DEI Initiatives

Group photo in masks

The Department of Pediatrics Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee organized working groups charged with identifying opportunities for change in health equity, recruitment, and retention.

Data gathered during this process led to the formation of a repository detailing ongoing initiatives within the Department of Pediatrics and in partnership with other departments across VUMC. Initiatives related to education, individual health, population health, patient experience, social determinants of health, and recruitment and retention processes are listed below. Each initiative is an opportunity to get involved and collaborate to maximize impact in diversity, equity, and inclusion in Pediatrics.

As a department, we strive to lead in advancing patient health equity and support recruitment, retention, and career advancement for those who are Under-represented 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.

  • Center Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    The Center for Child Health Policy Firefly Kim Lovell Firefly 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 Center Amy Weitlauf, Zachary Warren;
    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 Simcoe;
    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) Network Alison Vehorn, Zachary Warren;
    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.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    General Pediatrics Flu Vaccine Disparity Barron Patterson The Health Equity Flu Vaccine program develops strategies to increase flu vaccination rates for African-American patients within our system.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    Critical Care Develop a DEI Curriculum for PICU Fellowship Isaura Diaz Develop a DEI curriculum which will focus on DEI-related journal clubs, training on implicit bias, interpreter use, cultural awareness, etc. for PICU fellowship.
    Hospital Medicine DEI Working Group Dena Ibrahim, Gregory Plemmons;
    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.
    Neonatology NICU Health Equity Committee Uchenna Anani  
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    Cardiology Home Monitoring for Shunt Dependent Cardiac Lesions Improves Outcomes for Patients in Underserved Communities David Parra, Nicole Parada Parra, Jamie Colombo;; The 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 Care Improving Communication with Families on the 10th Floor Nicole Parada Parra, Isaura Diaz;
    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 Medicine Can a Novel Telemedicine Tool Reduce Disparities Related to the Identification of Preschool Children with Autism? Zachary Warren Project 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 Medicine Improving Screening and Referral Procedures for Children At-Risk for Autism Jeff Hine Increasing 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 Medicine Black Families' Experiences of Autism Diagnosis: Preliminary Parent Feedback to Inform Culturally Competent Care Amy Weitlauf Partnering 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 Medicine Post-ASD Diagnosis PCP Follow-up Laleh Bahrami Primary 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 Medicine Advocacy Guide for Children at VCH Charlotte Brown, Maya Neeley; VUSM 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.
    Neonatology Evaluation of Discharge Readiness across Race, Ethnicity, and Preferred Language at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) NICU Gloria Akuamoah-boateng, Uchenna Anani; Our 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.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    General Pediatrics Black History Tour of Nashville Rosemary Hunter A 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 Pediatrics By Design Documentary Viewing with Advocacy Residents Rosemary Hunter Hold 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 Pediatrics Educational Seminar on Childhood Poverty for Pediatric Residents Rosemary Hunter A 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 Pediatrics Social Medicine and Advocacy Academic Community Learning Sessions Rosemary Hunter We 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. 
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    Developmental Medicine ASD-PEDS-PC: Stakeholder Refinement and Implementation Planning for a Novel Tool to Identify ASD in Primary Care Liliana Wagner Refining, 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 Medicine Identifying barriers and facilitators to ASD tele-assessment to reduce disparities in care Liliana Wagner The 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 Diseases Tele-stewardship for rural pediatric primary care: A quality improvement project Sophie Katz, Matthew Peworchik;
    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 Diseases Increasing 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 Foundation;; The 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.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    General Pediatrics Anti-Racism Taskforce Jill Steigelfest, Adriana Bialostozky;
    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.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s) Project Lead Email(s) Project Description
    Emergency Medicine Imagination Library QI Initiative in the Pediatric Emergency Room Abby Fahnestock The 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 Pediatrics WIC Referral Process Rosemary Hunter By 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 Medicine Automated and Anonymous Food Resource Connection Cristin Fritz Piloting 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 Medicine Inpatient Food Insecurity Screening Cristin Fritz We 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 Medicine Onsite Food Resource Navigation Cristin Fritz Working 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.
  • Division Project Name Project Lead(s)
    Cardiology Equitable Interviewing - Fellowship Applications  Adriana Bialostozky, Ellen Dees
    Emergency Medicine Using a QR Code to Connect Families to Food Resources - A Novel Tool for Addressing Food Insecurity in the Pediatric Emergency Department   Britta Roach
    General Pediatrics Family Center Seminars Rosemary Hunter
    General Pediatrics The Mobile Flu Fighter Elizabeth Williams
    Nephrology Rapid Progression of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis in Patients with High-Risk APOl1 Genotypes  Tray Hunley
    Psychology Neighborhood-level Factors Associated with Diabetes Outcomes  Tayler Mackie, Sarah Jaser
    The Center for Child Health Policy Vanderbilt Child Health Poll Tamarra McElroy