Pediatric Diversity and Inclusion Council

text herePGY-3 Categorical Pediatric Resident Tolu Fatola at the Student National Medical Association National Conference 

The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Diversity and Inclusion Council is composed of residents, fellows and faculty dedicated to serving those who belong to underrepresented in medicine, sexual and gender minority, disabled and/or any historically marginalized communities. We hope to serve these communities through fostering community, personal and professional development and addressing the unique needs of our communities through advocacy and service both within Hopkins and throughout the Baltimore Community 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.
MERIT Scholars ProgramParticipants of the MERIT Scholars Program.

Community Outreach

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

  • 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.

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.

My Path To Medicine | Thomas Elliott, M.D.

Thomas Elliott is a pediatric resident at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. As many Black physicians, his path to medicine was challenging. Hear his personal story about how he achieved his goal to become a physician and his vision for the future of medicine.

text hereResidents and fellows of the council hosting students from STEMcx for a clinical immersion experience.

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.
  • Racism, Medicine, and Our Community: Understanding that racism and social structures that determine health influence how we practice medicine not only makes us better physicians but is crucial to addressing healthcare disparities and dismantling structures of oppression. As such, the residency program has a longitudinal educational series which aims to educate trainees with Pediatrics, Medicine, and Medicine-Pediatrics about topics important to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • MLK Day of Service: In conjunction with the House Staff Diversity Council, we participate in the Hopkins-wide MLK Day of Service.
  • STEMcx Partnership: STEMcx Is a Baltimore based program that provide underrepresented minority students to have exposure to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics by offering academic support, hands-on learning and interactions with STEM professionals. The Pediatrics Diversity and Inclusion Council has partnered with this organization for over 5 years hosting students for in-person workshops in addition to allowing them to gain exposure clinically shadowing our resident physicians.
text herePGY-3 Med-Peds Resident Vianca Masucci (far left) representing Hopkins Pediatrics and Medicine Pediatrics Residency Training Programs at The Latino Medical Student Association 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-4

"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 Alum, Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow and 2024-2025 Chief Resident

“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. Elizabeth Lee

Categorical Alumnus, Johns Hopkins Neonatology Fellow and 2024-2025 Chief Resident

“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. Tolulope (Tolu) Fatola

Categorical Resident, PGY-3

“During medical school, I was fortunate enough to complete a virtual elective at Johns Hopkins through the Health Equity Scholars Program. As a scholar, I was able to network with other students and participated in group discussions and lectures exploring topics relating to health equity and the social determinants of health. Ultimately, I was immersed in information focused on topics I am passionate about, while also surrounded by students and faculty who shared the same interests as me. The program connected me with residents from the Diversity Council, who reached out to me throughout the entire interview cycle! I knew that Hopkins was the right program for me based on my subsequent interactions with faculty members, residents and the program directors. I always felt welcomed and recognized like I was already a part of the Harriet Lane family!

“As an intern, I am most impressed with how engaged the hospital is with the community it serves.  Johns Hopkins is very proactive when it comes to recognizing the needs of its patients and providing resources that directly address these needs. For example, through Hopkins Community Connection, the Harriet Clinic Clinic screens all patients and their families for food insecurity and can provide food, diapers or formula for families in need! I also appreciate how the program directors and chief residents are constantly asking residents for feedback and allow themselves to be accessible. I find it fascinating how my co-residents all come from such diverse backgrounds and unique experiences but have similar goals when caring for and being an advocate for their patients.  Likewise, senior residents and fellows are very passionate about teaching and have also been an advocate for me as an intern! It is often difficult transitioning from being a medical student to being an intern, and I am truly grateful of how supportive my co-residents, seniors and program leadership have been!”

Tolulope Fatola
Dr. Anthony Spellman 

Categorical Resident, PGY-2

Never did I think I would end up at Hopkins, such a long shot but with much encouragement from my family I applied. My uncle attended as an undergraduate and raved about his experience in Baltimore and faculty interactions. Located an hour away from my home in McLean, VA I had always been intimidated by the university name. I was desperate to return to the DMV area for Residency as I found myself previously moving further and further away from home with training.

My interview day occurred at peak of November following Thanksgiving, Nicole (the program director) commented on my impressive mustache and I felt immediately welcomed. Determined to be nothing more and nothing less than myself, appropriately nervous, I was comforted by associate program directors and faculty interviewers. I knew at the end of interview day they would be my number one choice. I wanted a program where I knew I would gain the best training when coming out on the other side of residency. I know I would have every opportunity offered to me to assist with the course of my career, whatever that may have been at the time. The program itself is the ideal size; large enough to provide ample coverage and friends, while small enough to not get lost in the crowd.

On a first name basis with all the program directors, attendings I’ve worked with, fellows and our seniors it’s a welcoming and nurturing environment. Specifically the relationships you develop with your 3rd year seniors as an intern is unparalleled. Hopkins establishes a teaching pipeline where gradual responsibility is gained with each new year, in our second year we begin senioring in the NICU at night, ED, and STAG hospital. As third year the majority of our rotations involve some component of senioring which is the ideal teaching experience. 

What I love about Hopkins? Besides the people? You can learn and I continue to learn from every person you encounter. Obviously the attendings, but also the nurses, respiratory therapists, echo techs, vascular access team, social workers, case management, chaplains, the list goes on. Education is woven into the framework of this institution and it shows in everyone’s commitment to the cause of caring for kids!


anthony spellman
Kristin Torroella 

Categorical Resident, PGY-1

"I chose Johns Hopkins because I wanted the opportunity to train at a pediatric hospital that serves both an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse patient population and works hard to connect with their community. I was also happily surprised by how warm and welcoming everyone at the program was during my interview day. I knew this was the place for me when I noticed how well my passions aligned with the program, and also when I saw how much of a family the residents in the program were to each other. 

As an Intern, my favorite part of residency so far is my continuity clinic at Yard 56 across from the Bayview Medical Center. There, I get to meet, serve, and work with the most wonderful Spanish speaking families which has been incredibly rewarding. I have loved getting to know all my amazing co-residents and am grateful for how supportive everyone continues to be on this journey! For fun, I love reading, cooking and catching up on Netflix shows. I have also loved exploring and getting to know the DMV area.” 

Kristin Torroella

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