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Pediatric Diversity Council

Pediatric Diversity Council 2019-2020The 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

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 ProgramParticipants 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.
SNMA ConferenceThe 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?

  • Dr. Joniqua Ceasar

    Combined Medicine-Pediatrics Resident, PGY-1

    "I had the privilege of participating in an away rotation in Pediatric Hematology during my fourth year of medical school. It offered a wonderful opportunity for me to be introduced to the Hopkins culture, which I quickly learned promotes clinical excellence, intellectual curiosity, humility and inclusiveness. Everyone was eager to get to know me as a person, while also helping me to become a better clinician. Knowing that I was interested in Med-Peds, the leadership made sure I was able to explore both interests by arranging shadowing opportunities within Medicine, Pediatrics and Med-Peds."

    "When I returned to Hopkins for my interview, I felt like I was back home. It was great to reconnect with familiar faces and feel like I already had a family here. I remember chatting with the program directors and knowing Hopkins was the place I wanted to train. I knew this program would support my career goals and help me become an excellent clinician who could advocate for her patients and engage in health policy. I could not have imagined a better program. I am excited to learn more about Baltimore, a city that has captured the heart of so many, and consider it home for the next four years."
    Joniqua Ceasar
  • Dr. Tai Hairston

    Health Equity Track Resident, PGY1

    “When I was an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins, I mostly stayed on campus and didn’t really engage with the larger city of Baltimore. When I returned to Baltimore as a medical student, I started to explore different neighborhoods in the city and really fell in love with its “charm.” I also began to learn more about the intense needs we have in Baltimore, whether it is for housing, education, employment, or especially, healthcare. I also struggled with what kind of doctor I was going to become and how I was going to give back to the city that gave me so much.”

    “I truly found a 'home' in the Pediatrics Department at Johns Hopkins as a medical student. Many attendings and residents I had a chance to work with not only taught me the skill of observation needed in pediatric medicine but also how to identify and combat the social determinants of health in the children we cared for. They always encouraged me to learn at the bedside, to round with a family-first attitude, and challenged me to think about the health of children holistically and not just focusing on pathophysiology. It was no surprise that I jumped on the chance to come back as a resident, and now I have had the privilege to train on the Urban Health/Health Equities track. I’m excited to serve this city by caring for its children alongside world class faculty and my co-residents, who even in the first few months of residency have become dear friends!"
    Tai Hairston
  • Dr. Melissa Hirsch

    Health Equity Track Resident, PGY-2

    “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.”
    Melissa Hirsch
  • Dr. Elizabeth Lee

    Categorical Resident, PGY-1

    “I was fortunately able to experience some insight into Hopkins pediatrics as a visiting medical student prior to my interview day as a part of an away rotation. It was during these experiences that I could firsthand see the authentic passion and genuine care that attending physicians, fellows, and residents demonstrated to not just the patients, but to me as well. I was truly inspired by the commitment to a practice of evidence-based medicine that I saw on a consistent basis, along with the dedication to teaching clinical information whenever possible to improve medical practice in all areas and levels.”

    “During my time, I also had the fortune of witnessing the diversity of the Greater Baltimore area and of the people that travel all the way to Hopkins from various corners of the world to receive this level of medical care. Such a widespread appreciation and respect for this institution, along with my experiences, assured me that I would be prepared for any opportunity during and post residency, all of which was reaffirmed on my interview day. I am beyond thankful to join the Hopkins pediatrics team and look forward to contributing to patient care in any way that I can. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cuddling my dog Papito, and exploring Baltimore and cooking with my fiancé."
    Elizabeth Lee
  • Dr. Natalia Philpott

    Categorical Resident, PGY-3

    “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!”
    Natalia Philpott

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