The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence supports three to five new medical students a year as Bucksbaum Student Scholars. The Bucksbaum Institute assists with tuition and fees as needed from the second to the fourth year of medical school. By the program’s third year, it is anticipated that a total of nine to fifteen Bucksbaum Student Scholars will have been selected to participate in the Institute.
2015-16 Student Scholars
Brooke Gabster (MS3)
Brooke Gabster graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2011 with an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before medical school, Brooke worked for Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she helped the Military Health System design innovative programs to reduce tobacco use and obesity, and guided Navy Medicine’s implementation and evaluation of a patient-centered medical home model of care at over one hundred clinics. In addition to her domestic health experience, Brooke has worked on global health projects in Germany, Thailand, and South Africa.
At the Pritzker School of Medicine, Brooke is the co-director of the Maria Shelter Clinic, a free clinic in a homeless shelter in Englewood. She also helps evaluate and improve the medical school curriculum as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curriculum Review Committee. Additionally, under the mentorship of Dr. David Meltzer, Brooke is conducting research about how a new model of care designed to increase physician-patient continuity might improve discussions about end-of-life care: her project titled “The Impact of the Comprehensive Care Physician Program on Advance Care Planning” earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Ashley Hite (MS3)
Ashley Hite, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with a BA in Psychology, Neuroscience and Philosophy and a minor in Children‘s Studies. Following graduation, Ashley taught and coached sports teams for a year at a charter school in Newark, NJ.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Beth Plunkett, Ashley completed a research project titled “Exploration of Barriers Facing Physicians in Diagnosing and Treating Obesity.” This summer, under the advisement of Dr. Vela and with two of her fellow classmates, she served as a TA and coordinator for the Chicago Academic Medical Program, where they exposed minority students to the field of medicine through enrichment and mentoring. She also was invited to attend the Hazelden Betty Ford Summer Institute for Medical Students where she gained insight into the approach to treatment of the chemically dependent person through lecture, group therapy sessions and meals with patients with patients and specialty groups.
In medical school, Ashley is the co-President of Students National Medical Association (SNMA) and served on a free clinic board as Education chair of Maria Shelter Clinic, a free clinic for women in Englewood. She also served as the co-director of the Psychiatry Interest Group. Ashley was the fundraising chair for REMEDY, a medical service group, and this summer went on a medical service trip to Peru.
Sunny Kung (MS3)
Sunny Kung graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 with a B.S. in Bioengineering. As a medical student, she co-lead South Side Science Scholars and Big Ideas in Medicine. Sunny is a co-founder of the Bridgeport Free Clinic and a Huggins Society Ambassador. She also serves the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) as the Central Regional Delegate to the National Committee on Community & Diversity, as well as the Pritzker representative to the Organization of Student Representatives. Under the mentorship of Jonas de Souza, Sunny completed a research project titled “Cost-coping Strategies in Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer.”
Lukas Matern (MS3)
Lukas Matern holds a B.A. in Music and Biochemistry from Columbia University, where he completed dual honors theses and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 2014. His undergraduate pursuits in chamber music and cello performance brought him to venues such as the Yellow Barn Music Festival and Carnegie Hall.
As a medical student, Lukas has served on the board of the Washington Park Clinic and headed the Surgery Interest Group. He has also cultivated an interest in the development and structure of medical training as a representative on the Preclinical Curriculum Review Committee, and he is currently conducting research with Drs. Jeanne Farnan and Vineet Arora on the assessment of core competencies in residency programs. In his spare time, he continues to perform within the University of Chicago’s Department of Music.
2014-15 Student Scholars
Hasenin Al-Kahersan (MS4)
Hasenin Al-Kahersan, graduated with highest distinction and election to Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a BS in Cell & Molecular Biology and Arabic & Islamic Studies. As a medical student, he has researched the pathophysiology of cataracts with Eric Beyer, MD/PhD. He has also helped to analyze Simfield, a cost-effective glaucoma-screening tool. After his first year, Hasenin travelled to Germany and Poland as a Medical Fellow with the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, examining both physician involvement in Nazi crimes and issues in contemporary medical ethics.
Sean Gaffney (MS4)
Sean Gaffney graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a BA in Philosophy and Economics. Following graduation, Sean taught for two years at a high school in the Rio Grande Valley while completing a M.Ed. through Notre Dame’s ACE program.
As a medical student, Sean is the co-coordinator of CommunityHealth Clinic, a free clinic on Chicago’s west side. He also serves as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curriculum Review Committee, charged with reviewing the first two years of medical school curriculum.
Under the mentorship of Drs. Vineet Arora and Jeanne Farnan, Sean completed a research project titled “Transitions of Care and Transitioning to Training: Teaching and Assessing a Core Entrustable Professional Activity for Entering Residency,” which earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Kathryn Kinasz (MS4)
Kathryn Kinasz graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 with a B.A. in English and Psychology and election to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Following graduation, Kate spent two years working at a strategy consulting firm in Chicago and a year completing her post-baccalaureate pre-medical education at Bryn Mawr College.
Under the mentorship of Daniel Le Grange and with a Medical Student Fellowship from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Kate has conducted research on the differences between boys and girls who present for eating disorder treatment. As a 2014 Schweitzer Fellow, Kate is working with the Girls in the Game organization to teach young girls in urban settings health and leadership lessons through participation in sports.
Kate also serves as the co-director of the Washington Park Pediatric Clinic, the co-curriculum director for the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention program, and the co-director of the Pediatrics Interest Group. Kate recently returned from a medical service trip to Peru with the REMEDY student group.
Laurie Nosbusch (MS4)
Laurie Nosbusch graduated with highest distinction in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Biology and Spanish and a certificate in Global Health. She was captain of the Division 1 women’s soccer team for two years and earned numerous awards, including the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In medical school, Laurie served as a board member for the Washington Park Children’s Free Clinic and a co-president of the Diabetes Prevention and Management Group. Under the mentorship of Kristen Knutson, Ph.D, Laurie investigated the impact of sleep extension on diabetes risk and earned Honorable Mention of Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Forum.
2013-14 Student Scholars
Dara Richer Adams (MS4)
Dara graduated summa cum laude and with election to Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior and Hispanic Studies. Following graduation, Dara worked in consulting for three years at Bain & Company. As a medical student, Dara has conducted research with Vineet Aurora on the relationship between patient satisfaction and communication among their providers.
Brenna Hughes (MS4)
Brenna graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with an AB in Economics and Environmental Studies. As a medical student, under the mentorship of Marshall Chin and Monica Peek, a Bucksbaum Institute Jr. Faculty Scholar, Brenna has conducted research on ways to improve diabetes care and outcomes on the South Side of Chicago. Brenna has also conducted research in collaboration with Pilar Ortega to assess barriers to Emergency Department utilization of interpreter services.
Ashley Tsang, MD
Ashley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 with a B.S. in Public Health, and minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. She spent two years working as a CDC public health associate in infectious disease epidemiology at the New Mexico Department of Health. As a 2013 Schweitzer Fellow, Ashley designed and implemented the first ever overdose prevention program at Cook County Jail. Under the mentorship of John Schneider, a Bucksbaum Faculty Scholar, Ashley has conducted research on the social networks of injection drug users in an HIV outbreak in Athens, Greece.
Ashley is currently a Family and Community Medicine Resident at the University of California, San Francisco.
Steven Bhutra, MD
Steven graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a BS in Biology with distinction. In medical school, he has developed an ongoing IRB-approved clinical trial on treating leukemia patients. Currently, Steven is the co-president for the Latino Medical Student Association, the local coordinator for ASAP, a youth substance abuse prevention program, and president of the Oncology interest group.
Steven is currently a Medicine Resident at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and in 2017 will begin as an Anesthesiology Resident at the University of Washington.
Anne Lauer Castro, MD
Anne graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in English Literature and minors in French Literature/Francophone Studies and International Peace Studies. Following graduation, Anne spent two and a half years as a volunteer social worker at an orphanage in Honduras.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of Dr. Niranjan S. Karnik and with a Summer Medical Student Fellowship from the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Anne has researched the effects of homelessness on the mental health and behaviors of Chicago homeless youth. She presented her initial findings at the AACAP’s annual conference in October.
Anne also serves on the Pritzker student board for the Community Health Clinic, a free clinic in Chicago’s West Town; is Academic Chair for the International Medicine Interest Group; and co-coordinates SAMS, a student-run group that offers practice in medical Spanish.
Anne is currently an Anesthesiology Resident at Duke University Medical Center.
Elizabeth Rhinesmith, MD
Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2005 with an AB in Economics, a Certificate in Health Policy and election to Phi Beta Kappa. Following her graduation, Elizabeth worked as an associate consultant at Bain & Company and in the Emergency Department of the University of Virginia Health Center.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of William Meadow, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Co-Section Chief of Neonatology, and Neethi Pinto, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Elizabeth has conducted research on the accuracy of care team prognoses regarding patient outcomes after hospitalization in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Elizabeth has served as the co-coordinator of the Washington Park Children’s Free Clinic, a student-run clinic for underserved children. She also serves as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curricular Review Committee, charged with reviewing the first two years of the medical school curriculum.
Elizabeth is currently a Pediatrics-Primary Care Resident at Children’s National Medical Center DC.
Robert Sanchez, MD
Robert graduated from Yale University with a BA in the History of Science, History of Medicine. Following his graduation, he was selected as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., where he served in the U.S. Senate in the office of Senator Barack Obama and in the health policy office of Senator Ted Kennedy. After completing the fellowship, he began work as a health policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
As a medical student, Robert is the co-coordinator of Community Health Clinic, a volunteer-run clinic on Chicago’s west side. He also serves as the Admissions Chair for the Student National Medical Association, and sits on the Pritzker Dean’s Council as class representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Under the mentorship of Monica Peek, MD, MPH, he completed his research paper “Shared Decision-Making Preferences and Behaviors of Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Patients with Diabetes,” which earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Robert is currently a Medicine/Pediatrics Resident at the University of Chicago.
Liese Pruitt, MD
Liese graduated from Stanford University in 2010 with a BA in anthropology and a BS in biology. She received numerous honors as an undergraduate, including graduation with distinction in biology and anthropology, departmental honors for her senior thesis, and election to Phi Beta Kappa.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of Funmi Olopade, MD, director of the Cancer Risk Clinic and professor of medical and human genetics, Liese has conducted qualitative research on cultural and social barriers to effective breast cancer care in southern Nigeria.
Liese also was selected to serve as a Teaching Assistant for The Human Body course. She is a member of the Pritzker School of Medicine student board and a translator at the Community Health Clinic, a volunteer-run free clinic on Chicago’s west side. Liese also is one of the co-chairs of the International Medicine Interest Group at Pritzker.
Liese received a Doris Duke Clinical Research Mentorship Grant and spent the 2013-14 academic year abroad where she conducted a breast cancer knowledge assessment of healthcare workers near Ibadan, Nigeria.
Liese is currently a Surgery Resident at the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals.
Alexander Ruby, MD
Alex graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 2009 with an ScB in Neuroscience. Following his graduation, Alex coordinated the construction of a community clinic in Bamako, Mali.
As a medical student, Alex researched the extent of false fluency in the health care setting as part of the Health Care Disparities course, and he has continued to explore potential solutions related to the lack of translation services. He also has conducted research with Benjamin Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, on the economic feasibility of an online adolescent depression prevention intervention.
Over the course of his first year, Alex helped conceive of a children’s illustrated book — combining information on the flu with artistic illustrations — to expand health literacy for children. He and his fellow students received a grant from the University of Chicago’s Arts/Science Initiative to fund the book’s initial publication and distribution.
Alex spent the 2013-14 academic year abroad in London where he completed a masters of science in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Alex conducted research on the effectiveness of interventions during humanitarian crises.
Alex is currently an Emergency Medicine Resident at Cook County-Stroger Hospital.
Jasmine Taylor, MD
Jasmine graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in 2010 with a BA in anthropology and election to Phi Beta Kappa. As a medical student, under the mentorship of Melissa Gilliam, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics, Jasmine has conducted research on social services used by teenage mothers during their first post partum year.
Jasmine was the co-coordinator of the Maria Shelter Clinic, a student-run clinic for homeless women and children. She served as Academic Co-Chair of the Student National Medical Association and participated as the student liaison to the search committee for the Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs.
Jasmine is currently a Pediatric Resident at the University of Chicago.