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UCSD and Rady Children’s Hospital Pediatrics Diversity Collaborative

Mission Statement

The UCSD Pediatric Residency Program is committed to building a diverse workforce and to promoting a culture of antiracism and inclusion in medicine. As such, our program strives to recruit trainees from diverse, traditionally underrepresented backgrounds who are passionate about issues of health equity, advocacy, and social justice. Through these efforts, our program aims to close knowledge gaps about racial health disparities, equip residents with the tools to address medical injustices, and provide better care to the patients and communities of San Diego.
Our resident-led Diversity Collaborative, in partnership with Dr. Atim Ekpenyong (Associate Program Director for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion), is dedicated to the realization of this mission. The Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals, identifying both as URiM and allies, who work to integrate principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout every aspect of the residency – from recruitment practices to trainee education to program culture and beyond. Our residents are passionate in their devotion to these goals and leave residency well-equipped to address health disparities in the community and to become Pediatric leaders in spaces of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Goals of the Diversity Collaborative:

  • Promote and model diversity and inclusion within our program – one that is explicitly antiracist at its foundation.
  • Empower trainees and faculty to address health disparities, accelerate health equity, and mitigate the health impacts of structural racism in the communities we serve.
  • Recruit residents that reflect the diversity of our patient population and share the values of the Diversity Collaborative.
  • Provide wellness resources, peer support and mentorship to residents who identify as URiM or are from other underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Form community ties and advocate for our patients at the hospital, community, and national levels.

What We Do

1. Recruitment

 The Collaborative actively participates in all stages of resident recruitment. During the interview season, we host a series of virtual diversity interview days, faculty mixers, and applicant socials. We are dedicated to recruiting individuals of diverse races, ethnicities, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and lived experiences. 

2. Education 

In addition to the structured DEI education built into the residency curriculum, the Collaborative provides additional educational opportunities throughout the year, including:

Health Equity Grand Rounds

Residents of the Diversity Collaborative lead Health Equity Rounds, an annual case-based grand rounds lecture. Alongside an interdisciplinary team including faculty, nurses, and social workers, residents present to the entire Department of Pediatrics and bring health equity discourse to the academic setting. The Health Equity Rounds curriculum aims to provide trainees and faculty with the tools to recognize, confront, and mitigate the implicit and institutional biases within the healthcare system. Past topics have included:
  • Clinical outcomes in sickle cell disease viewed through a racial equity lens
  • Influences on the immigrant health experience at Rady Children's
grand rounds ucsd pediatrics

Journal Club:

Our journal clubs are an ongoing group discussion series led by Diversity Collaborative residents and hosted by faculty members in their homes. The discussions center around articles that highlight specific issues of racial, social, and economic health inequity. These events create a space for residents and faculty to discuss the impact of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other biases on our clinical practice, and learn evidence-based interventions to oppose these biases.
journal club ucsd pediatrics
journal club ucsd pediatrics
journal club ucsd pediatrics
journal club ucsd pediatrics
journal club ucsd pediatrics

3. Pediatric Anti-Racism (PARC):

Held during noon conferences throughout the year, these are discussion-based learning sessions that highlight racism in medicine and its impact on the patient experience, as well as how we can address these issues as members of the medical community.

4. Advocacy:

Our residents are active in advocacy spaces and are passionate about relevant issues in pediatric health, such as: gun violence, nutritional health, and reproductive health. Many residents participate in local demonstrations dedicated to these issues. Residents are also involved in the local AAP chapter and work closely with the office of government relations at Rady Children’s to promote progressive pediatric public health policies. All pediatric residents complete a Community Pediatrics rotation which includes an advocacy curriculum and exposure to community resources, and there are additional opportunities to build advocacy into the formal residency curriculum for those who are interested.

Gun control advocacy
Group at Capitol HillProtest

5. Promoting Wellness, Community, & Mentorship:

The Diversity Collaborative serves as a space for residents to build community and find support throughout residency. The Collaborative hosts a welcome social at the beginning of the academic year for all new interns, where we have the pleasure of meeting and bonding with our co-residents. We recently implemented The Melting Pot Series, which are lunch events dedicated to sharing foods and stories inspired by each of our cultural backgrounds. Additionally, Dr. Ekpenyong spearheads the URiM mentorship program, which pairs URiM pediatrics residents with “families” of URiM medical students, fellows, and faculty to provide an additional source of longitudinal support and mentorship throughout residency.

Group hanging out by fireGroup at restaurantTwo people at group hang out

Visiting Senior Student Scholarship Program

Our program is pleased to offer visiting rotation funding opportunities for MS4 students who identify as URiM and/or come from an economically disadvantaged background. Students may apply for up to $2,000 of funding, which can be used towards alleviating the financial burden of an away rotation. Eligible elective rotations include: Academic General Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine, Allergy-Immunology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Heme/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, and Pulmonology. For more information, visit the following link:
Visiting Scholarship Program for Department of Pediatrics

Diversity Collaborative Residents

Below is a list of all the Diversity Collaborative residents, both past and present. Please email us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Atim Ekpenyong, MD
Associate Program Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Hometown: Calabar, Nigeria 
Medical School: College of Medicine, University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria 
Interests: Antiracism in GME, Ultrasound,swimming,cycling,reading, traveling
Email address:
Atim Ekpenyong

Mandeep Bajwa (Chief Resident)

Hometown: Yuba City, CA
College: UC San Diego
Medical School: UC San Diego
Interests within the Collab: Migrant health, global health, MedEd
Hobbies: Video games, soccer, skim boarding, dogs, food

Jed Bell (PGY-4)

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: 

Priyanka Patel

Heriberto "Eddie" Martinez (PGY-3)

Hometown: San Diego
College: UCLA
Medical School: Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara
Interests within the Collab: Advocating for underrepresented minorities, 
medical student mentorship
Hobbies: Fitness, fishing, soccer, hiking
Jessica Erlich

Kelly Robinson (PGY-3)

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:
Kelly Robinson

Natalie Rodriguez (PGY-3)

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
Natalie Rodriguez

Uju Nwosu (PGY-3)

Hometown: Calgary, AB, Canada and Abuja, Nigeria
College: Harvard University
Medical School: Keck USC School of Medicine:
Interests within the Collab: underserved medicine, medical education, recruitment, mentorship
Hobbies: cooking/baking/dining out, game nights, live music, being a plant mom
Uju Nwosu

Gina Allyn (PGY-2)

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
College: University of Utah
Medical School: University of Utah
Interests within the Collab: LGBTQ+ recruitment
Hobbies: Cello, hiking, biking, camping, quidditch, board games, cocktail making, converting colleagues into being Swifties

Melissa Campbell (PGY-2)

Hometown: Hesperia, CA
College: California State University, Long Beach
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
Interests within the Collab: Equal access and delivery of healthcare to racial/ethnic minority groups and in medically underserved areas
Hobbies: Visiting wineries and breweries with my husband and our border collie, going to watch live music, spending time with my family

Lil Seeley (PGY-1)

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: University of Michigan
Medical School: OUWB
Hobbies: Spending time in the sun (particularly at the beach), eating yummy food and trying new beers, watching and playing soccer

Shadi Shams (PGY-1)

Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA
College: UC Berkeley
Medical School: Rowan University
Interests within the Collab: Immigrant health in San Diego
Hobbies: Playing tennis, hiking, learning Spanish, fostering dogs

Program Alumni

Stephanie "Steph" Schmitt

 (Class of 2022)


Steph Schmitt

Marisela Cardenas (Class of 2022)

Marisela Cardenas

Eileen Chen (Class of 2022)

Eileen Chen

​Emily Georges (Class of 2022)

Emily Georges

Varsha Gupta (Class of 2022)

Varsha Gupta

​Ashley Hamel (Class of 2022)

Ashley Hamel

Pooja Jaeel (Class of 2021)

Adult Hospitalist/Primary Care Pediatrics
Pooja Jaeel

Hannah Oppenheim (Class of 2021)

Child Neurology Resident
University of California, San Diego
Hannah Oppenheim

Anthony Proia (Class of 2021)

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

Kimmy Vuong (Class of 2021)

Pediatric Nephrology Fellow
Baylor Texas Children's Hospital

Kimmy Vuong

Maggie Kozman (Class of 2020, Co-Founder)

Med/Peds Hospitalist at Harbor-UCLA
Assistant Clinical Professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Maggie Kozman

Crystal Doan Stephens (Class of 2019, Co-Founder)

span>Primary Care Pediatrician
San Diego Family Care Mid City Pediatrics
Crystal Doan Stephens

David Balyozian (Class of 2020)

PGY2 Psychiatry
University of Southern California in Los Angeles
David Balyozian

Aimee Anselm (Class of 2019)

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