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Pediatric Diversity Council

Diversity Council 2019-2020The 2019–2020 Johns Hopkins Pediatric Diversity Council.

The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Diversity Council is composed of residents, fellows and faculty within the Department of Pediatrics. The Pediatric Diversity Council and Pediatric Residency Program embrace all forms of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity. We are committed to:

  • Promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion among residents, fellows and faculty.
  • Giving back and bolstering ties within the Greater Baltimore community through service, mentorship and engagement.
  • Educating the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center community on culturally competent care.
  • Providing trainees with mentorship, professional career development and social support.
  • The recruitment, retention and advancement of underrepresented physicians within the Department of Pediatrics.

Community Outreach

Participants in the B'more Fit Program seated around a table.Participants of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center's B'more Fit Program.

The pediatric residents at Johns Hopkins have established community ties through various outreach programs, including:

  • B’more Fit Program: Pediatric residents at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center work with children ages 4–12 to combat childhood obesity. Children in this healthy living program prepare and try new foods and take part in indoor exercise programs and games to promote healthy eating and wellness.
  • MERIT Scholars Program: The MERIT Health Leadership Academy is a comprehensive academic and career mentorship program supporting Baltimore high school students who aspire to careers in medicine. Every year the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Residency Program and Diversity Council host over 50 students for clinical shadowing experiences within the Harriet Lane Clinic and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
  • Johns Hopkins Centro SOL Programs: Centro SOL was founded in 2013 by passionate Johns Hopkins physicians who saw a need for outreach to the growing Latino community in Baltimore. Our pediatric residents participate in various community and health outreach opportunities offered through this program.
MERIT Scholars Program participants.Participants of the MERIT Scholars Program.

Partnering with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and Latino Medical Student Association (LSMA), the Pediatric Diversity Council is involved with other community outreach activities:

  • Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP): HPREP exposes inner-city high school students to science-related activities while introducing them to careers in the health professions. Students in this program receive talks from Johns Hopkins doctors, mentorship and guidance on college essay preparations, and SAT workshops.
  • Community Adolescent Sex Education (CASE): The Sexual Health Awareness program is designed to educate teenagers about their bodies and about the positive use and expression of sexuality. It is intended to increase self-esteem, improve relationships, and decrease the incidence of teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

The Pediatric Diversity Council hosts various events throughout the year to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion among residents, fellows and faculty.

  • Pediatric Grand Rounds: The Department of Pediatrics hosts Diversity Grand Rounds each year to promote visibility and discussion of issues related to diversity and inclusion that are relevant to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
  • Noon conferences and workshops: Several educational topics surrounding diversity and inclusion are offered, such as mitigating implicit bias and creating effective interactions with culturally and linguistically diverse patients.
  • Book and movie clubs: In partnership with the Pediatrics Health Equity Track and Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Health Residency Program, book and movie clubs are held throughout the year on topics relevant to the care of underserved patient populations.
  • MLK Day of Service: In conjunction with the House Staff Diversity Council, we participate in the Hopkins-wide MLK Day of Service.


Woman and man standing on either side of a Diversity Council banner at the SNMA conference.The Pediatric Residency and Diversity Council at the SNMA conference.

The mission and goal of the Pediatric Residency and Diversity Council is to foster a community of diverse pediatricians who share a common interest in mentorship, service and providing culturally competent care. We strive to have our department better reflect the demographics of the community we serve. We believe that an environment that promotes diversity and inclusiveness promotes excellence and leads to the training of clinicians who are better prepared to provide culturally effective care to the increasingly diverse population of children we serve.

In order to promote diversity within our department, we participate in various recruitment efforts including attendance at local and national medical student conferences (SNMA and LMSA). In addition, we are excited to welcome medical students who are underrepresented in pediatrics to apply for our Visiting Elective Program for Students Underrepresented in Pediatrics.

Why Johns Hopkins Pediatrics?

Matthew Buendia

Matt Buendia

Categorical Resident: PGY-3

"I chose Hopkins Pediatrics because I felt so comfortable on my interview day meeting the house staff, multiple faculty members and program directors. It was evident that the residents were close and seen as a family after leaving my interview, and I am pleased to say my experience is exactly that. The deep-rooted history intertwined with the support from faculty and leadership was clear then and is even more today. The opportunities to work with a diverse and vulnerable patient population constantly challenge me to be a better pediatrician. The leadership team consistently listens, responds and adapts to our rapidly changing medical system and culture to support resident education and wellness. I know that my co-residents will be lifelong friends, as we have supported each other through stressful times, but have also experienced unforgettable memories together as a family — class retreats, crab feast and exploring the city to name just a few. I could not be more proud to learn each and every day from an exceptional and passionate group of pediatricians and look forward to calling them my colleagues.”


Melissa Hirsch

Melissa Hirsch

Health Equity Track Resident: PGY-1

“In another life, I would be working for Pixar. I thrive in places that support creative and bold ideas, and I wanted to be in that kind of environment in residency. When I heard about some of the projects residents have done at Hopkins — like creating a food bank in the pediatric ED — I became so excited about the program here. I am super passionate about health equity issues, and hearing that zany ideas were welcome here made me feel like developing the health equity track could be really creative, as well as academic. The other quality in a program that was important to me was being around positive, authentic people. When I was deciding on my rank list, one of the residents here told me that Hopkins pediatrics was a really kind place. And at the pre-interview dinner, everyone was different. There were so many personalities that I felt this could be a place where I could not only be my fullest self, but also grow into the doctor I aspire to become.”


Shani Jones

Shani Jones

Categorical Resident: PGY-3

“I had the unique experience of gaining insight into Hopkins pediatrics as a visiting medical student prior to my interview day on two occasions. During these experiences in both clinical and research environments, I was welcomed with open arms by attending physicians, fellows and residents who truly cared about me as a person. I was impressed with the dedication to teaching clinical knowledge at every opportunity. I also witnessed the diversity of the patient population throughout Greater Baltimore as well as those around the country and world who come here for treatment. I knew I would be prepared for any path I decided on after residency and these sentiments were confirmed on interview day. Since being here I have developed a bond with residents and faculty that I could not have foreseen and the support is palpable. I continue to find new events in and around Baltimore that keep me entertained during free time — restaurants, cultural festivals, art, live music, nature and more!”


Natalia Philpott

Natalia Philpott

Categorical Resident: PGY-2

“I chose Hopkins because I wanted the opportunity to train at a medium-sized program that also served an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse patient population. I felt that few other programs offered the chance to be part of a tertiary referral center while also providing direct care to families of the surrounding community. One of my favorite things about training at Hopkins is that I have the chance to care for a subset of chronically ill children who call Hopkins their medical home, and I have come to know their families very well over my year thus far. My clinic is at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, which was an important draw for me to work with a majority Spanish-speaking population. For fun, my husband (also a pediatric resident), my dog and I enjoy using our annual pass to Shenandoah National Park any chance we get! Baltimore is also home to an amazing food scene, and you can find a festival or neighborhood party nearly every weekend!”

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