Supporting Research, Innovation, and Education in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Board of Directors

Mark Grach Photo Throughout his 40+ year career, Mr. Grach has served as strategic advisor to medical schools, university and regional medical centers, governmental entities, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies. Mark began his career in Health Care by analyzing early HMO and health care provider development for the American Hospital Association. Mark was mentored by FJL Blasingame MD, EVP of the AMA from 1958 to 1973, and Edward Lichter MD, Chairperson of Preventive Medicine at University of Illinois. From that point on, his role has been to monitor, forecast and strategize change for many diverse health care, business, and insurer organizations. By 1980, he became one of the first MBAs to serve on a medical school faculty. Mark has built his reputation upon successfully developing HMOs and PPOS, ambulatory and surgical centers, senior assisted living, affordable housing, and multi-organizational collaborations, inclusive of hospital/medical school affiliations. Some of Mark’s career achievements:
  1. Developer/designer of the first medical center within a regional retail shopping center-1978.
  2. Developer of the University of Illinois on-site O’Hare Clinic, which included on-site emergency triage. That site became U of I’s largest patient site by number of patient visits.
  3. Developer of the first physician owned and operated HMO in Illinois.
  4. Advised over fifty percent of the hospitals and medical centers in the Chicago area.
  5. Development of a multi-site surgicenter company-1988.
  6. Developer/Executive Director of the Sanus/New York Life Illinois Health Plans.
  7. Restructurer of the University of Chicago Employee Health Clinic/Service.
  8. Creator/negotiator of the affiliation between the country of India and University of Illinois.
  9. Advisor to state and local public health care officials.
  10. Strategic Advisor to the Chancellor of the largest academic medical school system in the US, as well as to the President of that overall university.
  11. Strategic Advisor to the Dean/Chancellor of the largest medical school in the world.
  12. Developer of the first medical/social home in the State of Illinois.
Simultaneously, Mr. Grach has donated a significant amount of time and energy to non-profit organizations dealing in both the private and public health care arena. Mark has recently finished his term as President of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, the second oldest organization of its type in the US. The IOMC continues to serve as a thought leader, convener, and advisor to Medical, Nursing, Pharmaceutical and Allied Health colleges, as well as to governmental organizations. IOMC’s sponsors have included medical colleges, physician organizations, insurers, foundations, public health organizations, as well as the area’s major academic organizations. As Chair of ACCESS TO CARE at three different times, Mark helped to set the strategic direction of many of their initiatives, while assisting the organization in continuing to meet the needs of the working poor that ATC serves. As Chair of Chicago Center for Health Systems Development, Mr. Grach worked with senior staff to disburse over 55 million dollars of bio-terrorism funds in conjunction with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Also, Mark chaired the conversion of CCHSD, Chicago Center for Health Systems Development to The Institute of Public Health of Metropolitan Chicago, a CDC accredited organization. Mr. Grach has served on the boards of various home health agencies, nursing services, managed care associations, medical schools, as well as 10 years on the Board of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. Mark has also chaired the Health and Life Sciences Committee of the Union League Club of Chicago. His commitment to civic service is as strong as his private sector commitment. Recently, Mark has also served as Secretary of the Cook County Health Foundation. He now serves on the boards of the Portes Foundation, and Hektoen Institute for Medical Research foundations, and advises several other medically based foundations Mr. Grach continues to be sought out by both national and local leaders throughout the health care industry to interpret both public and private variables that affect strategic change within the industry itself.

Kiran Chekka PhotoKiran Chekka, MD, is a Fellowship Trained Interventional Pain Physician and Double Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Dr. Chekka was accepted into the prestigious Pennsylvania State University-Thomas Jefferson University accelerated medical program directly from high school. After completing his medical education at Jefferson Medical College, he completed Anesthesia residency training at Northwestern University and then completed a pain medicine fellowship at Northwestern during which he served as Chief Fellow.

Dr. Chekka then served as an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University for four years. During this period, Dr. Chekka published original research and abstract publications in Acute Pain Medicine, Regional Anesthesia, and Chronic Pain Medicine. Dr. Chekka presented original research for four straight years at the prestigious American Society of Regional Anesthesia and the American Society of Anesthesiology annual meetings. He has a wide-ranging scope of research experience including work on original research in the treatment of Post Herpetic Neuralgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), osteoarthritis and low back pain. Dr. Chekka specializes in the use of implantable devices and modern minimally invasive techniques to treat spinal pain.

Dr. Chekka has a real passion for educating future doctors, improving institutions in the developing world and volunteering internationally. Dr. Chekka’s goal is to become a full time medical volunteer specializing in rapid response disaster relief. He has taught Ultrasound guided procedures and lectured at the University of Texas, University of Rwanda, Nepal Orthopedic Hospital, and the Sri Lankan Society of Anesthesiology. Dr. Chekka has volunteered with several NGOS over the years including Operation Walk Chicago,, and Global Medicine Inc. Dr. Chekka is an expert in Ultrasound and Fluoro scope which are essential to the safe practice of medicine both at home and abroad.

As one of the first graduates of a multi-disciplinary pain fellowship, Dr. Chekka truly believes in a compassionate team approach to treating chronic pain. He focuses on functional restoration and improvement of quality of life as well as reduction of pain.

Dr. Chekka is now spearheading the Premier Pain Specialists Clinical Trials Program. Currently, PPS is working to improve patient care with cutting edge research on back pain, sciatica and arthritis.

During her 26 year tenure on Capitol Hill, Shimrah Bullock- Adkins served as a Project Management Coordinator in Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade, an American National Government Information Analyst, and an Administrative Officer in the Congressional Research Service. She holds the distinguished honor of being selected as a John W. Kluge Leadership Fellow at the Library of Congress.

Prior to serving in the Legislative Branch, Shimrah worked for the National Park Service, Department of Interior, as Supervisory Park Ranger for the President’s Park – White House. In this capacity, she was responsible for coordinating the White House Visitor’s Program, and all demonstrations and special events within the White House jurisdiction.

A native of New Rochelle, N.Y., Shimrah earned her B.S. in Political Science from Northeastern University, and participated in the Congressional Studies Graduate Program at the Catholic University of America. She completed the University of Maryland’s Leadership Development Program, the Harvard University Leadership Program (ACRL), and has attended classes at M.I.T. and Oxford University.

Shimrah represents The Portes Foundation at the Foxglove Forum in Chicago, IL.

Gerald Stapleton PhotoGerald Stapleton has held leadership roles in the field of education since the 1970s having first been appointed as a middle school principal in 1975 after 7 years of teaching in the public schools of northern Indiana and earning a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Purdue University. After additional studies in educational leadership at Purdue and serving as a principal in a private school in Hinsdale, Illinois, Mr. Stapleton took on leadership roles in corporate training where he was regional manager for training operations for two national retail organizations.

In 1999, Mr. Stapleton joined the Department of Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Medicine and took on the challenge of creating an online Core Curriculum intended to prepare UIC’s medical residents to meet the general competencies requirements established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The program was recognized by the Sloan Consortium as the most outstanding online program in 2002 and was adopted by more than 25 Graduate Medical Education programs across the country from New York to Hawaii with a total enrollment over 18 years of more than 15,000 residents over the next 18 years.

As Director for Distance Education and Faculty Associate in the UIC COM Department of Medical Education, Mr. Stapleton also guided the development of numerous other educational programs at all levels of the health professions education continuum dealing with such topics as environmental medicine, geriatrics, patient safety, quality improvement, health policy, global studies, and telemedicine. Mr. Stapleton has been at the forefront of research and application of cutting edge educational methodologies such as the use of web-based learning, video conferencing, simulation, virtual patients, active learning, serious games for learning, and virtual reality in the design of courses for health professionals.  In addition to his work in medical education, Mr. Stapleton works with the UIC Center for Research on Health and Aging (CRHA) on the development of educational programs for seniors.

Mr. Stapleton has pursued advanced studies in curriculum development with a focus on Health Professions Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His research centers on the teaching and evaluation of medical professionalism and on the development of serious games for learning. Other professional activities have included leadership roles in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care (APHC). Mr. Stapleton is a Fellow in the Institute for Medicine Chicago and is an Affiliate Member of AI.Health4All Center for Health Equity Using Machine Learning.  He has presented his research at both national and international forums and in several medical education journals.

Mr. Stapleton’s wife, Mary, is currently retired after serving as an administrator at The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, Illinois for over 20 years. Together, they serve as volunteers with the PADS organization and with Catholic Charities of Joliet both of which provide shelter for homeless individuals in Chicago’s western suburbs. They are the proud parents of Andy and of Elizabeth (Vincenty) and have 5 amazing grandchildren.

Dr. Aparicio has been the Director of Medical Education Programs at the American Medical Association (AMA) since 2004. He is past President of the Illinois Geriatrics Society, the Illinois Medical Directors Association and the Illinois Alliance for Continuing Medical Education (IACME).

He practiced medicine on the north side of Chicago and was affiliated with Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center (AIMMC), where he was the Director of Medical Education, Designated Institutional Official, and Associate Medical Director.

In 2004 he was appointed to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging Policy Committee, co-chaired its Health Care Subcommittee and participated as a voting delegate in the conference in December of 2005.

Dr. Aparicio’s community involvement has included serving as Chairman of the Hispanocare Board of Directors, as well as a member of the Advocate Health Care Board of Directors, the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Governing Council, the Ravenswood Health Care Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Portes Foundation Board of Directors. He also works as a volunteer physician at CommunityHealth, a clinic which provides free health care to uninsured patients in the Chicago area.

Tariq Butt PhotoDr. Tariq Butt is a Board Certified Family Physician with teaching appointments at the University of Illinois’ Medical College, Rush University Medical School, and the Faculty with Mt. Sinai Family Practice Residency Program affiliated with the Chicago Medical School. He is the Deputy Medical Officer of Access Community Health Network and as part of his medical practice, he provides a range of medical services to people from the West Side of Chicago, regardless of their ability to pay.

Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed him Member of the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees on July 1, 1995 and reappointed him to four-year terms in 1999, 2003 and 2007 to the renamed School Board, Chicago Board of Education.

Dr. Butt has received many prestigious awards including: The Loretta Lacey Advocacy (10/03), for his work in child advocacy; The Horatio Alger Award (5/02); was inducted into the Asian American Hall of Fame (5/02); The American Heart Saver (2002); The American Heart Association (2002); The Chicago’s 1997 Big Hearts for Young Heroes; and The 1995 Pan-Asian American Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.

Jonathan Carroll PhotoJonathan Carroll currently serves as the state representative for Illinois’ 57th House District. He decided to serve because the Representative cares about his community. Jonathan wants to ensure that his children see the better side of politics and learn to love the state as much as he does. In addition to his work as a state representative, Jonathan helps individuals with various cognitive challenges like ADHD meet personal, professional and educational goals. As a certified Special Education teacher, Jonathan has been helping individuals his whole career. The Representative is a lifelong resident of Illinois. Jonathan’s passions reflect the community: creating jobs, reducing Illinois’ massive property tax burden, ensuring great schools, sensible gun control and protecting a woman’s right to choose. Jonathan received a B.A. in Communications from DePaul University in Chicago and a M.A. in Learning Disabilities from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Jonathan lives with his wife Katrina and two children in Northbrook, Illinois.

Joseph Christofanelli PhotoJoseph is a Senior Manager with Ernst & Young LLP in the Business Incentives Practice for the Chicago and Indianapolis Offices and possesses over 25 years of incentive experience. Joseph has specialized in negotiating both global and domestic business incentives for corporate clients. Additionally, Joseph has assisted clients in securing and implementing green sustainability incentives.


Over 20 years (1984 – 2005) in the public sector, Joseph has negotiated and implemented over $250 million of incentives for companies in a variety of industries. Joseph specializes in identifying state and local incentives, structuring incentive negotiations, and implementing a variety of public financing and tax incentives. Joseph has worked with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies as well as several public sector entities.

During his tenure in the public sector, Joseph was responsible for implementing tax increment financing, enterprise zone, sale tax abatements; job tax credits programs, job training grants and alternative financing structures for developments. Joseph also coordinated and reviewed numerous municipal bond issues including general obligation, tax increment financing, and industrial revenue bonds.


Joseph is a graduate of Governors State University with a Master of Public Administration. In addition, Joseph received a Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University.


  • Chairman – Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce (2006)
  • Vice Chair Economic Development – Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce (2003 & 2004)
  • Board Member – Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member – Illinois Chamber of Commerce (2006-2011)
  • St. James Hospital and Health Center Planning Committee and Board
  • South Suburban Mayors and Mangers Association
  • Illinois Development Council
  • Illinois Tax Increment Finance Association
  • American Planning Association
  • Governor State University Business & Public Administration Advisory Group

Anne Jacobson PhotoAnne Jacobson is a Board Certified Family Physician, consultant in Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine, writer, and editor. She graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin Medical School and completed her residency training at West Suburban Family Medicine Residency. She practiced full scope Family Medicine with Obstetrics for many years with the Ambulatory and Community Health Network (ACHN) of Cook County, working primarily with immigrant, Spanish-speaking communities. She left the County health system for two years to complete a Community Health Fellowship at PCC Community Wellness and a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Illinois – Chicago. She returned to the Cook County ACHN and continued to practice Family Medicine in health centers in Cicero and Chicago; became Medical Director at the Cicero Health Center of Cook County; and served as the Director of Primary Care, supervising health care providers and program implementation across the extensive network of ACHN Primary Care health centers.

Having studied and integrated narrative and qualitative research techniques in her Fellowship and Master’s studies, and already a published writer herself, she began to explore ways to more formally integrate writing and medicine into her day-to-day professional work. She is now the Associate Editor at the Hektoen International Journal of Medical Humanities, where she works with a diverse group of international authors and readers. She also is working to develop programs that use narrative and qualitative methods to address significant issues in healthcare today from the perspective of patients and healthcare professionals. She is interested in health literacy, global health, healthcare access and quality, and wellness promotion and burnout prevention for healthcare providers.

She continues to write extensively on topics medical and non-medical, and enjoys travel, hiking, reading, and music. She lives with her husband and two children in Oak Park, Illinois.

Susan B. KernSusan B. Kern, MD, FCAP is board certified in anatomic, clinical and cytopathology. Served 11 years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps with residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. following which she was appointed Chief of Anatomic Pathology including residency training responsibility in Blood Bank and Cytology at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco.

Joining a high intensity private Pathology practice at Northwest Community Healthcare in NW suburban Chicago in 1990 she became Medical Director of Blood Bank and Cytology, Treasurer and VP of the pathology corporation, an elected officer and President of the 1000-physician Medical Staff, served as a voting member of the Hospital Board, Chaired the Transfusion Committee and served on numerous other hospital committees. Appointed to the Practice Management Committee, a national committee of the College of American Pathologists: Dr. Kern created and moderated nationally available webinars on Rural Pathology/Healthcare; Legal Conundrums faced by Pathologists in their Practice and an in-person course on Revenue Cycle Management for pathologists/physicians (CAP-22 annual meeting).

Always active in organized medicine, Dr. Kern has leadership experience with Cook County/Chicago and IL. State Medical Societies, chairing committees and caucuses including the Resolutions Reference Committee hearing testimony on resolutions from the County Society that are forwarded to the State and AMA.

As well as serving as an officer, Trustee and Director of multiple civic and philanthropic organizations, Dr. Kern, since 2013 observes/monitors the Cook County Health and Hospital System for the League of Women Voters, Health Group, engaging directly with the Board members and leadership of this Public/Charity Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Kern was elected by the citizens to serve as a Trustee of Palatine Township, over a 5-year term.

Numerous published pathology medical articles in national and international medical journals and presentations of courses and clinical research at national & international venues are credited to her.

An Arbitrator and Mediator in private practice since retiring from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in 2006, Mr. O’Brien was commissioned a Federal Mediator in March, 1999. His career in public sector labor relations and human resource management, primarily at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago, spanned more than 30 years. Mr. O’Brien was national president of the Industrial Relations Research Association, now the Labor and Employment Relations Association, in 1998.

Commissioned as a Naval officer in 1968, Mr. O’Brien served almost three years of active duty in an Atlantic Fleet destroyer, and 27 years as a Navy Reservist, retiring as a Captain in 1998.

Mr. O’Brien has a B.S. in Psychology, and an M.S. in Industrial Relations, both from Loyola University Chicago. He also holds a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mr. O’Brien and his wife, Ellen, reside in Newport, Rhode Island.

Renee McCarthy PhotoDuring the last 18 years, Reneé Reifsteck McCarthy has served the University of Illinois, first as Senior Associate University counsel (1999-2016), and more recently, as the Director of Medical Student Learning Environment.

As Senior Associate University Counsel, Reneé provided advice and counsel to faculty, staff, and administration at all levels, up to the President and the Board of Trustees, on a variety of legal issues including unlawful discrimination and harassment, compliance with Title IX, 1st Amendment protections of free speech, religion and association, as well as students’ rights to due process, equal protection, privacy and safety/security. She sat on a number of committees during her tenure in University Counsel’s office, such as the President’s Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Misconduct/Violence, and Student Response and Threat Assessment Teams. In addition, she assisted with the development, drafting and implementation of a number of campus policies and procedures involving students and medical/dental residents, including the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Degree Revocation Policy, Student Records Policy and Student Academic Grievance Procedures.

In her current role as Director of Medical Student Learning Environment, Reneé serves as a neutral and impartial resource for medical students, faculty, staff and administration on all four UI COM campuses to address student mistreatment and other learning environment concerns. She developed and implemented the UI COM Positive Learning Environment Policy, as well as the processes for reporting student mistreatment and other learning environment concerns including the online reporting portal. Reneé also sits as an ex-officio member of the College-wide Committee on Instruction and Appraisal.

Reneé earned both her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois. She completed a 40-hour mediator training course through Northwestern School of Professional Studies, as well as Title IX coordinator training through the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Reneé is licensed to practice law and in good standing with the State of Illinois and the Northern District of Illinois. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Reneé is married to Declan, a dentist and graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. They reside in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with their three children, where Reneé serves as secretary of the Glen Ellyn Working Ladies (GEWLS), a group of working mothers sharing their diverse skills and talents to empower and support one another and the community.

Jay Sandlow MD

Dr. Jay Sandlow received his MD from Rush University in Chicago. He then completed his urology residency at the University of Iowa, as well as a 2-year fellowship in Male Infertility sponsored by the American Foundation for Urologic Diseases (AFUD). He is currently Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Urology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He is also the Director of the Male Infertility and Sexual Dysfunction Fellowship at MCW. He is actively involved in all male infertility societies and has served as President in each of them. He has served on the Editorial Boards of multiple medical journals and is currently a member of the American Board of Urology Exam Committee.

Dr. Sandlow has authored multiple publications and has been the editor for several texts on male infertility. He helped develop the American Urological Association’s Vasectomy and Male Infertility Guidelines and has taught courses on infertility, microsurgery, and vasectomy at international meetings. His research interests center around male infertility, specifically varicoceles, as well as male contraception and fertility preservation.

Having been brought up by Dr. Les Sandlow, he learned early on in his career the importance of educating future generations. He has always been actively involved in medical education, including medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty. Over the last several years, he has volunteered his time at the Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured in Milwaukee, the No-Scalpel Vasectomy International mission to the Philippines and is on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Academy of Science, a STEM charter school in the inner city of Milwaukee.

Information coming soon

In Memoriam

In memory of Allan R. Carroll

Allan Carroll PhotoAllan Carroll served as President of the Portes Foundation for many years.  He had been active in the financial markets since the 1960’s having worked first as Account Executive and later in management positions with appropriate licensure for Wall Street firms including Merrill Lynch, Bache & Co., and L. F. Rothschild. In 1980, he founded Carroll Financial Group, Inc., a mortgage banking firm which placed more than $1.5 billion in private purpose tax-exempt financing. In his later years, he served as President of GITTEL, Inc., a private consulting firm.

Mr. Carroll was a Director of Edens Bank, Wilmette, IL and of North Community Bank, Chicago, IL, where he also served as a member of the Executive Loan Review Committee. He served on the Executive Loan Committee of Metropolitan Bank Group, and also on the Independent Directors’ Committee.

He was the longest serving President of Ezra Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation, Skokie, IL where he also served as Managing Trustee of the multi-million dollar Endowment Fund. He was awarded The Gates of Jerusalem Medal by State of Israel Bonds.

He was a graduate of North Shore Country Day School in Wilmette, and held a BA in Political Science and History from Tufts University in Medford, MA.  Mr. Carroll was married to Paula (Adler) and they had two children, Laura (Jed) Ward and Jonathan (Katrina), and three grandchildren. 

In memory of Leslie J. Sandlow, M.D.

Leslie J SandlowDr. Sandlow was Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Portes Foundation.  In his professional career, he was the former head and professor emeritus of the department of medical education at the UIC College of Medicine.  Prior to his retirement in 2010, he also had served as associate dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education, and as the senior associate dean for medical education, encompassing the continuum of education throughout the four program sites of the college.  In addition to his academic appointment as professor of medical education, Dr. Sandlow was professor of medicine in the department of medicine.

Prior to coming to UIC, Dr. Sandlow was senior vice president for academic and medical affairs at Michael Reese Hospital & Medical Center, where he established the Educational Unit. He was a member of the board of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation.

After retiring in 2010, Dr. Sandlow continued teaching as well as working as consultant to medical schools across the nation. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, Chicago Medical School, in 2020 as well as the 2018 Portes Foundation Meritorious Lifetime Achievement Award.

In memory of Richard Kohan

Richard KohanRichard Kohan was Chairman of the Board of Directors.  He served The Portes Foundation in support of its work in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for over 40 years. After serving as a trustee for several years, Mr. Kohan became Chairman of The Portes Foundation in 1976. During the more than 30 years that he served as Chairman, the operating Portes Center became The Portes Foundation moving its emphasis from performing cancer prevention and health maintenance screening to encouraging and supporting research in the fields of health maintenance and disease prevention. Mr. Kohan leaves behind many friends and accomplishments.  Click here for a tribute to the memory of Richard Kohan, from the eulogy by our President, Allan Carroll.

In memory of Richard Kalish

Richard Kalish

Richard Kalish served as President of The Portes Foundation.  He received The Portes Foundation Lifetime Service Award for his excellence in health promotion through contributions in the areas of disease prevention and the remediation of disability and human suffering. Mr. Kalish leaves behind a wealth of family and friends who loved and laughed with him.