José Choca Communitysdrake72021-03-04T09:48:50-06:00
José Choca Community
Physician House Advising Faculty
Dr. Bernice Man
Dr. Bernice Man is a general internist and faculty member in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine. She has been at UIC since 2008 and has spent much of her career devoted to serving urban vulnerable populations. Most recently, she completed a masters degree in clinical translational science at the UIC School of Public Health. She is originally from New York City and still considers herself a New Yorker. It was quite a surprise to her friends, family and even herself when she moved to the west coast for medical school and residency. Although the first year was rough, it was one of her best life decisions. What inspired her to go into medicine (30!) years ago is still what inspires her work today. It’s the patients. She’s thrilled to be a house advisor and feels this is the perfect trifecta in her work as a physician, researcher and advisor. Her 3 daughters are her greatest accomplishments, 1 is in college, and the other 2 are in high school. She enjoys the outdoors, cooking and running with her dog. Dr. Man is doing a research meeting today, so can not join us for this celebration today.
Dr. Anna Gramelspacher
Dr. Anna Maria Gramelspacher is a general internist and faculty member in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine. She grew up in Indiana, but fell in love with Chicago during her two years here as a Teach for America Corps Member. Since joining the faculty at UIC Dr. Gramelspacher has taken an active interest in medical education, most specifically in Narrative Medicine and Health Humanities. Dr. Gramelspacher is passionate about her work as a primary care physician and thrives on the relationships she is able to build with patients. When she’s not at work Dr. Gramelspacher enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters.
José Choca, MD (1959-1994)
Dr. José Ignacio Choca was born in 1959 in Havana, Cuba. His family, including 5 siblings, migrated to the US when Choca was still an infant. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, Choca received his MD/PhD from the University of Illinois College Of Medicine. He took great pride in his work to help minority medical students continue in school. In addition, he tutored international medical graduates for medical board exams. Choca’s advocacy for the primacy of teaching in universities was reflected in his 1992 letter to the Chicago Tribune, wherein he took issue with the bias toward research over teaching in government sponsorship and university culture.
His passion for research on sensory pathways and teaching continued despite learning he was HIV+ in 1991. He died of complications of AIDS in 1994 at the age of 35.
Dr. Choca was a 3-time winner of the Golden Apple Award at the University of Illinois in his 5 years on faculty. This award is based on students‘ election of a teacher that exemplifies the highest standards in education.
1994- Dr. Choca was posthumously awarded the Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA)Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from AAMC. This highly prestigious award is given to only one of 4 faculty in the nation annually.
Dr. Choca Biography
Dr. Jose Ignacio Choca was born in 1959 in Havana, Cuba. His family, including 5 siblings, migrated to the US when he was still an infant. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, Choca was accepted into the combined MD/PhD program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, obtaining his MD and a PhD in pharmacology in 1988 (Heise). As a medical student, Choca was the runner-up for the 1988 Osler Medal, an annual competition sponsored by the American Association for the History of Medicine for the best essay on a historical medicine topic. Choca’s essay was entitled, “A mode of action: historical aspects of the receptor theory” (AAHM).
Following his graduation Dr. Choca joined the UIC faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, working with his former thesis advisor, Herbert K. Proudfoot, on the role of catecholamines in pain perception within the nervous system. He was especially talented as a teacher, winning a Golden Apple Award – by vote of the medical students – three times during his all-too-brief career. He was also devoted to the mentoring of students from foreign health professions programs, assisting them in their preparation for board examinations. Choca’s advocacy for the primacy of teaching in universities was reflected in a 1992 letter to the Chicago Tribune; he took issue with the bias toward research over teaching in government sponsorship and university culture. (Heise)
Dr. Choca died in August 1994 at St. Joseph Hospital at the age of 35, from complications of HIV/AIDS. Dr. William Wallace, dean of students at the College of Medicine, was quoted in a Tribune obituary, saying that “He was brilliant, and he loved teaching and working with students… As he became sick and was in the hospital, his students kept coming back to thank him…” (Heise). In that same year, he received (posthumously) the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, then and to this day the most prestigious honor in American medical education specifically intended for teachers of medical students (AAMC).
The Latino Medical Student Association at the College of Medicine sponsors a scholarship named in his honor (Student Activities web page).