WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...

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WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
FALL 2019
                          WINTER 2021

                in the middle of a pandemic,
                    not dampen the spirit of
 UICOMP or its legacy. Let’s stand together      “
  in solidarity, and build the next 50 years!
                        -- Dr. Meenakshy Aiyer
WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
From the Dean . . .

50 Years of Achievements                                   1    Hope. As I reflect on 2020 and the challenges we face
                                                                during a global pandemic, I am filled with pride in all
50th Anniversary Kickoff                                   2
                                                                that we’ve accomplished and hope for the future. The
Community Support Grows                                    4    University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria adapted
                                                                and persevered, and through it all, we are forever
Alum Honored by Veteran Affairs                            6    changed. Developments and alternative plans, created
UICOMP’s Response to COVID-19                              7    out of necessity, have showcased our resilience and
Community Health Awards                                    8
                                                                When our nation reeled over the social injustice and racism pushed to the
Celebration of Excellence                                  9    forefront with the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, our UICOMP students,
                                                                residents, faculty and staff took part in peaceful protests, expressed
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion                           10   their own propensity for change, and shared conversation to enlighten and
New Faculty                                                15   understand. While our nation’s Civil Rights movement is decades old, we
                                                                know modern history has not translated to equality for everyone. In this
News and Notes                                             16   issue of Pathways, members of our UICOMP community share their
                                                                experiences concerning diversity and equity on page 12. Their insights and
CAT Scholars                                               18   the update from our Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Elsa
Historical Photos                                          20   Vazquez-Melendez, MD, offer me more reason for hope.
                                                                We celebrated UICOMP’s 50th anniversary with a virtual event in October
                                                                2020 that paid tribute to our founders, alumni, faculty and staff as well as
                                                                the community collaboration which has been so key to the success of
ON THE COVER: Cheers to 50 Years!                               academic medicine in Peoria. That event is highlighted on page 2. As we
Pictured left to right are: Executive Dean Mark
Rosenblatt, MD, University of Illinois College of               reflect on 50 years and all UICOMP has accomplished, I am filled with hope
Medicine; Rex and Laurie Linder, UICOMP 50th                    for what the next 50 years will bring.
Anniversary Co-Chairs; and Interim Regional
Dean Meenkashy Aiyer, MD, UICOMP. This toast                    This year, in particular, there was hope in continuing established traditions.
occurred October 15, 2020, when a handful of
people came to campus to host UICOMP’s 50th                     We honored our faculty, Oustanding Senior Scholar, and Community Health
anniversary with a virtual event that was                       Award winners during a virtual Celebration of Excellence (pages 8 and 9).
livestreamed online. See page 2.
                                                                We launched our 10th Cohort of the Caterpillar Faculty Scholars Fellowship,
                                                                and those scholars are highlighted on page18. We welcomed the loyal and
                                                                compassionate support of Mark Linder Walk for the Mind, Theresa Tracy
                                                                Trot, and KB Strong. These valued partners continually create a sense of
                                                                community among their participants and supporters, all while creating
Pathways is published semi-annually by                          much-needed funds for research in the areas of both brain cancer and
the University of Illinois College of Medicine
Peoria to provide alumni, faculty, staff, and                   pancreatic cancer. These groups fuel hope for the survivors and loved ones
friends with an overview of our academic,                       who support their causes as well as the research enterprises they faithfully
clinical, and scientific endeavors. Pathways is                 support.
a publication of UICOMP’s Office of Advance-
ment and Community Relations and is online                      The lessons learned in 2020 will forever change the face of academic
                                                                medicine and influence the ways we teach and learn, provide care, and
Questions, comments, or story ideas for
Pathways? Call 309|680-8613 or email                            work, not just now, but in the future. Those creative and adaptive solutions                                    developed during a crisis will serve us in the future, and that brings me
                                                                hope. The pandemic is not over, but at press time as I author this column,
Dr. Meenakshy Aiyer                                             our frontline healthcare workers are rolling up their sleeves to receive
                                                                COVID-19 vaccinations, another reason to be hopeful in 2021.
Susan Grebner                                                   Sincerely,
Kim Deets
                               WINTER 2021
                                                                Meenakshy Aiyer, MD
One Illini Drive • Peoria, Illinois 61605 • 309|680-8613        Interim Regional Dean • 309|671-8438 FAX
WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
UICOMP Achievements in Its 50-Year History
                                   …Since its founding in 1970, UICOMP has…
■ educated and trained more than 2,000        ■ support of local, community-based                     ■ collaborated with OSF HealthCare
  physicians who earned their MD in             organizations whose supporters funnel                   to offer Jump Simulation to provide our
  Peoria                                        their love and passion for finding a cure               learners with the latest technology and
■ an annual roster of 300 residents and         to support local research right here in                 tools through virtual reality, simulation,
  fellows who train and provide care in         Peoria                                                  and virtual clinical settings
  Peoria as part of their graduate medical    ■ alumni hard at work providing care to                 ■ harnessed the power of virtual reality
  education                                     patients and communities around the                     and other technology to teach and train
■ a faculty list of just over 200 full-time     world                                                   students and residents in ways previ-
  faculty and an additional 1,200+ faculty                                                              ously impossible
  who are part-time, all of whom are                                                                  ■ supported the most vulnerable through
  passionate about sharing their knowl-                                                                 clinical service and support, including
  edge and training the next generation                                                                 our Pediatric Resource Center and
  of physicians                                  Our founders believed in the                           Positive Health Solutions
■ grown and expanded to provide clinical         need for a medical school in                         ■ continued close partnerships with
  care to more than 31,000 patients                                                                     OSF Saint Francis Medical Center,
  annually                                       Peoria, and they championed                            Children’s Hospital of Illinois and
■ built a world class research wing               the cause and went to great                           UnityPoint Health to provide clinical
  dedicated to cancer research,                                                                         care
  Alzheimer’s, stroke, ion channel
                                                    effort to make it possible.                       ■ prepared physicians who are providing
  research, and much more                         A review of UICOMP’s path                             care and leading healthcare organiza-
■ faculty scientists who successfully earn                                                              tions locally and around the world
  grants from such organizations as the
                                                  to today reveals the wisdom                           during a 2020 global pandemic
  National Institutes of Health and the                in the vision of those
  National Science Foundation
                                                   founders and early leaders.

                                              This historic photo hangs outside the Dean’s Office
                                              today. It is of the signing of the founding agreement
                                              that initiated the partnerships that have led to the
                                              rich education and training experiences for our
                                              learners. The organizations at the table 50 years ago
                                              are, by and large, the same ones collaborating with
                                              UICOMP today.

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
50 Aiversary Kickoff Held Virtuay
    In October, the University of Illinois                                                                  The event was emceed by John Morris,
    College of Medicine Peoria honored its                                                                  president and CEO of the Peoria
    50th anniversary with a virtual event                                                                   Riverfront Museum. The event featured
    livestreamed from Peoria to more than                                                                   messages from two members of the
    800 guests, a fitting tribute given the                                                                 first UICOMP graduating class, Dr. Kent
    limitations of the global pandemic.                                                                     and Dr. Joyce Wise, as well as faculty
    Interim Regional Dean Meenakshy Aiyer,                                                                  and alumni messages, including Pierre
    MD, paid tribute to the vision of UICOMP                                                                Johnson, MD, recipient of the 2020
    founders and more than 2,000 alumni                                                                     Distinguished Alumnus Award. Musical
    who are providing healthcare and leading                                                                performances included faculty member
    organizations during the COVID-19                                                                       John Day, MD, on the piano, and the
    pandemic. She spoke with pride of the                                                                   medical student group Docapella, who
    world-class research, advancements with                                                                 sang “Stand by Me.”
    simulation and innovation, and a growing                                                                In drawing the event to a close, Dean
    clinical enterprise that provides care to                                                               Aiyer said, “We may be in the middle of a
    more than 31,000 patients annually.                                                                     pandemic, but that does not dampen the
                                                       Emcee John Morris, president and CEO of the Peoria
    Aiyer highlighted strong community                 Riverfront Museum, speaks of the symbolism of the    spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let’s stand
    partnerships stating, “I would be remiss           UICOMP patch worn by faculty and learners.           together in solidarity, and build the next
    if I did not mention the countless people                                                               50 years!”
    and organizations who got us to where              They have been with us since the very
    we are today, like the strong support of           beginning and are strong collaborators
    our affiliate healthcare systems – OSF             and partners who have helped create a
    HealthCare and UnityPoint Health.                  vibrant healthcare economy in Peoria.”
                                                       Executive Dean Mark Rosenblatt, MD,
                                                       with the University of Illinois College of
                                                       Medicine addressed the unique role of
                                                       the Peoria campus with the College as
                                                       a whole. “We’re providing world class
                                                       medical care for a remarkably diverse
                                                       state, from the urban areas of Chicago to
                                                       the rural areas surrounding Peoria and
                                                       Rockford… Our Peoria campus has been
                                                       remarkably successful at forming strong
                                                       and enduring partnerships with health
                                                       systems in the region at which most of
                                                       our faculty practice,” he said.
    Co-chairs of the UICOMP 50th Anniversary Jubilee
    Gala: Rex and Laurie Linder and Dr. Kent and Dr.
    Joyce Wise.

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
The virtual event was planned following
postponement of the Jubilee Gala
originally planned for September 2020.
The Wises, along with Rex and Laurie
Linder, serve as co-chairs of the 50th
Anniversary Advisory Committee. During
the livestream, they encouraged everyone
to mark their calendars for September
2021 in anticipation of an in-person event
to socially and safely celebrate the event.
Event organizers will closely monitor public
health guidelines and recommendations in
anticipation of the event.
In the meantime, a historic timeline of
UICOMP, photos from campus, and
stories shared by alumni, faculty past
and present, and friends of UICOMP
are posted for reading. Simply visit –
                                               On-site participants in the virtual event toast the occasion while following CDC protocol for masking. ■

                                                           (Left) The UICOMP lobby served as the production set for the live
                                                           virtual event. (Above) UICOMP students in the group “Docapella”
                                                           sang “Stand By Me.”

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
Community Support For UICOMP
    Research Soars During Pandemic
    This year UICOMP research continued to       KB Strong
                                                 The KB Strong Foundation donated $50,000 for glioblastoma and
    receive generous support from community      brain tumor research which brings the KB Strong total to $80,000
                                                 contributed to support research at UICOMP. Funds were raised
                                                 from this year’s BrownFest, including a 5K, 50/50 raffle, silent
    groups who are passionate about their        auction and more.
                                                 The KB Strong Foundation is named
    causes. Typical fundraisers which have       in memory of Washington Community
                                                 High School head basketball coach
                                                 Kevin Brown, who lost his battle
    been popular and successful in past years    with glioblastoma in June 2019. The
                                                 Foundation spearheads a variety of
                                                 fundraising events to support research
    had to be reimagined in 2020, and the        as well as provide support to patients
                                                 and families who are currently battling
    result was overwhelming! Supporters          the disease through its newly created
                                                 Warrior Fund. One major source of fundraising in 2019 was the
                                                 annual high school basketball Tournament of Champions hosted
    and survivors as well as their friends and   at Washington Community High School. In fact, the tournament
                                                 was re-named The Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of
    families continued to show their love and    Champions in honor of the beloved coach. However, the 2020
                                                 tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ■

    dedication to the causes they believe in

    through virtual events.

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
Mark Linder Walk for the Mind                                         Theresa Tracy Trot
Mark Linder Walk for the Mind recently donated $80,000 for            The Annual Theresa Tracy Trot was held virtually November 7 and
brain tumor and brain cancer research at the University of Illinois   is the primary fundraiser for the Theresa Tracy Strive to Survive
College of Medicine Peoria. The 18th Annual Mark Linder Walk          charitable foundation – created to help in the battle against
for the Mind was held virtually in 2020 with a program broadcast      pancreatic cancer. This year’s virtual event also included an
on YouTube and participants encouraged to share photos on             online silent auction. The group also holds a variety of community
social media.                                                         fundraisers throughout the year.
In an effort to reach out to brain                                    To date, this group has donated
tumor and cancer survivors and                                        nearly $225,000 to UICOMP,
help raise funds for research,                                        and its 2020 donation will be
Mark Linder founded the Walk                                          forthcoming.
for the Mind in 2003. That first                                      The Theresa Tracy Strive
walk attracted over 150 walkers                                       to Survive not-for-profit was
and raised about $12,000 for                                          created in memory of Theresa
research programs. While Mark                                         Ann (Naramore) Tracy, who
died in 2005 at age 31 from brain                                     after battling pancreatic cancer,
cancer, the Walk continues coordinated entirely by volunteers,        passed away in 2010 at age 44. The mission is to increase
many of whom themselves are brain cancer survivors. Since             survivability of pancreatic cancer through awareness and to
2003, Walk for the Mind has donated nearly $750,000 to UICOMP.        support the advancement of a cure. Funds raised go to help
All funds raised support research at the College of Medicine in       supporting pancreatic cancer research at the University of
Peoria with the goal of understanding the mechanisms that make        Illinois College of Medicine Peoria where laboratory researchers
brain cancers and tumors grow and invade healthy tissue. ■            and physicians are working to expand their understanding of
                                                                      diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer, as well as to
                                                                      Illinois Cancer Care for care and treatment of those with
                                                                      pancreatic cancer. ■

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
US Department of Veterans Affairs
                 Honors UICOMP Alum Alan Bridges, MD
    Alan Bridges, MD, (UICOMP, Class of 1983) is                                                   proposals and over 250 innovation projects over
    the winner of the Veterans Health Administration                                               the last four years. Currently, he is a key leader
    John D. Chase Award for Executive Excellence                                                   in the Madison VA’s High Reliability Organi-
    in Health Care.                                                                                zation (HRO) journey via his participation in
                                                                                                   the baseline assessment of the facility and his
    Bridges is the Madison VA Hospital’s Chief of
                                                                                                   promotion of a Just Culture.
    Staff, and the award was announced in November
    2020 by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.                                                  He led the Madison VA to become a high-
                                                                                                    performing facility with CMS Mortality, Outpatient
    This award is for sustained executive leadership
                                                                                                    Care, Mental Health Care, Care Transition,
    by an individual from any health care discipline.
                                                                                                    Employee Satisfaction and Hospital Rating
    The award is named for Dr. John D. Chase, who                                                   metrics all in the top quintile in the VA Strategic
    was the Chief Medical Director of the Veterans                                                  Analytics for Improvement and Learning (SAIL)
    Administration from 1974 to 1978.                     Alan Bridges, MD, UICOMP class of 1983
                                                                                                    performance metrics, earning the Madison VA
    “This is a well-deserved honor for an individual who has dedicated         a national reputation as a leading VA hospital.
    his working life to ensuring our Veterans receive top quality care,”       Dr. Bridges received an undergraduate degree from Augustana
    said John Rohrer, Madison VA Hospital director. “I have had                College, Rock Island, Illinois, and his medical degree from the
    the honor and privilege of working with Dr. Bridges for over 30            University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. He completed
    years, and I can honestly say there is no one more worthy of this          his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin
    recognition.”                                                              Hospital and Clinics in Madison. He was Chief Medical Resident
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Bridges serves on the                    in Internal Medicine and completed a Rheumatology Fellowship,
    COVID-19 Care Transition Planning National Sequester, on his               both at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. He is board certified
    local Hospital Incident Command, and as the Veterans Integrated            in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
    Service Networks (VISN) 12 Medical Incident Commander. In this             After completing his fellowship, he was appointed Assistant
    capacity, he oversees the medical response for the VA Network of           Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia
    eight hospitals spanning from central Illinois to the Upper Penin-         School of Medicine, and, during this same time period, he was
    sula of Michigan. When the initial surge of COVID hit Chicago in           appointed Associate Director, Antinuclear Antibody Laboratory
    early summer, he provided leadership to the two Chicago-area VA            at the University Hospital and Clinics, Columbia, Missouri. He
    hospitals as they accepted humanitarian patients from the private          returned to Madison in 1992 and has been on staff at UW and
    sector in partnership with FEMA to respond to the pandemic.                the VA since that time.
    Dr. Bridges promotes the spirit of innovation and diffusion of best        Dr. Bridges’ research has focused on antibody testing for
    practices, as evidenced by the many projects he and his staff              rheumatic diseases and new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis
    have submitted to National VA innovation labs. The Madison VA              and connective tissue disease. He has published more than 65
    submitted more than 15 Shark Tank (process improvement)                    articles in peer reviewed journals. ■

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
UICOMP’s Response to COVID-19 Takes on Many Forms
Research Trials from                                   I-MAB Biopharma: G2063
Internal Medicine                                      This clinical trial is a partnership with
The Department of Internal Medicine is                 I-MAB Biopharma to study immunomod-
involved in a variety of research regarding            ulatory therapy in the treatment of severe
COVID-19, including these three clinical               COVID-19. The treatment studied in
trials:                                                this effort is a monoclonal antibody that
                                                       targets the inflammatory cytokine GM-
Janssen: G1990                                         CSF, a molecule that produces multiple
In this clinical trial, UICOMP partnered               pro-inflammatory effects and that has
with Janssen Research and Development                  been noted to be increased in severe
to study the use of immunomodulatory                   COVID-19. This double blind, random-
therapy in the treatment of severe                     ized, multi-center trial will advance the
COVID-19. One of the most intensely                    knowledge of potential treatments for          patients through face-to-face or telehealth
studied avenues for preventing the                     severe COVID-19 and give our patients          appointments. This grant award allowed
significant immune dysfunction in severe               access to an investigational treatment         PHS to procure equipment necessary to
COVID-19 is the inhibition of an important             that has the potential to significantly        offer telehealth via telephone or video
pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-6. Sirukumab             improve their clinical outcomes. ■             appointments. The patients appreciated
is a monoclonal antibody that directly                                                                this opportunity because having a
targets IL-6 to block its downstream bio-              Positive Health Solutions                      diagnosis of HIV and managing that diag-
logical effects. This trial is a double-blind,         Provides Emergency Care                        nosis during this pandemic has been very
randomized, multi-center study that                    with Grant Award                               challenging for patients and families.
seeks to determine if use of Sirukumab in                                                             Positive Health Solutions provides HIV
                                                       As recipient of a grant award through
COVID-19 can improve the outcomes of
                                                       the COVID-19 Ryan White HIV/AIDS               care to 730 individuals. ■
patients with severe disease. Participation
                                                       Program, Positive Health Solutions has
in this trial has allowed us to contribute                                                            Lancia’s Pandemic Response
                                                       assisted with providing extended and
to the understanding of how to best treat                                                             Spans the Globe
                                                       emergency care to individuals and their
severe COVID-19 as well as allow our
                                                       families. PHS has performed 161 COVID                             Dr. Andrew Lancia,
patients the opportunity to take part in
                                                       screenings and 117 COVID-19 tests and                             Associate Professor of
this important trial.
                                                       offers COVID testing twice a week for                             Psychiatry and Medical
Blade Therapeutics:                                    patients and household members. Testing                           Director of Behavioral
COVID10 BLD-2660-204 COVID19                           is similar to the drive through testing,                          Health Integrated
                                                       requiring a patient to schedule an                                Services for UnityPoint
The clinical trial evaluated the utility of a
                                                       appointment and nurses going to the                               Health in Peoria, has
novel oral agent to decrease the inflam-
                                                       patient car to perform the test.               been addressing and working on COVID
matory response associated with SARS-
CoV2 infection in attempt to decrease                  The funding also provides emergency            pandemic issues from the beginning. In
long-term lung injury. The trial included              housing assistance as well as supportive       addition to working on the front lines of
over 30 sites in the USA and Brazil, with              social services. PHS assisted 283 clients      care, providing mental health services
the highest enrollment of subjects in the              with emergency housing and utility             to COVID+ persons, he produced a
USA occurring in Peoria, Illinois.                     assistance. The funding assists with food      well received report on how to make
                                                       needs, and 396 families have received          organizational changes in response to the
                                                       supplemental food vouchers.                    pandemic (March 24, 2020. Academy of
                                                                                                      Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry). Early
                                                       PHS staff put together emergency COVID
                                                                                                      on, he recognized the strain on other
                                                       packs for clients. These packs include:
                                                                                                      frontline workers, so he began visiting
                                                       thermometer, face masks, hand sanitizer,
                                                                                                      the COVID+ units regularly, just to touch
                                                       disinfecting wipes and spray. More than
                                                                                                      base on how they were managing and
                                                       100 have been distributed already.
                                                                                                      to guide them to resources to prevent
                                                       The PHS ambulatory clinic has procured         burnout. Over the summer, his commit-
                                                       extra supplies such as blood pressure          ment to keeping frontline workers
                                                       devices, pulse oximeters, vitamins, rapid      emotionally healthy was expanded
                                                       influenza A & B test, strep test, and influ-   internationally with a webinar entitled
Dr. Douglas Kasper, associate professor of clinical    enza and pneumococcal vaccines for             “Adjusting to the New Normal” for
medicine and section chief-infectious disease, talks
with third-year medical students Gabriela Gonzalez-    preparation of the fall and winters months.    ophthalmologists in India. Finally, through
Cantoran and Garret Waterstradt.
                                                       PHS offers psychiatric services once a         the chaos, Dr. Lancia continues to teach
                                                       week and has assisted with assessments         medical students and residents, the next
                                                       on mental health and stability for 161         generation of caregivers. ■

WINTER 2021 FALL 2019 - We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but that does not dampen the spirit of UICOMP or its legacy. Let's stand together ...
Hendrickson, Neighborhood House Presented 2020 Community Health Awards
       The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria presented its 2020 Community Health Awards
      during its 12th Annual Celebration of Excellence held virtually November 12. The awards were started
       in 1995 to honor individuals and organizations who promote community health in central Illinois.

    2020 Community Health Award Organization Winner                           2020 Community Health Award Individual Winner
    Neighborhood House                                                        Monica Hendrickson
                                                                              Public Health Administrator,
    For 125 years, Neighborhood House has provided diverse local              Peoria City/County Health Department
    programming to meet the needs of individuals through all life
    stages. Neighborhood House focuses on feeding, educating and              Monica has become the trusted face of
    empowering the community. In a typical year, more than 1,000              the Tri-County area’s COVID-19 response.
    seniors in Peoria and Tazewell counties receive Meals on Wheels,          From moderating daily press briefings to
    and the majority of programs focus on helping the family unit out         her leadership in our community’s overall
    of poverty through tutoring programs for children, adult literacy,        response to the pandemic, Monica has led
    workforce preparation, financial literacy, and food pantry. They          collaboration and coordination of services, data collection and
                     upped their game during the COVID-19 pandemic            reporting, and spear-headed mitigation efforts to control the
                        to focus on food insecurity as the local need         spread of COVID-19. She is a voice of reliable authority as well
                         skyrocketed. More than 500 seniors were              as a strong and trusted leader.
                                              added to the Meals on
                                              Wheels program.
                                  Neighborhood House delivers meals           “This year is an especially meaningful year for this UICOMP
                                  to 235 children in their after school       tradition. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and our
    program. Its food pantry went from serving 45 clients bi-weekly to        partners in community health have worked tirelessly to guide
    serving over 430 clients as well as delivering food pantry baskets        our response, support our communities, and prepare all of us to
    to the families of children receiving meals.                              mitigate the spread of this disease,” says Meenakshy Aiyer, MD,
                                                                              UICOMP interim regional dean. ■

        UICOMP sponsors these awards to                 Past Winners . . .
        recognize on-going commitment to
                                                        INDIVIDUALS                             ORGANIZATIONS/PROGRAMS
        community health promotion
                                                        1996   Joseph Solovy, MD                1997   OSF Saint Francis Medical Center
        and/or disease prevention in our
                                                        1997   David Gorenz, MD                 1998   Healthy Balance Program of Caterpillar
        community. A healthy community                  1998   Sister M. Canisha Gerlach        1999   In-School HealthCare Program
        requires a high quality medical                 1998   Fred White, MD                   2000   Hult Health Education Center
        system along with programs to                   1999   Patti Bash                       2001   Senior World
                                                        2000   Barbara Walvoord                 2002   Central IL Chapter of the American Red Cross
        confront and manage concerns                    2001   Susan Bishop, DMD                2003   Center for Prevention of Abuse
        such as livable neighborhoods,                  2002   David Wang, DO                   2004   Peoria Area Labor Management Council
        family support, job opportunities,              2003   Andrew Rand                      2005   Alzheimer’s Association, Central IL Chapter
                                                        2004   Ken Hinton                       2006   Joining Forces for Children
        improved educational opportunities,             2005   David Springer, MD               2007   Mental Health Association of IL Valley
        hunger, homelessness; and                       2006   Joan Krupa                       2008   Pediatric Resource Center
        adequate systems of transportation,             2007   Rep David R. Leitch              2009   Susan G. Komen Foundation
                                                        2008   Steve Thompson                   2010   Illinois Valley Striders
        public safety, and crime.                       2009   William Albers, MD
                                                                                                2011   Heartland Community Health Clinic
                                                        2010   Gregg Stoner, MD
                                                                                                2012   Quality Quest
                                                        2011   John Halvorsen, MD
                                                                                                2013   First United Methodist Church Loaves & Fish
                                                        2012   Andrew Morgan, MD
                                                                                                2014   Peoria District Dental Society
                                                        2013   Jack Gilligan, PhD
                                                        2014   Arun Pinto, MD                   2015   Human Service Center
                                                        2015   Patrick Elwood, MD               2016   Midwest Food Bank
                                                        2016   Camilla & Dr. Ronald Rabjohns    2017   Children’s Home of Central Illinois
                                                        2017   Tamara Olt, MD                   2018   Goodwill Stand Down for Homeless Veterans
                                                        2018   Tim Miller, MD                   2019   Methodist College
                                                        2019   David Trachtenbarg, MD

UICOMP Initiatives Toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
     Beauty and Strength in Diversity
     By Elsa Vazquez-Melendez, MD. UICOMP Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

     “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” I                             Reoccurring instances of bias encountered by our
     think about Dr. Maya Angelou’s insightful words of wisdom                           medical, as well as nursing students, residents, nurses,
     whenever I witness acts of defiance and courage in the                              technicians, and therapists led hospital leadership,
     name of social justice and equality. Maya Angelou died in                           college administration and faculty to support our efforts to
     2014. Her loss was felt deeply but I’m actually grateful that                       meet the implicit bias education in our community head
     she did not live to see the end of the first score of the new                       on. None of us should tolerate or abide by disrespectful
     millennium. We have so much work ahead of us to bring                               treatment of any member of the healthcare team, most of
     equality and justice to our community and society at large.                         all our future caregivers and leaders, i.e., our students!
                                                                               Implicit bias causes people to unintentionally favor some groups --
     In my first five years as Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and        often ones like them -- over others. Speak up. Educate! provides
     Inclusion, I focused primarily on education. I worked to sow              all caregivers and stakeholders the tools to address expressions
     seeds of awareness and create situations, opportunities and safe          of bias and empowers all members of the care team to speak
     spaces to foster the necessary, but uncomfortable, conversations          up and educate others when a member of the team expresses
     that our community, particularly our medical community, had               unconscious bias (which by definition may be occurring without
     been avoiding. I did this work on three fronts: 1) the Immersion          an awareness of the implications). Between 2018 and 2019,
     Week for second year medical students was dedicated to topics             we held more than 30 two-hour workshops with more than 350
     of social determinants of health; 2) creation and integration of          participants. The participants were a cross-section of healthcare
     our healthcare disparities seminar within the Family Medicine             providers, and the workshops blended everyone together without
     clerkship; 3) development and delivery of implicit bias training for      any notion of hierarchy. The outcome was a much more inclusive
     fourth year medical students and medical staff. The third “spoke          community. Speak Up. Educate! sessions are currently on hold,
     in the wheel” was designed to meet our cultural stereotypes               but will resume once the SARS CoV-2 synthetic mRNA Spike
     head on. It became the impetus for another endeavor to give our           protein vaccine is widely available and allows us to hold in-person
     students a voice within our medical community: the M4 program             workshops.
     known as “Crucial Conversations”. This last session equips our
     students with the problem-solving skills required to navigate             Just before the COVID-19 pandemic arose, we created our
     conflicts in the work environment while maintaining inclusive and         Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. The task force is
     open communication. The students have been active participants            composed of students, residents, faculty and staff from every
     in the curriculum design and evolution of Crucial Conversations.          subspecialty and UICOMP department. While the group started
     The changes we implemented have resulted in significant                   planning and organizing our local initiatives, the local healthcare
     improvements in the dynamics for students rotating through                community was also engaged in responding to the unanticipated
     third- and fourth-year clerkships and have challenged the status          global pandemic that resulted from the emergence of SARS-
     quo. This has reminded everyone in our community that...                  CoV2. Meanwhile, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,
     “In diver ere is beau and ere is streng.”                           and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of local law enforcement in
                                                                               Minneapolis, Louisville, and self-appointed neighborhood
     Two years ago, I engaged the leaders at UICOMP, UnityPoint                watchers, respectively, were transformative in terms of general
     Health, and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center to develop a                 awareness of the implicit bias not just within fringe elements
     real-time program to address gaps in education and awareness              of society, but within our rank and file law enforcement as well.
     of both institutional and individual implicit bias. From these            During the summer of 2020, we all witnessed the national
     meetings and discussions Speak Up. Educate! was born.                     protests, as well as the peaceful marches with people from all
     Speak up. Educate! is an educational program that teaches                 racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds coming together
     health care professionals and caregivers to “speak up” if they            despite the pandemic (with protective masks in place), walking
     hear others make statements that reflect bias (implicit or explicit).     hand-in-hand to raise awareness of the persistent racism and
     Expressions of bias are discussed and clarified openly.                   cultural injustice that is so pervasive in our country today.

Tim Killeen and Barb Wilson, the University of Illinois System
President and the Executive Vice President and Vice President
for Academic Affairs, respectively, shared the charge: “Let us
make this outrageous act of aggression a pivotal point in history
that begins to reverse generations of systemic racism and
discrimination. Let it start here and let it start now.” This was a
call to action, and the University of Illinois College of Medicine
established the Anti-Racism Urgent Action Committee, led by             Through on-going efforts, the University of
Dr. Gloria Elam, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. The
committee was charged to use the following months to establish         Illinois College of Medicine Peoria seeks and
an immediate action plan for mitigating the impacts of racism
and/or reducing systemic inequities facing people of color”. The       promotes opportunities to foster dialogue and
urgent action committee includes students, staff, and faculty from
all culture, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. It has jurisdiction    understanding in our quest to promote racial
across all campuses and collaborates with all the campus-wide
subcommittees.                                                         justice and equality. On the next page, we hear
In Peoria, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force has         from members of the UICOMP family on their
been reinvigorated, and two subcommittees have been created
to address our local needs: the Recruitment, Retention and             impressions, experiences, and opportunities to
Concerns Subcommittee will work on improving the recruitment
of black and underrepresented minority students, residents,            further diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.
fellows, staff and faculty. This subcommittee will provide recom-
mendations for a holistic approach to recruitment and retention as
well as the development of processes and protocols to address
concerns raised by our underrepresented minorities. Our Learning
and Work Environment Subcommittee will focus on improving
all aspects of the black (and other underrepresented minorities)
student, resident, faculty and staff experience with specific action
plans for academic, research and career support.
Our goal is not only to create a more diverse and inclusive
environment within our college of medicine, but to prepare
individuals who can reach out to all communities and engage
them strategically in addressing their needs. An educational
program for communities of color about the new COVID vaccine
is a great example for community engagement. The process of
inclusion could be daunting as there is always the possibility of
missing someone. It is important to look at who are sitting at the
table making decisions and to ensure that all voices are heard. ■

UICOMP Initiatives Toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion                        CONTINUED

     In Pursuit of Justice and Equality
     Members of the UICOMP family were              cultures, and beliefs is something that          Program at UICOMP, I was excited to join
     asked for their impressions, experiences,      only NYC can offer. The way people               the faculty as an Assistant Professor of
     and opportunities regarding diversity,         accommodate each other and respect the           Clinical Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.
     equity, and inclusion for all.                 difference is truly a learning opportunity.      In my role as an academic hospitalist, I
                                                    Growing up in Pakistan, I wasn’t fortunate       am energized by and deeply committed to
     They were asked 4 questions:                   enough to live in such a diverse city and        the work of training the next generation of
       1 Where did you grow up, how                 enjoyed noticing little acts of kindness         physicians and was recently awarded the
          long have you been in Peoria,             that meant a lot and positively changed          2019 Inpatient Faculty Teaching Award. In
          and what do you do for fun?               my perspective in understanding the              addition to teaching, I am the co-director
                                                                                                     of the medicine consult and procedure
          2 Share an experience with                value of being non-judgmental.
              diversity, equity, and/or inclusion                                                    service. I also serve on the Diversity,
              that has influenced you?       3 Nisha Rao recently became Pakistan’s                  Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and the
                                               first transgender lawyer. Part of their               Anti-Racism Urgent Action Committee at
  3 Give an example of a positive outcome      struggle was to have parliament pass                  UICOMP. When I’m not in the hospital, I
     you have observed when you or
     someone you know advocated for            bills to recognize them as equal citizens             enjoy spending time with my wife, Daphne,
     social equality or justice?               protecting them from discrimination and               a fellow foodie who shares my love of
                                               violence.                                             music, movies, and traveling.
     4 What tips do you have for
         engaging in meaningful              4 Be on the lookout for small things you             2 One experience that comes to mind when
         conversation on topics                can do to make others feel welcome.                  I think about the benefits of diversity
         surrounding diversity,                When people from diverse backgrounds                 in health care occurred during an ICU
         equality, and/or inclusion?                                                                rotation in my first year as a resident.
                                               are given the space in which they feel
                                               valued and appreciated, they effortlessly            We were treating an elderly, African
                                                                                                    American patient who was critically ill
  NADIA SHAIKH, MD                             bring out their best work. One must also
                                                                                                    and on life support. The patient had a
                                               recognize the challenges that stand in
                  I am Nadia Shaikh, a 1                                                            large, loving family that was having a
                                               the path of inclusion, whether they are
                  pediatric hospitalist and                                                         difficult time accepting the poor prognosis.
                                               coming from systems or people. Iden-                 Given my knowledge of the scholarly
                  sedation physician at
                                               tifying the hurdles and working with                 research on physician distrust among
                  UICOMP. My early child-
                                               colleagues to change them is a challenge             African Americans, I offered to speak with
                  hood memories are from
                                               one must be eager to take and have                   the family -- believing that, as the only
                  Saudi Arabia where I
                                               no hesitation in calling things out which            African American doctor on the unit, they
  stayed until I was 10 and then moved to
                                               needs to be changed. ■                               might be more receptive to me and my
  Karachi, Pakistan. I did all my medical
                                                                                                    approach. My assumption was correct.
  education there and then moved to the
                                               JOHN FONGE, MD                                       After explaining, in a culturally-respon-
  US and joined a residency program in
                                                                                          1         sive manner, that we had exhausted all
  New York. Our family moved to Peoria in                      My name is John Fonge,
                                                                                                    medical options, the family agreed that --
  2016 and has loved staying here since                        and I hail from the great
                                                                                                    despite their pain -- the best course of ac-
  then. We enjoy the outdoors whenever                         state of Texas. I earned
                                                                                                    tion was to prioritize the patient’s comfort
  we get the opportunity. I love to go on                      my B.E. in Biomedical                in his final days. The conversation helped
  short day trips with my husband, our                         Engineering from Vander-             the family to understand that the decision
  5-year-old son, and at times with friends.                   bilt University in 2008 and          was not a test of their faith, but rather a
                                               my doctorate from Ross University School             testament to their love. Years later, I was
2 Being a resident in NYC, I extensively
                                               of Medicine in 2014. After completing my             treating a patient who recognized me as
  used and enjoyed the subway experi-          medical training in the Combined Internal
  ence. Sharing your every day with people                                                          the physician who supported her family
                                               Medicine and Pediatric Residency                     through that tough medical decision. The
  from different countries, walks of life,

patient thanked me for the care I provided         That influenced me to continue to pursue        looking at the big picture. I am very
   to her loved one and expressed how                 my goal of being a physician.                   grateful for the chance to be a part of the
   meaningful it was to see and be treated                                                            DEI Task Force in Peoria and to learn from
                                              4 My advice for engaging in meaningful
   by a physician who looked like them.                                                               everyone else involved. It makes me feel
                                                conversations on diversity would be to
   These two related encounters demon-                                                                like we can play a part in making changes
   strate, for me, the importance of diversity  not only come with an open heart, but
                                                be willing to see someone else’s point of             at UICOMP and in Peoria, and hopefully
   and inclusion in medicine.                                                                         that contributes to a ripple effect that has
                                                view. I believe one of the best ways to
4 When attempting to have a dialogue            do this is to always be ready to learn the            increasingly broader impact.
  about diversity and inclusion, it is          uncomfortable history of different racial,         3 Maybe because it’s what I’m most closely
  essential to spend time unpacking what
                                                religious, sexual groups so that you can             involved with, I’ve been interested to
  these terms mean and what they look
                                                understand some of what may influence                see how the events and protests of this
  like in practice; doing so helps to create
                                                people you encounter. In addition, you               summer and the larger Black Lives
  a space where everyone has a solid
  foundation for contributing to the conver-    must be open and honest with your                    Matter movement has impacted medical
  sation. Moreover, we must work to ensure      personal beliefs, and be comfortable with            education and the medical field. The
  that all parties have a clear understanding   those beliefs being challenged. It is of             involvement and advocacy of students
  of why these conversations are critically     utmost   importance to continue to learn             and residents are inspiring to see,
  important to our mission of delivering        and  have   conversations like these. ■              because they are the pipeline to affect
  quality health care to all patients. ■                                                             real change.
                                                      JENNA REGAN                                  4 I’m no exemplar who should be giving
   BRIANNA STEWART                                                                        1          advice to anyone else on best practices
                                                                     I grew up in central
                    I was born in Chicago,
                                             1                       Indiana, but my first           in this area! I can only list what I try to do:
                    but grew up in the south                         experience in Peoria            be humble, constantly question/survey
                    suburbs. For college, I                          was attending Bradley           yourself to try and detect where you might
                    graduated from University                        University for undergrad.       be letting your own biases creep in, be an
                    of Wisconsin in Madison                          I will say, though, that        open listener, ask questions. ■
                    with a double major in            coming back as an “adult” many years
   Mathematics and Biology in 2017 and                later is a much different perspective! Our      KELVIN WYNN, MD                           1
   finally returned to Illinois to start medical      family moved back to Peoria in 2017                             I joined the Department
   school here at UICOMP in 2018. I have              and I was fortunate to join the faculty at                      of Family and Community
   been living in Peoria for a little over 2          UICOMP shortly before our first class of                        Medicine as a residency
   years now while completing my medical              Peoria M1’s began in the Illinois Medicine                      faculty member in May
   school coursework. In my limited free              Curriculum. Outside of work a lot of my                         2007 after spending the
   time, I enjoy listening to music, working          time is spent on family activities.                             previous 15 years practic-
   out and trying new restaurants.                 2 My hometown area while I was growing             ing the full spectrum of family medicine
2 While I was in undergrad I attended                up was not a diverse place, though I             in rural North Central North Carolina. I
  Student National Medical Association               can’t recall instances of overt racism or        practiced medicine at federally qualified
  Annual Medical Education Conference                intolerance. I think it was more that we         community health centers for seven years
  in Atlanta. There were Black medical               were very sheltered from the realities of        before joining a private group practice
  students and doctors from around the               systemic racism and disparities that affect      for eight years. I was named residency
  country in attendance, and it gave me              so many people. I personally still have so       program director in 2011, before being
  a sense of belonging. Coming from a                far to go in learning about just how per-        named Chair of the Department of Family
  school that lacked diversity, I saw so             vasive these problems are, and even still        and Community Medicine at UICOMP.
  many physicians of color there and rec-            I think it’s hard not to get overwhelmed
  ognized that I have a place in medicine.           at the scope of what we need to fix when

Inclusion Initiatives Toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion                        CONTINUED

     In Pursuit of Justice and Equality CONTINUED
  I was born in the Bronx borough of New       4 Realize that this topic is continuous              diabetic patient of a co-resident who was
  York City where I spent the first three        and not “one and done”; come into the              primarily Spanish-speaking and having
  years of my life before my family moved        conversation wanting to know how to be             issues reaching goal glycemic control on
  to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I grew up.         an ally; be curious and educate yourself           oral medications. Discussions need to
  I received my BS in zoology from North         on DEI issues; acknowledge the difficulty          occur regarding the possible need to ini-
  Dakota State University where I was a          of these conversations and validate the            tiate insulin therapy if no improvement is
  member of the varsity basketball team for      other person’s feelings. ■                         achieved by the next visit. Appropriately,
  four years. I was awarded my MD from                                                              my co-resident thought that conversation
  Howard University College of Medicine          DANIEL SACA, MD                                    was best to occur in the patient’s first
  in Washington, D.C., and completed my                                                         1   language and preferably in-person. The
                                                                     I was born in Downers
  family medicine residency training at                                                             short conversation I had revealed a few of
                                                                     Grove, Illinois, and moved
  Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Dayton,                                                         the barriers regarding her dietary adher-
                                                                     to El Salvador a little over
  Ohio. I am a member of the American                                                               ence, apprehension regarding insulin use,
                                                                     a year later. El Salvador
  and Illinois Academies of Family Physi-                                                           and clarified dosing and frequency issues.
                                                                     was home until completing
  cians. I was named Illinois Academy of                                                            Ultimately, a 10-minute conversation
                                                                     high school and beginning
  Family Physicians Teacher of the Year in                                                          resulted in significantly improved glycemic
                                                 my college education at Baylor University.
  2009. I enjoy practicing the full spectrum                                                        control by the next visit and no need for
                                                 I completed a post-graduate year at
  of family medicine. The opportunity to                                                            insulin therapy. This simple interaction re-
                                                 the University of Pennsylvania before
  teach residents and students all aspects                                                          inforced the importance of communication
                                                 completing medical school training at
  of family medicine gives me meaning and                                                           and how often good outcomes are not
                                                 UICOMP. I have called Peoria home
  pleasure.                                                                                         tied with the correct management choices
                                                 since mid-2015 and have completed
  My wife of 32 years, Shari, and I live                                                            but  finding the best way to connect with
                                                 most of my medical training here, through
  in Peoria. My outside interests include                                                           our  patients. To constantly strive for that
                                                 medical school and now residency. As
  visiting different college and university                                                         connection     to improve outcomes, regard-
                                                 far as hobbies, I enjoy watching/playing
  campuses to collect sweatshirts (my wife                                                          less   of language    and cultural barriers, is
                                                 soccer, playing tennis, video games,
  says I have over 150!), sports trivia, road                                                       the  goal   of social equality in medicine.
                                                 audiobooks, and a good gin.
  biking, finding new places to eat barbecue,                                                     4 Conversations regarding diversity, equity,
                                               2 It is difficult to pick a singular event, and
  and reading murder mystery novels.                                                                and inclusion often devolve into accu-
                                                 honestly, at times, there are subtle experi-
2 Seeing and experiencing the engagement                                                            satory or the perception of accusatory
                                                 ences that linger. For example, entering a
  of our minority medical students on DEI                                                           language. I find that this often hinders
                                                 patient’s room who is primarily/exclusively
  issues forcing medical school leadership                                                          our efforts to achieve those goals and
                                                 Spanish-speaking and being able to
  to have meaningful conversations about                                                            fails to acknowledge that all participants
                                                 provide the opportunity to freely commu-
  these topics and enact real change.                                                               play a significant role in the process.
                                                 nicate in their native language does not
                                                                                                    Moreover, all participants carry biases
3 The local, peaceful protests (medical staff    fail to produce a smile. Communicating
                                                                                                    and preconceived notions that, most often
  members, UPH leadership, and hospital          in a familiar language provides a stark
                                                                                                    and very importantly, are unintentional.
  staff kneeling in public; fellow Family        difference in the amount of information
                                                                                                    The recognition of these biases and the
  Medicine faculty and medical students          that is able to be obtained as well as
                                                                                                    active participation to account for them
  joining a community protest) by a “rainbow”    patient education that is able to be
                                                                                                    is a necessity; a way to bring all partici-
  of people advocating for racial justice and    provided as a result.
                                                                                                    pants to eye level to initiate the necessary
  police reform after the George Floyd murder. 3 In the same vein as above, the ability             discussions for change. ■
  UPH leadership lead by President/CEO           to freely and openly communicate in
  Keith Knepp conducting a forum on              your first language provides a sense
  racial inequality from the perspective of      of equality in care. To give a concrete
  African-Americans as part of a hospital        example, I was asked to speak with a
  board retreat.

UICOMP Welcomes New Faculty
              Dr. Frank Han joined the Department of Pediatrics                        Dr. Deepshikha Garg joined the Department of
              as an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics. Dr.                    Medicine as an assistant professor of clinical med-
              Han received his doctoral degree from University                         icine. Dr. Garg received her doctoral degree from
              of Florida in 2012 and completed his residency at                        Madras Medical College and Research Center in
              University of Connecticut in 2015. He is board                           2011 and completed her residency at St. John’s
              certified with the American Board of Pediatrics.                         Hospital and Medical Center in 2018. She is board
Dr. Han’s expertise is in Pediatric Congenital Cardiology.            certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Garg’s
              Dr. Muhammad Rehan Khan joined the Depart-              expertise is in Hospital Medicine.
              ment of Pediatrics as an assistant professor of                         Dr. Edmundo Martinez joined the Department
              clinical pediatrics. Dr. Khan received his MBBS                         of Pediatrics as an assistant professor of clinical
              from King Edward Medical College in 2003 and                            pediatrics. Dr. Martinez received his doctoral de-
              completed his residency at The Brooklyn Hospi-                          gree from University of Illinois College of Medicine
              tal Center in 2017. He is board certified with the                      Peoria in 2012 and completed his residency at
American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Khan’s expertise is in Pediatric                    OSF Saint Francis in 2016. He is board certified
Gastroenterology.                                                     with the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Martinez’s expertise is
               Dr. Elizabeth Gabel joined the Department of           in Critical Care.
               Family and Community Medicine as an assistant                         Dr. Bindu Patel joined the Department of Obstet-
               professor of clinical family medicine. Dr. Gabel                      rics and Gynecology as an assistant professor of
               received her doctoral degree from Rush Medical                        clinical OB/GYN. Dr. Patel received her doctoral
               College in 2015 and completed her residency at                        degree from University of Illinois College of Medi-
               Highland Hospital in 2018. She is board certified                     cine Peoria in 2013 and completed her residency
with the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Gabel’s expertise                    at Phoenix Integrated Residency in Obstetrics
is in Family Medicine.                                                and Gynecology in 2017.She is board certified with the American
                                                                      Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Patel’s expertise is in
                                                                      Pediatric/Adolescent Gynecology.

     Ahmad Receives Fellowship
                                                             News      &Notes                         Center for Wellbeing
     Designation from IDSA                                                                            Honored for Innovation
                      Sharjeel Ahmad, MD,                                                             in Physician Wellness
                      associate professor of
                      clinical medicine, was
                                                      Share Your News                                 The Center for Wellbeing, within the
                                                                                                      UICOMP Department of Psychiatry and
                      elected to Fellow of the        We love to follow the careers                   Behavioral Medicine, was awarded the
                      Infectious Disease Society      and successes of our graduates!                 Innovation Award for Innovation in
                      of America (IDSA) in            Alumni of UICOMP (med school,                   Physician Wellness by the Illinois Psychi-
     December. This is the highest honor in           residencies and fellowships) are                atric Society. The award recognizes an
     the field of infectious disease and is given     invited to submit their news.                   innovative program in Illinois staffed or
     to those who have achieved professional                                                          led by an IPS member who is working to
                                                      Submit news of new positions,
     excellence and provided significant                                                              reduce physician burnout and/or improve
     service to the profession. ■
                                                      honors, awards, and publications
                                                                                                      professional satisfaction for physicians.
                                                                                                      Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Finkenbine,
                                                      or send it to: Advancement &                    Deb Disney and the entire
                                                      Community Relations, UICOMP,                    team at the Center
     Stewart de Ramirez Named
                                                      One Illini Drive, Peoria, IL 61605.             for Wellbeing! ■
     to 2020 Women of Influence                       Or, call us at (309) 680-8613.
     Congratulations to Sarah Stewart de
     Ramierez, MD, on being named a 2020
     Woman of Influence in December by               Pribaz Co-Edits The Healer’s Burden
     Peoria Magazine. This annual award
                                                     Gina Pribaz, clinical associate in the Departments of Internal Medicine
     highlights women who are making a
                                                     and Pediatrics, is co-editor of the recently released The Healer’s Burden:
     difference in central Illinois and includes a
                                                     Stories and Poems of Professional Grief published by the University of
     half-day forum that is a tribute to women
                                                     Iowa Carver College of Medicine. While the idea for the book and the
     in the workplace and an inspirational
                                                     call for submissions came well before the COVID-19 pandemic, the
     way to bring the community together and
                                                     challenges presented by a pandemic have highlighted the emotional needs of
     empower female leaders. ■
                                                     healthcare professionals on the frontlines. This book offers firsthand accounts of
                                                     healthcare professionals’ grief as well as strategies for addressing it based in narrative
                                                     medicine, a growing field that has already brought significant attention to the need for
     Blair Crane Joins UICOMP                        more humanistic practices in medicine.
     as Marketing Associate                          Pribaz and her co-editor Melissa Fournier want to open the conversation on the personal
                    Blair Crane joins the            impact of continuous encounters with grief on healthcare professionals. “It is not enough
                    Community Relations              for organizations to simply encourage ‘self-care’; a culture change in healthcare which
                    Department as Marketing          recognizes the very real experience of professional grief and makes space for its tending
                    Associate and will focus on      is long overdue, and the predominant notion of emotion-denial as a necessary component
                    engagement and commu-            of professional competence is counterproductive,” says Fournier.
                    nication with key audiences      The Healer’s Burden offers a window into the lives of 32 healthcare professionals of
     using social and digital media. Her efforts     various disciplines and experience levels from the U.S. and Canada who share their
     will support the overall marketing and          stories of grief. “These writers deserve a lot of credit for both their courage and their
     community relations strategy for the            talent,” says Pribaz. “Their work models an emotional honesty that resonates with those
     College. A graduate of the University of        who encounter it.” During the pandemic, Pribaz and Fournier have been conducting
     Missouri with a degree in communication,        virtual workshops using the book, which includes a facilitator’s guide and writing prompts
     she has marketing experience working            to encourage reflection and discussion. ■
     in retail manufacturing, wellness, and
     healthcare. ■

                                                     Four UICOMP Faculty Named 40 Leaders Under 40
                                                     Four UICOMP faculty were selected as recipients of the 40 Leaders Under 40 Award this
                                                     year. Drs. Melanie Andrews, Michele Beekman, Anil Reddivari, and Gauri Shevattekar
                                                     were four of the 40 young professionals in the community who were recognized for their
                                                     outstanding leadership, commitment to their profession and service. This award is
                                                     annually presented by Peoria Magazine. ■

Beckman Receives
                                                       News      &Notes                           Bramlett Contributes
Outstanding Physician Award                                                                       to Official Patent
              Dean Beckman, MD, was            Wright Named Medical                                              Matthew Bramlett, MD,
              named the 2020 Little Com-       Director in Boston                                                assistant professor of
              pany of Mary Outstanding                                                                           clinical pediatrics, joined
              Physician at Memorial                           Stephen Wright, MD, was                            Dr. Brad Sutton (Engineer-
              Hospital and Health Center                      named Medical Director for                         ing, University of Illinois
              in Jasper, Indiana. The                         Primary Care Services at                           Urbana Champaign) in
award is annually presented to a physician                    Roxbury’s Whittier Street           the development of an official patent for
on Memorial Hospital’s active medical                         Health Center in Boston.            automated segmentation of the heart
staff who has been nominated through a                        His work in Boston neigh-           from MRI. This involves the technology
hospital- and community-wide process           borhood health centers has earned him a            to create a 3D model of a heart that can
with the winner chosen by a selection          reputation among patients as a leader in           be pulled from an MRI. ■
committee from a group of six finalists.       delivering compassionate and culturally
Beckman completed his internship and           sensitive care. Wright completed
residency at UICOMP. He provides               his residency at UICOMP. ■
internal medicine and pediatric services                                                          Two New Fellowships
at Jasper Primary Care Physicians. ■                                                              Added to GME Offering
                                                                                                  at UICOMP
                                                                                                  The Pediatrics Department recently
Graumlich Leads ACP Chapter to Gold Award                                                         received approval for two new fellow-
                                                                                                  ships by the Accreditation Council for
                 James Graumlich, MD, serves as Governor of the Illinois Southern Chapter
                                                                                                  Graduate Medical Education. New
                 of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Under his leadership, the
                                                                                                  programs include the Pediatric Hospital
                 chapter recently received the Gold Level of the 2020 Chapter Excellence
                                                                                                  Medicine Fellowship Program led by
                 Award. The award recognizes outstanding chapters that surpass excel-
                                                                                                  Leena Kendhari, MD, program director,
                 lence in chapter management, and they are in the company of 34 other
                                                                                                  and the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship
                 chapters who have received this honor. Examples of contributing factors
                                                                                                  Program under the leadership of Jawad
that led to the award are implementing a strategic plan as well as a formal recruitment
                                                                                                  Javed, MD, program director. This brings
and retention plan and measuring outcomes, and conducting activities for medical
                                                                                                  UICOMP’s total GME offerings to 13
students, residents and early career physicians. Graumlich is interim associate dean for
                                                                                                  residencies and 10 fellowships. ■
pre-clinical education and evaluation at UICOMP. Congratulations to Dr. Graumlich and
all members of the ACP Illinois Southern Chapter! ■

UICOMP Leads Student                           Asche Article on Financial Burden of Cancer Treatment
Wellness Initiative                            Published by Society of Behavioral Medicine
UICOMP received a project award from                            Carl Asche, research professor with Internal Medicine, authored an article
the Reeves Medical Student Wellness                             in August 2020 published by Oxford University Press in Translational
fund to support a college-wide initiative                       Behavioral Medicine. The article provides analysis of the economic
in support of medical students’ wellbeing                       repercussions of a cancer diagnosis, referred to as “financial toxicity.” It
and emotional health. Leading the initia-                       explores not just out-of-pocket costs, but also indirect costs, including lost
tive is Marcelo Bento Soares, PhD, senior                       wages, and the long-term impact on a household’s economic reserve and
associate dean for research, who will be       future financial resilience. Data revealed bankruptcy rates are 2.65 times higher among
focusing on best practices and strategies      cancer survivors than matched controls, and 70 percent of Americans want to have
for effectively introducing, delivering and    conversations about the costs of care, but only 28 percent report doing so. ■
sustaining Cognitively-Based Compassion
Training for students at all University of
Illinois College of Medicine Campuses. ■
                                               “Rural Health: Concerns and Hope” Panel Discussion
                                               James Barnett, MD, clinical associate professor of Family and Community Medicine,
                                               moderated a discussion with two administrators and four physicians from rural hospitals
                                               during a September 17 virtual panel discussion that explored the myriad of challenges
                                               facing healthcare in rural settings. Viewers can watch the recorded presentation at
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