Faculty and Staff

Faculty/Staff Member Bio

Tanya Sorrell
Associate Professor


Tanya R. Sorrell, PhD, PMHNP-BC is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, Director of the $3 million Illinois SOR funded grant, “Illinois Substance Use Disorder Center of Excellence – SUD-COE,” and the Assistant Director of the Great Lakes NIH NIDA Great Lakes Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Sorrell’s doctoral work is in rural and urban underserved Mental Health and Substance use services research, with a minor in Complementary and Integrative Behavioral Health practices for Latino groups. Continue clinical research in best practices for SUD outcomes in the development or rural substance treatment facilities led to a $2.5 million grant in Colorado for improving access to MAT in rural counties. Her clinical and education work led to state and national accolades as she has served on national SAMHSA committees for Cultural Competence in Nursing Care. Additional research work focuses on culturally based Behavioral Health and Substance use treatment services, with a current NIH grant to incorporate traditional Latino care practices in SUD treatment. She’s published articles on increasing behavioral health/substance outcomes of rural/urban under-served populations by promoting culturally based approaches to increase access, engagement, and outcomes in care.  

Lynelle ThomasLynelle Thomas
Assistant Professor

Dr. Lynelle Thomas has been ABPN certified in the specialties of Pediatrics, Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her earliest work as a pediatrician primed her commitment to supporting and attending to both the physical and emotional wellness youth and families, particularly those residing in stressed, urban communities.

In her role within the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department, division of Community Behavioral Health, Dr. Thomas is active with West Side United Collaborative—a Rush alliance with local organizations and health systems seeking to build community health and economic well-being via partnerships.

Anne Rufa Anne K. Rufa
Section Director & Assistant Professor

Anne K. Rufa, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences with clinical experience serving clients across the lifespan and in varied settings, including community mental health clinics and the VA. She received her doctorate at DePaul University in Clinical/Community Psychology, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois. Her clinical interests focus on trauma and interpersonal violence, and she engages in community-based research aiming to reduce mental health concerns associated with trauma and identify effective prevention/intervention efforts with the goal of health equity.

Madeleine Shalowitz
Associate Chair for Strategy and Innovation

Faculty profile

Madeleine Shalowitz, MD, MBA, FAAP is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician with master’s level training in management and strategy and health systems management, and AHRQ-funded post-doctoral training in health services research. She is the James A Hunter Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, conjoint with Pediatrics, serving as the Associate Chair for Strategy and Innovation in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Shalowitz’s clinical career has focused on helping families navigate the medical, social and economic pressures that challenge even the most resilient families, but which make others with less robust resources more fragile. She has substantial experience in shared decision-making with parents on trans-disciplinary treatment plans for children under three years with developmental delays, directed a program for children who were failing to thrive, and provided medical diagnostic evaluation to children entering the foster care system.

Early in her career, she became committed to building service systems that took better account of the social determinants of health. She developed and validated a measure of life stress, the CRISYS-R, on the South Side of Chicago, that now is nationally recognized for its ability to connect the experience of life stressors with physical and mental health. She is committed to life course, multi-generational approaches to prevent, educate and treat families, building strength in healthy relationships and resiliency in the face of trauma.

Dr. Shalowitz paused full time clinical practice to pursue advanced management training and to develop health services research skills.  Since completion of her training, she has been funded for studies on stress, health and health disparities by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), NHLBI, NIEHS, and HRSA. Each of these studies included community partnership throughout. She co-led the early community engagement work for the Chicago-based PCORI-funded Community Data Research Network, CAPriCORN.

For her NICHD-funded work on preconception and prenatal influences of stress on birth and childhood outcomes, as well as maternal and paternal health, she received the Dorothy I Height Racial Justice Award, the Lake County YWCA’s highest honor. Dr. Shalowitz has more than 70 academic publications and authored a newsletter on topics of interest to young families. She has significant experience in mentoring the next generation of providers, researchers and educators. She has also provided reviews for several federal review panels serving the NIH and CDC. She recently completed a 6 year term reviewing for the NIH’s Panel on Health Disparities and Equity Promotion.

Erika L. Gustafson, PhD

Erika L. Gustafson
Postdoctoral Research Fellow 

Faculty profile

Erika L. Gustafson, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Section of Community Behavioral Health. Dr. Gustafson completed her doctoral training at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her predoctoral clinical internship at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Broadly, her research focuses on community-based interventions to support the mental health of families from marginalized communities impacted by poverty and structural inequities. Her specific research interests include community- and lay-health worker led service models, community-embedded interventions in settings such as schools and community organizations, upstream ecological factors impacting mental health (i.e. the social determinants of health), and Latinx mental health. She is a bilingual clinician (Spanish/English), and her clinical interests center around trauma-focused treatments across the lifespan for populations traditionally underserved in standard models of care.

Deanna DossDeanna Doss
Administrative Assistant

Deanna Doss, MSW, is the administrative assistant in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Section of Community Behavioral Health. She completed her undergraduate degree in Community Health at Chicago State University as well as her Masters in Social Work. Her education and career have always focused on her passion for working with children and families. Deanna is continuously seeking to gain more skills and broaden her education. She will soon be engaged in supervision to obtain her clinical hours to take the exam and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Deanna believes that change happens when people are given the guidance they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling, happy lives.

Janel Draxler Janel Draxler
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Janel Draxler, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She has nearly a decade of experience in psychiatric nursing serving patients across the lifespan in various treatment settings. Additionally, she has advanced training in public health nursing. Janel strongly values the intersection between education, research, and evidence-based clinical practice. Her professional interests include working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma, examining social determinants of mental health, and reducing healthcare disparities in youth with socially complex needs.

Colleen Stiles-Shields

Colleen Stiles-Shields
Assistant Professor

Faculty profile

Colleen Stiles-Shields, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Section of Community Behavioral Health within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research is centered on harnessing digital mental health and telehealth as delivery mechanisms to reach and improve behavioral health targets. Within this work, she specifically aims to design/adapt, evaluate, and disseminate technologies to better meet the needs of underserved pediatric populations and their families.

Hale Thompson

Hale Thompson
Assistant Professor

Faculty profile

Hale Thompson, PhD’s training has been interdisciplinary, combining elements of population health, social epidemiology, community-engaged research, informatics, and more recently learning health system (LHS) science and implementation science. He draws on these methods to test and evaluate systems-level and technology-based interventions that treat depression, substance misuse, HIV, and improve access to care for transgender populations. He is particularly interested in leveraging information communication technologies, such as electronic health record (EHR) infrastructures, to identify and intervene upon health disparities and improve health outcomes of marginalized populations. Prior to his PhD, he worked as a provider in supportive and transitional housing for persons recovering from a range of complex mental health crises as well as a researcher in transgender health and HIV prevention. Currently, he is PI on his K12 study to analyze the Substance Use Intervention Team implementation through a Learning Health System framework, and Co-I on Dr. Majid Afshar and Dr. Niranjan Karnik’s R01 to develop data-driven strategies to identify substance misuse. He is also piloting a community-engaged mental health support group for Black and Latinx transgender women in collaboration with the TaskForce Community and Prevention Services.

Octavia Daniels
Operations Manager

Octavia Daniels, is the Operations Manager in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Section of Community Behavioral Health. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. After spending 14 years working at a leading global financial services firm in various roles, Octavia began a path in non-profit. Prior to this role, Octavia was a Project Manager at an executive search and consulting firm where she partnered with non-profit clients nationwide performing candidate outreach and interview processes.  Currently, Octavia is a Board Member with Girls Like Me Project, Inc, a mentor program catered to African -American girls aged 11-17. She’s also currently a mentor with One Million Degrees and has been a dedicated volunteer and mentor throughout Chicagoland for the past 20 years. She is passionate about education and believes in doing her part to create meaningful change within the community. 

Natalie Stevens

Natalie R. Stevens
Assistant Professor

Faculty profile

Natalie R. Stevens, PhD, is faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and serves as Research Director of the Center for Women’s Behavioral and Mental Health. Dr. Stevens’ research focuses on the treatment of trauma-related disorders in the perinatal period integrating behavioral, medical, and community-based approaches. Dr. Stevens is the behavioral health research scientist for Rush’s Maternal-Infant Community Health Collaborative, a research group that focuses on improving the health of mothers and babies from Chicago’s Westside who have been affected by trauma or other adversity. Dr. Stevens’ clinical work broadly focuses on providing behavioral health interventions and treatment to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants in order to improve postpartum adjustment, social support, maternal-infant attachment, and reduce the effects of anxiety, stress and trauma.

Amanda Seanior Amanda Seanior
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Amanda Seanior, LCPC, is a licensed professional counselor and Manager of Community Engagement in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Section of Community Behavioral Health. She received her BS in Psychology at Howard University and MA in Forensic Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has been in the field for 10 years with a focus on providing relational; trauma-informed therapy to individuals across the lifespan. Her clinical expertise is working with individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress reactions/disorder, and relationship conflicts.

Amanda is both an empathic and direct therapist, utilizing humor and displaying patience with the process of treatment, while providing a safe and secure relationship with which clients can process their vulnerabilities. She believes in providing transformative and equitable clinical care to under-resources communities; with a special focus on BIPOC AND LGBTQ+ identified populations. Amanda’s training includes evidenced-based treatments included but not limited to, Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

Brihat Sharma Brihat Sharma
Data Scientist

Brihat Sharma, is a researcher working in the domain of natural language processing for clinical dataset in Rush. His interests are machine learning, deep learning and recently getting into the realm of reinforcement learning.