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Associate Program Directors

Drs. Waddah Alrefai, Christopher Fernandes, Alana Biggers, Colin Goodman, Patrick Godwin, Rachael King, Alfredo Mena Lora, Scott Borgetti, Ashley Binder, and Stefan Tchernodrinski

Waddah Alrefai, MD

I am a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and a Research Career Scientist at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. I have been associated with the University of Illinois Chicago for most of my career since I started my post-doctoral training and then joining the faculty in the Department of Medicine. I can certainly attest that UIC is a great place for training and professional development. My primary academic focus is basic science and translational research. I lead a laboratory research program that focuses on understanding the roles of bile acids as mediators of gut-liver crosstalk. My research aims to determine how alterations in these physiologically important molecules affect gut microbiota and influence gut and liver functions. The goal is to understand how these changes contribute to the pathophysiology of diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and liver disorders. My studies also investigate the mechanisms of intestinal cholesterol absorption to understand their roles in the development of metabolic disorders and diabetes mellitus. I am interested in translating the basic science observations to bed side to validate our discoveries in a clinical setting and to identify biomarkers for the diagnosis and/or assessment of disease severity.

I am highly committed to education and mentorship at different levels of training including medical students, residents, and fellows. My mentorship core values are to stimulate innovation, support excellence in education, and foster continuous learning while imparting training and service to the next generation. My approach to mentorship is defined by a dedication to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for which I serve as a co-lead of the Bias Reduction in Medicine (BRiM) program in the Department of Medicine. I am pleased to welcome you to our residency program and to work with you toward productivity and high-quality scholarship.

Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, FACP

I received my MD degree at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, and I earned a Master of Public Health degree in chronic disease epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. I also completed a public health fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My interests are in health disparity research, and I aim to improve diversity and inclusion in medicine. I have a NIH/NHLBI career development award for research in type 2 diabetes mellitus and sleep in African Americans in underserved communities.

In addition to my role as the Associate Program Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, I also serve in the Department of Medicine (DOM) as the co-chair of the DOM Inclusion Council (DOMIC) and was a previous consultant for the Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine (BRIM) Initiative, another NIH funded grant to address bias in academic medicine. I was recently awarded in July 2022 an ABIM Foundation award for a project to address microaggressions in medicine. Since my time at UIC, I have served as a mentor to many underrepresented in medicine (URiM) medical students to help them navigate through personal and career goals. I have also served as the faculty advisor to the UIC Chapter of SNMA for the past 5 years to help advise the organization in executing their yearly community service and school events. I continue to expand my role in the Chicago community by providing tips on healthy living through research, patient care and media outlets.

Ashley Binde

I grew up as a military child through my senior year of high school. I then went off to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I majored in Respiratory Therapy and pledged the illustrious Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. From there I traveled to Nashville, TN to attend one of the four Historic Black Medical Colleges & Universities, Meharry Medical College. I then matched into one of the 12 Internal Medicine-Emergency Medicine Combined Residencies at the University of Illinois Chicago, where my dreams of becoming an intensivist were born. After a half a decade of training I traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at Emory University. While at Emory I was able to participate in the cannulation and care of patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy as well as do research regarding social determinants of health in the trauma population. Following this hiatus, I graciously returned to UIC where I predominantly practice Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, but also still practice Emergency medicine on a much smaller scale. Practicing in both fields allows me to still be a relevant mentor on the leadership board for the IM-EM residency. My professional interests still include ECMO, and I would like to build our program here at UIC. I also still take interest in social determinants of health, implicit biases and microaggressions in medicine.

I look forward to taking on this new position and all the growth and development that will come with it.

Scott Borgetti

I was born and raised in northwest Indiana and went to Indiana University in Bloomington where I majored in psychology. For medical school I attended the Indiana School Medicine in Indianapolis. I was fortunate enough to match at UIC for internal medicine residency and then was able to stay for an extra year as a chief resident. It was during my chief resident year that I confirmed my calling to work in medical education while working under our previous long tenured program director Dr. Zar. I stayed at UIC for my Infectious Disease fellowship which cemented my lifelong mission of caring for marginalized and underserved patients such as our HIV patient population.

Since joining the Infectious Disease faculty in 2019 I have been able to serve as an associate program director for the Infectious Disease fellowship. My clinical focus is on transplant infectious diseases which allows me to treat the many infectious complications our immunocompromised patients suffer from. I also serve as the associate medical director for infection prevention, and I look forward to continuing my work on improving patient safety in my new role as an associate program director for the Internal Medicine residency with a focus on patient safety and quality improvement. I am very excited to be a part of our residency leadership team – I have great admiration and respect for my colleagues on the team and cannot wait to work with all of our amazing residents!

Chris Fernandes, MD

Hi! I am from the Chicago suburbs, received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), and completed medical school here at UIC. I completed my Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Chicago, and Chief Residency at Mercy Hospital.

I returned to UIC because of the commitment to serve the community and opportunity to work with incredibly talented residents, students, and faculty. I am currently the Associate Program Director for Inpatient Medicine and the Medical Director of Hospital Medicine for the University of Illinois Hospital.

Patrick Godwin, MD, MBA

After completing residency training at UIC, I began my clinical career in internal medicine in the private sector. I subsequently returned to academic medicine and have been a clinical faculty member at the UIC College of Medicine since 2001. I have enjoyed both inpatient and outpatient internal medicine but have been primarily focused on hospital medicine since taking on the role of Founding Chief of Hospital Medicine at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in 2008. I was promoted to Associate Chief of Staff for Quality at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in 2021. My interests include clinical teaching, clinical operations, quality improvement, patient safety, and health system optimization/reform.

The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center is an integral part of the residency experience at UIC, and serves as a teaching hospital for medical students, resident physicians, fellows, and clinical faculty members from UIC. It affords us the opportunity to work with and help a unique patient population. The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center consists of a 200-bed acute care facility and four community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). Our inpatient tower, the Bed Pavilion, opened in May of 2008 and is one of the more modern VA inpatient facilities in the country.

The UIC Internal Medicine Residency Program is an outstanding place to get training. Our clinical faculty members enjoy teaching, excel at patient care, and are very accessible. The environment is supportive and the comradery among residents is excellent. The clinical experiences during residency training at UIC, as well as the connections you make with faculty and colleagues, will stay with you for a lifetime.

Colin Goodman, MD

I am a general internist at UIC, doing both primary care and hospital medicine. I am originally from Minnesota and lived there until finishing medical school at the University of Minnesota. I came to my top choice residency, UIC, and haven’t left since. During my residency, I was a part of the Academic Internal Medicine track and did a year as Chief Resident afterwards. I then joined the faculty in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine at UIC. One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching, and I currently work with residents and medical students in continuity clinics, on the inpatient wards, and in didactic settings.

What drew me to UIC for residency are the same things that have kept me here in the many years since. Our residency program provides excellent clinical training in a safe and supportive environment, and ensures residents have opportunities to excel in whatever career path they choose. UIC is committed to caring for patients in communities that are under-resourced and advocating for health equity and diversity while attracting people that share that same commitment. It is truly an honor to be able to work with my fantastic colleagues and patients, and to be a part of the leadership of the residency program that trained me.

Rachael King, MD

I was raised in Florida, born to Jamaican parents. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, receiving a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in anthropology, and my medical degree at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine with a distinction in health disparities. Needing to leave the heat, I came to Chicago to complete my residency and chief year at UIC, and I stayed on as an attending ever since! I mostly work as a primary care internist, but I do some inpatient wards throughout the year. I also serve as a Physician House Advisor in the UIC College of Medicine as well as program director for the IM residency’s Urban Global Health track. I have an interest in underserved medicine, women’s health and recruitment of underrepresented minorities into medicine.

After my chief year, I had the opportunity to work at many other places in Chicago, but I stayed at UIC because of the faculty’s commitment to the patient population that UIC serves. We have the privilege to serve those who are marginalized and traditionally underserved and the people that work here aren’t doing it for the money or the accolades, they are doing it because, like me, they truly love taking care of this population.

Alfredo Mena Lora, MD

I was born and raised in the Caribbean, spending my formative years in Haiti and my native Dominican Republic. I moved to the beautiful city of Chicago and completed both my internal medicine and infectious diseases training at the University of Illinois. At UIC, I found great mentors and developed a strong commitment to scholarly work and medical education. I was a chief resident and chief infectious diseases fellow during my training and now serve as core faculty for the internal medicine and infectious diseases training programs. I have a passion for teaching and truly love interacting with medical students, residents and fellows. My research interests include infection prevention, antimicrobial resistance and global health. I enjoy studying antimicrobial resistance and implementation of innovative infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship strategies in community hospital settings in resource limited settings in the United States and abroad.

The University of Illinois has a long history of excellence in medicine which dates back to the late 19th century. For generations, our institution has trained superb clinicians and researchers and has served the diverse communities of Chicago with compassionate, innovative, high- quality care. Our Department of Medicine is full of talented clinicians and researchers that will provide you with all the mentorship you need to develop your career in medicine. Our goal is to give you all the tools and opportunities to make you an outstanding internist and give you the skills for you to grow in whichever direction you choose to in this great field that is medicine. I look forward to meeting you this recruitment season and would love to talk to you more about our program, our mission and our city!

Stefan Tchernodrinski, MD, MS

I was born and raised in Bulgaria, where I graduated from medical school, finished residency, and practiced for a few years before coming to the United States to complete a residency in internal medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. After a few years at Cook County, first as chief resident and then as academic hospitalist, I was hired at UIC where I love what I do – resident education and academic hospital medicine.

While at UIC, I have introduced point of care ultrasound (POCUS) training for the medicine residents, which has grown into a POCUS procedure service and a 1-year IM POCUS fellowship, now in its 4th year. I believe that POCUS is a fantastic and powerful tool that every clinician should learn to use, but it works only if added to solid clinical skills and reasoning. That is why I focus my teaching on both POCUS and clinical reasoning, with evidence-based medicine as an integral part of both. I also teach POCUS in Bulgaria, and volunteer nationally and internationally whenever I can. Medical gadgets fascinate me, with the potential to improve care and make it more affordable. UIC provides opportunities for all my projects. I am proud of the training our program offers to the residents and how our residents grow as clinicians.

Meet the Associate Program Directors Heading link