PhD Student Profiles

Lisa Doot Abinoja

Lisa Doot Abinoja

Lisa worked for nine years in both clinical and administrative jobs, primarily working in community-based health centers with maternal child health populations prior to starting as an Assistant Professor at Trinity Christian College in 2014.   Learn More »

Christine Barber

Christine Barber

Christine has experience working in mental health crisis intervention, both over the phone and via text as part of TXT4Life, one of the first programs of its kind in the country. She also has experience working with veterans for mental health therapy and case management as well as helping homeless veterans establish permanent supportive housing.   Learn More »

Doug Barge

Doug Barge

While getting his MSW degree Doug interned for a year at the Social Impact Research group at Heartland Alliance, which inspired him to continue down a research path. The Housing First approach was stressed there. He hopes to use that approach in studying housing models for the seriously mentally ill population.   Learn More »

Jodie Bargeron

Jodie Bargeron

Jodie has worked as a direct service provider, as a support group facilitator, and at the program and policy levels. In 2014, she joined the staff here at JACSW as a mental health research specialist. She enjoys practicing social work as a researcher and plans to study mental health through the lifespan, focusing on mid-life and older age.   Learn More »

Koldo (Luis) Fernandez Barutell

Koldo (Luis) Fernandez Barutell

Koldo’s professional career includes teaching in the School of SW of Gijon, Spain. In 2014 he joined the Visiting Teachers to the US Program, serving for three years as Parent Facilitator & Community Liaison at Woodstock CUSD 200. His areas of interest are multiculturalism, social history and politics affairs. Koldo loves Chicago and in particular his vibrant neighborhood, Pilsen.   Learn More »

Janae Bonsu

Janae Bonsu

Janae’s research interests lie at the nexus of criminalization, gender, race, and class, which stem from both personal and political experiences. She serves on the board of directors of nonprofit organizations dedicated to transforming access to social services (mRelief), and working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street Accountability (Action Center on Race & the Economy).   Learn More »

Helene Brou

Helene Brou

Helene has experience in grief counseling skills at a hospice, and has worked with individuals living with HIV from the LGBTQ community, experiencing both mental health and substance abuse problems, and living below the poverty level. In the PhD program at Jane Addams, she hopes to increase her knowledge of people living with HIV and to learn programs that will improve their lives from the social work perspective. Her areas of interest include HIV, the Social Determinants of Health, and Intersectionality.   Learn More »

Lauren Cox

Lauren Cox

Lauren currently works at UIC’s Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR), where she supervises and educates multidisciplinary students, including master’s level social workers, who are learning evidence-based treatments for trauma and anxiety disorders with youth. Her research interests include trauma and anxiety disorders, social media use in childhood and adolescence, and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments of trauma and anxiety disorders with underserved youth.   Learn More »

Cheryl Dimonte

Cheryl Dimonte

Throughout her education, Cheryl worked with various community groups to fight for access to mental health services in rural areas, healthy supermarkets in food deserts, and tools to address vacant housing in low income neighborhoods. After graduation, her passion for macro level social work led to an 8-year career in various roles as a public servant for Columbus City Council in Ohio. Her research interests include policy analysis in the areas of housing stability and affordability as well intervention methods to help prevent evictions.   Learn More »

John R. Fallon

John R. Fallon

John’s work experience includes providing supportive housing services to mental health consumers in New Jersey, serving as a health educator to middle and high school students in the Bronx. He also assists the Department of Defense’s suicide prevention policy office. Currently, John oversees the compliance of Head Start grantees to federal regulations, overseeing programs serving the needs of low-income families in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.   Learn More »

Dana Franceschini

Dana Franceschini

Dana is currently employed by Aging Care Connections as the Transitional Care Supervisor, overseeing the coordination and implementation of two care models supporting older adults within primary care settings, as well as their transition home from the hospital. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, social work-led transitional care initiatives supporting older adults, and the partnership between community-based organizations and healthcare entities.   Learn More »

Xochitl Guerreo

Xochitl Guerreo

Xochitl is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 17 years of experience in social work. During her MSW program at UIC, she interned at the UIC Institute for Juvenile Research, providing services to children participating in the Pediatric Mood Disorders Clinic. Most recently, Xochitl worked as a clinical social worker with the Cook County Department of Corrections. Xochitl is a proud first generation college graduate and mother of five. She intends to focus her research efforts on the impact of parental incarceration on children.   Learn More »

Kelly Horn

Kelly Horn

Kelly currently works as a family therapist in an outpatient setting, specializing in treating eating disorders. She also runs a group for teenage girls to build self-compassion and distress tolerance skills. She is mainly interested in researching issues related to LGBT and/or gender non-conforming youth and their relationships with family members or care givers.   Learn More »

Amanda Labash

Amanda Labash

Amanda is a practicing psychotherapist (LCSW), and has held positions in inpatient behavioral health, outpatient substance abuse, and general community practice. Her research interests include integrative health approaches for survivors of interpersonal trauma, as well as healthcare disparities.   Learn More »

Shawn Parra

Shawn Parra

Shawn (he/him/his) is a Dominican male, born in the US. He is a firm believer that individuals behave differently depending on their context, and not solely because of their biology. As such, he looks to this PhD to do more than work one-on-one with individuals but also help change oppressive systems themselves. His research and policy interests include mental health and increasing access for marginalized communities, and creating more culturally and linguistically appropriate treatments for the Spanish-speaking community.   Learn More »

Imani Pitman

Imani Pitman

Imani’s prior experience includes working at the local Boys & Girls Club, which led her to pursue her Masters in Social Work and she interned with Voices for Illinois Children. Currently, Imani works as the Program Manager at ChiGivesBack, Inc. Her research interests include economic mobility and racial equity.   Learn More »

Marcelis Posey

Marcelis Posey

Marcelis has extensive practice in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training, Harm Reduction Intervention, Mental Health First Aid, and Motivational Interviewing. He works full time as a Social Worker for the Department of Veteran Affairs while maintaining a part time commitment as a Contingency Planning Officer in the United States Coast Guard. His research interests focus on military veteran transitioning post military service and the emotional impact placed on the veteran while investigating the intersect of the financial impact placed on society.   Learn More »

Andrew Repp

Andrew Repp

Andrew has a broad interest in veterans’ issues, and the PhD program’s coursework has since helped Andrew to refine his research focus. For example, one practical course assignment resulted in original research on veterans’ health care utilization. An abstract for this project was accepted for a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research in Washington, D.C.   Learn More »

Umair Tarbhai

Umair Tarbhai

Umair has worked as a consultant and researcher in many settings including After School Matters, The Kellogg School of Management, The Aga Khan Development Network, and the Human Development and Social Policy department at Northwestern University. Currently he is a Graduate Research Assistant at UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. His research interests include policy analysis, criminal justice reform, policing, and drivers of economic inequality.   Learn More »

Chlece Walker-Neal-Murray

Chlece Walker-Neal-Murray

Chlece is a licensed attorney, and the Executive Director and co-founder of Chicago Advocate Legal, NFP, a not for profit law firm located in Chicago’s Loop focusing on housing, family, DCFS appeals and the Preventive Law Initiative. She also works as a research assistant on child trafficking issues at the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, as well as facilitating a class on Race and Bias, and working as a teaching assistant in the Masters of Jurisprudence program.   Learn More »

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr.

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr., LCSW, CADC

Antonio’s diverse experiences include counseling victims of gun violence, substance abuse counseling and working with perpetrators of domestic violence. He has worked as a counselor at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, Cook County Hospital, Haymarket, Gateway and PCC Community Wellness Center. As a Chicago native, he has spent over a decade working in different capacities to address trauma. As a PhD student, his interests include the impact of vicarious trauma on Black males.   Learn More »

Zixiaojie (Jill) Yang

Zixiaojie (Jill) Yang

Jill’s field of practice has been system-involved juveniles. She has one-year direct practice experience with this population at Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, and one-year research experience in the center of victim studies at Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Research, and Analysis Unit. Her research interests are primarily in issues related to juveniles who have been involved in the Criminal Justice System.   Learn More »

Sheila Yousuf-Abramson

Sheila Yousuf-Abramson

Sheila is an alumnus of Jane Addams and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with 12 years of social service experience in child welfare, maternal health, disabilities, mental health, bereavement, and higher education. She is the Director of Field Education and Adjunct Professor at Dominican University’s School of Social Work. Her research interests include grief support for urban, adolescent youth and preparedness of new social workers entering the field post-grad.   Learn More »

Peipei Zhao

Peipei Zhao

Peipei has worked as a social worker and research assistant in a public health institution in Shenzhen, China for two years, serving on the HIV/STI prevention programs for men who have sex with men (MSM). She also participated in research on LGBTQ services development and evaluation. Her research interests include health disparities, healthcare discrimination, and intimate partner violence among the LGBTQ population in China.   Learn More »

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