2022-2024 Cohort

Name: Justin Trop Specialty: Psychiatry

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: Mental illness profoundly affects our society, from the individual to population levels, and some groups more than others. My interests lie in understanding and working to address social determinants of mental health as well as expanding access to services with an emphasis on equity. Along these lines, in the future, I aim to engage in creative, advocacy-focused community-based participatory research, integration of behavioral health into primary care and other healthcare settings, and development of culturally-optimized programs for mental health service delivery via paraprofessionals and community health workers.  

Name: Cherisse Onuigbo  Specialty: Neurology 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My fascination and interest in health equity and advocacy started in medical school after doing some medical mission trips to other countries. After trying to understand different systems that impact overall access to health, I wanted to apply that to the different systematic inequities in neurology specifically. While there are a lot of research and studies done in stroke, I hope to understand different barriers to specialized care in other subspecialties of neurology and why those inequities exist. 

Name: David Wang  Specialty: Internal Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: As a first-generation immigrant to the United States along with my parents, I witnessed firsthand the intersection between social determinants of health and immigration. My current interests in health equity, advocacy, and policy revolve around the social determinants of health for marginalized patients including refugees, immigrants, and asylum populations. I seek to better understand health disparities and how social determinants of health will lead to poorer outcomes in patients. During my time as an internal medicine resident at Emory, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the social medicine distinction and develop relationships with mentors working on various projects. One project of particular interest to me has been trying to establish a medical-legal partnership (MLP) between Grady and legal clinics in the vicinity to address the most common health-harming legal needs of patients seeking care at Grady Memorial Hospital. The ultimate goal would be to have in-house point-of-care legal help for patients coming to Grady. I look forward learning new skills and knowledge through the HEAP track to advocate for health policies that address social determinants of health systematically to further health equity. 

Name: Jasmine Gentry  Specialty: Emergency Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My current interests are Interpartner violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. The intersection with health equity involves identifying how persons of vulnerable to and affected by this are underserved in emergency departments and how to make care more equitable by addressing the education and training that emergency medicine residents and physicians receive to identify such persons. Additionally, I am interested in how policy on a state and federal level impacts the subsequent course of such persons outside the emergency department. Specifically this is in regards to access to placement in shelters and emergency housing and how advocating at these levels can enable ED physicians with the tools necessary to give well rounded medical and social justice centered care. 

Name: Sagar Mehta  Specialty: Pediatric Emergency Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: Pediatric Emergency Medicine provides a window into the array of conditions that are impacting the pediatric community, and often a first glimpse into glaring health inequities. My interests lie in using these PEM clinical interactions to think about how best to advocate upstream for the health of all children in our larger community. I'm particularly interested in the use of mapping visualizations to better identify drivers of disparities, and to determine how we can work with community partners to alleviate existing health inequities. 

Name: Radhika Agarwal  Specialty: Preventive Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: As a preventive medicine fellow with a family medicine background, my goal is to address health inequities in chronic disease and barriers to healthcare by working in a public health capacity. Specifically, I hope to work to address the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. I hope to use the training in the HEAP program to become a better advocate for communities and to collaborate with other physicians on systemic changes.   

Name: Annie D. M. Rouza  Specialty: Preventive Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My personal experience with Haiti’s cash for service system and my professional experience working with medically underserved populations here in the US have showed me that traditional healthcare delivery alone is not enough to maintain healthy populations. Existing health disparities within many communities threaten health equity, because access to care for minority populations is often limited by factors such as high unemployment rates, lack of education, racial prejudices, and overall mistrust of the medical community. Therefore, I am passionate about social justice in healthcare delivery, along with the impact of social determinants of health on maternal health and chronic disease management in marginalized populations. In the future, I plan to pursue a career addressing health disparities and health equity in marginalized populations. 

Annie Rouza

Name: Abigail Clark  Specialty: Internal Medicine-Psychiatry 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My passion for health equity, advocacy and policy stems from my desire to help some of the most vulnerable patients—those with mental illness. Specifically, I have an interest in improving access to psychiatric care for marginalized populations, including those facing homelessness, financial insecurity and incarceration. Through advocacy and policy work I hope to contribute to the development of more robust mental health infrastructure at both the state and national level. With psychiatric care that is available, consistent and compassionate, I believe that individual and aggregate health outcomes will improve.   

Abigail Clark

Name: Kacie Isaacson  Specialty: Emergency Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My interests in health equity, advocacy, and policy center around medical care for incarcerated patients. I had several formative experiences in medical school that exposed me to the massive inequities they experience when it comes to their health care. Emergency medicine physicians are often the primary source of health care for incarcerated patients as making it to outpatient appointments can be very challenging. I think my career as an ED physician will make me uniquely qualified to do a needs assessment and use what I see to try to change the healthcare system for these vulnerable patients. My goals as a member of this track are to learn how I can better be a physician advocate and gain the skills that will enable me to work towards more equity for this patient population. 

Name: Madison Canning  Specialty: Internal Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: Through my work in primary care, I have appreciated the longevity and resources required to appropriately treat chronic health conditions, both on behalf of the patient and the physician, and have recognized how this patient population is uniquely affected by an array of barriers to healthcare. Through the HEAP program, I plan to advocate for policy changes that ensure legal protection against insurance discrimination for pre-existing conditions and legislation that lowers the burden of rising healthcare costs.  Additionally, my interest in oncology, I plan to investigate methods of equalizing access to clinical trials and cancer screenings, specifically seeking to improve early detection in susceptible populations such as those within the carceral system. With our shared interest in healthcare equity, I am looking forward to working with this motivated group to do our part in the realization of healthcare as a human right.    

Name: Daniel Resnick  Specialty: Internal Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I believe that we must use our privileges as physicians to advocate for a more equitable and just healthcare system, and I am excited to receive dedicated time to learn and perform this work as part of the HEAP track. As part of the track, I hope to form connections with community partners in Atlanta to inform my health advocacy work. One specific project I hope to participate in is connecting Grady’s EHR more directly to community resources and organizations. I also hope to advocate for more humanistic, patient centered care for incarcerated patients brought to Grady and Emory hospitals for care.   

Dan Resnick

Name: Mohamad-Ali Tfaily  Specialty: Transitional

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: As physicians, we observe the relationship between health equity and policy, or the lack thereof, in our daily clinical work at the micro-level. I am eager to learn more about the intricacy of this relationship at the macro-level. I am also interested in the relationship between research and policy, and I look forward to acquiring knowledge on our means of advocacy as physicians and researchers.

Name: Swati Chandhoke  Specialty: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My interest in health equity, advocacy, and policy began while serving with AmeriCorps City Year when I saw my middle school students struggling with access to adequate healthcare. With a desire to become a Pediatrician, I became involved with the AAP and attended Advocacy Day yearly and the AAP Legislative Conference to learn skills to advocate for our most vulnerable patient populations. Throughout my residency at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in The Bronx, NY, I worked with our community to bring awareness to programs to help bridge health inequity gaps and started to perform research in both Social Determinants of Health as well as ECMO. I quickly saw a relationship between healthcare disparities and patients at the extremes of medical illness. As a budding intensivist, my research interest is to combine these two areas to understand how social determinants of health shape access to care, ECMO utilization, and outcomes in the ICU setting. 

Swati Chandhoke

Name: Kunal Doshi  Specialty: Preventive Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My interest in health, equity, advocacy and policy stems from work in global health as an undergraduate and seeing the effect that social determinants can have on the overall health of a community. I am enthusiastic about slowing the progression of climate change and combatting the unequal impact climate change has on lower income communities. Additionally, I'm interested in policy around healthy equity as it pertains chronic disease. I look forward to building relationships with my local community and using my role as a physician to help at both the individual and population level. 

Kunal Doshi

2021-2023 Cohort

Name: Shuai (Shirley) Hao Specialty: Pediatric Endocrinology

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: In the field of medicine we are motivated by making a positive difference in individuals’ lives. However by working at a societal level we have the opportunity to touch the lives of millions. As a pediatric endocrinology fellow, my interests revolve around preventative health and access to care, especially preventing obesity, addressing rising costs of medications, and providing transgender care. My goal is to change health policy by educating politicians about the issues that our patients face every day and connect them to the personal stories of their constituents.

Shuai (Shirley) Hao

Name: Mark Spencer Specialty: Internal Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I became interested in health advocacy and policy after seeing how fundamentally inadequate both our healthcare and social systems are at meeting patients’ basic needs. Both advocacy and policy work provide an avenue to go beyond treating an individual patient to ensure that services such as healthcare are not rationed by one’s ability to pay for them. My interests lie at the intersection of the human rights and public health crises perpetuated by American policing and carceral systems. More specifically, how healthcare workers can aide in offering human centered, preventative focused, and equitably designed alternatives to improve individual and collective health outcomes.

Mark Spencer

Name: Brianna Burlock Specialty: Neurology

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I have a few current interests in health equity, advocacy and policy. One of these interests include patient advocacy through health policy. I would like to eventually hold administrative positions that govern public health operations. I am also excited about understanding the resources available in the community and getting my patients connected to the help they need. Particularly in the field of neurology, this is much needed given the specialized nature of the field. Ultimately, I hope to serve as a bridge for the community to optimal neurology-focused health.

Brianna Burlock

Name: Jerome Leonard Specialty: Pediatrics

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My interests in health equity, advocacy and policy include improving access to care, translational medicine and identification and prevention of new and emerging healthcare challenges in light of climate change and a rapidly developing world. These interests developed over my time serving as a public health volunteer in Peace Corps Mongolia, and during Med school working with community partners in homeless and crisis centers in New Orleans. I am especially excited to work with the fellow HEAP track residents, and local partners here in Atlanta to ensure the solutions we come up with to our current challenges are distributed equitably to all people and not just those most fortunate.

Jerome Leonard

Name: Rachel Lee Specialty: General Surgery

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I am a general surgery resident and am interested in disparities in cancer care and outcomes in underserved patients. I am specifically interested in advocacy and policy to eliminate barriers to screening and surveillance for cancers in which early detection of primary or recurrent cancers allows for surgical intervention and improved survival.

Rachel M. Lee

Name: Haben Debessai Specialty: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My passion for advocacy and policy-making in the healthcare field comes from my desire to improve the health and wellbeing of women form all walks of life. Specific issues I hope to address and work to modify through this work include: the racial gap in maternal morbidity and mortality, adolescent sexual health and education, and reproductive justice. My goal is to improve my own knowledge in these fields and better advocate for my patients in this way. In the future, I plan to work on creating policies and legislation that will promote the health of women in greater Atlanta and Georgia in general.

Haben Debessai

Name: David Lloyd Waldburg VI Specialty: Rheumatology

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interest: I believe access to healthcare should be available to everyone in order to prevent illness as well to treat ongoing chronic conditions. I’ve had a multitude of encounters with various patients from underserved areas during my residency training. I was able to see how low health literacy, financial barriers, and the lack of trust that is present in the healthcare system amongst various cultural communities often leads to poor health related outcomes. The COVID 19 global pandemic further open my eyes to these issues. My overall goal will not only be to educate on how these issues develop, but to create realistic plans to help solve them.

David Lloyd Waldburg VI

Name: Jacqueline Lee  Specialty: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interest: I am pursuing a career in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility given my strong interest in reproductive science and investigation. Despite all of the incredible advances in the treatment and management of infertility, access to these services remains limited.  I would like to be a part of the HEAP track to continue to build on my understanding of the social determinants of health, health equity and policy and address these issues through gained skills in advocacy at the local, state, and national levels with the goal of improving access to fertility services to all patients who need them.

Jacqueline Lee

Name: Haley Mayenkar  Specialty: Psychiatry




Name: Heather Brandt Specialty: Pediatrics Pulmonology



Name: Siri Chirumamilla Specialty: Preventative Medicine

2020 - 2022 Cohort

Name: Christin-Lauren S. Tanksley Specialty: Pulmonary and Critical Care

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: Healthcare experiences and delivery vary across groups of individuals for several different reasons. As a Pulmonary and Critical Care fellow I have experienced the impact of health disparities on the prevention and management of both chronic diseases and acute critical illness. I am particularly interested in outcome differences for common ICU admissions and the disproportionate burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease based on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and healthcare access. I hope to gain better knowledge to advocate for my patients from both an individual and policy perspective; and develop suitable interventions to lessen the burden of disparities in pulmonary and critical care medicine. 

Christin-Lauren S. Tanksley

Name: Jessica Walsh O'Sullivan Specialty: Emergency Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I have several advocacy interests which have motivated me to pursue this track. I believe in preserving women's access to family planning with an emphasis on respecting each patient's wishes. I think it is critical that we protect patients' access to physicians, particularly for patients living in underserved and rural areas to have access to their primary care physician in a timely manner. In this same vein, I actively support efforts to expand GME and to increase the number of residency positions available for primary care training. We can combat the ever-rising cost of health care by re-focusing on preventative care and early interventions. Throughout medical school I advocated for legislation that increased the availability of harm reduction services to patients with substance use disorder. Through my experiences, I learned that it often takes years of advocacy to create policy that grants patients what they need. In the case of harm reduction strategies, we had to change state laws to allow us to give patients what they needed. Policy, whether legal or institutional, is not inherently good. It must be approached by those who recognize areas for improvement and have the energy and voice to implement change, often on behalf of those who have no voice. Physicians are uniquely placed to speak for those who have no one else to stand for them.

Jessica Walsh O'Sullivan

Name: Karyn Korsah, MD Specialty: Psychiatry

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My interest in the track is rooted in my desire to help the most vulnerable, many of whom are suffering from mental illness. As a psychiatry resident, I am interested in increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities. With my interest in child and adolescent psychiatry, I am also passionate about improving access to mental health and counseling services in schools, especially with the rise in school shootings and stress surrounding COVID-19. I hope to transform the knowledge gained from the track’s curriculum into future advocacy and policy-making on an individual and system-wide level.  

Karyn Korsah

Name: Kate Measom



Name: Krisha Desai

Name: Marissa B. Bass Specialty: Pediatrics 

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My specific interests in advocacy and policy are focused on race as a social determinant of health, LGBTQ health, and reproductive justice. I am also interested in addressing the inequities in health access, education, outreach and utilization which disproportionately impact Black, indigenous, and people of color on a policy level. I look forward to collaborating with like-minded people from across the medical spectrum in working to establish systems and structures that will enable more equitable healthcare for my patients and their families. 

Marissa Bass

Name: Mattie Wolf Specialty: Neonatology

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My current interests include understanding the racial and geographic disparities in neonatal health outcomes and infant mortality in the United States. I am currently working on 2 major projects. First, I am examining the racial and geographic disparities in infant mortality due to NEC in the United States. Second, I am examining how maternal neighborhood affects infant mortality rates and how this changes over time. I am excited to address these disparities and advocate for our most vulnerable infants.  

Mattie Wolf

Name: Raha Sadjadi

Name: Ronak D. Ghiya Specialty: Preventive Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I have had the privilege of serving as a Physician Member on the Baylor Scott & White (BSW) Population Health Task Force Committee during my internal medicine residency. We formulated health equity goals for the BSW Health Central Texas region to lower the disease burden of major chronic diseases (e.g., type 2 diabetes and hypertension), and we developed and implemented policies for increasing colorectal cancer screening through non-invasive methods such as fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) kits. I have been an active member of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) in which I served 1) as a delegate to the Patient-Physician Advocacy Committee where we developed policies to counter the opioid epidemic via the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and 2) as a delegate to the Council on Health Promotions on which we advocated for the benefits of both childhood and adult vaccinations. I also participated in the American College of Physicians (ACP) Leadership Services Days on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. where we advocated for legislation to increase federal funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME) in order to generate additional residency positions to subsequently alleviate the nation’s physician shortage. We additionally advocated for legislation to lower the high cost of selected prescription medications (e.g., insulin and novel anticoagulants) for the underserved community.

Ronak Ghiya

Name: Sarah Marie Tweddell

Name: Shavonne M. Collins, MD Specialty: Internal Medicine

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My prior experience as a Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer in Dominican Republic was influential in nourishing my passion to learn about social determinants of health and create sustainable solutions to address them. In addition to continuing to serve in impoverished communities internationally and domestically as a medical student, I chose to learn more about health policies and systems by participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Certificate program. As an Internal Medicine Resident at Emory, I have the privilege to learn from and serve patients who often have complicated social situations and complex medical problems at Grady and through my primary care clinic in the International Medical Center. These experiences, combined with the manifestation of health disparities, I have observed in my own family and community contribute to my current passion to advocate for equitable access to health education and quality health care for persons of color and those of lower socioeconomic statuses. I look forward to learning from colleagues and faculty in the HEAP track about how physicians can create sustainable solutions to address these inequities at health system and policy levels. 

Shavonne Collins

Name: Zarna S. Patel Specialty: Pediatrics

Health Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My current interests in advocacy have been inspired by my experience as an immigrant in this country which compelled me to find my own voice so I could help others in similar situations. I am passionate about creating sustainable systemic change to better impact the lives of my pediatric patients – some of the most vulnerable and voiceless in our community. My specific interests include immigration reform (specifically for undocumented youth), gun safety, adverse childhood experiences/toxic stress, and expanding access to mental healthcare for teens. 

Zarna Patel

2019 - 2021 Cohort

Name: Allison T. Rose Specialty: Pediatrics

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I am a neonatology fellow at Emory University and am invested in achieving the best possible outcomes for both my patients and their families. Specifically I am interested in advocating for legislation and policy that puts children first. I am also interested in parent education so that they can become the ultimate advocates for their children.  

Allison T. Rose

Name: Ashley Williams, MD Specialty: Pediatrics

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My current interests in health equity, advocacy and policy are centered around social determinants of health, access to quality compassionate care for patients of underserved backgrounds, and the implications/outcomes of implicit racial biases on patient care and doctor-patient relationships. I also have interests in adverse childhood experiences, and youth empowerment. Lastly, I have been intricately involved in many initiatives/programs centered around increasing the number of under represented minorities in medicine. I believe it is of great importance that we continue to advocate for our patients, and broaden that focus to empower our patients to advocate for themselves.  

Ashley Williams

Name: Caryn Robertson Specialty: Pediatrics

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: As a pediatric emergency medicine fellow, I see first hand how policies impact children's health and lives. My current interests include improving access to adolescent healthcare and contraception in the pediatric emergency department to decrease teen pregnancy, and advocating for firearm safety in the home to prevent accidental child shootings.


Caryn Robertson

Name: Chioma Erondu Specialty: Gynecology and Obstetrics

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: My experiences during obstetrics and gynecology residency have taught me that maternal health care outcomes involve much more than the actual care provided within the hospital (or clinic) setting. I am specifically interested in health care disparities surrounding pregnancy related morbidity and mortality. I hope to gain more insight into the root causes of these disparities in order to develop population-based solutions.


Chioma Erondu

Name: Suhasini Padhi Chico Specialty: Pediatrics

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: Being born in India and moving to a different city/country every couple of years growing up allowed me early exposure to various determinants of health. I gathered firsthand how healthcare outcomes change based on circumstances - when I was unable to access clean water during a cholera outbreak in my paternal village, and went to receiving free dental care as a visitor in Taiwan within the space of a few months. Currently pursuing my residency in Pediatrics, my interest in applying for the HEAP track stems from a desire to advocate effectively for my patients, who are vulnerable and depend on others to ensure their well being. Working with children has instilled in me the desire to identify barriers to care, and my experiences have given me the drive to work within communities and affect sustainable change, locally as well as globally.

Padhi Chico

Name: Vanessa Elizabeth Van Doren Specialty: Internal Medicine

Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Interests: I am a second-year resident physician in the J. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Program at Emory. Prior to this, I worked in genetics research but decided to broaden my focus when I began to see the ways that research, clinical medicine, and advocacy could be combined in service of the fight for social justice. During medical school, I became deeply involved in advocacy efforts focusing on expanding Medicaid, moving towards a single payer healthcare system, making medications affordable through global access licensing, and fighting discrimination within both the healthcare and medical education systems. I believe that joining together with our colleagues and patients to fight the obvious root causes - unequal access to medical care, worsening income inequality, discrimination - that impact our patients' health and well-being is a core tenet of what it means to be a physician.


Vanessa Elizabeth Van Doren