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UCSD and Rady Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Diversity Collaborative

Mission Statement

The UCSD Pediatric Residency Program is committed to recruiting a diverse workforce and to promoting a culture of antiracism and inclusion. Through these efforts, our goal is to enhance resident training and to improve the care of our patients, their families, and the community we serve. Our resident-led Diversity Collaborative is dedicated to recruiting individuals who identify as underrepresented in medicine and who more closely reflect our diverse patient population in San Diego, California. We are committed to building a community of individuals of diverse races, ethnicities, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and lived experiences. We aim to recruit residents who are passionate about social justice and advocacy. Our residents are equipped to become leaders in Pediatrics, who are committed to addressing health disparities in our communities. 

Visiting Elective Program

Offers financial support for fourth-year students who are underrepresented in medicine and/or from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Diversity Book Club

Offers an opportunity for allies to read helpful literature about diversity and racism written by authors of color and participate in thoughtful discussion

Goals of the Diversity Collaborative

  • Promote an antiracist culture within our residency program that values inclusivity, advocacy, and social justice
  • Recruitment of URiM individuals who share the values and interests of the Diversity Collaborative
  • Education on topics such as implicit bias, antiracism, and disparities in health education
  • Community outreach and service

What We Do

  • We have 4 subcommittees: Recruitment, Education, Community Outreach/Engagement, Program Culture
  • Assist in all stages of resident recruitment 
  • Participate in protests and National Days of Action (AAP)
  • Noon Conference Lectures & Resident School Sessions
  • Resident Support and Community
  • Antiracism Book Club
  • Happy Hours & Resident Mixers 
  • Attend national and regional conferences that host URiM students in order to build connections with interested students
  • Advocacy and Community Outreach (including collaborating with medical school organizations such as LMSA & SNMA)

Diversity Collaborative Residents

Our residents are excited to hear from applicants with similar interests! Please feel free to reach out to any of us by email if you would like more information or just to chat about some of the wonderful initiatives we are working on!

Mandeep Bajwa (Member, PGY2)
Hometown: Yuba City, CA
College: UC San Diego
Medical School: UC San Diego
Interests within the Collab: migrant health, global health, medical education
Interests: video games, soccer, skim boarding, dogs, food
Email address:

Jedidiah "Jed" Bell (Member, PGY2)
Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
College: Calvin University 
Medical School: Wayne State University 
Interests within the Collab: migrant health, global health
Interests: squash, camping, worm composting, cycling, hiking
Email address:

Marisela Cardenas (Co-Executive Director, PGY3)
Hometown: San Jose, CA
College: UC Berkeley
Medical School: UC San Diego
Interests: public health, health equity, mentoring, cooking, hiking
Email address:

Eileen Chen (Education Committee Leader, PGY3)
Hometown: Encinitas, CA
College: Pomona College
Medical School: Washington University in St. Louis
Interests: Pool time, the crossword, Asian foods, reproductive health, gender affirming care, racism in medicine
Email address:

Jessica Erlich (Member, PGY2)
Hometown: Hillsborough, CA
College: Washington University in St. Louis
Medical School: University of California San Diego
Interests: fitness, gardening/indoor plantkeeping, longboarding, skating, and painting
Email address:

Emily Georges (Recruitment Committee Leader, PGY3)
Hometown: Hingham, MA
College: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Medical School: Dartmouth
Interests: Health equity, social justice, education reform, asylum/refugee health, LGBT health and advocacy, writing, surfing, art, and hiking 
Email address:

Varsha Gupta (Member, Current Chief)
Hometown: Fremont, CA
College: UCLA (Physiological Science)
Medical School: Case Western Reserve University SOM
Focuses with the Collab: mentorship for URiM, underserved and Spanish
speaking populations
Interests: baking, SUP, trying new restaurants, arts and crafts projects 
Email address:

Ashley Hamel (Co-Executive Director, PGY3)
Hometown: Saratoga Springs, NY
College: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Medical School: Dartmouth
Interests: Social justice, healthcare disparities, underrepresented in medicine, first generation college, adolescent and LGBTQ health. I enjoy playing soccer, hiking, running, camping, SUP/Kayak, collecting plants!
Email address:

Michelle Keyser (Education Committee Leader, Med-Peds PGY3)
Hometown: Danville, CA
College: UC Berkeley
Medical School: UC San Diego
Interests: tennis, Formula 1, gardening, hiking/camping
Email address:

Heriberto "Eddie" Martinez (Member, PGY1)
Hometown: San Diego
College: UCLA
Medical School: Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara
Background: Latino/Hispanic, international medical school experience
Interests within the Collab: advocating for underrepresented minorities, 
medical student mentorship
Hobbies: fitness, fishing, soccer, hiking
Email address:

Priyanka Patel (Rising Chief, PGY3)
Hometown: Upland, CA
College: UC San Diego
Medical School: UC San Diego
Focuses within the Collab: community initiatives, immigrant health, resident 
Hobbies: running, hiking, cooking
Email address:

Kelly Robinson (Member, PGY1)
Hometown: Carson, CA
College: University of Southern California
Medical School: UCSF
Focuses within the Collab: Diversity in the medical workforce, youth health disparities
Hobbies: eating delicious food & ice cream, relaxing at the beach, dancing
Email address:

Natalie Rodriguez (Member, PGY1)
Hometown: Born in Arequipa, Peru. Spent most of my life in Kansas City, MO
College: University of Missouri Kansas City
Medical School: University of Missouri - Columbia
Background: Latina, immigrant, 1st generation female high school graduate,
1st generation college student
Interests in Diversity: serving in underserved and Latino populations, 
addressing issues that arise from health literacy, allyship in medical education, 
improving recruitment and retention of URiM medical trainees and faculty
Other Interests: global health, surfing, football, concerts, binging Netflix

Stephanie "Steph" Schmitt (Member, Current Chief)
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College: Wellesley College (Chemistry/English)
Medical School: Rush Medical College
Background: proud ally, always a student
Interests within the Collab: social justice, LGBTQIA health, and refugee
Interests: hiking/backpacking, beer (drinking it, brewing it), modern art,
Oaxacan food and really all other food!

Daanish Unwalla (Member, PGY1)
Hometown: San Ramon, CA
College: UCSD
Medical school: California Northstate University College of Medicine 
Interests within the Collab: understanding how to provide comprehensive 
and culturally appropriate care to patients of diverse backgrounds
Hobbies: trying new restaurants, live music/concerts, yoga, exploring the 
California coast

Alumni Section

Aimee Anselm (Class of 2019)

Primary Care Pediatrician and Urgent-ologist
Kaiser Permanente in San Diego

David Balyozian (Class of 2020)
PGY2 Psychiatry
University of Southern California in Los Angeles

Crystal Doan Stephens (Class of 2019, Co-Founder)
Primary Care Pediatrician
San Diego Family Care Mid City Pediatrics

Maggie Kozman (Class of 2020, Co-Founder)
Med/Peds Hospitalist at Harbor-UCLA
Assistant Clinical Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Pooja Jaeel (Class of 2021)
Adult Hospitalist/Primary Care Pediatrics

Hannah Oppenheim (Class of 2021)
Child Neurology Resident
University of California, San Diego

Anthony Proia (Class of 2021)
Primary Care Pediatrician and Urgent-ologist
Kaiser Permanente in San Diego

Kimmy Vuong (Class of 2021)
Pediatric Nephrology Fellow
Baylor Texas Children's Hospital

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