Our Staff

Dr. Wendi Wills El-Amin
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Dr. Wendi El-Amin
Executive Director

Wendi Wills El-Amin, MD, is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SIU School of Medicine. She is also on faculty in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and provides care at the Center for Family Medicine in Springfield. Dr. El-Amin is dually appointed to the SIU’s Department of Medical Education.

El-Amin served as assistant dean of medical education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville (2007-10). She also served as director of outreach at the Center on Health Disparities and director of the UVA Cancer Center Health Disparity Initiative (2006-10) and as an assistant professor of family medicine and public health (2005-10), all at the University of Virginia. El-Amin was in private practice at Wills Diagnostic Clinic in Houston, TX. (2001-03).

She completed her residency in family practice and community medicine as chief resident at the University of Texas-Houston (2001). She earned her medical degree at Georgetown Medical School (1998) and a bachelor’s degree in biology at Hampton University in Virginia (1993).

Dr. El-Amin is board certified in family medicine and is a member of the National Medical Association, where she chaired the Women’s Health Section (2008 – 2019). She has been a community health advocate and activist. She is the mother to three little girls, who she calls her earth, wind, and fire.

Dr. Wendi’s passion for equity and dismantling the systems that underpin health disparities is unparalleled in our community. She has won numerous awards and accolades for her teaching, and she brings a heart for service, justice and healing to everything she does. Dr. Wendi serves on the boards of the Central Illinois Boys and Girls Club, Springfield YMCA, and the Community Foundation of the Land of Lincoln and is a member of the ELAM 2020 class of fellows.

Erica Austin
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Erica Austin, MA
Program Director 

Erica Austin is a native of Springfield, Illinois.  She currently works at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU-SOM) as the Deputy Director in the office of Community Care. Formally, she was an AmeriCorps Program Manager through Springfield Urban League and a 4-H Educator through the University of Illinois Extension. 

Having graduated from Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois with an Associate of Arts Degree in social sciences, Erica continued her education, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a Master of Arts Degree in Human Services specializing in children and family services from the University of Illinois in Springfield, Illinois. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at Illinois State University in the Higher Education Administration program.  

Through SIU-SOM she created a health education program for 4th & 5th graders in Springfield called Medicine as a Career Path.  She also founded a social and emotional program for the Springfield, IL Alternative Schools called Alternative to Asset which has expanded to Decatur this year. This program provides students with a safe space to discuss their life goals, challenges, opportunities, and vision for a healthy life, with the goal being to improve the lives of young people by encouraging them to look beyond their current challenges and build confidence in a better future

In 2020 when COVID hit, Erica was on the frontlines operating two COVID 19 sites in Madison and Sangamon Counties. She planned, implemented, and led a team of people to provide COVID-19 tests to anyone in the community free of charge.  She also created weekly mobile clinics to take services to our most underserved neighborhoods.  Through her efforts over 34,000 tests were done.  She is currently working with community leaders to develop and implement a marketing and outreach strategy to promote the COVID vaccine to minority populations in Springfield.

Erica is the recipient of numerous awards appreciating and acknowledging her time and commitment.   Some of which include: 2022 Illinois Comptroller Black History Month Honoree, 2021 SIU School of Medicine’s Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew award, 2020 nomination for Best of Springfield for Unsung Hero and Upcoming Leader, 2017 Diversity award for Extension, 2017 Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40, 2016 Achievement in Service Award for outstanding contributions to 4-H, and August 2016 WICS News channel 20 Pay It Forward recipient.  

Having over 15 years of experience in community, family, and youth engagement, Erica is committed to improving her community by decreasing the disparities, specifically among persons of color, by providing education, social support, and policy development, and by addressing social and environmental justice issues. Erica has a passion for service with a focus on serving the youth in the community.  Her areas of expertise are health, youth development, community organizing, volunteer development, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  She has been instrumental in developing and implementing programming in the Springfield community, impacting over 200 youth.