Custom Guidance Through Medical Challenges

Illness Navigation Resources (INR) is a consulting service that helps patients grappling with acute and chronic medical issues access specialized resources and support.

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About Us

Our team, led by Dr. Stephanie Ross, combines our collective decades of experience caring for patients and their families to offer hands-on, personalized support and coaching for clients facing life-threatening illness and other challenging medical diagnoses.

We specialize in treating all members of the family support system to link patients and caregivers to relevant support organizations, medical professionals, online services and financial and insurance resources through our unparalleled support database. Our unique practice of working collaboratively to customize support services for clients puts a team of highly-qualified professionals with various areas of expertise at your fingertips.

Collectively, our expertise extends to supporting clients with a range of medical conditions, especially cancer. Dr. Ross has a special interest and vast experience in helping patients and families with a genetic predisposition to cancer, particularly breast, ovarian, hereditary colon cancer and Lynch Syndrome.

We also specialize in supporting patients and families facing conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy/Loss/Post-partum conditions
  • Heart disease
  • GI disorders
  • Sudden onset of illness
  • Stroke/Neurological issues

Our services include:

  • Facilitating conversations between our patient clients and medical professionals around goals of care or obtaining additional medical opinions
  • Identifying a patient and family’s practical needs at time of diagnosis, during treatment and beyond
  • Helping clients and their families navigate difficult conversations and develop care plans for the future
  • Guiding our clients in developing practical strategies for living with chronic conditions, and in negotiating survivorship and grief counseling
  • Helping our clients navigate complex medical decision-making processes, including difficult decisions based on genetic predisposition and family history

We also offer:

  • Assistance with advance care planning and end of life care, as well as bereavement counseling
  • Consultants available for speaking engagements, including professional events and workshops
  • Referral to affiliated therapists to assist patients and families seeking more traditional counseling for conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress management and lifestyle modification

Consulting Services
for Parents & Children

INR offers custom support to children and adolescents facing acute and chronic medical challenges. We also provide expert guidance for parents who may be struggling to support a child through a parent or family member’s illness.

INR’s Certified Child Life Specialist can:

  • Help explain illness, death and dying through the use of age-appropriate language and state-of-the-art materials and resources
  • Provide onsite consultation and follow-up in the school setting serving as a liaison with teachers and support staff to offer personalized classroom support to a student experiencing illness in the family
  • Provide in-person support for a child receiving treatment in the hospital setting or visiting a loved one in the hospital
  • Lead the patient and child through therapeutic activities to promote bonding, self-expression, memory-making and legacy activities during serious or terminal illness
  • Offer in-person support during memorial services and specialized grief counseling and bereavement services to children

Custom support is available in our two office locations. We understand the time constraints of medical illness and are also able to assist families in their homes, at medical facilities and by telephone as needed.

Meet our Team

Stephanie Ross, PhD

Dr. Stephanie Ross is a clinical health psychologist and founder of Illness Navigation Resources. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Ross is a member of the professional staff at Northshore University Health System, a teaching affiliate of the University of Chicago. She particularly enjoys teaching medical students and residents and working as part of a medical team.

Dr. Ross earned her doctorate at Loyola University Chicago and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she served as chief research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She has extensive experience and expertise in working with oncology and other medical patients, and those at high-risk for cancer. Dr. Ross is an active volunteer with several community and national nonprofit organizations. Dr. Ross sits on the Professional Advisory Board of Breastcancer.org and serves as Co-President of The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital Development Board. She also serves on the Board of Directors for High Jump.

Dr. Ross specializes in coaching entire families through complex medical decision-making, medical crises and the aftermath of medical trauma. She supports patients and families locally and across the country. Dr. Ross is frequently asked to present to medical professionals and support groups about the emotional impact of cancer and other medical conditions. She finds particular satisfaction in being able to “reassure people that whatever emotions they are experiencing are relevant and valid,” and in being able to connect patients and caregivers to the many invaluable resources that exist to help support them.

Kezia Shirkey, PhD

Dr. Kezia Shirkey is a clinical health and pediatric psychologist. She is also an assistant professor of psychology at North Park University. She enjoys both working directly with clients and teaching college students and inspiring them to use their passion and knowledge to serve others.

Dr. Shirkey earned her doctorate from Vanderbilt University and she completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral clinical fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School. Throughout her training she has worked in a variety of settings including an adult mood clinic, adult and pediatric diabetes clinics, general child clinical settings, inpatient medical floors, and intensive care units. She gained extensive experience working with individuals and families coping with a wide range of medical and psychological conditions, both common and rare. These experiences include helping individuals and families cope with diabetes, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, cystic fibrosis, congenital cardiac conditions, cancer, food allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, transplants, challenges with pill swallowing, and end of life.

Dr. Shirkey takes a strengths based approach to both her clinical work and her research. She believes in “meeting people where they are” in their journey and assisting them to build upon their strengths and values. Dr. Shirkey continues her research in areas of pain self-efficacy, health promotion in adolescents and young adults, and spirituality.

Rebecca Joslin, LCPC

Rebecca Joslin is a licensed clinical professional counselor. She holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University. She has a strong interest in helping patients and their loved ones navigate acute and chronic illness and other physical health conditions. Most recently she worked at Kellogg Cancer Center, part of NorthShore University HealthSystem, providing emotional support and practical guidance to hundreds of patients and their families. She also counseled pregnant and postpartum women as part of the hospital system’s Perinatal Family Support Center.

Prior to becoming a counselor, Ms. Joslin was a business consultant and team leader. She draws on that background to bring a unique blend of strategic thinking, multidisciplinary problem-solving skills and strengths-based focus to her counseling practice. She strives to be collaborative, curious and compassionate as she helps individuals adjust to changing circumstances, engage in mindful decision-making and plan for the future.

In addition to specialized experience with illness and women’s health issues, Ms. Joslin also has expertise helping individuals deal with depression, anxiety, bereavement, stress management, career concerns, and relationship issues, including separation and divorce.

Kelsey Mora, CCLS, LPC

Kelsey Mora is a Certified Child Life Specialist and Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in helping children of all ages and their families cope with life’s most challenging and stressful events. She earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescence from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology as well as two Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Minnesota in Child Psychology and Spanish Studies. She completed her clinical training at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of Omaha, The University of Nebraska Medical Center, and AFG Guidance Center in Kenilworth, IL. Ms. Mora is specifically trained to coach caregivers on language and techniques to use when parenting their child through medical illnesses, family life transitions, and traumatic loss. She is also available for school and community consultation when there is an ill child or parent.

In addition to her work at Illness Navigation Resources (INR), Ms. Mora is part of the professional staff in the pediatric intensive care unit at Advocate Children’s Hospital. She sees children with a range of diagnoses including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, and other conditions requiring life-changing surgeries and treatments. With her dual degrees and specialized experience with illness and grief, Ms. Mora incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, play-based interventions, and a strength-based approach to personalize clinically appropriate interventions that reduce potential fear, distress, and anxiety.

A trained Bereavement Coordinator through Resolve Through Sharing, Ms. Mora has been instrumental in bereavement education and program implementation for an entire health care system. Her bereavement experience includes supporting grieving children through pediatric, perinatal, and parent losses as well as supporting those caring for grieving children. Ms. Mora has served as an integral part of our multidisciplinary team advocating for and working with children and families in school, camp, home, and medical settings. Her interventions focus on helping children to develop more effective coping and communication skills, to nurture their relationships, and to build a stronger sense of self.

Carly Maletich, MA, LCPC

Carly Maletich, LCPC is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor (MBSR), and Yoga Teacher who specializes in body-centered therapy. Carly received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies and her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Illness Navigation Resources, Carly served as a Research Associate in Mind Body Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. Here she collaborated with faculty members in designing and delivering mindfulness-based protocols for several randomized controlled trials. Additionally, Carly worked at the Jesse Brown VA, implementing mindfulness-based programing designed to decrease symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as depression and anxiety.

Carly is specifically trained to help clients reconnect to themselves and their bodies, thereby regaining a deeper sense of agency over their lives. Due to daily stressors or larger life events such as trauma, disease or treatment regimens, many individuals have a feeling of being cutoff or disconnected from themselves. Through mindfulness and somatic-based practices, Carly works closely with clients to help restore a sense of calm and stability to the body’s nervous system, thereby equipping clients with the necessary skills to regulate their emotions and gain a greater sense of control over their physical and mental states.

“My goal in working with clients is to promote self-understanding and skill-building, such that each client feels confident in his or her own strength and resiliency. My approach is warm, light-hearted, and non-judgmental. I believe that establishing connection and understanding with each client is key to accomplishing longterm change. Mindfulness equips each of us with the skills to take an honest look at our struggles in order to identify the necessary steps for creating a deeper sense of meaning and enjoyment in life. When vulnerabilities and challenges arise, I approach them with curiosity and invite clients to see obstacles as an opportunity for healing and growth. I work collaboratively with clients to identify and capitalize on their unique strengths. I also believe humor can serve as a resource, as it can provide levity and hope in the midst of difficulty.”

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Contact Us

For information regarding our services or to schedule an initial appointment, please contact:

Skokie Location (main)

5225 Old Orchard Road
Suite 14
Skokie, Illinois 60077

Chicago Location

405 N Wabash Avenue
Suite 2608
Chicago, Illinois 60611