Staff Directory

David Frim, M.D., Ph.D.

David Frim, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Director, MHFP

Dr. David Frim is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon and neurosciences researcher who has specialized in the care of children and adults with congenital central nervous system anomalies for over 20 years. Dr. Frim’s research and his innovative approaches to treating hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, and tethered cord syndrome have attracted patients and families from national and international sources. Although Dr. Frim is no longer practicing clinically, the neurosurgical team at the University of Chicago Medicine is continuing his legacy in treating pediatric patients with all forms of neurosurgical pathology. Dr. Frim continues to be an active medical researcher and educator for the Margaret Hackett Family Program, and also serves as principal investigator on laboratory and research studies related to brain injury, intracranial pressure dynamics, and cognitive outcome after treatment of hydrocephalus and Chiari syndrome.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave

MC3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Office Support:

  • Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123
  • Fax: 773-702-3518
Julie Droessler, M.A.

Julie Droessler, M.A.

Program Manager, MHFP

Julie began her career as an educator for students with special needs, including learning and behavior disorders. Her primary focus at the time was working with students in elementary school. After teaching for three years, she transitioned to a career in business where she worked for a small tech firm and then went on to work at the American Medical Association. Julie has always remained passionate about helping students and families, and while pursuing a career in business over the years, she worked with a variety of organizations that focus on the development of youth such as One Million Degrees, GRIP Outreach for Youth, and at City Church Chicago where she plays a lead role on their Family Ministries team. Julie continues her passion for helping youth and families in her role as Program Manager of the MHFP, where she develops and manages community outreach and support services for patients and families at UChicago Medicine.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave.

MC3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Email: jdroessler@bsd.uchicago.edu

Phone (Direct): 773-702-3399

Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123

Fax: 773-834-2066

Rosa Velazquez, B.A.

Rosa Velazquez, B.A.

Program Administrator & Patient Advocate, MHFP

As the Margaret Hackett Family Program’s administrator and patient advocate, Rosa Velazquez is responsible for the development of the program at the University of Chicago, the program’s research development and expansion, and the program’s patient-centered care and advocacy. Rosa also helps patients and families navigate the multitude of resources available through the Margaret Hackett Family Program, including patient education, advocacy groups, and treatment options related to CNS congenital anomalies. With years of experience working with patients and their families, and her previous experience in clinical database development and research, Rosa is keen to patient and family needs, worries, and much more.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave

MC 3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Phone (Direct): 773-795-0622

Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123

Email: mhfcp@bsd.uchicago.edu

Fax: 773-834-2066

Christine Herrera, B.S.

Christine Herrera, B.S.

Clinical Research Coordinator II, MHFP

Christine Herrera is a Clinical Research Coordinator II for the Margaret Hackett Family Program at the University of Chicago, where she is responsible for the construction, development, and maintenance of the clinical database. Christine has worked in the medical field for 10 years. She has worked bedside in a neurosurgical intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), as well as in an outpatient adult and pediatric neurosurgical clinical setting. Christine has directed her interest in nursing and patient care to pursue a career in research, seeking greater understanding of complex anomalies in order to provide better resources to patients and families of the Margaret Hackett Family Program.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave

MC 3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Phone (Direct): 773-702-2256

Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123

Fax: 773-834-2066

Judith Holleman, APRN, MSN

Judith Holleman, APRN, MSN

Advanced Practice Nurse, MHFP

Judith (Judie) Holleman supports both research and clinical care for the Margaret Hackett Family Program. During her research activities, Judie helps develop clinical research protocols and clinical trials. While working with patients, she operates as an experienced clinician that helps interpret and navigate the pathway of care. She brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to caring for patients impacted by CNS anomalies.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave

MC 3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123

Fax: 773-702-3518

Renuka Ramachandra, Ph.D.

Renuka Ramachandra, Ph.D.

Research Professional, MHFP

Dr. Ramachandra is a Research Professional for the Margaret Hackett Family Program. She is a neuroscientist with nearly 20 years of experience in finding molecular pathways, drug discovery, product design and validation, stem cell therapy, and testing for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injury and pain. She is passionate about the neurological sciences, and is developing research regarding CNS congenital anomalies alongside Dr. David Frim.

Contact Information

Address:

Margaret Hackett Family Program

Department of Neurological Surgery

5841 S. Maryland Ave

MC 3026 / J341

Chicago, IL 60637

Phone (Direct): 773-834-5969

Phone (Main Office): 773-702-2123

Fax: 773-702-3518

Email: renukar@bsd.uchicago.edu

Carina Yang, M.D,

Carina Yang, M.D,

Neuroradiologist, MHFP

A board-certified radiologist/neuroradiologist, Dr. Carina Yang specializes in pediatric neuroradiology with a focus on diagnosing and characterizing the full scope of head, brain, spine and neck conditions. Dr. Yang is an expert in interpretation of computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) examinations, and promotes techniques for pediatric patients to minimize radiation exposure and performing testing without the need for extended sedation. The Margaret Hackett Family Program at the University of Chicago aims to collaborate with physicians who advocate for the education and the advancement of knowledge pertaining to the care of patients. Dr. Yang dedicates time to aid the program’s medical researchers by suggesting the best imaging modalities and how to best evaluate imaging data when evaluating past approaches to treatment and planning innovative clinical trials. Her collaboration ensures an effective multi-disciplinary approach to analyzing clinical data, understanding patient scans, and expanding educational frontiers.

Learn more about Dr. Yang…

Maureen Lacy, Ph.D.

Maureen Lacy, Ph.D.

Neuropsychologist, MHFP

Dr. Maureen Lacy is interested in the assessment of memory, language, reasoning, and spatial and attention problems related to medical, neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Dr. Lacy is also interested in the neuropsychological detection and characterization of neurodegenerative conditions (dementias). In addition to her clinical practice, she is engaged in multiple ongoing research projects in which she studies the cognitive, behavioral and clinical aspects of Hydrocephalus across a lifetime. The Margaret Hackett Family Program’s ongoing collaboration with Dr. Lacy has begun to unravel the cognitive impact that can be caused to patients with hydrocephalus and/or Chiari malformation type 1.

Moise Danielpour, M.D.

Moise Danielpour, M.D.

Consortium Member, MHFP

Dr. Moise Danielpour of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the few pediatric neurosurgeons in the world with experience with in utero surgical treatment for birth defects, such as myelomeningocele. He is a world-renowned investigator and neurosurgical expert on congenital anomalies of the central nervous system and acquired neurosurgical diseases such as skeletal dysplasia, hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, brain tumors, craniosynostosis, and vascular malformations. As a Consortium Member, Dr. Danielpour contributes his knowledge and expertise to the Margaret Hackett Family Program’s clinical database and research initiatives.

Lissa Baird, M.D.

Lissa Baird, M.D.

Consortium Member, MHFP

Dr. Lissa Baird is the director of neurosurgical oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She specializes in caring for children with neurosurgical disorders of the brain and spine, and has specific expertise in the treatment of brain tumors and pediatric neurovascular disease. Dr. Baird is also specialized in using minimally invasive and endoscopic techniques for treating many disorders including hydrocephalus, tumors of the skull base and pituitary region, and arachnoid cysts. Her research interests are focused on neuro-oncology and working towards novel treatments and a better understanding of pediatric brain tumors. Dr. Baird also works closely with the clinical director of pediatric neuro-oncology and her neurosurgical team at Boston Children’s to expand the research and clinical capabilities of their neuro-oncology program with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As a consortium member of the Margaret Hackett Family Program, Dr. Baird plays an important role in developing the clinical database.

Sarah Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H.

Sarah Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H.

Consortium Member, MHFP

Dr. Sarah Jernigan is committed to providing longstanding care to pediatric patients well into their adulthood. With a broad range of experience in treating neurosurgical conditions in patients, Dr. Jernigan focuses on providing patients the best care possible. After graduating college, Dr. Jernigan traveled to Morocco as a member of the Peace Corps where she developed a passion for international outreach. Dr. Jernigan uses her services as a physician to provide better care to patients and families across borders, and she continues her outreach efforts as a way to pay her educational merits forward. As a member of the Consortium for the Margaret Hackett Family Program, Dr. Jernigan lends her experience as an international provider and her commitment to better patient care to the program and its affiliated patients.

Christina Sayama, M.D., M.P.H.

Christina Sayama, M.D., M.P.H.

Consortium Member, MHFP

Dr. Christina Sayama is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Sayama’s research interests focus on bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) and their use in spinal fusion surgeries, as well as other new developments in scoliosis surgery such as sublaminar polyester bands. She has a specialized focus on pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric neuro-oncology, and pediatric spinal surgery. As a member of the Consortium, Dr. Sayama lends her experience and knowledge as a pediatric spinal surgeon to the program.