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Karen Aguirre

Project Coordinator | University of Illinois Cancer Center, Center for Health Equity Research - Chicago

"Throughout my health care advocacy and research, my hope is that one day the City of Chicago will have sufficient affordable and accessible health services for marginalized communities of color who need them the most."

Undergraduate Degree: Loyola University Chicago, '15

Fun fact: I am the proud owner of at least 30 plants. Yes, I will most likely buy more.

Karen Aguirre is a Project Coordinator for the Center for Health Equity Research Chicago (CHER Chicago) under the University of Illinois Cancer Center. The mission of CHER Chicago is To make transformative contributions toward the elimination of structural violence through collaborative community partnerships, innovative research, and development and growth of researchers. 

Previously, Karen was a Peer Advisor for the Obama Foundation which offered a Chicago Civic Training Day in October for inner-city youth. Aside from this work, she previously held diverse roles as a graduate assistant for the Medicina Scholars Program under the UIC College of Medicine and as a program coordinator for the Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health. 

Ms. Aguirre graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Health Systems Management (’15) and recently received a Master’s degree in Health Policy from the UIC (’17). During her Master’s, Karen was selected as a Schweitzer Fellowship recipient where she received funding to create a CPS after-school health program at Back of the Yards High School. She named her group L.U.C.H.A and used this initiative to encourage Black and Latino youth from Back of the Yards to pursue a health-related degree. 

Overall, Karen finds comfort in health advocacy and hopes to one day work with the U.S. government to help improve healthcare access and affordability for communities who need it the most.