LEADERSHIP & STAFF
The Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) is led by a dedicated group of pediatricians who volunteer their service to improve pediatric care in Illinois. ICAAP leadership includes five chapter officers, seven elected members, and one appointed executive committee member representing an academic medical center. These 12 members are called the Executive Committee and they serve as the ICAAP board of directors. The Executive Committee of the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics are volunteers chosen by their peers to serve the statewide association of Illinois pediatricians.
Margaret Scotellaro, MD, FAAP
Michelle Barnes, MD, FAAP
Anita Chandra-Puri, MD, FAAP
Daniel Johnson, MD, FAAP
Mary Dobbins, MD, FAAP
ICAAP Executive Committee Members
Mark Minier, MD, FAAP
Veena Ramaiah, MD, FAAP
Jennifer Kusma, MD, FAAP
Craig Batterman, MD, FAAP
Michele Kay Beekman, MD, FAAP
Alejandro Clavier MD, MPH, FAAP
ICAAP Nominating Committee
Deanna Behrens, MD, FAAP
(2018 - 2022)
Edith Chernoff, MD, FAAP
(2018 - 2022)
312-733-1026, ext 213
Jennie Pinkwater has served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2015. She provides strategic direction to support the organization’s 2100 pediatrician members to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families in Illinois. Ms. Pinkwater oversees a dynamic grant funded organization that develops education programs to support optimal pediatric care in Illinois. Since joining the Chapter in 2008 as a Project Director, she has directed the policy and advocacy activities for the chapter including passage of child and family friendly legislation and advocating for policy changes to improve healthcare quality and access for children and families. Previously, Ms. Pinkwater served as the Associate State Director of Program Services and Public Affairs at the Illinois Chapter of the March of Dimes. 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 at DePaul University's School of Public Service.
Chief Program Officer
312-733-1026, ext 206
Stephanie Atella joined in June 2021 as the Project Director for Immunizations and became Chief Program Officer in February 2022. Stephanie received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health at Hofstra University and her Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Prior to working at the Chapter, she supported COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics at Northwestern Medicine, was the Program Director for the Chicago Department of Public Health’s tuberculosis program and a Senior Health Educator at Loyola University Chicago. She worked with the organization formally known as CeaseFire while at UIC and was an AmeriCorps member in a school-based health center in New York City. Stephanie is a Certified Health Education Specialist, and a trained domestic violence and sexual assault advocate.
Senior Program Manager, Immunizations
Magale Avitia joined ICAAP September 2021. Magale received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education and Promotion at the University of Indianapolis and her Master's in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Previously, she worked as a Research Associate for the Study of Latinos (SOL) and has experience with planning, implementing, and evaluating Public Health programs. She is passionate about serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her hobbies include reading, making new recipes, and watching the San Antonio Spurs.
Abby Creek joined ICAAP in August 2022. She graduated from DePaul University with her BS in Community Health in 2018 and Masters of Public Health in 2021. Before joining ICAAP, she worked at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and as a research assistant on barriers to substance use treatment. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and cheering on St. Louis sports.
Director of Operations
312-733-1026, ext 207
Hannah Clemenson joined ICAAP in January 2022. She graduated from American University with a BA in Political Science and Communications, Law, Economics, and Government (CLEG) and has focused her career on nonprofit and advocacy work. Prior to joining at the chapter, she managed operations and finance and AmeriCorps programs for a capacity building nonprofit in Colorado and conservation programs for an environmental nonprofit in Pennsylvania. In her free time, Hannah enjoys cooking, traveling, and exploring Chicago’s restaurants.
Senior Program Manager, Immunizations
Monica joined ICAAP in April 2022. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Promotion from Ball State University and her Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Monica's prior experience includes planning and implementing substance use prevention programming for youth at a social services non-profit and managing COVID-19 resource coordination and education at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Monica is passionate about positive youth development and in her free time enjoys being outside and spending time with friends and family.
Director, Health Equity Initiatives
312-733-1026, ext 220
Mary Elsner joined in March 2009 as the Director of Obesity Prevention Projects. She received her BA from Tufts University and her JD from the 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 the 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.
Zach Hiner joined ICAAP in 2022. For the previous twelve years, Zach has served in communication and leadership roles for organizations that promote child safety and the wellbeing of families. Zach began his career in the non-profit sector in 2010 as Executive Assistant at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) before moving on to work in communications roles at Prevent Child Abuse America. Zach was the Director of Communications at PCA America before he returned to SNAP in 2018 to take on the role as Executive Director. Zach is a graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University, serves as a volunteer and board member for the Chicago Justice Project and is also member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).
312-733-1026 ext. 205
Isabel Kritz joined in 2022 as a Program Coordinator on the Immunizations team. Isabel recently graduated with a BA in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is currently working on her Masters in Social Work at University of Illinois-Chicago. Prior to ICAAP, Isabel worked in mental health at an intensive outpatient care facility that specialized in treatment for anxiety and depression. When she is not working, Isabel enjoys running, yoga, going to concerts, and spending time with friends and family.
Manager, Professional Education
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Erin Moore joined in September 2020. She graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology in 2005. She attended Keller Graduate School of Management and graduated with a Masters degree in Human Resource Management in 2010. Prior to joining, Erin worked with associations for 13 years. She started as a coordinator with Air Movement and Control Association assisting with running their Certification program. She also worked with Veritas Association Management as an Accreditation Manager where she managed the CME accreditation for multiple Healthcare Associations.
Director, Marketing & Fundraising
312-733-1026, ext 211
Cindy Ogrin joined in July 2019 as the organization's first Director of Marketing and Development. She has worked for over 15 years in fundraising and marketing, and supporting public health initiatives and organizations. Previous to her ICAAP role, she served as the Director of Strategy & Growth for HealthConnect One, a national maternal child health nonprofit, and as a fundraising consultant working for organizations in early childhood such as COFI, Honeycomb Project, and as the Director of Reach Out & Read Illinois, a program of ICAAP. Ms. Ogrin received her Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from New School University in New York City. She serves as one of the senior staff members at ICAAP and directs and implements fundraising and marketing initiatives to support ICAAP's leadership in Illinois.
Shefali Parikh, MS
312-733-1026, ext 214
Shefali Parikh joined in 2022 as a Program Manager under the Immunizations team. She has her BS in Economics and Business Analytics from Indiana University and her Master’s in Nutrition Education from American University. Prior to joining ICAAP, she worked as a Program Coordinator at Beyond Hunger’s Home Delivery Program, her focus was on planning and executing the monthly program and creating nutrition educational tools for 300+ clients. When she’s not working, she enjoys running (marathons), spending time in the kitchen, trying out new restaurants in Chicago, and finding new bakeries to visit.
Associate Director, Reach Out and Read Illinois
312-733-1026, ext 208
Kristina Rogers has worked in the early childhood sector for nearly ten years. In 2013, she joined Illinois Action for Children with the North Lawndale team, where she worked directly with children, families, providers, and schools. During this time, she helped develop the North Lawndale Early Childhood Collaboration which led efforts to address chronic absenteeism, early intervention wait lists, low enrollment in early childhood programs, and the transition from home-visiting programs to quality preschool. In 2018, Kristina joined the Community Systems Statewide Supports team, where she assisted Illinois early childhood collaborations to address similar issues.
Kristina graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with her undergraduate degree and completed her Master of Science degree at DePaul in Public Service Management. In June, she was appointed to the Oak Park Public Library Board, blending her passions for building community and setting policy. Kristina lives in Oak Park with her spouse, toddler, and dog.
Gurnik Singh (Nick) joined ICAAP in July 2022 as the Projects Administrator. Nick graduated from DePaul University in 2019 with a Master of Science with a focus on Healthcare Administration and Public Health. After graduation, he worked as a contractor at both Good Shepherd Hospital as well as Good Samaritan Hospital. 2021 brought Nick to a Chicago based domestic violence organization, Apna Ghar Inc. Here, Nick was given the opportunity to work to redesign the SVSE program post COVID. In his free time, he enjoys writing for his personal blog and spending time with friends and family. Nick is an avid follower of soccer and enjoys playing tennis.
Senior Program Manager, Immunizations
Caroline Werenskjold joined ICAAP September 2021. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia and her Master's in Public Health from Tulane University. Prior to ICAAP, Caroline worked as a project coordinator and researcher on a variety of community health and education projects. In her spare time, she likes to read by Lake Michigan and discover new delicious Chicago restaurants.
Reach Out and Read Program Manager
312-733-1026, ext 201
Veena Villivalam joined ICAAP in January 2023. She began her career as a public school teacher in New York City. Prior to joining ICAAP, Veena worked to support funders and non-profits in grantmaking, program evaluation, and program management. Committed to equity in education in informal spaces, Veena has also pursued educator roles within libraries as a Teacher in the Library and an Experiential Learning Specialist in the Chicago Public Libraries and Skokie Library respectively. With over 15 years of experience in the field of education, she is excited to contribute to ICAAP's efforts to promote early childhood and family literacy through the Reach Out and Read program. Veena received her B.A. from Brown University in Providence, RI and her M.Ed. from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York.
312-733-1026, ext 212
Paula Zajac joined ICAAP in September 2005 as a Project Coordinator supporting asthma, oral health, immunizations, and developmental projects. Her responsibilities included 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. In recent years Ms. Zajac has held the position of Office Manager where she is responsible for assisting the Executive Director and Director of Operations in all aspects related to the operation of ICAAP.