MEET THE TEAM
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10
Two are better than one...If either one of them falls down, one can help the other up.
Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program, Student Coordinator
I AM ABEL FOUNDATION, Executive Administrative Assistant
Born and raised in Holly Springs, MS, Magnolia Oliver studied Secretarial
Science at Rust College. After moving to Aurora, IL, Magnolia studied Business Administration at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. Magnolia has been an Executive Assistant for more than 10-years where being highly organized, detail-oriented and a strong collaborator and office manager has allowed her to perform successfully for executives in the profit and non-profit sectors. The Lord inspired Magnolia to organize and serve as the Chairperson for the Main Baptist Church Little Sister/Big Sister Conference which focuses on mentoring young girls.
Since 1989, Magnolia has fulfilled her call to global mission by serving as a Missionary in several African countries including Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria. Also, to Moldova, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
She has also served with Uncommon Woman Ministry, Inc. (UWM, Inc.) and Singles Pleasing the Lord and Saving People’s Lives Ministries (SPL).
Essentially, Magnolia is the center piece of the foundation and keeps students, their parents and mentors well connected and informed. The foundation looks forward too many wonderful years together with Magnolia as our unofficial “Mentoring Mom.”
Magnolia seeks to be a blessing to everyone she meets. She uses her personal talents through creating “Fresh Touch” floral arrangements and her talent for creating wonderful baked goods to provide encouragement and comfort to others.
IKE S. OKWUOSA, MD
Urban Bridges Mentoring Program
Director, "Heart Smart" Introduction to Physical Exam Curriculum
We are pleased to welcome I AM ABEL FOUNDATION Physician Mentor, Dr. Ike S. Okwuosa, MD to our leadership team! Dr. Okwuosa is a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, where he specializes in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. He received his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine. His internship and residency were both completed at Northwestern University. He went on to The Johns Hopkins Hospital where he completed his general cardiology and advanced heart failure/cardiac transplant fellowships.
He is a member of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), and the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Dr. Okwuosa’s clinical research interests are in heart failure, cardiac sarcoidosis, and cardiac amyloidosis. He has published works examining the impact of depression in cardiovascular disease and disparities in cardiovascular disease.
Practice philosophy: “I believe that the patient and doctor are a team. As the physician, my role is to identify the goals of my patients and to deliver the best care possible and I look forward to working closely with my patients and their families in achieving their set goals.”
DR RENE ROBERTS, MD
Executive Producer and Host, Medicine Makers
I Am Abel Foundation is pleased to welcome Dr Rene Roberts who will join the team of Medicine Makers beginning Season 3 as its Executive Producer and one of the main hosts. She is a natural in front of and behind the camera and will surely bring an infusion of energy, fun and lively conversation to inspire our future physicians as well as our listening audience.
Dr. Rene´ Roberts, aka Dr Rene´, MD, is a board-certified Family Medicine physician, speaker and former competitive figure skater. Since 2016 she has been a physician mentor with the I Am Abel Foundation and enjoys working with high school, college and post-baccalaureate students pursuing their dreams of becoming a medical doctor. She has recently joined the foundation as a board member as well.
After her competitive figure skating career concluded, Dr. Rene began to pursue her passion for medicine full time. She completed her medical degree at Indiana University School of Medicine and her residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago. When she is not caring for her own patients, you will probably find Dr. Rene traveling the globe serving on medical missions including trips to Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Africa, and Moldova. In her free time Dr. Rene enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and staying active by running, figure skating recreationally and walking her dog.
PAMELA MEADOWS, MEd
Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program,
Pre-Med Student Advisor
Pamela A. Meadows, MEd serves as the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Retention for the College of Education. With 30 years in higher education administration, she has expertise in academic advising and career development from various educational institutions, including the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. Prior to this role, Pamela held the multiple positions in the University of Illinois College of Medicine Urban Health Program office (COM-UHP), advising premedical and medical students. Pamela received her BA from Grinnell College, and her MEd from UIC College of Education.
Advising Philosophy, Style | “Straight No Chaser”
In the realm of advising and counseling students, my methods involve compassion, empathy, and personal support. I guide advisees towards greater self-awareness of themselves as life-long learners, so they may pursue their aspirations with confidence. My goal is to have students not only see but claim their greatness within that I see in them. Advisees have described my advising style as “real, raw, and encouraging.” I will tell students #facts and frame that information for advisees to navigate through their journey successfully. I believe strongly in developing students to be accountable, enlightened, empowered individuals, doing the “good hard work” to achieve their goals. Let’s GO!
AUDREY L. TANKSLEY, MD
Director, Physical Exam and Diagnoses Course, Saturday Morning Professor
Board Member and Physician Mentor
Dr. Audrey L. Tanksley was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in the Fernwood community. She attended Chicago Public Schools and upon graduation, continued her education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Biological-Sciences. Following this she attended Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL and completed a Doctorate in Medicine. Dr. Tanksley returned to the Chicagoland area to complete her Internal Medicine residency training at UIC/ Advocate Christ Medical Center where she served as chief resident.
She is dual board certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. She served as Medical Director of Heartland Alliance Health providing homeless healthcare and participating in the violence prevention program READI Chicago. In 2019, Dr. Tanksley became the Regional Medical Director of Near/Far South Region of Access Community Health Network overseeing six health centers, which during Covid included one mass vaccination site and one mass testing site. She is the current CMO of Integrated Health at Friend Health/HRDI.
She is the current President of Cook County Physicians Association, a local society of the National Medical Association. Dr. Tanksley serves on the Board of the I Am Abel Foundation. She serves as a mentor for the I Am Abel Foundation for students interested in careers in medicine and educates the masses on the interface of poverty, violence, and disease. Physical Exam and Diagnosis is a course that serves as an introduction to clinical medicine. In this course students will gain the knowledge and skills essential for performing a medical history and physical examination. The course builds upon the first-year curriculum of History taking to add the skills of critical thinking and the fundamentals of head-to-toe examination to develop a differential diagnosis with beginners’ intro to pathophysiology.
BIJAL JAIN, MD
Co-Lead and Training Faculty, INTEGRATED POCUS Program
Dr. Jain is a Clinician Educator and Hospitalist based at JBVAMC in Chicago, IL and an Assistant Professor within the Division of Hospital Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (NUFSM). She is the VA Internal Medicine Resident Site Director for Northwestern FSM and University of Illinois, College of Medicine. Aside from her clinical responsibilities, Dr Jain is passionate about teaching, advocacy and equity work, and Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS). She is a member of the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators (FAME) and
enrolled in FAME’s teaching certificate program. Dr. Jain is heavily involved in healthcare advocacy and equity work as an active member of the Jesse Brown for Black Lives (JB4BL) Clinical Committee and co-chair of JB4BL Clinical Algorithms Committee.
She has also been a faculty volunteer for the I Am Abel Foundation for past two years, serving as a preceptor in the Summer Clinical Immersion Program (SCIP) and leading a POCUS workshop at organization’s Annual Citywide Conference. In 2021, Dr Jain developed the INTEGRATED POCUS program, a 15-month longitudinal, workplace-based POCUS training curriculum for hospitalist faculty at JBVAMC, and currently serves as program co-director. Dr. Jain and Dr. Wachsberg have received a grant from the ABIM foundation to implement a POCUS program for I Am Abel students enrolled in the Saturday Morning Professor Lecture Series who have completed the History Taking and Physical Exam series. The goal of the POCUS rotation is to introduce students to the fundamentals of Cardiac and Lung POCUS by utilizing this emerging technology to reinforce foundational anatomical and physiological concepts as well as introduce how this tool can be integrated in the clinical context through case-based learning. With this unique experience, we also hope to foster confidence and trust in I Am Abel students and support them in their pursuit of a career in medicine. Dr. Jain will serve as project co-lead with Dr. Wachsberg and as core POCUS training faculty.
JOHN PANDOLFINO, MD
GI Track Courses, Saturday Morning Professor Series
Dr. Pandolfino is the Hans Popper Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology andHepatology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. His career has focused primarily on studying the biomechanics of bolus transport and gastrointestinal motility as it pertains to gastroesophageal reflux and swallowing disorders. He currently is funded by the NIH to study GERD and Dysphagia pathogenesis and also receives funding from industry focused on the development of new technologies to investigate and treat gastrointestinal disorders.
He maintains a strong clinical practice in the Northwestern Medicine Esophageal
Center. He is active in multiple professional organizations and serves on multiple editorial boards. Dr Boutte and Dr Pandolfino started the GI track for Saturday morning Professor’s advanced and continuing students in 2019. The 6-month track is offered once each year and is taught by Northwestern’s finest GI professionals. Students are exposed to endoscopy and all sorts of hands-on GI procedures and is definitely one of the students’ favorites!
KELLY WACHSBERG, MD
Mentor, Jesse Brown Summer Clinical Immersion Program
Director, Saturday Morning Professor Series
Dr. Kelley Wachsberg is a Clinician Educator and Hospitalist at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (JBVAMC) and an Assistant Professor within the Division of Hospital Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She serves as the Associate Clerkship Director for the Northwestern internal medicine clerkship, a site director for the third-year VA internal medicine rotation and directs the Chief Resident in Quality and Safety (CRQS) Program at JBVAMC. She is heavily involved in healthcare advocacy and equity work. At Jesse Brown,
Dr. Wachsberg works is an active member of the Jesse Brown for Black Lives (JB4BL) Clinical Committee and co-chairs the JB4BL Substance Use Disorder Committee. She has been an I Am Abel volunteer faculty member since 2021, serving as a 1:1 longitudinal mentor to I Am Abel mentees, a faculty facilitator and mentor for the Jesse Brown Summer Clinical Immersion Program (SCIP) and helps provide support for special projects to the DEAL fellows at Jesse Brown. Most recently, Dr. Wachsberg began co-directing the Saturday Morning Professor Intro to History Taking Curriculum with Dr. Conway, helping first-year I Am Abel students learn to gather a complete patient history over the course of the year, while also introducing students to various case-based learning topics.
RISHI AGRAWAL, MD
Urban Bridges Medical Mentoring Program, Advisor
Rishi Agrawal, MD, MPH is a Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he teaches both public health and medical students about health systems and maternal and child health.
Clinically, he is a pediatric hospitalist at La Rabida Children's Hospital on Chicago's
south side, with a focus on children with medical complexity and disabilities. He teaches 1st year Introductory I Am Abel Students about epidemiology, biostatistics, and reviewing scientific literature. He mentors them on the creation of a poster presentation. He also teaches advanced students in a Pediatric module, which includes topics such as preventive pediatrics, growth and nutrition, respiratory
conditions, infectious diseases, children with disabilities, and other topics.
Thanks to collaboration with Dr. Valerie Cohran at Lurie Children's, students get their education on a variety of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology topics as well.
NICOLE E. THOMAS, MPH, CT (ASCP)
Coordinator, Speakers for Saturday Morning Professor Training
Nicole E. Thomas is the director of the Pathology and Laboratory Quality Center for Evidence-Based Guidelines at the College of American Pathologists (CAP) where she provides strategic leadership and oversight of the guideline department. She received her Bachelor’s in Biology from Kentucky State University and completed her cytotechnology training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. A Chicago native, she worked as a cytotechnologist while completing her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and joined the CAP in 2009.
Nicole has led more than seven expert panels and several medical professional societies through the process of developing evidence-based guidelines to advance the specialty of pathology and laboratory medicine. Additionally, Nicole is the manager of CAP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Nicole has partnered with I Am Abel to help coordinate all of the speakers that our students attending the third Saturday Morning Professor Training. They will be hearing from speakers about how they chose pathology and going over pathology cases.
REVITA PROWELL, MBA
Board Member, Director of Admissions, IT Specialist
Revita Prowell grew up in the south and moved to Chicago in 1997 and recently relocated to Dallas. She obtained her MBA in Management at Robert Morris University in Chicago. She has been working in Accounting and Financial Planning for over 30 years.
She uses her knowledge to help others with finances or group event budgeting. However, she’s always had a strong passion for volunteering, working with youth and planning travel for groups. She is currently utilizing this passion as a Marketing Representative who helps like-minded individuals create multiple streams of income to achieve financial, personal and time freedom. All while working from anywhere in the world while traveling. She serves on the Board and as the Director of Admissions, and IT Specialist for the I Am Abel Foundation.