Staff Directory

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Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) is an organization of approximately 1,800 pediatricians in Illinois. Primary activities include advocacy on behalf of children, families, and health professionals in Illinois; the provision of continuing medical education and other resources for pediatricians, pediatric specialists, and other child health care providers; and collaboration with other state organizations and agencies on programs and projects that improve the health and well-being of children.

Tom Bradach
Coordinator, Child Development Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext 218

Tom joined ICAAP in February of 2015 as an intern for Reach Out and Read. After graduating from UIC with a dual-bachelor’s degree in English and Philosphy, Tom did consulting work for ICAAP’s PROTECT initiative. He now works as a Coordinator for the Child Development Initiatives, specifically PROTECT, TEAM, and the ABC Conferences.

Juanona Brewster, MDiv, MTS, MJ
Senior Director, Child Development Initiatives
Director, PROTECT Initiative
Director, TEAM Initiative
312/733-1026, ext 203

Juanona Brewster joined ICAAP as the Director of Early Childhood Development Projects in 2008. She received her BA from Northeastern Illinois University, and has graduate degrees from Northwestern University (MDiv and MTS-Garrett Seminary) and Loyola University of Chicago, School of Law (MJ-Child and Family Law) and is currently a fellow at University of Illinois, School of Public Health Policy. Throughout her nonprofit career, Ms. Brewster has advocated on behalf of vulnerable child and family populations. She is the mother of two and the grandmother of four, including a child with special health care and education needs.

Anna Carvlin, MPH
Manager, Obesity Prevention Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext 214

Anna joined ICAAP in December 2015. She holds a MPH from Tulane University and a BS in Biological Sciences with a Minor in Gender & Women’s Studies from UIC, and a non-profit management certificate from the University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Business. Anna served as a community health educator in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. Before joining ICAAP, Anna worked extensively with homeless providers and addressing food access issues. Her background also includes non-profit resource development, yoga and Pilates instruction, and grassroots coalition building.

Mary Elsner, JD
Director, Obesity Prevention Initiatives
312/733-1026,ext. 220

Mary Elsner joined ICAAP in March 2009 as the Director of Obesity Prevention Projects. She received her BA from Tufts University and her JD from University of Wisconsin Law School. She has more than twenty years of health organizational management and health policy experience. As a practicing attorney, she promoted equal access to justice through representation of the poor in public health benefits’ and SSI disability cases. Prior to joining ICAAP, she directed health policy, advocacy, and government affairs for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders – ANAD, where she successfully led efforts to mandate Illinois group insurance coverage for eating disorders and worked to bring about public recognition of mental health and its relationship to the entire spectrum of disordered eating behaviors.

Cherie Estrada, BA
Manager, Child Development Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext. 237

Cherie Estrada is a Manager of Child Development Initiatives at the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  She earned degrees in Foreign Language (Spanish) and International Trade at Southern Illinois University.  Her professional experience includes working in Valencia, Spain for Baxter International, for the Illinois Department of Public Health, and for the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.  Ms. Estrada has an extensive training background in the public health and medical education field, including the promotion of pertinent health topics among culturally-diverse populations.

Elise Groenewegen
Manager, Child Development Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext 204

Elise has primary responsibility for a wide range of Child Development initiatives, including the annual Autism, Behavior, and Complex Medical Needs (ABC) Conferences, People Safe Places (PSP) as part of the Tools to Empower Adolescent Moms (TEAM) initiative, the Promoting Early Math Literacy project, and activities related to Promoting Resiliency of Trauma – Exposed Communities Together (PROTECT), funded by HRSA. She has a major role in the production of the electronic IDHFS/IDHS Care Coordination Protocol and serves as a liaison in care coordination promotion among ICAAP, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, and early education and child care providers. In addition to the promotion of literacy (childhood, math, adult, health, financial) as a way to mitigate toxic stress and build resilience, Elise is passionate about the value of developing and strengthening community relationships in medical neighborhoods.

Director, Immunizations & Related Programs
312/733-1026,ext. 221

Sandra Han received her master’s degree in Social Service Administration, Management and Public Policy from The University of Chicago. Sandra has 10+ years of experience in project management, information technology systems, business development and change management. Her primary interests are to work with healthcare systems to strengthen leadership, increase collaboration and continually develop new partnerships to improve community relationships to address healthcare disparities in public health through provider and patient education. Sandra’s primary interests are to identify gaps to develop opportunities to implement solutions to strengthen existing infrastructures to build new policies and processes to improve the quality of healthcare for providers and patients. Sandra is experienced working with pediatricians, federally qualified health care centers, group practices, public health departments, hospitals and other large bureaucratic systems that serve children and their families. The underserved communities of Chicago and in rural counties of Illinois are at the forefront of Sandra’s immunization, quality improvement, EHR systems integration and emergency preparedness activities.

Jennie Pinkwater, MNM
Executive Director
Associate Executive Director
312/733-1026, ext 213

Ms. Pinkwater joined the Chapter in February of 2008 as a Project Director overseeing Bright Smiles from Birth and Safe and Healthy Homes. Previously she was Associate State Director of Program Services and Public Affairs for the state chapter of a national not-for-profit working in maternal and child health. She has worked extensively on development of professional education programs for medical staff. In addition, she has led statewide advocacy efforts for passage of mother and child friendly legislation. Ms. Pinkwater received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science  from Kalamazoo College with a minor in Biology and received a Masters of Non-Profit Management program at DePaul University’s School of Public Service. In addition to directing oral health initiatives for the chapter, she also assists with advocacy efforts for the chapter and facilitates the Resident Education in Advocacy for Children’s Health (REACH) program.

Greci Rodriguez
Care Coordinator, Obesity Prevention Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext 232

Greci joined ICAAP in April 2016. She holds a MPH from Benedictine University with certificates in Health Education and Promotion and Health Management and Policy. Prior to joining ICAAP, Greci was a Maternal and Child Health intern for the Kane County Health Department in Elgin, IL, where she promoted the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program to community partners in order to encourage referrals. While there, she also worked with the Elgin Partnership for Early Learning as part of an Innovative Zone Initiative developing a database to link families to community resources. Greci also has extensive knowledge in working with providers and interacting with patients. Her passion is to help improve the health and well-being of families.

Dru O’Rourke
Manager, Immunizations and Medical Home Initiatives
312/733-1026, ext 207

Dru O’Rourke joined ICAAP in November 2011. Prior to working with ICAAP, she was a Cancer Research Fellow with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD where she worked in communications and outreach, developing reports and webinars for the Office of Cancer Centers. Dru received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Miami University of Ohio with a minor in History.

Kathy Sanabria, MBA, PMP
Associate Executive Director
312/733-1026, ext 208

Kathy Sanabria joined ICAAP in 2002 as a consultant providing services in project management, program evaluation, and grant writing.  In July 2004, Kathy joined the full time staff as Director of the Illinois Medical Home Project (IMHP), ICAAP’s first $1 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).   Highlights of Kathy’s support of grants or contracts include:

    1.  ICAAP consultant to Cook County Health and Hospitals System Medical Home Network Connect and  Patient Centered Medical Home Project, 2012 to February 2015.
    2.  Directed State Implementation grant for Integrated Community Systems for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN), Building Medical Home Capacity for the Ambulatory and Community Health Network, 2011-2014, $259,500, funded by DHHS, HRSA, MCHB.
    3.  Directed State Implementation Grant, Integrated Systems of Services for CSHCN, to advance medical homes in Illinois and develop training on transitioning youth to adult health care, 2009-2013, $900,000, funded by DHHS, HRSA, MCHB.  Oversee course for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and Continuing Education credits.
    4.  Co-directed implementation of Coordinating Care Between Early Intervention and the Primary Care Medical Home Initiative, 2008-2011, $320,000, funded by The Commonwealth Fund.
    5.  Co-directed with Illinois Title V Program, Division of Specialized Care for Children, Illinois Medical Home Project (IMHP), 2004 to 2009, $1,000,000, funded by DHHS, HRSA, MCHB.

In July 2011, Kathy became ICAAP Associate Executive Director.  She is focusing efforts to grow the Chapter’s CME   programs, web-based eLearning activities, and consulting services.  From 1985 to 1998 Kathy worked with the national AAP, serving 10 of those years as Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health.  Kathy holds a double BA in Public Relations and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; an MBA from Dominican University, IL; is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP); and Patient Centered Medical Home Certified Content Expert (October 2013 to October 2015).

Nirja Shah, MPH, CHES
Program Manager, Immunizations & Related Programs
312/733-1026, ext 216

Nirja Shah joined ICAAP as Program Manager of Immunizations in mid 2014 managing deliverables for the Reaching our Goals grant through the City of Chicago and since 2017 has been a Program Manager of the Child Development team for Tools to Empower Adolescent Moms (TEAM) and Early Math projects. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a passion for helping to equip and motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle. Nirja graduated with a BA in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and also holds an MPH in Health Education from Saint Louis University. She has worked as a Health Educator for Interactive Health (previously known as Health Solutions) in which she traveled throughout Chicago to promote worksite wellness. She also has experience coordinating diabetes education with the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition and Saint Louis University Center for Outcomes Research, both on one-on-one level as well as for conventions hosting more than 300 attendees.

John Welliver, BA
Program Manager, Immunizations & Related Programs
312/733-1026,ext. 209

John Welliver joined ICAAP in December of 2014. John graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor degree in Psychology on 2004. He previously held a position at Northwestern Orthopaedic Institute/ NorthShore University Health System for 12 years managing their medical records department in day to day operations.  He also assisted clinic staff with programs, precertification’s for health insurance, and created forms and scripts for the electronic medical record systems in place. John has a passion for helping others and looks to further that experience here at ICAAP.

Anne Wong, BS
Project Coordinator, Immunizations & Related Programs
312/733-1026, ext 206

Anne Wong joined ICAAP in October of 2014. Prior to working at ICAAP she was a sponsored program specialist at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute where she reviewed and submitted dozens of proposals as well as other administrative operations associated with grants, proposals, awards, and sub-awards for research and training from federal and non-federal funding sources. Anne graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with a BS in Social Policy.

Paula Zajac
Coordinator, Prevention Programs
312/733-1026, ext 212

Paula Zajac joined ICAAP in September 2005. She works with ICAAP project managers to provide staff assistance for the asthma, oral health, immunization and developmental projects. Ms. Zajac is responsible for ongoing work related to these programs including scheduling office- and hospital-based programs, tracking and implementation of CME and CEU guidelines and information, and providing on-site staff support for educational presentations. Ms. Zajac completed her undergraduate degree in English (Bachelor of Fine Arts) at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.


Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
1400 W. Hubbard, Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60642-8195
Voice 312/733-1026
Fax 312/733-1791


Kathy Sanabria, MBA, PMP
Senior Project Director
312/733-1026, ext 208

Kathy Sanabria has provided consulting services to the Illinois Chapter since 2002 in project management, program evaluation, and grant writing. In July 2004 she joined the ICAAP staff as Director of the Illinois Medical Home Project (IMHP). From 1985 to 1998 she worked with the national AAP, serving ten of those years as Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health. She holds a double BA in Public Relations and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; an MBA from Dominican University, IL; and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Kathy is the parent of three children, one of whom has special health care needs.