Alumni Updates & Accomplishments

The alumni updates you see in the print edition of the Rush University Magazine and on this website are driven by alumni submissions. We’d love to let fellow Rush alumni know about your work and your accomplishments. We can also help you facilitate professional connections or reconnect with former classmates.

To send in your personal or professional news, update your contact information or notify us of a deceased alumnus, submit an update online or send your news to the Office of Alumni Relations at, by phone at (312) 942-7199, or by mail at 1201 W. Harrison St., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60607-3319. 

Search: 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, GME


CATHERINE E. ADAMS BUCHAN, PRES ’41, is 96 years old and lives with her daughter and son-in-law in Ponce Inlet, Florida. She previously lived in Arizona for 20 years and resided in Illinois and Indiana since graduating from Rush. Buchan worked as an RN at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago and returned to the area this fall to attend Homecoming 2016 in celebration of her 75th reunion.
DOROTHY BOWEN KENNEDY, ST. LUKE’S ’46, is still relatively active in her community Morning Star Assisted Living. At age 93, she plays bridge, bingo, trivia and dominoes and is a reading buddy at a local elementary school. She would love to hear from any of her classmates.


MARY MCNAMEE GREGG, PSL ’66, has been a volunteer for American Nurses Credentialing Center and chaired the Content Expert Panel for Nursing Case Management. She retired in 2013 after four years as a clinical nursing instructor.
GLORIA SIMONELLI KROC, PSL ’66, received her master’s degree in library science, specializing in medical libraries, and now works in a hospital library. She currently volunteers as a docent at Brookfield Zoo.
JUDY SCHAAFSMA OOSTERHOFF, PSL ’66, worked as an RN for 50 years, certified in rehab/restorative nursing and community parish nursing. She served as a nursing instructor at Kankakee Community College for the last 20 years.


THOMAS BLECK, ’77/RMC; GME, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, honored for his contributions to the field of critical care through the advancement of medical science and education. Bleck currently serves as professor of  neurological sciences, neurosurgery, medicine and anesthesiology, Rush Medical College, and director of clinical neurophysiology, Rush University Medical Center.
RUTH M. WINGEIER, BSN ’77/CON, runs an independent nurse-midwifery home birth practice in central Minnesota. Providing midwifery and women’s health services, she cares for a large percentage of uninsured or underinsured clients who were previously not coming in for prenatal or gynecological care because of the cost — a large percentage being Amish and Mennonite.
PAUL HENDERSON, CRNA ’79/CON, has been enjoying his retirement since the end of June, working on old cars and keeping a muscle car collection. He serves on the board of directors of the Woodlawn Hospital Foundation and is involved with the Lions Club in Rochester, Indiana.


FRANK L. BLEYER, MD ’82/RMC; GME, joined Mercy Hospital Lincoln in Troy, Missouri, providing full-time cardiology services.
JAMES T. O’DONNELL, MS ’82/CHS, AND JAMES J. O’DONNELL, III, PHD ‘11/GRAD, edited a new book, O’Donnell’s Drug Injury, Fourth Edition.
RICHARD A. ZEFF, PHD ‘82/GRAD, was appointed chair and professor of medical sciences and senior associate dean of scholarship at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.
MARIANNE WOODS CIRONE, MS ’84/CHS, is the founder and editor of an online journal dedicated to safe, evidence-based modalities and support for people affected by cancer called the Integrative Cancer Review.
SHIRLEY P. O’BRIEN, MS ’84/OT, received the 2016-18 Eastern Kentucky University Foundation Professor Award, recognized for her “creative, self-motivated exemplars of the ideal college professor.”
JUDY FRIEDRICHS, MSN ‘85, DNP ‘15/CON, recently received the Gift of Hope’s Lifesaving Partner Award for her work in the neonatal intensive care unit and organ donation.
PAULA MEIER, PHD ’85/CON, received this year’s Judith Storfjell Distinguished Award for Scholarly Practice from UIC College of Nursing. Meier was nominated for her contributions to the promotion of breastfeeding the most vulnerable infants, changing the lives of mothers of preterm infants and contributing to science, practice and education.
THOMAS J. FILIAK, BS ’87/CHS, transitioned from his previous position as COO at Auburn Community Hospital in New York and is currently working as Projects Manager for the hospital’s nine delivery system reform incentive payment program projects.
PAULA SCHIPIOUR, MSN ’87/CON, was named the associate director for the Chicago Bilingual Nurse Consortium, a local nonprofit group that assists Internationally Educated Nurses, or IENs, to complete the requirements for Registered Nurse licensure in the United States. Schipiour has represented the organization at the Rosemont Latino Caucus, Neighborhoods
of the World at Navy Pier, on Spanish Public Radio, the Lumpen Radio talk show and WGN news.
RHONDA A. SCOTT, MSN ’88/CON, was promoted to chief operating officer/CNO for Grady Healthcare System in Atlanta.
JULIE G. DONALEK, MSN ’89, PHD ’98/CON, was awarded Loyola University’s Neihoff School of Nursing’s 2016 Spirit of Ignatius Award for her work with low-income, homeless and mentally ill individuals in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Donalek previously received the 2015 DePaul University Community Engagement Award for her inclusion of DePaul University Master’s Entry to Nursing Practice Program in her work.


SUSAN THOMPSON HINGLE, MD ’93/RMC, was elected to serve as the chair of the American College of Physicians Board of Regents 2017-2018.
MARLA GOLDSMITH BASS, BSN ’95, DNP ’02/CON, became a board-certified nurse practitioner in hospice and palliative nursing in December 2015.
KIMBERLY RUSSO, MS ’96/AUD, was named chief executive officer at George Washington University Hospital. Shortly
after she was awarded the first-ever Rush University Speech-Language Pathology
Alumni Award.
KATHLEEN M. WEBER, MD ’96/RMC; GME, a sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center, was appointed as the first female physician to serve as president of the Major League Baseball Team Physicians Association.
TRESA E. ZIELINSKI, MSN ’97, CERT ’99, DNP ’11/CON, started her term as president-elect of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in July 2016.


KATHERINE SHARKEY, PHD ’01/GRAD; MD ’02/RMC; GME, was appointed assistant dean for Women in Medicine and Science at Brown. She has been serving as medical director of the University Medicine Sleep Center and associate director of Brown’s Sleep for Science Research Laboratory.
JASON A. AKRAMI, MD ’02/RMC; GME, has been working as a teleradiologist (general and neuroradiology) for vRad (Virtual Radiologic) since September 2014.
BEN REMOR E. INVENTOR, MSN ’03/CON; PHD ‘15/GRAD, is a member of the Department of Adult Health and Gerontological Nursing at Rush University College of Nursing and will be the guest speaker for the 37th College of Nursing Pinning Ceremony at West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, Philippines, which is where he began his nursing career.
RONNY T. PHILIP, MS ’04/HSM, was appointed regional vice president of operations for Sound Physicians, based out of their Chicago office. Previously Philip worked for DaVita Healthcare Partners for their Kidney Care division. In his new role, the oversees hospitalist programs in the Midwest, particularly Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
RACHEL REICHLIN, BSN ’05/CON, was chosen as a 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader Winner by the American Nurses Association Illinois. As manager of care management for CountyCare, Reichlin was chosen by a panel of peers based on professional achievement, leadership and community involvement.
JOY SCHLOTON ELWELL, DNP ’06/CON, was named director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the University of Connecticut in November 2015. As an associate clinical professor, Elwell teaches health policy to graduate nursing students and consults nationally with advanced nursing practice leaders on improving legislation to eliminate barriers to nursing and improve access to health care. She also serves as president of the Mu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.
MARILYN K. WIDEMAN, DNP ’07/CON, was named associate dean of online programs at Kaplan University School of Nursing. At Homecoming in October, Wideman began a two-year term as president of the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Nurses Alumni Association.
LAURA M. SETLUR, MD ’09/RMC, a board-certified internal medicine physician, joined Edward Medical Group’s Plainfield, Illinois, campus office in June 2016.


LISA FELDMAN, MD ’10/RMC, spent a year studying perfluorocarbons in New Zealand. Supported by a prestigious fellowship from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, she hopes to move her findings into clinical trials for patients battling aggressive brain tumors.
JASON PAGSISIHAN, MSN ’10/CON, was nominated by Rush’s Robert R. McCormick Foundation Center for Advanced Emergency Response for a Nurses Week Award and was named the 2016 Mary Beth O’Holleran Nurse Mentorship Award winner for consistent outstanding mentorship.
JENNIFER L. COOPER, MSN ’11/CON, began her new role as assistant professor of nursing at Hood College in Frederick,
Maryland, in August 2016.
JENNIFER A. SALERNO, DNP ’11/CON, published her book on Sept. 6, 2016, Teen Speak: A how-to guide for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.
MAX FITZGERALD, MD ’12/RMC, is working at Rush as a physiatrist and assistant professor in the Department of Physical
Medicine and Rehabilitation. 
LYNDSAY M. HOY, MD ’12/RMC, was diagnosed with a rare lung disease called  LAM and wrote an essay on her experiences living with the chronic illness as a physician. The piece was published in the January 2016 issue of Anesthesiology: The Journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
SVEINN SIGURDSSON, MS ’13/CHS, accepted a position at Stanford Health Care to serve as the implementation lead for their High Value Care initiative.
JAMIE N. SCHMIDT, MS ’14/CHS, completed her fellowship at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital upon graduating and later moved to New York City, where she currently works as a speech language pathologist at NYU Langone Medical Center and
the James J. Peters VA Medical Center.
SALLY H. LEMKE, DNP ‘15/CON, received this year’s March of Dimes Jonas Salk Health Leadership Award.
CARLY M. MOSER, MS ’16/CHS, recently joined Sanford Clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota, as a physician assistant, general surgery. Moser received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

GME (House Staff)

GUNNAR B. J. ANDERSSON, GME, was named chairman of the International Advocates for Spine Patients board of directors.
NOELLE L. BERTELSON, GME, joined The Colon and Rectal Clinic of Colorado-SurgOne practice, the largest practice of its kind in Colorado. She will join the award-winning staff in providing world-class treatment and minimally invasive surgical solutions to colon and rectal issues like hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, colon and rectal cancer, and diverticulitis.
ATUL R. CHUGH, GME, is a cardiologist at St. Franciscan Physician Network in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and is eager to educate the county about heart issues and the associated risk factors.
AL A. SARRAJ, GME, is the author of Alert Medical Series (USMLE I, II, III. INTERNAL MEDICINE I, II, II. EMERGENCY MEDICINE I, II, III): review, test prep and comprehensive knowledge acquisition.
ROBERT J. ZAGAR, GME, professor at Chicago School of Professional Psychology, published “Finding High Risk Persons with Internet Tests to Manage Risk - A Literature Review with Policy Implications to Avoid Violent Tragedies, Save Lives and Money” in the Review of European Studies, 2016, volume 8. His work documents how his algorithm saved 324 homicides and $2,089,848,548 in Chicago with a return on investment of $6.42 for every dollar spent.
  Colleges and programs
AUD Speech & Hearing Science*
CON Rush University College of Nursing
GRAD The Graduate College at Rush University
HSM Health Systems Management*
OT Occupational Therapy*
PSL Presbyterian-St. Luke’s School of Nursing
PRES Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing
RMC Rush Medical College
ST. LUKE’S St. Luke’s Hospital Training School of Nursing

*programs in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University

BS Bachelor of Science
BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing
CERT Certificate
CRNA Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice
GME Graduate Medical Education
(House Staff Alumnus)
MD Doctor of Medicine
MS Master of Science
MSN Master of Science in Nursing
PhD Doctor of Philosophy