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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

The Department of Pediatrics has an Antiracism and Black Thriving initiative along with its Gender Diversity program as part of its broader Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative.

See DEI Resources »


Behnoosh Afghani, MD

Health Disparities and Improving Diversity in Healthcare Force

Dr. Behnoosh Afghani, Clinical Professor has been actively involved in promoting diversity in health care and research by creating a variety of pipeline programs. She has raised awareness of students about health disparities by getting them involved in educational and research projects focused on health inequities. More recently she has been involved at the national level to develop strategies that address gender and ethnic disparities in the workplace.


  1. As the director of the Health and Science Enrichment Programs from 2010 to 2019, Dr. Afghani was very active in creating a pipeline program with a focus on stimulating the interest of women and minority groups in medicine. Her work was published in an article in Academic Medicine Journal in 2013: Afghani B, Santos R, Angulo M, Muratori W. A Novel Enrichment Program Using Cascading Mentorship to Increase Diversity in the Health Care Professions. Acad Med 88(9), 1232-8.
  2. Dr. Afghani has stimulated the interest of numerous students in healthcare through research programs. The results of her work on creating a diverse pipeline were recently accepted for presentation at the national American Academy of Pediatrics in October of 2020: “A Novel Pipeline Program: A Path towards Diversity and Eliminating Health Disparities”
  3. For the past 10 years, Dr. Afghani has held numerous workshops for premedical, medical students, and residents on raising the importance of cultural competency, health disparities, and implicit bias.


  1. As the creator and director of the Online Research Program, she has raised awareness of numerous premedical and medical students about health disparities by getting them involved in research focusing on scholarly projects, such as disparities in the care of patients with asthma, diabetic retinopathy, and telehealth, as well as implicit bias, faced minority and underserved populations.
  2. More recently, as the director of the UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Service, Teaching, Advocacy and Research (STAR) Program founded by Dr. Candice Taylor Lucas, Dr. Behnoosh Afghani provides support for pediatric residents who are passionate about promoting health equity by facilitating research projects that address regional health disparities for children and families in Orange County and/or the city of Long Beach. (Funding support: Physicians for a Healthy California, CalMedForce GME Grant)
  3. Dr. Afghani is the principal investigator for a research project to study the “Barriers to Childhood Vaccinations during COVID-19 with a Focus on Health Disparities”.

National Level Involvement:

Dr. Afghani was elected to the AAP Section on Hospitalist Medicine, Women in Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine Committee in July 2020. As part of this committee, her goal is to promote gender equity by examining workplace challenges faced by women from different ethnic groups. She will work with national leaders to develop strategies to address these disparities.

Candice Taylor Lucas, MD, MPH, FAAP

  • Art of Doctoring Course (led by Dr. Johanna Shapiro) - Sessions focus on the perspectives of UIM physicians and patients from minority and low-income communities in the field of medicine and health care. Lectures also often include panelists who self-identify as Black and who share their personal and professional narratives with fourth-year medical students. Course content also includes a lecture addressing the definitions of health equity and cases created by Dr. Charles Vega that prompt "what would you do?" considerations of observed incidents of bias directed towards patients or providers.
  • Patient and Community Engagement Clerkship formerly Patient-Centered Clerkship (led by Dr. Bobby Sasson) - Diversity Lecture - This lecture reviews the pillars of racism as defined by Dr. Camara Jones' a Gardener's Tale, introduces opportunities to reflect on provider narratives and also potentially being a provider who is judged or targeted as a result of their appearance.  
  • Clinical Foundations (CF) Curriculum (led by Dr. Alisa Wray) - Faculty are currently partnering with LEAD-ABC and PRIME-LC student scholars and faculty to develop and incorporate a cultural humility thread and curriculum content on anti-Black racism. Examples of planned content for this year include incorporation of Bafa Bafa into orientation for the entire School of Medicine, recruitment of Black standardized patients for clinical encounters during CF, and focused content about Orange County Black communities incorporating a video championed by second-year LEAD-ABC scholars that highlights the narratives of Black people living in Orange County. 
  • Examples of student-led electives and service groups hosted events this year addressing Black experiences in medicine (note: these examples exclude the annual Pre-Health conference and other outreach and service projects championed and led by medical students)
    • Social Justice Elective annually partners with SNMA to hold a lecture pertinent to Black Health issues. This event was co-sponsored with LEAD-ABC during the 2019-2020 academic year 
    • eQuality Student Group
      • Hosted a seminar on the topic of Black Transgender Lives Matter that was co-sponsored by LEAD-ABC
    • Student National Medical Association 
      • Hosted a 2020 Summer Bookclub (Books recommended by faculty in UCI Department of African-American studies)
  • Leadership Education to Advance Diversity - African, Black and Caribbean Communities (LEAD-ABC) - (Co-Directors: Dr. Carol Major, and Dr. Candice Taylor Lucas; Program Coordinator: Andrea Gonzalez; Founders: Dr. Carol Major, Dr. Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, Kaosoluchi Enendu, MS4; Faculty Advisors: Dr. Terrance Mayes, Dr. Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, and Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard) please see attached document with accomplishments and a planned diagram for curricular growth
    • The program began in 2019
      • Initial cohort (2019-2020 academic year) - 4 first-year medical students, 3 second-year medical students, and 2 third-year medical students with demonstrated interest and passion to address the health needs of ABC communities
      • Notable growth in the current cohort (2020-2021 academic year) - 10 first-year medical students, 4 second-year medical students, 4 third-year medical students, and 3 fourth-year medical students
    • Stand Against Racism advocacy campaign (June 2020) - about 2,000 signatures obtained
    • LEAD-ABC Family Meeting (June 2020)
    • LEAD-ABC Orientation (August 3-4, 2020) - The second day of orientation was led by Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard and diverse faculty partners were engaged from the UCI Department of Humanities, UCI School of Law, and Clare Trevor School of the Arts, and scholars from all years joined the incoming intern class virtually.
      • Focal film watched: Until the Well Runs Dry: Medicine and the Exploitation of Black Bodies (2011), directed by Shawn Utsey
      • Focal narrative watched: John Lewis' Last Words, as read by Morgan Freeman
    • Resource Center Director Award from the UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence Confronting Extremism Grant: Advancing Equity in the Age of COVID-19
  • UC Irvine Health wide support and participation in advocacy event led by White Coats for Black Lives in June 2020
  • Open Medical School in October 2019 and February 2020 (led by Dr. Terrance Mayes and Dr. Ursula Worsham)
  • Resident Fellows and Scholars Academy (led by Dr. Charles Vega)

 Autumn S. Ivy, MD, Ph.D.

Black in STEM: How to Mentor Black Students in Biomedical Sciences

UCI-CHOC Pediatric Residency Program

  • Pediatric resident-led initiative to support the distribution of anti-racism books through the Reach Out and Read program in UCI, CHOC, and Miller's pediatric clinics
  • UCI-CHOC Program for Inclusion Diversity and Equity (PrIDE) bi-monthly noon conferences initiated in February 2020. Topics to date have included -
  • Health Equity, Racism & Health, and Transgender History and Health.
  • PrIDE Diversity Dinner
  • Evening dinner led by me that was held in January 2019 at the home of Dr. Kukreja (CHOC Neonatologist) with 8 students who shared their personal cultural narratives
  • Recipient of Association of Pediatric Program Directors Special Project's Grant for the Promoting Med-Ed Insight into Supportive Environments (ProMISE) Qualitative Study to explore UIM pediatric residents' perspectives about resources and environments that foster professional identity formation and belonging
  • Partner in the Family Medicine Health Equity Series (led by Dr. John Billimek and Dr. Cynthia Haq)
  • AAP-Orange County Chapter Anti-Racism Task Force (Led by Dr. Katherine Williamson: Members, Dr. Ajanta Naidu and Dr. Candice Taylor Lucas)
  • Inaugural UCI SOM GME Open House event in May 2020 (Led by Dr. Deena McRae and Dr. Terrance Mayes)
  • Residency program leaders and residents from Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Ob-Gyn, Anesthesia, Plastic Surgery, and other specialties represent on panels, support mock-interviews and other Q&A sessions for medical students with interest in applying to UCI for residency (next GME Open House event is scheduled for August 22nd, 2020 and will be virtual)