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Associate Junior Faculty Scholars

Each year, the nomination process for Junior Faculty Scholars consistently generates many exceptional candidate recommendations from all clinical departments. In an effort to retain involvement from these superb faculty, the position of Associate Junior Faculty Scholar was created in 2012. Associate Junior Faculty Scholars are eligible to participate in all Bucksbaum Institute programs and each spring they may apply for funding through the Bucksbaum Institute Pilot Grant Program.

Sarah Shubeck, MD, MS

Sarah Shubeck, MD, MS

2022-2023 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Surgery
Bio

Sarah Shubeck, MD, MS, is a breast surgical oncologist who specializes in the care of patients with benign breast conditions and breast cancer. In addition to Dr. Shubeck’s commitment to her clinical practice, she is also passionate about using research to improve healthcare. Some of her research has included studying the value, variation and quality of surgical care. Dr. Shubeck’s research interests are focused on defining value in breast surgical care and understanding the impact of de-escalation on care delivered to patients with breast cancer.

Amanda Silva, MD

Amanda Silva, MD

2019–2020 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR – ALUMNI

Department of Surgery
Bio

Dr. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She trained at the University of Chicago for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and completed an additional Reconstructive Microsurgery Fellowship at New York University.

Her research interests include improving the patient experience and outcomes in head and neck reconstruction. She is specifically interested in long-term outcomes, quality of life, and investigating how reconstructive details such as flap choice, design, and inset can improve outcomes. She is also interested in the benefits of collaboration amongst specialties who overlap in scope of practice and investigating avenues and barriers to collaboration.

Clinically, she focuses on complex reconstruction from head to toe and has a particular interest in head and neck and facial reconstruction for cancer and traumatic defects including facial nerve surgery.

Dr. Silva is the Quality and Patient Safety Improvement committee member for the division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is a member of the new formed Department of Surgery Wellness Taskforce.

In 2020, Dr. Silva joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

Ruchi Singla, MD

Ruchi Singla, MD

2020–2021 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Pediatrics
Bio

Ruchi Singla, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the section of Allergy/Immunology. She is board certified in providing care to both pediatric and adult populations with allergic diseases and congenital immune deficiencies.

She received her undergraduate education at The Ohio State University and attended medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She completed pediatrics residency at the University of Michigan and specialized in allergy/immunology at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago.

She is actively involved in resident and medical student education and serves as the director of trainee elective rotations to provide exposure to the field of allergy/immunology. She is currently working to establish the first ever allergy/immunology fellowship training program at the University of Chicago.

She has special interest in removing penicillin allergy labels, which have been shown to lead to inferior treatments and increased healthcare costs and complications. She is dedicated to engaging multiple disciplines across the healthcare system to de-label such allergies and ultimately improve patient care. She is equally passionate about patient education and continually seeks ways to improve provider and patient communication.

Dimitra Skondra, MD

Dimitra Skondra, MD

2017–2018 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Bio

Dr. Skondra, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Chicago. Dr. Skondra is the Director of the J. Terry Ernest Ocular Imaging Center who focuses on the medical and surgical treatment of vitreoretinal diseases. She in an expert in delivering care for diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, retinal vein occlusions, eye trauma, proliferative vitreoretinopathy and intraocular infections, with advanced training and expertise in surgical repair of complex diabetic retinal detachments.

As a physician-scientist, Dr. Skondra is dedicated to investigating methods to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies for retinal conditions with special focus on the role of microbiome in age related macular degeneration and retinal disorders. Throughout her career, Dr. Skondra has received several prestigious awards for her translational research on diabetic retinopathy, ocular angiogenesis and age related macular degeneration, including the Retina Society Raymond Margherio Award, Harvard /Alcon Clinical Scholar Award, AUPO Research Award, ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician Scientist Award, Joslin/Tonseth Research Fellowship Award and the Knights Templar Award. She trained at Weill Cornell Medical College (residency) and Harvard Medical School (postdoctoral research fellowship and vitreoretinal surgical fellowship).

Mark Slidell, MD, MPH

Mark Slidell, MD, MPH

2018–2019 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Surgery
Bio

Dr. Mark Slidell is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Section of Pediatric Surgery at The University of Chicago. He earned his medical degree from Brown University School of Medicine and went on to complete his general surgery residency at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. During his residency, Dr. Slidell completed a Master’s in Public Health at The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He subsequently went on to complete a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Following that, Dr. Slidell joined the faculty at The University of Chicago Medicine.

Dr. Slidell has specific expertise in advanced minimally invasive surgery in children and newborns, and he applies these skills to the treatment of children with a broad range of diseases such as pediatric pancreatic, liver and bile duct diseases, aerodigestive diseases such as GERD, and to chest wall reconstruction for patients with pectus excavatum and carinatum deformities. Dr. Slidell frequently collaborates with other surgeons and clinicians across disciplines to enhance the care we can provide to pediatric patients. He is a co-founder of The Chest Wall Deformity Program at the University of Chicago, and the Pediatric Aerodigestive Center at The University of Chicago. Dr. Slidell also partners with adult general and transplant surgeons to offer total pancreatectomy with islet cell autotransplantation (TP-IAT) for children with genetic forms of chronic pancreatitis.

Dr. Slidell is also the Director of Pediatric Trauma at Comer Children’s Hospital, which is a high acuity Level One Pediatric Trauma Center. He is currently involved in conducting patient safety, quality improvement and clinical outcomes research to improve the quality of trauma care provided to injured children. He is also an active member of the Outcomes and Evidence Based Practice Committee, of the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Dr. Slidell is a dedicated educator and mentor, and is passionate about educating and training the next generation of physicians, surgeons and scientists. He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards throughout his academic career.

Kimberly Stanford, MD, MPH

Kimberly Stanford, MD, MPH

2022-2023 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Medicine
Bio

Dr. Stanford is an Assistant Professor in the Section of Emergency Medicine and the Director of ED HIV and STI Screening at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE). Dr. Stanford received her Doctor of Medicine at Columbia University, followed by a residency in emergency medicine at Harvard MGH/Brigham & Women’s, and then a Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Stanford is active in social emergency medicine, chairing both state and national Social EM committees. She runs a robust ED HIV screening program and developed an innovative universal syphilis screening program. Her research focuses on the use of the emergency department visit to address the social determinants of health, including infectious diseases, sexual and reproductive health, homelessness, and human trafficking. Utilizing implementation science methods to inform program development, implementation, and expansion, Dr. Stanford hopes to improve early diagnosis and access to care through innovative ED screening and referral programs.

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.

Joyce Tang, MD

Joyce Tang, MD

2019–2020 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Medicine
Bio

Dr. Tang is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Comprehensive Care Physician in the Section of Hospital Medicine. Her clinical work is devoted to providing longitudinal primary care across inpatient and ambulatory care settings for a panel of patients with high health needs and frequent hospitalization. She leads qualitative research efforts for the Comprehensive Care Program, with a focus on patient perspectives and preferences related to care, the doctor patient relationship, and reasons for variation in patient response to the program. She also developed and leads an educational program called the Patient Centered Longitudinal Experience, in which first year medical students are partnered with patients with complex chronic disease, with whom they co-navigate their patients’ clinical care experiences across multiple settings.

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.

Melissa Tesher, MD

Melissa Tesher, MD

2015–2016 ASSOCIATE JUNIOR FACULTY SCHOLAR

Department of Pediatrics
Bio

Melissa Tesher, MD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, in the Section of Pediatric Rheumatology. She cares for children with juvenile arthritis, lupus, and a wide variety of other complex chronic diseases. Dr. Tesher has a long-standing commitment to caring for underserved children. Following her residency in Social Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, Dr. Tesher came to the University of Chicago as a pediatric rheumatology fellow, then joined the faculty in 2011. She has a particular interest in helping patients navigate the psychosocial aspects of coping with chronic disease, especially chronic pain. In addition to providing patient care, Dr. Tesher serves as the director of the Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship training program at the University of Chicago and also directs the rheumatology elective rotation.