A Program Committed to Diversity and Equity in All Aspects
Mass General for Children (MGfC) strives to create a welcoming environment for its trainees, faculty, staff, and patients. At MGfC we have the privilege of caring for patients from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds at our main campus in Boston, our community health centers in Charlestown, Revere and Chelsea, and our affiliated community hospitals in Cambridge and Newton. MGH Chelsea Health Center, for example, cares for one of the largest and most diverse immigrant populations in all of Massachusetts. Our trainees and staff come from many different backgrounds as well. We cannot think of a more perfect example than our Pediatric Cardiology Department, where our staff of doctors is fluent in at least 5 different languages. MGfC is committed to recruiting and supporting a multicultural workforce of pediatricians to reflect our beautiful and diverse patient population. We are proud to collaborate with the Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion as well as the LGBT Employee Resource Group to promote and support underrepresented minorities in medicine throughout Mass General.
The Mass General Center for Diversity and Inclusion works hard to continually advance diversity and inclusion in trainees and physicians. These five statements below explain how Mass General fosters a supportive community for both patients and residents.
- Mass General fosters a supportive work environment. Mass General is consistently ranked as a top hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Organizations such as Modern Healthcare, DiversityInc, The Scientist, The Boston Globe, Forbes Magazine, American Nursing Credentialing Center and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation have named us a top workplace. Attendings are committed to education, are very approachable, and serve as mentors for trainees. Similarly, the Mass General nursing and ancillary staff are dedicated to our patients and love to work with trainees.
- Mass General supports varied career paths. Whatever your career interests, there is a place for you at Mass General! Vast opportunities exist in clinical practice and basic science, clinical, health services and health policy research. Mass General is the home of the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Jack W. Szostak, PhD. In 2000, Mass General established the Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation dedicated to revitalizing and redesigning care delivery. Mass General operates community health centers (CHC) in Chelsea, Charlestown, Revere and the North End. Mass General also focuses on many global health initiatives in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. The Centers of Expertise provide trainees with important cross-specialty resources for professional development and strategies for innovative health care delivery.
- Mass General is committed to the community. At the core of Mass General’s mission is improving the health and wellbeing of the diverse communities it serves. Mass General has been awarded esteemed community service honors in health care, including the 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In 2017, Chelsea CHC received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize honoring communities for efforts to ensure all residents live healthier lives. Residents can work with several MGH programs focused on promoting health in marginalized communities including MGH’s Center for Immigrant Health, Gun Violence Prevention Center, the Transgender Health Program and the Center for Community Health Improvement. Our Disparities Solution Center is an international leader in promoting equitable care; the Mass General Annual Report on Equity in Healthcare Quality monitors several key components of quality by race, ethnicity and language, and was developed in response to the Institute of Medicine’s “Crossing the Quality Chasm.”
- Mass General cares for a diverse patient population. Fourteen percent of Mass General’s inpatients and 23% of our outpatients are Latinx, African American, and Afro-Caribbean. In FY 2016, Mass General Interpreter Services provided a total of 153,534 interpretations in 122 different languages, including American Sign Language (ASL.) Our Chelsea Community Health Center (CHC) patient population is very diverse: 53% of patients are Latino, 9% are Black, and 38% indicate Spanish as their preferred language. Our Chelsea, Charlestown and Revere CHCs support communities where 20% of the residents have an income below the poverty level, 30% are foreign born and 40% speak languages other than English at home. MGH cares for patients from 151 countries, including 18 Latin American, 18 Caribbean and 33 African countries.
- Diversity, inclusion, and equity are priorities for Mass General. We believe that diversity allows us to excel as individuals and as an institution and that inclusion is the foundation of that success. By focusing on equity, we will serve, heal, educate and innovate. These core values are reflected in Mass General’s diversity statement and our credo and boundaries. In addition to the MGH Center for Diversity & Inclusion, Mass General Brigham has an enterprise-wide program, United Against Racism, focusing on addressing racism and other forms of discrimination in medicine at all levels. Gender equity is also important at Mass General. Trainees and faculty have access to resources through the Office for Women’s Careers, onsite childcare and lactation rooms. Resource and networking groups (the Association of Multicultural Members of Partners; the Committee for Latino Initiatives; the Chinese Staff and Scientists Association; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employee Resource Group and the Employees Disabilities Resource Group) are likewise available to all employees, especially trainees.
We are always striving to advance the diversity in the workplace and the medical residency programs at MGfC. Meet below some of our leaders in this space.
Dr. Oscar Benavidez, MD, MPP
Dr. Oscar J. Benavidez, MD, MPP, is the Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiology and the Director of Diversity and Equity at Mass General for Children.
Dr. Benavidez attended college at the University of California at Davis and earned his Bachelor of Science in human physiology. He then moved to Boston to attend Harvard Medical School. Before completing his medical degree, he obtained a master’s degree of public policy at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government where he studied the impact of managed care on the academic health centers’ allocation of physician time. He attended pediatric residency at the Boston Combined Residency Program. After residency he attended cardiology fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital followed by a senior fellowship in advanced pediatric/congenital cardiac imaging.
Dr. Benavidez enjoys teaching and mentoring trainees and faculty. For fun, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, coaching soccer, swimming and golf.
Aisha James, MD, MS
Assistant in Pediatrics & Medicine, MGH Everett Family Care Practice
Dr. Aisha James is a primary care pediatrician at MGH Everett Family Care and the Sickle Cell Disease center. Outside of her clinical work, Dr. James serves as the Associate Director of Diversity and Equity and Director of Advocacy at Mass General for Children.
Originally from Milton, MA, Dr. James earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and French from Amherst College, her Master of Education from Brooklyn College, and her MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She worked as a special education teacher in NYC prior to medical school. She completed a combined residency in Internal Medicine & Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and served as the Department of Medicine's Primary Care Chief Resident in 2019-2020.
Dr. James is interested in the promotion of health equity and social justice through community organizing and activism.
We have a Diversity and Equity Committee that allows for engagement and participation of trainees, staff and faculty in promoting equity and diversity in the workplace as well as in patient care delivery. Meet below some of the members of the committee.
Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH
Chief Community Health and Health Equity Officer
Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, is the inaugural Chief Community Health and Equity Officer at Mass General Brigham and Executive Director of the Kraft Center for Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. She leads system-wide strategies to improve health equity and the health of the communities served by Mass General Brigham. She is a pediatrician at Mass General, the Conrad Taff Professor of Pediatrics in Nutrition at Harvard Medical School and professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Ariel Frey-Vogel, MD, MAT
Director of Child and Adolescent Services, MGH Transgender Health Program (THP)
Director, Pediatric Education, Innovation, and Research Center (PEIRC)
Associate Program Director, MGfC Pediatric Residency Program
The Massachusetts General Hospital Transgender Health Program (MGH THP) is a multi-disciplinary clinic providing linkage to comprehensive gender affirming services to people of all ages. The program for youth is led by Dr. Ariel Frey-Vogel (she/her), a primary care physician trained in internal medicine and pediatrics who comes at gender affirming care from a primary care, holistic perspective, as well as a social worker with experience working with gender diverse youth and their families and a nurse experienced in working with children.
Read more about Dr. Frey-Vogel and the MGH THP
The MGH THP uses a model in which gender is considered a piece of the identity, not a diagnosis. As such, there is no in-depth psychological assessment to determine a person’s gender. Rather, gender identity is explored with an emphasis on how to decrease stress and increase comfort in the body. Mental health support is incorporated into our program through integral involvement of the social worker in patient care and referral for therapy is always offered but never required for our services. People of all ages are welcome to come at all stages of understanding of their gender identity – from starting to question what it is to having a clear sense and wanting to move forward with medical management, and everything in between.
The program works to help people feel affirmed in their gender through offering information about support groups and resources, helping people find mental health providers if they need them, discussing and starting pubertal blockade and/or gender affirming hormone therapy, and helping refer for gender affirming surgeries as desired. The team takes an individualized approach to meet the youth and family where they are and help them determine goals and next steps on a timeline that works for them. Pediatric residents spend time in the MGH THP during their adolescent rotation shadowing Dr. Frey-Vogel and are welcome to reach out to her to schedule a PIC to learn more about the holistic care of gender diverse youth.