DEI Initiatives

Group photo in masks

The Department of Pediatrics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee established working groups to identify opportunities for improvement in health equity, recruitment, and retention.

The data collected during this process led to the creation of a comprehensive repository detailing ongoing initiatives within the Department of Pediatrics and in partnership with other departments across VUMC. These initiatives encompass education, individual health, population health, quality improvement, social determinants of health, and recruitment and retention processes. Each initiative is an opportunity to get involved and collaborate, aiming to maximize impact in diversity, equity, and inclusion in Pediatrics.

As a department, we are committeed to leading the advancement of patient health equity and supporting the recruitment, retention, and career advancement of individuals who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM), while ensuring a safe and welcoming environment.

Current DEI Initiatives

Please expand the sections below to learn more about our ongoing DEI initiatives.

  • CenterProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    The Center for Child Health PolicyFireflyKim Lovellkim.lovell@vanderbilt.eduFirefly combines prenatal and postpartum care with treatment for opioid use disorder for women facing the dual challenge of pregnancy and recovery in Middle Tennessee. Participation in the program is free.
    Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD))Tennessee Cares Network at Vanderbilt University Medical CenterAmy Weitlauf, Zachary;
    Provide Family Navigation follow-up to newly diagnosed families and train community pediatricians and early interventionists in evidence-based practices to facilitate diagnostic access and post-diagnostic care in rural and medically underserved communities.
    Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD))Early Intervention Caregiver and Provider Support Services (EI CAPSS)Mary Fleck, Kathleen;
    TRIAD's Early Intervention Caregiver and Provider Support Services (EI-CAPSS) aims to improve access to evidence-based services for young children with autism and other developmental delays by providing telehealth-based training and support to 170 caregivers and 75 providers across the state of Tennessee during fiscal year 2021-22.
    Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD))Enhancing Public Health Surveillance of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) NetworkAlison Vehorn, Zachary;
    The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is a program funded by CDC to collect data to better understand the number and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities living in different areas of the United States.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    General PediatricsFlu Vaccine DisparityBarron Pattersonbarron.patterson@vumc.orgThe Health Equity Flu Vaccine program develops strategies to increase flu vaccination rates for African-American patients within our system.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    Critical CareDevelop a DEI Curriculum for PICU FellowshipIsaura Diazisaura.diaz@vumc.orgDevelop a DEI curriculum which will focus on DEI-related journal clubs, training on implicit bias, interpreter use, cultural awareness, etc. for PICU fellowship.
    Hospital MedicineDEI Working GroupDena Ibrahim, Gregory;
    We have developed a year-long curriculum for our Hospital Medicine division members incorporating books, articles, and podcasts to cover various topics related to health equity. There is a focus on a specific topic each quarter.
    NeonatologyNICU Health Equity CommitteeUchenna 
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    CardiologyHome Monitoring for Shunt Dependent Cardiac Lesions Improves Outcomes for Patients in Underserved CommunitiesDavid Parra, Nicole Parada Parra, Jamie;; jamie.n.colombo@vumc.orgThe home monitoring program was implemented in 2020 to increase the surveillance of complex single ventricles during their interstage period after their first palliative surgery. We believe this program has helped decrease morbidity and mortality in this population since its inception. We are looking at the impact of this program related to SDH to determine the outcomes for underserved communities.
    Critical CareImproving Communication with Families on the 10th FloorNicole Parada Parra, Isaura;
    Develop a communication documentation to investigate any disparities that may exist in communication quantity or quality with patients who are limited in English proficiency in the PICU/PCICU.
    Developmental MedicineCan a Novel Telemedicine Tool Reduce Disparities Related to the Identification of Preschool Children with Autism?Zachary Warrenzachary.e.warren@vumc.orgProject will create a new tool for identifying preschoolers with autism via telemedicine. It will be co-designed in partnership with families, providers, and assessment experts to target typically underserved populations at-risk for delayed identification and service.
    Developmental MedicineImproving Screening and Referral Procedures for Children At-Risk for AutismJeff Hinejeffrey.hine@vumc.orgIncreasing ASD screening and referral procedures at 18- and 24-month well-child visits. This project will increase the use of the Level 2 screening tool and Family Navigation for appropriate referrals.
    Developmental MedicineBlack Families' Experiences of Autism Diagnosis: Preliminary Parent Feedback to Inform Culturally Competent CareAmy Weitlaufamy.s.weitlauf@vumc.orgPartnering with Meharry Medical College to solicit feedback from Black and African-American families that will help increase cultural competence and accessibility of autism diagnostic and follow-up care.
    Developmental MedicinePost-ASD Diagnosis PCP Follow-upLaleh Bahramilaleh.bahrami@vumc.orgPrimary goal is to increase the percentage of children recently diagnosed with ASD who follow up with their PCP within a month of receiving the diagnosis. Secondary goal is to increase the percentage of PCPs who complete the eStar-embedded ASD follow-up note template.
    Hospital MedicineAdvocacy Guide for Children at VCHCharlotte Brown, Maya; maya.neeley@vumc.orgVUSM students and VUMC pediatric physicians created a "Pediatric Advocacy Guide '' to advocate for patients. This electronic resource, available via QR code, covers insurance, language barriers, food and housing insecurity, and gender advocacy. Purpose is to assist caregivers with patient/family needs and to provide resources to best support them.
    NeonatologyEvaluation of Discharge Readiness across Race, Ethnicity, and Preferred Language at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) NICUGloria Akuamoah-boateng, Uchenna; uchenna.e.anani@vumc.orgOur primary goal is to develop a parent-driven intervention that is inclusive of the various factors that impact parental discharge readiness and demonstrate how we can use an intervention to potentially improve discharge readiness as well as address and reduce any existing disparity gaps.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    General PediatricsBlack History Tour of NashvilleRosemary Hunterrosemary.j.hunter@vumc.orgA tour of the North Nashville community and Nashville's role in the civil rights movement. It includes stops at HBCUs, Jefferson Street, Hadley Park, and the Woolworth store in Nashville.
    General PediatricsBy Design Documentary Viewing with Advocacy ResidentsRosemary Hunterrosemary.j.hunter@vumc.orgHold a Documentary night with the Social Medicine and Advocacy AC residents to review the "By Design" documentary describing the history of desegregation of Nashville schools
    General PediatricsEducational Seminar on Childhood Poverty for Pediatric ResidentsRosemary Hunterrosemary.j.hunter@vumc.orgA cross-institutional educational seminar on an online platform for pediatric residents on childhood poverty. Sponsored by the Association of Pediatric Program Directors and the Community Health and Advocacy learning community. One of the learning objectives in the curriculum includes developing an understanding of addressing inequities and how they impact child health within the context of poverty.
    General PediatricsSocial Medicine and Advocacy Academic Community Learning SessionsRosemary Hunterrosemary.j.hunter@vumc.orgWe will hold learning sessions within the context of the Advocacy Academic Community that include a review of health literacy, refugee and immigrant health, homelessness, and health equity. As part of these sessions, we will include community groups who work with disadvantaged populations. 
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    Developmental MedicineASD-PEDS-PC: Stakeholder Refinement and Implementation Planning for a Novel Tool to Identify ASD in Primary CareLiliana Wagnerliliana.wagner@vumc.orgRefining, deploying, and evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and accuracy of a novel tool (the ASD-PEDS-PC) explicitly developed to support enhanced screening and rapid ASD diagnostic triage in primary care. The ASD-PEDS-PC supports non-specialist providers in rapid diagnostic decision-making for young patients with clear phenotypic profiles of ASD.
    Developmental MedicineIdentifying barriers and facilitators to ASD tele-assessment to reduce disparities in careLiliana Wagnerliliana.wagner@vumc.orgThe project will utilize established implementation science frameworks to develop implementation strategies to help identify and mitigate barriers to ASD tele-assessment within underserved communities.
    Infectious DiseasesTele-stewardship for rural pediatric primary care: A quality improvement projectSophie Katz, Matthew;
    Tele-stewardship enables implementation of antimicrobial stewardship activities remotely via telecommunication with local providers and has shown favorable impact on antibiotic prescribing and patient outcomes. We have begun tele-stewardship with our pediatric primary care practices in Smyrna, Lebanon and Tullahoma and with emergency departments at Wilson County, Bedford County and Tullahoma-Harton Hospitals.
    Infectious DiseasesIncreasing access to pediatric subspecialty care using telemedicine and provider education for underserved rural and minority populations in Tennessee Sophie Katz, Ritu Banerjee, Kris Rehm, Cumberland Pediatric;; kris.rehm@vumc.orgThe long-term goal of this project is to define approaches to improve access for underserved and vulnerable children to Pediatric Infectious Diseases expert care for evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of infections.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    General PediatricsAnti-Racism TaskforceJill Steigelfest, Adriana;
    Invite representatives from organizations to speak on anti-racism for skills to apply in-clinic. Invite speakers during 3-4 heritage months calendar for a 15-20-minute presentation during division meetings to promote education through an anti-racism lens to improve the care in our primary care setting.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)Project Lead Email(s)Project Description
    Emergency MedicineImagination Library QI Initiative in the Pediatric Emergency RoomAbby Fahnestockabby.fahnestock@vumc.orgThe global aim of our project is to increase access to books for our pediatric patients. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is an organization that sends patients <5 years old free books monthly. We are performing interventions to enroll non-critical patients in our emergency room into Imagination Library so that they can receive free books at home.
    General PediatricsWIC Referral ProcessRosemary Hunterrosemary.j.hunter@vumc.orgBy Dec. 2023, we will firmly establish the WIC referral process in the Vanderbilt Primary care clinic.  The integration of a food resource connection into our clinic processes will improve WIC enrollment, and participation for our WIC - eligible patients. The referral cohort will be followed for at least one year after referral to assess outcome of enrollment and participation in the WIC program
    Hospital MedicineAutomated and Anonymous Food Resource ConnectionCristin Fritzcristin.fritz@vumc.orgPiloting a texting platform that will automatically provide food resources to families that screen positive for Food Insecurity through a text that includes a database search tailored to their home ZIP code and specific food resource information.
    Hospital MedicineInpatient Food Insecurity ScreeningCristin Fritzcristin.fritz@vumc.orgWe are screening all patients admitted to PHM teams on the 7th floor for Food Insecurity using the two hunger vital signs and using QI methodology to understand and improve our process.
    Hospital MedicineOnsite Food Resource NavigationCristin Fritzcristin.fritz@vumc.orgWorking to developing an onsite resource navigation center located within the Family Resource Center at Monroe Carell and staffed by trained, volunteer student navigators with oversight from an inpatient resource specialist. The center will provide individualized, hands-on assistance for families with FI identified during their admission who desire resources and serve as a distribution point for ready-to-eat frozen meals provided by community partners.
  • DivisionProject NameProject Lead(s)
    CardiologyEquitable Interviewing - Fellowship Applications Adriana Bialostozky, Ellen Dees
    Emergency MedicineUsing a QR Code to Connect Families to Food Resources - A Novel Tool for Addressing Food Insecurity in the Pediatric Emergency Department  Britta Roach
    General PediatricsFamily Center SeminarsRosemary Hunter
    General PediatricsThe Mobile Flu FighterElizabeth Williams
    NephrologyRapid Progression of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis in Patients with High-Risk APOl1 Genotypes Tray Hunley
    PsychologyNeighborhood-level Factors Associated with Diabetes Outcomes Tayler Mackie, Sarah Jaser
    The Center for Child Health PolicyVanderbilt Child Health PollTamarra McElroy