Beyond the Needle Podcast Faculty

Mustafa Alavi, MD is a full-scope family physician and co-site medical director at the Erie Evanston/Skokie Family Health Center. He attends on the labor and delivery service and adult inpatient services at Swedish Hospital. He completed his medical training at University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves on the Board of Directors for IAFP. He completed a 4 year family medicine residency through Oregon Health and Science University in 2019 and was also chief resident. He and his wife welcomed their first child, Aiden Alavi, in September 2021 and are loving watching him grow.

Rachel Caskey, MD, MA is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics; and a health services researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research program investigates novel mechanisms to positively impact health behaviors which result in improved health outcomes with a focus on health system-level changes to improve outcomes for women and children. Her work has focused on improving access to, and adoption of, adolescent vaccines; as well as timely access to care for postpartum women at risk for severe maternal morbidity or mortality. She is a practicing pediatrician and internist at UIC

Amy Christison, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. She is an executive committee member of the Illinois Chapter of the AAP and the Co-Chair of the AAP Section on Obesity Coaches Network. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Obesity Medicine and has had over 30 years of clinical practice. She has expertise in Motivational Interviewing and has trained healthcare professionals, residents, and students regionally and nationally.

Kristin Davis (formerly Drynan), MD, FAAFP is a family medicine doctor in Aurora, Illinois. She received her medical degree from McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Additionally, she serves as the Chair on the Board of Directors for the Family Health Foundation of Illinois.

Corinne Kohler, MD, FAAFP  graduated from the University of Illinois college of medicine in 1994 and completed a Family Practice residency through Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign in 1997. After a short stint at a rural practice (until clinic closed early 1998) she practiced at a FQHC until end of Feb 2022. Her practice interests have been immunizations, childhood ADHD/mental health and prenatal/woman’s health. She has been active with teaching and precepting at the medical school and family medicine residency. Additionally, she has been a board member with IAFP since 2017 and is currently serving out her term as treasurer. She looks forward to new opportunities at a reduced schedule.

Carl Earl Lambert, Jr., MD, FAAFP is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, IL. He is involved with academic medicine as well as mentorship, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented minority students into medicine. He enjoys providing thorough, compassionate, and whole-person continuity and preventative care to people from all communities and walks of life in the Rush University Family Physicians group.
Aside from clinical practice, Dr. Lambert remains very involved in the Rush community in several capacities, including being a committed and engaged clinical teacher and preceptor, a small-group clinician educator and facilitator in Rush’s integrated curriculum, director of the Rush Family Medicine Leadership Program, director of the service-learning curriculum, an executive member of the medical school’s Admissions Executive Committee and Rush University’s Racial Justice Action Committee, as well as faculty advisor for both the Rush Christian Fellowship as well as for minority medical students in the Rush chapter of the Student National Medical Association.
Dr. Lambert is a member of the American Association of Family Physicians, a diplomat of the American Board of Family Medicine, a member of the Christian Community Health Fellowship, an academic advisor for the National Medical Fellowship Minority Primary Care Leadership Program, and the Chicago Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program. His special interests include community-based medical services, integrating faith into medicine, child & adolescent wellness, family planning, and men’s health. He is happily married to his lovely wife Adrienne, and remains engaged in his home church, Bellevue Baptist Church, in Chicago, Illinois.

Timothy Ott, DO, FAAFP is a family doctor with 30 years of experience. He is an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Director of Medical Student Affairs and Assistant Director of Osteopathic Medicine at the SIU Quincy Family Medicine Residency Program. He was previously in private practice for 20 years. Additionally, Dr. Ott was elected as President-Elect for the IAFP Board. He will be installed as IAFP President in November.
Since relocating to Quincy from Pittsburgh, Pa. in 2010, Dr. Ott has been very active with SIU, the Quincy community and the IAFP. He served in a three-year term (2016-2018) on the IAFP Board of Directors, and one year as the Academy’s Treasurer in 2018-19. He was elected Second Vice President in 2019 and First Vice President (2020) before being elected as President-Elect this year. Within the IAFP he is a long-time member of the Family Medicine Educators Committee and serves on the IAFP’s Task Force on Commercial Support.
He’s also been a consistent voice in family medicine and public health advocacy in the Illinois General Assembly and U.S. Congress through his leadership roles in IAFP and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), traveling to Springfield and Washington, D.C.
Dedicated to family medicine education since arriving in Illinois, he holds academic appointments at SIU School of Medicine and A.T. Still University Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was named the SIU Quincy Family Medicine Residency Teacher of the Year in 2015 and 2020. As an IAFP leader, he has also enjoyed serving on the planning committee for the regional Family Medicine Midwest conferences, which recruits future family physicians to Midwestern states. He is a frequent community presenter and always happy to assist the local media with health care stories.
The Pittsburgh native, and dedicated Steelers fan, also enjoys camping and antiquing.

Marian R. Sassetti, MD, FAAFP, is a partner at Lake Street Family Practice in Oak Park with over 30 years of experience. The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians recently selected her as the “2021 Family Physician of the Year.” She was recognized for her community involvement and the embodiment of the words “family physician,” as well as a voice for those who need help beyond her practice. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice at Rush Medical College in Chicago since 1989.
Dr. Sassetti served on the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) board of directors from 1995-2001. She’s been an active leader and a regular contributor on IAFP committees and education programming throughout her career.
Sassetti serves on the board of directors for Sarah's Inn, an advocacy center that provides comprehensive services for families affected by domestic violence. She is also a board member of Thrive Counseling Center in Oak Park. Thrive is a comprehensive mental health agency with a mission is to build healthy minds, families, and communities by empowering people to attain mental and emotional well-being. She is s former Chair of the Board for the Well Spirituality Center in LaGrange, Illinois. The Well is a center for physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness. Its mission is to strengthen, heal, and call for the inherent wholeness of the earth, our human community, and all creation.
Dr. Sassetti graduated from Northwestern University in 1981 and Stanford Medical School in 1985. She completed her family medicine residency training at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, as well as faculty development fellowship.

Christopher Smyre, MD is a family medicine physician at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine with a dual appointment to the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Medical Humanities. Dr. Smyre has a master’s from the University of Chicago Divinity School focused on theological ethics, and completed his residency training at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Family Medicine Residency Program-Humboldt Park. Dr. Chris Smyre is passionate about educating and equipping medical students and residents to become excellent clinicians who are patient centered, culturally responsive, and evidenced based in their approach to the care they provide.Dr. Smyre’s clinical interests are underserved medicine, mental health, group visits, and taking care of families. Dr. Smyre’s areas of research include healthcare disparities, medical ethics, and medical education. Currently, Dr. Smyre is working to establish an outpatient ethics consult service and is committed to empowering and equipping patients to have ownership of their health and successfully utilize the healthcare system. Dr. Smyre is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and in the Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion, he serves as the Director of Research and Innovation. In these roles, Dr. Smyre works with various leaders to facilitate and examine the progress made toward the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine becoming an antiracist institution.

Christina Wells, MD, FAAFP is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Wells has a strong interest in the health and education of vulnerable populations. She has worked at a Federally Qualified Health Center for the past 12 years where she provides care to underserved communities. She also volunteers her time to provide health seminars and coordinate health fairs for communities in need. She has a passion for medical student education and serves in various academic roles including as the current college-wide director of the Medical Colloquia course at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and as the Assistant Director for the Patient Centered Medicine Scholars Program in the Family Medicine Department. She specializes in both preventive health services and management of chronic diseases, with an emphasis on lifestyle medicine. She has additional training in HIV, addiction, and mental health care. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 2006. She also has a Masters of Public Health degree with an emphasis in Nutrition and Wellness. She currently provides patient care at the University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center. She also serves as an IAFP board member.


Santina Wheat MD, MPH, FAAFP is the Program Director for the McGaw Northwestern Family Medicine Residency Erie Humboldt Park and an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree at University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine and her Masters of Public Health at University of Illinois School of Public Health. She completed a family medicine residency at McGaw Northwestern Family Medicine Residency Humboldt Park. She currently primarily provides full primary care primarily to patients living with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. She also runs an outpatient procedure clinic with the residents in her program and is part of the maternity care team. Dr Wheat has a strong interest in reproductive health, social determinants of health and health equity. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors as a Director for the Family Health Foundation of IL.