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Medical Student Scholars

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

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.

Russell Simons

Russell Simons

2018-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Russell Simons graduated magna cum laude from Boston College with a B.S. in biology and a minor in medical humanities. At Boston College, he was a recipient of the Gabelli Presidential Scholarship, a four-year merit-based award, and served as president of the student body.

As a medical student, Russell is co-coordinator of CommunityHealth Clinic, which provides medical care free-of-charge to uninsured Chicagoans on the city’s west side. He is co-founder and co-leader of Pritzker Humanities & Medicine, which hosts events for medical students that explore the connections between the humanities and clinical caregiving. Following his first year at Pritzker, Russell was a recipient of the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights’ summer internship award. He subsequently worked as a researcher at Human Rights Watch in New York City where he helped investigate human rights abuses related to the opioid epidemic, the development of universal health coverage systems, and HIV/AIDS care for transgender men and women.

Frazer Tessema

Frazer Tessema

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Frazer Tessema graduated from Yale University in 2017 with a BA in History as a premedical student. In college, Frazer researched behavioral psychology at the Yale Decision Neuroscience Lab and translational medicine at the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center.

From 2017-2020, Frazer worked as a research assistant at the Harvard Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL) at Brigham & Women’s Hospital publishing peer-reviewed papers focused on finding solutions to lower prescription drug prices, improving access to pharmaceuticals, and reforming regulatory practice to better patients’ lives. He co-authored 13 papers, including a law review article on the causes of high generic drug prices. From 2017-2020, Frazer also served as a hospice volunteer in the Boston metro-area, playing requested piano music for end-of-life patients. At UChicago, Frazer researches the pathophysiology of microvascular dysfunction in heart failure and health policy initiatives related to sickle cell anemia. Frazer also continues ongoing research with PORTAL.

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.

Nikhil Umesh

Nikhil Umesh

2020-2021 Student Scholar

Bio

Nikhil Umesh graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with a B.S. in Environmental Health Science and a minor in Chemistry. Prior to joining Pritzker, Nikhil worked as a violence prevention educator and community health researcher, instructing courses in political economy, race, and the history of social movements. In his free time, he enjoys deepening his interest in cooking, gardening, and propagating fruit trees.

Nikhil serves as a Co-Director of the Maria Shelter Clinic, which serves women and children experiencing homelessness on the South Side. He is also a Student Representative on the Pre-Clinical Review Committee, Community Grand Rounds Student Liaison, and a Student Leader of Students for a National Health Program and Chicago Homelessness Health Response Group for Equity.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Tung and Dr. Monica Peek, Nikhil is conducting research on the urban geography of plasma donation centers and their association with race, place, and poverty. He hopes his work will bring greater public awareness to the global supply chain of plasma, where poor, racialized communities have become a central link.

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.