Meet the Team
Michelle Agnoli, RN, MSN
Michelle has been a nurse for 30 years. Most of her career has been dedicated to HIV. She was worked as an HIV research nurse or training healthcare providers to take care of HIV patients. Her clinical work is extensive and also includes work in oncology and infection control. Michelle began her career in the lab and is passionate about improving the health outcomes for people with HIV.
Education and Training:
- Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Illinois Benedictine College (now Benedictine University) 1988
- Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Rush University, 1991
- Master of Science of Nursing, Benedictine University, 2011
Language: English, learning Spanish
Clinical interests: HIV, trauma-informed care
Hobbies: jewelry making, reading
Favorite food: most of them
Interesting fact: Michelle took karate lessons with her son when he was younger.
Contact: email@example.com, 312.0519.2668
Dr. Max Brito is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois and the Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Jesse Brown Veteran's Administration Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Brito specializes in the care of patients with infectious diseases particularly individuals living with or at high risk of acquiring HIV. Dr. Brito's scholarly work focuses on the prevention and early treatment of HIV infection. He was the principal investigator of the first pragmatic clinical trial to introduce male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy in the Caribbean. Currently, he is the principal investigator of U-Start, a program funded by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), to introduce rapid HIV antiretroviral start across our UCCN clinic network in Chicago. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Education and Training:
- Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases)
- Master of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, University of Miami, School of Medicine
- Chief Medical Resident, Mount Sinai Hospital, Miami, FL
- Internal Medicine Residency Mount Sinai Hospital, Miami, FL
- MD, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) School of Medicine, Santo Domingo, DR
(He, Him, His)
Dr. Novak is the Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UI Health, where he has worked for the past 35 years, dividing his time between teaching, research, and patient care. He has been actively involved in HIV clinical care for 30 years and has served as the Medical Director of the UIC Community Clinic Network (UCCN), which he began in 1991. The network of clinics is largely supported by the Ryan White Care Act, Parts A and C, and currently serves nearly 1200 active patients. In addition to his work at UCCN, Dr. Novack has been active in HIV preventive vaccine research for 20 years and has been the principal investigator of Project WISH, a clinical research unit that focuses on clinical prevention research for women at high risk for HIV infection and men who have sex with men. Dr. Novak has been listed in "Best Doctors In America" since 1998, and as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor since 2012. I am a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. I also hold the title of Harry F Dowling Professorship in the Department of Medicine at UIC.
Education and Training:
- Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease
- Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine
- Internship: University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago
- Medical School: Rush University, College of Medicine
- Residency: University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago
Languages: English, Spanish, and Klingon
Clinical Interest: Women with HIV, Infectious Diseases in Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)
Research Interest: COVID-19 and HIV Vaccine Development and Infectious Disease Clinical Trials
Hobbies: Biking and Cooking
Pets: Lula the Wonder Pooch (Labrador)
Interesting Fact: Gold Medal in Meeting Hosting at the 2020 Zoom Olympics®
Interesting Fact #2: Local Celebrity Doctor; you can catch him on the local news the next time COVID Spikes in Chicago.
Sharon Steckler, MSW, LCSW
Sharon Steckler earned her master's degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago and has over 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist specializing in treating complex trauma as well as program development, clinical supervision, and child welfare. Ms. Steckler is well versed in psychodynamic clinical practice and incorporates several methods, including Structural Dissociation theory, evidenced-based trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Family Systems, and Attachment focused Therapy. Ms. Steckler specializes in EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing, for the treatment of trauma and other painful or highly charged memories, experiences, and relationships. Her use of EMDR can facilitate quite rapid resolution of painful memories, related anxiety, and low self-esteem. She currently volunteers as the coordinator for The Chicago Trauma Recovery Network, an organization that provides free EMDR therapy to those affected by gun violence as well as medical providers affected by the Covid19 pandemic.
Hobbies: When Sharon is not working or spending time with her family, you can find her at the park or beach with Talulah, her silver Labrador retriever and therapy dog in training!
Areas of Interest: LGBT emotional health, adoption, trauma informed care, diversity.
Favorite Food: Anything chocolate.
Dr. Trotter is passionate about providing care to people living with HIV, and he is committed to expanding HIV prevention measures to populations at high risk. His patients are at his highest priority and his goal is to provide comprehensive care, health information, and foster relationships with his patients. Dr. Trotter knows that fostering relationships with clients improves healthcare and wellness, goals that reside at the heart of Dr. Trotter's medical practice and personal ethos. Dr. Trotter has a specific interest in LGBTQIA+ health and provides gender-affirming care (including hormone therapy) in his HIV clinical work. Dr. Trotter is committed to improving the health outcomes of all patients and teaches these topics to medical students, internal medicine doctors, and HIV specialists in training.
Education and Training:
- MPH (Masters in Public Health) – University of Illinois School of Public Health
- MD – Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, 2007
- AB – Washington University in St Louis, Biology and Religious Studies, 2003
- Fellowship in Infectious Disease – Tufts Medical Center
- Residency in Internal Medicine – University of Illinois at Chicago
Clinical interests: HIV Primary Care and prevention, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention, Sexually Transmitted Infections, LGBTQIA+ Health, Gender Affirming Care by providing gender-affirming hormone therapy in the setting of HIV care
Hobbies: Cooking, Hiking, Traveling,
Favorite food: Nepali and Indian food
Interesting fact: Dr. Trotter has done extensive travel and worked in Nepal, India, and Namibia. His work abroad has been focused in the area of HIV medicine.
Rosa Valencia, BSN, RN, ACRN
Rosa has worked as a nurse in the field of HIV for 27 years. She has spent most of her career serving or clients at our UI Health Community Clinic Network, where she has built lasting relationships with her patients. She is fluent in English and Spanish is bicultural, attributes that enhance her communication with the clients we serve. Her patients recognize and appreciate her commitment to providing up-to-date AIDS Certified Nursing Care with compassion and utmost respect. Her goal is to serve, educate, and guide her clients in managing their HIV, so that they will live long, fulfilled, and healthy lives.
Gabriela (Gaby) Acostae
Medical Office Specialist
Gaby began her career at UCCN in 2011 as a data entry assistant, as an undergraduate student at UIC. After completing her degree, she was promoted to Medical Office Specialist where she manages the data in our clinics and ensures that all of our clients receive the best care through our electronic documentation system. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work and is passionate about improving the lives of all of our clients in the Chicagoland area.
Medical Office Assistant / Medical Receptionist
As the Project Coordinator, Jenny oversees the daily operations of our clinics and the staff. She is also in charge of preparing and assisting with grant requests and funding continuation from our founders. Jenny has been working in social services for over 22 years. She is passionate about helping our patients and making a positive impact on people's lives. She has worked at various institutions before joining our team, including The Pilsen Wellness Centers, where she served as a drug addiction counselor, The Inner Voice, where she worked as a Case Manager, and at Salina & Associates, where she served the populations at the Cook County Jail.
Social Work Aide 2
Languages: English, Spanish
Contact: 312.744.0131, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elena Llinas, PhD
(She, Her, Hers)
As our Quality Control Specialist, Elena ensures that the services provided to our clients exceed local and national standards. As someone living with HIV since 2011, she is passionate about improving the lives and medical care of our clients.
Her work in the medical field is extensive. While in college she worked as Certified Nurse Assistant. After graduating with her PhD in May 2020, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Moderna Vaccine trials against Covid-19 at UIC. Her work on HIV began in 2013 when she served as a peer mentor and served as a member of the Board of Directors for NOSIDA, a New Orleans based non-profit organization working to raise awareness and education about HIV in Louisiana. Since January 2022, she serves as an Associate Board Member to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).
Education and Training:
- Ph.D., History of Medicine, Tulane University, 2020
- M.A., History, University of Oklahoma, 2013
- B.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona., 2007
Languages: Spanish and English
Hobbies: Playing tennis, yoga, and spending time with my cat
Favorite food: Thai, Sushi, and Mexican
Pets: An orange kitty named Dr. Oscar Lange (named after my husband's ancestor, the first eye surgeon in New Orleans to perform cataract surgery in the 1880s).
Interesting facts: She has traveled to over 30 countries including Vietnam, Turkey, Greece, and Russia.
Monica Maddie is the Clinic Coordinator for the SSFS, WSFS, NWSFS, and THE Wound clinic. She is passionate about working with people and has been working in social services for over 25 years. Monica has a degree in criminal justice and serves as an advocate for our clients.
Meg McDuffie, MSW
Meg is a Social Work Aid at UI Health Community Clinic Network (USTART Program). She loves the social work field and is passionate about working collaboratively with clients to help them achieve their personal wellness goals. Her areas of interest include HIV/AIDS prevention and care, harm reduction, holism, trauma-informed care, LGBTQIA+ affirming care, decolonized mental healthcare, and transformative justice.
Education & Training:
- Northeastern Illinois University (BSW),
- UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work (MSW, Mental Health concentration)
- Mental Health First Aider, Opioid Overdose First Responder, IL Domestic Violence Professional
Hobbies: Drawing, collecting plants, going to the lake, watching bad reality tv
Favorite food: any seafood, soul food, South Asian
Pets: Goose (calico cat), Merle (red-footed tortoise)
Contact: 847.921.4425; email@example.com
Leticia Sustaita, MBA
Ms. Sustaita is currently the Administrative Director of the UI Health Community Clinic Network. She has a Masters in Business Administration and over 20 years of experience in the HIV/AIDS field. From prevention, to case management, to administration, Leticia has a track record of improving program operations in various capacities. She has a strong work ethic and an even stronger dedication to the cause, program, staff, and patients. She believes that the programs are only as strong as the staff and as such is a big proponent of staff development at every level. She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and do whatever needs to be done to maintain the program and a high quality of care to its patients.