Members of the Community Advisory Council and UChicago Medicine executives at the adult trauma center ribbon-cutting ceremony
Members of the Community Advisory Council and UChicago Medicine executives at the adult emergency department ribbon-cutting ceremony in December 2017

The University of Chicago Medicine Community Advisory Council (CAC) is a representative group of volunteer members who live and/or work in our service area. The council advises UChicago Medicine on issues of interest to the broader community. It is an essential partner in achieving UChicago Medicine's goals related to the broader community interests, community benefit, access to care and effective community engagement.

Members consist of men and women from the community who reflect the needs and concerns of community residents and UChicago Medicine patients. Members represent the diverse needs and interests of the communities served by UChicago Medicine. They represent various ethnic, economic and cultural groups within UChicago Medicine's service area.

Members consist of individuals representing multiple constituencies, such as healthcare providers/agencies, public health agencies, social services agencies, community leaders, business leaders, the faith community, advocacy groups, patient advocates and the general community. The council consists of up to 20 members.

Members are recruited every two years, interviewed by a selection committee and invited to serve a three-year term. However, the first cohort of CAC members will have staggered terms (two-, three- and four-year terms) to ensure continuity of the CAC. Members are expected to serve on at least one CAC committee, with additional opportunities for community outreach and participation throughout the year.

The inaugural CAC and CAC chair were selected by the Dean's Committee on Community Engagement. Afterward, new council members will be recommended by a nominating committee of the Council and approved by the Dean's Committee on Community Engagement. The Dean's Committee on Community Engagement meets at least twice a year.

The Dean's Committee on Community Engagement will be led by the dean of the Biological Sciences Division and executive vice president for medical affairs along with UChicago's vice president for civic engagement. The CAC Chair will serve as a standing member of the Dean's Committee on Community Engagement.

Susan Alitto
Board member, Founding president
Chicago Hyde Park Village

Damon Arnold
Medical Director II
Blue Cross Blue Shield IL (HCSC)

Torrey Barrett
KLEO Center

Julian DeShazier
University Church

Alex Goldenberg
Executive Director
Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)

Christopher Harris
Bright Star Church

Candace Henley
The Blue Hat Foundation, Inc.

Jennifer Herd
Senior Health Policy Analyst
Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)

J. Brian Malone
Executive Director
Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization

Sherida Morrison
Demoiselle 2 Femme

Ayoka Mota Samuels
Center Director
Gary Comer Youth Center

Amalia Nieto Gomez
Executive Director
Alliance of the SouthEast (ASE)

Burrell Poe
Compassion It Chicago

Shari Runner
President and CEO
The Chicago Urban League

L. Anton Seals
Neighborhood and Community Specialist
DePaul University

The council meets at least three times a year at regular intervals in a convenient location.

Council responsibilities include:

  • Providing input and advice on issues of interest to the broader community.
  • Identifying, reviewing and, where appropriate, making recommendations to UChicago Medicine on priority health issues in the hospital's service area.
  • Reviewing and providing input and advice to UChicago Medicine on its efforts to meet the community's health needs.
  • Reviewing and providing input and advice on UChicago Medicine's community benefit initiatives and initiatives to improve access to health care services.
  • Advocating on behalf of UChicago Medicine with key constituencies in support of the UChicago Medicine's community benefit initiatives.
  • Reviewing and providing advice on issues referred to the CAC by the Dean's Committee on Community Engagement.
  • Referring issues to the Dean's Committee on Community Engagement, as appropriate.

Each subcommittee working group primarily focuses its efforts on developing and implementing population health-level solutions to designated issues affecting populations residing in the UChicago Medicine service area. Additionally, each group provides critical advisement to UChicago Medicine regarding population health and community engagement strategies. 


Working Groups & Areas of Focus


Maternal & Child Health Working Group:

Asthma, obesity, and HIV/STIs in maternal and child populations


Trauma Care & Violence Prevention Working Group:

Trauma care and violence prevention


Adult Health Working Group:

Diabetes and cancer in adult populations

The UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial CAC will seek community input on health issues of importance to its primary service area and surrounding communities. The group’s responsibilities will include providing input and advice to Ingalls Memorial leadership regarding priority health and social determinant challenges. This council will facilitate discussion that will influence future decisions regarding community benefit for Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey and Ingalls’ ambulatory locations.

Advisory Council Members

Christopher Torres
Regional Director
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Jaclin Davis
Executive Director
Cook County Southland Juvenile Justice Council

Cynthia Turnquest
Director of Outreach & Strategic Partners
The Cancer Support Center

John Thomas
Superintendent of Schools
Harvey Public Schools District 152

Karen Vrdolyak
Restoration Ministries
Vice President of Development & Admin

Audrey Pennington
Chief Operating Officer
Aunt Martha's Health & Wellness

Lyzeth Mondragon
Community Impact Director
American Heart Association

Derrick Simmons
Senior Pastor
Daniel Chapel AME Zion Church

Angelia Smith
Executive Director
Cornerstone Community Development Corporation

Linda Brown-Aldridge
Dean of Nursing
South Suburban College

Troy O'Quin
Manager of General Assistance
Thornton Township

Jennifer Gabrenya
Executive Director
South Suburban Family Shelter

Michael Giglio
Calumet City Plumbing Co. Inc.

Christopher Vandenberg
Trace Ambulance, Inc.

Carmin Frederick-James
Associate Pastor to Youth
Covenant United Church of Christ