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Dafina Allen, MD

Hometown - Orlando, FL
Undergrad - University of Florida (GATOR till I die!)
Medical School - Wayne State University

I chose Masonic because I appreciated the friendly atmosphere and the strong reputation for training well rounded Family doctors.
My interests are women's health, underserved medicine and prevention.
I love serving at my church and in the community. I also love being outside! (working out, beaches, parks, etc.).  I'm a huge sports fan, enjoy reading and spending time with family and friends.

Laura Niiro, MD

Hometown - Wheaton, IL
Undergrad - University of Michigan (Go Blue!)
Medical School - University of Illinois at Chicago

I chose Masonic because it offers great educational opportunities in these areas, and the faculty, residents, and staff are so close-knit, friendly and supportive.  I truly feel like it is a perfect fit.

My professional interests include women’s health, adolescent medicine, pediatrics, and procedures.

In my free time, I love spending time with my friends and family, traveling, reading, cooking, and trying new foods.  I also enjoy cheering on my Chicago sports teams and the Wolverines!

Megan Pence, DO

Hometown - Bloomington, IL
Undergrad - Augustana College
Medical school - Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why I chose Masonic - After doing a rotation with the family medicine residency I fell in love with all that the program had to offer (especially the high school clinics).  The residents are all super fun and everyone gets along so well.  It seemed like a really great atmosphere to be working in.  I knew it was a place where I would be very happy.

Professional interests: women's health, adolescent health, public health

Fun interests:  When I'm with friends I like to catch a movie, go to a game, or go bar hopping.  I also love any kind of live music.  When I'm by myself I like to bake (mostly cupcakes) or shop (mostly shoes).  I also like artsy stuff like scrapbooking, glasswork, and I would like to learn how to make jewelry at some point.

Carolyn Pierce, MD

Hometown - North Royalton, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland)
Undergrad - Oberlin (neuroscience major with a minor in psychology)
Medical School- Rush Medical College

I choice Masonic because I loved that the residents get to work in school clinics, and was impressed by the supportive environment fostered by the program director and the rest of the staff. The fact that the residents were among the most entertaining I met on the interview trail didn’t hurt, either.

I’m interested in adolescent medicine, women’s health, and increasing access to healthcare.

Fun interests: I like yoga, puppies, going to concerts, PBS cooking shows, and traveling, especially to Nordic countries.

Katherine Endicott, MD

Hometown - Wood River, IL
Undergrad - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Medical - Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

I chose Masonic for several reasons.  I first and foremost wanted a program that would give me lots of OB exposure, particularly with midwives.  Secondly I really enjoyed the people I met during my visits, as well as the location and "feel" of the program.  In a few years I would love to be working in a practice alongside midwives, helping to bring more supportive birth care to the Midwest. 

In my free time, I hang out with my husband and our kitty children, exercise, go antique-ing, and make jewelry.

Dave Smith, DO

Hometown - Elizabeth, CO
Undergrad - University of Northern Colorado
Medical School - AT Still University - Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

I’m from a small town outside of Denver and am looking forward to having paved roads and more than one stoplight! I graduated from Northern CO with a BS in kinesiology and from there I spent a couple of years as a strength coach and as an exercise physiologist in Kansas City.

I chose Masonic because of the great residents, faculty, and atmosphere, as well as the opportunities it provides.

Professionally my interests are sports medicine, prevention, and education to name a few.

I love to cook, go to museums, snowboard, hike, watch movies, travel, and to go see anything live - from music to sports to theater.

Anna Sokolowski, MD

Hometown - Schiller Park
Undergrad - University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
Medical School - University of Illinois at Chicago

I initially became interested in Masonic because of their strong academic performance, their diverse urban patient population and their school-based health center, but what sealed the deal were the residents who genuinely seemed to have fun and be able to rely on one another.

Professionally, I’m interested in women’s health and adolescent medicine.

The hours that I’m not spending at the hospital, I spend mountain biking with my wonderful fiancée, cooking foods from the motherland and exploring all the ethnic restaurants only Chicago has to offer (usually after my cooking didn’t work out so well).

Jonathan Vitale, DO

Hometown - Skaneateles, NY
Undergrad/Grad school - University of Rochester (BA in Psychology and MS in Counseling)
Medical School - Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Erie, PA)

I was attracted to Advocate Illinois Masonic because it had the best residents, faculty, staff, and opportunities that I have seen in any residency program.  It just felt the ideal, supportive environment to learn Family Medicine. Of course, the fact that it is located in the best city in the world, Chicago, made it an obvious choice!

My professional interests include Preventative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Psychotherapy, Patient Advocacy, Osteopathic Manipulative Technique, Medical Media, and Medical Social Media.

My personal interests include acting in musical and dramatic theater, playing the piano, singing, media, politics, cooking, dining, and exploring Chicago!

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