Matthew Gambino is a psychiatrist and historian with an interest in the care of seriously mentally ill men and women in the community. He has written on the history of psychiatric racism, ethical aspects of malarial fever therapy for neurosyphilis, and institutional culture in the mid-twentieth century United States. Dr. Gambino is Section Chief for Recovery Services at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Anna Maria Gramelspacher is an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the division of Academic Internal Medicine and a member of the Health Humanities faculty at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Anna Maria’s clinic work is primarily focused on caring for patients and supervising medical students and residents at the University of Illinois Primary Care Plus and General Internal Medicine Clinics. In addition to her clinical commitments, she participates in teaching and curriculum development within the Department of Medical Education. Her work at DME encompasses teaching the M4 Narrative Medicine Elective, lecturing M1 students in Health Humanities and contributing to faculty development sessions.
Laura E. Hirshfield is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Education and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her work at UIC, Laura is lucky enough to work closely with medical students, residents, faculty, and graduate students (both in Sociology and in Health Professions Education). A sociologist and ethnographer by training, Laura is broadly interested in social interaction, identity, education, science, work/organizations, and medicine. Her research centers on gender and other forms of inequality in academic and clinical settings, particularly in the natural sciences and medicine. As a result, her workplace is basically her fieldsite! Her main research includes studies focusing on the “hidden labor” undertaken by and expected of members of marginalized groups in the workplace, cultural competence (broadly defined) in medical contexts (particularly related to trans patients), and socialization (especially regarding communication and emotions) in medical school.
Kristi L. Kirschner is a Clinical Professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM) Departments of Medical Education, Neurology and Rehabilitation, and Medicine (GIM) with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently the sub-theme leader for Health Humanities for the UICOM curriculum task force. Dr. Kirschner’s academic interests include health humanities and bioethics with a particular focus on disability issues and marginalized populations; the training of healthcare professionals about health humanities, bioethics and disability; and health care access for people with disabilities including reproductive health services. As background, she is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with particular interest in the needs of patients with complex neurological disabilities, including adults with spina bifida, neuromuscular diseases and cerebral palsy.
Erica Laethem is a Regional Director of Ethics for OSF HealthCare. She carries out ethics consultations, contributes to policy development, provides ethics education, and collaborates with leaders to integrate ethics into everyday professional practice. Prior to coming to OSF HealthCare, Erica worked as a Director of Clinical Ethics for Presence Health and for Resurrection Health Care in Chicago. She has served as a healthcare ethicist in diverse urban, suburban, rural, inpatient, outpatient, home care and corporate settings. She has also worked as a special consultant to the federal government, an instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, and a clinical research coordinator in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan Health System. Erica has a licentiate degree in bioethics from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome as well as a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is working to finish her PhD in bioethics. She is a certified healthcare ethics consultant through the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Erica serves as an adjunct assistant professor of nursing ethics in the graduate program at the OSF Saint Anthony College of Nursing and is assisting in the development of the new medical ethics curriculum for University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, where she also teaches.
Dr. Gwyneth Milbrath is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Nursing. She is the Director of the Midwest Nursing History Research Center (MNHRC) and an Assistant Director of the Global Health Leadership Office (GHLO) in the College of Nursing. Her past historical research investigates the role and significance of military nurses during World War I and II, how they were trained, and how they responded to disasters such as the 1918 flu pandemic, or the bombing during Pearl Harbor. As the Director of the MNHRC, she works to provide relevant programming through a nursing history book club and presentations by renowned nurse historians. Additionally, she is committed to expanding and protecting the historical collections within the MNHRC, engaging and elevating underrepresented narratives within nursing history. As an Assistant Director of GHLO, Dr. Milbrath has developed new study abroad opportunities for nursing students, and mentors other faculty to develop additional offerings for students. She also has a continuing area of research around community disaster preparedness in the West Indies. Dr. Milbrath teaches in the BSN and DNP program, focusing on topics including social determinants of health, global health, ethics, and research methods. Her clinical areas of expertise are public health, disaster nursing, rural health disparities, and emergency nursing. She continues to maintain a current practice as an emergency department nurse.
Alyson Patsavas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she also serves as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. Her scholarship is situated at the intersections of queer theory, feminist theory, and disability studies, and focuses on cultural discourses of pain, disability and crip epistemologies as well as representations of disability in film, television, and popular culture. Her work appears in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Different Bodies: Essays on Disability in Film and Television, The Feminist Wire, Somatechnics, and Disability Studies Quarterly. Patsavas is also a writer and producer on the forthcoming documentary film Code of the Freaks that examines crip culture’s response to Hollywood representations of disability.
Carrie Sandahl is scholar/artist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is head of the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, which is devoted to research on and the creation of disability art. She is also the director Chicago’s Bodies of Work, an organization that supports city-wide disability arts festivals and that promotes disability arts and culture year-round. Her own research and creative activity focus on disability and gender identities in live performance, including theatre, dance, and performance art. Sandahl has published numerous research articles and an anthology she co-edited with Philip Auslander, entitled Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance (University of Michigan Press) garnered the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s award for Outstanding Book in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy in 2006. She is currently collaborating on a feature-length documentary film on Hollywood representations of disability entitled Code of the Freaks.
Elsa L. Vazquez Melendez is Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at University of Illinois College of Medicine. She helps mentor students of different backgrounds and has been recognized for her work with 2 Golden Apple Awards and other teaching awards. She also works as a Hospitalist for the teaching services of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Peoria, supervising residents and medical students. She led the Simulation Program for Internal Medicine Residency Program. She has presented her work at national and international conferences. She is actively involved in the curricular transformation program of the UIC College of Medicine, integrating and teaching the sub themes of lifestyle medicine, population health, health equity and health humanities in the new curriculum. Her interests include curriculum development, medical education, simulation, patient-centered care, cultural studies, health equity and population health, particularly in pediatric asthma. She enjoys reading classic literature, hiking, running, yoga, traveling and spending time with her family.