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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.

Robert Steppacher, MD

Robert Steppacher, MD

2014–2015 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Department of Surgery
Bio

Robert Steppacher, MD FACS and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Steppacher specializes in the medical, surgical, and endovascular management of aortic, carotid, and peripheral vascular disease. His interests also include treatment of venous disease and dialysis access. In addition to his clinical pursuits, Dr. Steppacher is also a Medical Director of Informatics at the University of Chicago. He has extensive expertise and interest in improving the electronic health record at UCM. Dr. Steppacher serves on numerous committees and taskforces at the local, regional, and national level. He is the director of arterial quality for the Mid-America Vascular Study Group and the chair of the medication optimization and EHR integration committees for the Society for Vascular Surgery. Dr. Steppacher research interests include using large data sets to foster improvement in vascular care and increasing the usability of the EHR.

In 2016, Dr. Steppacher joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Audrey Tanksley, MD

Audrey Tanksley, MD

2015–2016 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Department of Medicine
Bio

Audrey L. Tanksley MD was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in the Roseland community. She attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale and received a Bachelor of Arts in Biological-Sciences. Following this she attended Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL and completed studies in general medical education. During the time in Springfield, Dr. Tanksley, was vice president of the class of 2009, served as a student representative to the AAMC, assisted with LCME accreditation and received a grant to provide health and oral screenings to the people of Sangamon County. Dr. Tanksley returned to the Chicagoland area to complete her Internal Medicine residency training at UIC/ Advocate Christ Medical Center where she also served as chief resident. Upon completion of chief year, Dr. Tanksley transitioned into a 2 year Medical Education Research Fellowship at The University of Chicago Medical Center.

As a Medical Education, Research, Innovation, Teaching and Scholarship (MERITS) fellow at the University of Chicago, Dr. Tanksley’s academic work focused on healthcare disparities, communication, professionalism and resident supervision. She also assisted with investigations of the TEACH pipeline program for high school students. Her scholarly work has been presented at various regional and national conferences, including the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Society for General Internal Medicine. She is currently conducting an analysis of a novel curriculum created to teach residents how to obtain Informed Consent using a culturally sensitive approach. She has also worked on improving patient safety through resident supervision in the ambulatory environment.

As a General Internist, Dr. Tanksley supervises internal medicine residents and students caring for patients in the primary care clinics and general medical floors. She has worked closely with Drs. Arora and Farnan on qualitative research with high school students using focus groups, and is experienced with the use of Atlas software. She has also worked on quantitative projects as well and is experienced with the use of STATA software.

Dr. Tanksley now practices with ACCESS Community Health in Chicago, IL.

Kathryn Thompson, MD

Kathryn Thompson, MD

2018–2019 STUDENT SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Bio

Kathryn Thompson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a BS in pre-professional science and theology. As an undergraduate, Kathryn worked as a caretaker for a neighbor with cerebral palsy and was as a mentor-in-faith through the Institute for Church Life. She conducted audiology research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and was a part-time surgical technician. She also performed piano bi-weekly at the Holy Cross House retirement home in South Bend, Indiana.

At Pritzker, Kathryn is a laboratory coordinator for the Community Health Clinic and volunteers as a minister of spiritual care at the hospital. She participated in Pritzker’s annual REMEDY service-learning trip to Peru. Under Dr. Bree Andrews and the Preeme+You project, Kathryn researched parent engagement at the NICU bedside. Under the mentorship of Dr. John Yoon, Kathryn conducts a focus group at Montgomery Place, exploring how seniors process aging through the lens of the Christian faith.

Ashley Tsang, MD

Ashley Tsang, MD

2010-2011 STUDENT SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Bio

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.

Dr. Tsang is a family medicine physician in San Francisco, CA.

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.

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.