Community Advisors | Illinois Prevention Research Center | University of Illinois at Chicago

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Illinois PRC Committee Advisory Committee members who attended the February 2016 meeting. Back row, from the left: Melanie Moore, Elissa Bassler, Michael Lange (committee chair), Jaime Dircksen. Front row, from the left: Malik Nevels, Melody Geraci, Rebecca Weinberg, Nicole Llorens, Jameika Sampson.

The Illinois PRC has established several formal groups to play key roles in guiding our relationships with communities, supporting our mission, and overseeing our progress.

The Community Advisory Committee advises the PRC on all community engagement and interaction.

The Community Advisory Committee, which represents Illinois PRC’s diverse stakeholders, collaborates with our investigators to inform, implement, and evaluate statewide research, technical assistance to communities, and training objectives of the Illinois PRC. The committee also ensures that community members and organizations are fully engaged as partners and collaborators. This committee develops partnership principles to guide committee interactions along with a detailed communications plan that includes semi-annual meetings, regular email communications, and meetings by telephone.

This committee is involved in the Illinois PRC’s strategic planning, including that related to the development of priority research areas, emphasis on community partners’ capacity needs for applied research and evaluation, technical assistance, training, dissemination or translation of evidence for non-scientists, assisting with developing community-appropriate dissemination strategies, and providing important links to communities and partners statewide.

The following people comprise the Illinois PRC’s Community Advisory Committee:

Michael Lange — Committee Chair Project Manager

Chicago Park District

Elissa Bassler
Chief Executive Officer
Illinois Public Health Institute

Adam Becker
Executive Director
Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children

Amanda Benitez
Community & Economic Development Department Manager
Enlace Chicago

Bill Dart
Deputy Director
Illinois Department of Public Health

Jaime Dircksen Managing Deputy Commissioner

Chicago Department of Public Health

Natasha Dunn Community Activist

Hasan Playlot Park Advisory Council

Melody Geraci
Deputy Director
Active Transportation Alliance

Shamar Hemphill
Director of Youth and Organizing
Inner-City Muslim Action Network

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Illinois Public Health Association

Gina Massuda Barnett
Director, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Cook County Department of Public Health

Melanie Moore
Director of Policy
Friends of the Parks

Malik S. Nevels
Executive Director
Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention

Jameika Sampson Director of Community Benefit Integration

Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, Trinity Health System

Maria Stone
Community Relations Manager
Chicago Park District

Jamie Tully
Project Manager, Healthy CPS
Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Rebecca Weinberg
Community Activist
Baby Wranglers of East Rogers Park

The Core Community Committee works closely with the core research project team led by Dr. Sandy Slater.

The Core Community Committee is a sub-committee of the Community Advisory Committee that provides detailed input on the Illinois PRC core research project. This community-based participatory research project evaluates Chicago park renovations as well as develops and tests an intervention for building community coalitions for park projects. Learn more about this committee.

The Advisory Board provides feedback on overall direction of the Illinois PRC.

Illinois PRC consults our Advisory Board semiannually for guidance on our mission, direction, activities and evaluation. Board members provide expertise in multidisciplinary research, communications, community organizing and community-based participatory research.

The members of the Illinois PRC Advisory Board are:

Michael Lange — Board Co-Chair Project Manager

Chicago Park District

Geri R. Donenberg, PhD — Board Co-Chair Professor of Psychiatry, UIC College of Medicine Associate Dean for Research, UIC School of Public Health

Director, Community Outreach Intervention Projects

Cynthia Barnes-Boyd, PhD, FAAN Director, Community Engagement & Neighborhood Health Partnerships

UI Health

Michael Berbaum, PhD Director, Methodology Research Core

Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP)

Frank Chaloupka, PhD Distinguished Professor of Economics

Director, IHRP’s Health Policy Center

Linda Forst, MD, MPH, MS Director and Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

UIC School of Public Health

Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, PhD Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Community Health

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robin Mermelstein, PhD Professor of Psychology Research Professor of Community Health Sciences

Director, IHRP

Sharon Parmet, MA
Associate Director, UIC News Bureau

Learn more about the Illinois PRC’s mission.