Loyola University Chicago

Student Activities

School of Law

Symposium Speakers

Distinguished Speaker:


Julie Hamos

Julie Hamos is the director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. HFS is the largest state agency with management responsibility for the Medicaid Program and Child Support Services. Julie has been successful in launching a major expansion of care coordination and managed care for Medicaid clients, planning for national healthcare reform, and crafting a plan, in a bipartisan legislative collaboration, to rescue Medicaid.

Previous to this position, Julie was the elected State Representative of the 18th District for over 11 years. In the General Assembly, she served as chief sponsor for key health initiatives such as the Illinois Health Information Exchange and Technology Act; the Consumer’s Guide to Health Care; the Children’s Mental Health Act; universal hearing screening for all newborns; and the Older Adults Services Act.

Before seeking public office, Julie championed public interest policies and community issues as a public interest attorney, legislative counsel, community relations consultant and advocate. Julie received her JD from George Washington National Law Center for a JD degree. 

Health Reform Panel

Margie Stapleton

Margaret Stapleton is the community justice director at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago where she works on behalf of low-income clients and communities on poverty and civil rights issues.  Currently, she is working extensively on protecting and improving the Medicaid program and implementing the Affordable Care Act, eliminating barriers to employment for people with conviction records, and improving the child support and family law systems to better serve low-income children and their parents.  As an attorney, she has worked on civil rights and poverty law issues throughout Illinois and nationally through litigation, policy advocacy, and publication in professional journals and the popular press since 1971.  She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.

Colleen Burns

Colleen Burns serves as special counsel for health policy in the office of Governor Pat Quinn. Her responsibilities include ensuring compliance with State and Federal laws, mandates and standards, as well as researching, developing, and writing proposals effecting changes in statutes and administrative rules.  Previously,

Colleen supported the development and design of the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace within the Office of the Governor and the Illinois Department of Insurance. Colleen has a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Gabriela Moroney

Gabriela Moroney is a senior policy advisor at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the state’s Medicaid agency.  She works on issues related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance affordability programs, including the development of the state’s new Integrated Eligibility System and the design of the Alternative Benefit Plan for the Medicaid expansion population.  Gabriela has been the primary liaison between the state’s Medicaid program and its Health Insurance Marketplace team.  From 2002 to 2008, Gabriela served as midwest director for RealBenefits, a web-based service used by community organizations throughout Illinois to facilitate enrollment in programs like Medicaid and SNAP.  During her tenure, RealBenefits received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.  Gabriela has a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago, and more than 15 years of experience working to improve access to health care and public benefits.

Graham Bowman

Graham Bowman is an Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. He provides direct legal services to homeless youth seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  A May graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Graham earned certificates in health law and public interest law. While in law school, Graham worked at a variety of nonprofit legal organizations that are leaders in advocating for expanded access to quality health care for low-income and vulnerable Americans, including Health & Disability Advocates, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Loyola’s Health Justice Project, and the National Law Health Program in Washington, D.C. Graham also worked as a summer law intern at the Coalition for the Homeless in 2011.

Community Provider Panel

David R. Buchanan

David Buchanan, MD, is the chief clinical officer of Erie Family Health Center, a community health center serving 50,000 patients in the Chicago area, and a practicing internist. Dr. Buchanan is also an associate professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern University, where his work focuses on quality improvement in

primary care settings and the health and economic impact of housing homeless individuals. Dr. Buchanan has helped Erie to emerge as a national leader in quality of care. His work has focused on goal setting for clinical teams, using electronic health record system (EHRS) data to drive patient outreach efforts, implementing clinical decision supports in the EHRS, as well as expanding health promotion and care coordination. Dr. Buchanan is a graduate of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and received a Master of Science in clinical research at Rush University. He completed a residency program in primary care internal medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

Emily Benfer

Emily Benfer is a clinical professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the director of the Health Justice Project, a medical-legal partnership clinic in which interprofessional student teams collaborate to address social and legal issues affecting the health of low-income individuals. Prior to founding the Health Justice Project, Professor Benfer taught in the Federal Legislation & Administrative Clinic and trained in Clinical Teaching at Georgetown Law Center. She was a legislative lawyer in the successful campaign to pass the ADA Amendments Act and represented Workplace Flexibility 2010 in legislative advocacy involving low-wage workers, women in the workplace, family and medical leave and the federal workforce. She has engaged in direct representation, class action litigation, grassroots organizing and federal and state policy reform in multiple areas of public interest law at legal services and nonprofit organizations.  Emily received her JD from Indiana University School of Law, cum laude.

Kohar Jones

Kohar Jones, MD, is an assistant clinical professor with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Chicago through the auspices of the Urban Health Initiative.  Her research areas include:  social determinants of health and health disparities, ethics of biomedical research, narrative medicine, and policy narrative.  She pursued her undergraduate and medical training at Yale University, enjoyed her intern year at a Top 100 Community Hospital in Middlesex, Connecticut, and completed her residency with Brown's Department of Family Medicine. As a National Health Service Corps Scholar, she practices at the federally qualified Chicago Family Health Center on Chicago's South Side.

Racial Health Disparities

Marshall Chin

Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH, FACP, Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Healthcare Ethics in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, is a general internist with extensive experience improving the care of vulnerable patients with

chronic disease.  He is director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Finding Answers: Disparities Research for Change National Program Office.  Dr. Chin is leading the evaluation of a Commonwealth Fund project that is implementing the patient-centered medical home in 65 safety net clinics across five states.  He is also improving diabetes care and outcomes on the South Side of Chicago through health care system and community interventions supported by grants from NIH and the Merck Foundation. Dr. Chin is a graduate of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine and completed residency and fellowship training in general internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Lena Hatchett

Lena Hatchett, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and director, Community and University Partnerships. Dr. Hatchett received her PhD in Social and Health Psychology from State University of New York Stony Brook and her post-doctoral training in Community and Prevention Research from University Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Her research interests focus on community-engaged approaches to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Ongoing research includes Cook County Green Corps, a green job training program to promote urban agriculture and local food systems. Dr. Hatchett is active in the American Public Health Association as a member of the Community-based Public Health Caucus Policy Work group and the Community-based Public Health Caucus Youth Council Support Team. Her local advocacy efforts include Cook County Department of Public Health Advisory Council and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Rachelle Sico

Rachelle Sico is a third year law student pursuing concentrations in health law, advocacy and public interest law.  Rachelle is a 2013-2014 Albert Schweitzer Fellow.  Her Schweitzer project proposes to implement a health and legal service centered on providing Illinois CountyCare for the Erie Family Health Center and the Health Justice Project Medical Legal Partnership. Rachelle’s service will ensure continuous and coordinated primary and preventive health care services for the previously uninsured individuals who are now newly eligible for health care.  Rachelle also currently serves as the Symposium Editor of the Loyola University Chicago Public Interest Law Reporter, a Senior Editor for the Annals of Health Law Journal and currently works for the Office of the General Counsel at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  She has served as the President of the Health Law Society, Student Attorney at the Health Justice Project Medical Legal Partnership and has held clerkships at the American Medical Association, the National Health Law Program in Washington D.C. and Kaiser Permanente.

Reproductive Rights/Justice & Low Income Women

Erin Armstrong

Erin Armstrong is an attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) in Washington, D.C., where she works to improve access to quality health care for low income and underserved individuals. Prior to NHeLP, she coordinated a reproductive health grants program at the Society of Family Planning, advocated on behalf of communities living with HIV/AIDS, and worked to reform punitive drug policies. Her prior legal experience includes clerkships at the East Bay Community Law Center, Southwest Women’s Law Center, and UCSF’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. Erin is President Emerita and a current member of the national board of directors of Law Students for Reproductive Justice. She is also the recipient of the 2009 New Mexico Public Health Association Phil Lynch Legislative Award. Erin received her JD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nadia Sawicki

Nadia Sawicki is an assistant professor with the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Professor Sawicki received her Masters in Bioethics and her JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise are health law and bioethics. Her research interests include the accommodation of personal and professional beliefs in a pluralistic society; the appropriate use of persuasion by state actors; the law’s recognition of legal rights to recovery for invasion of contested harms; definitions of professional roles and ethical norms in medicine; and the state’s role in enforcing those norms.  Her articles have been published in a variety of law reviews and peer reviewed journals, including the Cardozo Law Review, Arizona Law Review, Yale Law and Policy Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Journal of Health Care Law and Policy, Virtual Mentor: The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, and Journal of Legal Medicine.