• BIRCWH Associate, Lisa Tussing-Humphreys (Co-PI), was recently awarded an R01 from the National Cancer Institute for her project, Diet Modulation of Bacterial Sulfur and Bile Acid Metabolism and Colon Cancer Risk. Congrats, Lisa!
  • BIRCWH Mentor, Geri Donenberg (PI), recently received grant funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) FOA, Capacity Building Initiative for Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Services for At-Risk Racial/Ethnic Minority Youth and Young AdultsFaith Fletcher, current BIRCWH Scholar, is also a Co-I on the project. The program aims to expand the capacity of the UIC Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP) within the School of Public Health to deliver preventive services to young African-American women living in Chicago.  Congratulations Geri and Faith!
  • BIRCWH Associate, Yamile Molina (PI), was recently awarded a K01 from the National Cancer Institute for her project, Empowering Latinas to Obtain Breast Cancer Screenings. Congrats, Yami!
  •  BIRCWH Scholar, Faith Fletcher, was recently featured on the School of Public Health (SPH) website for “Getting to Know UIC SPH Researchers!” She discusses her career path, research interests and inspirations, current projects, collaborations, and advice for new researchers. Check it out here.

Aerika Wedding


Congrats to BIRCWH Scholar, Aerika Brittian, who got married on August 7, 16!


  • The Fordham University Center for Ethics Education featured BIRCWH Scholar, Faith Fletcher, and her recent AIDS Patient Care and STDs publication, “She Told Them, Oh That Bitch Got AIDS”: Experiences of Multi-Level HIV/AIDS- Related Stigma among African American Women Living with HIV/AIDS in the South,” on their website, Ethics and Society. See the article here.
  • BIRCWH Scholar, Faith Fletcher, was invited to present for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) Annual Meeting RACE Affinity Group in Washington, DC, this October. The presentation title is “Improving the Provision of Reproductive and Sexual Health Services for HIV-Positive Women: A Social Justice Imperative.” Congrats Faith!
  • Applying as Co-Principal Investigators, Current Scholar, Faith Fletcher, PhD, MA, and Former Scholar, Sadia Haider, MD, MPH, along with BIRCWH Mentor, Nadine Peacock, PhD (Co-Investigator) were awarded a Society of Family Planning Interdisciplinary Innovation Grant Award for their project, “Improving the Provision of Reproductive and Sexual Health Services to Women living with and affected by HIV in the Midwest: A Community-Academic Partnership.” Congrats Faith, Sadia, and Nadine!
  • Former UIC BIRCWH Scholars, Bethany Everett, PhD, and Sadia Haider, MD, MPH, in collaboration with University of Wisconsin BIRCWH Scholar Jenny Higgins, PhD, MPH, were also awarded a Society of Family Planning Interdisciplinary Innovation Grant Award for their project, “Understanding Family Planning Disparities Among Sexual Minority Women: A Critical First Step for Improving Contraceptive Care.” Congrats Bethany and Sadia!
  • BIRCWH Associate, Judy Schlaeger, was a recipient of an OVCR Campus Research Board Award for her proposal, “Characteristics of Vulvodynia Pain: A Nationwide On-line Survey Pilot Study.” The number of awards that OVCR was able to make this year was severely restricted, so a very special congratulations to Judy!
  • BIRCWH Scholar, Aerika Brittian, participated in UIC’s 2016 Research Training and Career Development Program as an invited speaker to discuss research related to the effects of racial stress and comorbid health issues. This program is an 8-week summer research experience offered by the UIC Center for Clinical and Translational Science, College of Medicine, School of Public Health, and College of Dentistry to medical students. Nice job, Aerika!
  • Kirstie Danielson, former BIRCWH Scholar, was selected as Departmental Rising Star within the Division of Transplant Surgery in the College of Medicine! This award is given to junior faculty members who are nominated by department heads for having demonstrated strong potential to be a future leader in his or her field.  Congrats, Kirstie on this achievement!
  • Faith Fletcher, current BIRCWH Scholar, had her manuscript, “ “She Told Them, Oh That Bitch Got AIDS”: Experiences of Multi-Level HIV/AIDS- Related Stigma among African American Women Living with HIV/AIDS in the South,” accepted for publication in AIDS Patient Care and STDsCongrats, Faith!
  • Faith Fletcher, current BIRCWH Scholar, also had her abstract, “Perceptions of barriers and benefits to adolescent pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) utilization and clinical trial participation: a study of African American Mothers and their Daughters,” accepted for a poster presentation at the International AIDS Conference (July 18-22, Durban, South Africa).  Congratulations!
  • Kristine Molina, current BIRCWH Scholar, won first place at the scholars’ poster session of the NHLBI’s Annual Meeting for the Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) for her research,  “It Weigh(t)s On You: Everyday Discrimination and Obesity among Latina/os.” Congrats, Kristine!
  • Robin Mermelstein, BIRCWH mentor, was selected as a LAS Distinguished Professor.  The award was established in 2006 to commend exceptional faculty for their contributions to the LAS and UIC communities, as well as for their significant and sustained intellectual scholarship in their chosen fields. Congratulations!
  • Michelle Kominiarek, former BIRCWH scholar, had her manuscript entitled, “Preventing Maternal Morbidity from Obstetric Hemorrhage: Implications of a Provider Training Initiative,” accepted for publication in the American Journal of Perinatology. Congrats, Michelle!
  • Yamile Molina, BIRCWH Cancer Center Associate, was awarded a 2016-2017 Policy and Social Engagement Fellowship from the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP). Congrats, Yamile!
  • BIRCWH Women’s Health Research Associate, Terry Moore, had one of his lab’s publications, “Stapled Peptides with γ-Methylated Hydrocarbon Chains for the Estrogen Receptor/Coactivator Interaction,” accepted as a “Hot Paper” in Angewandte Chemie, one of chemistry’s highest impact journals (IF = 11.3). The article was also featured on the inside cover. See the journal and article here! Congrats Terry!
  • Yamile Molina, BIRCWH Cancer Center Associate, was also awarded a fellowship for a R25 focused on social network analysis in health. The fellowship includes a week-long training at the Duke Network Analysis Center in Social Network Analysis.
  • BIRCWH Scholar, Faith Fletcher, was recently awarded two UIC SPH Global Health Seed Funding Competition grants, one for her submission as Principal Investigator, “Ethical Issues in research on HIV/AIDS among Men who have sex with men in Kisumu, Kenya,” and another for her submission as Co-Investigator (PI: Anna Hotton), “Adaptation of an HIV/STI Prevention Intervention for 11-13 year old African American Girls and their Female Caregivers”. Congrats Faith!
  • Former BIRCWH Co-Director and current BIRCWH Mentor and Advisory Board member, Tonda Hughes, PhD, RN, FAAN, was announcedTonda_Hughes8_jly201_web as a UIC University Scholar, an honor reserved for faculty members who conduct superior research and demonstrate excellence in teaching, and who show promise for future achievement. Dr. Hughes was recognized for her research regarding sexual minority health, notably sexual minority women’s health, and substance abuse. Go here to learn more about Dr. Hughes research and accomplishments. Congratulations!
  • BIRCWH Mentor and Advisory Board member, Luisa DiPietro, DDS, PhD, was also announced as a UIC University Scholar in recognition for her work developing novel therapies that allow for tissue regeneration following an injury. Dr. DiPietro serves as Director and Founder of UIC’s Center for Wound Repair and Regeneration. For more information on Dr. DiPietro’s work, go here. Congratulations!
  • Former BIRCWH Scholar and current Advisory Board member, Julienne Rutherford, PhD, presented her work on variation within the intrauterine environment and consequences across the lifecourse as well as her research exploring sexual assault and harassment in the sciences within a unique BIRCWH Seminar Talk, “Supportive Environments for Female Development in the Womb and in the Academy: A Tale of Two Research Programs” on March 9. Thanks to Dr. Rutherford for presenting such an engaging seminar on behalf of BIRCWH!
  • BIRCWH Scholar Kristine Molina’s co-authored manuscript, “Health Issues in Hispanic/Latino Youth,” was recently published by the Journal of Latina/o Psychology. Click here to access the manuscript.
  • BIRCWH Mentor, Geri Donenberg, PhD, Professor in Medicine and Public Health, was announced as a 2015 Distinguished Researcher of the Year in the Clinical Sciences by UIC’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. The award recognizes the efforts and commitment of individuals who are advancing knowledge in their area of research and scholarship. Dr. Donenberg received the award due to her innovative HIV-related intervention and prevention programs for adolescents both nationally and internationally, and for her commitment to underserved and underrepresented populations. Congratulations!
  • Former Scholar, Michelle Kominiarek, welcomed a baby boy, Luke Wilmer Hollinger, on January 12 at 7:57am. Although Luke was a little ahead of schedule, he weighed in at 8lbs 7oz.  Luke and the entire family are doing well. Congratulations!
  • Congratulations to BIRCWH Scholar Nuriya Robinson who got married on July 25, 2015 in Memphis, TN.  UIC BIRCWH Principal Investigator, Stacie Geller, and fellow BIRCWH Scholar, Sadia Haider, were also able to join the wedding festivities.
  • BIRCWH Scholar, Kristine Molina, was selected as one the 2015 Association for Psychological Science’s (APS) Rising Stars. The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for continued contributions. Congrats Kristine!
  • Kirstie Danielson_BIRCWH PhotoFormer Scholar, Kirstie Danielson, received an American Diabetes Association’s Innovative Clinical or Translational Science Award for her grant submission, “Islets, Bone, and Sex Hormones: Advancing Human Islet Transplant for Type 1 Diabetes.” The award goes to researchers working to test innovative hypotheses or to accelerate the translation of scientific findings to clinical practice. Congrats Kirstie!

The UIC BIRCWH program is pleased to announce the acceptance of two new BIRCWH Scholars and a Cancer Center Associate. Drs. Aerika Brittian, Laura Sanchez, and Yamile Molina will be joining the BIRCWH program starting January 1, 2016.  Go to the Current Scholars page to see detailed bios on these new scholars. Welcome to BIRCWH, Aerika, Laura, and Yamile!

  • 9/4/09 - Alan Schwartz, medical education 976 CME, 996-2070, Teaching Excellence Award 2009BIRCWH Mentor and Advisory Board member, Alan Schwartz, PhD, recently published a book on how physicians frequently prescribe the wrong treatment for their patients by not paying attention to important clues during medical visits. The book, Listening for What Matters: Avoiding Contextual Errors in Health Care, was written with Dr. Saul J. Weiner, MD, and published by Oxford University Press. For additional information, see the book overview and description here.
  • Nuria FIGO 2015BIRCWH Scholar, Nuriya Robinson, presented the work she conducted with Stacie Geller on intrauterine device access in Ghana at the 2015 International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) World Conference in Vancouver.  The title of her presentation was “Progress in Increasing Awareness and Availability of the Intrauterine Device in Bonsaaso, Ghana”. See a photo of Nuriya presenting to the right.
  • Former BIRCWH Scholar Kirstie Danielson’s article “Enumerating b-Cells in Whole Human Islets: Sex Differences and Associations With Clinical Outcomes After Islet Transplantation” has been accepted for publication in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal. See the article ahead of print at the journal’s website.
  • Former BIRCWH Scholar, Bethany Everett, and current BIRCWH Scholar, Faith Fletcher, were recent recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Awards (8/1/15-7/31/17). The purpose of the Health Disparities Research LRP award is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals to research careers that focus on minority health and/or other health disparity issues. For more information about LRP awards, go to the LRP website.
  • BIRCWH Scholar, Sadia Haider, was also a recent recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program (LRP) Award (8/1/15-7/31/17). The purpose of the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals as contraception and/or infertility investigators. For more information about LRP awards, go to the LRP website.
  • BIRCWH Scholar Kristine Molina’s manuscript was recently published by Annals of Behavioral Medicine: Molina, K.M., Jackson, B., & Rivera-Olmedo, N. (2015). Discrimination, racial/ethnic identity, and substance use among Latina/os: Are they gendered? Annals of Behavioral Medicine. [Published online ahead of print]. Access the article here!


  • BIRCWH Scholar Faith Fletcher has been invited to serve on the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Ethics Code Task Force (ECTF) (2015-2016).  A goal of the task force is to revise the current APHA ethics code to align with new and emerging public health ethical challenges.
  • BIRCWH Scholar Faith Fletcher was a recent recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Disparities Research Loan Repayment Program Renewal Award (8/01/2015-7/01/2017).
  • BIRCWH Scholar Faith Fletcher was also invited to be a guest speaker on women, HIV, and ethics at Michigan State University’s Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences Spring 2016 Brown Bag Series.


  • Congratulations for former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford who got married (see above picture) on July 18th, 2015.
  • Congratulations to former BIRCWH scholar Bethany Everett (see below picture) who got married on July 11th, 2015.


  • BIRCWH scholar Kristine Molina is the 2015 recipient of the Award for Excellence by a New Investigator from the National Hispanic Science Network. The award is presented to a new investigator for outstanding research and/or publication in the field of Hispanic drug abuse.
  • Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford won the Best Midwifery Teaching award from the American College of Nurse Midwives (nominated from UIC students). Congratulations!
  • Congratulations to BIRCWH associate Judy Schlaeger who won the Best Research Oral Presentation of the Year award from the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • BIRCWH scholar Nuriya Robinson’s abstract “Progress in increasing awareness and availability of the Intrauterine Device in Bonsaaso, Ghana” has been accepted as an oral presentation at FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) 2015 World Congress which will be held in Vancouver, BC in October 2015.
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher has been invited to guest lecture for Justice and Global Medicine Course through the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL June 22. The title of her presentation is “Ethical Issues Related to Women Living with HIV/AIDS”
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher has been invited to present in the RACE Affinity group for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) 2015 Annual Meeting in October. Title of the presentation is “Perceptions of Barriers and Benefits to Adolescent Participation in Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Clinical Trials among African American Women and Their Adolescent Daughters: For Our Daughters Study”
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher has also been invited to present in the RACE Affinity group for the American Society for Bioethics and Co-Presenter for paper entitled “Identity Complexities: Unpacking Concordance in the Medical Workforce” for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) 2015 Annual Meeting in October.
  • BIRCWH associate Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, PhD, MS, RD, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine has been selector for the Dannon Institute’s 2015 Academic Early Career Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute, supported by the Dannon Corporation, is a “boot camp” that will be held June 11-16, 2015 in Queenstown, MD. Only 20 participants are selected annually from an international pool of applicants. The program is designed to equip outstanding nutritional scientists at an early stage in their career with the leadership skills and broad perspective necessary to achieve their personal potential.
  • Congratulations to former BIRCWH scholar Michelle Kominiarek who won the Departmental (Obstetrics & Gynecology) Rising Star award at UIC’s College of Medicine 2015 Faculty Awards ceremony.
  • BIRCWH scholar Kristine Molina was selected as a Scholar for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s one-week Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI), focused on increasing the number of minority investigators engaged in health disparities/health equity research and funded through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).
  • BIRCWH scholar Kristine Molina was also selected as a Scholar for the University of California-San Francisco’s two-week Summer Institute on Research in Implementation Science for Equity (RISE) Program as part of the Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE), a national research and training initiative funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
  • Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford’s SAFE study was featured in a Nature article about sexual harassment and assault in the science and Julienne gives the closing quote. Updates on the SAFE study can be found searching #safe13 on Twitter.
  • The UIC BIRCWH program, in partnership with the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender /National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and other local groups, sponsors the 2nd Annual Women’s Health Research Day to promote research and advance understanding of new developments in women’s health.  Please click here for more information!
  • The President of the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) sent an email to their entire membership about the sexual harassment initiatives that were inspired by the SAFE study written by former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford and colleagues:

Here is an excerpt from the email:

“…SAA initiated three actions. First, The Board of Directors directed the Ethics Committee to consider sexual harassment of all kinds in the current revisions to the SAA ethics principles. This review is underway. Second, the Board of Directors passed a motion requiring organizations sponsoring SAA fieldschool scholarships to have written policies and procedures relating the sexual harassment. All such scholarships now have these stipulations. Third, as a sponsoring organization, SAA requested that the Register of Professional Archaeologists issue a statement regarding a RPA’s obligations with regards to eliminating sexual harassment in archaeological settings. I am pleased to announce that the Register has completed its statement, which is included below. The President and Board will keep you posted as the Ethics Committee works on this, and other matters come to fruition later this year.”

  • BIRCWH associate Terry Moore was named Teacher of the Semester by the College of Pharmacy PharmD Class of 2018.
  • Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford’s Cusp Conference presentation about the placenta and developmental origins of adult health is available to watch at the above link.
  • BIRCWH associate Terry Moore, Geof Greene (U of C), and Jonna Frasor (UIC COM) were awarded a Catalyst grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium for their proposal, “A Photoaffinity-based Protein Profiling Approach to Discover Estrogen Receptor/Coactivator Inhibitors.”
  • BIRCWH associate Kristine Molina received a 2014-2015 UIC Office for Social Science Research Seed Grant for her project, “Discrimination, Psychological Mechanisms, and Obesity among Latinos: Testing a Risk and Resilience Model.”
  • Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford’s SAFE study was ranked #38 in Altmetric’s Top 100 list of papers that received the most online attention.  It is the only paper from UIC in the list, and 1 of 3 in the entire University of Illinois system.
  • BIRCWH associate Laura Hirshfield was chosen as the 2016 Chicago Area Study Faculty Investigator for her research proposal “Does Cultural Competence Really Impact Minority Patient Satisfaction and Care?”  The Chicago Area Study (CAS) is a biennial study that collects social science data on issues of importance to the Chicago metropolitan area funded by various UIC departments and programs while providing hands-on training in survey methods to UIC graduate students.
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher has a new grant that has been funded–

Principal Investigator: Faith Fletcher, PhD, MA; Co- Investigator: Alicia Matthews, PhD

Targeted Smoking Cessation Intervention for Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Chicago Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR) and Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)

  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher was honored at the Faculty Awards Reception on October 22nd and recognized by the School of Public Health for the following external awards: Kaiser Permanente Burch Minority Leadership Award and Fellow, and Fordham HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow.
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher has received a full scholarship to attend Institute for Health Care Improvement Conference on Quality Improvement in Health Care which is occurring December 7-10 in Orlando, Florida.
  • BIRCWH scholar Faith Fletcher had a manuscript (co-author) published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs: “A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Barriers to Postpartum Retention in Care among Low-Income, HIV-Infected Women”.
  • BIRCWH associate Laura Hirshfield’s paper “’She’s not good with crying’: the effects of gender expectations on graduate students’ assessment of their principal investigators” was published in the most recent issue of Gender and Education. Copies available upon request.
  • BIRCWH associate Kristine Molina received a Foundation for Child Development grant entitled “The effects of discrimination on social, academic, and mental health outcomes of Puerto Rican children: An inter-generational and multi-wave study”.
  • Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford will be presenting this week at the annual Cusp Conference, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The theme of the conference is “The Design of Everything” and she will be discussing the womb to womb nature of development and health.