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Get to know the team at the Road Home Program

You’ve served your country, now it’s our turn to serve you.

Our Road Home Program team is dedicated to supporting you and your loved ones as you face the challenges of life after deployment. We will provide you with the support and care you deserve without judgment and without an agenda. Collectively, we have helped hundreds of veterans cope with and heal from the invisible wounds of war.

We also know that when you come home from war changed and haunted, your families, friends and significant others are suffering too. Our family programs provide your loved ones with the support and help they need to thrive. We look forward to working with you and your family on your road home.


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Leadership


Mark Pollack, MD

Mark Pollack, MD

Granger Professor and Chairman,
Department of Psychiatry Rush University Medical Center

“We want to make sure that veterans and the families receive the kind of care that they need and have so dearly earned and get connected to resources that they can use to take control of their health, jobs, and social and family lives.”
Mark Pollack is the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Before coming to Rush, he was the director of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital. He co-founded the Home Base Program for Veterans in Boston, which helps veterans and their families adjust to life upon returning home from deployments.

In addition to Pollack’s clinical expertise in treating post-traumatic stress, he also understands the needs of military families firsthand. His brother served in the U.S. military for 25 years, including a stint in Iraq.


William Beiersdorf, MPA

Will Beiersdorf, MPA

Executive Director of the Road Home Program

“Having served in the Navy and Army, I realize the important role people play when they put on that Navy, Army, Marine, Air Force or Coast Guard uniform. They place themselves on the frontline for our freedoms. That sense of sacrifice and service has driven me to be a part of the
community that supports our heroes if they get injured or suffer other challenges from their service to our country. They’ve stepped up for us, now it’s time to step up for them.”
Will Beiersdorf is a Naval Reserve and Illinois Army National Guard veteran. He served in Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. Beiersdorf founded Salute, Inc., a not-for-profit foundation focused on assisting and supporting injured military members and their families. He has been working with the military and veteran community for more than 12 years.

Beiersdorf also has an accounting degree from DePaul University and earned his master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. He has worked in public accounting and health care for more than 20 years.


Niranjan Karnik, MD, PhD

Niranjan Karnik, MD, PhD

Medical Director

“When a veteran returns home, they are not the only ones who have sacrificed. The children and families of veterans are also facing many challenges and need special care. The Road Home Program is unique because we will work with the entire family to support them through the
process of recovery and reintegration.”
Niranjan Karnik is the Cynthia Oudejans Harris Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Section of Population Behavioral Health. He holds appointments in the Department of Community, Systems & Mental Health Nursing, Section of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Rush Addiction Medicine Program (RAMP). Before coming to Rush, he worked at the University of Chicago and the University of California in San Francisco.

Karnik completed his residency and fellowship at Stanford University. He spent a substantial part of his residency working at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California, where he provided care to veterans from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and the first Gulf War.

He has a special expertise in homelessness, substance abuse, PTSD and military sexual trauma.


Patricia Normand, MD

Patricia Normand, MD

Director of Wellness and Integrative Health

“Our goal here at the Road Home Program is to help our veterans and their families rediscover their ability to be healthy and whole, now and into the future. I am grateful for this opportunity to honor their service and say thank you for your sacrifice for our country.”
Patricia Normand is an assistant professor in the departments of Psychiatry, Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. She helps develop the stress reduction component of behavioral lifestyle interventions for chronic diseases through the RUMC Prevention Center. In addition, she teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at Rush as well leading the weekly meditation group at the Rush Meditation Room. She also works with various departments at Rush teaching young physicians how to incorporate mindfulness into their personal and professional life.

Normand completed her psychiatric residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and trained in teaching MBSR at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society where the program was developed.


Alyson Zalta, PhD

Alyson Zalta, PhD

Research Director

“In my work with veterans, I have met some of the most admirable and inspiring people who struggled with PTSD and other emotional problems. These vets had the courage to seek help to overcome their challenges and pursue the life they wanted for themselves and their families. I feel honored that I had the opportunity to give back to those individuals, and I am grateful that I can continue to serve our veterans through the Road Home Program.”
Alyson Zalta is a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Before coming to Rush, Zalta completed her internship at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She has expertise in treating PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

During her time at the VA, Zalta worked with veterans who had experienced a wide variety of traumatic events including childhood sexual and physical trauma, military sexual trauma and deployment/combat related trauma.

In her clinical practice, Zalta has a strong interest in how technology can be used to improve access to treatment and treatment outcome. She earned her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University.


Sheila Dugan, MD

Sheila Dugan, MD

Director of Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health

“As a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor, also known as a physiatrist, I am an expert in diagnosing musculoskeletal and neurological problems, seen through the lens of functional problems. As the daughter of a Navy veteran and through my training at the Chicagoland VA hospitals, I have seen firsthand the acute and chronic impact to the mind, body and spirit resulting from military service for our country. My particular area of focus on pelvic wellness, including the important functioning of the pelvic floor muscles related to bowel, bladder and sexual health, provides our veterans with a comprehensive assessment that can have a profound impact on pain, pelvic floor dysfunctions and quality of life. It is my privilege to work with each and every veteran I meet.”
Sheila Dugan, M.D., is an associate professor in the Rush departments of PM&R, Preventive Medicine and Neurological Surgery. She is the Medical Director of University Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation where she sees patients with pain and functional problems related to neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. She directs the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health. She chairs the Rush Women’s Leadership Council and serves on the ADA Committee and Diversity Leadership Committee.

Sheila has published numerous scientific manuscripts, book chapters and articles, and lectures locally and nationally. Her research interests include pelvic wellness; health equity; the health benefits of physical activity, in particular in underserved populations; and pain, function and visceral fat in women at menopause.

Sheila received her bachelor’s degrees in Biology from the University of Chicago and Physical Therapy from Northwestern University and her MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She did her internship at the University of Chicago in Internal Medicine and her residency at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in PM&R. Prior to coming to Rush she was on faculty at the Harvard Medical School and worked at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital.


Tanya Friese

Tanya Friese MSN, RN, CNL

Director of Continued Education and Lifelong Learning

“The greatest honor I received while serving in the United States Navy was earning the title ‘Doc.’ When the Marines have complete confidence in a Corpsman, they bestow this honor on the individual who cares for them body and soul, night and day. ‘Doc’ signifies their ultimate trust. Now that I am retired, I am honored to serve fellow veterans and their families through the Road Home Program and still answer the call ‘Corpsman, Up.’ I look forward to earning the trust of the veterans we serve here.”
Tanya Friese served as a Hospital Corpsman from 1991 to 1999. She received the Navy Achievement Medal for her work with the Joint Commission at Naval Hospital Corpus Christi in Texas. She also went on to support various missions in the Middle East and Europe.

After service-connected disabilities resulted in her retirement from the Navy,Friese completed a bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s degree in nursing. She is currently working on her doctorate in nursing practice with a focus on system’s leadership.

Friese teaches in the Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing at Rush University College of Nursing and is the nursing education manager for interprofessional continuing education. Her areas of expertise include veterans and their families, individuals with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ.


James A. Young, MD

James A. Young, MD

Chairperson of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rush

“One of our missions at the Road Home is to offer veterans with traumatic brain injuries and their families opportunities to plan their future. We do this by restoring their confidence and providing them with medical treatment and support. I am proud to be a part of this program, and I look forward to continuing Rush’s vision of serving our veterans.”
James Young, MD, is an internationally recognized authority in the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In a unique collaboration between Rush and the Illinois National Guard, Young has participated in trauma and life support training at Rush to prepare and provide medics with hands-on instruction to treat TBI before they encounter the trauma in the field. Rush University and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation have been part of two 10-site National Institutes of Health five-year studies on TBI. These studies are estimated to be the largest such effort to understand the effects of TBI. Young feels these are the most important studies ever done of brain injury and could determine future treatment for the next 10 to 20 years.


Clinicians


Kevin Russell, MA, LCPC

Kevin Russell, MA, LCPC

Clinical Manager Family Program

“I have learned so much from each and every veteran and family member I have worked with over the years. I have been truly inspired by the stories of courage from our returning Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and our Vietnam combat veterans. I feel honored to be trusted with something so personal.”
Kevin Russell is the son of a Korean War veteran and grandson of a WWII veteran. Russell has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University.

Russell has 27 years of experience in the mental health field and is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC). He was the past director of mental health services at Pioneer Center for Human Services located in the northwest suburbs.

For the last three years, Russell has been managing the Veterans and Family Services Resource Center at TLS Veterans. He was also an active member of the McHenry County Suicide Task Force and a board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).


Thad Rydberg, MA, LCPC

Thad Rydberg, MA, LCPC

Clinical Manager Intensive Outpatient Program

“Our country’s service members and families are one of the most valued groups in our society. Their committed duty to our country to keep us safe is immeasurable. I am honored to be part of the community to serve veterans and their families as they transition back to their lives as civilians.”
Thad Rydberg has worked with people affected by war trauma for over 18 years in the USA, Spain, Southern Sudan and Kenya with grassroots and international organizations. He worked with the United Nations – Operations Lifeline Sudan while in Southern Sudan and Kenya. He is trained in several intervention strategies such as Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Harm Reduction Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He has particular interests in cultural reintegration and resiliency.

He is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.


Michael B. Brennan, PsyD, ABPP

Michael B. Brennan, PsyD, ABPP

Associate Clinical Director

“I have chosen to dedicate my career to helping those who have proudly served our country and helped protect our country’s values. I served on active duty, and I will continue to be part of programs that support military personnel, such as the Road Home, until I retire. One of my favorite quotes is from John F. Kennedy who said, ‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ His words help explain my commitment to our veterans.”
Mike Brennan is a board-certified clinical psychologist, and he has experience working within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also a trainer with the 7302nd Medical Training Support Battalion, U.S. Army Reserves in Madison, WI.

Brennan served five years on active duty in the United States Army. He was assigned to San Antonio Military Medical Center, and he became the first psychologist embedded within the 3d Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed to the eastern region of Afghanistan for nine months with the Regiment and was responsible for the mental health care of more than 7,000 military personnel. While stationed at Ft. Hood, he served as a clinician, consultant, teacher and administrator for more than 4,200 soldiers, 50 Commanders and 25 medical personnel.


Kathyrn Kelly Bulla, MSW, LCSW

Kathryn Kelly Bulla, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

“It requires an immense amount of trust to talk to someone about difficult experiences, let alone a complete stranger. Bearing this in mind, I consider it to be a privilege to work with our nation’s Veterans, and make every effort to begin each therapeutic relationship with a genuine foundation.”
Kathryn Kelly Bulla was born into a military family: both grandfathers served in WWII, her uncle was a combat Veteran in Vietnam, her father served as an Army officer for 22 years, and her brother is currently serving as an active duty Air Force officer. Growing up on military bases and moving around the world, she got firsthand experience of the “military life” at a young age.

Kelly earned her BA in Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and then moved to California where she completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Southern California. While living in Los Angeles, Kelly worked with formerly incarcerated homeless Veterans as well as Veterans hospitalized at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. In 2013, Kelly moved to Chicago and began working as a trauma counselor with Veterans who experienced combat and military sexual trauma. She is proud to be a part of the Road Home team and continue serving our nation’s Veterans.


João Busnello, MD, PhD

João Busnello, MD, PhD

Psychiatrist

“It has been an enlightening experience to meet our veterans in a mental health care setting, and witness how efforts such as the ones at the Road Home Program have been breaking through barriers and educating our society about the invisibles wounds of war. I feel fortunate to belong to a group that has been providing the humane care so necessary to deal with the complexity of the issues that can touch our countrymen and women in the military.”
João Busnello is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. He completed his medical studies and residency in psychiatry in his home country of Brazil where he also obtained a PhD in Biochemistry. He moved to the United States for research fellowships at UCLA and the University of Miami, subsequently training in Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He has been with the Road Home Program since its early phases and has found it rewarding to be able to meet and provide care to our veterans.

Johanna Buwalda, MED, MA, LCPC

Johanna Buwalda, MED, MA, LCPC

Family Therapist

“As a society we have the responsibility to support veterans when they are returning into civilian life. I am particularly excited that the Road Home Program understands what it means to love a veteran and is providing services to both veterans and their loved ones.”
Johanna Buwalda has a master’s degree in education in early childhood development, a master’s degree in psychology and is a licensed clinical professional counselor. Buwalda has more than 25 years of experience as a therapist, administrator and trainer working with survivors of war including refugees, torture survivors, development workers and veterans in the United States, as well as those in the Netherlands, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Buwalda has worked and lived in a war zone. She is also raising children with a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. These experiences have made her particularly in tune with how military service and war directly and indirectly affects the lives of all family members.


Jennifer Edidin, PhD

Jennifer Edidin, PhD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist

“The Road Home Program serves the whole family, because the children and families of veterans may also experience challenges and benefit from support. I appreciate the opportunity to help parents better understand their child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as to help them develop a plan to meet their child’s unique needs.”
Jennifer Edidin is a child psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, with a specialization in pediatric neuropsychology. She has worked in various settings with children, adolescents, emerging adults, and their families.

Before coming to Rush, Edidin received her bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago, with a focus in children and families. She completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago. During her fellowship, she worked extensively with homeless youth. Edidin has particular interests in the development of executive functioning, psychosocial development, and neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Jonathan Goldner, PhD

Jonathan Goldner, PhD

Psychologist

“I am proud to have joined a program committed to helping serve the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving us and our country. The Road Home program understands the impact that veterans’ experiences have had on them and their loved ones. I appreciate the opportunity to help veterans and their families reconnect and reintegrate into civilian life.”
Jon Goldner is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Before coming to Rush, Goldner worked in a variety of outpatient settings with families who have experienced trauma and loss. Most recently, he worked as a supervising psychologist at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Under the Rainbow program in Chicago. In addition to providing treatment, he trained doctoral students in clinical psychology and developed an internship program for social work students. He received his doctorate degree from Loyola University Chicago, with a specialization in children and families, and his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

Oluwatoyin Hines, MA, MS, LPC, AMFT, NCC

Oluwatoyin Hines MA, MS, MEd, LPC, AMFT, NCC

Counselor

“I am passionate about assisting veterans, veterans’ families and veteran communities in their processes of transition, growth, resiliency and wellness. Being a member of the team at the Road Home Program enables me to continually support and engage the community of veterans and their families.”
Oluwatoyin Hines is a licensed professional counselor. She has more than 21 years of military service and currently serves in the Illinois National Guard as a Chaplain. As Brigade Chaplain, Hines provides supervision to the Brigade Unit Ministry Teams; advises Command on religious support, morale and ethics; offers guidance in strategic operations and religious support planning; conduct religious services and provides pastoral counseling support.

Krista Hopper

Krista Hopper, BSN, RN

RN Clinical Coordinator

“I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated and passionate team at the Road Home Program. The veterans and families that we work with have been through so much. Being able to support them in successfully reintegrating into civilian life is the least we can do to say thank you.”
Krista Hopper is the sister of a National Guardsman and granddaughter of a WWII Army veteran. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Butler University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana University. Krista is currently working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Rush University.

For the last four years, Krista has worked as a bedside and charge nurse for both the IU Health Network and Rush University Medical Center. She has experience working with a variety of patients including those suffering from PTSD, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injuries.


Ravi Kasi, MD

Ravi Kasi, MD

Attending Physician and Assistant Residency Program Director, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

“Even subtle effects from a mild traumatic brain injury can have a profound impact on a veteran’s life. My job is to work with a patient to help identify the visible and invisible effects of the TBI. We then work collaboratively together to create unique solutions to problems that are inhibiting the patient from reaching their goals.”
Ravi Kasi is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Residency Program Director in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rush University Medical Center.

In addition to his clinic work, Ravi is passionate about disability advocacy, serving as the co-president of the Young Professionals Council at Access Living, a national disability rights organization, since 2014.

Ravi clinically specializes in neurorehabilitation, assisting patients with brain injuries transition back into their communities with their new visible and invisible disabilities.


Brian Klassen, PhD

Brian Klassen, PhD

Psychologist

“Many veterans have witnessed moments of real human connection and camaraderie alongside moments of abject terror –literally, the best and worst of the human experience. Often, veterans who want to talk about these experiences with others find that they are judged, misunderstood or simply ignored. It is for this reason that I strive to listen carefully and understand each veteran’s individual experience. For more than a decade, conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Global War on Terror have placed heavy burdens on service members and their families, and they have responded with honor and integrity. Now, it is time we respond to their challenges with the best we have.”
Brian Klassen is a clinical psychologist and faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Brian spent his formative years training at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, completing rotations in chronic pain management, residential substance use disorder treatment, and PTSD. Brian has special expertise in providing front-line treatments for PTSD, including Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy. In addition to outpatient assessment and psychotherapy, Brian has been especially involved in planning and providing services for the Road Home’s Intensive Outpatient Program.

Brian earned his doctorate at Wayne State University and his bachelors at Calvin College. Brian’s scholarly work has been recognized by the American Psychological Association and the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Ashton Lofgreen, PhD

Ashton Lofgreen, PhD

Psychologist

“The veterans I’ve worked with have taught me the value of community, the meaning of sacrifice, and the resilience of the human spirit. It has been an honor to bear witness to each veteran’s unique journey of recovery. I am grateful to continue working with and learning from veterans and their families as part of the team at Road Home.”
Ashton Lofgreen is a Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.

Before joining the Road Home Program, Lofgreen completed her internship at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

Lofgreen has specialized training in evidence-based therapies for PTSD. She has a particular interest in treatment of the emotional and relational aftermath of interpersonal traumas, such as military sexual trauma. Her training has also prepared her for work with a variety of the complex challenges that vets often face upon returning home, including chronic pain, substance use disorders, and moral injury.

Lofgreen received her doctorate from Auburn University and her bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University.


Patricia McDaniel, MSW

Patricia McDaniel, MSW, LSW

Licensed Social Worker

“Before I retired from the Army, I knew that my next career would be helping others who have served in uniform and who suffer from PTSD. Now, I am honored to be a member of the passionate and dedicated helping community of the Road Home Program as I compassionately assist my fellow veterans and service members along their path to wellness and reintegration.”
Patricia McDaniel is a Gulf War veteran who retired from the U.S. Army as a master sergeant conducting database management at the Pentagon. She utilized her veteran’s benefits and graduated summa cum laude from the Catholic University of America with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. There, she was a member of the Anxiety, Mindfulness, and Psychotherapy Integration Research lab. She then earned her master’s degree in social work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago where she focused on learning cognitive behavioral therapies.

McDaniel is a licensed social worker and a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.


Becca Purnell, BSN

Becca Purnell, BSN

RN Clinical Coordinator

“I am excited to be a part of such a great team dedicated to the care and wellbeing of veterans and their families. As a nurse, I look forward to working with individuals to fulfill their integrated health needs and goals while supporting the mission of the Road Home Program.”
Becca Purnell’s partner is an active duty officer at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Becca has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master of Public Health from DePaul University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She has extensive experience in community health, including national HIV prevention programs geared towards adolescents. She has also worked with adults facing serious mental illness and substance use disorders throughout the city of Chicago. Becca is currently a doctoral student in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Rush University.

Stephanie Renno

Stephanie Renno, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

“My belief is that each individual is an expert in their own experience. I feel honored to work with individuals who have had intense and often times complex experiences while in the military, or in their transition home. I appreciate the opportunity to help veterans and their families on their path to healing and wellness.”
Stephanie Renno began working with veterans as a social work intern at Hine VA Hospital on a community based case management team for veterans with severe mental illness. She was then hired to work at Hines VA in the Addiction Treatment Program (ATP). During her tenure in ATP, she worked to provide substance use disorder care focused to veterans and their families, in addition to improving and expanding treatment options through the planning, development and facilitation of an integrated program of care for veterans with both PTSD and Substance Use Disorders. Following this experience, Stephanie was brought on to pilot a program combining DOD and VA resources to provide mental health care to active duty military and their families at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Stephanie is passionate about providing evidence-based intervention strategies in a safe, client centered environment.

In addition to her work with the Road Home Program, Stephanie is a National Trainer and Training Consultant for Behavioral Couples Therapy for Substance Use Disorders at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Stephanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.


Dana Rosado, MD

Dana Rosado, PhD

Neuropsychologist Post-doctoral Fellow

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work within the Road Home Program alongside colleagues who share the same commitment in helping veterans and their families. They have sacrificed more than most can imagine and it is our goal to help them through these difficult times. For veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is often difficult for them to describe their cognitive, physical, and emotional difficulties to their family and friends. In my role, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to evaluate and support veterans and their families manage the outcomes of a traumatic brain injury with the primary goal to have them experience the best quality of life possible.”
Dana Rosado is a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow in the Road Home Program and the Department of Behavioral Sciences.

Over the course of her academic career Rosado has worked with both civilians and veterans in various settings, completing neuropsychological evaluations and evidenced-based psychotherapy. Within the Road Home Program, she performs specialized neuropsychological evaluations to assess for the presence and severity of cognitive dysfunction in veterans with a history of traumatic brain injury.

Before coming to Rush University Medical Center, Rosado completed her clinical psychology internship at the Orlando VA Medical Center which included participation within the polytrauma/TBI unit. Rosado attained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, specializing in clinical neuropsychology.


Anne Rufa

Anne Rufa, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

“Not only does it take immense courage to serve our country – it also takes courage to seek help once one comes home. I believe we are all inherently resilient and thrive best when we are supported by our families, friends, and the communities to which we belong. I am honored to be part of this community, which is so dedicated to caring for our veterans.”
Anne Rufa is the granddaughter of two WWII Army veterans. She completed her doctoral training in Clinical and Community Psychology at DePaul University. During her training, Rufa has worked with veterans in both clinical settings and on a community-based initiative to improve responsiveness to veterans’ needs.

Rufa is interested in prevention and treatment of PTSD, MST, and complex trauma. In addition to clinical work, she is interested in how systems with which we engage impact our daily lives, and thus strives to engage in outreach and advocacy to improve the lives of marginalized populations.


Blake Schroedter, MD

Blake Schroedter, PsyD

Post-doctoral Fellow

“As a fellow veteran, I am honored to continue serving my country by assisting our brave men and women returning home from the battlefield and military service.”
Blake Schroedter is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow in the Road Home Program. Before joining the Road Home Program, Blake completed a psychology internship at Jesse Brown VAMC and clinical externship rotations at Captain James A. Lovell Medical Center where he received specialized training in treating disorders related to PTSD, pain, substance use, depression, and anxiety.

Schroedter has served for over 15 years in the Illinois Army National Guard and currently holds the rank of Sergeant First Class (Cavalry Scout). Blake deployed to Iraq from 2004-2005 before re-deploying as a combat advisor to the Afghanistan National Army from 2008-2009.

Schroedter earned his doctorate from the Adler School of Professional Psychology (Military Track Program) and a bachelor degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Blake is a 2013 Pat Tillman Military Scholar.


Mervat Sha’ini, MD

Mervat Sha’ini, MD

Psychiatrist

“I believe in our duty to provide our men and women veterans and their families with easy access to comprehensive psychiatric care and to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Mervat Sha’ini is the Medical Director of the Center of Women’s Mental and Behavioral Health and an assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.

She is a graduate of the Rush psychiatry residency program and has specialized training in women’s mental health. Part of her training was at the Hines VA where she evaluated and treated women veterans who suffer from PTSD and MST, addressing the impact of their traumas on their emotional, physical, and reproductive health.


Benjamin Shulman, MA, LPC

Benjamin Shulman, MA, LPC

Counselor

“I believe in taking a holistic approach to mental health care. Seeing a patient as a whole allows clinicians to understand the patient and how to help. I am very excited to be a part of the Road Home Program and to help support veterans and their families. Military service men and women have given so much to our country, and I am honored to be part of a team that can give back.”
Ben Shulman is a graduate of the Adler School of Professional Psychology (now Adler University) in Chicago, where he received a master’s degree in counseling, with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. His experience in the field includes an internship at Ingalls Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Outpatient Program for adults in Flossmoor, Ill. He also worked as a research assistant for clinical drug trials. Shulman received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Shulman’s grandfather served in the United States Army during the Korean War. His grandfather was a physician at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, where he ran one of the first outpatient mental health centers in the Army at that time.


Charles Small

Charles F. Small, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

“Providing compassionate clinical care to our veterans and their families is one way to give back to those individuals and families who have given so much of themselves. As someone who enjoys the freedoms that veterans and families have sacrificed for, I consider it a personal calling to dedicate my abilities as a social worker to assist these incredible people.”
Charles began working with veterans as a social work intern at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in the PTSD Clinic and Day Hospital Program. After graduating with his MSW, Charles worked as a therapist for Thresholds, a community-based mental health clinic with several offices throughout Chicago. In 2012, Charles was offered a position at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center as a clinical case manager for their Healthcare for Homeless Veterans/HUD-VASH Program.

For two years, he assisted veterans and their families obtain independent housing, while providing supportive counseling and case management to address a wide range of psychosocial needs. Charles joined Road Home Program in 2014, and has worked individually with veterans to help them heal from the invisible wounds of war. In addition to his role as a therapist at RHP, Charles is a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Charles obtained his Masters of Social Work from Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work. Previous to his graduate work, he obtained his BA (also from Loyola University Chicago) in Religious Studies. There are many veterans who Charles is proud to call friends and colleagues.


Christine Szewczyk, MSW, LCSW

Christine Szewczyk, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

“It takes incredible courage and integrity to make the sacrifices our veterans make. I am grateful for the opportunity to devote my service to them in the Road Home Program.”
Christine Szewczyk has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2005. Prior to joining the Road Home Program, she worked at Rush University Medical Center as the social worker care coordinator for the mood disorders unit.

She has previous experience as a clinical therapist and administrator in community mental health and therapeutic day school settings. Szewczyk believes strongly in the need to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to veterans.


Kaitlin Thompson, LCSW, CADC

Kaitlin Thompson, LCSW, CADC

Clinical Social Worker

“Veterans bravely sacrifice so much for the greater good and deserve all the support they need while serving and when coming home. Every veteran’s experience is unique and complex and the journey rarely ends at the completion of service. I am proud to become part of that journey by working with veterans in a collaborative, compassionate style to help navigate through any residual turmoil and conflict from their service and uncover new strategies for coping, taking control, and moving forward.“
Kaitlin Thompson has worked with individuals struggling with mental health symptoms, experiences of trauma, and substance abuse for over 9 years.

Thompson is a registered yoga teacher and incorporates a whole person approach. She is interested in exploring the mind-body connection to support ongoing positive change and increased awareness.

Before coming to the Road Home Program, Thompson was at Heartland’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, working with veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Thompson is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and a certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) with a master’s degree of social work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.


Nicholas Turner

Nicholas Turner, LCSW, CADC

Clinical Social Worker

“I aim to help those in need in a compassionate, person-centered and respectful manner. I look forward to helping veterans and their families heal and begin their journey toward living the lives they want to lead.”
Nick Turner received his Master of Arts in social work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. He has worked in various mental health and substance abuse settings with children, adolescents and adults.

In addition to his work with the Road Home Program, Turner is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Chicago. He also co-authored the book Mindfulness-Based Sobriety, a treatment guide for addiction recovery that was published by New Harbinger Publishing in January 2014.

Turner is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) and a member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.


Maggie Tursi, MSW, LCSW

Maggie Tursi, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

“I feel humbled by the opportunity to serve our veterans with compassion and respect. I believe through close bonds, intimate relationships and the willingness to be vulnerable, we can heal the invisible wounds of war.”
Maggie Tursi obtained her master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago in 2008. She brings her experience of community-based mental health treatment to support veterans and their families. Prior to working with the Road Home Program, Tursi worked for four years as a mental health clinical practitioner at Heartland Health Outreach’s International FACES program, providing psychotherapy to refugee youth and families. Following that experience she spent five years working with the Family Medicine Residency Program at Saints Mary and Elizabeth providing behavioral health services and supporting residents physicians in their education. Specific interests include trauma informed practice, mixed-race identity, and how acculturation is experienced across generations.

Before moving to Chicago to pursue her graduate education, Tursi studied community studies and education at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She attributes her passion of social justice and open mindedness to her diverse upbringing in San Francisco, CA.


Rebecca Van Horn, MD

Rebecca Van Horn, MD

Associate Medical Director

“Our veterans have placed the protection of our collective freedom and values above their own needs. Road Home offers veterans and their families trauma-informed care to help them navigate the challenges of returning home.”
Rebecca Van Horn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. She completed her residency at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, working extensively with veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System throughout her training. Van Horn went on to complete additional post-graduate training in geriatrics at UCLA as a Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Health Professions Scholar.

Prior to her medical training, Van Horn completed graduate work in Media Studies at UCLA and maintains strong clinical interest in the ways in which imagery shapes social perception and understanding. She is the granddaughter of two WWII veterans.



Wellness and Integrative Health


Susan Gray

Susan Gray

Mindfulness Training Instructor

“It is a privilege to be a part of The Road Home Program and serve our country’s bravest men and women. I believe healing happens when individuals get the opportunity to reunite the mind, body and spirit. Mindfulness is a tool that helps create a deeper sense of self-awareness and empowerment. This increased awareness allows one to deal with life’s challenges with greater ease and resiliency.”
Susan Gray serves as an ally by helping people experience the best of themselves at any given stage of healing. She draws upon her experience as a certified Mayo Clinic wellness coach and mindfulness teacher. Gray also teaches stress reduction through mindfulness and movement programs in the workplace.

Gray has been meditating since 1996 and studies mindfulness-based stress reduction at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Stephanie Owen, MA, LPC, ATR

Stephanie Owen, MA, LPC, ATR

Art Therapist

“Having the opportunity to provide an avenue of non-verbal expression to our veterans during a time when words may be too challenging allows complex internal experiences to become visible to those around them through their art-making process. I am humbled to be a witness to the creations made in that space and to be a part of such a compassionate team.”
Stephanie Owen is a graduate of the Adler School of Professional Psychology (now Adler University) in Chicago, where she received a master’s degree in counseling psychology with a specialization in art therapy. She has worked at Rush since 2010 providing art therapy to children and adolescents at Rush Day School and through the Department of Child Life on the Pediatric and Inpatient Psychiatric Units.

Owen received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in studio art from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She is a licensed professional counselor and a registered art therapist.

Owen’s father served in the United States Marines during the Vietnam War with HMS164 on both the USS Inchon and USS Okinawa. This was to be the last marine aircraft squadron to fly combat missions in country as the war was deescalating. During this period of time he earned his Aircrew Member wings for participation in multiple missions in support of South Vietnam forces.


Rebekah Marcano

Rebekah Marcano

Yoga Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer

“Being a part of such a caring, collaborative team at the Road Home Program is both humbling and inspiring. I am grateful for the privilege to teach yoga to the men and women who have served our country with sacrifice and bravery. Each person I meet has a unique story of accomplishment, honor and sometimes obstacles. Wellness for the body begins in the mind; they are deeply connected and rely on each other for balance. During yoga class, I encourage each person to listen to their own body and simply focus their attention there. This allows a quieting of the mind and a self-awareness, which many do not experience in everyday life. This can be an incredibly challenging, yet powerful and rewarding journey.”
Rebekah Marcano has studied and practiced a variety of yoga and wellness methods for more than 20 years. She has 16 years of teaching experience as a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and group fitness instructor.

She also develops fitness and wellness programs within large corporations, hoping to transform the often-stressful workplace culture and promote work-life balance. She is excited to bring her expertise of yoga and body movement to the Road Home Program.


Julia Sarazine, DNP, FNP-BC, ACHPN

Julia Sarazine, DNP, FNP-BC, ACHPN

Mindfulness Training Instructor

“I am honored to be part of a passionate and dedicated group of practitioners who are focused on serving the most honorable members of society: our veterans.”
Julia Sarazine studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at Rush College of Nursing.

Sarazine incorporates mindfulness practices into her work with patients and students. She has created and led several educational and experiential mindfulness presentations and a mindfulness and resilience course for health care providers.


Jennifer Ventrelle

Jennifer Ventrelle, MS, RD, CPT

Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer

“This country is a better, safer place thanks to our veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made. I feel grateful to be able to help improve the lifestyles of these veterans and their families, and give back in thanks for their honorable service.”
Jennifer earned her MS in Clinical Nutrition at Rush University and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine. She has over 10 years of clinical and teaching experience in nutrition and physical activity, and is currently involved in intervention design and implementation of clinical and workplace wellness programs focused on sustainable lifestyle change.  Jennifer is excited to bring her expertise to our nation’s veterans and be a part of the Road Home team.

Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson

Mindfulness Training Instructor

“Twelve years ago, I left banking to pursue a career focusing upon a different kind of investment—an investment in people and their mental health and holistic well-being. Since that time, I have worked as a counselor, chaplain, and clinical pastoral educator to support individuals in a process of reconnecting with inner resources to strengthen resilience and improve quality of life.
I consider it a tremendous privilege to now give back to our country’s veterans by introducing them to mindful awareness practices that help reduce stress and serve to connect us more fully with life.”
Gary Wilson is a Mindfulness Training Instructor with the Wellness Team at the Road Home Program. Additionally, he is a Clinical Pastoral Educator at Rush in the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values.

Wilson is a licensed professional counselor, and has earned master’s degrees in Pastoral Counseling and Mythological Studies.



Research


Randy Boley

Randy Boley

Research Coordinator

“It is an honor to contribute to research that helps ensure that veterans are receiving the best care possible. Having been in the Army myself, and having known several veterans in my personal life who have struggled with returning to civilian life, it is clear that there is a need to help provide support for those that have sacrificed so much for our country. I am proud to be part of an organization that has risen to this challenge.”
Randy Boley is a research coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where he majored in Psychology and conducted research focused on trauma and rehabilitation.


Walter Faig, PhD

Walter Faig, PhD

Clinical Data Analyst

“It’s a distinct privilege to be part of a group dedicated to helping those who have sacrificed the most. The commitment I share as part of the Road Home Program is to always strive to improve the care and resources available for our returning veterans and their families.”
Walter Faig obtained his PhD in Mathematics with specialization in Statistics from University of California, San Diego in 2013. There his research interests focused on pediatrics and survival analytics, although his work as a free statistical consultant at the university gained him exposure to an array of research avenues.

Originally from the Chicago area, Faig moved back in early 2014 to be closer to family and pursue career opportunities in the city. He joins the Road Home Program most recently following the dissolution of GE Capital, marking a welcome return to medical research.

Faig is the grandson of a WWII Army Veteran.


Angela Crissy Glover

Crissy Glover

Research Assistant

“I have the utmost respect for our service members and veterans. The sacrifices that they and their families make are not small and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to be involved in research ensuring that they get the best care after returning home. I want to contribute to the support of our veterans and military families and make sure that they have access to resources they can use to improve their lives.”
She is a Research Assistant in the Road Home Program and the Department of Psychiatry at Rush Medical Center.

Crissy Glover has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Chicago.

Crissy Glover is the niece and granddaughter of U.S. Air Force and Army Veterans.


Philip Held

Philip Held, PhD

Assistant Research Director

“I both admire and am extremely grateful for our veterans’ service. Joining the Road Home Program is my attempt at giving back to the men and women who have given their all. I feel honored to continue to closely work with our veterans and to assist them with getting back on track after they have mustered the courage to ask for help.”
Philip Held is a counseling psychologist and postdoctoral fellow in the Road Home Program. Before joining the Road Home Program, Held completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Trauma Recovery in St. Louis, MO. Held obtained his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Tennessee, where he was part of the Military Health and Stress research group. Held has worked with veterans, including student veterans and those who were chronically homeless, as well as community survivors of trauma.

Held specializes in the treatment of trauma and related disorders, specifically PTSD and substance use. In his clinical work, Held is interested in self-compassion and its role in buffering the negative consequences of trauma, especially the experiences of trauma-related guilt and shame.


John A. O’Toole

John A. O’Toole

Senior Analyst

“A quote that has stuck with me is ‘You will spend the great majority of life at work, so you better do something that you enjoy.’ I decided I didn’t just want to enjoy work, but wanted it to matter – which to me translates to improving lives in some way. I saw the comradery and dedication of our men and women in the military, and I couldn’t think of a better group to help, so I attempted to join the Marines, but was disqualified during MEPS due to medical reasons. Instead, I have tried my best to use my strengths and time at work to help those in need/support those that are helping, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people than those that work at Road Home and the people they serve.”
John O’Toole is a Senior Analyst with The Road Home Program and Information Services at Rush. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice, John began his career as a case manager at Thresholds, working with people suffering from mental illness who were recently incarcerated. Following Thresholds, John worked as a GI cancers research coordinator at UI Hospital in Chicago. He then went on to Rush where he has worked as Operations Manager for the Section of Rheumatology, Project Manager in The Dept. of Finance, and Business and Financial Operations Manager of Perioperative Services prior to his present position at Road Home. John is also presently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Health Systems Management at Rush University.

Hale Thompson, PhD

Hale Thompson, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

“It has been a tremendous privilege to witness the work and progress of the Road Home Program. Conducting research alongside the Road Home Program, I appreciate the opportunities to understand and address the unique health disparities of veterans, as well as transgender veterans and active duty soldiers.”
Hale Thompson has a doctorate in public health sciences and a master’s degree in epidemiology. His research focuses on the tensions between health information technology, access to care, patient privacy, and health disparities, particularly as they relate to marginalized populations such as veterans and transgender people.

Zerbrina Valdespino-Hayden

Zerbrina Valdespino-Hayden

Research Assistant

“I am honored to be a part of a program that is dedicated to recognizing and responding to the needs of veterans and their families through research, counseling, and services that address the challenges of readjusting to civilian life. It is a privilege to work closely with our nation’s veterans and serve them through research that aims to build efficacious treatment interventions and improve veteran health care.”
Zebrina Valdespino-Hayden received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago where she majored in psychology and minored in spanish. She is a research assistant in the Road Home Program and the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Her current research interests include examining and implementing culturally sensitive evidence-based treatments for adults with anxiety and traumatic stress disorders. She looks forward to pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

Valdespino-Hayden is the niece of a U.S. Air Force Veteran.


Darian Weaver

Darian Weaver

Research Assistant

“I am in awe of all of the wonderful research that is being conducted here at the Road Home Program because of the possibilities to provide and create even better care for our veterans who have sacrificed so much.”
Darian Weaver graduated from Northwestern University where she majored in Education and Social Policy with a concentration in Human Development and Psychological Services and minored in Global Health. She is currently a research assistant in the Road Home Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush. University Medical Center. Her research interests include exploring the incorporation of cultural narratives into evidence-based treatment for anxiety and traumatic stress disorders. Darian is the step-daughter of a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Denise Zou

Denise Zou

Research Assistant

“I am dedicated to contributing to the health sciences that make transitioning easier for our veterans. I will welcome them home as best I can.”
Denise Zou graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in education and social policy, with a concentration in human development and psychological services.

After college, Zou became a sexual assault crisis intervention advocate with Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault in Arlington Heights, IL. There she provided mindfulness training and grounding support to rape survivors in hotline and emergency room settings.

Zou has a particular interest in trauma-related chronic pain. She is also interested in researching evidence-based mental health treatment, human adaptation, declarative memory loss and self-care practices in individuals affected by trauma.



Outreach Coordinators


Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Senior Outreach Coordinator

“As a vet living with PTSD, I know how hard it is to ask for help. It is part of who you are as a Marine to be self-reliant. Asking for help can be scarier than combat itself. I want to make that easier for other vets. I want to go out into the community and find them and ask them, ‘How can I help?’ so that they don’t have the anxiety of doing it themselves.”
Chris Miller is a Marine Corps veteran, having served as an infantryman with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment. Miller spent nine months on deployment to Iraq during the “Shock and Awe” phase at the beginning of the war in Iraq.

His platoon was awarded a Presidential Citation by President George W. Bush for extraordinary heroism on the battlefield. After leaving the Marine Corps, Miller worked as a mental health worker at a children’s psychiatric hospital, working with children with severe behavioral disorders.

Miller attended University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he studied economics and earned a degree in the culinary arts.


Sheri Gross, M.S.Ed

Sheri Gross, M.S.Ed

Family Outreach Coordinator

“As the spouse of an Army veteran, I know firsthand how difficult coming home can be — and, even more so, how much family and community support is critical to making a successful transition into civilian life. While each person’s needs are unique, I have found that most veterans yearn for the sense of belonging and community they found in the military. Helping them find this feeling of ‘family’ in civilian life is essential. I am honored and humbled to be a part of an organization dedicated to connecting service members and their families to the help they need — and to each other.“
Sheri Gross is the spouse of a United States Army veteran with a background in mental health and higher education. Prior to joining the Road Home Program, she successfully established and sustained Saint Xavier University’s veteran program. There she helped create a safe, welcoming and collaborative space on campus for student veterans and their loved ones. She also worked in various mental health care settings with veterans and their family members in Illinois and Colorado. She is committed to helping veterans and their families navigate the military-to-civilian transition.

Gross received both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Science in Education in counseling from Northern Illinois University.


Modie Lavin

Modie Lavin, USMC Gold Star Mother

Family Outreach Coordinator

“As a Gold Star mother, I understand the challenges parents and families face in moving on with their lives. In the steps of Gold Star Mothers founder Grace Darling Siebold, I feel that I am honoring my son and his sacrifice for our country by helping our returning veterans and families adjust to civilian life.”
Modie understands the needs for mental health programs for military families firsthand. Modie’s son served as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with 2nd Battalion/11th Marines. Her son, Cpl. Conner T. Lowry was KIA on 3/1/2012 in Helmand Provence, Afghanistan.

Modie Lavin is the Family Outreach Coordinator at Rush University Medical Center. Prior to coming to Rush, she was the Program Facilitator for Veterans at the Chicago Park District and worked closely with the Jesse Brown VA and other community service providers and organizations. Lavin chartered recreational-based programs for veterans as well as coordinated events. Lavin also directed resource fairs for veterans at various locations throughout Chicago, including a Resource Expo at Soldier Field alongside the Valor Games Midwest.

Lavin and her family consistently attend ceremonies and events honoring our fallen and veterans.


Justin Lyman

Justin Lyman

Outreach Coordinator

“Knowing that I can personally make a difference in the life of a veteran struggling with PTSD or any other problems made me want to join the Road Home team. As a veteran myself, I know the transition from military to civilian life can be difficult. With all the help the Road Home Program offers, I know we can help make the transformation smooth.”
Justin Lyman is a United States Marine Corps. veteran. He was stationed in 29 Palms in California with the 7th Marine Regiment as a motor transport operator.

Lyman deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2013 with Regimental Combat Team 7. He is currently attending DeVry University, pursuing a degree in business administration with a focus in project management.



Administrative


Tanjlisa Williams, MBA

Tanjlisa Williams, MBA

Practice Administrator

“I left college to join the U.S. Air Force after 9/11 because I wanted to serve my country and make a difference. I am part of the Road Home Program team because I want to help the selfless men and women who also served our country. All of my training and experiences have prepared me for this important mission as part of this outstanding organization.”
Tanjlisa Williams served in the Air Force for six years where she received the Air Force Achievement Medal as a Munitions Storage Crew Member with the 424th Air Base Squadron, 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Fairford, England. Her efforts ensured munitions met delivery times and provided 14 B-52 bomber aircraft the “shock and awe” capability by delivering 3.8 million pounds of high explosive bombs contributing to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After an honorable discharge from the military, Williams went back to school and earned her bachelor’s degree in business management and her master’s degree in business administration. She was also the office manager of a behavioral clinic for children, where she oversaw the everyday operations and offered encouragement to the clients and their families.


Rebecca K. Galicia

Rebecca K. Galicia

Administrative Assistant

“It’s a great privilege to work with colleagues that not only served our country but that are also providing service and hope to their comrades transitioning from military to civilian life. The Road Home Program is an environment where the entire staff is passionately committed in assisting and working with our country’s service members and their families. I am truly honored to be a part of this unique team, in a way, it’s a way of serving our country by providing excellent service to those who fought for our freedom! During the Vietnam War family members and friends were greatly affected both psychologically and physically. There were many invisible wounds of war, and I am glad that the Road Home Program exists today. Through this program veterans and their families are able to get services that they so desperately need.”
Prior to her working in RHP, Rebecca has been employed at Rush in many facets of the patient care area. She has been with the University for over 25 years. Thru her tenure she has been an advocate for those who for a wide variety of reasons can’t speak up for themselves. For most of her life her involvement has included many areas of social justice and compassion through the various volunteer services. Her contribution to the medical center has been instrumental to not only patients, students, faculty, staff but to the community as well.

Yvonne Harris, MPA, CPC

Yvonne Harris, MPA, CPC

Grants Specialist

“My big brother is a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the US Army. His adjustment to civilian life was extremely difficult as he returned home with what I now know to be PTSD and other undiagnosed mental health issues. The root of my passion for the RHP stems from the needed healthcare and other resources they provide to the veterans and their families. As the lack of medical care continues to hurt war veterans, the RHP helps bring attention to this growing concern. I am proud and humbled to be a part of the RHP, serving the brave men and women who dedicated and sacrificed their lives for our country.”
Ms. Harris has a master’s degree in public administration and over 15 years of experience in the areas of grants management and clinical research. She worked at Rush in the Department of Neurology, Center for Stroke Research (CSR) during the period 1991-2003. As Project Manager for the CSR, she managed the fiscal and operational processes of all grants (pre and post award), including a $25 million dollar multi-center, double-blinded clinical trial with over 35 clinical sites throughout the US. After her employment at Rush, she took a position at UIC, Department of Neurology (2003-2015), as an Administrator. In this role she oversaw operational, financial, grant/contracts, and business activities for the department.

Ms. Harris has always been involved in health care in one form or another, whether it was in the role of administrator, study coordinator, study monitor, or grants management. These combined experiences are responsible for all she knows and respect about the field of health care and research.


Liz Michalski

Liz Michalski

Clinic Coordinator

“The price each veteran pays for our freedom is a high one — and one that lasts for the duration of his or her life. It is critical that we recognize each veteran’s sacrifices for us, not only on national holidays, but every day. This recognition includes responding to veterans’ emotional and physical pains and helping them with all of their needs. I am honored to be part of the Road Home Program, which provides a welcoming and safe environment for veterans and their families to heal, as well as resources to help them transition home.”
Liz Michalski is an honorably discharged Air Force veteran who served as an Air Operations Manager at the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as well as the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base. She spent part of her tour as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy.

Keeping with the “Service to Country” mantra, Michalski has been passionately serving the local and global community in numerous capacities and initiatives, including outreach, pastoral care and social justice ministries for our most vulnerable. Michalski is a member of the American Legion, Naperville Post #43 where she is Senior Vice Commander.


Mary Ossowski, MA

Mary Ossowski, MA

Administrative Assistant

“I grew up listening to my dad’s stories of his WWII Navy days. He was profoundly affected by it and never got over some experiences. I am so glad the Road Home Program exists to help today’s Veterans cope with and heal from their experiences. What an honor to be a part of it!”
Mary has a BS in Human Services and Social Justice and an MA in International Studies from Wheaton College. Her passion for helping others led her to serve with an International faith-based organization in Spain for 25 years. Besides helping immigrants to Spain with self-sufficiency skills, she organized and led humanitarian aid trips in North Africa. She continues her involvement in the areas of social justice and compassion through several volunteer services.

Sean Scott

Sean Scott

Administrative Assistant

“It is important for me to continue to work with veterans of all branches to ensure that their separation is met with open arms and open mindedness, so that they can feel welcomed and comfortable.”
Sean Scott served in the Air Force for three and a half years in Vehicle Management & Analysis. He was stationed in Dover, DE during his time in active duty.  It was his job to ensure that his fleet of vehicles was aligned with safety standards and operational.

Scott is honorably discharged and has attended DeVry University for the past 2 years, where he majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management.


Maria Van Steenwyk

Marie Van Steenwyk

Clinic Coordinator

“I was 19 when I joined the US Navy. I wanted to see the world, serve my country and make a difference. Being a part of the Road Home Program allows me to help other service members who have returned home yet face many difficulties. I feel my experiences in the Navy and those as a veteran have prepared me to provide quality service and to all the veterans that need our assistance.”
Marie Van Steenwyk is a 12 year United States Navy and Naval Reserve veteran. After completing boot camp and A-school at Great Lakes Naval Station, she reported for duty at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Europe Central in Naples, Italy where she was a watch supervisor at the Defense Messaging System’s Help Desk managing and troubleshooting 500-plus-user enterprise network and information security system for 24/7 availability.

After her time in the military she went back to school using her GI Bill and took a work/study position at the Evanston Vet Center where she found her passion for working with veterans and ultimately led her to her current position at the Road Home program. Marie is also Commander of VFW Post #198, Pvt. Georgle Harles.


Erin Sutton, JD

Erin Sutton, JD

Medical Legal Partnership Attorney

“I am grateful to work with the Road Home Program to advocate alongside veterans and their family members for the benefits and protections they have earned so that they can lead healthy, stable, civilian lives.”
Erin Sutton is a 2015 Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Discover and Mayer Brown. She was awarded a two year fellowship to develop a Medical Legal Partnership between the Road Home Program and LAF, Cook County’s largest provider of free civil legal services for low-income people. Erin previously served as a fellow, policy advocate, and student attorney at the Health Justice Project, a Medical Legal Partnership between Erie Family Health Center and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked as a paralegal in communities throughout Chicago to enroll clients living in poverty in public benefits programs.

Erin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, with a certificate in health law.