Four UIC leaders named ‘Notable Women in Health Care’

Terri Weaver, dean and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Nursing; Dr. Joan Briller, professor of clinical medicine (cardiology and obstetrics and gynecology) at the UIC College of Medicine; Dr. Audrey Stillerman, associate director of medical affairs for the UIC Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships at UI Health Mile Square Health Center; and Rani Morrison, senior director of care continuum at UI Health, have been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2019 list of Notable Women in Health Care. Along with other honorees, they will be featured in a special section of Crain’s Nov. 11 online and print issue.

The honorees were selected based on career accomplishments, success in their field, contributions to the community and mentorship efforts.

“The exceptional leadership of women across our health enterprise has a tremendous impact on the education, research and clinical care that we provide to our community, students and patients. It comes as no surprise that UIC’s academic health enterprise, UI Health, is well represented on this list of notable female health care executives in Chicago,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UIC.

“Dean Weaver, Dr. Briller, Dr. Stillerman and Ms. Morrison are shining examples of how these women are committed to making a difference in the health and wellness of our neighborhoods and we are very proud to celebrate these exceptional advocates for community health and wellness,” he said.

Terri Weaver
Terri Weaver. (Photo: Joshua Clark)

Terri Weaver

As dean, Weaver is responsible for the strategic development and growth of educational, research and clinical priorities at the UIC College of Nursing, and for educating the next generation of nurse leaders for Illinois and beyond through oversight of six campus locations across the state in Chicago, Peoria, the Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield and Urbana.

Weaver has fostered the college’s engagement in novel health care initiatives in community practice and within the state and county criminal justice systems. She has overseen the development and operation of a nurse-led clinic in Humboldt Park that provides integrated primary and behavioral care, including dental care and access to social workers, and delivers primary care to members of the community on parole. Weaver has also overseen a student-based program that addresses health literacy among detainees at Cook County Jail and the college’s partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections to analyze care delivery and quality improvements across 26 correctional facilities, substantially leading to better health care for the incarcerated.

In addition, her research has influenced the field of sleep and she has sat on numerous national health care boards.

Throughout her career, Weaver has mentored pre- and post-doctoral fellows and visiting scholars who have gone on to be experts in nursing care, sleep disorders and sleep sciences. She also participated in the Women’s Mentorship program of the American Thoracic Society. Weaver was awarded the 2019 President’s Award from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses for her demonstrated commitment to mentoring Hispanic nurses. She established a faculty mentorship program at the College of Nursing and promoted holistic admissions to improve the diversity of the student body, which led to increased admissions from underrepresented groups.

A distinguished nursing leader, Weaver is serving a second term on the board of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She was named to the inaugural class of fellows of the American Thoracic Society and served several terms on the board. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, previously serving on its board. She also served on the boards of Weiss Memorial Hospital, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Research Society, and is the former chair of the national board of the American Lung Association. Weaver has testified three times before Congress.

Joan E. Briller, MD, Cardiology at UI Health
Dr. Joan Briller (Photo: UI Health)

Dr. Joan Briller

Briller is the “indispensable linchpin” of the maternal cardiovascular program serving a broad population of underserved and under-insured communities, according to Dr. Mladen Vidovich, professor of medicine, who nominated Briller for the award. Maternal mortality has doubled in the U.S. in the last 20 years and disproportionately affects minority groups. Briller’s research specifically addresses these issues and provides care for these patients. Her program has now evaluated more than 1,000 women with pregnancy-associated cardiovascular disease. 

Vidovich referred to Briller as the local pioneer in cardio-obstetrics and the implementation of the “pregnancy heart team” in his nomination.

Briller has presented locally, regionally and internationally on women’s cardiac disease, with a focus on pregnancy-associated heart disease. As a member of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Committee, she has joined Illinois’ efforts to reduce maternal cardiovascular deaths and recently was spotlighted in Chicago Magazine for this endeavor.

Briller has served on advisory committees for the Sister to Sister Foundation and the Heart Truth Campaign and has served as a Chicago spokesperson for the American Heart Association, where she celebrates 15 years working on Chicago Go Red Activities. She is a proud recipient of the Women with Heart Award in 2006 from the Chicago AHA for her contributions to that organization for addressing cardiac issues in women.

Dr. Audrey Stillerman
Dr. Audrey Stillerman (Photo: Joshua Clark)

Dr. Audrey Stillerman

Stillerman is associate director of medical affairs for the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, a department of more than 70 people that houses the School Health Centers, Nutrition Education and Advocacy, and other programs at UI Health Mile Square Health Center, a network of federally funded community health centers in Chicago. She also shares leadership at the Center for Collaborative Study of Trauma, Health Equity, and Neurobiology.

Her major recent contributions to improving health care delivery have come through her training of health care professionals and students in trauma-informed care.

During the past five years, Stillerman has mentored undergraduate health professions students, medical residents, and junior faculty from medicine, nursing, social work, public health and psychology at UIC and other institutions.

Stillerman is co-creator of and participant in the implementation and evaluation of ACE/Trauma 101 for the Chicago Department of Public Health, an organization-wide training shared with the Trauma-informed City Initiative. She assisted U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin in developing the Trauma-Informed Care for Children And Families Act.

Rani Morrison
Rani Morrison (Photo: Joshua Clark)

Rani Morrison

Morrison joined UI Health in November 2014 and currently serves as the senior director of care continuum, charged with leading the full range of care management activities at the hospital — social work, utilization management, discharge planning and financial case management.

She has changed the focus of medicine at UI Health to include all aspects of a patient’s condition beyond just the hospital and clinic. Her efforts to reduce access barriers for the underserved include transportation, insurance issues and re-integration back into the community after significant disease. She has positively affected progress in disease with social stigmas such as HIV, mental illness, trauma and abuse.

Morrison is a member of the Chicago Healthcare Executive Forum, a fellow for the American College of Healthcare Executives, a member of the National Association of Health Service Executives, a member of the Society of Social Work Leadership in Healthcare, and she was chosen as an inaugural member of UI Health’s Talent Accelerator Program.

Other notable honorees from UIC include Dr. Laura Concannon, assistant professor at the College of Medicine, and Suzet McKinney, adjunct assistant professor at the School of Public Health.

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