2013-14 Senior Faculty Scholars
Halina Brukner, MD
Department of Medicine
Dr. Halina Brukner is Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Medical School Education. She led the planning and implementation of the Pritzker Initiative curriculum and oversees all aspects of curricular and academic issues for the Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Brukner is also the Director of the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators. A graduate of Yale University and the New York University School of Medicine, Dr. Brukner did her internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago. She joined the faculty in General Medicine in 1985, and has served as clerkship director in Internal Medicine (1986-1999); Director of the Primary Care Group (1995-99); Vice-Chairman of the Department of Medicine (1999-2004); and Associate Dean for Medical School Education (2004-present). Dr. Brukner is a general internist with a busy practice in the University of Chicago Primary Care Group.
Linda Druelinger, MD
Department of Medicine
Linda Druelinger, MD, is an expert in emergency medicine, providing the highest level of care to acutely ill or injured patients. Her major clinical interests include airway management, maxillofacial trauma, and postpartum emergencies.
Dr. Druelinger has a particular interest in medical education. She has been actively involved in both resident and student education, helping to develop curriculum at both introductory and more advanced levels. She is highly recognized for her outstanding teaching skills and has been named Teacher of the Year by Emergency Medicine residents multiple times. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Pritzker School of Medicine Leonard Tow Gold Humanism Award.
Scott Eggener, MD
Department of Surgery
Dr. Scott Eggener specializes in the care of patients with kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer. He is an experienced robotic and open surgeon but also has a clinical and academic interest in active surveillance for select patients.
His clinical research focuses on prostate cancer screening and treatment. He is the principal investigator on numerous clinical trials for patients with kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer, and collaborates on laboratory research investigating a novel protein identified in kidney cancer.
Dr. Eggener’s research — which has resulted in 100 publications — has been presented at national and international meetings. He is the chairman of the University of Chicago Cancer Committee and has participated in volunteer educational and surgical missions to Congo, Cuba, Honduras, Morocco, Myanmar, Rwanda, and the Palestinian territories.
Savitri Fedson, MD
Department of Medicine
Savitri E. Fedson, MD, is a cardiologist who specializes in heart failure and heart transplantation. Dr. Fedson is part of a team of medical and surgical specialists who provide a full range of treatment options to improve the pumping ability of the heart in patients with heart failure. If transplantation is required, she cares for patients before and after transplant to ensure the best outcome. Dr. Fedson is actively researching comparisons between invasive and non-invasive hemodynamic measurements, and heart failure prevention.
H. Barrett Fromme, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Fromme is an Associate Professor in the Section of Academic Pediatrics, where she specializes in the care of hospitalized children. Additionally, she is the Associate Program Director of the Pediatric Residency Training Program. She been honored by students and residents for her teaching and is a fellow of the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators.
The majority of Dr. Fromme’s time away from patient care is dedicated to the development of faculty, residents and students as medical educators. She is the co-director of the Pritzker Scholarship & Discovery Track for Medical Education, a longitudinal program to train students in the skills needed to be medical educators and scholars. She also leads teaching skills courses for students and residents. She is the Director of the one year Medical Education Research Innovation Scholarship and Teaching (MERITS) fellowship for fellows and faculty, and teaches in the Faculty Advancing Medical Education faculty development series.
Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Melissa Gilliam is Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, Chief of the Section of Family Planning & Contraceptive Research, and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Biological Sciences Division, as well as Director of Ci3 at the University of Chicago.
An expert in pediatric and adolescent gynecology, Dr. Melissa Gilliam helps children, teens and women age 25 and younger who have complex gynecologic problems or need routine care. Dr. Gilliam specializes in managing common problems such as bleeding, painful periods, breasts cysts and abnormal pap smears and complex problems requiring pelvic surgery. She has expertise in providing preventive care and providing contraception to adolescents with other medical problems. Dr. Gilliam focuses on providing a youth-friendly atmosphere for girls and young women. She works closely with other specialists across the University.
An active researcher, Dr. Gilliam’s research focuses on contraception, family planning, youth development, and sexually transmitted infections. Specifically, she focuses on contraceptive use among teens and women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy.
Nora Jaskowiak, MD
Department of Surgery
Nora Jaskowiak, MD, is a well-regarded professor and surgeon focusing on the surgical management of breast cancer, along with endocrine surgery, thyroid cancer, and parathyroid disorders.
She is surgical head of the University of Chicago Breast Center, which is dedicated to all women's breast health needs. The Center offers each woman a comprehensive care plan whether they are self- or physician-referred, or seeking a second opinion.
Dr. Jaskowiak has also performed research under the supervision of Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, investigating how blocking the action of vascular endothelial cell growth factor, a substance that encourages the growth of new blood vessels, can dramatically increase the anti-tumor effects of radiation therapy.
William McDade, MD, PhD
Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care
William A. McDade, MD, PhD, specializes in obstetrical anesthesiology, as well as the treatment of sickle cell disease. He works extensively to reduce cultural disparities in medicine and to help patients who have limited access to health services.
Dedicated to increasing opportunities for underrepresented minorities in higher education, Dr. McDade serves as the director of three Pritzker Pipeline Programs designed to introduce local high school and undergraduate students to research and clinical medicine with the aim of helping them develop careers in the biomedical sciences. He also leads two additional pipeline programs for the University that are designed to increase diversity in the professoriate. In 2005, Dr. McDade founded the James E. Bowman Society -- an academic medicine mentoring society that provides support for the advancement of minority individuals. He now serves as a Deputy Provost for the University where he focuses on enhancing campus diversity among the faculty.
Dr. McDade has mentored students in his lab, where his work focuses on the biochemistry of sickle cell disease. Early in his career, he established a relationship between the use of nitric oxide and its ability to break down sickle fibers within red blood cells. He currently is the primary investigator of a National Health Lung Blood Institute research training grant that brings students into the lab while simultaneously teaching ethics and scientific literature skills. An active member of the sickle cell community, Dr. McDade serves on the National Institutes of Health Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee.
Dr. McDade is also a leader in medical education where he is a member of the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education. He is also a director for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Dr. McDade has held many leadership roles at the University of Chicago, previously serving as Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs in the Pritzker School of Medicine.
Dr. McDade has been a past president for the Chicago Medical Society, the Cook County Physicians Association, the Prairie State Medical Society, and the Chicago Society of Anesthesiologists. He represents the American Society of Anesthesiologists in the AMA House of Delegates and currently serves as the Vice-President of the Illinois State Medical Society.
Sonali Smith, MD
Department of Medicine
Dr. Sonali Smith is an expert in the care and treatment of adults with all types of Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She has a special interest in new agents for lymphoma, as well as stem cell transplantation and its role in improving the survival of patients with relapsed lymphomas.
An active researcher, Dr. Smith is involved in the development of promising agents for patients with non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma. She is principal investigator on a number of innovative clinical trials. Many of the trials incorporate the collection of tumor and blood samples to study the effects of treatment on cancer cells through collaborative laboratories.
Dr. Smith frequently lectures to both physicians and patient groups on these topics. She serves on several national committees charged with improving treatment options for patients with lymphoma, providing physician education, and providing reliable information for patients through established websites. Dr. Smith also frequently performs peer reviews of research being considered for publication in major medical journals. Additionally, she has won several teaching awards at the University of Chicago.
David Song, MD
Department of Surgery
David H. Song, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in plastic surgery with additional training in reconstructive microsurgery. He specializes in breast reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery—a combination of lumpectomy and reconstructive techniques.
Dr. Song is well recognized for his extensive experience with perforator breast reconstruction procedures, including deep inferior epigastric perforator flap (DIEP), superior gluteal artery perforator flap (SGAP), superficial inferior epigastric artery flap (SIEA), thoracodorsal artery perforator flap (TAP). He is also skilled in the use of acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm) in implant breast reconstruction and in the reconstruction of abdominal wall defects. Additionally, Dr. Song has pioneered several techniques for the repair and reconstruction of chest wall defects. His research interests focus on outcome improvement in lumpectomy and mastectomy reconstruction. He is involved in several clinical trials exploring advancements in these procedures. In 2008, he received the Arthur G. Michel Clinician of the Year award from the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.
In addition, Dr. Song serves on the board of Medical Aid for Children of Latin America (MACLA), an organization that provides free surgical care for children with congenital deformities in the Dominican Republic. He is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and past president of the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Song is also a past board member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Association of Academic Chairmen of Plastic Surgery (AACPS).
Dr. Song received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which further equips him to advance healthcare delivery, particularly in the areas of breast cancer awareness, treatment and prevention.
2013 Pilot Grant Project: Dynamic Operational Mapping - Annotation for Patient and Family Education
Christopher Straus, MD
Department of Radiology
Dr. Christopher Straus M.D. is a board certified radiologist with special interest in musculoskeletal and interventional radiology. He attended the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and then completed his residency and fellowship training at the same institution. He now practices as an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology. He initially incorporated an administrative interest when first hired when his first chair asked him to preserve his general radiology skills and assist in meeting the more broad departmental needs by interpreting images in numerous departmental subspecialties beyond his initial post graduate training in IR. This more global outlook has led to administrative leadership positions, serving concomitantly as Radiology Medical Director of patient services, Associate Medical Director of Radiology Operations and as the Director of Student Education.
Recently efforts have been concentrated in the realm of education and expanding the role as Radiology Director of education by serving on various committees and task forces, including the invitation to serve on the board of the Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology (AMSER) and board of the Association of University Radiologists (AUR). The radiology department’s role in basic education of medical students has increased significantly with efforts to change how medical imaging is not only taught to medical students but clear attempts to improve patient understanding and effective optimal allocation of these imaging resources.
Administratively, Dr. Straus has a specific interest in patient safety and issues of communication. He has served as a consultant for numerous years and looks forward to expanding these important issues with relative national radiology professional organizations. At the University of Chicago Medical Center he serves on many related committees pertaining to his interests including Forms and Medical records, Patient Safety, Housestaff outreach and the Claims and Review Committee to name a few.
Monica Vela, MD
Department of Medicine
Monica Vela, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Since joining the University of Chicago faculty in the Department of Medicine in 1997, Dr. Vela has established herself as a leader in scholarship and education related to health care disparities and diversity in medicine.
Dr. Vela is actively involved in teaching of both medical students and medical house staff. She serves as the Course Director of the Clinical Skills Teaching module for the Pritzker School of Medicine. And in 2006, Dr. Vela piloted and implemented an innovative new curriculum in health care disparities, which has become an important feature of the curriculum at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Her work has been presented nationally and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and has gained broad attention as it is one of the few required courses on health care disparities among American medical schools.
Dr. Vela serves as Chair of the national Society of General Internal Medicine’s Disparities Education Task Force. Her other interests include issues of medical professionalism and the doctor-patient relationship. At the University of Chicago, Dr. Vela plays an active role in the recruitment and support of students underrepresented in medicine. She is also meaningfully engaged in a similar role as the Vice Chair for Diversity in the Department of Medicine.