James Ahn, MD, MHPE
Hi all! My names is James Ahn and I originally hail from the West Coast. I was born and raised in San Francisco and my childhood was spent creating havoc in the aisles of my parent’s convenience store. Much to my parents chagrin, being an only child meant that I needed to be quite creative (destructive) with my playtime. During grade school, my parents decided to trade one waterfront for another as we moved up to the Seattle area. You could say my general love of music was forged in the Seattle grunge experience. Yes, I am old, and, yes, my musical tastes have significantly expanded since my plaid-wearing days. After my high school years in the Pacific Northwest, I moved out to the Midwest to an institution widely renowned as a party school: The University of Chicago.
During my first stay at the University of Chicago is when I fell in love with this city. Chicago offered an amazingly diverse metropolitan city that had endless opportunities for exploration. After five years in Chicago, I continued my reverse manifest destiny to attend Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Four years later, spoiler alert, I boomeranged back to my first love and joined the University of Chicago EM family. When I first entered residency, I was convinced that, as an attending, I would move to Tahoe to be on the spectrum of emergency medicine attending and semi-professional snowboarder. This clearly did not happen. And, while I am still without any sports energy drink sponsorships, I am grateful that I had the mentorship, support and serendipity to stay at the University of Chicago. Every day I am humbled as I am able to deliver care to our community while working with such brilliant, caring, and inspirational residents and attendings. Chicago and the University of Chicago have truly become my home!
When not in the emergency department you can find me spending time outside around and on the lake, enjoying Chicago’s concerts, festivals and restaurants, or at one of my two boy’s hockey and soccer games. Hope to see you around and welcome!
Navneet Cheema, MD
Associate Program Director
Hi, my name is Navneet! I was born in India and moved to the US when I was 2 years old. I grew up in Cleveland with my three siblings and grandparents. I spent my childhood playing with my siblings and finding random ways to entertain ourselves (some favorite activities were making pinatas, looking for four leaf clovers in the yard and making crepes for the family!). I played volleyball throughout highschool and this passion has been shared with the residency program. For five years running now, we have had a residency volleyball team and have even won a couple championships!!! And, we are always looking for new players 🙂
After high school, I went to “The Ohio State” for college where I was a Biology major and a Greek Classics minor. At Columbus, I was brainwashed into being a Buckeyes football fan. The first year I got season tickets, we went undefeated on the way to a national championship; now I consider myself their lucky charm! After four years of championships and flip cup, I went to Northwestern for medical school and then stayed for my emergency medicine residency. After being Chief Resident at Northwestern, I stayed in Chicago for a toxicology fellowship at Toxikon. Each fellow gets assigned an element and I think mine is the best one→Krypton!! I have a whole presentation on noble gas toxicities for anyone who is interested 🙂
After fellowship, I have been lucky enough to be an APD at UofC since 2014. I have loved my job – the residents and our patient population make it so easy and rewarding to come to work everyday! I am also lucky since while I was the first in my family to leave Ohio, I have now slowly convinced all my siblings and parents to join me in Chicago. In my free time, I love to spend time with family (usually involving a game of bags, spades or kickball), cook (working my way through The Woks of Life the Sweet Enough cook book currently), take “city hikes” while listening to audiobooks (always looking for suggestions—love anything in trilogy format with themes of magic/fantasy with some love speckled in and, of course, a good psychological thriller with a female protagonist).
Adriana Olson, MD, MAEd
Assistant Program Director
Hi everyone! I’m originally from the east coast and grew up in the suburbs of Philly. Both my parents were Colombian immigrants and moved to the U.S. a few years before I was born. We grew up speaking Spanish in my home and it still comes in handy with Spanish speaking patients and families. I attended Penn State for undergrad (Go Nittany Lions)! and then moved to Chicago for medical school and EM residency at Northwestern, where I served as Chief Resident my fourth year.
After residency, I moved to San Antonio, TX for 4 years and worked at University Hospital (UT Heath San Antonio). It was a great experience as I got to work with and grow a brand-new residency program. For my last 3 years there, I was an Assistant/Associate Program Director and directed our simulation, asynchronous education, and didactic curriculum. During my time there, I also received my Masters of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University.
After 4 years in Texas, it was time to return back to the city I now consider home, Chicago! I found my home at the University of Chicago in 2018 and have been an APD since 2020. I love working here, especially with our residents, patients, staff, and my colleagues!
Outside of medicine, I love to stay active and spend time with my husband, 2 kids and our dog, Mazie!
Jared Novack, MD
Assistant Program Director (Northshore)
Hi everyone, I’m Jared Novack. I’m a 2012 U of C residency alumnus. I grew up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, and I went to undergrad at Franklin & Marshall College. I attended the University of Pittsburgh for medical school. I’m your APD and point of contact for the NorthShore Hospital rotations and the monthly simulation education conference. My specific interests are in procedural skill acquisition using simulation and bedside procedure teaching. I’m an ABEM board examiner, and I also teach at several regional and national courses for ACEP.
Currently I live in Highland Park (a city north of Chicago), with my wife and 3 children. I spend much of my free time with them going to soccer games, dance competitions and neighborhood events. I’m always on the lookout for new Chicago restaurant suggestions – so please send some my way! I’m an avid skier, I love the outdoors, and I’m always up for taking in a local sporting event.
What initially drew me to the University of Chicago was the patient population and the amazing clinical environment. The reason I stayed was the people. The residents are a fantastic, diverse, passionate group of young physicians who care deeply about the patients they serve and go on to do such amazing things in their careers. I’m proud to be a small part of their stories.
Isabel Malone, MD, MHPE
Assistant Program Director
Bio coming soon!
Paul Kukulski, MD, MHPE
Assistant Program Director
Hi all! I’m Paul Kukulski. I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, in Carol Stream. Growing up in the Chicago area during the 90s meant life was all about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Unfortunately, I stopped growing well before hitting 6 feet, so my initial dream of taking the torch from MJ and completing another 3-peat for the Bulls was dashed.
I went to college at the University of Illinois down in Champaign. At the time the TV show Scrubs was playing constantly on Comedy Central, which made working in the hospital seem like a fun time. I decided going to med school would be a solid fallback from the NBA. I got an EMT license and worked with the EMS club to staff sporting events and worked at a private ambulance in the summers, which got me my first taste of Emergency Medicine.
After college I went to the University of Chicago for medical school, where I fell in love with the city, the South Side, and our patients, and haven’t looked back. I’ve been here for med school, residency, a medical education fellowship, and now as faculty. As faculty I started as co-clerkship director and currently work as one of the assistant program directors. When you find people you love working with, why leave?
Out and about in Chicago, I’m enjoying the awesome restaurants, the music fests, concerts, and chilling on the Lake Shore path with my dog Dobby. I love snowboarding, rock climbing and hiking, and find it easy here to be able to take weekend trips to the mountains. And, of course, watching and waiting for the Bulls to return to glory.