Meet the Commission

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Dr. Charlene Aaron,


Charlene has been the Chancellor of St. John's College of Nursing in Springfield since 2016, where she is responsible for the College's financial management, accreditation, enrollment, student experience, community relations and innovation. She has a research interest in the caregivers of persons with dementia and is active on the Alzheimer's Association Scientific and Advisory Council. From 1994-2005, Dr. Aaron was Director of Nursing for three different retirement communities, and she worked as a Project Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at Illinois State University from 2005 until 2016. She earned a BS in Nursing from Illinois Wesleyan University, an MSN in Nursing Systems Administration from the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University, and a Ph.D. in Nursing in Aging from the University of Iowa College of Nursing.

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Erica Austin,


Erica is the Deputy Director in the Office of Community Care at the SIU School of Medicine. Born and raised and a resident on the East side of Springfield, Erica earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Drake University and a Master’s Degree in Human Services from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is enrolled in a doctoral program in educational administration at Illinois State University. An elected member of the Springfield District 186 School Board, she is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Rex Brown,


Rex has been Chief Executive Officer of the Hillsboro Area Hospital since 1993, and has been a MIMD Commissioner since 2008. The Hillsboro Area Hospital employs over 200 people in Montgomery County, and is affiliated with the American Hospital Association, Illinois Hospital Association and the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. Brown, who lives in Hillsboro, wants to use his position on the Commission to promote the expansion of health-care worker training programs in the region.  

Ryan Croke,

 Commission President

Ryan is Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Human Services, which employs 14,000+ people and provides essential services and benefits to families in every part of the state. From 2006 to 2015, he worked for (Lieutenant) Governor Pat Quinn, ultimately as Chief of Staff to the Governor. He advocated for people with disabilities as Executive Director of the statewide association of Centers for Independent Living, and for students as the Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). Ryan earned undergrad and masters degrees in communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Egbe Egiebor, PhD.


Egbe is Director of the Environmental Health Program an Assistant Professor of Public Health at UIS. She earned her PhD in Toxicology from the University of Maryland and an MS in Environmental Science from Tuskegee University. Prior to joining UIS, Dr. Egiebor was a Public Health Assessor/Toxicologist in the Department of Environmental Epidemiology at the Virginia Department of Health. She received a National Institute of Health (NIH) faculty fellowship in 2017 and is a member of the Society of Toxicology, American Cancer Association and the Association of Public Health.

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Aaron Gurnsey,

 Commission Vice President

Aaron is President of the Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council (CIBCTC). The CIBCTC represents men and women in the construction trades around Springfield and Central Illinois. The goal of the CIBCTC is to unify trade organizations and promote the highest standards in the construction industry. Aaron is the Business Manager of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and HVACR Techs Local 137. Aaron started in the Local in 1998 and is a graduate of Illinois State University in Normal.

Joe Hurwitz,

 Commission Secretary

Joe is the managing partner of Hurwitz Enterprises, L.L.C. and Blackstone Group, where he has been engaged in the management, development and sales of commercial real estate throughout the Midwest since 1977. His developments include hotels, apartments, mobile home parks, office buildings, strip shopping centers and restaurants throughout the Midwest. Joe has been involved in property acquisition, strategic planning, land and building development in the medical industry for the last 20 years. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He has served on various bank advisory boards and as a member of the Memorial Health Systems Board of Directors since 1997.

Dr. Gurpreet Mander,


Gurpreet is the Chief Physician Executive for HSHS Illinois, and began serving as the Chief Medical Officer at HSHS - St. John’s Hospital in 2014. He joined HSHS after working for the SIU School of Medicine for nearly a decade, including as an Associate Professor of Pediatric Critical Care. He graduated from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University in 1990 and finished his Pediatric Residency at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago in 1994, serving as Chief Pediatric Resident in 1995. He completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn in 2005 and his MBA at the University of Massachusetts in 2011. Dr. Mander is certified as a Physician Executive by the American College of Physician Executives and he held leadership roles at St. John’s Children’s Hospital during his tenure with SIU, including Division Chief of Pediatric Critical Care for SIU School of Medicine and Medical Director of St. John’s Children’s Hospital PICU. He is passionate about improving healthcare access in rural communities and serves as Executive Director of the Illinois Telehealth Network.

Jack Mazzotti,


Jack is a pharmacist and a lifelong resident of Christian County. He owned and operated an independent pharmacy, Rene’s Drug Store, from 1968 until he sold it to Walgreens in 2017. He also ran a second pharmacy location in the Springfield Clinic adjacent to Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Mr. Mazzotti concentrates his efforts on the infrastructure and health needs of the community, facilitating expansion of health services in Christian County in cooperation with Memorial Medical Center, and securing funding for highway and educational facility improvements. Mr. Mazzotti holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from St. Louis College of Pharmacy and has served on the Mid-Illinois Medical Commission since 2008.

Norm Sims,


Norm was executive director of the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission (SSCRPC) from 2007 until 2017. He also served as city planner in the administrations of Springfield Mayors Karen Hasara and Tim Davlin. He moved to Springfield in 1991 to work for Governor Jim Edgar's Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, first leading the policy planning and research program and later serving as director for community development. During his time with the SSCRPC the organization published a regional strategic plan for Sangamon County and all of its communities. He earned a bachelors degree from Western Kentucky University, a masters degree in communication from the University of Kentucky and completed all coursework toward a doctorate in Public Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield.

John Stremsterfer,


John is President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln (CFLL), where he oversees the development, grant making, expansion and leadership activities of the Community Foundation. He came to CFLL from the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) where he worked for the University of Illinois Foundation. Prior to UIS, he worked for his high school alma mater, Ursuline Academy in Springfield and also spent two years working in the Illinois Governor’s Office, where he was a Dunn Fellow and Legislative Liaison. In 2012 John was in the inaugural class of the Edgar Fellows, a leadership program designed by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar. In 2006 he was selected to be a German Marshall Fund - Marshall Memorial Fellow. John is a Springfield native who earned a BA in Political Science from Illinois College.

Agendas & Minutes

The Mid-Illinois Medical District Commission's 2022 regular meeting schedule is the 2nd Thursday at 4 pm of even numbered months.  Meetings will be virtual until otherwise published.  

August 11, 2022 - Meeting will be held virtually

June 9, 2022 - Meeting will be held virtually

April 14, 2022 - Meeting will be held virtually

 February 10, 2022 - Meeting will be held virtually

September 29, 2021 - Meeting will be held via Zoom

July 8, 2021 - Meeting will be held via Zoom

April 21, 2021 - Meeting will be held via Zoom

April 9, 2021 - Meeting will be held via Zoom

February 11, 2021 - Meeting will be held virtually 

November 12 - Meeting Cancelled 

September 10 - Meeting Cancelled  

May 14, 2020 - Meeting Postponed to June 11, 2020 and will be held virtually

February 13, 2020

November 14, 2019

September 19, 2019 - New Meeting Date 

May 9, 2019 

February 21, 2019 - Meeting cancelled 

November 8, 2018

September 13, 2018

  • Meeting Cancelled

May 10, 2018

February 8, 2018

November 30, 2017 (moved from regularly scheduled date)

September 14, 2017

  • Meeting Cancelled 

June 21, 2017 (moved from regularly scheduled date)

April 13, 2017

  • Meeting Cancelled

February 9, 2017


December 8, 2016

October 13, 2016

  • Cancelled

August 11, 2016

June 9, 2016

April 14, 2016

February 25, 2016


January 8, 2015

February 12, 2015

April 9, 2015

May 21, 2015

June 18, 2015

August 13, 2015

October 8, 2015

December 10, 2015