Diversity in Pediatrics Committee (DIPC) is a group of pediatric residents, fellows, faculty, staff, and alumni that works to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within our residency program and the hospitals and clinics in which we work. We recognize many forms of diversity including (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, religion, education, and socioeconomic status. DIPC is co-chaired by pediatric residents and supported by a faculty director, Dr. Brandi Freeman.
Our mission is to foster a residency program that supports its diverse residents, reflects the patients we care for, understands the way in which systemic inequalities impact our patients and families, and commits to working towards equity and justice through recruitment, education, mentorship, and community engagement.
Left to Right: Patrick Tiffany (DIPC Co-Leader), Matt Guerrieri (Current Chief and Former DIPC
Co-Leader), Paula Dias Maia (Former DIPC Co-Leader. Now a CU NICU Fellow), Kathryn Kalata (DIPC Co-Leader),
Brandi Freeman (DIPC Faculty Director), Adam Rene Rosenbaum (DIPC
All residents, fellows, faculty and staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health are welcome to join DIPC. We encourage you to join if you are underrepresented in medicine, identify with a diverse background, or are interested in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
DIPC is committed to ensuring that residents from underrepresented backgrounds thrive in residency. To this end, DIPC provides both peer and faculty mentorship through meetings and community-building events held throughout the year. Our committee serves as a support system for many pediatric residents. We work hard, but always make sure that we celebrate our successes and our community!
We start each academic year with a social gathering where we provide a short introduction to our events, projects and initiatives that we will be working on over the course of the year. The Kickoff is a fun opportunity to get to know one another other, including the new interns that have just arrived! This year, we met outside at Stapleton Central Park for a socially-distanced potluck gettering.
Every year DIPC hosts a holiday dinner party where members of the organization get together to celebrate the end of the year with great food and drinks. We are working on developing a safe, socially-distanced, but equally lovely event this year, in place of our traditional holiday party.
Throughout the year we organize happy hours for members of DIPC. These gatherings are our signature events! The goal is to create a safe environment, welcoming environment for residents to socialize, form community and celebrate diversity. We are looking forward to our first happy our this year at one of Denver’s spectacular parks.
We have also hosted Residency Family Gatherings to facilitate support and healing following critical events in this country, such as the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. We debrief and discuss these events and support one another through the emotional experience. We also use these opportunities to reflect and brainstorm ways to support our diverse brothers and sisters and groups like the Black Lives Matter movement.
ALLYance is a team member resource group at Children’s that was founded
to improve and amplify the experience of team members who identify as
being a part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual,
2/Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, Pansexual,
Agender, Gender Queer, Bigender, Gender Variant, Pangender Communities
and those interested in helping Children’s Hospital Colorado with these
efforts. Projects by Spectrum ALLYance have so far included developing
educational webpages and posters publicly celebrating Pride month,
dissemination of pronoun pins and LGBTQ+ inclusive rainbow badge
lanyards, and meeting with Children’s Hospital leadership to improve the
way LGBTQ+ experiences are heard and respected. In the past, members of
this group have also been crucial in changing EHR to include entries
for sexual orientation and gender identity.
In addition, several LGBTQ+ Pediatrics residents have formed a more intimate mentorship group (nicknamed ‘the queerum’) with queer-identifying attendings and staff, with the purpose of both personal and academic mentorship. This group meets periodically with faculty mentors both in and outside the hospital and provides a space for fostering community—through sharing, discussion, and celebration of the unique experiences by LGBTQ+ providers in healthcare.
Given the inequity in vaccine availability for the Black and Brown communities in Denver and the surrounding metropolitan area, DIPC is working with several Denver Health clinics to provide volunteers to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to its patients, many of whom are minorities and/or non-English speaking. The vaccine is free for these patients and we hope that this initiative will help to close the gap in COVID-19 vaccination rates between people of different races and languages.
The patient population in our Child Health Clinic is beautifully diverse with 23% of our patients identifying as non-Hispanic Black, 42% identifying as Hispanic/Latinx, and 4% identifying as Asian. A large study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin shows that only 28% of a representative sample of children’s books published in 2019 featured Black, Latinx, or Asian characters. Representation in stories is so important for children. Through this fundraiser, our patients will be able to bring home books that they can see themselves in, as well as have the opportunity to meet characters who are diverse in ways that differ from their own experience. We are hopeful that we will be able to extend this program to Denver Health clinics as the year goes on as well.
Black families have been talking to their children about these issues for hundreds of years. Other racial and ethnic groups are not as familiar with how to start these conversations with their children but want to learn how. We are hoping to support conversations between minority families that focus not only on safety, but on also highlighting cultural strengths and promoting pride in one’s background, as well as teaching ally families how to raise anti-racist children by developing educational handouts and materials to include on the after-visit summaries (AVS) for the families we care for at the General Pediatrics clinics.
In order to help promote the program, we participate in various recruitment and outreach efforts, including attending national medical student conferences hosted by Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). We also work closely with our local SNMA chapter at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Topics discussed typically include diversity in Denver and at Children’s Hospital Colorado, as well as the mission of DIPC. Recruiting and retaining diverse residents is a priority of our program.
Each recruiting season, the Diversity in Pediatrics Committee (DIPC) hosts events for interviewees interested in diversity equity, and inclusion. These events are open to anyone interviewing for pediatrics residency at the University of Colorado. Attendance at these events is optional and does not impact your application to the residency program or your rank status in any way. We look forward to "virtually" meeting you!
Please reach out to the committee at DIPC.Colorado@gmail.com with any questions regarding our committee or the Spotlight on Diversity Brunch.
Every year, we organize a Grand Rounds in conjunction with the Department of Pediatrics Diversity and Inclusion Committee to promote education on a topic related to diversity for the entire Department of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Colorado.
Throughout the year we organize and facilitate several lectures on topics pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. These have returned to in person.
Once each academic year, DIPC organizes and facilities one of the Pediatric Residency Program Longitudinal Small Group sessions. During these are intensive 3-hour sessions attended by all residents, we aim to teach about an important topic or skill pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Racism impacts so many facets of our patients’ lives. As pediatricians, it is our responsibility to think of our patients in their entirety, not only in terms of their physical health, but also in the context of their communities and the systems that work to produce the health inequities we see every day. Our monthly movie club aims to focus on various aspects of systemic and institutional racism, to better understand how these systems impact our patients and their families, and to discuss tangible ways that we can directly work to get closer to justice for our BIPOC communities.
|Hometown: San Jose, CA|
|Undergraduate: Boston University|
|Medical School: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill|
About me: I came to medicine through the Peace Corps, where I served in Peru for two years and sparked a passion for public health, health disparities, especially those affecting Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities. Throughout medical school, I focused on learning to best serve those communities, including completing an MPH with a thesis on the effects of anti-Latinx discrimination on children and families. In residency, I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn from a diverse population at Children's, Denver Health, and the Child Health Clinic. I plan to pursue a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and continue to research disparities and inequities in emergency medicine and specifically pediatric trauma. In my off time, I love biking, hiking, camping, backpacking, climbing, crocheting, and baking.
Adam Rene Rosenbaum
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI and Denver, CO
|Hometown: St. Johns, MI|
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
|Undergraduate: Northwestern University||Undergraduate: University of Notre Dame|
Undergraduate: Purdue University
|Medical School: University of Colorado||Medical School: University of Michigan|
Medical School: Indiana University
|About me: While I grew up in Wisconsin, Colorado has been home for quite a while and I am grateful for both the sunshine and opportunities that it has provided. Being part of a multi-racial family, I have always had an interest in race and the way it influences individuals' opportunities, experiences, and personal narratives. As an undergraduate, I began to explore the historical context of racism and how it manifests in our current institution and policies. Further, I learned the critical importance of partnership and trust when working with communities to help them meet their goals in alignment with their values. I have a passion for community-based participatory research and health equity work within and beyond clinical medicine. My other advocacy interests include mental health LGBTQ+ health care, trauma-informed care, resiliency, and the role of the arts in medicine. I am incredibly grateful for DIPC, as it allows me the space to embrace my co-residents' lived experiences and identities, celebrate the diversity within our community, and progress health equity work within our program. With curiosity, humility, and compassion, I hope to grow as an ally, a friend, and an advocate throughout my lifetime. Outside of medicine, I love to bake, craft, go to the botanic gardens, and spend time with friends and family.|
About me: I grew up in a small town in rural Michigan and lived in the Midwest until matching in Colorado. When I was a kid, my family would often travel to South Texas to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My Mexican heritage and the Spanish language were pillars of these trips, with our family's stories of immigration and migration underlying in the background. At both Children's Hospital Colorado and Denver Health, I am able to serve a diverse panel of patients with so many different stories, especially at my continuity clinic, where I am able to serve a large percentage of immigrant and Spanish-speaking families. For me, DIPC serves as a safe space to reflect upon the stories I see in clinic, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow with my co-residents in a park or at a board game night, enjoying a Colorado hike, or exploring the great Denver food scene.
About me: I was born in Indianapolis and continued to live in Indiana until I moved to Denver for residency. I have been out as a gay man for about 10 years now and am proud to have been able to experience my medical training in this way. In medical school, I did a lot of work with the transgender community and the LGBTQ+ youth community in Indianapolis, and I hope to be able to serve this community for the rest of my career as a pediatrician. I love that this program has a group like DIPC to create a community for diverse faculty, fellows, residents, and other employees and to be the ones to make sure DEI issues are an important aspect of our education here at CU. In my free time, I hang out with my co-residents and explore the different bars, breweries, shops, and restaurants in Denver. This has been an amazing place to train so far and I am very thankful for the friends I've made through DIPC.
Brandi Kaye Freeman, MD MS
|Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Pediatrics.|
Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice, Medical Director of the Pediatric ICU at Denver Health
Clinical Area of Practice: General Academic Pediatrics
Clinical Area of Practice: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Hospital Medicine
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Working with underserved populations, Early childhood development.
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Pictograms facilitating medical communication, Improving communication and awareness around bias and microaggressions. I love the Denver Health mission, diverse pediatric patient population and the Pediatric Residency program!
Fun facts about Dr. Freeman: Originally from Texas, I love live music and theatrical performances, I also have very developed shopping skills 🙂
Fun facts about Dr. Kunrath: She is from an immigrant multicultural family. Born and raised in Brazil, she grew up speaking German, Italian and Portuguese! She married her high school sweetheart and is now the proud momma of two fierce girls. Claudia loves spending time outdoors with her family.
Sophia Meharena, DO
Carol Okada, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Residency Associate Program Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
|Associate Professor of Clinical Practice, Residency Associate Program Director in the Department of Pediatrics|
Clinical Area of Practice: General Pediatrics / Primary Care
Clinical Area of Practice: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Hospital Medicine
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Access to care (serving under resourced communities), Mentorship and the Pipeline to Medicine, Nutrition, Risk Management/Medical Liability
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Medication dosing in patients with obesity, CRRT, medical education. I have spent the majority of my career at Denver Health. The mission of the hospital, the patients we serve, the residents, and my colleagues inspire me. I am especially fortunate to work with incredible PICU colleagues (my work family - see picture!) at Denver Health.
Fun facts about Dr. Meharena: I am first generation Ethiopian/Eritrean, speak 3 languages and love to spend time with my family and friends doing anything! We cook (and thus eat), sing, dance, travel, read, play and celebrate life on the daily.
Fun facts about Dr. Okada: I grew up in a rural farming town (population 500). The importance of a community has always been a part of my life, and the support of those around me have been vital to my progress. I found "my community" entering residency in 1994 at the University of Colorado, and I find myself today being grateful to be part of that community for the past 25+ years.
Mauricio Antonio Palau, MD
Marco Pinder, MD
|Assistant Professor||Assistant Professor|
Assistant Professor, Director for Pediatric Simulation for Denver Health, Pediatric Residency Simulation Co-Lead for University of Colorado / Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Clinical Area of Practice: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
|Clinical Area of Practice: Pediatric Cardiology|
Clinical Area of Practice: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Hospital Medicine
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Neonatal resuscitation, Optimizing communication between providers ad NICU families with focus on primary Spanish speakers
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Outreach / underserved cardiology clinics
Clinical Area(s) of Interest: Medical Simulation, Resuscitation, Delirium in PICU, Critical Care in a resource limited community hospital
Fun facts about Dr. Palau: I am the first person in my extended family to be born and raised in the United States. My parents are from Mexico and my ancestry is mostly Spanish and Italian. Sports are my main hobbies outside of medicine, including: water polo, basketball, and golf.
Fun facts about Dr. Pinder: He was born and raised in Miami and plays FOUR different instruments!
Fun facts about Dr. Walsh: She loves hiking with her dog, Mountain Biking, Paddle boarding, reading anything that isn’t medical, cooking, Movies/TV and one day would like to travel again!
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Medical School: UFRJ - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
About me: I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I went to medical school before I decided to come by myself to the US to do my pediatric training. DIPC is one of the most extraordinary things about our Residency Program. This fantastic group of people gives me a real sense of FAMILY even being 6,000 miles from home. I am interested in health disparities and Latinx health, and I am very grateful for the diverse population that we take care of and for having Denver Health as part of our training. I am excited to be applying to Neonatology this year! During my free time, I like exploring the mountains and spending time outdoors with my pup, Rufus. Coming from a developing country, I am pleased to share my unique experiences and to bring the happy Brazilian culture everywhere I go.
Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
Undergraduate: Northwestern University
Medical School: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
About me: I grew up in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago whose demography was forged by the racist practices of redlining and white flight. Fortunately, during college, I had the opportunity to experience more diverse parts of the city and learn how systemic discrimination selectively distributes wealth and opportunity to certain groups and not others. Before medical school, I spent time living in Sub-Saharan Africa and working for the CDC. These experiences helped shape my understanding of racism as a public health crisis. As a pediatrics resident at the University of Colorado, I am grateful that learning how to address injustice as a pediatrician is an integral part of my training. Opportunities like the Global Health Track, Advocacy Committee, Queer Mentoring Group, and Diversity in Pediatrics Committee have helped me become a better physician ally and advocate for my patients. Moreover, I put what I learn into practice every day by caring for families in the diverse and vibrant communities of Denver and Aurora through my work at both the Children’s Hospital Colorado and the county public safety net hospital, Denver Health. When I’m not at work, I enjoy cooking and crafting with my husband, checking out the local arts and culture scenes in Denver’s many neighborhoods, and exploring the incredible beauty of Colorado’s mountains.
Hometown: Coral Springs, FL
Undergraduate: University of Florida
Medical School: Ohio State University
Year: Alum, Fellowship in GI and Nutrition
About me: I was born and raised in South Florida, and although I’m Cuban, I have always surrounded myself around many other cultures. One of the most attractive aspects of Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health was the diversity of our patient population. In just my continuity clinic at the Child Health Clinic, I have the opportunity to care for patients from all over the world. Our program genuinely serves the underserved, and DIPC helps us blend our unique backgrounds to understand and teach the barriers our patients face. When I’m not at the hospital, you can catch me exploring a new hike and blaming any exercise-induced shortness of breath on the altitude. I’m also addicted to salsa dancing, and the scenes in Denver and Boulder son muy buenos.
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
Undergraduate: Boston College
Medical School: University of North Carolina
Year: Alum, Fellowship in Pulmonology and Fogarty Global Health
About me: I was raised in a multiracial household composed of West Indian and Dutch American cultures. I spent a lot of my childhood in Trinidad and Tobago, where much of my mother’s family still lives. As a biracial woman of color and daughter of an immigrant, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my own identity as well as committing energy to Diversity and Inclusion efforts throughout my training. In Colorado, DIPC serves as a source of community and support and an avenue to continue to promote diversity in medicine. I believe that a more representative physician workforce that reflects the patients served leads to better patient outcomes and satisfaction. My interests in medicine include Pulmonology and Global Health. In my personal time I enjoy traveling, reading, practicing hot yoga, and spending time with my partner.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley
Medical School: the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
Year: Alum, Fellowship in Emergency Medicine
About me: I am a third-generation Chinese American born and raised in San Francisco Chinatown. I moved to Chicago for medical school after working as a neurolinguistic researcher, and I came out as gay during my third year. As someone who is still discovering what it looks like to hold and celebrate multiple identities, I appreciate the diversity Denver has to offer as well as the honest discussions on race, inequity, and bias that both my residency program and DIPC have embraced. My interests include Pediatric Emergency Medicine, LGBTQ+ health, Quality and Improvement, and minority health and representation in medicine and academia. I live with my partner and COVID-induced dog named Sylvia. I enjoy The West Wing, knitting body parts, reading John Irving and Chinese sci-fi, and elaborate board games.
Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Undergraduate: University of Michigan - Go Blue!
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
Year: Alum, Faculty
About me: I was born and raised in Ann Arbor as a daughter of Vietnamese refugees and as a first-generation college student. My upbringing gave me insight into the challenges of navigating America with a linguistic barrier as I often helped translate for my family. When looking at residency programs, my goal was to train at a place that cares for patients from diverse backgrounds and to give back to the refugee and immigrant communities, which I found at Colorado. My co-residents are like a second family away from home. Through the Diversity in Pediatrics Committee, the Global Health Track, and the Advocacy Committee, I appreciate that through DIPC and our program, we continually reevaluate the ways we can best use our roles as physicians to better advocate for our patients. When I am not at the hospital, I enjoy skiing (but you do not have to enjoy the outdoors to love Colorado), escape rooms, and how dog-friendly Denver is (pictured: not actually my dog).
Hometown: Richfield, MN
Undergraduate: University of Minnesota
Medical School: University of Minnesota
Year: Alum, Fellowship in Infectious Disease
About me: As a child of Vietnamese refugees, I grew up in a bilingual and bicultural home. I have a strong interest in health disparities work both locally and internationally. I was in the Global Health Track and worked closely with the immigrant and refugee communities here in Colorado in addition to communities abroad. In my free time, I enjoy dancing and co-choreographing a traditional Vietnamese dance group with my sister, trying new foods, and traveling with my family and friends!
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
Year: Alum, Faculty
About me: I was born, raised, and trained in Albuquerque (this was my first time away from home)! I grew up in an Indian household within a non-Indian community. However, I was constantly surrounded by so many cultures and languages and traditions that I never really felt out of place. My community taught me to respect differences and use them to create and advocate for unity, and that was the perspective with which I approached DIPC and diversity in medicine. I chose to become a Pediatrician because this is the field that feels the most rewarding to me – I feel like we experience the most fulfilling patient (and parent) physician interactions. Plus, when your patients smile even through sickness, you get a lot of motivation to push through those long days!
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa
Undergraduate: Tufts University, Boston
Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston
Year: Alum, Fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine
About me: I was excited to be a part of DIPC because of my interests in LGBT health, fostering an accepting and welcoming environment within the residency program, promoting diversity in recruitment, and educating my fellow residents about issues pertaining to diversity. When applying to residency programs, I realized that Children's serves a hugely diverse population with a large Latinx community in Aurora, and with Denver being a major refugee resettlement city. I was also attracted to the program's affiliation with Denver Health, which serves a large Medicaid population. Outside of work I like to ski/snowboard, SCUBA dive, travel, and walk anywhere there is a body of water!
Hometown: Trujillo, Peru
Undergraduate: Texas Woman's University
Medical School: UT Southwestern Medical Center
Year: Alum, Faculty
About me: I was born and raised in Peru and then moved to Texas at the age of 11. Growing up, I experienced certain obstacles that come with being part of a minority, and which helped me become aware of the importance of groups like DIPC in promoting acceptance, inclusion, and equity. Denver's patient population is one of the most appealing aspects of this program. Denver is in a unique position to offer the opportunity for me to not only work with a large Latinx community, but also refugee families from Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, and Ethiopia (to name only a few). My interests in medicine include allergy and immunology as well as primary care. This is why I believe DIPC is such an invaluable organization, as it helps to train physicians in cultural literacy needed to form therapeutic alliances. Like the majority of people in Colorado, I love spending time in the mountains and usually use my days off to explore the sights this beautiful state has to offer.
Hometown: Arlington, TX
Undergraduate: Yale University
Medical School: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Year: Alum, Fellowish in Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Why Colorado? During my interview day, I remember meeting upper-level residents who seemed confident in their education and satisfied with their preparedness for practice beyond residency. They also seemed to genuinely enjoy each other’s company and look out for each other. I really appreciated what I saw of the culture and was not disappointed in my experience! My co-residents were absolutely lovely, and the mountains and sunshine provided an excellent backdrop for my training. I also loved exploring different restaurants, parks, and festivals!
Hometown: Kansas City, KS
Undergraduate: DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
Medical School: Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
About me: I'm interested in children with complex medical conditions, respite care, and pediatrics rehabilitation. I recall the excitement I felt during the residency application and interview process when I first realized that the University of Colorado Denver and Children's Hospital Colorado had a committee dedicated to increasing awareness of diversity and inclusion within its hospital and on campus. I was happy when the committee demonstrated its interest in me and other diverse applicants and appreciative of the informal dinner where I got to better know the residency’s diverse residents, faculty and staff. I was thankful to have been a member of DIPC. Throughout my time in the pediatric residency, I saw the commitment to diversity and inclusion in action. I saw our committee grow and become a stronger presence within the residency, bringing forth speakers, educational lectures, and increasing the discourse around difficult topics in diversity, inclusion and biases. Denver and Aurora are diverse places with thriving Latinx, LGBTQ, black and refugee communities (to name a few), and I enjoyed seeing and learning more from these different voices both inside and outside of the hospital. I loved that there was no shortage of outside activities in which to participate in Denver and the surrounding areas. City life has First Fridays in the art district, as well as free jazz concerts in City Park during the summer months. For the foodie in me, I enjoyed indulging the new tastes and flavors Denver had to offer; restaurants, tap rooms, and breweries are abundant and a constant joy to discover.
About Me: Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Houston, Texas, Nicolle went to the University of Texas in Austin for undergrad followed by University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She then completed residency and a chief year at Baylor College of Medicine / Texas Children's Hospital. She is now a 2nd year neonatology fellow and her research interests include medical education and trainee wellness and resiliency. For fun, Nicolle is an avid sand volleyball player and likes to rock climb. She has a 4 year old rescue dog named Zoey who absolutely loves living in Colorado!
13123 E. 16th Ave.
Aurora, CO 80045