Dr. Douglas and partner Dr. Underwood at UC Pride Celebration

Dr. Helena Villalobos at MARC leadership committee meeting

Dr. Goldberg leading discussion session for our Race and Racism session during Academic Half day

Dr. Andrew Freddo and husband at Denver Pride Parade

University of Colorado White Coats for Black Lives - Kneel for Justice event

Dr. Carolina Gutierrez at SNMA conference

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We enthusiastically believe that building a strong residency program necessitates a critical and dynamic evaluation of how we foster, accept, respect, and retain diversity in all its forms. It is our leadership’s mission that we nurture compassionate, well-rounded physicians whose cultural competency equals their clinical acumen. In moving towards this goal, our program has taken several intentional steps to acknowledge and, hopefully, reverse the medical system’s historic complicity in perpetuating systemic discrimination. These include reducing/eliminating bias and harm in our recruitment and teaching strategies, constructing curricula that empower residents to actively dismantle racism/discrimination within healthcare, and advocating (on GME and legislative levels) for funding/opportunities to provide more equitable care to communities in need.

Some examples of our work include: 

DH DEI efforts

Holistic Application Review: As stated by the AAMC, Holistic Review “refers to mission-aligned admissions/selection processes that take into consideration applicants’ experiences, attributes, and academic metrics as well as the value they would contribute to learning, practice, and teaching”. We used the University of Colorado’s Graduate Medical Education Recruitment Toolkit as a guiding resource in developing our holistic process. This toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Minority and Allied Resident Council (MARC), the GME Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (of which Dr. Venci is a member), and the UC School of Medicine.

Visiting Student Externship Award: Please see the Visiting Medical Students section of our website for additional details. In brief, this scholarship is intended to offset costs associated with visiting rotations for students of underrepresented backgrounds, with the goal to facilitate the development of a workforce that better represents our patient populations.

Mentorship/Pipeline Programs: Our residency, in partnership with Denver Health, collaborates with a few pipeline programs (see below) that introduce young students from underrepresented populations to the field of healthcare. We invite these students to the Peña Clinic to shadow our residents/clinic preceptors and practice basic clinical skills while offering opportunities for mentorship.

  • Medical Career Collaborative Program: A program that encourages high school students to pursue a career in medicine via exposure to different healthcare settings, paid internships, volunteer opportunities, and avenues for mentorship/professional development.
  • Healthcare Interest Program: A program that hopes to support the “academic and professional development” of students who identify with the patient populations often seen by Denver Health, our community safety-net hospital. They offer students the opportunity to put their basic science knowledge into practice while also fostering an understanding of the unique healthcare needs of the Denver Health population.

Race in Medicine Curriculum: A curricular “thread” within our Academic Half-Days led by Dr. Daniel Goldberg, Associate Professor for the Department of Family Medicine/Center for Bioethics and Humanities for the University of Colorado. It is designed to educate residents on the racist underpinnings of the field of medicine, as in the exploitation (by society and individual clinicians) of populations of color in developing the clinical practices/tests/knowledge we still use today. It acknowledges our complicity in this history of discrimination while training residents to recognize and proactively prevent the ways in which racism continues to inform clinical care today. 

JEDAI Committee: A resident-led committee, mentored by APD Dr. Carolina Gutierrez, that organizes community-centered initiatives promoting justice, equity, diversity, advocacy, and inclusion within and outside of the clinical context. This committee is a direct avenue to community engagement and is responsible for the many ways our residents try to ethically build relationships with and support the underserved communities of Denver. Our current collaborators and projects include:

  • Re:Vision & Denver Urban Gardens: Our partnership has developed the Ruby Hill Community Garden where Peña patients and local community members can gather to learn how to grow and harvest fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Our long-term goal is to be able to provide Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes of fresh produce to our patient families, especially those with newborns and young children. Re:Vision also hosts several family-centered events on every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month during the summer and fall designed to promote healthy lifestyle practices.
  • Excalibur Outreach: A recent partnership to support our annual Back to School Drive, during which we fundraise and organize backpacks filled with school supplies for the kiddos of our Peña Clinic.
  • Peña Community Engagement Committee: A committee of Dr. Venci, Dr. Gutierrez, our residents, community relations coordinator Stephanie Syner, and our beloved community navigators, Father Joseph Dang and Sofia Chavez. This group meets regularly to discuss ways in which we can encourage a relationship of trust and mutual respect between community members and the local healthcare system. They help organize community events such as providing Thanksgiving meals to people experiencing homelessness and a Lunar New Year celebration.

Grants for Curricular Development: Program Director, Dr. Julie Venci, was recently awarded the Building Trust through Diversity, Health Care Equity, & Inclusion in Internal Medicine Training Grant to design interdisciplinary educational programming that teaches learners how to advance health equity and foster trust in the medical system. Their current goal involves developing an equity-centered interprofessional patient simulation curriculum for EM, IM, and Med-Peds residents and Medical, Nursing, Dentistry, PT, and PA students. We are also proud to share that one of our own residents, Dr. Jon Taylor-Fishwick, along with Dr. Carolina Gutierrez, recently received the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative Advocacy Training Grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They plan to implement an advocacy curriculum that helps residents build foundational advocacy skills and empower them to engage in advocacy of pediatric issues at the local and national levels.

Please visit the following links to learn about diversity and inclusion efforts in the Department of Medicine, the Department of Pediatrics, and The University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Resident Spotlight



Dr. Helen Queenan PGY 3 selected as Co-President of MARC 2024-2025

Erika Becerra-Ashby

Dr. Erika Becerra, MD- accepted into the 2023 ACC Internal Medicine Cardiology Program Cohort

Minority and Allied Resident Council – Learn more! The MARC

Office of Diversity Equity Inclusion Community

Department of Medicine (SOM)

CU Anschutz

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12631 East 17th Avenue


Aurora, CO 80045


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