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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Pediatrics Diversity Committee

The Department of Pediatrics has an active Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee focused on promoting a sense of belonging and respect for all faculty, residents, and staff, currently led by Olamide Ajagbe, MD and Karen Teelin, MD, MSEd. The committee is open to all, and is currently made of up 12 faculty members, 4 residents, and 6 non-physician colleagues. Consistent with the vision of SUNY Upstate Medical University, we support a culture of openness, humility, and learning. We review recruitment policies, the departmental mission statement, and educational programs for faculty and residents, to ensure that we support and foster a culture of respect for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender orientation, national origin, disability status, or socio-economic status.

Examples of DEI initiatives within the department include:

  • A bias checklist for all curricular materials for use when developing educational materials, developed by one of our faculty members, Amy Caruso Brown, MD, MSc, MSCS. See the checklist here
  • A Community Pediatrics and Advocacy course for interns, led by Travis Hobart, MD, MPH and others, as well as an advocacy interest group, led by Winter Berry, DO including a trip to the state capitol as part of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Advocacy Day.
  • A workshop for residents and faculty, developed by pediatric faculty, led by Dr. Olamide Ajagbe and presented nationally. “Teaching Residents to Mitigate Prejudice” teaches strategies and offers opportunities to practice interventions when prejudice is witnessed.
  • All Grand Rounds speakers are asked to include DEI as aspect of their talk. At least one Grand Rounds per year is specifically focused on a DEI topic. Recent topics include disparities and access challenges related to children’s mental health with a focus on the emergency medicine setting, and holistic health for children in the foster care system.
  • Third year residents have the unique opportunity to provide primary care to Native American children one morning per month at the Onondaga Nation Clinic.
  • Several programs within the division of General Pediatrics address the needs of underserved populations, including a clinic specialized for primary care for children in foster care in Onondaga County, led by Steven Blatt, MD with Jan Bach, MD as well as a “diaper bank,” led by Winter Berry, DO.
  • A refugee clinic, led by Andrea Shaw, MD currently serving over 1400 refugee patients and families from Somalia, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and other countries. We have partnered with the Obama Children’s Hospital in Kenya, where residents and faculty may rotate for clinical experiences and research. (Last trip February 2020.) We share monthly interdisciplinary case conferences with students and faculty colleagues in Kenya.
  • Nienke Dosa MD, MPH of the Golisano Center for Special Needs leads partnerships with communitybased initiatives focused on adaptive technology, inclusive recreation and adapted sports for children with developmental disabilities.
  • Our gender clinic, led by Dr. Karen Teelin, serves over 400 transgender youth from throughout the state, providing specialized medical care in an affirming, developmentally appropriate setting. Dr. Teelin has presented regionally and nationally, teaching primary care providers to care for transgender adolescents. We host a TransParent and a TransYouth group at the Golisano Children’s Hospital, supporting families of transgender children.
  • Significant faculty involvement in the undergraduate medical school course focused on DEI topics, Patients to Populations, led by Pediatrics Department faculty members Dr. Amy Caruso Brown and Dr. Travis Hobart, with seven other faculty from the department serving as group leaders.

Grants, Publications & Scholarly Activities

The Department of Pediatrics has had many grants, publications, and other scholarly activities related to DEI.


  • Health and Human Services of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals, Families and Communities Component A. NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute, $133,000/year for 5 years. (5/2019-5/2024).
  • Open Area Support System (OASUS) free-standing body weight supported harness system for Sensory Movement Exploration Center. Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, $10,000 (January 2022).
  • Sensory Motor Exploration Center. Central New York Community Foundation, $50,000 (July 2021).
  • Sports & Recreation Opportunities for Blind Children: Virtual Camp Abilities and Blind Sport Expo. DeBoer Fund at Central New York Community Foundation, $16,000 (May 2021).
  • Fit-In Guide for High School Students, in collaboration with SUNY Cortland’s Inclusive Recreation Resource Center. Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation, $10,000 (May 2020).
  • Arise Adaptive Design Home Measurement Kit & Instructional Video. Kohl’s Foundation $23,800 (July 2020).
  • Family Fun Series DIY Sensory Projects. John Ben Snow Foundation $9,000 (January 2021).
  • Child Abuse Medical Provider (CHAMP) Education Initiative, Education and Network of NYS Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. NYS DOH, Rape Crisis Program (CHAMP). $375,000 (July 2020- 2025).
  • HRSA Grant Take your Shot Syracuse! Physician consultant, $750,000. (2021-2022).
  • United Healthcare Foundation, Catholic Charities primary, community-clinic partnership, funding community health navigators $200,000 (2021-2023).
  • CNYCC I-Care Innovations Fund Improving Diabetes Care for Refugees & Immigrants, $232,638 (2019-2020).
  • Cuse Grant, research, Comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment for Refugees $25,000 (20202021).
  • CNY Community Foundation, COVID-19 PCR to high risk refugee households, $46,000 (2020-2021).
  • Richard & Jean Clark Pediatric Research Fund Awards, pilot funds focus groups, $15,000 (2020-2021).