Diversity & Inclusion

Internal Medicine Residency Program

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At the University of Colorado Internal Medicine Residency Program, we believe that a commitment to diversity will enable us to achieve the highest standards of excellence in all domains.

diversity 2Diversity within our residency program not only enriches our resident physicians’ experiences, it improves the quality of patient care. We strive to strengthen our program by recognizing that differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and spiritual practice are crucial to developing competent physician leaders who will deliver quality patient care with lasting impact on individuals and communities.

Within the Internal Medical Residency Program, we are continually striving to improve our inclusiveness:

  • At the recruitment stage, we work to recruit students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and ensure that applicants meet with a diverse set of faculty members during their interview process. We also offer an invitation-based Second Look program to help diverse applicants explore our program, campus and community in depth.
  • For current residents, we offer small-group coaching to all current residents, a program led by the Department of Medicine Vice Chair for Diversity and Equity, Sonia Flores, PhD. This small-group work connects residents with faculty members outside the residency program who can help navigate academic, clinical and cultural concerns, and links residents with community partners that deliver healthcare to under-served populations.
  • Our diversity ambassadors (see sidebar) are faculty members who facilitate our coaching program, leading meaningful conversations around issues of bias, equity, social justice, and inclusion.
  • Our attending physicians, along with other faculty in the Department of Medicine, are receiving training to help increase awareness of the effects of unconscious bias. We are also working with University of Colorado Hospital and our affiliate clinical sites to develop best practices for addressing issues of bias within the clinical setting.
  • We are launching a Health Equities pathway, designed to provide targeted training to students who aspire to careers addressing issues of health disparities and community/public health.

Our commitment to diversity extends beyond the Internal Medicine Residency Program to the Department of Medicine, the School of Medicine, the campus and the community.

Diversity on our campus

sonia floresIn the Department of Medicine, Sonia Flores, PhD was appointed Vice Chair for Diversity and Justice in 2016. Dr. Flores is a professor in the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, and was the program director of an NIGMS-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity; she has been the Program Director of the NHLBI-funded GEMS (Graduate Experiences for Multicultural Students) program for the past 16 years.

Dr. Flores is committed to increasing diversity among housestaff, fellows and faculty by incorporating social science theories and focusing on cultural competence. The Department of Medicine also sponsors the DREAM Program, which brings medical students from underrepresented groups into CU's research labs.

Brenda AllenAt the campus level, Brenda Allen, PhD (Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion) and Shanta Zimmer, MD (Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion) lead the way in developing a faculty, housestaff, and student body that best reflects the patients for whom we care.

We invite you to explore the CU School of Medicine's Diversity and Inclusion website to learn about resources available to current and prospective residents through the School of Medicine. 

The University of Colorado Organization for Racial and Ethnic Support (UCOLORES), founded in 2010, provides support and community for faculty, residents, staff and students of color through monthly meetings.

shanta zimmerThis group helps build bridges and develop relationships by creating mentoring partnerships, providing support for faculty development and promotion, and encouraging connections for research collaborations. The group also hosts community engagement activities throughout the year (book club, social events) as well as an annual Toast to Diversity event, which celebrates our campus and also serves as a "call to action" to create community and improve our diversity efforts.


Other student/trainee groups active on campus include:

CU’s Urban Underserved Track (CU-UNITE) is a longitudinal track for students at the CU School of Medicine and the CU College of Nursing designed for students interested in working with urban underserved communities, including refugee communities. Although this track is for medical/nursing/PA students, it offers opportunities for interactions with our internal medicine residents.

Diversity in our community:

CU’s Community-Campus Partnership connects our campus to the broader Aurora community, which (according to the 2010 census) is the most diverse community in the Denver metro area. More than half of Aurora’s 350,000 residents belong to a minority population, and over 100 languages are spoken in Aurora Public Schools.

Aurora has also become an entry point for refugees coming to Colorado, and the development of an immigration center and educational and outreach program for Aurora’s new diverse populations has become a city priority.

CU internal medicine residents do rotations at several affiliates serving highly diverse populations, including Denver Health and the VA Medical Center.

We invite you to contact our diversity ambassadors and residents (see sidebar) to learn more about how our program supports a diverse and inclusive environment.

Thank you,

Geoff Connors, MD
Program Director

Diversity Ambassadors

d Jose Castillo-Mancilla, MDJose Castillo-Mancilla, MD
Associate Professor,
Infectious Diseases

d Lilia Cervantes, MDLilia Cervantes, MD
Associate Professor,
General Internal Medicine; Denver Health

d Karen Chacko, MDKaren Chacko, MD
Associate Professor,
General Internal Medicine

d Amira del Pino-Jones, MDAmira del Pino-Jones, MD
Assistant Professor,
General Internal Medicine

d Jamaluddin Moloo, MDJamaluddin Moloo, MD
Associate Professor,
General Internal Medicine

d Neda Rasouli, MDNeda Rasouli, MD
Associate Professor, Endocrinology

d Tânia Reis, PhDTânia Reis, PhD
Assistant Professor, Endocrinology

d Tarik Walker, MDTarik Walker, MD
Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine

d Nichole Gallegos Zehnder, MDNichole Gallegos Zehnder, MD
Associate Professor,
General Internal Medicine

d Alex Enurah, MDAlex Enurah, MD
Recent graduate and volunteer faculty advisor

Resident Perspectives:

d Josh Foromera, MD
Josh Foromera, MD
3rd Year resident