Ruth Fox Endowment

It is with great excitement that the Illinois Society of Addiction Medicine announces that the American Society of Addiction Medicine has awarded the Ruth Fox Scholarships to two Illinois addiction medicine physicians-in-training, Dr. Nicholas Chien (Rush University) and Dr. Joseph Ikekwere. Please click the links for information on the Ruth Fox Scholarships, the legacy of Dr. Ruth Fox, and also a letter from ISAM Board Member Dr. Andrea Barthwell thanking the donors who support this important endowment for addiction medicine education.

Ruth Fox 2021 Endowment Recipients

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Nicholas Chien, MD

Dr. Nicholas Chien is an emergency medicine physician and addiction medicine fellow at Rush University Medical Center. He was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia where he completed elementary and high school. He obtained undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in nutritional sciences and integrative biology. He worked in the biotech industry and as a medical biller prior to completing medical school at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Dr. Chien graduated from emergency medicine residency at Rush University Medical Center in 2020 and transitioned directly to his role as a fellow at the same institution. Dr. Chien’s passion for addiction medicine has been influenced by the death of a close friend from unintentional opioid overdose and his mother who works as a street minister on Vancouver downtown’s east side. Dr. Chien has clinical interest in addiction medicine include opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, co-occurring mental illness, and medical education. Dr. Chien is a clinical instructor at Rush Medical College where he teaches medical students and residents on a variety of addiction medicine related topics. Dr. Chien is a ASAM Ruth Fox Scholarship recipient and is dedicated to empower medical professionals to better care for patients with substance use disorders. He plans to practice both of his specialties in an academic setting once he completes fellowship.

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Joseph Ikekwere, MD

Dr. Joseph Ikekwere received his medical degree at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He worked in the area of general practice in northern Nigeria before relocating to the United States where he subsequently obtained a Master of Public Health degree (MPH) at the East Tennessee State University (ETSU). His interest in Psychiatry arose after he lost his childhood friend to suicide following a struggle with infectious disease and mental illness. His active participation in medical research/projects particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS Psychiatry kept him at the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine in Tri-cities, Tennessee where he pursued his general psychiatry residency. His interest in neurodevelopment during childhood and involvement with the HIV issues committee of the American Psychiatric Association as well as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) brought him closer towards fulfilling his dream of serving the children, adolescents and the transitional youth population that struggle with mental health at the University of Michigan CAP fellowship program. Currently, as an addiction fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), he seeks to develop a reasonable background and knowledge base in substance use disorders among adolescents and transitional age to further his career as an early academic psychiatrist in addiction. His clinical research goal is to find answers to the patterns and predictors of substance use disorders particularly opioid in youths affected by HIV.

“I feel privileged to be part of the 2021 Ruth Fox Scholarship recipient. I am excited to be a part of this great experience and feel supported by mentors from UIC and ASAM.

Ruth Fox 2020 Endowment Recipient

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Ruchi M. Fitzgerald, MD, FAAFP is a family physician and an addiction medicine physician. She is the Service Chief of Inpatient Addiction Medicine at PCC Community Wellness, a federally qualified health center system that serves the West Side of Chicago. Dr. Fitzgerald is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University, as well as the Associate Program Director of the Rush Addiction Medicine Fellowship. She completed the addiction medicine fellowship at Rush University in 2020.  She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed her family medicine residency in 2012 with the Montana Family Medicine Residency. Dr. Fitzgerald developed an interest in provision of care for underserved populations and those affected by substance use disorders during her residency. Her love for teaching medical students and family practice residents developed in Montana while she was a community faculty physician with the Montana Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Fitzgerald also has extensive experience in telemedicine. During her fellowship, Dr. Fitzgerald worked with the addiction medicine faculty to create RISE-MD (Rush Integrative Substance Use Disorder Education for Medical Doctors), an educational initiative in Rush Medical College that focuses on eliminating stigma while promoting evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders in the next generation of physicians. She has worked with the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Illinois Society of Addiction Medicine on key advocacy and policy initiatives related to substance use disorders. Dr. Fitzgerald is also an active member of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs and is an advocate for physician health and wellness.

Ruchi Fitzgerald, MD