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Members of the Board

Stephanie Crane, MD, Founder and President        

  • Dr. Crane is Director Global Health, Associate Program Director Internal Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center. It's Dr. Crane’s vision and commitment to working with underserved communities to empower them to improve their lives that is the heart, soul, and founding of Community Empowerment. Dr. Crane initially and independently searched for a community in which to work and organized the first medical trip to Peralta in 2000. Now there are over fifteen trips a year providing critical primary and surgical care, infrastructure improvements, and community leadership training.

Babs Waldman, MD, Treasurer

  • Dr. Waldman is an Assistant Professor Internal Medicine at Rush University Medical College and Northwestern Medical Center. She is the Volunteer Medical Director of CommunityHealth, which is located in Chicago and is the largest free clinic in Illinois. Dr. Waldman has been working in Haiti and the Dominican Republic since 2010 leading trips, implementing infrastructure improvement projects, and expanding the work of Community Empowerment.

Joel Augustin, MD, Board Member

  • Dr. Augustin is Board Certified in Family Practice and is an Assistant Professor Department of Family Practice Rush University Medical Center and is past Co-chair of Community Based Health Section of Family Practice at John Stroger Hospital. He has been active in the Englewood Health Council for many years. Currently, Dr. Augustin is a physician at Oak Street Health.  Dr. Augustin moved from Haiti to the US in 1986. He has spent many years working with local and national organizations to improve the lives and empower the people of Haiti. He is past Chair of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti and is current Secretary of the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora. Dr. Augustin has been an important member of the medical teams working in Haiti from the outset providing care, training, and leadership.

Cynthia Waickus, MD, Board Member

  • Dr. Waickus holds a Ph,D. in Biochemistry and is Board Certified in Family Medicine. She is an Associate Professor, Associate Chairman for Educational Programs, and Program Director of the Family Medicine Leadership Program in the Department of Family Medicine, Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Waickus' first medical trip to Haiti was as a team member with the International Medical Corp immediately after the 2010 earthquake. She has been involved as a provider and leader of medical teams since. Her strong background in medical education and training provides academic leadership in addition to her commitment to improving the health of underserved communities.

Dr. David Ansell, MD, MPH, Board Member

  • David A. Ansell, MD, MPH is the Senior Vice President for Community Health Equity, Rush University Medical Center and Associate Provost for Community Affairs, Rush University. Ansell joined Rush in 2005 as the Medical Center’s first chief medical officer (CMO). Previously, he spent 17 years at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital and 10 years as chairperson of the Department of Internal Medicine at Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Throughout his career, Ansell has been involved in public health initiatives such as establishing the not-for-profit Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Taskforce and cofounding the Sinai Urban Health Institute. He joined the board of Community Empowerment in 2012. He has published two books, County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital (2011) and The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills (2017). Ansell earned a BA from Franklin and Marshall College in 1974 and, in 1978, his MD from SUNY Upstate Medical University. In 1991, he received a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

Dr. Bradley Hersh, MD, MPH, Board Member

  • Bradley Hersh, MD, MPH, is currently a public health consultant. Previously he served as Liaison to PEPFAR in his role as Senior Advisor for UNAIDS. Dr. Hersh also worked for WHO in the Department of HIV/AIDS coordinating the work of countries accessing funding from the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria and he worked for the CDC in many capacities - as country leader in Cambodia, leader of global effort to reduce measles deaths, and as an epidemiologist in Burundi. Dr. Hersh has received several awards and honors, including an Achievement Medal and an Outstanding Service Medal from the United States Public Health Service. He received his M.D. from Chicago Medical School and M.P.H. from the University of Illinois. His post-graduate training includes Internal Medicine and Preventative Medicine.