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The Center’s Governance

Because The Center is a virtual entity that carries out its work through joint staffing from Advocate Health Care and OCEAN-HP at UIC, we do not have a formal board. We do, however, work to stay accountable to the wider faith and health movement and to seek input from regular meetings of our Wisdom Circle.

The Faith and Health Community of Practice

The Center is a collaborative entity. We were formed out of the minds and work of many partners. We continue to look to the larger faith and health movement to participate with us in developing transformational approaches for cultivating Loving Communities of hope, justice and wholeness.  The Faith and Health Community of Practice is made up of anyone who is working on faith-rooted approaches to promoting health equity.  The Center stays in relationship with, listens to and learns with the Community of Practice as our most basic unit of accountability. The Community of Practice meets regularly, receives and responds to updates about the work of The Center and shares leadership in designing opportunities to learn, connect and renew.


The Center staff is made up of representatives from the partner organizations (Advocate and UIC). The staff function collaboratively in shaping the direction of The Center’s work and representing The Center internally and externally, with the Co-Directors carrying out The Center’s day to day operations.

Wisdom Circle

As we reach for transformative approaches, we need an environment in which to think critically about what we are doing.  The Wisdom Circle functions as a body that helps us reflect on our work and consult with a broad range of stakeholders about the projects and ideas we are developing.  The Wisdom Circle also offers an opportunity for members to present their own work and get the consultation of the group.

The Wisdom Circle is made up of 15-25 people that are representative of the diversity in race, ethnicity, religion, geography and sector that make up the metropolitan Chicago area.

Contact us if you would like to be considered to join The Center’s Wisdom Circle.

Current Wisdom Circle Members

We are grateful for all those who serve and have served on our Advisory Council/Wisdom Circle over the years!

  • Rev. Tom Behrens, Founder and Executive Director (Retired), The Night Ministry
  • Rev. Jacki Belile, Founder and Director, Living Well Ministries and Minister of Congregational Development, Eden United Church of Christ
  • Dr. Mary Chase Ziolek, Professor, North Park University College of Nursing and North Park Seminary
  • Rabbi Menachem Cohen, Rabbi, Mitziut Congregation
  • Rev. Bonnie Condon, Vice President, Community Health and Faith Outreach, Advocate Aurora Health Care
  • Angela Ellison, Acting Director, Office for Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Joseph Harrington, Regional Health Officer, Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Vida Henderson, Research Scientist, Cancer Center, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Rev. Larry Jackson, Vice President, Mission and Spiritual Care, Advocate Aurora Health Care
  • Rev. James Kenady, Faith-Based Program Coordinator, Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Dr. Hema Pokharna, Founder, Journeys of Life
  • Abrar Quader, Director, Government and Community Partnerships, Compassionate Care Network
  • Shaan Trotter, Administrative Director, Health Disparities and Special Population Initiatives, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University
  • Karriem Watkins, Admin. Dir. Community Engaged Research, University of Illinois Cancer Center
  • Rev. Barbara Wilson, Director of  Collaboration and Community Partnerships, Presbytery of Chicago
  • John Zeigler, Project Director, Neighborhood and Community Partnerships, Egan Urban Center, DePaul University

Past Advisory Council Members

(Note: Titles reflect member’s position when they were on our council and are not current)

  • Rev. Thomas Aldworth, Pastor, Morgan Park Baptist Church
  • Mariam Azam, Associate Director, IMAN—Innercity Muslim Action Network
  • Rev. Jim Benn, Pastor, Eden United Church of Christ (deceased)
  • Leone Biccieri, Senior Organizer, Center for New Community, Midwest Immigrant Health Project
  • Mayme Buckley, Director, External Affairs, Health Care Consortium of Illinois
  • Dr. Amparo Castillo, Director, Diabetes Research, Midwest Latino Health, Research Training and Policy Center, Jane Addams School of Social Work
  • Rev. Erik Christensen, Pastor, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square
  • Sheri Cohen, Senior Health Planning Analyst, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Rev. Bob Davis, Pastor, Holy Cross Lutheran Church
  • Dr. Dawnavan Davis, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago
  • Rev. Deborah Derylak, Director, Field Education, Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Diana Grant, Vice President, Medical Management, Advocate Trinity Hospital
  • Theresa Heaton, Personal Health Division Director, Kane County Department of Public Health
  • Marsha Herring, Director of Program Implementation, Access Community Health Network (deceased)
  • Ahlam Jbara, Associate Director, The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Dr. Chisina Kapungu, PhD, Assistant Professor in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Center for Research on Women & Gender, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Rev. James Kenady, Lead Organizer, Faith Initiatives, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children
  • Beverly Kimmons, Director, MFT Diversity Initiatives, Alzheimer’s Association
  • Dr. Deborah Mullen, Director, Center for African American Ministries and Black Church Studies, McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Sheik Kifah Mustapha, Imam and Associate Director, Mosque Foundation, Bridgeview, IL
  • Rev. Kenneth Robinson MD, President, Faith Based Health Outreach and Referral Network (HORN)
  • Rev. Jose Rosa, Pastor, Primera Iglesia Congregacional
  • Amy Rubin, Director, JCARES, Jewish Child and Family Services
  • Rev. Charles Straight, Board of Directors, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
  • Mark Washington, Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Graduate and Faculty Ministries
  • Apostle Carl White, Pastor, Victory Christian Assembly Church, President, Southland Ministerial Health Network
  • Marilyn Willis, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.