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Medical Student Scholars

The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence supports four new medical students a year as Bucksbaum Student Scholars.

Mikhayla Armstrong

Mikhayla Armstrong

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Mikhayla Armstrong graduated from Williams College in 2019 with a B.A. degree in Biology with Honors and a concentration in Africana Studies. Her passion for research began in college when she was an Allison Davis Research Fellow. Upon graduating, she continued conducting research as a clinical research assistant in ophthalmology at Boston Children’s Hospital. During this time she also volunteered as a Big Sister and served as a co-leader of the Health Disparities and Inclusion group.

At Pritzker, Mikhayla was elected by her class as the AAMC representative. She is on the OUTPatient (for LGBTQ+ people in medicine) board and the Ophthalmology Interest Group board. She also serves as one of the i2i (identity and inclusion) representatives for OUTPatient and SNMA. She is currently exploring her research interests, through projects in ophthalmology and otolaryngology.

Isaiah Brown

Isaiah Brown

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Isaiah Brown graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2019 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. In 2018, Isaiah was the recipient of a summer internship award from the University of Southern California Summer Program in Diabetes and Obesity Research. This experience sparked his interest in health disparities research, which led Isaiah to become a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). At the NIMHD, Isaiah was primarily involved in research focused on identifying the relationships between health access and health seeking behaviors to explain the disparities among those living with chronic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes.

At Pritzker, Isaiah serves as the Co-President of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and as the Director of Operations for the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP). He also serves as the Quality Improvement Co-Chair of the Washington Park Free Clinic and as a member of the Choosing Wisely STARS in which he hopes to promote health care value in medical education.

Alvin Gordián-Arroyo, MPH

Alvin Gordián-Arroyo, MPH

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Alvin Gordián-Arroyo graduated from Harvard University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Evolutionary Biology while completing a secondary field in Global Health and Health Policy. He continued his studies at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where he received a Master of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences in 2019 with a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Health. His research focused on highlighting disparities among people living with HIV (PLWH) and evaluating the efficacy of technology-based solutions for improving health outcomes among PLWH and sexual minority adolescents at higher risk for HIV transmission.

At Pritzker, Alvin serves as co-chair of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group and class representative for the Identity and Inclusion (i2i) Steering Committee. He is also a volunteer at the free CommunityHealth Clinic and is a mentor with the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP).

Tiffany Xie

Tiffany Xie

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Tiffany Xie graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with degrees in English and Biology. Following graduation, she taught English in Changhua, Taiwan on a Fulbright fellowship. She is a writer and a member of the Soupbone Collective, a digital humanities collaborative. As a medical student, Tiffany co-leads the book club and the barbell club. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Tung, Tiffany is currently developing an epidemiological research project on housing and health, studying the geographic distribution of affordable housing and health resources.

Kristen Chalmers

Kristen Chalmers

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Kristen Chalmers graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 2017 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Neuroscience. Following graduation, she spent three years conducting qualitative research on emergency department design at Build Health International and adolescent diabetes care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She also began volunteering as a rape hotline crisis counselor with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, where she now works as a staff counselor and shift supervisor.

At Pritzker, Kristen is the co-chair of Physician Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and the Emergency Medicine Interest Group. She is also collaborating with fellow medical students on a project to identify disparities and improve care for survivors of sexual assault in Chicago-area emergency departments with Drs. Keme Cater, Sonia Oyola, and Jeanne Farnan. Under Dr. Julie Chor, she is also working on a qualitative research project aiming to develop trauma-informed abortion care principles for survivors of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and adverse childhood experiences.

Diana Li

Diana Li

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Diana Li graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2017 with BAs in Biophysics and Writing Seminars. They also received an MFA in Poetry from Rutgers University-Newark in 2019, where they taught English Composition.

At Pritzker, Diana served as co-president for OUTPatient (LGBTQ+ People in Medicine), as well as the Community Outreach Director for both the Bridgeport Free Clinic and the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association. They currently serve as a class representative for Pritzker’s Identity & Inclusion (i2i) committee. As a second-year medical student, Diana has also coordinated lesson plans and served as a guest facilitator for two modules of the first-year “Health Care Disparities and Advocacy” course: 1) allyship training and 2) LGBTQ+ intersectionality.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Marshall Chin and Dr. Scott Cook, Diana is conducting community health research on improving the healthcare experiences of transgender people of color as part of the Your Voice! Your Health! project.

Romy Portieles Pena

Romy Portieles Pena

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Romy graduated from the University of Chicago in 2020 with a B.A. in Biological Sciences. Before medical school she conducted translational gastroenterology research with Dr. Vivian Lee and Dr. Micah Prochaska at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she focused on the etiology of inflammatory bowel disease. After starting medical school, she began working with Dr. Tanya Zakrison and her team to develop a curriculum for trauma surgery trainees that addresses the structural racism and inequities that their patients face and teaches them how to be active anti-racism advocates. Romy is the Co-Interpreter Coordinator of Community Health Clinic, a free clinic at Pritzker. This year, she has worked to develop a standardized interpreter curriculum for the students and interpreters at the clinic. She also co-leads the Vascular Surgery Interest Group and is the Co-Mentorship Chair for the Pritzker chapter of LMSA. Romy will be working with Bucksbaum Faculty Scholar, Dr. Anna Volerman this summer. She will focus on evaluating a pilot program that embeds community health workers into elementary schools with the purpose to improve asthma management and outcomes for children.

Reem Hamoda, MPH

Reem Hamoda, MPH

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Reem Hamoda graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Community Health Assessment; she continued her studies at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, where she received a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2018. Reem is passionate about improving access to and reducing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in healthcare for chronic disease patients. Her previous volunteering work includes management of a free clinic social services program in Pittsburgh and designing and implementing a quality improvement initiative aimed to improve interpreter services at an Atlanta refugee clinic. As a graduate student and junior epidemiologist, Reem contributed to numerous research and quality improvement projects related to improving access to transplantation for end-stage renal disease patients.

At Pritzker, Reem served as the referrals coordinator for Washington Park Free Clinic, admissions liaison for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and mentor for the HPREP program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Milda Saunders, Reem currently conducts epidemiological research elucidating racial/ethnic and gender-specific disparities in placement on the deceased donor waiting list for renal transplantation.

Maria Ruiz

Maria Ruiz

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Maria completed her undergraduate studies Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Biology. In college, she developed her passion for working with Latinx communities through her work at Casa de Salud and at Nurses for Newborns. After graduation, María spent a year in Guatemala working with an NGO that promotes health and educational equity for individuals with disabilities. She then embarked her Global Health Corps fellowship at Community Pediatric Programs of Montefiore in the South Bronx, where she worked to facilitate access to medical care and legal services for children and immigrants.

In medical school, Maria was the Chair of the Dean’s Council, serving a liaison between school leadership and the student body. She also served as co-president of the Latinx Medical Student Association. In this role, she supported various COVID-19 relief efforts for Spanish speaking communities in Chicago, and launched an anti-racism reading program for incoming first year medical students. Under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Chor, she is conducting an interview study to understand the experiences of LGBTQ individuals with the first pelvic exam. To honor her service, María was selected as the 2020 Valerie Bowman Jarrett Scholar in Medical Education.

Camron Shirkhodaie

Camron Shirkhodaie

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Camron Shirkhodaie graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University in 2019 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Medicine, Health and Society and a minor in Chemistry.

At Prtizker, Camron was the co-director of Maria Shelter Free Clinic, where he, along with the rest of free clinic leadership, were able to implement telemedicine to continue seeing patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Camron was also a part of Reach Out and Read, Students for a National Health Program, and Middle Eastern and North African Student Association.

Under the mentorship of Dr. John Blair, Camron conducted research on outcomes of and risk factors associated with patients with concomitant deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism who receive catheter-directed therapy.