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The People

Our program has always been regarded as a place where friendly and collegial relationships flourish between faculty and house staff.

Pediatric Residency Program Directors

The Department of Pediatrics has brought together a team of committed physicians, educators and mentors to deliver a comprehensive and innovative curriculum that will challenge residents to excel and will address multiple learning styles. This team has developed and will continue to expand the varied and rewarding clinical experiences, the innovative didactic curriculum, an inclusive system for evaluation, and opportunities to develop skills in areas of communication, child advocacy, research, and patient safety. Residents learn from a talented faculty at the bedside, in the classroom, in simulations, and in rich discussions. We are proud of the program and know it will meet the needs of any resident, whether that resident is seeking a career in primary care or looking for an academic position in the subspecialties.

Program Directors

Residency Program Director: Elizabeth Nelsen, MD

Dr. Nelsen grew up on the west side of Syracuse. She is a graduate of SUNY Upstate Medical University, and completed both residency and chief residency at SUNY Upstate as well. She is an associate professor in the Divisions of General Pediatrics and Quality Improvement. She works as a general pediatrician at University Pediatric and Adolescent Center (UPAC). She served as associate program director for the residency program for seven years prior to promotion to program director in September 2019. She is also the chair of the Pediatric Resident Evaluation and Promotion (PREP) committee. Dr. Nelsen's academic focus is on resident education, specifically surrounding QI education, curriculum development, evaluation, and supporting faculty in their role as teachers. She is engaged in research examining professional fulfillment and its impact on resident well-being, and has presented this work at national meetings.

Vice Chair for Medical Education: Ann S. Botash, MD

Dr. Botash is from New York and attended medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University. She was pediatric resident and chief resident at SUNY. In 1991, she became Co-Director of the Pediatric Residency Program, currently she serves as the Vice-Chair for Medical Education in the Department. She also served as our interim chair in 2018-2019. Her clinical expertise is in General Pediatrics and Child Abuse, where she is a national figure. Locally she directs the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site and nationally serves as the Vice Chair and President Elect of the Helfer Society. She directs the Child Advocacy Training program and training in Systems Based Practice. Nationally she has given numerous presentations and workshops on Child Abuse and developing Child Advocacy Programs and has authored numerous publications on this topic.

Associate Residency Program Director: Olamide Ajagbe, MD

Dr. Ajagbe is originally from Nigeria where she had most of her formal education including her medical school training at Obafemi Awolowo University. She moved to the US and completed her pediatric residency training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Nassau University Medical Center here in NY where she stayed on to serve as Chief Resident. She came to Upstate in 2011 and joined the Pediatric Faculty as one of our pediatric hospitalists. She was the recipient of the 2017 Pediatric Faculty Award which is presented by the pediatric residents. She became our Associate Program Director in 2016. Her areas of clinical expertise are in treating hospitalized children. Her academic interests include medical education, improving communication skills for providers and patient education.

Associate Residency Program Director: Heather Wasik, MD

Dr. Wasik is our newest associate program director.  She is a pediatric nephrologist who started working here at Upstate in 2019.  She originally from Buffalo, NY. She attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and then spent the next six years in Baltimore, MD completing her pediatric residency, a fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology, and her MHS in Clinical Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins.  Her academic work involves medical education, quality improvement initiatives aimed at decreasing complications in patients receiving chronic dialysis, and registry-based research focused on improving outcomes in children with chronic kidney disease.

Residency Program Administrator: Patty Mondore, MA

Ms. Mondore is from the Upstate, New York. She received her BA from Houghton College and her Masters from Syracuse University in Music Education. She taught music (K-12) in a public school for a few years after graduating. In her spare time she is also a prolific writer (six books currently in print, and a contributing writer for two area newspapers), and a singer/song writer with five music CD's and three music videos of her own inspirational songs. She has been the Pediatric Residency Administrator here at Upstate since 1990 and is the creator of Patty's Pediatric Page. Patty also uses her writing abilities to edit the Pediatric Crier, the departmental newsletter.