Christopher L. Steele, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Dr. Steele is our lead physician at UCHL. Born and raised in Burlington, CT, Dr. Steele graduated with his M.D./M.P.H. from the University of Connecticut and completed his training at Johns Hopkins in internal medicine. He has returned to UConn to become clinical faculty for the medical school and now is course director for the health science and Social Determinant of Health (SDH) curriculum in the 3rd and 4th year of training. Dr. Steele's training is focused on bridging the gaps of the social-determinants of health and high value care. He has published in the literature on this topic and presented internationally. He practices as both a hospitalist and primary care physician in the area.
Henry Siccardi, Class of 2023
Henry is a student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Born and raised in Queens, New York before moving to Connecticut as a teenager, Henry originally pursued a career in law. Upon graduating from Fordham University in 2012 he decided to pursue a different path, eventually pivoting to medicine. Since pursuing this path he has worked extensively on community health outreach. As a member and coordinator of the Bronx Community Health Leaders and RA Program in Bridgeport, CT he spent three years leading teams of volunteers providing an array of health outreach programs to patients.
He hopes UCHL will pay forward to students and patients the incredible experiences, opportunities and mentoring from which he benefited in these programs.
Please reach out to me directly at: email@example.com
Zoha Sarwat, Class of 2024
Zoha is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine who grew up in South Windsor, CT. She graduated from UConn (double husky!) with a major in Physiology and Neurobiology and minors in Psychology and Sociology. Throughout college, she worked at a pediatrician's office, volunteered at Connecticut Children's, tutored elementary schoolers, and conducted psychology research. Her hobbies include photography and kayaking!
After helping found the program as a Coordinator, Zoha looks forward to continuing to learn more about helping underserved patient populations. As she was so recently in their shoes, she also wants to help pre-health students with their track!
Erin Cova, Class of 2025
Erin is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine. She grew up in Southington, CT and attended Brown University where she majored in Biology on the Physiology and Biotechnology Track. In college, Erin joined the varsity women's rugby team as a walk-on and helped plan first year student orientation as a member of Brown University's Orientation Welcoming Committee. Before medical school, she also worked as a medical scribe at multiple Emergency Departments in CT. Erin's favorite place to volunteer in CT is the CT Food Bank.
As a founding member of UCHL, Erin is happy to be able to help provide volunteer and learning opportunities to pre-health students while also contributing to efforts to improve the health of residents of CT.
Nivedha Natchiappan, Class of 2025
Nivedha is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine. She grew up in Avon, CT and graduated from UConn with a major in Healthcare Management and minors in Chemistry and Molecular Cell Biology. In college she spent time mentoring and tutoring elementary schoolers, organizing UConn’s Global Health Symposium, and conducting infectious diseases and health economics research.
Nivedha is excited about helping patients get access to the resources and care they need. She is also looking forward to providing students with unique and impactful opportunities.
Jake DeFrancesco, Class of 2026
Jake is a medical student at the University of Connecticut and grew up in Meriden, CT. He is a very proud triple husky having attended UConn for his undergraduate, graduate, and now medical degrees. After graduating with a B.S in Neuroscience, he shifted his academic pursuits and enrolled in the UConn School of Public Policy where he received a Master of Public Policy. While attending grad school, he worked as a medical scribe for a urologist and interned with the CT Office of Health Strategy. Beyond his academic and professional pursuits, Jake can be found hiking and rock climbing.
Having volunteered with UCHL during his undergraduate education, Jake is grateful for the opportunity to continue working to narrow health disparities as part of the UCHL leadership team.
Julia Quinn, Class of 2026
Julia is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine. She grew up in Sherman, CT and graduated from UConn with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a minor in Urban and Community Studies. In addition to volunteering with UCHL, in college, Julia spent her free time teaching community health lessons, creating educational opportunities for inner-city students, and caring for the campus population as a medical support assistant at UConn’s Student Health Center. Outside of school, Julia loves to run, water ski, and travel with her friends and family.
Julia is excited to continue working with UCHL to improve patient outcomes by addressing the social determinants of health while providing mentorship and opportunities to pre-health students during the process.
Maria Katsetos, Class of 2026
Maria is a medical student at the UConn School of Medicine. She grew up in Fairfield, CT and graduated from UConn with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a minor in Spanish. In addition to UCHL, in college she served as the president of UConn Pre-Medical Society, a volunteer through St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services, secretary of UConn Greek Club, and was involved in diabetes/endocrinology research on campus. Her hobbies include painting and cooking!
Maria is delighted to continue working with UCHL to advocate for underserved patients and to provide pre-health students with meaningful and sustainable clinical opportunities.
Autumn Leavitt, Volunteer Coordinator
Autumn recently graduated from UConn (class of 2022) with a degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. She is from Haddam, CT. Autumn started as a volunteer in the UCHL program during the Fall 2020 semester. She enjoys working with the leadership team and the volunteers to help patients identify and utilize resources to improve their health.
Autumn serves as a Research Coordinator and oversees the lung cancer screening project. The project aims to identify patients eligible for lung cancer screening and address any barriers to care that may prevent patients from completing their treatment.
Christopher Angus, Research Coordinator
Christopher recently graduated from UConn (Class of 2022) with a degree in Biological Sciences. He is from Avon, CT and joined UCHL in the Fall of 2020 with the initial goal of expanding the program to the UConn Health Urgent Care and Family Medicine Clinics in Storrs, CT. In addition to UCHL, Christopher led local community service events within the UConn Community Outreach Department and is currently spending his gap year working as a PCA in the Emergency Department at Hartford Hospital. Outside of school, he is a huge Boston sports fan and can be found in attendance at almost every UConn basketball game.
Christopher serves as a Research Coordinator in charge of the Farmington Outpatient clinical site and has a special interest in identifying and addressing health disparities in the communities surrounding UConn. He values the relationships he has been able to build with patients and fellow UCHL team members and hopes future students benefit from the same incredible opportunities.
Delia Lin, Research Coordinator
Delia is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut majoring in Molecular Cell Biology and Statistics. She is from East Lyme, CT and joined UCHL in the Fall 2022 semester. On campus, Delia is a member of the 5th cohort of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network and is involved in organizing Community Outreach Alternative Break trips and creating works for the Sci-art Gallery.
Delia serves as a Research Coordinator and is excited to work with UCHL volunteers to help patients access necessary resources to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce health disparities in our community. She looks forward to engaging in strategies of implementing effective patient education.
Ling Chi, Research Coordinator
Ling recently graduated from the University of Connecticut (class of 2022) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Computational and Systems Biology. She is from Wethersfield, CT and joined UCHL in the Spring 2020 semester as part of the first cohort. In addition to UCHL, Ling was involved with the leadership team at UConn's student radio station (WHUS Radio). She is currently spending her gap year conducting research in clinical informatics at the Yale School of Medicine and tutoring younger students. Outside of work, she spends time learning guitar and cooking with friends and family.
Ling serves as a Research Coordinator in charge of the Farmington Inpatient clinical site and is passionate about addressing health disparities in our community and learning about social determinants of health. She values the opportunities UCHL has provided to interact with patients and other students and is excited to pay it forward to other pre-health students.
Lucas Torres, Volunteer Coordinator
Name: Lucas Torres
Graduated from UConn in 2022
Major: PNB, Minor: English, MCB
Scribe at SFH ED
Former RA at UConn
Research: AANS and Hartford Hospital
Volunteering: BBBS, Habitat for Humanity
Hobbies: Swimming, cooking
Meghan Kennedy, Volunteer Coordinator
Meghan is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut majoring in Molecular Cell Biology and minoring in Physiology and Neurobiology and Chemistry. She is from Southbury, CT and began volunteering with UCHL during Summer 2022. On campus, Meghan is involved in organic chemistry research, serves as an undergraduate TA and is a captain of the club tennis team.
Meghan serves as a Volunteer Coordinator and is excited to work with UCHL volunteers to address health disparities and reduce barriers to healthcare in our community.
Radha Patel, Volunteer Coordinator
Radha is an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Human Development and Family Sciences. She joined UCHL as a volunteer during the Summer 2021 semester. On-campus, Radha is a member of the John and Valerie Rowe Health Professions Scholars Program, a mentor in the Kids & UConn Bridging Education (KUBE) program and is involved with the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students and Asha for Education.
Radha serves as a Volunteer Coordinator and is passionate about improving healthcare outcomes for underserved communities. She is excited to be a part of a team that is working to reduce health disparities and train future leaders in the health professions community.
Reinier González, Research Coordinator
After graduating from high school, Reinier moved to Connecticut from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to pursue an undergraduate education in the states. He recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and a minor in Global Studies. At the University, Reinier was a member of many academic programs such as STEM Scholars in the Honors Program, LSAMP Scholar, and a member of the Leadership Legacy Experience. He also did research to find novel immunotherapy ligands in the University’s Pharmacy Department under Dr. Wiemer.
In addition to his work with UConn Health Leaders, Reinier is currently a Biomedical Science Masters student at UConn Heath. He is a member of the Young Innovative Investigator Program, working on biomaterials for pain alleviation in knee osteoarthritis. Beyond his master's Reinier seeks to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. Reinier is very passionate about working with underrepresented populations, as such, he hopes UCHL can inspire other students in understanding and dissolving the social barriers patients face to get quality health care.
Rose Karvandi, Research Coordinator
Rose is a Physiology & Neurobiology undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut, minoring in Human Development and Family Sciences. She joined UCHL in Fall 2020.
At UConn, Rose is a member of the 4th cohort of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, in addition to being involved in Cancer Survivorship research and the Iranian Student Association. She also plays clarinet as a part of the Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) Concert band. Outside of school, she is passionate about martial arts & drawing portraits.
Rose enjoys learning about & implementing different strategies for patient education, especially for underserved populations. She is excited to help UCHL volunteers take away experiences that will further motivate them in their journeys as future healthcare professionals
Jacqueline Steele, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Jacquie graduated from the UConn School of Medicine in 2022 and is now starting residency at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She grew up in Greenwich, CT and attended college at Emory University where she majored in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minored in Spanish. In college she spent her free time volunteering at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, tutoring students at local Atlanta high schools, and playing on the club field hockey team.
Jacquie was a founding member of UCHL because she wanted to help patients from under-served communities have better access to health care services and she enjoyed mentoring incoming pre-health students about ways they can help improve patient health outcomes.
Katya Skaritanov, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Class of 2024
Katya is currently a first year medical student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who was part of our very first coordinator team in 2019-2020. She was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, and graduated from high school in Needham, MA. In 2020 she graduated from UConn as a Physiology and Neurobiology Major, Honors Scholar, and University Scholar. Throughout college she was committed to community service through her work with the Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program and UCHL.
At UMass Med, Katya has been involved with the Crisis and Emergency Preparedness Committee, which has been integral in assembling the medical student volunteer force for the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the State of Massachusetts. She is also involved with tutoring high school students and leading various interest groups on campus. She will always value the professional and personal opportunities for growth that UCHL offered her and hopes to apply her passion for community health in her future career as a physician.
Ajshe Zulfi, Class of 2025
Ajshe is a medical student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She is from Trumbull, CT. Ajshe graduated from UConn in 2021 with dual degrees in Economics and Healthcare Management and with a minor in Molecular and Cell Biology. She is a huge fan(atic) of the UConn women's basketball team and has had the opportunity to meet Coach Geno along with many of the players.
Ajshe is grateful for the connections that she created starting off as a volunteer in the UCHL program and is excited to continue her work with the program as a research coordinator.
Ciara Dobrowolski, Albany Medical College, Class of 2025
Ciara is a medical student at Albany Medical College. She is from Ellington, CT and graduated from UConn in 2021 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In college, she enjoyed engaging with the community through programs such as Engineering Ambassadors, Community Outreach, and UCHL. At Albany Med, she is involved in numerous service learning programs and public health initiatives.
Ciara joined UCHL as a volunteer in 2020 before becoming a coordinator. She is grateful for everything that UCHL taught her about healthcare disparities and is determined to continue addressing these issues in the Albany community.
Darlene recently graduated from the University of Connecticut (class of 2022) with a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Human Development and Family Sciences. She is from South Windsor, CT, and joined UCHL as a volunteer during the Summer 2020 semester. On-campus, Darlene is a Senior Resident Assistant for the Women in Math Science and Engineering Learning Community (WiMSE), in addition to being a member of the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, a Peer Mentor for the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students, and a member of the Leadership Legacy Experience.
Darlene is passionate about connecting patients to resources to improve health care outcomes and served as a Volunteer Engagement Coordinator.
Sheryl is an undergraduate student at UConn majoring in Physiology and Neurobiology (PNB) and Psychological Sciences. She is from Trumbull, CT. In addition to UCHL, she is the president of CHAARG and Sigma Theta Alpha. A pre-health fraternity. She is also a Senior Resident Assistant and is involved in research in a psych lab on campus. Sheryl is also a member of Leadership Legacy at UConn. Sheryl started as a volunteer in the UCHL program during the Summer of 2020.
Sheryl serves as one of the Research Coordinators and is excited to work with UCHL leadership and volunteers to address social determinants of health and reduce health disparities in our community. She is excited to learn and implement as many resources she can to help the underserved population.
Kristina grew up in Easton, CT and received her Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Allied Health Sciences, and minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology, from UConn. While at UConn, she worked as an undergraduate researcher in a Molecular and Cellular Biology lab exploring the functions of the Myf5 and MyoD genes in satellite cells during early development in mice. After graduation, she served as a Patient Care Technician at Bridgeport Hospital in the Pulmonary Medical/Surgical department and also joined the hospital's ethics committee, which she still serves as a standing member today. Kristina now lives and works full-time in New Haven at the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), which focuses on improving health and health care through targeted research projects.
Kristina joined our first coordinator team as a founding member of UCHL in 2019, and has participated in the program as Research Coordinator until June 2021. She continues to feel passionate about UCHL's mission to address and reduce health disparities in Connecticut, and greatly appreciates the various opportunities and mentorships that she has gained from her involvement.