Director of the Chicago Recovery Alliance
Dan is one of the founders of Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) and, for the last 26 years, Dan has been the Director of the CRA. CRA is at anypositivechange.org and we are group that conducts harm reduction outreach and helps develop the practice of harm reduction. Over the last 28 years we have been guided by CRA participants to develop programming to prevent opiate-related overdose deaths with naloxone distribution; avoid hepatitis with safer injection and hepatitis A/B vaccination, and pilot test mobile opiate substitution therapies. Dan also helped start the US Harm Reduction Coalition and was a Project Developer for the International Harm Reduction Institute of the Open Society Foundations over the last 25 years.
Erica Lynette Edwards
Director of Community Engagement at The Joffrey Ballet
Erica Lynette Edwards joined The Joffrey Ballet in 2000 and fulfilled her dream of becoming a ballerina. After a rewarding 15 year career, she hung up her pointe shoes and became the Director of Community Engagement at The Joffrey Ballet. In this role, Erica is responsible for managing all Joffrey arts education programs through Chicago Public Schools and the community to increase access, awareness, and appreciation for the art of dance. Some of her honors include being named a “Young Leader of the Future in the Arts” by Ebony Magazine, a “Black History Maker” by the Chicago Tribune, and most recently Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40.
Esperanza Rosas, better known as Runsy, is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist specializing in illustration.Through the use of different mediums, her work considers the intersectionality of her identity, a Mexican- American woman growing up in the South Side of Chicago. A former UIC alumnus, Rosas received her BA in Criminology, Law, and Justice, with a minor in Art in 2016. Collaborations include Red Bull Sound Select, Frank 151, and features in publications such as Remezcla.
Over the last decade, paleobiologist Dr. Nizar Ibrahim, a 2015 TED Fellow, has unearthed a spectacular prehistoric menagerie in Africa's Sahara desert, including a 20-foot wingspan flying reptile and a sail-backed, water-loving, fish-eating dinosaur. Using biology, geology, anatomy, and cutting-edge technology, he tries to reconstruct these "dragons from Deep Time" and the lost worlds they lived in.
Africa's "age of dinosaurs" remains highly underrepresented in global evolutionary narratives and the continent lags far behind North America, Europe, and Asia. Ibrahim's research, which includes African scientific collaborators, is shedding much-needed light on the continent's incredible ancient heritage.
Senior Exhibit Developer
Dr. Olivia Castellini is a Senior Exhibit Developer at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago, Illinois. A physicist by training, she has a passion for bringing science to the public. Castellini has translated fundamental science and cutting-edge research into compelling museum experiences on a variety of topics, from nanotechnology and math to music and sports. She was part of the core creative team behind Science Storms, MSI's 26,000sq.ft. exhibition about the amazing science which underlies natural phenomena.
She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a B.A. in music and physics from DePauw University. In addition to her science career, Castellini is an accomplished musician, model, athlete and actor. She is an avid runner and triathlete, has completed 7 marathons and holds the rank of second degree black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate.
Critical Care specialist, humanitarian and strong advocate for refugees and victims of disasters
Dr. Zaher Sahloul is a Critical Care specialist, humanitarian and strong advocate for refugees and victims of disasters including his homeland Syria. He founded several global organizations, including MedGlobal and SAMS, to reduce healthcare disparity globally focusing on disaster areas like Syria, Yemen and Rohingya crises.
Dr. Sahloul was awarded Chicagoan of the Year 2016 for risking his life in medical missions to besieged Aleppo and “Heroes Among Us” Award by American Red Cross 2017 among other awards.
Dr. Sahloul is a leading advocate in the Syrian humanitarian crisis and the role of diaspora communities among medical circles, the media, the U.S. government, and the UN. He has authored many articles on the impact of the war in Syria on public health, healthcare workers, civilians, and children, and has been published in outlets such as the New York Times,CNN, WP, WSJ, Foreign Policy, the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian. (More info on the TEDxUofIChicago.com website)