Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Education in Health Sciences

HSIP Alumni & Student Profiles


cindy-barnard.jpgCindy Barnard, PhD, MBA, MSJS
Vice President, Quality, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare
Associate Professor, Northwestern University Center for Healthcare Studies
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety 

Dr. Barnard completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at Bryn Mawr College, her MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a Master's degree in Jewish Studies at Spertus Institute. She serves as Vice President of Quality for the Northwestern Medicine system of seven hospitals and four medical practice groups. Cindy has served on the faculty of the Northwestern MS program in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety since its inception. She has held leadership roles in the National Association for Healthcare Quality, the Illinois Hospital Association, and the board of Project Patient Care, and has published in healthcare quality, patient safety, ethics and policy. 

The doctoral program in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, within the Health Sciences Integrated Program, enabled Cindy to construct an interdisciplinary, cross-cutting curriculum to advance her research skills and to explore emerging areas in healthcare quality. Her qualifying examinations addressed the potential for patient-reported outcomes to play a role in quality evaluation, and innovative approaches to quality improvement in a federally qualified health center. 

Dissertation Title: An Innovative RAPPORTS Model of Patient-Centered Quality


gayle-shier.jpgGayle Kricke, PhD, MSW
Clinical Quality Leader, Northwestern Medicine
Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University School of Communication
Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety
| 2017 

Dr. Kricke completed her undergraduate studies in Human Development and Psychological Services at Northwestern University, and her MSW at the University of Michigan where she was a McGregor Geriatric Social Work Fellow. She serves as a Clinical Quality Leader for the Northwestern Medicine system, supporting projects and initiatives that span the system's seven hospitals and four medical practice groups. Prior to entering the Health Sciences Integrated Program, Gayle worked as a social worker in the Department of Health and Aging at Rush University Medical Center, where she led the development of a nationally-recognized evidence-based transitional care model for complex older adults returning home after an inpatient hospital stay. 

The doctoral program in Health Quality and Patient Safety within the Health Sciences Integrated Program enabled Gayle to develop practical skills for improving healthcare quality and patient while also researching methods for advancing the field. Her qualifying examinations addressed the impact of electronic health records on care coordination for complex older adults, and also developed a framework for integrating health services research, operations, and quality improvement activities within the Veterans' Health Administration. Gayle's dissertation on end-of-life care quality for older adults with multiple chronic conditions was supported by an R36 research grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Dissertation Title: The Association Between Multiple Chronic Conditions, Domains of End-of-Life Care Quality, Care Coordination, and the Perception of End-of-Life Care for Older Adults


julie-yonek.jpgJulie Yonek, PhD, MPH
Clinical Services Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
Health Services and Outcomes Research
 | 2016

Dr. Yonek holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Physiology from the University of California at San Diego and a Master's of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from San Diego State University. Prior to starting her doctoral training, Julie worked as a Research Associate for the Center for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University, where she served as the project director and leader author on a report describing the health status and availability of resources that promote health within Chicago's 77 communities. The doctoral program in Health Services and Outcomes Research within the Health Sciences Integrated Program enabled Julie to advance these research skills and develop content expertise in adolescent mental health services, a topic of great interest to her. For her qualifying examinations, she conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of care delivery models focused on integrating mental and physical health services in pediatric primary care settings. She also wrote a mock R01 grant proposal to evaluate the psychometrics of a recently developed measure of integrated care, and to assess the extent of integrated care implementation in pediatric primary care settings.

Julie is currently completing an NIMH-funded clinical services research fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. Her research focuses on using mobile health technologies to facilitate integration of mental health services in pediatric primary care, and models to accelerate the implementation of evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions in this setting. After the fellowship she plans to stay in academic research and continue her trajectory to becoming an independent investigator in adolescent mental health services research. 

Dissertation Title: The Patient-Centered Medical Home: Impact on Mental Health Treatment and Health Services Use Among Adolescents with Probable Need for Mental Health Treatment


Yinan-Zheng.jpgYinan Zheng, PhD, MSc
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Population Epigenetics, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Health and Biomedical Informatics 
| 2017

Dr. Zheng received his Bachelor of Science in Biostatistics from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China. He started his graduate training in the United States in 2011 at Northwestern University, earning his MS in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2012 and his PhD in Biomedical Informatics in 2017. Yinan's research centers around identifying epigenomic biomarkers linking environmental exposures and lifestyle behaviors (air pollution, diet, physical activity, etc.) with various aging-related disease developments (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, etc.) in large population cohorts and clinical trials. During his doctoral training, Yinan had 28 peer-reviewed publications with over 400 citations and he also invented several advanced and widely used biostatistical and bioinformatic tools for longitudinal and high-dimensional epigenomic data analysis. 

Yinan is continuing this research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Population Epigenetics at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center within the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's Department of Preventive Medicine. He also serves as a member of the Student Editorial Board for the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). And he is a New Investigators Committee member at the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA). 

Dissertation Title: DNA Methylation in Repetitive Elements and Cancer


Current Students 

Dr-Akanbi.JPGMaxwell 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. 

aparnaAparna 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.


salva1.jpgSalva Balbale
Health Services and Outcomes Research | 2014 Cohort
Salva is a doctoral candidate in the Health Services & Outcomes Research Track within the Health Sciences Integrated PhD (HSIP) program. Prior to her doctoral training, Salva earned her undergraduate and Master's degrees in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She then worked as a Research Analyst at the Hines Veterans Affairs (VA) Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare, supporting a broad range of research studies designed to enhance care and outcomes for Veterans. She is currently a pre-doctoral T32 fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include improving health services and patient safety for individuals with complex and chronic conditions, particularly gastrointestinal disorders.


sarah-1.jpgSarah Bassett
Social Sciences and Health | 2015 Cohort
Sarah received BAs in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Kansas. During this time, she worked and studied in Madrid, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, respectively. She subsequently received an MA in Psychology from Brandeis University, where she focused on psychoneuroendocrinology. Upon graduation, she worked for the healthcare startup, Gain Life, in Boston, MA. While at Gain Life, she helped implement, evaluate, and modify a best-in-class weight loss intervention for an underserved population. Sarah is currently a third year student in the Social Science and Health track of the HSIP program, where she focuses on the impacts of emotion, stress, and coping on health behaviors and outcomes in chronic diseases. She is a recipient of the NU Predoctoral Fellowship in Health Services and Outcomes Research.


ariel1.jpgAriel 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.


mohamed1.jpgMohamed 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. 



timherr1.jpgTim Herr
Health and Biomedical Informatics
| 2013 Cohort
Tim received his BA in Psychology and Economics from Indiana University and his MS in Medical Informatics at Northwestern University. A combination of eight years in the Healthcare IT industry and his Master's studies at Northwestern led him to his passion in personalized medicine. Tim is interested in continuing research of this model and its potential to be the future standard of healthcare. He is currently the recipient of an F31 award from the National Institutes of Health. The title of his project is "Improving Physician Adoption of Pharmacogenomic Clinical Decision Support via Implementation Science Methodologies." 




jonahmusa1.jpgJonah Musa
Health Services and Outcomes Research 
| 2014 Cohort
Jonah obtained basic medical education and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He then completed a 5-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and obtained fellowships at both the West African College of Surgeons (FWACS) and National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (FMCOG). Prior to joining HSIP, he worked on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission as part of a program supported by the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Nigeria. His primary research interest is understanding health care delivery factors that could improve cervical cancer outcomes in resource-limited settings; particularly in vulnerable populations such as HIV infected women. 


adovichrivera.JPGAdovich 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.


ivaterwilliger.jpgIva 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.


andrewwang1.jpgAndrew 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. 


charlotteward.jpgCharlotte Ward
Health Services and Outcomes Research 
| 2014 Cohort
Charlotte earned her BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, and a Master in Public Health from Dartmouth College in 2010. Before coming to Northwestern, Charlotte spent four years as an analyst at Massachusetts General Hospital providing project management and statistical support for large-scale strategic and operational initiatives, which focused on population health management, performance reporting, and quality improvement. Her research interests include the application of statistical methods to studies in health services research, as well as their development. Specifically, she is interested in mixture, spatiotemporal, and generalized linear and nonlinear mixed-effects models. Her dissertation study involves the development of a finite mixture model for longitudinal count data that accounts for both within-subject correlation and overdispersion at the observational level. 


richardweinmeyer.jpgRick 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.


zexian1.jpgZexian Zeng
Health and Biomedical Informatics 
| 2014 Cohort
Zexian completed his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the Beijing Institute of Technology before receiving two Master degrees in Computer Science and Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to joining HSIP, Zexian worked for the University of Wisconsin Hospital serving as the project lead on quality control and informatics research. During his research at UW Hospital, he work on application design and database construction based on NIH requirements, creating communication web services for client-based web applications and the architectural patterns to support those applications. His current research interests revolve around making computation more practical and useful in healthcare. He is involved in breast cancer genomics, natural language processing, and machine learning modeling. 


manrui1.jpgManrui 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.  


lindsay1.jpgLindsay 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.