Graduate Certificate in Health Equity Alumni

Click here for more information on the Graduate Certificate in Health Equity.

2021 - Inaugural Class

  • During her time at Vanderbilt, Annie was engaged with health equity work by serving as the Director of Community Outreach of Shade Tree Clinic (2019-2020), Director of Mentorship of the Social Mission Committee (2019-2020), President of Physicians for Human Rights (2018-2020), and as a student leader of the Social Medicine Consortium's Campaign Against Racism - Nashville Chapter (2018-2021). She was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society and received awards for her research in interdisciplinary quality improvement and community vaccination efforts at the Collaboration Across Borders and Community Health Leadership Conferences. She was also a recipient of the VUMC Martin Luther King Jr. Award for work in eliminating race-based eGFR reporting at Vanderbilt. She hopes to focus on advocacy and community engagement to address health disparities within women's health in her future career as an OBGYN. 

  • Pauleatha Diggs is a fourth-year medical student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM). She discovered an interest in blending the principles of community service and research together through community-based participatory research after completing a master's degree in Biotechnology followed by working for a nonprofit organization during her gap years before medical school. As a medical student, she held several leadership roles with the Student National Medical Association and also served as the Director of Research for VUSM's Social Mission Committee. She will be completing her Dermatology residency at Vanderbilt, where she plans to focus on cutaneous diseases that more frequently and more severely affect underserved populations.
  • At Vanderbilt, Will has been engaged in the Social Mission Committee, an organization dedicated to improving social medicine experiences at the School of Medicine. He will be starting as a urology resident at Vanderbilt.
  • Demetra was thrilled to be able to take part in the Health Equity Certificate program. As a medical student, she has been involved in the Student-Led Initiative for Disability Education and served as a Co-Director of the Shade Tree Clinic Gynecology clinic. She also completed a research year as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund SCRIPS scholar, studying inflammation and social stress in ovarian cancer, and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She is excited to pursue training in Obstetrics and Gynecology and hopes to serve as an advocate for her patients, providing person-centered care while pushing for greater health equity through legislative advocacy and research.
  • I was lucky to have many opportunities to engage in health equity work at VUSM. I served as the Director of Strategy of the Social Mission Committee, was a Co-Chair of the VUSM/VUMC Racial Equity Task Force, and was involved with the elimination of the race coefficient in calculating eGFR at Vanderbilt. I also had the opportunity to serve at Shade Tree Clinic all four years, starting as a volunteer social worker and then taking a leadership role as the Co-Director of the Gynecology Clinic. I'm excited to continue engaging with health equity and advocacy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where I will be completing my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Katherine Kelly is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who completed the Certificate in Health Equity. She is pursuing a career in neurosurgery and hopes to incorporate clinical outcomes research in socioeconomic health disparities into her career. In pursuit of this interest, she traveled to Zambia during medical school to work with the local neurosurgical team and has published on many topics surrounding health disparities, including those related to traumatic brain injury, hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis and Chiari Malformation, among others.
  • During my time at VUSM, I was involved in curriculum development of the Foundations of Health Equity I (FHE I) evening elective. I was involved in the student organization, Social Mission Committee, as the Director of Service, and served in that role for one academic year. Additionally, I had the opportunity to conduct various research projects studying social determinants of health factors on post-operative outcomes in head & neck surgery patients. I am planning to start residency in otolaryngology-head & neck surgery this summer, and am so grateful for the enriching educational experiences VUSM has brought me.
  • Mollie is originally from Portland, Oregon. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016 with degrees in Sociology and Spanish. At Vanderbilt, Mollie worked as a social worker and clinical student at Shade Tree Clinic. She helped establish the Social Mission Committee (SMC) and served as co-president of the SMC during her 3rd year. In this role, she worked to advance health equity at VUSM through education, service, mentorship, research and recruitment initiatives. She helped develop a formal curriculum on transgender health and hormone therapy, and completed a yearlong research project focused on physician-level barriers that drive disparities in transgender health. As a 4th year student, Mollie was named a 2020 Pisacano Scholar by the Pisacano Leadership Foundation of the American Board of Family Medicine. She was one of only six students in the U.S. to be awarded the Pisacano scholarship this year. She is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Mollie looks forward to beginning her residency training in family medicine. Her ultimate goal is to become a primary care provider for patients from marginalized communities, as well as an advocate who works to transform systems that harm vulnerable groups.
  • Eva Niklinska is a 4th year medical student who recently matched into a dermatology residency at Vanderbilt. She is passionate about immigrant health and pediatric dermatology. While at Vanderbilt, she engaged in health equity work through her leadership positions at Shade Tree. After volunteering in both preclinical / clinical positions during her M1-M2 years, she served as the director of Patient Health Education in her third year. In this role, she led 15 first-year medical students in coordinating care for some of Shade Tree's most complex patients. Additionally, she served as a co-director of the 2020 Shade Tree Trot, one of Shade Tree's large fundraisers. Throughout her fourth year, she has continued to stay involved in Shade Tree as a clinical student and through coordinating patient COVID-19 vaccines. Outside of Shade Tree, Eva was also involved in implementing a course in the OBGYN clerkship to educate students on how to recognize and compassionately care for victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. She is grateful to stay at Vanderbilt for another four years and to serve for the community she calls home!
  • While at Vanderbilt, Michael was engaged in health equity through mentorship programs, advocacy, and research. He is passionate about moving the biomedical field towards justice by centering equity both in recruitment and research. Michael is an MD/PhD graduate, and he will continue his training in internal medicine with a goal of practicing, advocating, and pursuing scientific advances at the intersection of inflammation and health inequities in cardiovascular disease.
  • I completed my research immersion experience studying postpartum depression in Hispanic women in Nashville. My results found that presence of healthcare coverage at 2 months postpartum was associated with a statistically significantly higher chance of having a reduction in depressive symptoms. I also am currently conducting phone interviews with those who have completed the RCT to understand their experience of participating in the study. I have been closely involved with the Shade Tree Clinic, as a Spanish Interpreter, Co-Director of the Early Pregnancy Clinic, and as a Spanish Acute Care Coordinator.    I applied into internal medicine residency and am undecided as to whether or not I will subspecialize. Regardless, I plan to work in medical education either with medical students or residents, and also would like to continue my involvement in global health and local care of underserved populations. I thank the Office of Health Equity for the opportunity to educate myself in these critical issues so early in my career!
  • Petria Thompson served as the Region X director for the Student National Medical Association. In this role, she spearheaded initiatives to fill increase awareness of health equity via educational programming and direct-service. She is a recipient of the Levi Watkins Jr., M.D. Award and a member of GHHS and AOA. Petria will begin a preliminary medicine year at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, followed by a Radiation Oncology residency at UCSF. She hopes to combine her basic science expertise with her interest in health equity.
  • Michelle is a member of the Vanderbilt SOM Class of 2021. After growing up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, she moved down to Atlanta, Georgia to complete her undergraduate studies at Emory University. There she studied Biology and Sociology, which established her interest in the intersection between social factors and health. After joining the VU SOM community in 2017, Michelle dedicated much of her time to Shade Tree Clinic, where she served as a social worker, Director of Social Work, clinical volunteer, and Board of Advisors member. She also completed a medical education research project under the mentorship of Dean Amy Fleming, which focused on developing and studying the impact of a student-led bystander training curriculum that aimed to empower medical students to respond to bias and microaggressions. Michelle is excited to begin her residency training in internal medicine. She plans to pursue a career in general internal medicine with a focus on delivering primary care to underserved patient populations and advocating for health policy changes to improve health equity. She also hopes to continue developing her passions in medical education.