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Each month, the Dean’s Office recognizes and celebrates the achievements of our students, faculty, and staff with this summary.

Yvette Castañeda, PhD, MPH, MBA, assistant professor of foundational sciences and humanities and community engagement core lead for the Michael Reese Foundation Center for Health Equity Research, was first author on an article titled “Developing and Implementing Racial Health Equity Plans in Four Large US Cities: A Qualitative Study,” published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. Eric Mettetal, CMS ’24, and Maureen Benjamins, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at CMS and senior research fellow at the Sinai Urban Health Institute, were co-authors on the publication.

Dr. Yvette Castañeda

Eric MettetalDr. Maureen Benjamins

Dr. Raul Gazmuri

Raúl J. Gazmuri, MD, PhD, FCCM, professor of medicine and physiology and biophysics and director of the Resuscitation Institute, received the Asmund S. Leardal Memorial Lecture Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). This award, sponsored by the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine, commemorates Asmund S. Laerdal, creator of the Resusci Anne model used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation training procedures. Dr. Gazmuri was chosen for this honor because of his involvement in critical care research with a particular focus on resuscitation research. As part of this award, Dr. Gazmuri was asked to give a lecture at the SCCM Critical Care Congress on January 23, held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sana Hamdan

Sana Hamdan, CMS ’25, was chosen as the National Programming Chair for the American Muslim Medical Student Association (AMMSA). She also serves as a Chicago Co-Regional Director. In her role as National Programming Chair, Sana organized and led the AMMSA National Conference this past November in New York City. Over 500 Muslim medical students attended the three-day conference, which featured 13 renowned Muslim physician speakers and 120+ poster presentations from 240+ applicants. AMMSA is the only Muslim medical student organization, and it serves over 2,000 Muslim medical students across the country throughout the academic year, providing resources dedicated toward professional development, spiritual growth, and community building.

Dr. Eugene Saltzberg

Eugene Saltzberg, MD ’72, associate professor of emergency medicine, co-authored a journal article titled “An Ethical Analysis of the Arguments For and Against COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Healthcare Workers,” published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Salzberg and the other co-authors explored arguments both for and against these mandatory vaccine requirements, coming to the conclusion that vaccine mandates for health care workers are ethically just and appropriate, and that the benefit to society far outweighs the minor inconvenience to an individual’s personal liberties.

Jennifer VuJennifer Vu, CMS ‘24, co-authored a review to a special issue for Seminars in Hematology titled “Vaccines in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.” This review discussed the immune dysfunction and need for infection prophylaxis in CLL patients, vaccine responsiveness, disease and treatment-related factors contributing to blunted vaccine response, as well as optimal immunization strategies for CLL patients.

Dr. Justin WhalleyJustin Whalley, PhD, assistant professor of foundational sciences and humanities, Center for Cancer Cell Biology, Immunology, and Infection, recently contributed to a groundbreaking study published in Nature Communications. The paper, titled “Single Cell Spatial Analysis Reveals Inflammatory Foci of Immature Neutrophil and CD8 T Cells in COVID-19 Lungs,” offers novel insights into the dynamics of immune cell interactions in the lungs of patients with severe COVID-19.