Fall 2020 Class Acts

Celebrating the achievements of students, alumni, faculty and staff

  • Lali Akurati, MHA '20

    Lali was recognized with the 2020 Health Studies Student Leadership Award by the Chicago Health Executives Forum.

  • Rebecca Allen, MPH '13

    Rebecca has played a key role in supporting fundraising for the University of Washington’s Virology Lab and Seattle Flu study during the pandemic.

  • Kirsten Almberg, PhD

    As an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, Kirsten earned a new grant from the Alpha Foundation for continued epidemiologic analyses of Black Lung disease among U.S. coal miners.

  • Wendy Bostwick, PhD '05, MPH '01

    With Sage Kim, PhD, associate professor of health policy and administration, Wendy co-published a community-based organizations needs assessment during the pandemic for the Center for Health Equity Research Chicago.

  • Capt. Robert Brewer, MD, MS '78

    Robert earned the CDC’s Jonathan E. Fielding Community Guide Champion Award for his work with the Center’s alcohol program.

  • Steven Chrzas, MPH '18, BA '16

    Steven wrapped up two years as a presidential management fellow with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as part of a leadership training program within the agency.

  • Betsy Cliff, PhD

    As an assistant professor of health policy and administration, Betsy was named a 2020 UIC Clinical and Translational Science Scholar. As a scholar, she will examine the impact of health insurance design on the use of unnecessary healthcare services and the equitable distribution of health services.

  • Franklin Cosey Gay, PhD '19

    Franklin led the 2nd Annual Bronzeville Bike Tour, visiting sites related to the racial killing of Eugene Williams and the Chicago Race Riot of 1919.

  • Christopher Hollenbeck

    As SPH’s manager of technology infrastructure, Christopher was honored with UIC’s Award of Merit for 2019.

  • Cynthia Klein-Banai, PhD '10

    UIC’s Office of Sustainability, led by Cynthia Klein-Banai, was recognized by the United Nations Association for the campus’ efforts toward addressing climate change.

  • Pierre Thomas Léger

    As an associate professor of health policy and administration, Pierre earned a new grant from the National Institute for Healthcare Management to study geographic variation in Medicare and commercial spending.

  • Gabrielle Lodge, MPH '20

    Gabrielle was named SPH’s Alan W. Donaldson awardee for 2020, the most prestigious student award given at the School of Public Health. Gabrielle was honored for her widespread community engagement, commitment to social justice and health equity-driven research.

  • Mary Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, PhD

    As an associate research professor of community health sciences, Mary Ellen received NIH funding to study interventions for Tajik male migrants who use injection drugs.

  • Dana Madigan, PhD '20, MPH '13

    Dana was the lead author with SPH’s Dr. Linda Forst and Lee Friedman, PhD, on research showing hospital visits by homeless residents of Chicago tripled since 2011, challenging federal data finding a decline in homelessness.

  • Ayokunle Olagoke, PhD student

    As a PhD in Community Health Sciences student, Ayokunle published new research examining the role of media coverage of COVID-19 driving depressive symptoms.

  • Karin Opacich, PHD

    As assistant dean for undergraduate programs, Karin earned ASPPH’s Riegelman Award for excellence in undergraduate public health education.

  • Janielle Paez-Hill, MPH '19

    Janielle began a new position in March 2020 as a senior aide to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

  • Kevin Price

    As an undergraduate advisor, Kevin was honored with UIC’s 2020 Provost’s Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award, recognizing professional advisors with exemplary skills and commitment to student success.

  • Staff Sgt. Samuel Rene

    As an MPH student and member of the Illinois National Guard, Samuel took part in COVID-19 testing efforts to support Illinois’ fight against the virus.

  • Philip Ricks, PhD '08

    Philip is leading a nationwide effort to build a contact tracing curriculum for communities of color in the U.S.

  • Keriann Uesugi, MPH '17

    Keriann started a new job as a health scientist with the federal Health Resource and Service Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

  • Larry Wrobel, PhD

    As clinical assistant professor of health policy and administration, Larry earned the Career Achievement Award from the Chicago Health Executives Forum.

  • Shannon Zenk, MPH '99

    Shannon was selected by the National Institutes of Health to lead its National Institute of Nursing Research.