Sheila joined The Selfhelp Home with close to 30 years of experience managing and running senior communities. She describes herself as having a lifelong passion for providing excellence for all seniors entrusted into her care. Most recently, she served as Administrator/Chief Operating Officer of Montgomery Place in Hyde Park. A native of London, England, Sheila’s family ran a 5-star luxury resort on the English coast. That might be why she says that hospitality is “in her blood.” She is married with four adult children and resides in Peterson Park.
Meet Our Team of Senior Care Professionals
Chief Financial Officer
Steve joins our team with a solid background of 35 years’ experience working in the field of healthcare accounting. 10 of those years were with a public accounting firm that specialized in healthcare working on various nursing home clients, and that firm is now servicing Selfhelp in their annual audit. The most recent 25 years were with a nursing home management group as their CFO, overseeing as many as 11 facilities. Steve is a licensed CPA in Illinois, lives in Buffalo Grove, and is married with two older sons. Steve enjoys working out, walking his dog Wrigley as often as possible, and traveling.
“I’m excited about my work and adding value to this organization, as well as meeting new people & gaining insight into their interests. Going to work at Selfhelp and seeing the residents each day truly makes the work more meaningful than in my previous job working in a management office setting.”
Beth joined The Selfhelp Home in 2022 after serving the Jewish philanthropic community at Jewish National Fund and American Friends of the Hebrew University. Beth’s previous professional experiences include executive management in the cancer philanthropy world, as well as leadership positions in the for-profit industries of media, entertainment, and apparel. Beth earned her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and her BA from University of Michigan. For fun, Beth sings with the Bloom School of Jazz in the Loop. Beth lives with her rescue chocolate-point Siamese cats, Chickpea and Pinto Bean, in Northbrook.
“I saw first-hand the world-class care at The Selfhelp Home when my mom was a skilled nursing resident here. I’m so honored to be part of the team that took such great care of my own family.”
Director of Nursing
Raclyn leads our nursing teams at Selfhelp and our post-acute Health & Rehabilitation Center. She is committed to quality care for each and every resident. She has 15 years of leadership and management experience working in senior care and nursing. Raclyn has a Bachelor’s of Science in nursing from the Philippines. Racyln is a Wound Care Specialist, certified in infection control and has experience in restorative nursing. Most of the time, Raclyn can be found right on the nursing floor giving our residents direct care.
“I’m very fortunate to be part of The Selfhelp Home. I’m very proud of the excellent care that we give the residents, plus the compassionate and hardworking staff, which sets us apart from other facilities. My goal is to help improve The Selfhelp Home so that we can continue to provide the highest quality of care to our residents.”
Chief Marketing Officer
Efrat joined The Selfhelp Home after spending 13 years in government managing marketing and media affairs for the City of Chicago. She is passionate about telling the story of Selfhelp to the outside world and creating platforms for Selfhelp to be an anchor in the community. She oversees marketing, communications, community outreach and works on special projects such as the recent renovations in the Independent Living and Assisted Living apartments. Since graduating from UIC with a BA in communications, Efrat has a collective 25 years of experience in marketing. She lives in West Rogers Park and has a 14-year-old daughter.
“I love the work I am doing at Selfhelp. It’s a place both residents and staff call home. The Selfhelp Home is a little hidden gem in Chicago that provides a true sense of belonging and community for its residents and the Jewish community.”
Director of Dining
Sofia’s warmth and hospitality are part of the fabric of The Selfhelp Home. Pass her by in the hallways, and she may hand you a taste of a new pastry or invite you to stay for lunch. Sofia began at Selfhelp 30 years ago as an entry-level dietary aid. Her strong work ethic and dedication to Selfhelp drove her to the top. Today, she oversees our dining program, including 40 employees and 700 meals per day. Sofie and her team take great pride in preparing flavorful and traditional homemade kosher meals and providing excellent customer service.
“This is a home away from home for me. I feel that I am a part of something where I can make a difference!”
Chief People Officer
For Sharon, working at Selfhelp has always felt like family from the residents to the staff. Sharon has worked at Selfhelp since 1993. She started out at the front desk as a receptionist and was promoted to Assistant Accounting Manager in 2010. Now, Sharon manages human resources and works on recruiting our dedicated staff. Sharon has 4 daughters and 1 grandson. The Mikel family has a long legacy of dedicated service to the Selfhelp, all of her 4 daughters have worked at SHH at some point in time, and her mother also worked at Selfhelp for 8 years before she started.
“Everyone at Selfhelp is always genuinely caring and that’s what makes SHH different from other homes.”
Director of Environmental Services
Maya joins The Selfhelp Home family as the new Executive Assistant. She was born in Wisconsin but spent most of her life in Israel. You can practice your Hebrew with Maya, as she is fluent in both Hebrew and English. She moved to Chicago two years ago. She has a background in resident services and hospitality in the skilled nursing setting. Maya loves spending free time by Lake Michigan.
“Working at Selfhelp gives me a chance to grow my career in an environment that I am passionate about. I am happy to work for a non-profit with a good mission – caring for the residents is the most important thing to me.”
The Medical Professionals
Dr. Katherine O’Brien completed her undergraduate training at Indiana University and received her M.D. from Georgetown University. She then completed Internal Medicine internship and residency at Georgetown University Hospital as well as Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowships at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Clinical Focus: Dr. O’Brien is the lead physician for the Northwestern Home Care Medicine Central region practice. She is also an Associate Hospice Medical Director and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University School of Medicine. She believes in active listening, personalized patient centered care, and above all communication with patients, families and other members of the care team. Her clinical interests include home care, dementia, frailty, complex chronic medical illness, transitions of care, and advanced care planning and end of life care.
Academic Focus: Dr. O’Brien joined the faculty at Northwestern University School of Medicine in 2018. She is actively involved in aging research at the University. She is a core faculty member for both the Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Medicine fellowships at Northwestern University and is involved in education of medical students, residents, and fellows.
Dr. Grendon is currently the Chief of Geriatric Medicine & Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital. He has a private practice called the Commonwealth Medical Physician Group in Chicago.
Cardiac Care Director
Dr. Joel Okner is a Fellowship trained Cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer of TeleMedico Physicians. He is certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease and a Diplomate with the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Okner is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and completed Residency at Rush-Presbyterian in Chicago, IL where he served as Chief Resident. After over 20 years of providing Cardiac care, including 10 years in private practice, Dr. Okner identified a significant need for Specialty Care in Senior Communities. Dr. Okner is a disruptor and an innovator in Transitional Cardiology. When he is not rounding in communities, he enjoys spending time with his family and is on the board of numerous non for profits.
Wound Care Specialist
Dr. Coraglio works alongside our full-time wound-care certified nurse team to provide weekly bedside wound care for patients with chronic and acute wounds from varying etiologies, including vascular, diabetic, neoplastic, inflammatory and traumatic. Dr. Coraglio performs procedural debridement, skin biopsies, and incision and drainage. Dr. Coraglio is a Chicago native and completed the wound care fellowship program, is board-certified with the American Board of Wound Management (ABWM), and was the 2020 annual conference speaker for “Infectious Disease and Control in Wound Care.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Dr. Mizuno is a board certified internist who received his M.D. degree from the University of Illinois then completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 1992 where he remained on staff and faculty at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine until 2019. He remains on staff at Weiss Memorial Hospital, Illinois Masonic Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center. Amongst his proudest and meaningful experiences is medical disaster relief volunteer work performed in the immediate post Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans, in the immediate post earthquake period in Haiti and most recently in Puerto Rico in the immediate Hurricane Maria period. He is very proud to join the widely renowned post acute medical staff at The Self Help Home.
Dr. Vexelman is Board Certified in Geriatric Medicine and Internal Medicine. He studied Medicine at the Chernovickiy Medicinskiy Institute in Ukraine and did his residency at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati in 1997. Dr. Vexelman is based out of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and has privileges with Swedish Covenant (part of NorthShore) and AMITA Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Vexelman specializes in wound care, speaks English, Russian and Ukrainian and has over 25 years of experience.
The Health & Rehabilitation Center & Skilled Care Team
Lauren has enjoyed a full career in healthcare and joins The Selfhelp Home with 7 years of experience in the senior living field. After spending many years on the business side of healthcare, she decided to return to school and obtain her certification in Nursing Home Administration and licensure. Her passion is to serve others and improve the overall quality of life for the residents. Lauren mostly enjoys the small boutique setting at Selfhelp that allows her to interact more with the residents and families to ensure they have 5-star experience. Lauren is an alumni of Northwestern University and lives in Skokie, she has two adult children and in her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family, and her dog Rory.
“From the moment I entered the doors of The Selfhelp Home, I knew it was a very special place. I could sense the staff were compassionate and caring immediately. I am thrilled to be a part of this team and carry out the Home’s mission of caring for the Jewish community in Chicago.”
Director of Healthcare Admissions
Elizabeth joins our team as an experienced Director of Admissions in healthcare. She has a Bachelors in social work from Northeastern Illinois University and has six years of experience working in a skilled nursing facility. She is passionate about helping patients and their family transition to a comfortable homelike setting such as The Selfhelp Home. Elizabeth lives in Portage Park with her partner, Cynthia, and enjoys reading current events, listening to music and spending time with family.
“Everything happens for a reason. To feel truly accomplished, you must love what you do. The opportunity to work at The Selfhelp Home has been the best decision I’ve made professionally. I immediately felt a connection to The Selfhelp Home and the team’s compassion and dedication to ensuring the high quality of care. Our team always goes the extra mile for guests and residents.”
Director of Social Services
Erica joins our team with over 22 years of experience working in the senior care industry, including 20 years at various Skilled Nursing Facilities in the role of Director of Social Services. Erica grew up in Chicago. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Erica also enjoys cooking, reading and watching movies and sports.
“I chose and continue to work in the social services field due to my love of helping others. I continue to find joy in interactions with the residents. I have learned so much from the conversations I’ve had with residents throughout the years. What I enjoy most about my work are the special relationships that are formed amongst residents, their families and the staff, I am happy to be here.”
Director of Activities
The best part about Carmen’s job is experiencing life through the residents. Carmen’s positive energy meets residents on whatever level they are on. She’s passionate about discovering new programs that enhance the life of the residents. Her winning attitude and dedication creates an inviting and warm atmosphere wherever she goes. Carmen is a certified Dementia Care Unit Manager and a Certified Activity Director.
“Over the years, the residents have helped me grow as a person, and I have learned so much about life through them.”
Adwoa was introduced to Selfhelp by her sister and her mom, who both still work at Selfhelp. She started in the dietary department as an aide and worked her way up to Supervisor. Adwoa went to Northern Illinois University, was born in Ghana and came to Chicago’s north side when she was 8 years old. She graduated from Senn High School. Most of all, Adwoa enjoys working with the staff and residents.
“The love and care that I get- once I step in this building makes it very easy to say this is my second home. They are my grandparents; I am their grandchild and we are family!”
Pio joined the team as the first male nurse at The Selfhelp Home. He started out part-time on the 11pm-7am shift and today he assists the Director of Nursing with hiring and training staff. Pio supervises all of the nurses and CNA’s, ensuring the highest quality of care is being delivered to the patients and residents in both the Health and Rehabilitation Center and on our long-term healthcare floors. Pio lives in the neighbored, has an impressive shoe collection, and has a passion for fixing hearing aids and eyeglasses.
“My favorite part of the job is compassion. I love taking care of our residents because my parents live far away, so the residents are my substitute parents.”
Wound Care Nurse
Monalisa joined the Selfhelp team 3 years ago as a floor nurse. Her dedication to care and detail led her to become a certified Wound Care Nurse in 2019. Her goal every day is to treat the wounds of the residents and short-term patients and to do wound preventive measures for all our residents. Monalisa grew up in the Philippines and finished her nursing school in Chicago. She is happily married with 2 adorable daughters. During her free time enjoys cooking for friends and spending quality time with her family.
“I love working with this amazing team! The Selfhelp working environment is very warm and supportive. I am always excited to go to work.”
Infection Preventionist Nurse
Kate knew her career as early as 15 years old when she discovered her passion for working in healthcare when she went to work with her mother on Saturdays to help feed the residents to earn allowance money. 27 years later, Kate still loves working with seniors and being in the healthcare field. She has worked in both in long-term care settings and hospitals, and has spent 12 years as a caring, compassionate bedside care nurse.
“I’m excited to be part of The Selfhelp Home team, it feels like I’m finally — home.”
The Assisted Living Team
Director of Assisted Living
Janell joins The Selfhelp Home team as the Director of Assisted Living. Janell is originally from Minnesota, but has lived in Chicago for the last 40 years. Janell received her Bachelor of Nursing from Resurrection University. She was most recently an RN supervisor at Amita St. Joes Hospital. Before her nursing career she had 12 years of experience in hospitality. Janell is pursuing her nurse practitioner degree in geriatrics at Oak Point University. Janell’s daughter and son-in-law recently had their first baby, and Janell is looking forward to spending time with her first grandson.
“Selfhelp Home’s reputation drew me in. I never thought I’d leave the hospital setting, but I saw the quality of care and service here at Selfhelp and knew I wanted to be part of this community. Selfhelp feels at home, right from the start.”
Resident Services and Community Outreach Manager
Jessica joined The Selfhelp Home in 2022 after volunteering with her certified therapy dog for several years before the start of the pandemic. Her past work in the Jewish community includes serving as the Development Manager for The Ark and as the Director of Operations for Emanuel Congregation. An Evanston native, Jessica was a Vermont resident for 8 years and has lived in the Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood for nearly a decade. When not spending time supporting Selfhelp residents and their loved ones and working within the Jewish community, Jessica serves as the founder and executive director of Chicagoland Exotic Animal Rescue (CLEAR).
“To be embraced by The Selfhelp Home first as a volunteer and now as a staff member is a dream come true. I strive to imbue every interaction in my life with honesty, respect, and compassion – and I truly believe SHH embodies these three tenets. We are a home, we are a family here; I am grateful to and empowered by our community.”
Director of Resident Engagement
A native of North Carolina, Benna moved here to attend the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, and has lived in Chicago for the past 10 years. She received her MSW at the University of Michigan School of Social Work where she focused on aging and participated in a geriatric scholarship program. She has worked as a program aide at a day center for adults with dementia, and in several skilled nursing and long-term care facilities as a social worker. She is fluent in Yiddish, loves to travel, and has spent time living in France as a volunteer farmer. She is thrilled to work with The Selfhelp Home team.
“The Selfhelp Home feels more like a family than any other place I’ve worked. The longevity of some of the staff is really impressive and inspiring, and this longevity contributes to making Selfhelp special!”
Laura Zellhofer joined The Selfhelp Home in May of 2017. She had been a Retirement Counselor at Montgomery Place in Hyde Park for 12 years prior to joining our team. Laura attended the University of Chicago and earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology. She also attended Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania. Laura was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., but has made Chicago her permanent home for the past 35 years. She is married to a retired physician and they have two dogs, Samantha and Shelly. Her strength is in fostering long lasting partnerships with her clients to enable them to make a smooth transition from their home to our community.
Director of Jewish Life
Jonathan’s role is to enrich and grow Jewish learning and engagement at the Home. Jonathan has a background in Jewish communal service, having served as the Assistant Director of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Previously, he practiced law in Chicago and earned his J.D. at DePaul College of Law. Jonathan and his wife Dafna live in Skokie with their 13 year old daughter who attends Chicago Jewish Day School.
“I love learning with and from our residents. Each resident brings a unique Jewish history and identity with them, and together, with kindness, open minds and mutual respect, we have created a nurturing, pluralistic Jewish community devoted to study, prayer and Jewish culture.” – Jonathan
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein
James, who also goes by Jimi, recently joined our Assisted Living nursing team. Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Jimi has been in Chicago since January 2014. He has been an LPN for 10 years, and is in the process of returning to school to become an RN. Before coming to work at The Selfhelp Home, he worked at a residential home for people with mental health needs in Lakeview.
When not working, Jimi enjoys film photography and singing karaoke. He especially enjoys taking pictures of old architecture in Chicago. He wants people to know that he is fun, open minded, and inquisitive.
“Since coming to work at Selfhelp, I’ve really enjoyed the good camaraderie among the team and I appreciate how welcoming everyone has been!”
Ratchanee “Richie” Nuchprayoon joins the assisted living care team as a Wellness Nurse. Richie is a Licensed Practical Nurse from Northwestern Institute of Health and Technology and has a Bachelor’s degree from Thammasart University in Accounting.
Richie was born in Bangkok, Thailand and has lived in Chicago for 12 years. She has 8 years of experience as a nurse and has worked in restorative and wound care. In her free time, Richie enjoys traveling around the U.S.
“At Selfhelp, the staff treat each other like a family. The residents are warm and friendly. I am looking forward to being a part of this great community.”
Assistant Activity Director
Join Our Team!
Are you interested in working at The Selfhelp Home? View our open positions and apply online.