Meet Our Research Team

Meet a few members of the Adolescent & Young Adult Research team at the CORE Center/Stroger Hospital in Chicago, IL

 
Chris.jpg

Christopher V. Balthazar, MA

Chris is currently the Project Director of the Posse study. Chris has been with the team since 2009, and has worked on Project PrEPare, iPrEx OLE, EPIC and other projects.

Ixchell.jpg

Ixchell Ortiz-Estes, PNP-C

Ixchell is currently a study coordinator of the HPTN 083 study. Ixchell has been with the team since 2009, and has worked on Project PrEPare, EPIC and other projects.

Pedro.jpg

Pedro A. Serrano, MPH

Pedro is currently the Project Director of the Keeping it LITE study. Pedro has been with the team since 2009, and has worked on Project PrEPare, iPrEx OLE, EPIC and other projects.

John.jpg

John Kaleekal

John is currently a Research Assistant on the Keeping it LITE study, and has been with the team since 2018.

Kody.jpg

Kody Keckler

Kody is currently a Research Assistant on the A Team study, and has been with the team since 2017.

Ryan.jpg

Ryan Muench, MPH

Ryan is currently a Research Assistant on the HPTN 083 and Lynx studies, and has been with the team since 2017.

Alex.jpg

Alejandro Muñoz

Alejandro is currently a Research Assistant on the Keeping it LITE study, and has been with the team since 2018.

Meet Our Creative Team

Aaron Eischeid

Aaron Eischeid is a native Midwesterner residing in Chicago with his gecko, Gavin. When not found at his day job, he is a working author and filmmaker whose company, Paradigm Shift Productions, specializes in queer multimedia genre fare including AVERSION: A ZINE OF THERAPEUTIC VIGNETTES #1 & 2, an independent horror publication centered around conversion therapy currently in print across multiple US cities. Together with André Perez, Ricardo Gamboa and Olivia Curry, Aaron supported the development of the #keepingitLITE video campaign.

Andre.png

André Perez

André Perez is a mixed race oral historian, educator, filmmaker, and community organizer. He founded the Transgender Oral History Project in 2007, recorded 500 interviews with StoryCorps, and is the Director of the Sundance-backed series about trans people of color, America in Transition. Together with Ricardo Gamboa, Aaron Eischeid and Olivia Curry, Andre co-directed the #keepingitLITE video campaign.

headshot.jpg

Ricardo Gamboa

Ricardo Gamboa is an artist, activist and academic creating art, culture, media and resistance in his native Chicago and New York City. Together with André Perez, Aaron Eischeid and Olivia Curry, Ricardo co-directed the #keepingitLITE video campaign.

Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez

Gonzalo Reyes Rodriguez lives and works in Chicago. He works with photography, video and multi screen installation to examine the slippage between time and the act of image creation. Together with Andre and Ricardo, Gonzalo shot the photography for the #keepingitLITE photo campaign.

Walter Santiago Geschleider (He/His)

Walter hails from New Jersey and is a proud Puerto Rican. Through his consultancy, WalterofChicago, Walter provides a suite of creative services, including marketing, public relations, event planning and talent booking. Walter brings radical visibility to underground arts and culture communities of Queer and Transgender People of Color artists in Chicago. Walter works closely with the #keepingitLITE community through strategic partnerships with Chicago’s underground Queer arts and culture scene.


Meet Our Clinical Team

The Principal Investigators of the Adolescent & Young Adult Research team are also clinicians in pediatrics, family medicine and infectious disease. They practice in-patient and out-patient medicine at John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County, as well as out-patient medicine at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center.

Our institutional home, the Cook County Health, provides care to residents of Cook County, Illinois. Our medical team specializes in the HIV/STI continuum of prevention and care, including screening, treatment and vaccinations for common sexually transmitted infections, such as bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, tuberculosis and viral infections such as hepatitis (HAV/HBV), human papiloma virus (HPV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and more. In regards to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), we are now able to offer eligible patients exposure prophylaxis (both before and after exposure) to prevent HIV infection. For patients living with HIV, we offer clinical care in the setting of their choice, including an Adolescent & Young Adult clinic for patients under 25, a women's clinic for patients who identify as women, and a Spanish language clinic for Spanish speaking patients.

Patients at least 12 years old may access our services confidentially and without parental consent, on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Our mission is to provide health care with dignity and respect regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.