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Alumni Scholars

Since its founding in 2011, the Bucksbaum Institute has appointed, trained, and supported the research of, more than 514 physicians, medical students, and undergraduate student scholars. This map reflects the locations of more than 65 faculty and graduated medical student scholars who have moved from the University of Chicago to other academic programs. Their training at the Bucksbaum Institute will enable them to develop strong doctor-patient relationships and provide excellent patient care.

Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH

Kiran Turaga, MD, MPH

2023 ALUMNI SCHOLAR
2018–2019 SENIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Surgery
Bio

Dr. Kiran K. Turaga is a renowned surgical oncologist with a specific expertise in metastatic cancers. He grew up in India and completed his medical training from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He completed his surgical residency from Creighton University and his fellowship from The Moffitt Cancer Center. He also holds a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Dr. Turaga is interested in the patient centered management of patients with complex malignancies. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, he was the Sharon Wadina Endowed Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Some of his initiatives have included patient navigation, trimodality prehabilitation for patients undergoing complex cytoreductive surgery and early use of supportive oncology in the management of patients. Along with the regional therapies team, he has successfully created one of the premier programs for cytoreductive surgery and regional therapies in the nation which attracts patients from across the country.

Dr. Turaga’s research has focused on patient outcomes with oligometastatic cancers and he has published over 110 journal articles. He has contributed scholarly works to foremost oncological textbooks about peritoneal surface malignancies and is currently the section editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology for the regional therapies section. He is interested in disease prediction, modeling and delivery of optimal care for his patients.

He is also the fellowship director for the Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship program at the University of Chicago/Northshore program. He has been awarded the Department of Surgery Excellence in Teaching award in 2016-17.

As of 2023 Dr. Turaga joined the faculty at Yale School of Medicine

Jasmine Taylor Umana, MD

Jasmine Taylor Umana, MD

2010-2011 STUDENT SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Bio

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.

Dr. Taylor Umana is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA.

Nir Uriel, MD

Nir Uriel, MD

2015-2016 MASTER CLINICIAN – ALUMNI

Department of Cardiology
Bio

Dr. Nir Uriel was the Louis Block Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Heart Failure, Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support at the University of Chicago Medicine until 2019. Dr. Uriel is a leader in the field of heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplantation. He specializes in caring for patients who require mechanical circulatory support, including ventricular assist devices (VADs). Dr. Uriel’s research focuses on advanced heart failure physiology, heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support. He has a strong interest in high-risk transplant populations, including HIV-positive patients and patients who have received mediastinal radiation due to tumors or prior transplants. Through his research, Dr. Uriel has improved treatment protocols and patient care for these high-risk groups. Dr. Uriel has published more than 80 original, peer-reviewed articles.

In 2019, Dr. Uriel was named Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Monica Vela, MD

Monica Vela, MD

2013–2014 SENIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Department of Medicine
Bio

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.

In 2021, Dr. Vela joined the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Anshu Verma, MD

Anshu Verma, MD

2015–2016 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Department of Medicine
Bio

Dr. Verma is a general internist who specializes in the comprehensive care of adult patients in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. After earning her undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Public Policy Studies from Duke University, she received her medical training at UNC-Chapel Hill and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago. She then joined the section of Hospital Medicine as part of the Comprehensive Care Program.

Dr. Verma’s academic interests include health care delivery innovation and quality improvement. She is especially interested in ways to reduce costs and improve clinical outcomes for frequently hospitalized and medically complex patients. Dr. Verma is also active in medical education, and spends time precepting both residents and medical students.

Dr. Verma now practices at the Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, VA.

Brian H. Williams, MD, FACS

Brian H. Williams, MD, FACS

2023 ALUMNI SCHOLAR
2019–2020 SENIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Surgery
Bio

Dr. Brian H. Williams earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy. After six years of military service, he enrolled at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.

Dr. William completed his general surgery residency at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a fellowship in trauma surgery and surgical critical care at Emory University/Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Dr. Williams served as a trauma and acute care surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center/Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where he also taught and mentored students, residents, and fellows.

Dr. Williams is known for his role in treating victims of the July 2016, Dallas police shooting. He was the surgeon working the night seven injured officers were transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital. At a press conference following the tragedy, his heartfelt comments about racism, gun violence, and policing touched thousands.

Dr. Williams’s interests focus on racial inequities in healthcare, diversity in medical education, and addressing the root causes of gun violence. In addition to his work as an academic surgeon, Dr. Williams travels the country speaking and sharing his unique insight on resilience, racial equity, and social justice.

Meltem Zeytinoglu, MD, MBA

Meltem Zeytinoglu, MD, MBA

2016–2017 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Medicine
Bio

Dr. Zeytinoglu’s clinical practice emphasizes management and prevention of endocrine disorders, including diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity, in older adults.

Individuals’ risk of acquiring these conditions rises substantially with aging, and older adults represent the largest demographic with these diseases. Unlike many younger adults, as individuals age and acquire different medical conditions, their health status often begins to look very different from that of their age-matched peers.

Despite this, there is limited evidence to guide health-care providers and patients in how to optimize care for metabolic diseases in geriatric patients with heterogeneous health conditions — a group which has frequently been excluded from randomized clinical trials. Dr. Zeytinoglu’s research interests are focused on helping to improve this gap and studying methods and treatments for optimizing management of chronic metabolic conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis in older adults. Dr. Zeytinoglu is now the Executive Medical Director at Eli Lilly and Company.