A Program Committed to Diversity and Cultural Competence in All Aspects
MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) strives to create a welcoming environment for its trainees, faculty, staff, and patients. At MGHfC 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. MGHfC 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 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 America by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized in 14 specialties assessed. 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, and the 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding 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 have many opportunities to work closely with the Center for Community Health Improvement and serve as mentors for underserved youth interested in science and health careers. 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. 14% of Mass General’s inpatients and 23% of our outpatients are Latino or African American. 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 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 because of diversity we will excel; through inclusion we will respect; focused 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 CDI, Mass General has a hospital-wide executive Committee on Diversity focusing on the hospital’s role as an employer, provider of care and member of the community. Mass General participates in the annual YW Stand Against Racism and was awarded the American Hospital Association’s inaugural Equity of Care Award in recognition of our work to reduce health care disparities and increase workforce diversity. Gender equity is also important at Mass General. Trainees and faculty have access to resources through the Office for Women’s Careers, onsite child care 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 available to all employees. Hospital-sponsored celebrations of Black History Month, Latino Heritage Month, Iftar, Diwali and Chanukah are held annually.
We are always striving to advance the diversity in the workplace and the medical residency programs at MGHfC. Meet below some of the wonderful and diverse staff members who work in our Department of Pediatrics.
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 MassGeneral Hospital 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 as well as Associate Director of Diversity and Equity, and Associate Director of Advocacy at MassGeneral Hospital for Children
Originally from Milton, MA, Dr. James earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and French from Amherst College, her Master’s 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. She has a particular interest in racial justice, immigrant health, correctional health and gun violence prevention. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, hiking, dancing, and spending time by the water (preferably the ocean!).
Dr. Gracia Kwete
Dr. Gracia Kwete is a primary care pediatrician at the MGH Revere Healthcare Center as well as Associate Director of Diversity and Equity at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.
Dr. Kwete was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and her family relocated to Zambia where she spent most of her childhood. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and completed her medical studies at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN. She then moved to Boston for residency at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.
She is interested in early childhood development and the care of patients with limited English proficiency. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering with the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston in the mentorship of young girls, playing tennis, baking, and dancing.
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 Equity Officer for MassGeneral Brigham, Executive Director, Kraft Center for Community Health, MassGeneral Hospital
My commitment to diversity is multi-fold and demonstrated through my research, community-based work, clinical care, and teaching/mentoring of underrepresented minority trainees.
Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FTOS
Pediatric Endocrinology; Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology Obesity Medicine Physician Scientist
It is my goal to ensure that all patients regardless of their race/ethnicity socioeconomic status have access to providers which understand the unique elements associated with healthcare and disparities within these populations. As an African-American woman physician born and raised in Atlanta Georgia, I was surrounded by role models who encouraged me to pursue my dreams of becoming a physician and concurrently encouraged me to care for patients which reflected a background similar to my own. Additionally, I feel it is crucial for me to mentor students, residents, and fellows to ensure a diverse workforce in healthcare at MGH, Harvard Medical School, and throughout the US.
Nonye Acholonu, MD
My commitment to diversity and equity is through encouraging and advocating for underrepresented minorities at every stage of their career. While in college at Cornell University, I worked as a student mentor/tutor at the local underserved elementary school, helping underrepresented students with career goals, homework help, and teamwork. In medical school, I continued my mentorship efforts with elementary school students, but also became part of SNMA and AMWA to coach other underrepresented medical students. Now, in residency, my goal is to increase minority resident acquisition and retention with the help of the MGH Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Marielle Young, MD
My commitment to diversity is through my public health and clinical research examining the social and behavioral determinants of sleep and health disparities in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population. While Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (including me!) account for only 0.4% of the United States population, they have the lowest attainment of healthy sleep duration and among the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. I am also committed to recruiting future MGHfC pediatricians as an alumna of the Harvard Visiting Clerkship Program (VCP) for underrepresented in medicine students! I would love to talk to you about the wealth of diversity and advocacy opportunities at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Center for Diversity and Inclusion!
Efi Akam, MD
My commitment to diversity is to ensure that all people, regardless of any demographics, have access to high quality medical care. I want to accomplish this through a combination of advocacy, clinical practice in underserved primary care, and public and global health work.