Diversity Champion Award Recipients

Each year the Department of Medicine and Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion select members of the community that have championed diversity and helped to create an inclusive environment here the University of Pittsburgh. The inaugural recipients were selected in the spring 2019. These recipients exemplify academic citizenship and give each us something to aspire to.

 

2021 Recipient

Esa M. Davis, MD, MPH, FAACP

Esa M. Davis, MD, MPH, FAACP, is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is the Director of the UPMC Tobacco Treatment Service and has implemented new system-level tobacco cessation programs within the UPMC health system. Dr. Davis is the Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s KL2 scholars’ program and Director of the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Career Research Diversity (CEED) program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr Davis’s research areas of interest include understanding perinatal determinants of maternal obesity and associated adverse health outcomes and in improving treatment strategies for tobacco use disorder in both hospitalized and presurgical patients. Her research has contributed new knowledge on the relationship of perinatal risk factors for maternal obesity and associated racial disparities, and related adverse health outcomes, such as gestational diabetes and peripartum cardiomyopathy. She has conducted comparative effectiveness trials on screening strategies for gestational diabetes and strategies to treat hospitalized tobacco users after discharge. Her research has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has served on national committees including National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), American Heart Association Research Committee and National Institute of Health Study Sections. She was recently appointed to the US Preventive Services Task Force in January 2021.

Dr. Davis is a practicing family physician, who maintains a primary care practice at UPMC Montefiore Hospital and coordinates a women’s health contraception clinic providing gynecological services to underserved women at Children’s Primary Care Center in Turtle Creek, PA. She directs the UPMC Tobacco Treatment Service, which provides inpatient treatment to hospitalized tobacco users, outpatient perioperative treatment to presurgical patients, education and training to physicians and clinical staff, and conducts clinical trials. She also teaches and mentors students and trainees across all levels.
Dr. Davis earned her medical degree from the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Overlook Hospital in New Jersey. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and a National Research Service Award Fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She earned her Master of Public Health Degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She was also a Robert Wood Johnson Harold Amos and an AHRQ K12 Comparative Effectiveness Research Scholar.

She is married to a cardiologist and has two middle school children.

 

2020 Recipient

Jennifer Rodriguez, MD

Dr. Jennifer Rodriguez is a third-year Internal Medicine resident at UPMC. She grew up in Miami, Florida as a first-generation American with Cuban, Lebanese, and Haitian heritage. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami in 2014 and became the first physician in her family after attending the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. She joined UPMC as an Internal Medicine resident in the Clinical Scientist Track. Throughout her career, she has taken on various leadership roles through which she could promote diversity and inclusivity. In medical school, she served on the Admissions Selection Committee and on the Diversity and Inclusion Council. She was the president of the University of Miami’s medical student chapter for the American Medical Women’s Association. At UPMC, she joined the Graduate Medical Education Diversity and Inclusion Committee and currently serves as a Co-Chair for the Residents and Fellows sub-committee along with Drs. Corbelli and Thiel. She has participated in recruitment initiatives for GME and the Internal Medicine Residency by representing UPMC at various national medical conferences and by attending Underrepresented Minority Brunches during the recruitment season. She is a member of the Benjamin Family in the MedFam Program, which aims to bring minority medical students, residents, fellows, and attendings together for a community-building dinner series. Outside of work, she Latin dances with the melting pot of individuals at Los Sabrosos dance studio.

 

2019 Recipients

Alda Maria Gonzaga, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Medicine (GIM) and Pediatrics
Director, Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency
Director, Progressive Evaluation and Referral Center (PERC)
UPSOM Advisory Dean

Dr. Alda Maria Gonzaga is the residency program director for internal medicine-pediatrics at UPMCME, an Advisory Dean at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the previous chair of the Internal Medicine Residency Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She is the founder and director of the Progressive Evaluation and Referral Center (PERC), a clinical program to care for adolescents and adults with pediatric onset complex health care needs.  Her educational focuses are in medicine-pediatrics residency training and on mentorship and faculty development around mentorship across differences.  In 2019 she received the UPSOM ICRE Distinguished Alumnus Award in Medical Education and the Department of Medicine Diversity Champion Award.  In 2018, she was awarded the 2018 Unified Leadership Training in Diversity Award (UNLTD) from the Association of Chiefs and Leaders of General Internal Medicine (ACLGIM).  In 2017, she won the SGIM National Mid-Career Education Mentoring Award in recognition and in 2016, she won the Donald S. Fraley Award for Mentoring Medical Students from the School of Medicine, both in recognition to her commitment to mentoring future physicians and leaders in medicine.  In 2012, Dr. Gonzaga was inducted into the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Academy of Master Educators. She has presented workshops on increasing the diversity of the physician workforce as several national meetings including the ACGME, the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, the Medicine-Pediatrics Program Directors Association, and the Association Program Directors in Internal Medicine.

Education and Training

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
      • Fellow, General Internal Medicine, Women’s Health Track
      • Master of Science in Medical Education, 2006
  • UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA
      • Resident, Combined Internal Medicine – Pediatrics, 2000-2004
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
      • M.D. Degree, 2000
        Area of Concentration in Disabilities Medicine
  • Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
      • B.A. Degree in Biological Chemistry with Honors, 1996
        Magna Cum Laude

Honors and Awards

  • Pittsburgh Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, 1999-2000
  • David E. Rogers Junior Faculty Education Award, presented by the Society of General Internal Medicine for the workshop entitled “Contraception: What Every Internist Should Know, ” 2008
  • Robert H. Connamacher Courage and Leadership in Diversity Award presented by the Office of Student Affairs/Diversity Programs, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPSOM), for dedication in mentoring underrepresented minority medical students, 2010
  • Member, Academy of Master Educators, University Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2012
  • Exemplary Clinical Workshop Award, presented by the Society of General Internal Medicine for the workshop entitled “Is Pregnancy a Stress Test? The New AHA Guidelines for Prevention of CVD in Women: A Woman’s Heart from Pregnancy through Menopause,” 2013.
  • UPSOM Nominee for the National Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Award, 2015
  • UPSOM Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Black Bag Award for the support of students and the mission of SNMA, 2016
  • UPSOM Donald S. Fraley award for outstanding mentorship of future physicians, 2016
  • UPSOM SNMA J. Nadine Gracia Award for outstanding mentorship, unwavering support and unparalleled dedication to the students and Pittsburgh community, 2017
  • SGIM National Mid-Career Education Mentoring Award, 2017
  • 2018 Unified Leadership Training in Diversity Award (UNLTD) from the Association of Chiefs and Leaders of General Internal Medicine (ACLGIM).
  • 2019 UPSOM ICRE Distinguished Alumnus Award in Medical Education
  • 2019 Department of Medicine Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award

Anjali Rao, MD

Cardiology Fellow, UT Southwestern
2018-2019 Chief Resident, UPMC Internal Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Anjali Rao was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up in the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. After high school, she left Pens and Steelers country for New England to study neuroscience and music at Brown University. While there, she was given the opportunity to direct her own education, which allowed her to explore both the sciences and the humanities. After graduation from college, she spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Birmingham Clinic on the South Side of Pittsburgh. This was her first exposure to the complexity of the health care system, sparking her desire to serve as an advocate for patients and their families. She attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she became captivated by the fields of internal medicine and cardiology. Her decision to stay in her hometown for residency was twofold: 1) to continue to serve the people of her city as a physician, and 2) to train in a supportive environment that would foster her interests in medical education, cardiology, and advocacy. She has taken on active roles on the diversity & inclusion committee and in the resident health policy group. After her chief year, Anjali plans to pursue a career in cardiology in which she can investigate the link between chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease, as well as continue to advocate for patients and trainees alike.