The Division of Ophthalmology at the Cook County Health offers medical and surgical ophthalmic care to adults and children with diseases and injuries of the eye, orbit and eyelids.

Common diseases that affect the eye include diabetes, glaucoma and cataracts, but in addition, comprehensive care is offered to patients suffering from a broad spectrum of common and rare eye conditions ranging from eye disease due to premature birth to severe traumatic injury in adults.
Each year, the division treats 50,000 patients, performing over 2,300 major ocular surgeries, 10,000 intraocular injections and over 2,000 laser procedures. This is in addition to routine medical management of ophthalmic disease, as well as countless numbers of minor procedures. The Division of Ophthalmology is the busiest unit under the Department of Surgery.
Clinic services include fluorescein angiograms, visual field testing, ultrasound imaging, corneal hysteresis, ocular coherence tomography and nerve fiber layer analysis. The physicians utilize many methods of sophisticated care options, and many eye diseases can be treated with medical, surgical or laser procedures.
The Ophthalmology clinic, located in the Professional Building, is a comprehensively equipped facility with specialists available in seven subspecialties including: medical/surgical retina, oculoplastics, cornea, glaucoma, uveitis, pediatrics/strabismus and neuro-ophthalmology.
Minor surgery procedures can be performed within the clinic and the vast majority of major surgical procedures are performed on an outpatient basis using “same-day” surgery in the Hospital.

PGY-1:

  • James Garcia – Saint Louis University
  • Umangi Patel – University of Illinois at Rockford
  • Arshia Wadhwa – Saint Louis University
  • Anthony Wong – Rush Medical College

PGY-2:

  • Kristen Ashourian – Florida International University
  • Brett Breshears – Midwestern University – Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Roya Garakani – Nova Southwestern University
  • Emmanuel Sarmiento – University of South Carolina

PGY-3:

  • Viviana Barquet – Universidad Central del Caribe
  • Dana Darwish – University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Kajal Sangal – Boston University
  • George Zhang – University of Vermont

PGY-4:

  • Dagmara Danek – Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Mitchell Greenberg – Chicago Medical School
  • Alexander Robin – Rush Medical College
  • Lillian Tran – Texas Tech University

    2021

    2020

    • Karl Becker: Uveitis/Medical Retina Fellowship, University of Illinois at Chicago
    • Nadia Bolton: Comprehensive Ophthalmologist, Tohono O’odham Nation Health Care and Sells Indian Hospital
    • Shweta Chaudhary: Comprehensive Ophthalmologist and Medical Student Coordinator, Cook County Health
    • Catherine Thomas: Medical Retina Fellowship, Northwestern University

    2019

    • Kevin Ferenchak: Inherited Retinal Disease Fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
    • Olga German: Medical Retina Fellowship, Northwestern University
    • Jordan Hill: Cornea Fellowship, Devers Eye Institute
    • Shyam Patel: Cornea Fellowship, Eye Consultants of Atlanta

      Residency Program

      The ophthalmology residency training program at Cook County Health is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and approved by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
      The goal of the residency is to develop skilled practicing comprehensive ophthalmologists and subspecialists by providing extensive clinical and surgical experience over a four-year period.
      The program accepts four residents per year and participates in the central application service (CAS) of the San Francisco Matching Program. Admission is contingent upon the successful completion of an ACGME accredited or Canadian-approved internship.
      All major subspecialties in ophthalmology are represented in the division with respect to clinical experience and faculty involvement. These include the following:

      Rotations

      PGY-1
      The PGY-1 residency positions were integrated into the program July 2021 providing our residents with a comprehensive experience prior to beginning their formal ophthalmology training. The first year begins with a two-week orientation in which subspecialty attendings give introductory lectures and provide hands-on instruction in use of ophthalmic equipment and refraction. Rotations consist of two-, four- and six- week rotations in a variety of specialties, including internal medicine, plastics, dermatology and ophthalmology. During their ophthalmology rotation, residents will participate in general clinic, as well as train in ophthalmic imaging, testing and refraction.
      PGY-2
      During the second year, residents become integrated into Stroger Hospital Eye Clinic, as well as at our satellite clinic at Provident Hospital. At Provident Hospital, residents attend biweekly clinics for three months during the year where they experience their initial exposure into the operating room, as well as individualized attention with anterior segment and retina subspecialty attendings. Meanwhile at Stroger Hospital, there are three three-month rotations in general clinic where residents learn to assume increasing responsibility in managing patients. Residents also participate in oculoplastics rotations where residents serve as primary surgeons in minor procedures, as well as participate in oculoplastic clinical evaluations and a pediatrics rotation where residents have weekly first-hand experience in strabismus surgeries. First-year residents also perform anterior segment laser and retina laser procedures and intravitreal injections as proficiency allows.
      PGY-3
      The third-year resident schedule is divided into four blocks. During the three months of the consult rotation, the resident is responsible for treating both outpatient and inpatient consults. The consult resident also gains exposure to pediatric ophthalmology and retinopathy of prematurity screening during this rotation block. The retina rotation comprises a second block, where residents are exposed to extensive retinal pathology. This block provides residents with an opportunity to gain proficiency in intravitreal injections and retinal laser procedures. A third block consists of three months at the Blue Island Health Center Eye Clinic, which is staffed by Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology faculty. During this rotation, a second-year resident is introduced to major intraoperative procedures, including cataract surgery. The resident performs 20 to 30 cataract surgeries as the primary surgeon during the Blue Island rotation. A fourth block is spent as chief of the comprehensive Eye Clinic. There is one morning per week devoted to ophthalmic pathology under the guidance of our ocular pathologist, Dr. Bamba where residents gross in ophthalmic specimens and review previous slides at the microscope.
      PGY-4
      The major focus of the fourth-year resident is performing surgical procedures. More than 2,300 major operative eye cases are performed each year. The senior resident performs all surgical cases. All major surgery is supervised by attending physicians. Starting in 2017, a new rotation at Provident Hospital, another Cook County Health affiliate, has been established. Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology faculty also staff Provident Hospital. This rotation will allow for three days weekly in the operating room with further emphasis on expanding residents surgical skills. Senior residents are also responsible for aiding in patient care, and overseeing junior residents and medical student education in the general eye clinic. One senior resident is selected yearly to function as Chief Resident with administrative and educational responsibilities.

      Education

      Subspecialty attendings conduct teaching conferences daily in which material in the Ophthalmology Basic and Clinical Science Course (BCSC), published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), is systematically covered. 
      The BCSC books are provided to each resident at the start of their first year. Monday mornings are devoted to Morning Report to review on-call issues and discuss cases. Every morning thereafter, lectures are held where attendings presents on high yield topics within their subspecialty. Grand Rounds are held each semester and formal Journal Club is held on a quarterly basis. Prior to the annual in-service examination (OKAPs) in March, a three-day comprehensive review of all BCSC topics is held at Stroger Hospital and is open to all Chicago-area residency programs at no cost. 

      In addition to the comprehensive in-house academic program, residents can participate in citywide combined educational programs. The first of these is the Chicago Curriculum in Ophthalmology (CCO), which is a lecture series with faculty from all six Chicago area residency programs participating. Lectures are held from September through April on Saturday mornings. Stroger Hospital Ophthalmology residents also attend the Chicago Ophthalmological Society (COS) monthly meetings free of charge. These meetings are held monthly on Monday evenings at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center from September through April. Nationally known speakers from all ophthalmic specialties are invited to give talks at this excellent forum.

      All Cook County Health Ophthalmology residents have full privileges at the Stroger Hospital Tice Library and the Rush University’s Medical Library.

      All residents are required to participate in at least one research project during their residency. The research project should lead to completion of a structured abstract for paper or poster presentation or a manuscript suitable for submission.

      Facilities

      The Eye Clinic is in the Cook County Health Professional Building and opened in October 2018.
      The Eye Clinic has 18 modern, fully equipped eye exam rooms and a minor surgery operating room with a floor-model operating microscope and video display. Each exam room contains an Apple flat screen visual acuity monitor and Haag Streit slit lamps.
      The clinic also includes a laser treatment room with a new Iridex Micropulse Argon Laser and a photography suite with a new Zeiss Fundus Camera. Retina imaging (OCT and FANG) is performed with a Heidelberg Spectral Domain OCT. Other equipment includes: two Iridex diode lasers, a Iridex MicroPulse diode laser, Nd: YAG laser, SLT laser, PDT laser, Keeler Cryomaster, ophthalmic ultrasound unit, two Humphrey automated visual field analyzers, a manual Goldman perimeter, Marco Corneal Topographer, Zeiss autorefractor, and a Lenstar 900 optical biometer. Two Reichert Ocular Response Analyzer’s are also available for corneal hysteresis.
      The eye operating room in the hospital is equipped with a floor-model Zeiss Lumera 700 operating microscope with video output and digital video recording capabilities. The operating room is also equipped with all three major phacoemulsification machines including the Alcon Centurion, AMO Whitestar, and Bausch and Lomb Stellaris. Vitrectomies are performed with the Alcon Constellation System. In addition, there is a fully equipped wet lab facility with an operating microscope and a phacoemulsification machine.

      Support Staff

      A full-time ophthalmic photographer performs and processes all photography and fluorescein angiograms.
      Two full-time ophthalmic technicians perform and assist in obtaining glaucoma-related testing such as visual fields and nerve fiber analysis. The Eye Clinic has a complement of seven full-time nurses or medical assistants who help to facilitate and assist residents in seeing patients including checking visual acuities.

      Benefits

      Cook County Health provides a comprehensive benefits package for housestaff physicians and their dependents.
      The benefits include:
      • Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO or PPO health insurance, dental coverage, vision plan, disability, worker’s comp, life insurance, pension plan, and flexible spending accounts.
      • Salaries are very competitive compared to other area programs.
      • House staff physicians are entitled to the following paid leaves per academic year: 21 vacation days, 12 sick days, 12 holidays, 5 conference days, and 3 days bereavement.
      • House staff physicians are provided with a generous daily meal plan of $19 per day. Onsite parking is available for $70 per month.
      • An educational allowance of $1000 per year is available for reimbursement of expenses for conferences, seminars, review courses, purchasing of lenses or books.
      • Also, 20- and 90- diopter lenses are available as loaners. 

      Highlights

      Meetings in Chicago
      There are a large amounts of ophthalmology meetings in Chicago open to residents:
      Daily Lectures
      • Mondays: Morning Report followed by a one-hour lecture on Neuro
      • Tuesdays: Lecture on Pediatrics, Retina, or Glaucoma
      • Wednesdays: Lecture on Glaucoma or Pathology
      • Thursdays: Lecture on Uveitis or Neuro-ophthalmology
      • Fridays: Lecture on Plastics, Retina, Cornea, or Pathology

      Residency Training

      Year 1 (PGY-2)
      The first year is spent in the General Eye Clinic at Stroger Hospital and at the Provident Hospital Eye Clinic. Each resident is assigned two eye lanes. Morning lecture starts at 8 am followed by clinic which begins at 9 am.
      July – SeptOct – DecJan – MarchApril – July
      Provident Hospital (one day of the week is spent in the OR)General ClinicGeneral ClinicGeneral Clinic

      Year 2 (PGY-3)
      Year two is divided into 3 different blocks.
      July 1 – Oct 30Nov 1 – Feb 28March 1 – June 30
      Specialties/RetinaOak Forest HospitalGeneral Clinic Chief
      • Cataract surgery (resident is the primary surgeon) is performed two days of the month while on the Oak Forest Rotation.
      • Pathology slide review and gross processing is held from 9-12 on Wednesdays throughout the year while on rotations at Cook County.
      • Minor procedures (pterygium excision with amniotic membrane graft, chalazion excision) and minor plastics procedures (chalazion excision, orbital fat prolapse correction, conjunctiva and eyelid biopsies) are performed on Tuesdays and Thursdays while on rotations at Stroger Hospital.
      Year 3 (PGY-4), Major Surgery
      Each resident spends 9 months completing major surgeries (2-3 days/week) and the 3 remaining months operating at Provident Hospital. Surgical volumes are some of the highest in the country.
      2015 Senior Resident Surgery Total, Example Senior #1:
      ProceduresMinimumSurgeonAssistantTotal
      Cataract8626245307
      YAG capsulotomy512517
      Laser trabeculoplasty59110
      Laser iridotomy4292857
      Panretinal laser photocoagulation20435108543
      Keratoplasty54711
      Pterygium/ conj/ corneal38513
      Keratorefractive surgery6156
      Strabismus1013215
      Glaucoma filter/shunt535439
      Retinal Vitreous102878106
      Intravitreal Injection10256119375
      Oculoplastic and orbit28362460
      Eyelid laceration3538
      Chalazia excision37714
      Ptosis/blepharoplasty36410
      Globe Trauma49514
      Chief Medical Officer

      Dr. Fegan is a leading expert on health care policy and health care reform with extensive hands-on medical experience in the ever-changing arena of healthcare policy and, as a result, moves Cook County Health forward as an innovative and forward-thinking healthcare leader. She has testified before congressional committees and lectured extensively to both medical and public audiences on healthcare reform in the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Fegan serves as president of the board of directors for the Chicago-based Health & Medicine Policy Research Group. An internist, Dr. Fegan also sees patients at Cook County Health’s Professional Building.

      Chief Nursing Officer

      Beena Peters joined Cook County Health after nearly three decades at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System in Chicago, where she has served in various nursing roles since 1991. She was most recently the associate chief nursing officer, with administrative responsibility for Women, Children and Psychiatric Services. Ms. Peters earned her master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate of nursing practice. At Cook County Health, she leads the nursing staff with a focus on three key goals: nursing quality, patient experience and staff engagement. Ms. Peters is committed to building an effective and efficient workforce to deliver high-quality, patient centered care to improve the health of the people and the community through collaboration and partnership.

      Division Chair, Anesthesiology & Pain Management

      Dr. Torres is an anesthesiologist with additional expertise in the field of pain medicine. Dr. Torres has practiced at Cook County Health for more than 27 years and is responsible for the development and implementation of Cook County Health’s multidisciplinary Pain Management Center. Cook County Health has tracked a 36% decrease in opioid prescription volumes since 2017. Dr. Torres currently serves as system chair for Pain Management Services and leads a very successful multidisciplinary pain center, which provides the latest interventional, psychologic and complementary modalities, and services to our patients.

      Attending Physician, Oncology
      Director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship

      Dr. Gupta specializes in cancer care with a specific expertise in treating lung, gynecological and gastrointestinal tumors. Her clinical interests include health care information technology and hospital quality improvement. She helped study the concept of “Quick Diagnosis Units,” a model to safely work up patients on an outpatient basis rather than admitting them to a hospital, improve patient care and coordination and potentially significantly reduce health care costs.

      Division Chair, Otolaryngology
      Chair, Cook County Health Cancer Committee

      As a lifelong Chicagoan, Dr. Patel’s passion for medicine dates back to childhood when his father was a physician at Cook County Hospital. He serves patients as an expert in head and neck cancers and oncologic surgery. He is the chair of Cook County Health’s otolaryngology division and chair of the System’s Cancer Committee. Dr. Patel leads Cook County Health’s certification process from the Commission on Cancer, as well as the system’s participation in national clinical trials for cancer treatment. He also holds several committee roles with the Academy of Otolaryngology and the American Head and Neck Society.

      Chief Operating Officer, Correctional Health

      Jesus “Manny” Estrada serves at the Chief Operating Officer for Correctional Health. Mr. Estrada joined Cook County Health after having serviced as the Assistant Vice President of Operations at Corizon Health Inc. where he was responsible for the delivery of contracted medical services for four Maryland Department of Corrections regions. Prior to his time in Maryland, Mr. Estrada served as the Corporate Director for Correctional Health Services in Jackson Health System where he provided direct oversight of the provision of all medical care for individuals detained in three jails in the Miami-Dade region. Previously, Mr. Estrada served with Cook County Health for more than 20 years. He is committed to improving health care outcomes for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

      Department Chair, Correctional Health

      Dr. Mennella serves at the chair and medical director for Cook County correctional health. Under her leadership, the Department of Correctional Health has been able to develop detoxification protocols and treatment plans in a centralized housing area and has increased the use of all Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for opioid use disorder. Dr. Mennella has worked with Cook County Health in furthering linkage agreements with community providers both within the ambulatory Cook County Health network and with other community partners. She was also instrumental in working with the Cook County Sherriff’s office to make naloxone training available to patients with opioid use disorder and providing these patients with a naloxone kit to prevent overdose upon release. She has lobbied for funding for mental health programs as a way to reduce crime and campaigned against the closure of Cook County mental health facilities.

      Interim Chair, Infection Control, Cermak Health Services

      Dr. Chad Zawitz sserves as interim chair of infection control at Cermak Health Services. Dr. Zawitz’s work is focused on serving a marginalized and underserved population. His research and collaboration with various health departments and correctional medicine leaders nationwide has led to his many advances in care for Correctional Health. In addition, he is a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at University of Illinois School of Medicine and is a member on the Human Rights Campaign, Academy of Correctional Health Professionals and International AIDS Society.

      Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine

      As a second-generation physician at Stroger Hospital, Dr. Hedayati has devoted her career to working on the front lines of patient care, taking pride in treating all patients regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. With extensive knowledge in all areas of emergency medicine, she has a particular interest in cardiac emergencies and resuscitation, including diagnosis and management of cardiac arrest, heart attacks, abnormal cardiac rhythms, pacemakers and heart failure. She is also committed to medical education and training future generations of medical providers. Dr. Hedayati’s research projects involve emergency care, focusing on how to improve everyday practices and how physicians interface with patients.

      Department Chair, Emergency Medicine
      Dr. Trevor Lewis serves as Cook County Health Chair of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Lewis began his career with Cook County Health as an emergency medicine resident at the old Cook County Hospital, where he completed his postgraduate medical education. He has spent nearly his entire career with Cook County Health. Dr. Lewis serves on several departmental and hospital committees, and has been an active participant in several initiatives to improve the throughput and patient experience in the Emergency Department. He is currently the President of the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Executive Medical Staff. Dr. Lewis is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Rush Medical College. He is committed to medical education and training future generations of medical providers.
      Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine

      Dr. Lu is a full-time emergency medicine attending physician at Cook County Health and a medical toxicologist with the Illinois Poison Center Toxikon Consortium. Dr. Lu’s main interests are in critical care medicine and resident and student education. She organizes the toxicology conferences for the emergency medicine residency program and has lectured nationally and internationally on various poisoning topics such as aspirin, opioids and other drugs of abuse.

      Department Chair, Family & Community Medicine

      Dr. Loafman, Cook County Health chair of family and community medicine, is an authority on community medicine and maternal and child health, and leads a team of 60 physicians providing comprehensive, compassionate primary and preventive care. He has dedicated much of his career to reducing health disparities in care and improving health outcomes in primary and obstetric care practices.

      System Director of Health Care Epidemiology
      & Infection Control

      Dr. Welbel is the director of hospital epidemiology and infection control and has extensive expertise in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Before joining Cook County Health in 1994, she served as a medical epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) division of tuberculosis elimination and an officer for epidemic intelligence services for the CDC’s Hospital Infection Program. Dr. Welbel is at the forefront of infectious diseases including influenza, Hepatitis C and tuberculosis. She is an expert on hospital infection control and preparedness and sees patients at Stroger Hospital and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center.

      Division Chair, Infectious Diseases
      Dr. Schwartz has served as Cook County Health’s chair of infectious diseases since 2010. He has maintained the division’s excellence of caring for infections among hospitalized patients by teaching clinical infectious diseases to trainees at all levels, performing infection-related research and promoting patient safety across Cook County Health through the oversight of infection control and antimicrobial stewardship programs. Dr. Schwartz has also overseen consolidation and expansion of Cook County Health’s programs for the multidisciplinary care of Cook County residents living with HIV/AIDS.
      Senior Director for HIV Services, Interim Medical Director at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center & COVID-19 Vaccination Coordinator

      Dr. Gregory Huhn currently serves as the Senior Director for HIV Services and COVID-19 Vaccination Coordinator at Cook County Health and is the Interim Medical Director at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. He is also an associate professor of medicine at Rush University Medical Center, where he serves as the Associate Director of the joint Cook County Health/Rush University infectious diseases fellowship program, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Public School of Health. From 2002 to 2004, Dr. Huhn served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Illinois. Since joining CCH, Dr. Huhn has held several roles and has been an instrumental leader during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is also a medical advisor and content faculty expert for a national HIV continuing medical education series, and is a frequent lecturer and teacher across the country. His research activities include HIV and viral hepatitis, COVID-19, outbreak investigations, and infectious disease surveillance. He has published more than 65 articles in peer-reviewed literature and is the editor for a recently published book on HIV.

      Chair, Department of Medicine

      Dr. Mathew serves as chair of the department of medicine and directs the internal medicine services throughout Cook County Health hospitals and ambulatory sites. She also oversees the training of hundreds of residents, fellows and medical students. Dr. Mathew serves as the governor for the American College of Physicians Illinois Northern chapter, as well as a member of the ACP National Board of Governors. She has a passion for the under-served and particular interest in the areas of social determinants of health and professional satisfaction. She is an awarded teacher and leader and a recognized humanitarian.

      Associate Medical Director
      Chairman, Department of Professional Education

      Serving as the chairman of the department of professional education for Cook County Health, Dr. O’Brien is an expert in training and education programs and has been consistently recognized for his teaching abilities. He serves as a fellow of the American College of Physicians, where he oversees 25 residency and fellowship programs with more than 400 trainees. Dr. O’Brien also oversees the training of hundreds of outside rotating residents and fellows at Cook county Health. He is board certified in internal medicine and works with the American Board of Internal Medicine as a diplomat.

      Regional Medical Director, Provident Hospital
      & Sengstacke Health Center

      Dr. Arnold Turner is medical director at Provident Hospital. He has practiced internal medicine for 35 years, primarily to underserved populations. Dr. Turner has an interest in chronic disease management. He has previously conducted clinical trials on hypertension and diabetes. Dr. Turner attended Harvard Medical School.

      Department Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology

      Dr. Abrego began his career with Cook County Health as an attending physician in 2003. He has served in many leadership roles at the health system including as the divisional director for the obstetrics and gynecology department, program director and the site director for the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine residency program. In addition to his attending physician and divisional duties, he has lead quality assurance throughout the health system, graduate medical education and credentialing oversight.

      Dr. Abrego is also an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

      Attending Physician, Urology

      Dr. Wille is the director of kidney and stone disease for Cook County Health’s division of urology. He is the director of the Interdisciplinary Stone Clinic, a clinic with urology, nephrology and dietary resources to help prevent the forming of stones in the kidney, bladder and/or urinary tract. Dr. Wille works to help men reach their optimal health and wellness. He is dedicated to helping his patients with innovative, individualized, modern medical solutions for a variety of health concerns.

      Director of Psychiatry
      Dr. Vergara-Rodriguez has been the Director of Psychiatry for the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center since 2010, and is a board-certified psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician at Cook County Health. Dr. Vergara-Rodriguez provides integrated medical care in multiple treatment settings with a focus on health equity. She has a special interest in treating people with HIV, those impacted by trauma and individuals struggling with mental illness. Dr. Vergara-Rodriguez also specializes in Medication-Assisted Treatment for substance use disorders. She is also involved in many community advocacy initiatives and serves on several Cook County Health committees and groups to advance health equity in Cook County.
      Medical Social Worker

      As a social worker at Stroger Hospital’s Trauma & Burn Department, Andrew Wheeler has helped countless patients and family members cope with the stress of traumatic incidents. He supplements the care provided by doctors and nurses to aid patients’ emotional recovery through counseling and other techniques, like meditation. He also provides support to employees after critical incidents and promotes a trauma informed workplace. A founding member of Healing Hurt People-Chicago, he coordinates connecting violently injured patients with outpatient intensive case management services to reduce reinjury and retaliation, while improving overall well-being. Mr. Wheeler also advocates for awareness of post-traumatic stress in patients who have suffered severe injuries and has helped form partnerships with community organizations to address violence as a public health issue.

      Division Chair, Neurology

      As Cook County Health’s medical director of stroke, Dr. Warrior is an expert in treating patients with neurologic conditions including stroke, dementia, HIV-associated neurologic disease, epilepsy and headache. She leads a hospital-wide collaboration of specialists involved with the care of stroke patients. Dr. Warrior was instrumental in the creation of the Cook County Health Stroke Clinic, a once-a-week, multidisciplinary clinic with the goal of providing comprehensive care to stroke patients.

      Division Chair, Ophthalmology

      Ophthalmology Division Chair Dr. Thomas Patrianakos epitomizes community medicine. Born and raised in Chicago, he has been a mainstay at Cook County Health since completing his residency at Stroger Hospital in 2006 and fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He is a clinical leader in glaucoma care (including micro invasive surgery), optic nerve imaging and ophthalmology education. Dr. Patrianakos and his
      team provide cutting-edge care to patients with severe eye conditions.

      Optometrist

      Dr. Adkins specializes in the practice of comprehensive optometry. With more than 25 years of experience, her clinical expertise includes the treatment of refractive conditions, medical diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, infections, inflammation and postoperative surgical care. Dr. Adkins is passionate about encouraging teenage girls to pursue optometry careers through education and mentoring. She also works with multiple organizations to help girls pursue careers in optometry and other related professions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

      Division Chair, Emergency Medicine & Toxicology

      Dr. Aks is a national expert in medical toxicology and has overseen the training of more than 1,400 residents and 700 students in Cook County Health’s medical toxicology rotation since 1990. He directs the Illinois Poison Center Toxikon Consortium, a partnership between Cook County Health, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Poison Center that offers one of the nation’s few toxicology fellowships and trains all emergency medicine residents in the city of Chicago in toxicology. Toxikon also supports the Illinois Poison Center with additional clinical expertise on the most challenging cases of poisoning. Additionally, Dr. Aks has served as Cook County’s Representative to the Cook County/City of Chicago Opioid Task Force and cowrote the expanding naloxone position statement for toxicology speciality societies (ACMT and AACT).

      Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine & Toxicology

      Dr. Mycyk, emergency medicine physician and toxicologist, is an international toxicology expert, specializing in environmental toxins like lead poisoning and novel drugs of abuse. His research focuses on using older, often forgotten medicines such as haloperidol for cyclic vomiting from drug abuse and drugs as antidotes for new medical problems, as these remedies are typically inexpensive and readily available.

      Attending Physician, Family Medicine

      Dr. Nowinski Konchak is a physician lead for the medication assisted treatment (MAT) collaborative at Cook County Health, where she works across departments to implement access to high quality, team-based substance use disorder care within CCH’s numerous care settings including 14 community health centers, Stroger hospital and emergency department, and with correctional health at Cook County Jail. She is also core faculty for the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at Cook County Health.

      Department Chair, Oral Health
      Dr. Alexander serves as Cook County Health chair of oral health. She has particular interest in hospital dentistry, HIV/AIDS care, oral oncology and oral surgery. Dr. Alexander has spearheaded the development and delivery of quality oral health care and clinical and operational programs, as well as improvement activities. She works on educating patients on the connection between good oral health and improvement in overall well-being, such as the link between an increased risk of heart disease in patients with poor oral health. Dr. Alexander focuses on quality direct patient care, developing programs to meet the needs of the community and coordinating teams to deliver programs, services and access to quality oral health care. She has committed much of her career to dental education and training future generations of dental providers.
      Attending Physician, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
      Residency Program Director, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

      Dr. Qaisi is the residency program director of the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Program at Cook County Health. He completes the “fibula jaw in a day” procedure, making Cook County Health one of only a handful of medical centers around the country able to perform this reconstructive technique. The technique allows patients to have a tumor removed, a new jaw constructed and teeth implanted in the same operation. Dr. Qaisi’s clinical and research interests include the treatment of oral cavity cancers, head & neck benign and malignant pathology, salivary gland tumors, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and microvascular free flap reconstruction (harvesting a patient’s own tissue for reconstruction). Dr. Qaisi serves on the executive council of the Illinois Society of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

      System Chair, Pediatrics

      Dr. Akintorin is the Chair of Pediatrics for Cook County Health. Dr. Akintorin has clinical expertise in the care of critically ill and premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her areas of expertise include premature infants, uterine drug exposed babies, delayed cord clamping and necrotizing entercolitis. Dr. Akintorin has worked throughout the Cook County Health system holding many professional appointments. She has earned numerous awards for excellence in teaching. Dr. Akintorin has various publications and research presentations and is involved with multicenter trials. She has served on global medical missions providing health care to children in need, and continues to dedicate her work to improving the lives of children and their families.

      Inpatient Director and Residency Program Director, Pediatrics
      Dr. Rosibell Arica Diaz serves as the Inpatient Director and Resident Program Director of Pediatrics for Cook County Health. Dr. Arcia Diaz began her career with Cook County Health as a pediatric resident working her way to chief resident, and then became an attending physician at the health system where she continues to care for our smallest patients. She currently serves on several departmental and hospital committees, and is very involved in the health system’s pediatric residency program to train future physicians in providing high-quality care to children. Dr. Arcia Diaz has clinical appointments at three medical schools including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush Medical College, and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. She is dedicated to health equity for all of Cook County Health’s patients and their families.
      Co-lead, Cook County Department of Public Health

      Dr. Kiran Joshi serves as co-lead for the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). For the past six years, he was the senior medical officer at CCDPH and worked as an attending physician within the department of family medicine at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital at Cook County Health. Since joining CCDPH, Dr. Joshi has been responsible for supervising the development of WePlan 2020, the community health assessment and improvement plan for suburban Cook County, advancing health equity as an agency and community health priority, and co-developing the agency’s response to the opioid overdose epidemic. Dr. Joshi is also an assistant professor of clinical family medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He is committed to advancing health equity in suburban Cook County.

      Co-lead & Senior Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

      Dr. Rachel Rubin serves as co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH). For more than 33 years, Dr. Rubin has held various leadership positions within Cook County Health.  Prior to this role, Dr. Rubin served as senior medical officer at CCDPH. She also was a primary care internist with the Cook County Ambulatory and Community Health Network and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. Dr. Rubin is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. She is committed to reducing health inequities and supporting strong community collaborations to improving the health status of all residents of the county.

      Department Chair, Trauma & Burn
      Dr. Bokhari is the chair of Stroger Hospital’s trauma & burn unit, the first comprehensive trauma unit in the country. He specializes in abdominal closures and massive transfusions for critically injured patients. Because of the unit’s high standard of care and the volume of patients, the trauma unit was the second hospital in the country to train Navy surgeons to treat combat injuries. Dr. Bokhari seeks out ways to aid hospitals in other countries.

      Division Chair, Burn Surgery
      Dr. Poulakidas is the chair of the burn surgery department at Stroger Hospital. He has played a critical role in growing the unit to national prominence and earning recognition by the American Burn Association as a certified burn center. In addition to being one of the Midwest’s leading burn surgeons, he has expertise in treating severe non-healing wounds, smoke inhalation and acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Poulakidas is involved in clinical burn research involving frostbite treatment, seeking to lower the frequency of amputation and enhance tissue preservation.

      Division Chair, Urology
      Dr. Courtney Hollowell is the chair of urology at Cook County Health, overseeing urological services, including trauma, reconstructive surgery and cancer. Dr. Hollowell has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is nationally recognized as an expert in men’s health issues. Dr. Hollowell is the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished John D. Silbar Award from the North Central Section of the American Urologic Association in surgical innovation and the National Cancer Institute Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award.

      Retina Fellowship

      There are two retina fellowship programs at Cook County that exist in conjunction with a private retina practice. 
      To learn more, click here.
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