News

Growing AllianceChicago Team

09/30/2019

Please help us welcome our newest AllianceChicago team members – Tina Aggarwal, Azalia Garcia, Laura Morales, Dr. Jodi Simon, and Linda Zayed.

Ms. Tina Aggarwal joined AllianceChicago last month as a Clinical Informaticist. She will serve as a member of the Informatics team and a bridge between the needs of AllianceChicago and its User Community. She is transitioning from Loyola University Medical Center where she worked as a Registered Nurse in the Ambulatory Surgery Center for over 5 years. Alongside her traditional nursing duties, she worked closely with the EPIC EMR Optimization team where she assisted with new technology application implementations, trained staff members, and worked with end-users to improve clinical staff workflow issues to improve efficiency and patient outcomes. Through her frontline nursing experiences as well as understanding of efficient clinical workflow, she brings a wealth of information to this position. Her interest in bettering patient care through the integration of health information technology led her to pursue graduate studies in the field of health informatics. Ms. Aggarwal is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (M.S. Health Informatics and B.S. Nursing).

Ms. Azalia Garcia joined AllianceChicago this month as a Community Health Worker/Health Coach for the research team supporting the new PCORI grant titled Tipping Points. Ms. Garcia will actively work to recruit and consent study participants at Erie Family Health Centers. She will work closely with study participants in setting healthy lifestyle goals, behavioral contracts, and engage in collaborative problem solving with patients. She has experience working in the health care field as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a long-term care facility, as well as working in the transplant and hepatology unit in a hospital as a Patient Care Tech. Healthcare is Ms. Garcia’s passion, which is why she is currently studying Nursing at Malcom X College. Ms. Garcia enjoys working closely with patients and their families and she is always eager to learn new ways to help and serve the patient population.

Ms. Laura Morales joined AllianceChicago last month as Project Manager of Innovation. Ms. Morales manages projects geared towards enhancing care delivery and optimizing HIT tools at the Innovation Center at Albany Park (ICAP)- a progressive community health center of Heartland Health Centers. In addition to working as a project manager, Ms. Morales is also the Clinic Manager at ICAP and oversees day to day operations. Passionate about team development and leadership, Ms. Morales believes bringing meaning to frontline teams can influence the quality of care received by patients. Prior to AllianceChicago and Heartland Health Centers, Ms. Morales worked in value-based health care at Oak Street Health as a Senior Practice Manager, and in the social service sector at Heartland Alliance as a department coordinator. During her free time, Ms. Morales enjoys exploring the eatery scene in Chicago and going on long walks with her dog, Rufio. She holds a Master of Arts in Social Work Policy and Administration from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Jodi Simon joined AllianceChicago this month as a Research Scientist. In this role Dr. Simon works with participating health centers and external stakeholders to conduct patient outcomes and health services research. She brings over 18 years of experience as an independent consultant conducting health services research primarily focused on drivers of  adoption of health information technology (HIT) and the use of HIT to support chronic disease care. Prior to consulting, she worked for Kaiser Permanente developing disease management and other population health programs and also worked for various HIT companies. Dr. Simon received her Master of Science in Health Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health and her Doctorate of Public Health from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Ms. Linda Zayed joined AllianceChicago this month as a Community Health Worker/Health Coach for the research team supporting the new PCORI grant titled Tipping Points. She will be working at Friend Health Center to recruit patients with comorbidities who would be eligible for the study. The study aims to decrease emergency room visits and disability while improving psychosocial elements that may adversely affect patients with chronic diseases. As a health coach she will help patients set life goals and improve upon their self-management, which should thus reduce their hospital room visits. Ms. Zayed has several years of experience in working in non-profits where she got the opportunity to work with many diverse communities. Part of her experience was in conducting research, specifically community health assessment, in order to obtain data for the Arab American population as they are considered “White” according to the census. Her experience also includes several years of peer and health education (specifically sexual and reproductive health), domestic violence education and advocacy, cultural competency education and trainings, and public speaking. In furthering her education, she hopes to gain more experience within the research study Tipping Points, specifically focusing on how social determinants of health can affect a population’s health status (e.g. the comorbidity population in reducing their emergency room visits and disability). Ms. Zayed obtained her MPH in Health Education/Promotion and Epidemiology at Benedictine University and is currently completing her PhD in Public Health-Community Health Research at Walden University.