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Contributing Faculty

Hope Bilyk

Professor Bilyk is a Registered Dietitian and a three-year participant in the RUSH/Harvard University MIND study. She became more and more interested in the positive effects of a plant-based diet on the aging brain and the microbiome. The more she learned, the more apparent it became that numerous parts of the Lifestyle Medicine approach, such as plant-based diet, stress reduction, sleep and physical activity were also involved in keeping your brains' cognitive functioning at a higher level.

Melissa Bernstein

Dr. Bernstein is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed Dietitian, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and a Diplomat of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She received her doctoral degree from the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA.  As Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (North Chicago, Illinois), she is passionate about educating healthcare professionals about nutrition.   Her interests include nutrition for a healthy lifestyle and promoting wellness at every stage of life. Dr. Bernstein is the coauthor of the Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Food and Nutrition for Older Adults: Promoting Health and Wellness. In addition to co-authoring 5 leading nutrition textbooks, she has contributed, authored, and reviewed textbook chapters and peer-reviewed journal publications and participates on numerous advisory and review boards.

Ziemowit Mazur

Dr. Mazur is a Physician Assistant (PA) and teaches in the PA Program. His application of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic interventions goes back over two decades, pre-dating his time as a practicing PA. He is a nationally certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, and worked at numerous fitness, wellness, and rehabilitation clinics. 

As a family and internal medicine PA, one of Dr. Mazur’s clinical jobs at a medical weight loss clinic focused on helping patients apply behavior change techniques to prevent and address chronic diseases including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. Dr. Mazur’s service at RFUMS includes co-chairing HealthyU! Wellness Council, a university-wide health promotion and wellness initiative, and serving as a faculty advisor to the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Student Group (LMIG).

In 2019, he was a co-recipient on the Taste of Lifestyle Medicine grant from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), with funds channeled to support LMIG programming. He is a co-director of the new Lifestyle Medicine for Healthcare Professionals elective course at RFUMS. The innovative course design and outcomes were disseminated at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Summit (NEXUS) and ACLM Annual Conference in 2020. The findings related to his PhD dissertation work entitled “Evaluation of Lifestyle Healthcare Curriculum to Attain Interprofessional Competencies: A Mixed Methods Study” will be presented at the upcoming NEXUS Summit in September 2021.

Kristin Schneider

Dr. Schneider is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, the College of Health Profession’s Associate Dean of Research, and a licensed clinical psychologist.  She obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in health psychology and associated methods from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass), and then spent three years as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine at UMass. While at UMass, she completed their Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, which was founded by Jon Kabat Zinn.

As a clinical health psychologist, lifestyle/behavioral medicine permeates her research, clinical practice, and teaching. Her research interests include novel interventions to increase physical activity, especially in patients who struggle with becoming more active such as those with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and depression. She also has an interest in using technology and online social networks to promote health behavior change. As an attending behavioral health faculty at the Interprofessional Community Clinic, She supervises students who conduct health behavior change consults and individual psychotherapy. She supports students in using evidence-informed interventions to change behavior and improve mental health in their patients. In addition to serving as an instructor for the Lifestyle Medicine course, she teaches a health psychology course that focuses on understanding the interrelationships between physical and mental health and intervening appropriately. Despite her focus on individual behavior, she recognizes the larger system and environmental factors that influence health behaviors and attempts to incorporate these higher-level factors into her work.

She is passionate about physical activity and exercise outside of work, and enjoys running, volleyball, paddle boarding and yoga. Her personal relationships and being outside and in nature bring me joy and keep me balanced.

Judy Potashkin

Judy Potashkin graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA in 1977.  She earned her MS degree in Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Pennsylvania State University in 1979 and went on to earn a PhD in Molecular Biology from Roswell Park Memorial Institute (Buffalo, NY) in 1985.  Following postdoctoral work at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, she joined the faculty of the Chicago Medical School in 1990 in the Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology discipline. Dr. Potashkin is currently a tenured Professor and CMS Assistant Dean of Faculty Appointments CMS Assistant Dean of Faculty Appointments & Recognition, Faculty Affairs & Equity. Individuals who have prediabetes or diabetes are at high risk for neurodegenerative diseases. The focus of our research is to identify dysregulated pathways that lead to Parkinson’s disease and dementia (mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and frontotemporal and vascular dementia) that are shared with individuals that have type II diabetes using bioinformatic approaches.  From these studies, we have identified potential biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease and dementia that may be useful for clinical studies designed to identify nutrients and diets that may be beneficial for patients. The studies also revealed that a nutrient-rich Mediterranean diet would be helpful for patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Melissa Chen

Dr. Melissa Chen is a physician with training as an internist and is keenly interested in upstream health care: Acknowledging the social determinants and disparities that fundamentally affect patient health, and advocating for lifestyle modifications that can affect health more than many Western medicines/interventions. Her personal interests include meditation, yoga, knitting, kayaking, and biking.

The following is Dr. Chen’s educational and experiential background: 

  • Co-Course Director and creator, Lifestyle Medicine for Healthcare Professionals (interprofessional elective)
  • Clinical Director of the Interprofessional Community Clinic, RFU’s student-led pro bono clinic
  • 10 years’ experience as a clinician for the underserved at HealthReach, Lake County’s only free clinic
  • Associate Professor, CMS Clinical Sciences.  Course Director, P2H2 Health Equity content; Schema case preceptor; ECR preceptor
  • Faculty Scholar, Northwestern Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
  • AFMCP (Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice) graduate, Institute of Functional Medicine
  • Course Director and creator, Stories of Health Disparities (M4 online elective)

Sarah Haag

Dr. Sarah Haag is a licensed Physical Therapist with a board-certification in Women’s Health. Dr. Haag graduated from Marquette University with her Master of Physical Therapy and went on to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Women’s Health from Rosalind Franklin University. Since she has joined the faculty at Rosalind Franklin University, she has been involved in the Interprofessional Community Clinic and Healthy U! Wellness Council. Dr. Haag has a passion for helping people address the root cause of their physical limitations. Addressing pain and other functional limitations has always been a part of physical therapy practice, but incorporating concepts of Lifestyle Medicine into my physical therapy practice has helped my patients move beyond a return to their prior level of function, and helped them improve their overall health.