Shikha Jain is back where she began.
Following completion of a three-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital nearly 10 years ago, Jain, MD, FACP, left to complete her hematology and oncology fellowship and treat patients at several other medical centers. She has now returned, having been named assistant professor of hematology/oncology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Jain most recently served as assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy at Rush University Cancer Center, where she was also physician director of media and communications.
“As a medicine resident at UIC, I was trained by some of the most hard-working, passionate, and brilliant physicians I have ever met,” said Jain, who will also serve as Director of Communication Strategies in the Department of Medicine and Associate Director of Oncology Communication & Digital Innovation at the University of Illinois Cancer Center, where she will also be a member. “My time in training at UIC helped make me into the physician I am today, and it’s where I realized hematology/oncology was the right specialty for me. I am incredibly excited to be coming back to where my professional career began, and work with the dedicated faculty and staff at UIC to give back to the communities that are most in need.”
In her new role, Jain will utilize digital innovation and communication strategies to address health care disparities and improve access to care, as well as optimize communication to UI Health’s patient populations. “We will work to find new ways to deliver high-quality care to our most vulnerable populations and work towards fixing the disparities we see amongst our patient populations,” said Jain.
A board-certified hematology and oncology physician specializing in cancers of the intestinal tract with a special interest in neuroendocrine tumors, Jain created the neuroendocrine tumor board at Rush and completely revamped the health system’s neuroendocrine program, moving it from an inpatient to an outpatient setting. Along with neuroendocrine tumors, her research interests include immunotherapy, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma advances in cancer therapy, and the impact of social media and healthcare.
In 2019, Jain was named one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Emerging Leaders, a group of health care providers, researchers and executives under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions in the areas of health care administration, management or policy early in their careers. She was also presented with the Rising Star award by the LEAD Oncology Conference last year.
The Leadership Empowerment and Development: Enriching Experiences for Women in Hematology and Oncology (LEAD) Conference focused on addressing challenges women face in the hematology/oncology field, and identifying actionable strategies for women to advance in leadership roles.
Jain was also selected as a ResearcHERS ambassador by the American Cancer Society and was honored by 500 Women in Medicine, a satellite of 500 women scientists established by five women medical students at Washington University of St. Louis.
A proponent of gender equity, Jain was co-founder and co-chair for the Rush Center for the Advancement of Women in Healthcare. She also co-founded and chairs the “Women in Medicine Summit: An Evolution in Empowerment,” a national continuing medical education (CME) conference focusing on finding and implementing solutions around gender equality. As an academic, Jain has produced three abstracts on gender equity that were accepted for oral and poster presentations at the American Cancer Society, and multiple articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals both in gender equity and in oncology research.
Jain gave a TEDx talk in 2019 on the gender moonshot and the importance of gender parity in healthcare. She has presented to the Harvard Medical School Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare on the topic of physician leadership and mentorship, been a featured speaker at Becker’s Healthcare Conference, and the American College of Physicians.
This year, Jain was appointed to the 2020 American Society for Clinical Oncology Women’s Networking Center taskforce, and appointed to the Council on Communications and Membership Advocacy and the COVID-19 advisory group for the Illinois State Medical Society. She is also a co-founder and chief operating officer of IMPACT, a COVID19 action and advocacy group.
An accomplished writer, Jain has authored numerous articles for several national publications, including U.S. News and World Report, The Hill, Scientific American, Physician’s Weekly, Doximity, KevinMD, and ASCO Connection. She was selected as a thought leader by Doximity and completed a year as a Doximity writing fellow, and was also chosen to be a Public Voices fellow as part of its OpEd project. Jain has also been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals.
Jain is a regular contributor and guest on Good Day Chicago on Fox Channel 32. She also speaks locally and nationally on the impact of media and social media on healthcare and ways to demystify cancer care with open communication and education. She has been interviewed on a variety of healthcare and equity topics on local and national television and radio programs, and is the founder of the social media group “Dual Physician Families” and is a member of the leadership team of SoMeDocs (Doctors on Social Media). She was also the founder and host of the podcast “The Rush Cast” and is the host of the podcast “Oncology Overdrive” by Healio.
Prior to her tenure at Rush, Jain had appointments at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Lurie Cancer Center and at Whakatane Hospital, Whakatane, New Zealand. A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Jain received a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago. She performed postgraduate work at Drexel University’s Interdepartmental Medical Sciences Program, and received a medical degree from Michigan State University.
In addition to her clinical practice, Jain includes patient education and outreach in her treatment plans.
“With the proper tools and guidance, I work with my patients as part of a team to treat the disease and help them move through an often difficult process with as little stress as possible,” she said. “I believe in personalized and individualized care, and I also feel the more knowledge a patient has about their own disease, the more informed a decision they are able to make.”