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Subscribe to our newsletter to read the latest news from the Center for Health Equity Transformation. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about our lab’s latest achievements, awards and honors.


April 11, 2022

Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, the George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology, vice chair for research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and founding director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation, was elected to the Association of American Physicians.


October 18, 2021

Dr. Simon was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine, and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. "To be inducted into NAM reflects not my achievement — this achievement belongs truly to the ‘we’ and not the ‘me’. It took not just the love and support of my family but a true village of community members, organizations, clinicians, professors and countless others. But above all, this honor really goes to my extraordinary team members; I could never have achieved a tenth of my accomplishments without my team,” said Dr. Simon.

August 24, 2021

The Simon Lab was awarded a 5 year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to enhance doula care support for BIPOC birthing persons. This study will develop a Well-Mama intervention for pregnant and postpartum BIPOC persons, centered around Community Doula Navigators conducting in-person and telehealth check-ins on 5 priority areas (mental health, cardiovascular symptoms, safety, opioid/substance abuse, and social support), supplemented with virtual support groups and labor support. Learn more about this study at


September 19, 2020

The Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative successfully renewed its U54 partnership with a $17.7M award from the National Cancer Institute.

September 15, 2020

The Simon Lab was awarded a National Cancer Institute (NCI) P20 feasibility and planning proposal to develop the Northwestern University Cancer Health Equity Research SPORE (NU-CHERS) to generate scientific findings and establish sustainable, collaborative, academic and community infrastructure that will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive translational cancer research program focused on cancer health disparities.

March 10, 2020

The The Medical Faculty Council of Northwestern University honored Dr. Simon with the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.


January 31, 2019

The Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program announced that Dr. Simon has been selected as one of the 60 Scholars chosen for the program's fifth annual classPLS serves as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.


October 31, 2018

Dr. Simon was recognized by Northwestern University's Faculty Honors Committee for receiving two prestigious awards in the past year.

October 10, 2018

Dr. Simon was a recipient of APHA's 2018 Award for Excellence for her work as an educator, creating a pipeline of diverse researchers in the area of cancer; in community engagements that address women’s health issues across race, ethnicity and nationality; and as a physician scientist. Read the news release here.

September 24, 2018

The Feinberg School of Medicine announced the new Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET), led by Dr. Simon. Dr. Simon will build research infrastructure, conduct workforce development and support community partners in the effort to advance population health equity.

July 11, 2018

See Feinberg School of Medicine's story on Dr. Simon for receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

June 25, 2018

Dr. Simon was honored to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF). She was one of around 140 mentors from all over the country to receive this year's award. Read the White House press release here, and read Dr. Simon's announcement here.

March 27, 2018

Dr. Simon was interviewed for an episode of the Feinberg School of Medicine's podcast. The episode is titled Chicago's Zip Code Issue with Melissa Simon MD. The episode discusses how where you live can impact your likelihood to die from cancer, and how Dr. Simon is working to improve the cancer mortality gap in Chicago. Listen to the full episode here.

March 15, 2018

The New York Times recently published an interesting article on cancer in African Americans noting that "only 6 percent of participants in clinical trials are black." Read the full article here.

February 28, 2018

The American Lung Association released a new report called "State of Lung Cancer" which uses state-specific data to compare data around lung cancer. See how Illinois fares on lung cancer data here.

February 15, 2018

Dr. Simon was featured in the February edition of Breakthroughs, a Feinberg School of Medicine Research Office publication. This story gives a short look into Dr. Simon's journey in health inequities. View the publication here.


November 20, 2017

Dr. Simon was featured in Dean Neilson's inaugural video for Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. The video is titled "Discover Feinberg" and can be watched here

November 11, 2017

Dr. Simon spoke at the 2017 Latino Health Symposium on Sunday, November 11. This year's symposium focused on reducing cancer care disparities in Latinos. Dr. Simon's talk focused on how to integrate health equity principles into presenting options for clinical care of patients with respect to cancer screening and treatment. Find out more about the 2017 Latino Health Symposium here.

October 5, 2017

Dr. Simon and Dr. Karriem Watson spoke at the University of Illinois Cancer Center. Dr. Simon and Dr. Watson focused on the importance of community engagement and used ChicagoCHEC as an example. 

September 29, 2017

A summer intern at the Simon Lab produced both a student guest blog post focused on her internship experience this summer and a Skinny Trees Podcast Mini Episode interviewing Dr. Joe Feinglass, a Health Services Researcher at Northwestern University.

September 13, 2017

The March of Dimes honored Dr. Simon with a Jonas Salk Leadership Award in Public and Community Health. These awards are given to six individuals or groups in the healthcare field for their leadership and dedication to improving infant and maternal health. Read more here.

August 22, 2017

Dr. Simon will receive the 2017 Marion Spencer Fay Award in recognition of her contributions to women’s health, health equity and national health policy. The award, presented annually by the Drexel University College of Medicine Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership, is given to a distinguished woman physician or scientist who has made a significant impact on healthcare. Dr. Simon will receive the award at a ceremony in Philadelphia in November, where she’ll also deliver the Marion Spencer Fay Award Lecture. Read more here.

August 16, 2017

Check out the Skinny Trees Podcast's episode 4 titled "All the Little Signs that Tell Us We're Welcome -- LGBTQ Health Equity with Howard Brown Health." Kristin Keglovitz-Baker discusses LGBTQ healthcare, with a call to action for allies, members of the LGBTQ community, and leaders. Listen to the full podcast here.

July 25, 2017

With the news of Senator McCain's cancer diagnosis, we are reminded that cancer — and ill health in general — does not have a political affiliation. Rather, ill health impacts all of us, and everyone needs equal health care in this country. Now more than ever, it is vitally important to find a bipartisan agreement on health care. Read Dr Simon's full op-ed in the Huffington Post here.

June 29, 2017

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) interviewed Dr. Simon as part of their Community Health Heroes series. The NAM talked to Dr. Simon about her research on women's health and her efforts to train the health care workforce about health disparities and health inequities. Dr. Simon discusses why she believes partnering with the community is critical to improving health and how she leverages culture and community to health eliminate health disparities. in Chicago. Read the interview here.

February 13, 2017

Dr. Melissa Simon, the George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been appointed to a national task force that makes recommendations on clinical preventive services, including screenings, counseling, and preventive medications on topics such as cancer and diabetes. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is an independent, volunteer panel of 16 national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine whose members come from many fields of preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, behavioral health and nursing. The appointment is “an amazing, pie-in-the sky career goal,” said Simon, who also is the vice chair for clinical research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and a professor in the departments of preventive medicine and medical social sciences at Feinberg. She began her four-year term with two other new members on Jan. 1. Read the full story here.


December 8, 2016

Dr. Simon in an op-ed published in STAT, shares her perspective as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist who provides healthcare to patients insured under the Affordable Care Act. In the op-ed, Dr. Simon writes, "health care providers have an opportunity to teach, to lead by example, and to move forward by being the best listeners, acting as thoughtful critics, and sharing our own and our patients’ stories of just how important is the support provided by having health care coverage under the ACA and what would happen if it is drastically modified or repealed." Read the op-ed here.

October 31, 2016

Want to learn more about health equities in Chicago?  Check out Skinny Trees, a podcast born out of the Simon Lab and ChicagoCHEC that aims to continue the conversation about health equities in and around Chicago. Skinny Trees: An Exploration of Health Inequities In & Around Chicago is the first Chicago-born podcast to bring varied content to listeners in an effort to tell the stories of health inequities in and around Chicago. We will view these issues through the lens of community members and organizations, students and academia. We believe that everyone has a different story and perspective and each deserves to be told. We will spotlight history, varying perspectives and stories of health equity success! To learn more, check out Episode 1 features Dr. Melissa Simon discussing how to decipher the nuances of health equity language.

Skinny Trees

September 29, 2016

The Simon Lab and the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC) hosted their first annual cancer research symposium and community report. The event addressed cancer inequities in low-income, minority Chicago neighborhoods. Former chief medical officer of the Cook County Health and Hospital System Dr. Linda Rae Murray, breast cancer survivor Roz Varon of ABC 7 news and Cook County Commissioner, 7th District, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, delivered keynote addresses at the Sept. 29, 2016 event held at Malcolm X College on Chicago's West Side. 

June 20, 2016

The Simon Lab with University of Illinois at Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University partners, launched the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative's inaugural ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows Program. The program is focused on the development of academic, technical and professional skills in preparation for careers in social, behavioral and biomedical research and in health care. Through immersion experiences, group projects, journal clubs and mentoring, ChicagoCHEC research fellows will gain important knowledge, skills and networks for their journey to become researchers and health care professionals who can bring diverse perspectives and experiences to advance the nation’s work toward cancer health equity. Read more here.


April 4, 2016

Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare has relaunched this Spring on Coursera! We have redesigned the course with a more accessible, self-paced, "on-demand" format. This FREE course is open to everyone - enroll today!



December 18, 2015

Health and aging expert XinQi Dong, MD from Rush University Medical Center and Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a comprehensive study which investigated the cultural practices of caregiving in Chinese-Americans in Chicago. Results of the study were publicly released in a report on Friday, Dec. 18, at the Chinese American Service League. Called the FILIAL PIETY Report, this report chronicles the practices of caregiving for older adults, including caregivers’ psychological distress, caregiving burden and intergenerational conflict among Chinese-American families in the Chicago area. Learn more.


October 23, 2015

Melissa A. Simon, in partnership with researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Northeastern Illinois University, received a $17.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support the creation of the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC). The mission of ChicagoCHEC is to advance cancer health equity through meaningful scientific discovery, education, training, and community engagement. A joint community kick-off event was held at the Arturo Velasquez Institute in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood to launch this landmark initiative that aims to reduce the burden of cancer in low-income and racial and ethnic minority communities. Learn more by visiting


October 9, 2015

The Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities will hold a one-day workshop in Chicago, Illinois, entitled The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy. Hosted by Dr. Melissa Simon, the workshop will focus on the economic case for promoting health equity. Thriving businesses benefit from health equity values and goals. Additionally, the larger society benefits due to improved community health and the improved health of the local economy. The workshop include several panels of speakers that  will explore ways to enable a “first of its kind” dialogue that showcases the shared values and visions of health equity-promoting strategies of researchers, health equity experts, and business sectors. Showcasing the impact of health equity-promoting initiatives will help to build bridges across sectors in order to foster additional large scale collaborative health equity efforts. Free, and open to the public, please RSVP here.

September 21, 2015

Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare has relaunched this fall on Coursera! The Simon Lab had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Dr. Regine Rucker of Chicago Public Schools to build a new section of the course specifically for CPS Continuing and Technical Education Health Sciences Cluster students (and their teachers) to supplement their career exploration and career portfolio curriculum. This FREE course is open to everyone - enroll today!


August 14, 2015

Congratulations to our Northwestern University Posner Fellow, Kasey Brown, and our Cancer Health Disparities Research Program (CHDRP) summer interns Daniel Corredor, Chanelle Hutchinson, Magdelane Sandoval and Ana Santoyo from Northeastern Illinois University! Kasey, Daniel, Chanelle, Magdelane, and Ana's summer internship with the Simon Lab centered on evaluating and developing new ideas for the Career 911 MOOC. 


May 13, 2015

Dr. Melissa Simon's Suicide Prevention in Chinese Older Adults SEED Study was featured in the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2015 Health Equity Research Snapshots. These snapshots spotlights new federally funded research projects underway at AAMC-member institutions and show how all types of science can contribute solutions to mental health and health care disparities. 

April 18, 2015

Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, was selected as the Institute of Medicine of Chicago 100th Anniversary Centennial Scholar from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The award recognizes her significant contributions to, and a positive impact on, the health and delivery of healthcare services in Chicago.

April 13, 2015

On April 13th, the Simon Lab launched Career 911: Your Future Career in Medicine and Healthcare, a free massive online open course that will introduce individuals to health careers and help them build skills for their career journey, including: articulating a personal story, resume and cover letter writing, job search, interviewing, professional networking, and professional communications. The course features more than 50 different professors and guests who represent a wide range of health professions and who share their personal stories and career journeys. The course is also a resource through which educators and parents can support students' career readiness. Learn more

February 25, 2015

A study led by Dr. Melissa A. Simon, published Feb. 25 in the American Journal of Public Health, demonstrates that guidance from trained navigators can help patients overcome healthcare inequities. Community navigators worked with uninsured Spanish-speaking women in DuPage County to obtain timely follow-up care after an abnormal breast or cervical cancer screening result. Ninety-seven percent of the Spanish-speaking patients in the study were recent immigrants and two-thirds did not finish high school. They had significantly lower income, lower health literacy, less confidence self-managing health and more distrust of the healthcare system than English-speaking patients in DuPage. Though these barriers put Spanish-speaking women at a higher risk for stalled follow-up care, patients in the navigation study did not have longer follow-up times than their English-speaking counterparts. Read more about the study here and here.

January 1, 2015

The Simon Lab's "Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare" Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is now open for enrollment on Coursera! There are lots of amazing job opportunities in medicine. Join us, as we share the strategies and secrets for getting those jobs. You will learn about a range of health care careers and build essential skills such as resume writing, networking, and effective communication styles to get you where you want to be. In this course, you will hear the personal stories, experiences, and journeys of dozens of people who work in health related careers. You will also have the opportunity to connect with a supportive community of students, mentors, and health care professionals to explore your interests, find resources, and discover exciting new opportunities. Learn more




On December 17, Melissa Andrea Simon, MD, MPH, was formally invested as the George H. Gardner, MD, Professor of Clinical Gynecology. “Since I met her in 2006, Melissa has blossomed quickly, becoming a superstar in a very short period of time,” said Serdar E. Bulun, MD, the John J. Sciarra, MD, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Read more


Also in 2014:

  • Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH is the recipient of the 2014 American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Mentor of the Year Award.
  • Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH has been named the George H. Gardner Chair in Clinical Gynecology by the Northwestern University Board of Trustees.
  • The Simon Lab’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was selected by the Provost’s Office for delivery on Coursera in Spring 2015.


  • The Northwestern University Resident Teaching Award was awarded to Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH.
  • The Simon Lab hosted the Cancer Disparities Research Network Biospecimen Management Program annual meeting at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Six undergraduate students completed summer internships with the Simon Lab.


  • Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH was selected as the Vice Chair of Clinical and Health Policy Research in the Department of OB/GYN at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
  • Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH was selected for the American Medical Association Foundation Outstanding Leader in Medicine Award.


  • Melissa A. Simon, MD MPH selected by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as the 2011-2013 Norman F. Gant/American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology/IOM Anniversary Fellow in recognition of her work toward health equity for uninsured and publicly insured women.