We are a data-driven cohort of skilled, experienced community health workers, public health professionals, and researchers supporting organizations in designing, implementing, and evaluating the CHW model.

Since 2001, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) has been employing CHWs working to improve chronic disease management and wellness, thereby gaining significant expertise in the hiring, training, and supervision of CHWs. SUHI is the community research center of Sinai Health System. We are dedicated to improving the health of the most vulnerable communities, which we achieve by identifying health inequities; addressing these inequities with innovative solutions, and rigorously evaluating our work to ensure effectiveness.


In 2017, after receiving a large number of consulting requests around the hiring, training, and implementation of the CHW model, SUHI formally launched CROWD, the Center for CHW Research, Outcomes, and Workforce Development, as a CHW training and technical consulting entity to meet the growing demand of consulting needs throughout the Midwest.


CROWD consulting services staff supports health plans, health systems, organizations, and research studies in the effective uptake of the CHW model through assistance in hiring, training, supervising, and evaluating CHWs.


Sharon Homan, PhD, President

Dr. Sharon Homan, President of Sinai Urban Health Institute, is a biostatistician and maternal child mental health epidemiologist. Previously, Sharon served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and Associate Dean for Research at the University of North Texas School of Public Health in Forth Worth, Texas.


Her prior experience includes public health leadership and faculty positions with Rockhurst University (Academic Vice President), the Kansas Health Institute (Vice President for Public Health) and Saint Louis University (Professor of Biostatistics).

Sharon received her doctoral and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa, studying biostatistics, preventive medicine and environmental health.


She completed additional studies in psychiatric epidemiology, theology and social ethics.


Dr. Homan brings a wealth of experience and publications in public health research and evaluation, with particular dedication to maternal and child health, violence prevention and community health improvement initiatives. Her research has been funded by NIH, HRSA, CDC, DOJ, state contracts and foundations.


Helen Margellos-Anast, MPH, Senior Research Director, Senior Epidemiologist

Helen started leading community health interventions utilizing the community health worker (CHW) model and directing health disparities research with SUHI in 2001. She has directed SUHI’s national award-winning asthma CHW-centered research and programs since 2006 and is the principal investigator (PI) of two HUD-funded asthma research studies, one testing the feasibility and effectiveness of a home-based, individualized CHW model in improving asthma outcomes in adults, and the other testing the long-term effectiveness of CHW asthma interventions.  She is also the PI for Primary Prevention of Lead Poisoning Through Targeted Deployment of Community Health Workers, another HUD-funded research study.  From 2014-2017, Helen was the site PI for the Coordinated Health Care Interventions for Childhood Asthma Gaps in Outcomes (CHICAGO) Plan, a multi-site asthma comparative effectiveness trial funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The CHICAGO Plan investigated how health outcomes for Black and Latino children with uncontrolled asthma presenting to six Chicago emergency departments might best be optimized. In addition, Helen directed the CHICAGO Plan’s CHW Coordinating Center, an entity housed at SUHI that supported all clinical sites in the hiring, training, and supervision of CHWs, and ensured the fidelity of the CHW intervention arm of the trial.


Helen has successfully established contractual relationships with Medicaid managed care organizations, private insurers, and health systems to extend the CHW model to their members/patients with poorly controlled asthma, both adults and children. As the director of SUHI’s community health innovations strategy, Helen also leads CHW intervention research in breast health and diabetes. Under her leadership, SUHI has leveraged its prominence as an expert in CHW hiring, training, supervision and program implementation to establish CROWD – the Center for CHW Research Outcomes, and Workforce Development.  Through CROWD, SUHI supports health plans, health systems, organizations, and research studies in all facets of establishing, coordinating or expanding CHW interventions.  


Helen has strong relationships with community leaders and organizations that are invaluable in moving community-based work forward, and also with area health plans and health systems.  She has participated in several studies to measure Chicago’s racial and ethnic health disparities and their contributing factors, including the two largest community-informed health surveys ever conducted in Chicago. She has published papers concerning overall health disparities in Chicago and the U.S., as well as disparities in childhood obesity, asthma, and the health status of Deaf persons.  Helen has served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Asthma Consortium since 2006 and served as chair from 2009-2010. She is also an Allied Health Professional member of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology and is serving on the CHW Thought Leadership Group for the American Hospital Association.  


Kim Artis, BA, Community Health Worker III; Senior CROWD Trainer

Kim Artis is a Community Health Worker III. She started with SUHI in 2012 and currently works on two projects. One is a technology-based diabetes intervention with Sinai Health System and its clinics that works to integrate CHWs into the healthcare team. Kim provides education to the program's participants and assists with health and social system navigation. Kim also works on training and consulting projects within CROWD.


In 2014, Kim was the recipient of the Real Award, which is a national award given through the Save the Children foundation that honors outstanding work in the medical field. Kim was one of few community health workers to receive this honor in Washington DC.


Stacy Ignoffo, MSW, Director of Community Health Innovations

Stacy joined SUHI in January 2017 as a Program Manager. In this capacity, she develops, oversees, and provides strategic direction to the development and implementation of SUHI's community health worker interventions and training programs. Stacy has extensive experience developing and implementing public health initiatives, building collaborative projects, engaging diverse stakeholders, and applying for and management of grants and contracts. She has designed, developed, and implemented numerous programs designed to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities. These include community-based public health initiatives, community-engaged research projects, and initiatives that address policy and systems change.

Prior to joining SUHI, Stacy served as Executive Director of the Chicago Asthma Consortium and Senior Director of Programs at the Respiratory Health Association where she utilized her knowledge of coalition building, non-profit management and administration, and program and policy development and implementation to lead lung health activities.


Julie Kuhn, MSW, Program Manager; CROWD Trainer

Julie became a member of SUHI in August 2011 to direct the Asthma CarePartners program, a community health worker (CHW)-led, home-based, asthma intervention for public and private insurers. In her current role as program manager, Julie also oversees CROWD, which officially launched in 2017. In addition to outreach and communication with potential and active CROWD clients, Julie administers contracts and grants. She has also been instrumental in developing and expanding CROWD's CHW core skills training.


Non-profit work has been her focus throughout her career, including 10 years working alongside Chicago Public Schools bringing programs and services to children, families, and faculty. She has implemented and managed interventions that improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities.


Julie received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Iowa and her master's in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Rhonda Lay, BA, Community Health Worker III; CROWD Trainer

Rhonda Lay joined the team at SUHI in November 2009 as a Community Health Worker on a pediatric asthma intervention program.


Having a background in respiratory health, Rhonda has been instrumental in helping create asthma training programs for various organizations and CHW core skills trainings for CROWD.


Rhonda sits on several advisory boards including the Community Health Worker Core Consensus (C3) Project, Chicago Asthma Consortium (CAC), and the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council (NLCCC) Health and Wellness Group.


Rhonda received her B.A. in respiratory care from Northeastern Illinois University.


Fatima Padron, BA, Training & Intervention Manager

Fatima Padron joined the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) in January of 2015 to serve as a Supervisor of Asthma Education for the Coordinated Healthcare Interventions for Childhood Gaps in Outcomes Plan, or the CHICAGO Plan, a project funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The CHICAGO Plan was a collaboration between six different emergency departments in the city of Chicago and was a three-arm pragmatic trial to evaluate interventions to improve pediatric asthma management in inner city Chicago children.  Fatima supervised under the CHICAGO Plan’s CHW Coordinating Center, an entity housed at SUHI that supported all clinical sites in the hiring, training and supervision of CHWs, and ensured the fidelity of the CHW intervention arm of the trial.


Since then, Fatima has been instrumental in establishing CROWD.  Through CROWD, SUHI supports health plans, health systems, organizations, and research studies in all facets of establishing, coordinating, or expanding CHW interventions. In her current role, Fatima leads CROWD’s training center by overseeing CROWD’s training contracts and leading the CROWD training team to deliver high quality training.

Fatima graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 and has spent nearly a decade working as a CHW, supervising CHWs, and developing and facilitating CHW trainings. Prior to joining SUHI, Fatima worked as a Patient Advocate at the University of Chicago Medicine, as a bilingual CHW at a.i.r. nyc, providing asthma education to families in Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx, and as a CHW at Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program (Wayne CHAP) in Detroit.


Please reload

1500 South Fairfield Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60608

Have an inquiry? Get in touch with us!

© 2018 by Sinai Urban Health Institute