UI Health, Bernie Mac Foundation host sarcoidosis town hall


The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, together with the Bernie Mac Foundation, will host the third annual REACH for the STARS Town Hall Meeting. The Bernie Mac Sarcoidosis Translational Advanced Research (STAR) Center was established at UI Health with a grant from the Bernie Mac Foundation. Updates on research from the STAR Center, along with patient experiences will be presented. The meeting is open to patients and families affected by sarcoidosis, as well as physicians, caregivers and researchers.


Pat Tomasulo, sports anchor and co-host of the WGN Morning News, is the event emcee.

Speakers include:

  • Rhonda McCullough, president and CEO of the Bernie Mac Foundation and widow of Bernie Mac
  • Dr. Nadera Sweiss, associate professor of medicine at UIC and director of the Bernie Mac STAR Center
  • Princess Currence, director of the UIC College of Medicine Urban Health Program and sarcoidosis patient
  • Shiva Shahrara, associate professor or rheumatology at UIC, who will present preliminary results of her study on cardiac sarcoidosis
  • Dr. Yang Lu, assistant professor of radiology at UIC, who will discuss innovations in magnetic resonance imaging of cardiac sarcoidosis
  • Kenneth Lipsey, sarcoidosis patient


Sept. 25

10:45 am – 12:45 pm


UIC Student Center West, Thompson Room A; 828 S. Wolcott Ave.


Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that attacks multiple organs, especially the lungs and lymph nodes, disproportionately affects African Americans. Chicago comedian Bernie Mac died from complications of the disease in 2008.

The Bernie Mac STAR Center at UI Health was established in 2012 with a grant from the Bernie Mac Foundation. The center includes pulmonary and critical care physicians, rheumatologists, pharmacists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and dermatologists. The center enrolls patients in clinical trials of new therapies and seeks to develop new diagnostic methods and treatments for sarcoidosis.

The Bernie Mac Foundation is dedicated to a more thorough understanding of sarcoidosis, its impact on patients’ lives, and treatment. The foundation supports research and creates education-based opportunities for patients and their families. To date it has donated more than $100,000 towards sarcoidosis research at UIC.

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