Our Team

Equal Hope’s work is supported by a team of diverse, skilled professionals committed to our core mission of reducing women’s health disparities.

Our navigators provide highly valued frontline assistance to women in need of breast or cervical cancer services and to men in need of breast cancer services. Our outreach and community engagement staff work tirelessly to educate the public on these healthcare areas. Our advocacy staff empower community members to pursue change that will address health inequity and our research and quality improvement staff pursue innovative evidence based approaches to understanding our healthcare system and the root causes of health disparities so that we can take bold action to reverse structural racism in our healthcare system. Our work is led and supported by a governing board, and professionals’ expert advisory committees.

Paris Thomas MS | MCHES | PhD

Executive Director
Read Paris’s bio

Jiana Calixto MPH

Director of Community Health & Engagement
Read Jiana’s bio

John McIlwain

Senior Director of External Affairs
Read John’s bio

Maurice Byrd MBA

Director of Finance
Read Maurice’s bio

Dana Wint MA | PhD (honorary)

Community Engagement Manager
Read Dana’s bio

Natalie Brown MA

Policy Staffer
Read Natalie’s bio

Maira Roman MSN | DNP

Nurse Navigator
Read Maira’s bio

Melina Martinez

Bilingual Navigator
Read Melina’s bio

Sherlene Branscomb

Development Assistant
Patient Navigator
Read Sherlene’s bio

Sarah Lomahan MPH

Director of Health Research
Read Sarah’s bio

Leilani Lacson-Soltysiak MPH

Social Media Strategist
Read Leilani’s bio

Veronica Sanchez Villa

Community Health Worker (Lake County)
Read Veronica’s bio

Nacary Arreola

Community Health Worker (IBCCP)
Read Nacary’s bio

John Tate

Community Health Worker (West Side Health Equity)
Read John’s bio

Boards & Committees

  • Board Members
  • Advisory Board & Committees
Leslie Anderson-Rutland
    • Global Head of One Client Wealth Management
    • BMO
David Ansell MD | MPH
Judith S. Deutsch
    • Community Philanthropist
Summer Dewdney MD
      • Assistant Professor
        Rush University Medical Center
      • Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology
        Rush University Medical Center
    • Rush University Medical Center
Luisa Echevarria
Lakshmi Emory
Pastor Steve Epting
Richard A. Goldberg
Jennifer “Jennie” Filicky Hull
Eileen Knightly MHA | BSN
Nita Karnik Lee MD
    • Associate Professor
      Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
    • UChicago Medicine
Teresita Macarol RT(R) (M) (QM) | CN-BI | FNCBC
Yamile Molina PhD
      • Associate Professor
        Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health
      • Faculty Affiliate
        University of Illinois Chicago Center for Research on Women and Gender
      • Associate Director for Community Outreach Engagement and Health Equity
        University of Illinois Chicago

    • University of Illinois Chicago
Mary Richardson-Lowry JD
Patricia Robinson MD
Shari E. Runner
      • CEO
      • Strategic Business, Policy and Financial Planning Professional
        Cross Industry Expertise
    • The Humanity Institute
Paris Thomas MS | MCHES | PhD
    • Executive Director
      Equal Hope
Rosalyn “Roz” Varon
      • Traffic & Transportation Anchor

    • ABC7 News, Chicago