Meet the Team

Acclivus, Inc. is community health organization, focusing on the health and well-being of individuals living in Chicago’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.

 

Acclivus uses an intentional social network to serve vulnerable individuals, primarily those from communities that are disproportionately impacted by compounding barriers to health and success. 

 

Acclivus provides resources and support to assist a person with personal and professional growth. The goal is for each person to thrive as they overcome social challenges that may include, but are not limited to: chronic exposure to violence and trauma, poverty, a criminal background, disproportionately high rates of serious health conditions, and limited formal education.

In partnership with the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research, Acclivus provides programs and services to address trauma, decrease health disparities, reduce incarceration, enhance educational opportunities, and increase employment options for individuals and their communities.

JOSEPH STRICKLAND, PhD

Senior Advisor

Dr. Joseph Strickland has over 20 years of experience in leading community-based advocacy and programs for community development, ex-offenders, youth, and community health. As an Associate Director and Senior Researcher at UIC Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research, he is currently both a practitioner and researcher engaged in work in urban communities that involves urban youth, minorities and at-risk populations.  As a researcher, his work has focused on how Black males recover from traumatic situations such as being in prison, affiliated with street gangs and gunshot victims. As a practitioner my work has involved reducing unintentional injuries to children and adolescents, developing strategies and training programs for youth violence interventions (gang violence, school violence and teen dating), youth empowerment programs and youth employment readiness programs. Dr. Strickland has PhD in Social Work from University of Illinois at Chicago, a M.A. in Social Work and Social Welfare from University of Chicago and a Bachelor in General Studies from Roosevelt University.

LEVON STONE, SR.,MA

President and CEO

LeVon Stone, Sr. is the Chief Executive Officer of Acclivus, Inc. a community health organization focused employing grassroots leaders from Chicago to support safety, well-being, and growth in vulnerable communities. LeVon has been an example of growth and development for individuals from communities across the social landscape. In his violence prevention work, LeVon has risen through the ranks of the Cure Violence/CeaseFire program, beginning as a volunteer, then consistently promoted from Violence Interrupter to Hospital Responder to Case Manager to Hospital Program Director, and finally holding the highest title possible, Program Director for the state of Illinois.

 

Mr. Stone has successfully advocated for comprehensive services for those acutely at risk for violence by working closely and transparently with government leaders at city, county, and state levels, philanthropic leaders, health and human service providers, and academic partners. This professional experience managing close to $10 million dollars in funds prepared him well to branch out and develop his own independent, black-led community organization serving violently injured patients at local trauma centers – Acclivus, Inc. Mr. Stone serves as the CEO and in his role, he brings voice to victims of violence, as a leader for people facing what feel like insurmountable trials. Over the course of his professional growth within the field, Mr. Stone returned to school, completing a Bachelor’s and then Master’s Degree from Northeastern Illinois University with a focus in Inner City Studies while working full-time and raising two children with his wife. Mr. Stone is frequently requested to speak to academic and professional audiences about his life and his work, including hospital physician and nurse trainings, undergraduate and graduate classes (public health, social work, medical school, to name a few.) He has been profiled in local and national media as an inspiring leader. Mr. Stone has been recruited to participate in numerous community advisory committees and task forces as well.

SHEILA REAGAN

Chief Operations Office

Sheila Regan is a certified health data analyst with expertise in public health interventions, specifically around violence prevention and with vulnerable populations. She has 10 years of direct experience analyzing population level health data for underserved populations in Chicago, Illinois and the nation. Ms. Regan also worked with various government and medical institutions to improve understanding & analysis of inter-institutional trends, with the long-term goal of building cross-institutional data systems with trauma hospitals and healthcare systems on initiatives to improve care provider capacity and patient outcomes. 

Ms. Regan has worked in multiple roles on research project in this realm including study design, development, data systems development, abstract/manuscript writing and data analysis. Sheila Regan has played an integral role in the development of the Cure Violence Illinois hospital intervention, starting as an external partner employed by Mount Sinai Hospital, a local level 1 trauma center. As the hospital program director from 2007 – 2013, Ms. Regan was solely responsible for oversight of 24/7 operations of the program in Chicago, development of program structure & foundational documents as well as technical assistance to Cure Violence replication sites nationally. Prior to her time with Cure Violence, Sheila worked directly with violently injured patients, including injury by sexual, domestic, shooting, stabbing and other violence, as the Crime Victim Advocate for Mount Sinai Hospital. Since 2000, she has worked as an advocate for individuals experiencing sexual abuse and/or domestic violence and has certification working with both populations. She completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2004 and was a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship in 2000.

Program Director

BAMANI OBEDELE

Bamani has more than two decades of experience and excellence in community organizing public policy and advocacy. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, he is responsible for Acclivus' government relations, advocacy programs and team building.  As a leader in restorative justice and outreach programs, Obadele has worked in several high profile positions throughout his career, including at the Community Area Project, State of Illinois, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), Greater Roseland Community Committee and Vista. 

Field Director

JOHN HARDY, MA

As field director,  John oversees training and program operations for close to 40 staff who provide violence prevention services to 5 level-one trauma centers and two high risk communities. Prior to this role, John served as Senior Program Manager for CeaseFire/Cure Violence Chicago, providing comparable programmatic oversight for program operations across 18 communities and 5 level-one trauma centers. Prior to this promotion in 2016, Mr. Hardy served for 5 years as case manager for patients injured by violence and treated at John H Stroger Hospital, Cook County’s public trauma center.  In this role, John provided supportive aftercare to patients shot, stabbed, or beaten to ameliorate the impacts of trauma injury and direct at-risk individuals on a healthier trajectory. 

Director, Strategic Partnerships

SHERI D. RUFFAI, PhD

As director of strategic partnerships, Dr. Ruffai supports individual and programmatic development for the unique staff and services provided by Acclivus through community engagement and partnerships. For the last 10 years Dr. Sheri D. Ruffai has worked diligently to create safe spaces and provide resources for individuals living in underserved communities. She started her journey by working with youth involved in the Juvenile Justice System, providing intensive in-home Multi-Systemic Therapy to juvenile offenders as well as their families. 

Field Director

TOMAS ORTIZ

Tomas oversees training and program operations for close to 40 staff who provide violence prevention services to 5 level-one trauma centers and two high risk communities. Prior to this role, Tomas served as Senior Program Manager for CeaseFire/Cure Violence Chicago, providing comparable programmatic oversight for program operations across 18 communities and 5 level-one trauma centers. Mr. Ortiz began his violence prevention career as a violence interrupter for the Latino team at CeaseFire. Recommended by the Latino team supervisor for Hospital response work, Tomas then served as bilingual case manager for patients injured by violence and treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, following 5 years as Hospital Responder for John H Stroger Hospital, Cook County’s public trauma center. 

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Our Mission

To support community health and well-being for Chicago area populations at risk for violence and other negative health outcomes.

 

Our Vision

To provide individuals the opportunity to reach their full human potential regardless of their past misdeeds, disappointments, or challenges influence by internal and external causes.

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Email: admin@acclivusinc.org  |  Phone: (312) 766-7145

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