Improving Access To Best Practice Health Care In Underserved Communities


Leadership & Administration

Daniel Johnson, M.D. is the Director of ECHO-Chicago.  He is Section Chief of the Section of Academic Pediatrics and an Associate Professor of Infectious Disease at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Johnson is committed to the development of community-based pediatric care in underserved areas, accomplished through partnerships with federally qualified health clinics and community hospitals. He is Senior Faculty Consultant to the South Side Healthcare Collaborative and one of the leaders of the Southside Health and Vitality Studies.  He is Co-investigator for the CommunityRx System — a major healthcare delivery innovation linking approximately 200,000 residents on Chicago’s South Side with appropriate health resources through an electronic database system.  Through his roles in CommunityRx as well as ECHO-Chicago, he focuses his effort on coordinating information about health care knowledge and resources with health care providers and patients across the Greater Chicago area.

For his active community engagement and leadership, he was recently awarded (2013) Distinguished Faculty Award for Distinguished Community Service and Advocacy at the University of Chicago.  As a participant in several HIV/AIDS outreach initiatives, he works to improve access to education, testing and treatment for this disease. He also lectures at hospitals throughout the Chicago area, advocating mandatory HIV testing for Illinois newborns. For this effort he was awarded (2009) a Special Achievement Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is consistently named one of Chicago’s top physicians by Chicago magazine and the Castle Connolly Guide and recognized by superior teacher awards from his residents.   <>

Tamara Hamlish, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of ECHO-Chicago.  She joined the Section of Academic Pediatric Health Services at the University of Chicago in 2007, where she is responsible for program development, program evaluation and grant writing.  She collaborates closely with physicians to develop funding strategies and evaluation frameworks that support clinical programs designed to meet the healthcare needs of some of the most vulnerable children and families in Chicago. During this time, she has initiated funding streams of $1.8 million from foundation, federal, and corporate sources. These funds support programs such as the Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit, the Child Protective Services team, and the Kids Safety Team.

In 2009, Dr. Hamlish joined Dr. Daniel Johnson in the effort to bring to Chicago the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO).  She currently serves as the Director of Operations and Research for ECHO-Chicago and is a member on the ECHO-Chicago leadership team.  From 2001-2007, Dr. Hamlish served as a communications and brand strategy consultant at the Sapient Corporation, and at Hall and Partners, where she led global qualitative research on consumer/patient experiences.  Prior to her work as a consultant, Dr. Hamlish served as Associate Professor of Anthropology and Mouat Junior Professor of International Studies at Beloit College.  Her research on contemporary Chinese language, culture and society has been published in journals in the U.S., China, and Taiwan and in volumes from Stanford University Press, Routledge, and the Chinese Fine Arts Press.  <>

Karen Lee, M.S. is providing grant and outreach support for ECHO-Chicago. She is Director of Fundraising & Special Programs for the Section of Academic Pediatrics. Prior to this position, she oversaw operations for the South Side Health & Vitality Studies at the University of Chicago. Over five years, she helped grow MAPSCorps, a youth employment program generating hyper-local data about community resources, and build the CommunityRx system to connect people to local programs and services for health and wellness. Preceding this role, she worked on the Hospitals, Language, and Culture study at The Joint Commission and helped develop consumer-oriented multimedia education materials with State of the Art, Inc. She was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago in the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HiPSS) Department and earned her Master’s in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health. <>

Kanika Mittal, M.S. is a Project Coordinator for ECHO-Chicago. Prior to this position, she was Data Manager on the HealthLNK team at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and was a member of the Northwestern University team working on HepCCATT.  Ms. Mittal holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University with a focus in computational modelling, a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Surat, India and a Project Management for Professionals certification from School of Professional Studies, Northwestern University.  <>

Isa Rodriguez, B.A. is the Community Outreach Coordinator for ECHO-Chicago and the Project Coordinator for the HepCCATT project. Ms. Rodriguez previously served as a Clinical Partners Coordinator for the CommunityRx project of the South Side Health & Vitality Studies at the University of Chicago and was instrumental in scaling the CommunityRx project to 33 clinical sites. Prior to her employment at the University of Chicago, she worked as a Business Development Specialist for the Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program at The Joint Commission.<>

Stephanie Zaas, MSPH is a Project Coordinator for ECHO-Chicago. Ms. Zaas previously worked as a Clinical Research Associate for the University of Chicago’s adult Hematology/Oncology Department supporting clinical trials for new leukemia therapies to be approved by the FDA. Prior to that position, Ms. Zaas interned for Chicago Women’s AIDS Project where she organized HIV testing and education events on Chicago’s South Side. Ms. Zaas also held research positions at Michigan State University and Tulane University. <>


George Bakris, M.D. is the Resistant Hypertension series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago.  He is Director of the Comprehensive Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago and specializes in the diagnosis and reduction of high blood pressure, particularly in complicated and refractory cases.  He is an expert in the interpretation of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM), a technique that gives physicians a more accurate reading of a patient’s blood pressure.  Dr. Bakris is also skilled in the treatment of kidney disease, with special expertise in diabetes-related kidney disease. In his research activities, Dr. Bakris explores why the rate of kidney disease is significantly higher in the African-American population than it is in other ethnic groups. He also evaluates specific markers of kidney disease progression and heightened cardiovascular risk, as well as how changes in the artery (central pressure) affect the heart and kidney.  Dr. Bakris has more than 25 years of experience directing both NIH- and non-NIH- sponsored clinic trials and has published 8 books as well as more than 463 research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Most recently, Dr. Bakris has served as the national principal investigator on two clinical trials: one trial involves renal denervation as a way to lower blood pressure in people with resistant hypertension; the other investigates a new polymer designed to lower potassium among those with kidney disease and persistently high potassium values.  <>

Goutham Rao, M.D. is the Childhood Obesity series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago.  He is Vice Chair of the Departments of Family Medicine for the NorthShore University HealthSystem and the University of Chicago, where is also Clinical Associate Professor in the Pritzker School of Medicine. He is also Chair of the American Heart Association’s Obesity Committee. Dr. Rao has served in a number of leadership roles in the field of childhood obesity, including as a member of the American Medical Association’s Committee on Child and Adolescent Obesity. Dr. Rao is Chair of the Obesity Education Committee of the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, and also Chair of the Obesity Committee of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians. He is the former clinical director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Rao is dually board-certified in family medicine and obesity medicine, and his research involves improving the quality of care related to cardiovascular risks (including obesity) in primary care settings.  <>

Karin Vander Ploeg Booth, M.D. is the Pediatric ADHD series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago.  She is Program Director of the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric fellowship programs and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.  She has been on faculty in the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Chicago since 2008.  A major focus of her subspecialty training at the University of Chicago was the diagnosis of ADHD and its common comorbid conditions, and management of these diagnoses.  For her first two years as a Developmental and Behavioral pediatrician, she worked at a Federally Qualified Health Center where she gained expertise in assessing the many factors that could complicate the correct diagnosis and optimal management of ADHD in an economically disadvantaged urban setting.  During her residency at Loyola University Medical Center Ronald McDonald Children’s hospital, she served as chief resident in general pediatrics through which she honed case-based teaching skills.  She also has experience teaching primary care providers about a range of developmental topics as a faculty presenter for the Enhancing Developmentally Oriented Primary Care project.   <>

Andrew Aronsohn, M.D. is a board-certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the University of Chicago Center for Liver Diseases, conducting research on new therapies for hepatitis C.  He is also a medical ethicist in the MacLean Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Chicago and advocates for access to care for underserved populations.  He leads the ECHO-Chicago hep C management team and is responsible for the development and implementation of the hep C videoconference curriculum. He works closely with community providers to support appropriate screening and assessment of individuals at risk or diagnosed with hep C.   In addition, Dr. Aronsohn contributes to evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculum and to publication of the results.  Dr Aronsohn received his MD degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed his residency, chief residency, gastroenterology fellowship, medical ethics fellowship and transplant hepatology fellowship at the University of Chicago. <>

Kenneth Silver, M.D. is the Child & Youth Epilepsy series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. He has also worked at a Federally Qualified Health Center and other Chicagoland Hospitals where he has gained vast understanding of the factors within an economically disadvantaged urban environment that can impact diagnosis and management of pediatric neurologic disorders. Dr. Silver specializes in neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy, neurogenic disorders, movement disorders, headaches and epilepsy. He is also an active researcher, most recently investigating alternating hemiplegia of childhood. He has been in practice since 1979. He completed his MD at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, followed by residency and fellowship at Children’s Health Center in Winnipeg, Canada, Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Montreal Neurological Institute and is fluent in both English and French. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Headache Society, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation and Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. <>

Katherine Thompson, M.D. is the Geriatrics series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago. She is an Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) and is a national leader in geriatrics and medical education initiatives. She has served as Director of Resident Education for Geriatrics since 2010 and Program Director for UCM’s Geriatrics Fellowship since 2015. Dr. Thompson completed the MERITS Medical Education Fellowship at UCM as well as the Harvard Macy Program for Educators in the Health Professions and has significant experience in geriatrics curriculum development. She currently holds an award from the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators at UCM as well as a Hartford Change AGEnts action award, which support her work on multimorbidity and patient communication. Dr. Thompson is a current Geriatric Academic Career Awardee through HRSA. She also serves alongside national geriatrics leaders as a core member of the Integrating Geriatrics Programs workgroup through the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. Dr. Thompson’s clinical and teaching interests are in frailty, multimorbidity and interprofessional teamwork. Dr. Thompson directs UCM’s Successful Aging and Frailty Evaluation (SAFE) Clinic where she teaches fellows, residents, and students from a variety of health professions principles of care for frail patients as part of an interprofessional team.

Doriane Miller, M.D. is the Behavioral Health Integration series facilitator for ECHO-Chicago. She is Director of the Center for Community Health and Vitality and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. She has been providing care to under-served minority populations for more than 20 years in her role as a primary care physician with a special interest in behavioral health. Dr. Miller’s research focuses on the intersection of health disparities and race and she has served as the project director for several studies designed to augment care by promoting collaboration among physicians, patients, and families. Prior to her work here, Dr. Miller served as national program director of New Health Partnerships, a demonstration project funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation on collaborative self-management support.

Anna Volerman, M.D. is one of the Complex Pediatric Asthma series facilitators for ECHO-Chicago. She is Associate Director of Med-Peds Education and an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Volerman is a primary care physician for both adults and children. She completed her Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to clinical care, she is committed to innovation in medical education and health care delivery in the clinical and community settings. Currently she has partnered with a South Side school to examine and improve health and wellness in the school setting and she leads an initiative focused specifically on asthma care.

Satyanarayan Hegde, M.D. is one of the Complex Pediatric Asthma series facilitators for ECHO-Chicago. He is Director of Pediatric Pulmonary Diagnostic Services and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Pulmonology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Hegde completed his MD at the Karnataka Institute for Medical Sciences in India and his fellowship and residency at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Prior to coming to Chicago, he was Co-Director of the Pediatric Asthma Center of Excellence at the University of Florida. Dr. Hegde has worked in various healthcare settings on 3 continents and in 3 different states in the United States gaining a deep understanding of how asthma morbidity and mortality can be reduced by borrowing ideas from high performing health systems. His research centers on how breathing patterns and vibrations can be used to diagnose lung infections and he has co-invented a novel, patent-pending technology that uses internal airway percussion for exhaled breath diagnostics.

Jeffrey Rado, MD, MPH is the lead facilitator for the Behavioral Health Integration: Management of Common Psychiatric Issues in Primary Care series. Dr. Jeff Rado is board certified in both internal medicine and psychiatry and has over 10 years’ experience integrating psychiatry and internal medicine care in a primary care setting. Dr. Rado directed the Psychosis Clinic at Rush for the last 7 years and understands the difficultly of engaging patients with chronic mental illness (such as schizophrenia) into a comprehensive and individualized care plan. He has extensive teaching and mentoring experience and has designed a collaborative care program to provide psychiatric care within primary care clinic. Dr. Rado provides real-time psychiatric consultation to internal medicine providers and provides formal teaching to attending and resident physicians. He is currently President of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry whose goal is to support teaching, research and clinical practice in integrated medicine-psychiatry practices. He is passionate about holistic care, enjoys building lasting connections and understanding and addressing barriers to health care.