The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence supports three to five new medical students a year as Bucksbaum Student Scholars. The Bucksbaum Institute assists with tuition and fees as needed from the second to the fourth year of medical school.
2017-18 Student Scholars
Nicole Dussault (MS2)
Nicole Dussault graduated summa cum laude and with honors in Economics from Columbia University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, Nicole volunteered as an Emergency Department patient advocate for survivors of sexual assault. After graduation, she conducted healthcare economics research at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Her work on the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act was featured in Liberty Street Economics.
At Pritzker, Nicole is a Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Maria Shelter Clinic, a founding member of Pritzker TECH, and a part of the University’s Hotspotting team. Nicole and fellow medical students also spearheaded a project to improve patient care for survivors of sexual assault in the University of Chicago ED, working with Drs. Keme Carter and Sonia Oyola. Under Dr. Matthew Churpek, she is also developing a machine learning algorithm to identify infection in hospitalized patients.
Tyrone Johnson (MS2)
Tyrone Johnson graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with a BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. He is a former coordinator of the UCLA Mobile Clinic Project, an interdisciplinary street-side free clinic that provides medical and social services to the homeless of West Los Angeles.
As a 2017 Schweitzer Fellow, Ty developed a holistic wellness curriculum for underserved and housing-insecure adults in Chicago’s Uptown. At Pritzker, Ty has served as co-director of the Maria Shelter Clinic, as a board member of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and as a member of the Identity & Inclusion Committee.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Lolita Alkureishi, Ty has conducted research on methods of improving patient-centered communication in the Electronic Medical Record era. He is also working with Dr. Elizabeth Tung to investigate the impact of community violence on chronic disease in Chicago’s West and South Side neighborhoods.
Nzuekoh Nchinda (MS2)
Nzuekoh Nchinda graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with an AB in Chemistry and a secondary field in Global Health and Health Policy. During college, Nzuekoh served as the National Region II Vice-President of HOSA-Future Health Professionals. Prior to medical school, Nzuekoh performed translational HIV immunology research at the Ragon Institute and served as a medical scribe at Cambridge Health Alliance. She was also a Crisis Services volunteer for Samaritans, Inc.
As a medical student, Nzuekoh is a co-director of Maria Shelter Free Clinic. She is a co-founder and co-leader of Docs and Debates, which hosts documentary viewings and peer-to-peer dialogue on important social issues. She taught third-grade students through South Side Science Scholars and participated in the JOURNEES service-learning trips to rural Mississippi and South Dakota. Under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, Nzuekoh is conducting research on tendinopathy risk factors and treatment decision-making in orthopedic care.
Robert Nolan (MS2)
Robert Nolan graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a BS in Chemistry. As a medical student, Bobby has served as a curriculum coordinator for the South Side Science Scholars program, where he helped foster interest in the basic sciences within the Chicago Public School system.
Bobby also served as a co-coordinator of the Washington Park Free clinic, where he was able to incorporate developmental screenings and a program with Reach Out and Read into clinic flow. A Bucksbaum grant helped to support his research this summer, which assessed communication and empathy techniques with patients during conscious procedures.
With the honor and opportunity that this scholarship entails, he hopes to continue to pursue this research while also delving into topics of pre-operative transparency. He also hopes to continue to strengthen Washington Park’s outreach and education programs, as well as to extend support to programs treating PTS within the south side of Chicago.
2016-17 Student Scholars
Mark Chee (MS3)
Mark Chee graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Chemistry and minors in Biology and Global Health. Mark is the Patient Satisfaction and Quality Improvement Co-Chair at the Bridgeport Free Clinic, a student-run clinic that serves an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community on the South Side of Chicago. He also served as the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association’s National Conference Co-Chair, helping to plan the 2016. Mark has worked on health policy and medical education issues as Pritzker’s representative in both the Illinois State Medical Society and Chicago Medical Society Medical Student Sections as well as the Association of American Medical Colleges Organization of Student Representatives.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Vineet Arora, Mark is conducting research about the barriers and facilitators of generic prescribing among providers and how effective messaging about generics can promote generic prescribing.
Laura Glick (MS3)
Laura Glick graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Psychology and Community Health. At Tufts, Laura was honored with the prestigious Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service. Laura conducted clinical and translational research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Under the mentorship of Dr. David Rubin, a Bucksbaum Institute Master Clinician, Laura has conducted research on Crohn’s disease, earning the Joseph B. Kirsner Research Award for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Forum. Additionally, she is working with Dr. Vineet Arora to improve verbal handoffs in the hospital setting. As a medical student, Laura serves as the co-director of the Washington Park Pediatric Free Clinic, an executive board member of the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, a leadership council member of Peer Health Exchange, and as a member of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program.
Tae Yeon Kim (MS3)
TaYeon Kim completed a BA in Anthropology in 2013 at the University of Chicago, where she graduated with Honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Before medical school, she worked as a Research Assistant at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. As a medical student, under the mentorship of Dr. Anna Volerman, Tae Yeon has conducted research to identify factors associated with the carry and use of inhalers by children with asthma in schools. Tae Yeon is on the board as the Interpreter Coordinator for Bridgeport Free Clinic, which serves a predominantly Cantonese speaking immigrant population. She also co-leads Big Ideas in Medicine, Reach Out and Read, and Pritzker Community Service Fellowship. She has served as a Peer Educator for the Health Care Disparities course and is a member of the Identity and Inclusion Steering Committee at the medical school.
Matthew Present (MS3)
Matt Present graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in American History. He taught English for a year in a Japanese fishing village. Upon his return stateside, he wrote advertising and managed a creative team at Groupon for two years before leaving to become the founding editor of Grid, the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday business magazine. He has also worked as a ghostwriter, with work appearing Forbes and USA Today. Matt completed his post-baccalaureate education at Goucher College. At Pritzker, Matt is an executive board member of the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, works as a mentor in the Chicago Youth Partnership, teaches science to third-graders, and counsels students on human anatomy and healthy living. He also serves on the Pritzker Editorial Committee and the Service of Gratitude Planning Committee. Matt participated in Pritzker’s annual REMEDY medical service trip to Peru. Currently, he is conducting research with Dr. Neda Laiteerapong on individualization of glycemic control goals in patients with Type-II Diabetes Mellitus.
2015-16 Student Scholars
Brooke Gabster (MS4)
Brooke Gabster graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2011 with an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before medical school, Brooke worked for Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she helped the Military Health System design innovative programs to reduce tobacco use and obesity, and guided Navy Medicine’s implementation and evaluation of a patient-centered medical home model of care at over one hundred clinics. In addition to her domestic health experience, Brooke has worked on global health projects in Germany, Thailand, and South Africa.
At the Pritzker School of Medicine, Brooke is the co-director of the Maria Shelter Clinic, a free clinic in a homeless shelter in Englewood. She also helps evaluate and improve the medical school curriculum as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curriculum Review Committee. Additionally, under the mentorship of Dr. David Meltzer, Brooke is conducting research about how a new model of care designed to increase physician-patient continuity might improve discussions about end-of-life care: her project titled “The Impact of the Comprehensive Care Physician Program on Advance Care Planning” earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Ashley Hite (MS4)
Ashley Hite, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with a BA in Psychology, Neuroscience and Philosophy and a minor in Children‘s Studies. Following graduation, Ashley taught and coached sports teams for a year at a charter school in Newark, NJ.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Beth Plunkett, Ashley completed a research project titled “Exploration of Barriers Facing Physicians in Diagnosing and Treating Obesity.” This summer, under the advisement of Dr. Vela and with two of her fellow classmates, she served as a TA and coordinator for the Chicago Academic Medical Program, where they exposed minority students to the field of medicine through enrichment and mentoring. She also was invited to attend the Hazelden Betty Ford Summer Institute for Medical Students where she gained insight into the approach to treatment of the chemically dependent person through lecture, group therapy sessions and meals with patients with patients and specialty groups.
In medical school, Ashley is the co-President of Students National Medical Association (SNMA) and served on a free clinic board as Education chair of Maria Shelter Clinic, a free clinic for women in Englewood. She also served as the co-director of the Psychiatry Interest Group. Ashley was the fundraising chair for REMEDY, a medical service group, and this summer went on a medical service trip to Peru.
Sunny Kung (MS4)
Sunny Kung graduated with Highest Honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 with a B.S. in Bioengineering. As a medical student, she co-lead South Side Science Scholars and Big Ideas in Medicine. Sunny is a co-founder of the Bridgeport Free Clinic and a Huggins Society Ambassador. She also serves the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) as the Central Regional Delegate to the National Committee on Community & Diversity, as well as the Pritzker representative to the Organization of Student Representatives. Under the mentorship of Jonas de Souza, Sunny completed a research project titled “Cost-coping Strategies in Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer.”
Lukas Matern (MS4)
Lukas Matern holds a B.A. in Music and Biochemistry from Columbia University, where he completed dual honors theses and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 2014. His undergraduate pursuits in chamber music and cello performance brought him to venues such as the Yellow Barn Music Festival and Carnegie Hall.
As a medical student, Lukas has served on the board of the Washington Park Clinic and headed the Surgery Interest Group. He has also cultivated an interest in the development and structure of medical training as a representative on the Preclinical Curriculum Review Committee, and he is currently conducting research with Drs. Jeanne Farnan and Vineet Arora on the assessment of core competencies in residency programs. In his spare time, he continues to perform within the University of Chicago’s Department of Music.
Dara Richer Adams, MD
Dara graduated summa cum laude and with election to Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior and Hispanic Studies. Following graduation, Dara worked in consulting for three years at Bain & Company. As a medical student, Dara has conducted research with Vineet Aurora on the relationship between patient satisfaction and communication among their providers.
Dr. Adams is an Otolaryngology Resident the University of Chicago.
Hasenin Al-Kahersan, MD
Hasenin Al-Kahersan, graduated with highest distinction and election to Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a BS in Cell & Molecular Biology and Arabic & Islamic Studies. As a medical student, he has researched the pathophysiology of cataracts with Eric Beyer, MD/PhD. He has also helped to analyze Simfield, a cost-effective glaucoma-screening tool. After his first year, Hasenin travelled to Germany and Poland as a Medical Fellow with the Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, examining both physician involvement in Nazi crimes and issues in contemporary medical ethics.
Dr. Al-Khersan is an Ophthalmology Resident at the University of Miami Beascon Palmer in Miami, FL.
Steven Bhutra, MD
Steven graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a BS in Biology with distinction. In medical school, he has developed an ongoing IRB-approved clinical trial on treating leukemia patients. Currently, Steven is the co-president for the Latino Medical Student Association, the local coordinator for ASAP, a youth substance abuse prevention program, and president of the Oncology interest group.
Dr. Bhutra is now an Anesthesiology Resident at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.
Anne Lauer Castro, MD
Anne graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in English Literature and minors in French Literature/Francophone Studies and International Peace Studies. Following graduation, Anne spent two and a half years as a volunteer social worker at an orphanage in Honduras.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of Dr. Niranjan S. Karnik and with a Summer Medical Student Fellowship from the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), Anne has researched the effects of homelessness on the mental health and behaviors of Chicago homeless youth. She presented her initial findings at the AACAP’s annual conference in October.
Anne also serves on the Pritzker student board for the Community Health Clinic, a free clinic in Chicago’s West Town; is Academic Chair for the International Medicine Interest Group; and co-coordinates SAMS, a student-run group that offers practice in medical Spanish.
Dr. Castro is an Anesthesiology Resident at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.
Sean Gaffney, MD
Sean Gaffney graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with a BA in Philosophy and Economics. Following graduation, Sean taught for two years at a high school in the Rio Grande Valley while completing a M.Ed. through Notre Dame’s ACE program.
As a medical student, Sean is the co-coordinator of CommunityHealth Clinic, a free clinic on Chicago’s west side. He also serves as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curriculum Review Committee, charged with reviewing the first two years of medical school curriculum.
Under the mentorship of Drs. Vineet Arora and Jeanne Farnan, Sean completed a research project titled “Transitions of Care and Transitioning to Training: Teaching and Assessing a Core Entrustable Professional Activity for Entering Residency,” which earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Dr. Gaffney is a Medicine Resident at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.
Brenna Hughes, MD
Brenna graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with an AB in Economics and Environmental Studies. As a medical student, under the mentorship of Marshall Chin and Monica Peek, a Bucksbaum Institute Jr. Faculty Scholar, Brenna has conducted research on ways to improve diabetes care and outcomes on the South Side of Chicago. Brenna has also conducted research in collaboration with Pilar Ortega to assess barriers to Emergency Department utilization of interpreter services.
Dr. Hughes is a Pediatric & Urban Health Resident at Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
Kathryn Kinasz, MD
Kathryn Kinasz graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 with a B.A. in English and Psychology and election to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Following graduation, Kate spent two years working at a strategy consulting firm in Chicago and a year completing her post-baccalaureate pre-medical education at Bryn Mawr College.
Under the mentorship of Daniel Le Grange and with a Medical Student Fellowship from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Kate has conducted research on the differences between boys and girls who present for eating disorder treatment. As a 2014 Schweitzer Fellow, Kate is working with the Girls in the Game organization to teach young girls in urban settings health and leadership lessons through participation in sports.
Kate also serves as the co-director of the Washington Park Pediatric Clinic, the co-curriculum director for the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention program, and the co-director of the Pediatrics Interest Group. Kate recently returned from a medical service trip to Peru with the REMEDY student group.
Dr. Kinasz is a Psychiatry Resident at University of California, San Francisco in San Francisco, CA.
Laurie Nosbusch, MD
Laurie Nosbusch graduated with highest distinction in 2013 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Biology and Spanish and a certificate in Global Health. She was captain of the Division 1 women’s soccer team for two years and earned numerous awards, including the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In medical school, Laurie served as a board member for the Washington Park Children’s Free Clinic and a co-president of the Diabetes Prevention and Management Group. Under the mentorship of Kristen Knutson, Ph.D, Laurie investigated the impact of sleep extension on diabetes risk and earned Honorable Mention of Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Forum.
Dr. Nosbusch is an Emergency Medicine Resident at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.
Liese Pruitt, MD
Liese graduated from Stanford University in 2010 with a BA in anthropology and a BS in biology. She received numerous honors as an undergraduate, including graduation with distinction in biology and anthropology, departmental honors for her senior thesis, and election to Phi Beta Kappa.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of Funmi Olopade, MD, director of the Cancer Risk Clinic and professor of medical and human genetics, Liese has conducted qualitative research on cultural and social barriers to effective breast cancer care in southern Nigeria.
Liese also was selected to serve as a Teaching Assistant for The Human Body course. She is a member of the Pritzker School of Medicine student board and a translator at the Community Health Clinic, a volunteer-run free clinic on Chicago’s west side. Liese also is one of the co-chairs of the International Medicine Interest Group at Pritzker.
Liese received a Doris Duke Clinical Research Mentorship Grant and spent the 2013-14 academic year abroad where she conducted a breast cancer knowledge assessment of healthcare workers near Ibadan, Nigeria.
Dr. Pruitt is a Surgery Resident at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT.
Elizabeth Rhinesmith, MD
Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 2005 with an AB in Economics, a Certificate in Health Policy and election to Phi Beta Kappa. Following her graduation, Elizabeth worked as an associate consultant at Bain & Company and in the Emergency Department of the University of Virginia Health Center.
As a medical student, under the mentorship of William Meadow, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Co-Section Chief of Neonatology, and Neethi Pinto, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Elizabeth has conducted research on the accuracy of care team prognoses regarding patient outcomes after hospitalization in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Elizabeth has served as the co-coordinator of the Washington Park Children’s Free Clinic, a student-run clinic for underserved children. She also serves as a member of the Pre-Clinical Curricular Review Committee, charged with reviewing the first two years of the medical school curriculum.
Dr. Rhinesmith is a Pediatrics-Primary Care Resident at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Alexander Ruby, MD
Alex graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 2009 with an ScB in Neuroscience. Following his graduation, Alex coordinated the construction of a community clinic in Bamako, Mali.
As a medical student, Alex researched the extent of false fluency in the health care setting as part of the Health Care Disparities course, and he has continued to explore potential solutions related to the lack of translation services. He also has conducted research with Benjamin Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, on the economic feasibility of an online adolescent depression prevention intervention.
Over the course of his first year, Alex helped conceive of a children’s illustrated book — combining information on the flu with artistic illustrations — to expand health literacy for children. He and his fellow students received a grant from the University of Chicago’s Arts/Science Initiative to fund the book’s initial publication and distribution.
Alex spent the 2013-14 academic year abroad in London where he completed a masters of science in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Alex conducted research on the effectiveness of interventions during humanitarian crises.
As of 2015, Dr. Ruby is a Resident at Cook County-Stroger Hospital in Chicago, IL.
Robert Sanchez, MD
Robert graduated from Yale University with a BA in the History of Science, History of Medicine. Following his graduation, he was selected as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., where he served in the U.S. Senate in the office of Senator Barack Obama and in the health policy office of Senator Ted Kennedy. After completing the fellowship, he began work as a health policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
As a medical student, Robert is the co-coordinator of Community Health Clinic, a volunteer-run clinic on Chicago’s west side. He also serves as the Admissions Chair for the Student National Medical Association, and sits on the Pritzker Dean’s Council as class representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Under the mentorship of Monica Peek, MD, MPH, he completed his research paper “Shared Decision-Making Preferences and Behaviors of Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Patients with Diabetes,” which earned Honorable Mention for Excellence in the Pritzker Summer Research Program.
Dr. Sanchez is a Medicine/Pediatrics Resident at the University of Chicago.
Jasmine Taylor, MD
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.
As of 2014, Dr. Taylor is a Pediatrics Resident at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL.
Ashley Tsang, MD
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 & Community Medicine Resident at University of California, San Francisco.