Elise Mike, MSIV
Einstein student Elise Mike, MD/PhD candidate, and Einstein faculty Dr. Lynne Holden participated in a webinar entitled "Educational Pathways for Blacks in Science, Engineering, and Medicine:  Exploring Barriers and Possible Interventions."  Elise was a panelist and Dr. Holden was the webinar's moderator.  The panel was hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  The focus of the discussion centered around educational opportunities and barriers for Blacks in STEM.  

Elise is also the recipient of the 2020 Dr. David Kearney McDonogh Scholarship in Ophthalmology/ENT.  She is first author in the peer review journal of Clinical Ophthalmology in an article entitled "Preserving Vision in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Focus on Health Equity."  We congratulate Elise on her multiple achievements.
Kevin Frison, MD, Class of 2017
Dr. Kevin Frison, class of 2017 and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Medicine Resident, was recently recognized for his way with words as well as his empathy and courage.  During the height of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Frison got the opportunity to hone his leadership skills and grit as his mettle was tested.  Prior to being redeployed to the epicenter at Elmhurst Hospital, Dr. Frison and others had to hurriedly discharge patients safely as the unit was being converted to a COVID unit.  Dr. Frison hit a snag when a patient’s pharmacy was unable to deliver her medications.  As there were not any nearby pharmacies able to deliver the medications, Dr. Frison sprang into action by personally picking up and delivering the medications amidst the chaos.  Staying true to a promise he made to himself a long time ago, Dr. Frison strives to treat every patient as if they were his parent.

More recently, Dr. Frison was deemed grand prize winner of the Association of Academic Physiatrists national essay competition.  As Dr. Frison has previous publications on unconscious bias here at Einstein, once Dr. Frison learned that one of the essay prompts focused on how physiatrists responded to observed racial disparities and how this relates to the recent murders of unarmed African-Americans, he jumped at this opportunity to share his unique perspective.  Receiving mentorship from the likes of Dr. Yvette Calderon, Dr. Gary Butts and Dr. Julie Silver, Dr. Frison views himself as a conduit or extension of their experiences in medicine as his experiences parallels theirs in many ways.  Dr. Frison’s touching and insightful prose represents a voice for the voiceless and a testament of the experiences of those who came before him.  Looking to the future, as we concomitantly tackle two public health crises as a nation, we need to apply the same intention and effort to eradicate systemic racism just like we do for the COVID pandemic.
Destiney Kirby, MSII
You can use it to add I get a lot of questions about what it’s like to be a fighter and a medical student at the same time. I think that to many other people, it may seem like these two sides of my life are unable to co-exist. One wants to hurt the person in front of them while the other wants to help. They both require taking away an immense amount of time and energy from the other. For me, on the other hand, they fit together perfectly. Training Muay Thai, and more recently Jiu Jitsu, has changed my life in more ways than one.
The discipline it takes to be a fighter is much like the discipline it takes to be a medical student; I quickly learned to do things because they made me better and not because I wanted to. I learned to put my physical and mental health as number one priorities because they are necessary to balance both sides of my life. Fighting has also given me a family that is constantly cheering me on in the gym and outside of it. I would not be where I am today without them.

Most importantly though, training has allowed me to simultaneously find role models and be a role model. I have trained with engineers, nurses, animal rescuers, pharmacists, community activists, neuroscientists, and so many others that have shown that I am capable of achieving my goals just as they have. Similarly, I have been able to talk about my love for exercise, nutrition, and education with the kids in my gym. I especially try to show the younger girls that we can be intelligent, athletic, and high-achieving all at the same time in a world that often tells us the opposite. My ultimate goal is to show them that it is cool to throw yourself into what you love and try to make a positive impact however, you can.

Zaki Masoud, MSII
Let’s take a moment. A moment to imagine a world where people can be more than just one identity. A world where two cultures, one religion, and a love for medicine all intertwine so intricately that it somehow comes together beautifully. The world where I come from, and how each piece of who I am fits into my puzzle. 

You see growing up, I was always the poster child for diversity. A Palestinian Puerto-Rican Muslim American born and raised in the Bronx. A product of two polar cultures in a society where I was unloved for both. And to top it off, I was an underrepresented low-income minority who really thought he could become a doctor. 

So, the journey began. The struggles to overcome every “why are you here”, every “you don’t speak Spanish so you can’t be Puerto Rican”, every “terrorist shouldn’t be doctors”, and every “you aren’t good enough to get into an MD school.” The words like a metronome in the back of my mind. We all know what it’s like right?  That overwhelming feeling of doubt and self-deprecation. The feeling of sitting in the car for an hour after the MCAT wondering if medicine was really your calling. The fear of letting down your family. The fear of becoming the stereotypical minority who for some reason, just couldn’t make it. That self-fulfilling prophecy that sometimes just seemed all too real. Yet somehow, with the help of God, this broke kid from the Bronx made it.

Now my story may be sadder than others, because my motivation stems from the deaths of the people I loved. I lost my sister at the age of eight, grandmother at fourteen to cancer, uncle during my senior year of college, and several others in between. There’s been heart attack scares, new disease diagnoses, and an innumerable amount of surgical procedures.  And yet somehow, this broke kid from the Bronx made it. 
With every loss came a new source of motivation. With every time I felt fear of losing someone, my desire to help others and learn new information grew. Every struggle that I faced, I pulled through just enough to get me to where I am today, an MD student hoping to graduate in 2023. 

My love for diversity and medicine isn’t something I “do”, its everything that I am. I don’t just want to study medicine; I want to embody what it means to be a healer. I don’t just promote diversity or serve as its poster child, but rather I choose to define myself as an ally to all groups of people including my own. So, let’s take a moment. A moment to imagine a world where a puzzle can be forever changing, and yet every piece of that intricate puzzle, can somehow fit perfectly. 

My ultimate goal in life is do what I love and love what I do. I want to give back to communities like my own. I want to inspire future generations and see myself as a living affirmation that hard work and determination leads to the success of one’s aspirations regardless of where they may come from. But most importantly, I want to give people the second chance at life my loved ones never had. 

Michelle and Margarette

The Office of Diversity Enhancement congratulates Michelle and Margarette on successfully passing their quals, and earning the degree of Masters in Science in the Biomedical Sciences. They will be undertaking their doctorate lab work as follows:
Margarette Mariano, M.S.
Laboratory of Dr. Jonathan R. Lai, Ph.D.
Department of Biochemistry

Michelle Schumacher, M.S.
Laboratory of Chandan Guha, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.
Department of Radiation Oncology
Department of Pathology

Fun fact: Both Michelle and Margarette were awarded the T32 Cellular & Molecular Biology  & Genetics Training Grant (5T32GM007491-43) in 2019.
2020 Match
The Office of Diversity Enhancement congratulates graduating students on their match.
47th Annual LMSA Northeast Region Conference
On February 9th, Einstein hosted the 47th annual LMSA Northeast Regional Conference. Hundreds of students from across the region gathered on our campus for a day to learn about issues faced by our Latino communities and how they, as future healthcare professionals, can make a difference.

In addition, students had the opportunity to present their research in a variety of different fields, from neuroscience to rural health, and network with representatives from medical schools and residency programs. Dr. John Paul Sanchez, Einstein alum and current LMSA National Executive Director, along with Dr. Nereida Correa, also an Einstein alum and Chairwoman of the National Hispanic Medical Association gave the opening remarks. They spoke about the lack of Latino representation within the physician workforce and academic faculty and the urgent need to improve diversity.

The conference themes of Advocacy, Mentorship, and Community were highlighted during the different workshops throughout the day. Issues spanning from immigrant health, implicit bias in healthcare, mass incarceration, and affirmative care for trans/gender non-conforming Latinx were addressed.
The event catered to students ranging from the undergraduate to medical student level. A panel by members of admissions deans of medical schools (including Einstein Office of Diversity Enhancement Dean Nilda Soto) shared insight into how applications are reviewed and interpreted by admission committees. A panel of residency physicians spoke with current medical students about choosing a specialty and how to boost your application, among other topics.
The keynote speaker of the day, Dr. Larissa Aviles-Santa, Director of Clinical and Health Services at the NIMHD and native of Puerto Rico spoke about the importance of maintaining steadfast along your journey through medical school and beyond. She told students that as they continue through their journey it is important to practice gratitude, to embrace your Latino identity, to open doors for others when possible, to seize opportunities and to keep a moral commitment “to help our people get better.” In addition, she emphasized that we should never give up on something we want because of what people may think about you given your background and/or identity. She gave an anecdote about how she was able to recruit over 16,000 Hispanic participants for the SOL study, a project about Latino health and the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, something many people did not think to be possible. Through perseverance and sheer will she was able to obtain the participation the study required. “It takes effort, it takes brainstorming, it takes thinking outside of the box, but it’s absolutely worthwhile,” Dr. Aviles-Santa said.     

Conference co-chair Juan Vazquez, a second-year Einstein medical student and former Einstein LMSA chapter president, said the weekend event was “something I will never forget. So many talented and driven individuals of different backgrounds came together for a common purpose. I hope those who attended carry with them lessons and advice that will propel them forward in their careers and benefit their future patients.”
Conference co-chair Bianca Ulloa, fourth-year MSTP student and incoming LMSA Regional Co-Director, recapped one of her favorite sessions of the conference: what keynote speaker, Dr. Aviles-Santa, had to say about the journey through medical school. “Having gratitude, becoming better at unity, and opening doors to the next generation—I think that was what this conference was about. It was also to help the people who are already in medical school, so that we can build a support network for each other and better serve our communities.”

Juan and Bianca 
Conference Co-planners


Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Office of Diversity Enhancement
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Belfer Building - 507
Bronx, NY  10461

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Office of Diversity Enhancement · 1300 Morris Park Avenue · Belfer Building - Rm 507 · Bronx, NY 10461-1930 · USA

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