Current and Former Students

Class of 2026

Jennifer Castillo

Hometown: Park City, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Illinois at Chicago, Biological Sciences

Why Rush? As a physician, I want to aid in increasing access to healthcare and advocate for change that will increase patients’ quality of life. Rush has continuously demonstrated these same values and goals. Choosing Rush will allow me to continue to uphold these values, while learning how to make the best impact as a physician from faculty and students.

Why Family Medicine? Due to family medicine’s wide scope of practice, it provides a unique opportunity to treat patients over the course of their lifetime. This facilitates the development of long term relationships with patients, which is what draws me to the specialty. Practicing family medicine will also allow me to help patients prevent illnesses and the progression of illness.

Hobbies: Spending time at the beach, going to the gym, and taking tennis lessons.

Fun fact: My favorite season is the summer!

 

Andrew Mohama

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD / Minneapolis, MN

Why Rush? From day one of interviewing with Rush to now being a medical student, Rush never had to prove that they cared about the community—it was exceedingly evident in everything Rush does. As a Syrian-American, I feel welcomed and uplifted here. I feel honored and proud to be part of such a diverse class and team of faculty and physicians who come from all walks of life. 

I also genuinely believe in the mission and vision at Rush, and I feel encouraged to always push our theory of change into practice—in the classroom, the patient room, and the community at large. Rush is a place that not only allows us to care for patients when they enter our doors but helps empower the responsibility to remove barriers to health care access through service and public health advocacy, among many other acts. I believe physicians and health workers must use their position to advocate for policies, partnerships, and initiatives that allow accessibility and just systems to exist, and Rush is a place where this is both encouraged and actively carried out. This work is longitudinal—it may take an entire lifetime and more to accomplish. But to me, this is exactly what Rush is concerned with and why I believe in our shared vision for a better future for all.

Why Family Medicine? While this question truly calls for a long, deep-dive conversation (perhaps over a specialty roast coffee or a long bike ride), I will do my best to give the short version of why I am currently interested in family medicine. With an academic background in biology and philosophy, many of my interests lie at the intersection of science and intellect, research and narrative. Each patient has a story, and I believe primary care physicians have the opportunity to create a loving space that allows patients to achieve a sense of self-empowerment about their life stories. I believe that storytelling can help us live better, more connected lives. And at the heart of family medicine seems to be a powerful bearing of witness to these diverse and infinitely powerful stories. 

A patient’s journey may involve problems that cannot be fixed; however, I believe physicians do not only fix. And oftentimes, family medicine is not concerned with a quick fix. Rather, it is the consistent building of trust and relationships with patients, along with recurrent professional medical guidance, that can allow a path towards better health and well-being. A primary care career will allow me to bear witness and provide a partnership with patients during the healing process. It will also allow me to integrate other areas of interest into my work, such as hospice and palliative care.

Beyond the patient room, family medicine doctors are exceptionally equipped to be advocates in policy and public health work. I am compelled to pursue a career that allows me to participate in advocacy through unique mediums of policy work, writing, speaking, and leadership roles, among many other avenues. Family medicine intersects many of my curiosities into one career, and I am thrilled to explore this interest further through FMLP to see if it is the right choice for me!

Hobbies: ultra-endurance cycling, gravel and mountain biking, running, rock climbing, hiking, camping, and basically all things outdoors! I play guitar, enjoy podcasts, and am a lover of sharing stories and intentional conversation. 

Fun Fact: I biked across the United States in 2017! This catapulted my love for cycling and the various parts of life that intersect with the bike. I am an outspoken activist for inclusivity in the cycling world, because firmly believe that biking is for everyone and can connect a myriad of diverse communities and people together. There is nothing quite like riding a bike.

 

David C. Taylor

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: UC Berkeley, BA Sociology

Why Rush? I am drawn to RUSH because the breadth of its mission statement stood out to me. Rush is dedicated to deeply understanding the complex needs of residents in their service area. This commitment to the community is evident in many initiatives and mirrors my own desire to deeply engage with patients. In addition, I remain impressed by the genuine warmth as well as the accomplishments of my peers. The combination of a strong mission and engaged student body made RUSH a clear choice for me.  

Why Family Medicine? I am interested in a career in Family Medicine because I recognize that Family Medicine is the backbone of the healthcare system. I appreciate that a well-trained family physician with institutional support can take care of the vast majority of a patient’s healthcare needs. Prior to medical school, I worked for many years in a free clinic providing care to underserved and LGBT communities. Through this experience, I learned firsthand many of the challenges my queer family faces, including “siloing” aspects of their sexual health from their doctor. Family medicine allows me the opportunity to create a space where patients of all backgrounds can discuss any concern.

Hobbies: Urban exploration, medical soap operas (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?), travel.

 

Anjali Venkat

Hometown: Winston Salem, NC 

Undergraduate School and Major: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Major: Biology and Religious Studies, Minor: Spanish 

Why Rush? I was drawn to Rush for its commitment to serve and care for the city of Chicago. Every student and faculty member I spoke with truly found their special way to contribute to their community. The sense of comfort and belonging I immediately felt after my interview confirmed that Rush was the place I would feel most at home and grow into the compassionate physician I hope to become. 

Why Family Medicine? I am most drawn to family medicine for its unique opportunity to follow the entire health of a patient from cradle to grave, paying attention to the small and large changes that happen in patients’ daily lives. The field also provides a basis to build upon my interests in traditional healing practices to create a practice focused on preventative medicine and the improvement of my community’s overall quality of life. 

Hobbies: Cooking, yoga, biking, reading, going to concerts 

Fun Fact: I just finished my yoga instructor certification this summer! 

 

Class of 2025

Haley Bylina

Haley Bylina

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Undergraduate School: Truman State University, Health Science (major) & Biology (minor)

Why Rush? Rush has been my dream school for as long as I could remember. It represents an institution dedicated to its patients, students and staff through innovation, outreach and quality healthcare. I am incredibly honored to be a part of a mission that has served my home (and family) for so many years.

Why Family Medicine? Family Medicine is at the intersection of my passion for public health and medicine. I aspire to invest in my patients to provide quality, comprehensive healthcare through the cognizance of public-health related influences and valued shared decision-making. This allows me to function as my patients’ advocate, liaison and ally.

Hobbies: Instant Pot cooking, Pinterest and spending time with family!

Fun Fact: Michelle Obama and I went to the same high school (not at the same time)!

Sarah Dynia

Sarah Dynia

Hometown: Oak Lawn, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University, Major: Neuroscience and Psychology, Minor: Latin

Why Rush? Rush is a great fit for me for so many reasons! Rush’s strong focus on community service and care for the city of Chicago aligned perfectly with my goals as an aspiring physician. I’ve been in and around Chicago my whole life and I’m excited to further learn about the city as a Rush medical student! Rush’s sense of community was also a big draw for me, and I am excited to be a part of it.

Why Family Medicine? I am interested in family medicine because of its unique ability to provide interdisciplinary, community-focused healthcare as well as build longitudinal relationships with patients. I hope to use family medicine to explore my interests across various patient backgrounds, work towards health equity and justice, and provide advocacy for my patients.

Hobbies: Gardening, exploring new restaurants, puzzles, cooking

Fun Fact: I’ve been on a billboard before!

Deepa H. Shankar

Hometown: Aurora, IL 

Undergraduate School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, major in Molecular and Cellular Biology, minor in Chemistry

Why Rush? Rush is a school that will  allow me to grow into the physician I dream of being. I was drawn to Rush because of how genuinely the school seeks to serve underserved communities in Chicago, as well as how seamlessly our school integrates service learning and education on social determinants of healthcare into its curriculum. I truly feel I am among like minded individuals at Rush and I am so looking forward to the years to come. 

Why Family Medicine? I am drawn to family medicine in particular because of its ability to provide true cradle-to-grave care. I believe that access to primary care is imperative in reducing disparities in healthcare—especially as I have seen firsthand the effects that a lack of access to primary care can have on patients in my work with individuals facing homelessness and poverty. Family medicine allows me to advocate for patients of all backgrounds and identities and in an infinite combination of ways. 

Hobbies: I enjoy cooking for my friends, hiking/spending time in nature, and lots of Netflix! 

Fun Fact: I am always down to eat Taco Bell no matter the time of day or occasion.

 

Stephany Valladares

Stephany Valladares

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Undergrad: Northwestern University, Evanston

Why Rush: As a Chicago native, I have witnessed health care delivery in the city and the health inequities that result from it due to the structural and economical barriers that people face in urban areas. Rush serves a diverse subsect of the city, and I look forward to working with patients from the West Side and other marginalized areas of the city. Additionally, Rush’s commitment to service indicated to me that I would be surrounded by likeminded individuals in medicine, with similar goals to advance and sustain communities.

Why Family Medicine: Family medicine’s longitudinal nature and holistic approach in patient care is the main reason why I chose to be a part of the program. Having the opportunity to learn from physicians who take patients’ various avenues of influence into consideration when treating their conditions is very valuable. This type of healthcare delivery is what not only changes individuals, but entire communities.

Hobbies: Medical interpretation at Community Health Clinic, yoga, biking on the 606, and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops, I am a big foodie!

Class of 2024

 

Sheryl Cherian

Sheryl A. Cherian

Hometown: Lincolnwood, IL (first suburb to the north of Chicago)

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame, Major: Neuroscience & Behavior, Minor: Poverty Studies

Why RUSH? So many reasons! My roots are in Chicago, and I desire to practice in an underserved, urban setting, so the opportunity to learn medicine at such a community-focused institution on Chicago’s west side felt like a great fit. I also appreciated the sense of strong internal community I felt during interview day, and my interactions with peers, faculty, staff and others in the Rush community since then have solidified this intuition. Rush is truly a special place.

Why Family Medicine? Most of my post-graduate clinical experience is in geriatrics, both in hospice and in a primary care setting, and my undergraduate research interests were mostly in early childhood development and women’s health. Family medicine would allow me to explore my interests across the age and gender spectrum, “from cradle to grave,” with unique opportunities to get to know people in intergenerational and community contexts which of course are factors in their health. I am also drawn to issues of health equity; as a family physician, this holistic outlook would mean that advocacy would be a natural extension of my work.

Hobbies: long-distance cycling, running, playing ukulele, cooking with friends

Fun Fact: Two years ago, I biked across 5 U.S. states with my best friend!

 

Emma Klug

Emma Klug

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Undergraduate School: Kenyon College

Why Rush? I chose Rush because it is an institution that lives by its values. Its commitment to serving and supporting the surrounding community is demonstrated by every student, faculty, and staff member. The abundance of opportunities for students to engage meaningfully with the community outside of the classroom makes Rush a great place to learn what it truly means to be a physician.

Why Family Medicine? I am drawn to family medicine because I want to develop longitudinal relationships with patients. Additionally, family physicians have a comprehensive understanding of their patients’ lives in the context of their families and communities, and how this environment affects their health. As such, family physicians are particularly well-suited to affect positive change not only in the lives of individuals, but to advocate for entire communities and populations.

Hobbies: Playing soccer, running, cooking, hiking, camping, reading

 

Marissa Pharel

Marissa Pharel

Hometown: San Juan, PR

Undergraduate School and Major: Villanova University, BS Psychology/BA Spanish

Graduate School: Columbia University, MS Human Nutrition

Why RUSH? The main reason I chose Rush was because of the visible commitment to underserved communities. I was impressed by the focus on health equity that is seen not only through community service, but even in the classroom through specific sessions and electives geared toward teaching students how to understand disparities and how to become true advocates in the community.

Why Family Medicine? As a black female, born to Haitian parents in New York but raised in Puerto Rico, I identify with both Black and Latino culture. Having witnessed first-hand the interplay between socioeconomic status and health care access, I knew I wanted to devote myself to my communities while addressing health disparities. Through reflection, I realized family medicine was the perfect path, as it aligned with my values and goals. Family Medicine would provide me the honor of serving as a patient-centered, culturally competent advocate for my patients, while building long-lasting relationships and experiencing continuity of care. I look forward to working directly with underserved communities to increase health literacy and more importantly, to remind them that they deserve to live long, healthy, happy lives.

Hobbies: I enjoy dancing, reading, taking long walks and exploring different restaurants (even though my wallet doesn’t appreciate it)!

Fun Fact: I speak 4 languages! Also, even though I grew up on an island surrounded by water, I really really dislike the beach with a passion.

 

Natali Smiley

Natali Smiley

Hometown: Izmir, Turkey

Undergrad School and Major: University of Washington, International Studies and Global Health

Why RUSH? Every member of the Rush family takes their commitment to service seriously and chooses daily, to live for others.

Why Family Medicine? It’s been said before, but FM incorporates and celebrates the comprehensive person every patient is- and what a privilege it is to learn how to enter into the details of our patients’ lives and walk with them through it all.

Hobbies: hosting, cooking, pretending I can take care of plants, traveling, language-learning, dancing to 70s and 90s jams,

Fun Fact: I have been inside and on top of the Pyramids of Giza.

 

Emily Wayland

Emily Wayland

Hometown: Appleton, WI

Undergraduate School and Major: Carroll University, Major: Biology, Minor: Psychology, Biochemistry

Why Rush?: What initially drew me to Rush was their commitment to the surrounding community but it was the sense of community, the ability to participate in the FMLP program, and the family-like feel during interview day that really solidified my decision to attend.

Why Family Medicine?: I am interested in family medicine because the idea of “cradle to grave” medicine and being able to follow families as they grow up really resonates with me. I love the ability that family physicians have of forming real relationships with their patients. With this relationship building, they are able to form bonds, build trust, and also incorporate preventative medicine into the care of their patients.

Before coming to Rush I was able to serve with Peace Corps in Tanzania and working with the general practitioner in Tanzania, I was able to see long-term community engagement first hand. Seeing the village doctor’s passion for caring for all of his patients and his devotion to medicine really stuck with me and reinforced my passion for pursuing family medicine.

Hobbies: I love reading, swimming, playing flute and playing with my dog.

Fun Fact: I have the sweetest Tanzanian dog that is partially bilingual and understands both Swahili and English commands!

 


Class of 2023

 

Claire Bosworth

Claire Bosworth

Hometown: Portland, OR

Undergraduate School and Major: Carleton College, political science and international relations

Why RUSH? I chose to study here because I was seeking an institution with a deep sense of place as well as a commitment to community relationships/partnerships.

Why Family Medicine? Family medicine takes into account not only the individual patient’s needs but also strives to incorporate the strengths and challenges of the patient’s family and communities and broader social context; I think this can be an ethical and powerful way to practice medicine.

Hobbies: I like reading, biking, walking long distances in the woods, and working towards/visioning about big societal change-making while building iterative revolutionary small-scale change in my daily life and in community.

Fun Fact: I generally prefer a rainy day to a sunny one.

 

Tim Huang

Tim Huang

Hometown: Great Neck, New York

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University, Chemistry

Why RUSH? During interview day, I felt that my personal mission and interests aligned strongly with RUSH’s mission and commitment to serving the surrounding communities. I also felt like the students at Rush were humble and compassionate.

Why Family Medicine? Family medicine offers a great opportunity to develop longitudinal relationships with patients from womb to tomb. I also find that family medicine is great avenue to being a community advocate.

Hobbies: I like cooking, baking, eating, and playing video games or board games!

Fun Fact: My favorite fruit is the banana followed closely by blueberries.

 

Stephanie Moss

Stephanie E. Moss

Hometown: Boulder, CO

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Colorado Boulder, Major: Psychology, Minor: Leadership, Dance

Why RUSH? Everyone at Rush truly cares about the surrounding community and actively strives to address critical issues such as quality care, access to health care, and health equity.

Why Family Medicine? I hope to dedicate my life to a pursuit of family medicine because I value becoming a physician who is a person-centered advocate and a collaborative leader who works with people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, races, backgrounds, and abilities. I believe that both life and medicine is a process and should not be solely focused on the result. My goal as a family physician is to become my patients’ advocate who works directly with them to empower them to become active decision-makers in their health.

Hobbies: I love eing physically active including biking, dancing, snowboarding, and hiking with my wonderful husband and two large dogs.

Fun Fact: I used to be a 3rd degree black belt martial arts instructor.

 

Emily Peterson

Emily (Lily) Peterson

Hometown: Sheboygan, WI / Minneapolis, MN

Undergraduate School and Major: University of MN - Twin Cities -Biochemistry

Why RUSH? Rush’s connection and drive towards community engagement was super impressive! The focus seems to be on learning about a patient as a person, not a medical issue. I find this more “holistic” approach really important, because you can get the required book knowledge to be a smart doctor at any school, but Rush focuses on building those skills to make a “good” doctor as well, because we will someday be treating people, not just medical problems.

Why Family Medicine? Family Medicine puts you at the forefront of Medicine, as you will likely be the first person that a patient encounters as they travel their personal medical journey. Family Medicine lets you follow your patients throughout their whole life, and lets you build a relationship of trust.

Hobbies: Baking, Biking, Board Games, Bouldering, Cooking, Corgis, Dumb TV shows, and tabletop RPGs.

Fun Fact: I did a solo self supported bike trip from Portland OR to Portland ME during a part of my gap years. It took me 70 days, 3 flats, over 3500 miles and so much help from strangers I met along the way.

 


Class of 2022

Ellie Battino

Ellie Battino

Hometown: Wausau, WI

Undergraduate School and Major: Carleton College, Economics

Why RUSH? I chose Rush because of their focus on community engagement. When I was interviewing, every student I talked to seemed to be engaged with the community in a meaningful way. Also, every student I talked to was happy!

Why Family Medicine? I’m pursuing a career in Family Medicine because I love how you can treat patients throughout their life, facilitating close relationships with families and communities. I’m passionate about health equity, and developing those long term relationships is really important for learning more about how people in a community live, what barriers to health they face, and how you as a physician can work with the community to reduce those barriers.

Hobbies: I like to run and read books about fancy chefs (but I hate cooking)

Fun Fact: I ran the Chicago Marathon last year!

 

Claire Brady

Claire Brady

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame, Majors - Biology, Spanish, Minor - Poverty Studies

Why RUSH? I chose to come to RUSH because of its supportive community of students and staff, its focus on social justice and health equity, its commitment to innovative medical education and, of course, the opportunity to participate in FMLP. I also love living in Chicago and was thrilled to have the opportunity to stay here for medical school.

Why Family Medicine? I discovered my interest in Family Medicine while working as a health educator at a federally qualified health center in Chicago for three years between college and medical school. I loved working with and getting to know a diverse range of patients of all ages, cultures and health conditions. I appreciate that Family Medicine is committed to providing care that considers all aspects of a patient’s life and that it values and incorporates preventive health. I believe Family Medicine offers an unparalleled opportunity to make a difference in a community, fight health disparities and advocate for patients.

Hobbies: I enjoy cooking, reading, biking on the lakefront trail, exploring the neighborhoods of Chicago, doing yoga and drinking all kinds of tea.

Fun Fact: I have been a vegetarian since I was a child and a vegan since age 16. I love trying out new and interesting recipes and visiting vegetarian and vegan restaurants here in Chicago and everywhere I travel.

 

Cris Chan

Cris Chan

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Undergraduate school and major: San Francisco State University, Major: Biology Physiology, Minor: Chemistry

Why RUSH? RUSH’s values of community service and commitment to learning are a few aspects that stuck out to me. It resonates strongly with who I am and the type of physician I aspire to be.

Why Family Medicine? The unique relationship and trust you develop with patients has always been the primary reason I wanted to pursue Family Medicine. As a family medicine physician, you’re able to help patients navigate through health changes as well as life changes. I aspire to educate patients and help improve their quality of life, but to learn from them as well.

Hobbies: I watch basketball and football with as much energy as if I’m watching it in person! Stretching and writing in a journal gives me a peace of mind like nothing else.

Fun Fact: I lived in India and the Dominican Republic for a year as a remote medical scribe trainer.

 

Adam Korte

Adam Korte

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Wisconsin, Spanish and Neurobiology

Why RUSH? I chose RUSH because of their partnerships with community organizations on the west side of Chicago who are committed to addressing and ameliorating the health disparities that exist between affluent and low income neighborhoods.

Why Family Medicine? For me, Family Medicine offers the ideal opportunity to address the social determinants of health for all members of a community of all ages.

Hobbies: I am interested in mindfulness and meditation and its utility in an integrative medicine setting.

Fun Fact: I went to summer camp for 14 summers in a row, both as a camper and a counselor. I would still be working there today if it paid better.

 


Class of 2021

Laura Hurley

Hometown: Canton, SD

Undergrad School and Major: Northwestern College (Orange City, IA), Biology, Mathematics and Spanish

Why RUSH? Many factors influenced my decision in choosing to attend Rush. The tradition Rush carries, known both for its exceptional training as well as community involvement, was positively overwhelming. I knew that with the incredible facilities, diverse learning opportunities on campus and throughout the area, and great academic support Rush would provide a strong foundation for future success. In the same way, I felt that Rush’s strong commitment to community outreach both mirrored my own established passions and would push me to continue reaching out in new ways. Finally, the people of Rush solidified my choice; in this community I felt welcomed, supported, and encouraged to continue pursuing my goals.

Why Family Medicine? I believe Family Medicine facilitates a unique opportunity to provide continued care, incorporate preventative health education, and serve a diverse population of patients within the surrounding community. Working within this capacity greatly interests me, as it combines all of my own passions. Furthermore, as a pillar of primary care, Family Medicine requires leadership and advocacy on behalf of each and every patient in order to ensure the best level of care. As an aspiring primary care physician, I am excited for the opportunity Family Medicine provides to continue developing these qualities through investment not only in individual patients but also entire communities.

Hobbies: I love to explore by traveling, hiking and camping. I enjoy playing sports, especially softball, as well as attending various sporting events. I also stay active through running as an ambassador and advocate with Team Every Mother Counts, creating awareness for maternal and child health education and issues. I have recently learned how to crochet, and enjoy baking new recipes.

Fun Fact: Over the course of the past year, I have completed (for satisfaction rather than speed) numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and my first full marathon, including two international races completed during my study abroad in Quito, Ecuador.

 

Leah Petrucelli

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT

Undergrad School and Major: Tufts, Community Health & Psychology
 
Why RUSH? The students, staff, care for social justice and communities, location
 
Why Family Medicine? In my opinion, you cannot help someone heal if you don’t focus on the whole person, family dynamics, social determinants of health, and mental health. Family medicine values these components of every patient and I want to do the same.
 
Hobbies: hiking, swimming, running, cooking, seeing live music, traveling, gardening, dancing
 
Fun Fact: I am an herbalist, zumba instructor, health coach, and personal trainer.
 

Kavya Timmireddy

Hometown: New York City, NY

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Pennsylvania, Anthropology

Why RUSH? Its commitment to service. Almost all schools have introduced service into their curriculum in some way, but with Rush it is not just an obligation, but a way of learning.

Why Family Medicine? Family medicine gives you an opportunity to serve the whole patient and the community, throughout both time and space.

Hobbies: Depressing German/Russian/French films, poetry, and obscure micro-histories

Fun Fact: I once spent a month hiking in the foot hills of the Himalayas. It was the coldest, tiredest, hungriest I have ever been and also one the best experiences of my life.

 

John Walton

John Walton

Hometown: Batavia, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Community health, Chemistry

Graduate School: Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Master of Science in Law

Why RUSH? Rush’s collaborative atmosphere. I felt the school had a very community focused program and students worked as a team to complete necessary goals. The new curriculum was also an innovation in medical school learning.

Why Family Medicine? The part of Family Medicine that drew me in was building close professional relationships with patients. I believe that by empowering patients through education and communication, they can make more informed healthy decisions about their health. Family medicine will give me a great opportunity to build a wonderful patient centered practice and will allow me have a special focus in sports medicine.

Hobbies: I enjoy working out and relaxing outside. I also enjoy rollerblading as I was a hockey player in college.

Fun Fact: I am the main character of a children’s book and was on Family Feud.

 

Rebecca Wornhoff

Hometown: Lebanon, Indiana

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame, Anthropology

Why RUSH? RUMC shares my values of social justice and health equity, and is making a real effort as a part of their community to forward their mission. I wanted to be a part of that.

Why Family Medicine? Family doctors get the chance to know their patients as people, in sickness and in health. I want to have those life-long relationships and be a part of a community outside as well as within a hospital.

Hobbies: I love literature and reading, and period drama TV shows. I’ve also been getting more into yoga. In medicine, I’m interested in working with immigrant populations and community health.

Fun Fact: Last year I learned how to make tortillas by hand!

 


 

Class of 2020

Jennifer Camello

Jennifer Camello

Hometown: Vernon Hills, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Southern California, Anthropology (major)

Why RUSH? I came to RUSH because of its emphasis on compassionate care, especially for underserved communities in Chicago.  Additionally, on my Interview Day, I already felt like part of the “RUSH family” - people were honestly supportive, happy and loved what they were doing.

Why Family Medicine? I’m interested in Family Medicine because family physicians are relationship builders. Illness never affects one individual in a sterile environment - people live in a constant flux of community outside the clinic. Through a holistic, relationship-based focus, family physicians are uniquely positioned to make long-term changes in the health of patients and of local communities.

Hobbies: I love to drink tea and read in my spare time. I also love exploring restaurants and exploring different neighborhoods in Chicago.  When I’m able to, I also ski, snowboard and scuba dive.

Fun Fact: I love to travel and have spent my last 5 birthdays on different continents.

 

Josh Doppelt

Josh Doppelt

Hometown: Highland Park, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Psychology, and History

Why RUSH? I came to Rush because the people here are happy, inspired, and collaboratively work to improve their communities.  When I say that I mean the students, faculty, and administrators. The environment is incredibly positive and dynamic, always looking to change for the better. I also love the emphasis on social justice and the role that medicine plays in that. And the final thing I’ll throw in here (although I could keep going all week) is that we do our rotations at both Rush and County Hospitals. I really believe that this training will prepare us for anything and expose us to the obstacles so many people face in access to quality healthcare.

Why Family Medicine?  I’m interested in Family Medicine because I want to practice community based medicine. Before coming to Rush I volunteered with Peace Corps in Ethiopia. One of my favorite aspects of service was the intimate nature of small towns and villages. I loved the concept of living side by side and treating my neighbors. Primary care is essential to good health and I want to become a doctor to ensure that this right is made possible for everyone.

Hobbies:  I love football. And when I say football I of course mean the football that the rest of the world is referring to! I am a huge Liverpool fan and as often as I can, I go out to pubs on weekend mornings with my fiance and friends to watch games over greasy English-style breakfasts and a pint. I also love going out to hear music and see movies in the city. There are so many great venues for both!

Fun Fact: I rode my bicycle across the country with a non-profit at my undergrad called the Illini4000. We raised over $125,000 for cancer research and patient support services. I love adventures, the outdoors, and riding my bike. I’m always up for a bike ride, so come find me if you wanna go for a ride!
 

Kristin Hillgamyer

Kristin Hillgamyer

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Undergraduate School: University of Notre Dame

Why RUSH?  I chose Rush because it reflected the values I seek to emulate in my future profession: teamwork, excellence, and dedication to the community.

Why Family Medicine? My interest in Family Medicine began during my service at a community outreach  clinic in South Bend, Indiana. I enjoyed the variety of practice in family medicine – caring for patients both young and old and treating a wide variety of illness. As someone who hopes to address health disparities through my work, I also think that building relationship with patients over time makes family medicine physicians uniquely positioned to act as advocates for the communities they serve.  Since beginning the FMLP program, I’ve come to find even more reasons to continue pursuing a career in family medicine.

Hobbies: When I’m not studying at Rush, I find any reason to be outside. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, running, and playing a pick-up-game of just about anything with my classmates.
 

Dorjee Norbu

Dorjee Norbu

Hometown: Saint Paul, MN

Undergraduate School and Major:  Carleton College, Biology Major

Graduate School: Tufts University, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

Why RUSH? There are several reasons why I chose Rush. First, I was very impressed by the students I met during interview day, they were humble, kind and committed to improving healthcare. From organizing a “die-in” to protest the repeal of Obamacare to hosting discussions on LGBT health, our student body continues to inspire me on a daily basis. Second, I was drawn to Rush for the opportunity to work with other like-minded students and professionals to tackle some of the complex healthcare issues affecting urban communities of color. As someone who grew up in a medically underserved Tibetan refugee settlement in northern India and later in a low-income, first generation immigrant household in Minnesota, I understand the importance of addressing the socioeconomic disparities in health and improving health care in disadvantaged communities. Lastly, I chose RUSH because of its commitment to primary care and family medicine; I am extremely fortunate to be a part of the Family Medicine Leadership Program (FMLP) here.

Why Family Medicine? A career in family medicine combines my interest in education, preventative care, advocacy, leadership and community health.

Hobbies: I spend my free time catching up with family, spending time with my partner, watching Bollywood movies, volunteering, meditating, and reading short stories.

 

Jackie Tanis

Jackie Tanis

Hometown: Manhattan, Illinois

Undergraduate School and Major: St. Olaf College, Biology and Spanish

Why RUSH? I came to Rush because I wanted a learning environment that was service oriented and supportive. I also chose to come here because of the opportunities to work and volunteer with the diverse communities of Chicago.

Why Family Medicine? I’m interested in family medicine because I like working with all types of patients and all types of problems. I want to provide patient care that centers around long term, trusting relationships. Lastly, I like that family medicine offers the opportunity to be a leader and advocate within the community you serve.

Hobbies: Hiking, Baking, Reading
 


 

Class of 2019

Mallory Davis

Mallory Davis

Hometown:  Carmel, IN

Undergraduate School and Major:  DePaul University, Health Sciences/Bioscience (major), Biology/Chemistry/Spanish (minors)

Why RUSH?  I chose Rush because of the genuine consideration and concern for the health of surrounding communities. Interaction with administration and other students allowed me to immediately see the focus on community service, and I feel lucky to be a part of Rush’s efforts in supporting the dynamic population of Chicago.

Why Family Medicine? I am interested in Family Medicine because I believe in the positive changes that can  be made by primary care physicians to help patients and communities live healthier and more plentiful lives. The diverse services that family doctors can provide will better equip me to advocate for patients. Also—to be able to deliver babies and then watch those babies have babies… what is better than that?

Hobbies: I love to travel and recently became interested in gardening! I also like to sing and play piano.

Fun Fact:  Hatched a peacock sent—via mail—from Florida to Indiana… in a styrofoam incubator, Mrs. Peabody.
 

Emma Richardson

Hometown: Manhattan, Illinois

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Notre Dame, Sociology and Pre-Professional Science

Why RUSH? I loved the people I met at Rush during my interview and second look day. I knew I wanted to surround myself with people who were committed to reducing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes, and I have been continually impressed by the dedication shown by other Rush students, faculty members, and staff towards this goal. Rush is a great place to learn what it means to be a doctor — far beyond what is learned in the classroom.

Why Family Medicine? Family medicine allows physicians to develop longitudinal relationships with their patients, treat and manage a diverse range of conditions, coordinate complex care among specialists, and focus on truly promoting health (not just always treating illness). Primary care physicians are also particularly well-equipped to address social determinants of health, which is important to me. There are so many things you can do within family medicine, which means you have the opportunity for variety from patient-to-patient, day-to-day, and even within the span of your career. I am interested in a lot of different areas, including reproductive health and correctional health, and family medicine gives me the opportunity to pursue all of my interests.

Hobbies: Running, reading, politics, traveling. 

Fun Fact: We have a VHS/TV combo and a fairly extensive VHS collection in my apartment. 

 

Valerie Rock

Hometown: Boston (Dorchester), MA

Undergraduate School and Major: Tufts University, American Studies and Community Health

Graduate School and Major: Tufts University School of Medicine: Master of Public Health, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Why RUSH? I chose Rush because of the institution’s commitment to develop great clinicians through its emphasis on community service, student leadership, and advocacy for the underserved. I especially appreciate the small class size, which allows for establishing personal and professional relationships across academic years. The students genuinely are happy and grounded people who make the inherent stressors of medical school more bearable.

Why Family Medicine?  As my interests in medicine mature over time, I learn that achieving physical, social, and mental well-being requires much more than a patchwork of quick fixes. It requires integrated and community competent approaches derived from the lessons of many academic disciplines, active citizenship, and collaborative efforts. The family physician is the embodiment of this comprehensive approach to health and serves as the keystone to the fields of medicine and community health. My professional goal is to bridge the shared interests and principles of primary care and public health to create healthy communities and improve population health. A career in Family Medicine would allow me to make that goal a reality.

Hobbies: Volunteering, reading, kombucha brewing, baking/cooking, sports trash-talk

Fun Fact: I’m an Irish step dancing, karaoke all-star.

 

Katy Rooney

Katy Rooney

Hometown: Pennsauken, NJ

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pennsylvania; Majors: Biochemistry and Biological Anthropology

Why RUSH?  I chose Rush because it is a medical institution that is invested in its community and it offers excellent clinical training. I was also drawn by the Family Medicine Leadership Program and the opportunity to live in an exciting city like Chicago.  

Why Family Medicine? Family Medicine combines my interests and offers me opportunities to work in variety of settings. I’m mainly interested in women’s health, substance use disorders, and mental health and wellness. By training in Family Medicine, I can combine these different interests clinically as well as through research and policy work. I’m also excited to get to know my patients and their families, which is one of the unique aspects of Family Medicine. 

Hobbies: Running, yoga, biking, hiking, and finding donut shops around the city

 

Erick Skaff

Home: Flint, MI

Undergraduate School and Major:  Hope College, Chemistry

Why RUSH?  I was initially attracted to Rush because I wanted to live in the city of Chicago and be part of a medical school that had diverse opportunities for community outreach and engagement. When I visited Rush, I was surprised to find that the prestigious faculty were also down to earth and welcoming. Since being at Rush, I have been continually impressed with the school’s top down commitment to improving community health and educating students to think critically, put patients first, and be leaders in the health care system.

Why Family Medicine?  Family medicine is the backbone of the U.S health care system. It decreases health disparities and helps people to live longer, healthier lives. It focuses on a wide range of health care needs, including preventative medicine and developing sustained partnerships with patients in the context of family and community. As a family medicine physician serving in an urban underserved community, I hope to work towards eliminating health disparities caused by factors such as race and socioeconomic status.

Hobbies:  playing with my puppy, training and competing in triathlons, hanging out with my nephews and niece, and ending the day with a delicious craft beer. 

Fun Fact:  I grew up with a barn, a miniature horse, and a donkey named Tabasco in my backyard

Project: I am part of a community-based participatory research (CBPR) team that works with pastors and their congregations on Chicago’s West Side to improve health disparities through wellness education and mental health training.
 


 

Class of 2018

Zoe Gordon

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Undergraduate School and Major: Colgate University, Biology (major) and Spanish (minor)

Graduate School: Case Western Reserve University, Master’s of Public Health

Why RUSH? Besides the location and the diversity at RUSH, during my interview felt that I could relate to people and students seemed happy. I was also very interested in the Family Medicine Leadership Program.

Why Family Medicine? I wanted to be involved in a community and working with underserved populations. Additionally I really wanted to integrate my background in public health with my medical education.

Hobbies: Salsa dancing, tennis, painting, traveling

Fun Fact: I played college Rugby :)

Residency: Lawrence Family Medicine Residency

 

Ramya Kuchibhatla

Ramya Kuchibhatla

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: Brandeis University, Biology, Psychology, and Health Policy

Why RUSH? As a service minded individual, I wanted to study medicine in an environment that combined healthcare with social justice.  RUSH has a very active community service curriculum that allows students to become involved in their communities from Day 1 and those were the experiences that ended up being extremely vital to my medical learning and development.

Why Family Medicine? One of the biggest aspects of medicine that I am drawn to are coordination and continuity of care.  I want to practice medicine that is cohesive, patient centered, and personalized because I truly believe that is the best way to improve quality of life and patient outcomes.  Family medicine is the perfect avenue in which I can practice this type of medicine; plus, I get to converse with and build relationships with a huge variety of patients!

Hobbies: Baking, trying new restaurants, city exploring, watching sports games

Fun Fact:  One of my bucket list items is to travel to every continent at least once (I’ve been trying to plan my trip to Antarctica for ages!)

Residency: Kaiser Permanente Orange County Medical Center

 

Sean McClellan

Hometown: Chicago, IL and Geneva, IL

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Chicago, Anthropology

Why RUSH?  Location, rotations at Stroger, faculty with similar interests, Family Medicine Leadership Program

Why Family Medicine? I want the best training I can get to provide comprehensive primary care in a community setting. 

Hobbies/Interests: Immigrant rights, community organizing, Latin American cinema, literature and history, bicycling

Fun Fact: I lived in Guatemala for a year and half. 

Residency: University of Illinois at Chicago

 


 

Class of 2017

Kirsten Anderson

Kirsten Anderson, MD

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, Political Science and Environmental Science

Why RUSH? RUSH students and faculty were so welcoming on my interview day, and I loved RUSH’s commitment to community service. Also, the opportunity to participate in the Family Medicine Leadership Program helped me pick RUSH. 

Why Family Medicine? My favorite things about family medicine are the ability to provide continuity of care for all ages and practice preventive medicine.

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, triathlons, gardening

Fun Fact: I have bungy jumped 5 times and sky dived 2 times. 

Residency: Valley Family Medicine Residency, Seattle, WA

 

Ed Elchico, MD

Hometown: Bellflower, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: UC Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology

Why RUSH? I chose RUSH largely because of the Family Medicine Leadership Program and the school-wide emphasis on community engagement.

Why Family Medicine? I chose to pursue a career in medicine due to a combination of experiences where I interfaced with health and wellness disparities – engaging as an community activist for my local Filipino community, serving as an AmeriCorps member at a geriatric FQHC, mentoring disadvantaged youth, teaching male inmates in prison, and supporting my own family through chronic disease and health access challenges. Health, as a human right, became thematic in my experience. Naturally, family medicine drew my interest because of its role at the forefront of addressing the social determinants of health and its scope of practice that is indiscriminant of age or sex.

Hobbies: Volleyball, running, board games, stovetop cooking, watching RomComs, and watching music/dance/talent competitions on TV

Residency: Swedish Medical Center Family Medicine Residency, Seattle, Washington

 

Brian Stojak, MD

Hometown: Appleton, Wisconsin
 
Undergraduate School and Major: Washington University in St. Louis - Dual Degree majoring in Theatre and Business
 
Why RUSH?  Rush has a special vibe that is different than other medical schools. Their primary focus is on training students to become excellent clinicians - that doesn’t mean they ignore other aspects of medical education such as research and professionalism - but I feel that Rush trains their students to become actual real-life working clinicians that are ready to go out into the community and practice medicine to the best of their abilities.  Oh…and Chicago. My oh my oh my - yes - Chicago! (I absolutely love this city.)
 
Why Family Medicine? Family medicine is the best specialty for connecting with patients. You get to know the whole person…and their families and what car they drive and what makes them happy or sad. This involvement is what motivates me as a clinician, and family medicine is the perfect fit for me.
 
Hobbies: baseball, theatre, travel, gardening, triathlons
 
Fun Fact: I was an actor and director in Chicago for 8 years before starting medical school at Rush!
 
Residency: Advocate Illinois Masonic Family Medicine Residency, Chicago, IL