Meet the members of the 2022-2023 CDI Resident and Fellow Committee.
Michelle Diop, MD, ScM
Internal Medicine (PGY 4)
Michelle Diop was born and raised in Boston, MA. She attended Columbia University for college where she majored in Anthropology and then completed the MD-ScM program in Population Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School. She finished Internal Medicine Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the Primary Care Program in 2022. She is currently a fellow in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Mass General Brigham/Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Some of her specific interests within the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine include improving access to care, integrating Palliative Care across other specialties, and expanding ambulatory programs. In addition to Palliative Care, she is passionate about wellness, diversity, equity and inclusion, and medical education. Some of her favorite hobbies include watching sunsets, spending time on/by the water, and learning about people and their stories.
Michelle is truly honored to be the RFC Chair! The CDI and RFC have been an anchor for her at MGH, and she hopes to help others feel equally connected. Michelle is excited to continue building and supporting the wonderful CDI community. More specifically, she looks forward to organizing unique networking opportunities, ensuring trainee well-being, and empowering a diverse group of physician leaders.
Giovanni (Vanni) Rodriguez, MD
Emergency Medicine (PGY 3)
I am a PGY-3 EM resident at Harvard’s Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency program, and I work clinically at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I am a first-generation Mexican American and moved to the US when I was 6 years old. I attended undergrad at UW-Madison and majored in Biology. After graduation, I enter the Master of Science in Medical Science Program at Indiana University as I prepare to apply to medical school and study for the MCAT.
I, fortunately, gained a spot in the class of 2020, and only completed one year of the program and started medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine. As an MS4 I had to opportunity to rotate in the MGH/BWH system as a Sub-I and fell in love with the institution and also the culture and welcoming nature of the faculty and staff. Most importantly, I loved that CDI at Mass General was a resource for minority students like myself.
I am excited to be a part of RFC as your Vice-Chair! I hope to continue to build our CDI community and create a family away from home. I want to ensure that we highlight and foster the wonderful community we have.
Outside of medicine, I love to travel (anywhere with a beach!), spend time with my family and friends, and exploring restaurants because I love to eat!
Axana Rodriguez-Torres, MD, MPH
Internal Medicine Primary Care (PGY 2)
Education and Career Development Officer
Axana is a PGY2 resident in the MGH Internal Medicine Primary Care Program. She is originally from Colombia. She always dreamt about being a physician and became a community advocate from a very early age. She started medical school in Colombia although she was unable to obtain her degree then due to immigrating to the U.S. with her parents. She first went to California where she worked for almost a decade in immigration consulting and tax preparation with people from numerous countries around the world. She learned about the disparities in the communities of most need with respect to healthcare access and quality of care. Her inner dreams made her pursue medical school again, therefore, she started again from the community college route. She went on to graduate in Neurobiology and Psychology as well as MPH in UC Davis followed by MD degree at UC Irvine.
She was fortunate to be part of the Summer Research Trainee Program (SRTP) by CDI as a medical student when she fell in love with MGH and Boston. She has been blessed with a loving family, mentors, and support to be where she is today. She wants to continue pursuing equitable healthcare access for all as well as training in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.
Axana is honored to be one of the Education and Career Development Officer of the CDI – RFC. She wants to make sure that URM professionals in medicine can access essential resources to continue successfully advancing their careers. She wants to contribute to this community that has allowed her to make her dreams a reality.
Michael Nyika Andrew, MD, MPH
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PGY 3)
Education and Career Development Officer
I am a PGY-3 resident physician in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (SRH). I was born and lived in Harare, Zimbabwe until age of 12 when I transplanted to East Lansing, Michigan. Interests in collegiate athletics (track and football) took me to Albion College, MI where I completed my undergraduate studies with a major in Biological Sciences. Following a brief period of research and development in the pharmaceutical industries, I completed a Master of Public Health and Doctor of Medicine degrees at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU-CHM) in East Lansing, Michigan.
My experiences as a former collegiate athlete helped shape my curiosity about the mechanisms involved in maintaining optimal function in a constantly evolving physique. Through several service-volunteer opportunities such as an alternate delegate for the American Medical Association - MSU-CHM, I observed the impact of collaboration amongst multi-disciplinary teams working together to generate policy driven agendas. My research interests include impact of health policy, biomedical innovation, pain and musculoskeletal medicine.
I am humbled to serve as one of the CDI RFC Education and Career Development Officers. It is my hope that my role will bring about awareness of the multitude of resources that can propel professional development among resident physicians, especially those of URM. I am also interested in financial literacy programs with the goal of empowering URM to achieve financial freedom and building lasting impact that will transform under-marginalized communities.
Outside of my clinical and research interests, I enjoy spending time with my growing family, challenging the inner athlete, exploring past knowledge, playing music and trying out new cuisines.
Alejandra E. Morfin Rodriguez, MD
Psychiatry (PGY 3)
I am a PGY-3 Adult Psychiatry Resident in the MGH/ McL Psychiatry Program. I was born in Pihuamo, Jalisco in Mexico and immigrated to the US at a young age. I grew up in Houston, Texas and attended Texas A&M University for undergrad and UT Health San Antonio Long SOM. I am first generation everything and have a passion for fostering connections amongst URMs and increasing visibility to UiM voices here at MGH. I am so thankful and lucky to be serving as Public Relations chair with my favorite "cousin of the brain," Sandra (she’s a neurologist)! I have been involved with the CDI since my first year, served as a member of the community council my second year, and it really has become a home for me at MGH! I hope we can make it the same for you!
I am also in the Physician Scientist Track and my research focuses on mental health outcomes and socialization of Mexican Immigrant youths and their families. I am an American Psychiatric Association Foundation Leadership Fellow and am focusing on advocating for policy change to improve mental health access to underserved populations. I am also involved in the Asylum clinic and Hispanic Psychiatry Resident clinic. MGH has been a place that has given me access to resources and opportunities to serve my immigrant community and learn how to make meaningful strides toward change!
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, dancing, and going on hikes with my dog.
Sandra Saade, MD
Neurology (PGY 3)
I am in my third year of residency at MGB/Harvard Neurology. I completed my intern year at MGH and found a great community in the CDI since then!
I was born in Valledupar, Colombia, in a family of Lebanese descent. I spent my childhood in Valencia, Venezuela, before returning to Colombia and calling Bogotá my home. I went to medical school in Bogotá at Universidad del Rosario, our first medical school (founded in 1653!). After that I moved to Philadelphia to do research with the University of Pennsylvania/CHOP before coming to Boston.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Public Relations Officer for MGH’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. I’ll be doing so next to my colleague and friend Alejandra!
As a Colombian and three-times immigrant, my main goal is to strengthen the ties between UiM trainees and foster a network where we can feel at home and grow professionally. In addition, I hope to build awareness of the CDI various projects (including PR, Education, Community Outreach) across Mass General Brigham.
Outside of work, I love dancing salsa, traveling, and hiking with my husband and our two dogs!
Javier Suarez, MD
I was born in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Chicago, IL when I was five years old. I went to college at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and medical school at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. I am currently completing a neurology residency at Mass General Brigham. I am elated to be part of an amazing board and look forward to working with the Boston community and youth this year.
I have enjoyed working with local youth and providing both health education and mentoring for healthcare careers. At UIC, I participated in a student-led program designed to teach health education topics, such as sex education and some basic anatomy and physiology of diet and exercise, to local high school students. I continued these efforts in medical school, where I tutored high school students and participated in a similar teaching course for health subjects. Finally, I was actively involved in the Feinberg Scholars program where I provided application reviews, personal statement edits, and general mentoring for high school and college students interested in a career in medicine.
In addition to youth programs, I discovered my passion for medicine and underserved communities at CommunityHealth Clinic (a clinic in Chicago specifically designed to provide medical care to uninsured individuals), where I volunteered as a Spanish interpreter throughout college and medical school.
In residency, I have been involved in teaching multiple Harvard Medical Student courses and am currently developing a simulation case-based curriculum to improve neurology residents’ ability to manage social determinants of health in patients with neurologic disease.
Outside of work, I like to play tennis and read comic books. I will be pursuing a movement disorders fellowship in 2023.
Rebecca Ukaegbu, MD
Rebecca Ukaegbu was born in Nigeria but moved to the United States as a child, growing up in Massachusetts. She studied psychology, neuroscience, business, and Asian studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While in Nigeria, she was exposed to a lacking healthcare system and it was this experience and the desire to be a force for change that spurred her interest in medicine. Rebecca is interested in health systems reform, healthcare administration, and entrepreneurship in medicine (with an emphasis on finding untapped solutions for entrenched healthcare problems). She is looking forward to a career that combines her work in psychiatry with her passion for equity in healthcare.
Rebecca is excited to take on the role of co-Community Outreach Officer for the CDI this year. She is excited to leverage her prior experiences to serve the CDI and resident community and to increase opportunities for resident service to underserved communities in the Boston area.