Our team is comprised of dedicated professionals who are committed to the patients they serve. Our coordinators, nurses, doctors, scientists and research personnel come from diverse backgrounds in both clinical and non-clinical fields.


YasminArroyo | Office Coordinator

As the Office Coordinator, I am responsible for coordinating office administrative operations and providing general office support. Prior to working at the BCC, I worked for the Institute for Minority Health Research and in the Academic Internal Medicine Department. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration and I am delighted to be part of such a hard-working and determined team.

NinaBracken | Clinical and Research Program Manager

I am  the Clinical and Research Program Manager for the Breathe Chicago Center© and the Population Health Sciences Program and am thrilled to be able to work with such a dynamic and forward thinking group.  I am an Advanced Practice Nurse and am responsible for study protocol preparation, start-up, and oversight.  I provide clinical consult for our coordinators, physical examinations and clinical oversight for our participants.  I am passionate about the innovative research we conduct here at the BCC and PHSP, and am dedicated to providing education to our patients to empower them to better manage their condition.

MichaelBradford | Administrative Assistant

I am the Administrative Assistant to Dr. Krishnan. I have been employed at UIC since 2007, first as a coordinator of clinical and research programs at the Institute for Juvenile Research, then as a program coordinator in the Institute for Health Research and Policy for the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. Before coming to UIC I was in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years. I am proud to be part of this dynamic and important research team.

JenniferBuenrostro | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center and Population Health Sciences Program for the CHICAGO Plan study, a PCORI funded multi-site research program for pediatric asthma. I am passionate about educating and contributing to the well-being of our community.

ValentinPrieto-Centurion | Pulmonary Fellow

I am a Pulmonary Fellow at UIC studying methods to promote physical activity in patients with COPD. I was involved in the writing and development of the PArTNER and PELICAN PCORI-funded projects, and am the Principal Investigator for the miPACE project which aims to test gait patterns and promote activity in patients with COPD. I also see patients recently discharged from the hospital in the Recovering Obstructive Lung Disease (ROLD) Clinic at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

LauraChavez | Grants and Contracts Manager

I am the Grants and Contracts Manager for the Breathe Chicago Center©. I have over 15 years of experience in pre-award administration and 10 years of experience managing financial compliance and post-award administration for sponsored programs in accordance with federal regulations, contractual terms and other sponsor requirements.

I am responsible for overseeing financial and business activities of the Breathe Chicago Center©, such as budget development, financial analysis and strategy, facilities management, contract negotiations and procurement, compliance with granting organizations and university policies and procedures.

I am delighted and proud to be part of such a dynamic, passionate and committed group.

JanCotton | Patient Research Advocate

I am a Patient Research Advocate at the Breathe Chicago Center. My area of concentration is the PELICAN Study. Since I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), this gives me the added expertise needed to reach out to others needing help with this disease. I firmly believe that patients should have the latest information available. I enjoy learning new techniques and how they affect people who are in need of the services offered.  I was an info line associate at the COPD Foundation, am a governing board member of the COPD Patient- Powered Research Network (PPRN), and an advocate for the Respiratory Health Association. I have a Master’s degree in Human Resources.

DavidDe La Torre Dorado | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Breathe Chicago Center and Population Health Sciences Program. My primary role involves following up with our CHICAGO Plan asthma study participants after they are discharged from the Emergency Department. I plan to go to medical school to provide healthcare in my community and to underdeveloped countries.

JulieDelisa | Project Manager

I am a Project Manager with over five years of experience conducting asthma and COPD clinical trials for several large multi-site NIH funded networks. I am an experienced patient educator and am an avid supporter of efforts to engage patients in current research opportunities. I currently serve as Project Manager for the CHICAGO Plan asthma study, a Chicago-wide Emergency Department based study to help prevent frequent asthma exacerbations.

AlexFrye | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator for the CHICAGO Plan and the PELICAN project. My background is in community engagement, youth education, and HIV care. My work at the Breathe Chicago Center is guided by an emphasis on improving patient-centered programming that results in more accessible, affordable and understandable healthcare options along the healthcare continuum.

ChristianGossett | Special Projects Manager

I joined the Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program in March 2016 as a Special Projects Manager.  My primary role involves improving operational efficiency and programmatic optimization.  I am also responsible for tying up the “loose ends” of non-study related issues.  I have a BA in Psychology, Minor in Spanish, Certificate in Public Health Management, and am currently pursuing my MBA degree at the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at UIC.  I am honored to be working with such a talented, motivated, and visionary team!

SaiIllendula | Data Manager

I joined Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program in June 2016.  I am responsible for data management of multiple ongoing research studies, database development and maintenance, and ensuring data quality. I also produce data reports and data visualization for our clinical research projects.

It is always a privilege to be involved in the process of solving problems, especially for a data enthusiast like me. Working with our team keeps me motivated and passionate about helping do my part to answer important research questions through solid data management.

SaraIzquierdo | Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a Research Assistant at the Breathe Chicago Center© and an Undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying Neuroscience and Spanish. I enjoy volunteering in indigenous communities of Latin America, and would like to someday attend medical school and become a Doctor Without Borders.

UzmaKazmi | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with a graduate degree in public health and a doctorate in dentistry. I work mainly within the Population Health Sciences Program and am passionate about preventing avoidable readmissions.

JerryKrishnan | Associate Vice Chancellor, Population Health Sciences | Director, Breathe Chicago Center

I am a Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Director of the Breathe Chicago Center© and Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health Sciences in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health System). I am responsible for developing, testing, and implementing healthcare interventions to improve care, outcomes, and affordability of care for populations served by the UI Health System. I am passionate about conducting comparative effectiveness research and assessing outcomes that are most important to patients and their caregivers.

JohnLinnell | Patient Research Advocate

I serve as a Patient Research Advocate for the PELICAN project at the Breathe Chicago Center. I am also a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosed in 2005. Firmly believing that the patient needs to be an integral part of both treatment and research, I am heavily involved in patient education and advocacy. I find it rewarding to help other patients understand that their COPD is manageable and it is simply a different chapter in their lives. In addition to helping recruit patients for the PELICAN project, I sit on the Executive Board of EFFORTS (a COPD Foundation led program), am a State Captain/Advocate for the COPD Foundation, am the patient representative of the Data Safety Monitoring Board of another clinical research study, and am a voting patient representative for scientific peer review of a Congressionally Directed Medical Review Program.

JuliaLuo | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator for the PACE study at the Breathe Chicago Center©. I assist in the coordination of the PACE physical activity promotion program for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbations. I am also a Graduate student pursuing a Masters of Public Health. My background includes 10+  years working with underserved communities burdened from health disparities. It is one of my life-long missions to fight for health equity and advocate for positive change in healthcare.

ClarissaNajera | Research Assistant

I am Research Assistant at the Breathe Chicago Center and an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago studying Applied Psychology.  After graduation, I plan on attending medical school to become a Pediatrician.

M.Lourdes Norwick | Research Nurse

I am a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in pulmonary are critical care nursing.  I am currently the Research Nurse for the BCC and cover both asthma and COPD trials.  I also serve as clinical resource for the BCC, as well as provide education for study participants and clinical patients on inhaler technique.

MelissaMorales Perez | Clinical Research Coordinator

My involvement with the BCC began with coordinating our Pulmonary Research Registry (PRR). My role has varied from recruiting patients for our trials at the UI Health outpatient care clinics and health fairs, to providing inhaler technique education to patients. While I continue to contribute to the recruitment and education of patients, I am now a Clinical Research Coordinator for our NIH funded studies as well. I enjoy seeing my study participants take an active role in their health and help others breathe better!

HaydeeRamirez | Research Assistant

I am a Research Assistant for the Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program. I am honored to be working with such a talented team and gaining experience in the research and healthcare field. Currently, I am an Undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Applied Health Sciences studying Kinesiology.  After graduation, I plan on going to Physician Assistant school.

JennySculley | Design Strategist

As the Design Strategist for the Breathe Chicago Center©, I am responsible for ensuring that our current and future work is human-centered. That means making sure that we design a positive, seamless experience for our patients, staff and other stakeholders. I joined BCC in June 2015 after getting my Master’s of Design from the IIT Institute of Design, which teaches methods for creating human-centered solutions to complex, ambiguous challenges. I have also worked on a multi-disciplinary team with community members to transform vacant lots into public parks on the west side of Chicago. I am very excited to combine design and stakeholder engagement in support of the BCC’s mission of promoting healthier communities.

Ai-YuiTan | Post Doctoral Research Fellow

I joined the Breathe Chicago Center and Population Health Sciences Program as a Pulmonary Research Fellow in Summer 2016.

I am interested in working in clinical research, with a focus on outcomes and comparative effectiveness.  I grew up in a quiet rural town near the Dutch border in Germany, after medical school and thanks to my wanderlust I moved to New York City where I did my medical residency training in one of the most bustling and culturally diverse neighborhoods in the country.

EmmaVillarreal | Patient Navigator

I am a Patient Navigator for the PArTNER Study in the Population Health Sciences Program.  As a Certified Community Health Worker, I could not be more excited about being part of “the team” in action for our patients in transition from hospital to home.  I am a dedicated community health advocate and take pride in navigating team-based care.  I am studying Public Health at the Core Center, and will be transferring to UIC in the near future to further my knowledge in the determinates of health disparities. I firmly believe that navigating patients within the health system and the community helps to prevent disease for “at risk” communities and is my way of making a positive difference in my community.

Community Events

TheBreathe Chicago C...

Jun 15 2015
The Breathe Chicago Center team attended COPD9 conference to learn more about cutting edge...

Nursesfrom the BCC a...

Apr 29 2015
The Lung Force Expo, put on by the American Lung Association (ALA), was a...

ApostolicChurch of G...

Aug 5 2014
Kerry and Crystal, of the Breathe Chicago Center, attended the annual ACOG event to...