Isabella Garnett Community

Physician House Advising Faculty

Dr. Sarah Messmer

Dr. Sarah Messmer is an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics and splits her time between the two departments.  She is originally from the suburbs of Chicago and is happy to be back after completing her medical school training at Harvard and med-peds residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr. Messmer’s clinical interests include LGBTQIA+ affirming care, refugee and immigrant health, and opioid use disorder.  She enjoys spending time outdoors with her wife and four children.

Dr. Mahesh Patel

Dr. Patel was born in India and came to the US when he was 1 1/2 yrs. old.  He grew up in the Skokie-Evanston area and went to high school in Evanston, where he currently lives.  After attending UC-Berkeley for undergrad, he made his way to The Ohio State University for medical school.  He then went on to do a residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics at Indiana University.  After residency, he moved to NY City to do a 4-year translational research fellowship in infectious diseases at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore medical center.  After fellowship, he stayed in NYC and worked at Jacobi Medical Center (a city hospital in the Bronx).  He decided to move back home with his family in 2010 and started working at UIC in August of that year.  His primary clinical interests include HIV medicine and tuberculosis.  He has been active with UIC’s medical school curriculum since 2012 as an instructor of microbiology and more recently as a Phase I Block lead.   He enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends, playing cards, and riding his motorcycle.

Isabella Garnett, MD (1872-1948)

On August 22, 1872, Isabella Garnett was born into the earliest African-American family to arrive in the Evanston, Illinois area.Her parents were founders of the first black Baptist church organized in Evanston. After taking business courses at a Minneapolis college, Garnett returned to the Chicago area and matriculated at the Nurse Training School of Provident Hospital, the country’s first black-owned hospital. She worked as a school nurse for two years before enrolling in a premedical program at Harvey Medical College. Garnett then enrolled at Chicago’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (known today as UIC’s Medical college) and obtained her medical degree in 1901. The courageous Garnett was one of the earliest African American women physicians in Illinois. Garnett practiced privately until 1914, when she and her husband opened the Evanston Sanitarium on the upper floors of their home.

Achievements

1914: Founded the Evanston Sanitarium, the first African American medical center north of the Chicago Loop

1939: Became superintendent of the Community Hospital of Evanston, formerly the Butler Memorial Hospital

1948: In the year of her passing, a day of honor was dedicated to Dr. Garnett as part of the National Negro Health Week. The US Public Health Service instituted this week in 1915, in response to data from Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute The creation of National Negro Health Week resulted in the formation of the National Negro Health Movement, which formed to improve the status of Black Americans’ health year-round

Full Bio