University's School of Public Health. He has also conducted research at Columbia University and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. His most recent position was in health care administration as a Hospital Administrator at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. Andrew's current research interests are in access to care, social determinants of health, and public health policy.

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Aparna Balakrishnan
Health Services and Outcomes Research | 2016 Cohort

Aparna received a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, and pursued a career in journalism before working in public health. In 2012, she completed a dual masters degree program in Public Health and Public Administration, also at Columbia University. For the four years in between finishing her Masters degrees and starting the HSIP program, she worked first as a cancer outcomes researcher in the Mount Sinai Medical System in New York City, and then managed an outreach program for underserved and immigrant cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A second year student in the HSOR track, Aparna hopes to explore how access to and use of non-clinical services impacts treatment adherence among underserved cancer patients in the safety net hospital setting.

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Mohamed Hasan
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety | 2016 Cohort

Mohamed has 6 years of experience in hospital accreditation, implementation of patient safety interventions, coordination of quality improvement projects, and facilitation of multidisciplinary teams as part of his job as a Total Quality Management Consultant at the Armed Forces Hospitals of Saudi Arabia. He also volunteered as a trainer in which he worked with multiple Saudi Directors of Health Affairs to train healthcare workers on clinical risk management, patient safety, and quality improvement. Mohamed graduated from medical school at Zagazig University in Egypt and he completed his MPH with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Policy from American University of Beirut. His research interests include implementation science, diagnostic errors, simulation and health IT interventions to improve patient safety.

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Manrui Zhang
Social Sciences and Health | 2016 Cohort

Prior to joining HSIP, Manrui worked at Rush Medical Center for three years as a Research Assistant in an epidemiological study of Chinese older adults living in Chicago. She studied how culture and immigration influenced health and well-being, and she helped develop culturally appropriate interventions to improve quality of life. Her research interests have evolved during her doctoral studies to focus on the application of psychometrics in patient-centered health outcome measurements across cultures and life-spans. She is especially interested in the analysis of differential item functioning in the assessment of emotion and cognition across cultures in large item banks such as the NIH-Toolbox and PROMIS. Manrui graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual Master's in Public Health and Social Work, and received her BS in Management Information Systems from the Beijing Language and Cultural University.

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Lindsay Zimmerman
Health and Biomedical Informatics | 2016 Cohort

Lindsay obtained her BS in Biological Science at DePaul University and later an MPH at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Epidemiology. Prior to being admitted to HSIP, she was the Director of Research for the Department of OB/GYN and Division of Family Planning at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago's safety net for health care. During her PhD in Health and Biomedical Informatics, she is studying health disparities and the effect of social determinants of health, predictive modeling and geospatial analysis, clinical research networks, and the aggregation of health data from various sources. Lindsay also serves as the President and Co-Founder of the Cook County Health Foundation Associate Board, supporting the Cook County Health and Hospitals System.

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Adovich Rivera
Health Services and Outcomes Research | 2017 Cohort

Prior to joining the Health Sciences Integrated Program, Ado worked as a researcher for the Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies in the Philippines where he was involved in various projects ranging from cost-effectiveness to impact assessment. He provided technical assistance including data analysis and grant preparation. He also trained and led data collection teams for various surveys. Ado holds degrees in Medicine and Public Health from the University of the Philippines Manila. During his PhD studies he is interested in researching health disparities and their impacts on issues of access and quality of health services for marginalized and underserved populations.

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Iva Terwilliger
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety | 2017 Cohort

Iva graduated cum laude with a BS in Nursing from Georgetown University. After graduating, she completed a nurse residency program and worked as a Staff Nurse on an orthopedic / oncology / medical / surgical unit at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. She then worked at the New York University Langone Medical Center as a Senior Staff Nurse in Breast Imaging. As a PhD student in the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety track, she is interested in studying how technology can help improve the quality of care provided to patients.

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Rick Weinmeyer
Social Sciences and Health | 2017 Cohort

Rick spent the last four years serving as a Senior Research Associate for the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs at the American Medical Association. During his tenure with the AMA, he researched and wrote on subjects at the intersection of health policy, health law, and medical ethics, including expanded access to unapproved drugs, religious and philosophical vaccination exemptions, and hospital mergers and their impact on patient care. Rick earned his BA in Political Science from the University of Washington, his MPhil in Sociology from Cambridge University, and his JD and MA in Health Law and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. His research interests are in health disparities research, legal epidemiology, and research regulation, and he’d like to use his doctoral training to conduct empirical work in public health law and health policy.

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Cassandra Iroz
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety | 2018 Cohort

Cassandra is a first year student in the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Track within the Health Sciences Integrated PhD (HSIP) program. Cassandra earned her BA in Biology from Carleton College and her Master of Science in Health Communication from Northwestern University. Prior to joining the PhD program she worked as a Clinical Research Project Manager within the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS) where she worked on studies in a variety of areas including weight loss, urology, and liver transplantation. As a PhD student she is hoping to build upon her previous work to understand how improved communication within the healthcare team and with patients can improve quality and safety for all patients.
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Julianne Murphy
Health and Biomedical Informatics | 2018 Cohort

Julianne received her BA and MS degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Clark University. During this time, she worked and studied in Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Her research examined the distribution of microRNA gene copy number across human populations. Prior to joining HSIP, she analyzed self-reported risky health behaviors in middle and high-school students at the Worcester Division of Public Health. Her prior experiences include environmental health work at the Association of Public Health Laboratories and corporate medical management at AmeriHealth Caritas. Her research interests include integrating genomic data into EHRs and telehealth initiatives for quality of care improvement. She is a recipient of the NU Data Science Fellowship.
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Jessica Puri
Social Sciences and Health | 2018 Cohort

Jessica received a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from Loyola University and a Masters in Public Health from DePaul University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Social Sciences and Health Track at Feinberg's HSIP Program. She currently sits on the Alumni Advisory board for the Center for Community Health Equity and the Board of Directors for Soap Box PO. Jessica's prior research experience include studies on HIV, female circumcision, physician cultural competency, malaria and health equity in Chicago . Her interests include health equity, health promotion, global health, health behavior and health administration.
Jiancheng Ye headshot

Jiancheng Ye
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety | 2018 Cohort

Jiancheng received Biomedical Engineering training from Tsinghua University in China and Health Informatics training from Johns Hopkins University. He has not only done much work in the design and implementation of medical devices, but also in the industry and data analysis. His PhD research will be focused on the intersection of informatics, health quality and patient safety. He enjoys interdisciplinary research for the opportunity to use technology to combine engineering and medicine, thereby improving people’s health and quality of life.
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Cerina Dubois
Social Sciences and Health | 2019 Cohort

Cerina Dubois (Lee) is a Master of Public Health graduate from the University of Alberta, Canada; and is Certified in Public Health (NBPHE). She was the former Project Coordinator of Action on Smoking & Health - Western Canada's leading tobacco control organization, studying smoking policies to address vaping and hookah use in Alberta's youth population. With cannabis legalization in Canada (2018) and Illinois (2020), Cerina currently studies the health outcomes of medical cannabis patients in Canada. For her PhD, Cerina aspires to compare both health outcomes and cannabis regulatory policies in Canada, with US States that have legalized cannabis. On the side, Cerina is an avid fitness instructor - her favorite classes to teach are HIIT and Outdoor Bootcamp! 

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Angela Freeman
Social Sciences and Health | 2019 Cohort

Angela is a public health professional with experience in health administration, health disparities research, and STEM/health science education pipeline and workforce development program management. She earned a BA in Fine Arts from Purdue University and a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health. Prior to HSIP, Angela spent the past six years working for Rush University Medical Center. As project manager for Building Healthy Urban Communities she provided oversight of this initiative designed to improve education, employment and health outcomes of Chicago’s west and south sides. A collaboration with the Medical Home Network (MHN) and Malcolm X College - City College of Chicago, this program sought to develop new curriculum for allied health professionals, advance more sophisticated and effective continuing education models for providers and health professionals, train an elite group of health disparities researchers and test new models of care while ensuring efficiency, cost control and high quality. Her current research interests include health disparities, population health management, higher education, social epidemiology and the intersection of social determinants, place-based strategies and health.

Abhijit Grewal  headshot

Abhijit Grewal
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety | 2019 Cohort

Abhi is a student in the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety track within the Health Sciences Integrated (HSIP) PhD program. Abhi earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wayne State University and his Master of Health Administration from Cornell University. Before joining the PhD program, Abhi worked as a management consultant focusing on healthcare at Ernst and Young. He also served in the United States Air Force in both active and reserve capacities for six years while pursuing his undergraduate degree. As a PhD student, he hopes to draw upon his experiences to study the integration of new technologies (AI, machine learning, telehealth, etc.) to address health inequity and improve the quality and safety of care for vulnerable populations.

Yikuan Li  headshot

Yikuan Li
Health and Biomedical Informatics | 2019 Cohort

Yikuan received his B.S. degree in Information Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and later M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University. Prior to joining in the doctoral program, he worked on applying natural language processing and machine learning to build clinical predictive models with Electronic health record (EHR) data. He also has industrial experience in Microsoft as a support engineering intern and in IQVIA as a consulting intern. His research interests include integrating informatics into healthcare to deliver a better treatment to patients and improve the population’s health outcomes.

Yishu Qu headshot

Yishu Qu
Health and Biomedical Informatics | 2019 Cohort

Yishu received her Bachelor of Medicine in Laboratory Medicine from Peking University Health Science Center in China and her MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Southern California. After graduation, she continued to work on biomarkers for papillary thyroid cancer in women of reproductive age among White and Filipino population and conducted data analysis. During her PhD studies, she will be focused on genetic, epigenetic biomarkers that may predict cancer or chronic diseases. She is also is interested in other aging biomarkers like telomere length and mitochondrial DNA.

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