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Pediatric Residency Program Diversity and Inclusion
Pediatric Residency Program Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement

Children’s Mercy Pediatric Residency Program is committed to recruiting and training a diverse group of pediatric residents.  We seek to provide high quality clinical care by creating a workforce that reflects the diversity of patients we serve.  

We embrace diversity in all its forms, including race, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. We strive to create an inclusive community where all feel welcome and supported.

Our goals:

  • To increase the number of CMH residents from underrepresented minority groups.
  • To provide support and mentorship to underrepresented minority residents in becoming outstanding pediatricians

Underrepresented Minority Recruitment

We strongly encourage qualified applications from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine.  During your interview day at Children’s Mercy you will meet with a member of our URM leadership team for coffee to discuss our diversity efforts and mentorship opportunities throughout your residency.

Children's Mercy Office of Equity and Diversity

Selected Under-Represented Minority Faculty Biographies

Milton A. Fowler
Senior Medical Director, Outreach and Regional Practices; Associate Division Director; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
 Dr. Fowler is the Senior Medical Director of Outreach and Regional Practices. He also serves as the Associate Division Director of the Emergency Department at Children’s Mercy Kansas. Dr. Fowler leads the clinical outreach efforts as Senior Medical Director for Outreach and Regional Practices. He plays an integral role in growing relationships in the region, supporting and advocating for the physicians in our regional centers, assessing areas for growth or improvement, and delivering the message to all regional providers that Children’s Mercy is a good faith partner.

Email: mfowler@cmh.edu

Bridgette L. Jones
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Dr. Jones joined the faculty in 2011 with combined appointments in Allergy/Immunology and Clinical Pharmacology where she participates in teaching, research, and clinical services . She is the Assistant Program Director for the Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology fellowship program. Her research focus is discrimination of asthma phenotypes in guiding therapeutic treatment for asthma/allergic disease.

Email: bljones@cmh.edu

Tamorah R. Lewis
Neonatologist; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
 Dr. Lewis joined the faculty in 2013 with combined appointments in Neonatology and Clinical Pharmacology. She is an attending in the Children’s Mercy NICU where she teaches many of the third year pediatric residents. Her research involves neonatal pharmacology and neonatal clinical trials.

Email: trlewis@cmh.edu

Felix A. Okah
Neonatologist; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
 Dr. Okah has been on the Neonatology faculty since 2002. In addition to his clinical responsibilities in the NICU, he serves as an Assistant Dean at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. His research focuses on perinatal epidemiology using existing databases, especially fetal/neonatal outcomes associated with the health behaviors of pregnant women.

Email: faokah@cmh.edu

 Dr. Tolbert joined the faculty in 2015 with combined appointments in Hematology/Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology. She is an attending on the inpatient service and also teaches residents in the outpatient clinics. She is the Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program which involves Phase I/II drug studies in Heme/Onc patients. Her research focuses on precision therapeutics in pediatric cancer.

Email: jtolbert1@cmh.edu

Select Trainee Biographies


Vickie Blanco, MD

Vickie Blanco, MD – Dr. Vickie Blanco started her pediatric residency in 2016 and is a participant in the Global Health track and CHICOS clinic. She was born in Argentina and grew up in a bilingual home, which has helped her become certified as a Spanish speaking provider. She attended medical school at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. She would like to pursue a career in Academic Medicine and is currently deciding between general pediatrics and subspecializing in infectious diseases or pediatric hospital medicine. Furthermore, she hopes to incorporate her Spanish speaking skills in her future career by caring for the Hispanic community.

Email: mblanco@cmh.edu

Chakawa Schweitzer

Ayanda Chakawa, MS  Ayanda Chakawa, MS started her Clinical Child Psychology Internship at Children’s Mercy in 2017. She will graduate in August 2018 from Auburn University with her PhD in Clinical Psychology and is currently applying for postdoctoral fellowship. Her clinical and research interests include cultural competence in mental health treatment, clinical assessment, and program development and community-based interventions to address barriers to mental health access and treatment seeking. 

Email: achakawa@cmh.edu

Jean Cuevas

July Jean Cuevas, MD – Dr. Jean Cuevas is a fellow in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics who will start as a faculty for the Developmental-Behavioral Sciences department in July 2018. She finished Pediatric Residency in New York in 2015 and completed medical school in the Dominican Republic. Her current interests include mental health in minorities, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.

Email: jkjeancuevas@cmh.edu


Jamesia Durden, MD – Dr. Jamesia Durden started her Med/Peds residency in 2014 and is applying to Neonatology fellowship. She is mentored by Dr. Lewis and has worked on multiple neonatal research projects during her residency. She attended medical school at Meharry Medical College.

Email: jddurden@cmh.edu
Danielle Gonzales Danielle Gonzales, MD – Dr. Gonzales started her Pediatric Residency in 2016, her career plans include Neonatology Fellowship and Academic Medicine.  Since starting residency, she has been elected by her peers to the Housestaff Council and Graduate Medical Education Committee.  She is also a participant in several other committees including, NICU Code Blue Committee, Recruitment Committee and the Resident and Medical Student Education Committees.  She is a participant in the Global Health track and she is involved in Neonatology research.  She and a co-resident were recent recipients of a CATCH grant for a project aimed at increasing children’s daily intake of healthy produce.  She attended medical school at the University of Colorado.

Email: dgonzales@cmh.edu

 McNeill April April McNeill, MD – Dr. April McNeill joined our Categorical Pediatrics Residency in 2016 and is a participant in the Advocacy Track. She is currently initiating her Advocacy Project on improving access to sexual & reproductive health for Kansas City teens. She attended medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Her career plans include Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship and Academic Medicine.

Email: amcneill@cmh.edu

Richard Sola Jr. Richard Sola Jr., MD – Dr. Sola is a board-certified general surgeon who completed our Surgical Scholar Fellowship this past year and is our current Surgical Critical Care Fellow. He plans to apply for the Pediatric Surgery fellowship this spring.  He graduated from Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, PR and completed his general surgery training at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

Email: rsola@cmh.edu

Employee Resource Groups

  • LGBTQ Employee Resource Group
  • African-American Employee Resource Group

Both groups were launched in 2017 with the ultimate goal of:

  • Fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with Children’s Mercy's organizational mission, vision, values, and goals
  • Harnessing the talents and engaging the productive energy of our employees 
  • Providing opportunities for professional growth and development 

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