Staff Directory

CHeSS Executive Director

Ellen Cohen, MPP

Ellen Cohen, MPP

Executive Director

cohen@uchicago.edu | (773) 834-7449
Ellen Cohen oversees day-to-day operations at CHeSS and serves as Executive Director of the MyCHOICE program. She is the former Dean of Students at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, where she collaborated with faculty on interdisciplinary curriculum development, training programs, research, and applied learning opportunities for students. She also worked with external groups to create forums where researchers, practitioners, and students apply evidence-based analysis to policy problems across domains. Before joining the Harris School, Ellen held administrative positions at DePaul University, the Art Institute of Chicago, Brandeis University, and Brown University. She holds a Master’s degree from the Harris School and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University.

Grants and Administration

Angelique Johnson

Angelique Johnson

Director of Grants Administration

ajohnso3@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 702-5066
Angelique Johnson brings several years of grant and contract management experience in pre-award and contract development work at the Center. Angelique received her bachelor’s degree in Biology/Pre-Med from Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black college and university.

Valerie Burgest, MA

Valerie Burgest, MA

Pre-Award Grants and Contracts Coordinator

vburge@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 834-1690
Valerie Burgest is part of the pre-award and contract development team. She has more than 20 years of experience working in community health and grants management, and she holds a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology with a concentration in health administration.

Diane Daviera

Diane Daviera

Post-Award and Operations Manager

ddaviera@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 834-5302
Diane Daviera administers grants once they have been awarded. This includes tracking and reporting expenditures, creating budgets, and coordinating with project managers, principal investigators, and university administrators. With more than 18 years of financial and administrative experience, Diane comes to CHeSS from the University of Chicago Department of Medicine, where she served as a Post-Award Administrator. She has also worked as a financial administrator for the Sections of General Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Prior to her time at the University of Chicago, Diane earned a secretarial and accounting diploma from Sawyer College of Business in Hammond, Indiana.

Linda Gates

Linda Gates

Administrative Specialist

lgates@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 834-1267 
Linda Gates provides administrative support to the CHeSS staff to ensure efficient operation of the Center. She brings over 20 years of administrative and accounting experience to CHeSS. Linda joined the staff in the Spring of 2018. 

Methods Core Research

Andrea Flores, MA

Andrea Flores, MA

Director of Methods Core

aflores@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 702-7905
Andrea Flores, Methods Core Director, has over 15 years of experience in the area of health services research and analytics. Ms. Flores holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harris School at UChicago and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chile. Over the course of her career, Andrea has developed and deepened her skills working on a variety of research roles; from programmer and research analyst to projects, data and teams’ lead. She has experience working with a broad range of health data sources and can provide assistance and guidance with data collection, research administration, project management and data analysis. Previous to her current position, Andrea had a leading role in data collection and processing for the Hospitalist Project and Comprehensive Care Physician Program led by Dr. David Meltzer. Her personal interests include program evaluation, study design and research methods, and data linkages.

Rachel Baccile, MPP

Rachel Baccile, MPP

Senior Research Analyst

rbaccile@bsd.uchicago.edu
Rachel Baccile is a Senior Research Analyst and provides analytic support for the Methods Core, the Section of Hospital Medicine, and the Institute for Translational Medicine. She is skilled in using large relational datasets in statistical analysis and can consult on research methods and models. Before joining CHeSS, Rachel worked at the University of Chicago Health Lab, where she focused on randomized controlled trials testing interventions for mental health and substance use disorders among the formerly incarcerated. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan Ford School and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Vermont.

Thomas Best, PhD

Thomas Best, PhD

Manager of Research Analytics

tbest3@bsd.uchicago.edu
Thomas Best supports research, analytics and quality improvement for the Methods Core and the Section of Hospital Medicine as a consultant on special projects. He has over 10 years of experience with research, analytics and quality improvement within CHeSS, the University of Chicago Medicine and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. During this time, he has gained expertise with data transformation and statistical analysis in Python, R, Stata, and other programming languages, optimization method design and implementation, process/system simulation software such as Arena and NetLogo, and project/program management or quality improvement support for section and organization initiatives. He holds a PhD in Operations Management from the Booth School and a Master’s of Industrial Engineering (with an emphasis on Health Systems) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Cursio, PhD

John Cursio, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

jcursio@health.bsd.uchicago.edu
John Cursio is a Research Assistant Professor from the Biostatistics Laboratory in the Department of Public Health Sciences. He has over 25 years of experience analyzing data in government, industry, and academic hospital settings. His past projects include analysis of clinical trial data in women and minority health populations, quality measurement of stroke care, and pain management of elderly patients. Currently, John develops longitudinal mixed-effects models for the Comprehensive Care Program. He holds a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has expertise in missing data techniques for intensive longitudinal data.

Max Hyman, BA

Max Hyman, BA

Research Analyst

mhyman@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu
Max Hyman is the newest addition to the CHeSS Methods Core. He is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in data science. He also completed the prerequisites for medical school as he is interested in pursuing a career as a physician scientist. His previous experiences include two summers of clinical research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, a summer data science internship at Agentis Energy, and a senior honors thesis about Delta Air Lines’ decision to not sell the middle seat during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has published both in medicine and economics journals, and he is proficient or familiar with R, STATA, SAS, Python, and SQL.

Jacob Jameson, BA

Jacob Jameson, BA

Research Assistant

t.hss.jacobjameson@bsd.uchicago.edu
Jacob Jameson is a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science and Harris School of Public Policy. He provides data and programming support on several projects in collaboration with researchers at CHeSS. Through his work at CHeSS and the University, Jacob has developed strong programming skills in R, Stata, Python, SQL, and SAS. He is interested in computational modeling and constrained optimization of healthcare operations. Before joining CHeSS, Jacob was a middle school mathematics teacher and mathematics curriculum consultant for several large charter school networks. He also assists with the Summer Program in Outcomes Research Training (SPORT).

Jackie Soo, ScD

Jackie Soo, ScD

Senior Research Analyst

jsoo@bsd.uchicago.edu
Jackie Soo has expertise in epidemiological research methods, longitudinal data analysis, study design and implementation, and survey design. She has worked with a variety of data sources, including data from administrative claims, randomized controlled trials, large scale surveys, and hospital admissions. Prior to joining CHeSS, she worked in program evaluation at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds an ScD in social epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Hui Zhang, PhD

Hui Zhang, PhD

Senior Research Analyst

hzhang4@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu 
Hui Zhang is a Senior Research Analyst and provides analytical, data, modeling, and programming support to the researchers within CHeSS and the Section of Hospital Medicine. Her research focuses on using model-driven and data-driven methods including multiscale decision theory, game theory, operations research and computer simulation to address healthcare challenges related to payment and incentive design, clinical decision-making, chronic disease management, and hospital operations management. Before joining CHeSS, Hui has worked in the management consulting industry with a focus on healthcare delivery innovation and has also worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago. She holds a PhD in Industrial & Systems Engineering and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

Oral Health

Kopal Mathur, MA

Kopal Mathur, MA

Program Director, Program in Oral Health

kopalmathur@uchicago.edu | (773) 702-9515
Kopal Mathur is a Program Director for the Program in Oral Health at CHeSS. She provides strategic dental insights into the development and implementation of various oral health projects. Prior to her role in CHeSS, she served as a dental practitioner providing treatment and care to patients with complex oral health conditions in various hospitals. She has led research programs for urban health projects in the United Kingdom and has also developed and implemented National Health programs with the Government of India to improve access and availability of healthcare services. Her research interests include oral health, health workforce, aging, and health education. She has earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Manchester (United Kingdom). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from India.

Daisy Nguyen, RDH, MS

Daisy Nguyen, RDH, MS

Dental Hygienist, Program in Oral Health

daisy2@bsd.uchicago.edu
Daisy Nguyen is a Dental Hygienist for the Program in Oral Health at CHeSS. She provides preventive, therapeutic, and educational hygiene services to patients at The University of Chicago Dental Research Study Clinic. Prior to joining CHeSS, she collaborated with an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington on several mixed-methods studies investigating equity of access to oral health care services and social and behavioral factors that influence oral health. Daisy holds a Master of Science in Dental Public Health from the The University of Iowa.

Training and Communications

Kelsey Bogue, MA

Kelsey Bogue, MA

Director of Training Programs & Communications

kbogue@bsd.uchicago.edu | (773) 702-4401
Kelsey Bogue provides administrative direction to and day-to-day management of CHeSS’ portfolio of training programs and grants. She also oversees the Center’s communications, including the website, e-newsletter, and social media.  She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration with a concentration in health administration and policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Absera Melaku, MA, MPH

Absera Melaku, MA, MPH

Assistant Director of Training and Communications

amelaku@bsd.uchicago.edu
Absera Melaku is a public health practitioner with a specialized focus in health equity and social justice, adolescent health and youth development, and community-based public health programming, implementation, and evaluation. As Assistant Director of Training Programs and Communications, she supports the administration and management of CHeSS’ portfolio of training programs and grants. Prior to joining CHeSS, Absera served as Program Manager for the University of Chicago Center for Global Health and as Research and Grants Manager for the Institute for Policy Research Two-Generation Education Research Initiative at Northwestern University. Absera received her Master of Medical Anthropology and Master of Public Health from Case Western Reserve University.