Media Guide

Looking for a resource for a story?
Browse through our expert physicians below. To request an interview with one of our experts, please contact our media team.

Interim Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Erik Mikaitis was appointed as the Interim Chief Executive Officer for Cook County Health in November 2023 by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Dr. Mikaitis provides executive leadership to advance the health system’s strategic imperatives and ensure the provision of high-quality care and services, in collaboration with CCH’s medical and business leaders.

Since joining CCH as Chief Quality Officer in 2022, Dr. Mikaitis has served as a champion of quality and compliance, implementing evidence-based processes to improve the delivery of care across the system. He implemented numerous quality initiatives to improve patient outcomes across CCH, including a new multifaceted strategy deployment system that resulted in significant improvement in the system’s sepsis prevention and treatment. Dr. Mikaitis enhanced the system’s quality and safety dashboard and deployed a regulatory readiness program. In this role, he also provided guidance for utilization management, coding and documentation, and hospital throughput.

Dr. Mikaitis previously served as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Franciscan Health Crown Point, where, among other duties, he led the development of safety protocols and processes during the COVID-19 pandemic and developed a new dashboard for communicating quality improvements to the board. Prior to assuming that role, Dr. Mikaitis served as Medical Director of the Franciscan Health Accountable Care Organization in the northern Indiana and south suburban Chicago regions.

A board-certified Internal Medicine Physician, Dr. Mikaitis earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Business Administration from DePaul University, and a medical degree from Ross University.

Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer

Shannon Andrews joined Cook County Health in May 2021 as its inaugural Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. In this role, Ms. Andrews is focused on identifying the root causes and operational functions that contribute to inequalities and building on the hospital’s dedication to the communities it serves to ensure increased change by advocating for racial diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization. She is also working with the health system’s leadership team to develop and implement programs that enhance diversity and demonstrate proven results creating a positive care environment for patients and a positive work environment for employees.

Prior to joining Cook County Health, Ms. Andrews spent almost a decade serving as the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Chicago and Cook County.

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.

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.

Associate Chair, Family & Community Medicine

Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal is an authority family and community medicine with a focus on reaching underserved populations. Dr. Rajagopal is a family medicine physician who sees patients of all ages.

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.

Senior Director for HIV Services, Interim Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases, 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.

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.

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.
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.
Chief Operating Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is the Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health. He previously served as the Executive Director for the National Association of County and City Health Officials which represents the nation’s 3,000 local health departments. Prior to that, Dr. Hasbrouck was the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Dr. Hasbrouck has been on the frontline of disease outbreaks, including swine flu, MERS, Ebola, and Zika virus, in the US and abroad. He spent twelve years as a senior medical officer and “disease detective” at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where he was actively engaged in two of the largest global health initiatives in history: the World Health Organization’s polio eradication program and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Senior Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

Dr. Kiran Joshi is a 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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he served as the Department’s Co-Lead. 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.

Senior Medical Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

For more than 33 years, Dr. Rachel Rubin has held various leadership positions within Cook County Health, including medical co-lead during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

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.

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.

Media Contacts

Alexandra Normington,
Associate Chief Communications & Marketing Officer

(312) 864-0950
Email

Kate Hedlin,
Senior Communications Manager

(312) 864-0938
Email

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Protocol for Members of the Media

At Cook County Health, it is important to protect our patients’ privacy and safety at all times.
To ensure this is achieved, we require members of the media to follow our protocol below. This includes interviewing, photographing, videotaping, requesting hospital information and updates on a patient’s condition.
  • Interviews and photo shoots must be scheduled in advance with our Communications Team for all patients, staff and providers.
  • When you arrive at one of our Cook County Health locations, you will be greeted by a member of our Communications Team either near the main entrance or another agreed upon location. For the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, please meet near the Emergency Department entrance. A Communications Team member will escort you to the designated location and remain with at all times during your visit.
  • A consent form must be signed before a patient can be interviewed or photographed.
  • If the presence of media seems as though it will interfere with the care of the patient at any time, the Communications Team may ask you to leave.
We appreciate your cooperation to respect the privacy and safety of our patients at Cook County Health.

FOIA

The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) is a state law that provides all persons with access to public records.
It is the general policy of the Cook County Health that all persons are entitled to full and complete copies of, or the right to inspect, the public records in the health system’s possession or under its control, within the parameters of the law. 
Further information on the Freedom of Information Act can be found at Illinois Compiled Statutes at 5 ILCS 140/1. 
Request for Public Records 
All FOIA requests for public records must be in writing and must include the name, mailing address or other contact information of the requester, and a description of the public records requested. 
For Records of the Cook County Department of Public Health, please contact: 
FOIA Officer
Cook County Department of Public Health
Administration Building
15900 S. Cicero Avenue
Oak Forest, IL 60452 
For all other requests, please contact: 
Cook County Health – General Counsel 
Attention: FOIA request
1950 W. Polk St 
Chicago, IL 60612
foia@cookcountyhhs.org 
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Cook County Health may charge fees according to the following schedule to reimburse its actual cost for reproducing and certifying, where applicable, public records and for the use, by any person, of the equipment of the Health System to copy records. No fees shall be charged for the first 50 pages of black and white, letter or legal-size copies. Cook County Health may provide information on diskette, cd, or electronic form, and the cost shall be the actual cost incurred by the health system. Fees for reproducing records in any form not listed herein shall be based on the actual cost incurred by the Cook County Health. Additional fees may be charged as provided by law. 

Where it is anticipated that fees to the requester will exceed $25, the requester shall be notified of the amount of the anticipated fee. The requester shall be extended the opportunity to modify the request. 

Where the anticipated fee exceeds $25, an advance deposit of either 25% of the anticipated fee or $25, whichever is greater, may be required before the material will be reproduced. Where a requester previously failed to pay a fee, an advance deposit of the full amount may be required before the material will be reproduced. When required, if the advance deposit is not received within 30 days following notice of the advance deposit due, the request will be deemed to have been withdrawn. 

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