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Educating health professionals to work toward health equity.

Our Board

Asma Adam, Medical Student

Asma Adam is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul. While in medical school, she has been actively involved with the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), community-based participatory research through the   Program in Health Disparities Research (PHDR), and serves as a mentor for students underrepresented in medicine.  She joined Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity because the mission of the organization aligns with her motivation to pursue a career in medicine – the recognition of and the desire to address the role social determinants of health play in health inequity. She is interested in health equity as it relates to health policy, clinical practice, and medical education.

Email: adam0672@umn.edu

Michael Aylward, MD - President

Dr. Michael Aylward went to Boston College and graduated from New York University School of Medicine.  He completed his internal medicine and pediatric residency training at the University of Minnesota, and was chief resident at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System where he oversaw residents and ran teaching conferences. He currently is the Program Director for the Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency program, and President-Elect of the Medicine-Pediatric Program Directors Association.  He sees patients at the Community University Health Care Center, a safety-net clinic that serves the Phillips Neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Email: president@mdheq.org

Aarti Bhatt, MD 

Dr. Aarti Bhatt is Internal Medicine and Pediatrics trained physician at the University of Minnesota. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants from Kenya and grew up in small town Wisconsin. She attended college at Marquette University, where she was introduced to ideas of social justice and liberation theology. After residency she completed a chief resident year in Global Health doing work in Tanzania and participating in Global health education for medical students and residents. She is an active member of the Social Medicine Consortium and has a particular interest in Narrative Medicine and dismantling systemic racism as a social force which drives health inequity. Currently she is working as a primary care doc in the Community University Health Care Center in Minneapolis.

Email: rtbhatt@gmail.com

Susan Leppke, MPH 

Susan N. Leppke has over 15 years of experience in health care access policy, reimbursement, and stakeholder engagement.  She knows that effective strategies focus on collaboration with a multitude of stakeholders including community partners, policymakers, and patients.  Ms. Leppke’s most recent role was as the Director of Public and Payer Policy at Be The Match where she led and developed strategies focused on improving access to cellular therapies for patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders.  She led the government affairs and policy teams to drive change in the legislative, regulatory, and payer reimbursement settings. By actively serving on a number of boards and projects, Ms. Leppke has been able to leave and drive results that have improved the lives of those in her community.  Ms. Leppke has her Master’s degree in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota.

Email: susan.leppke@gmail.com

Sakina Naqvi, MD

Dr. Sakina Naqvi grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and attended Dow Medical College. Her interest in health outreach stemmed in her childhood when she regularly accompanied her father, also a physician, to rural areas to screen for chronic diseases and subsequently collect baseline data to establish a national registry. She moved to the United States after her medical education and worked at the Chronic Disease Research Group at Hennepin County Medical Center where she was a junior investigator and looked at specific Cardiovascular diseases in End Stage Renal Disease through the lens of Medicare population. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center and was a Chief resident upon completion of her residency. She then pursued a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Minnesota and joined the HealthEast Care System, now M Health Fairview, upon graduation. She currently serves as the Pulmonary Service Line Director at M Health Fairview and is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Recently, she was appointed the Minnesota Department of Health’s point person, in the Vaping Induced Lung Injury in adults. She remains strongly connected to her roots in Pakistan and is currently involved in helping set up a hospital that will focus on renal diseases in conjunction with the Karachi University in Karachi, Pakistan.

Email: Naqvi.sakina@gmail.com

Mark Paller, MD, MS

Dr. Mark Paller is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.  He received a management degree at the University of Wisconsin and his medical degree at Northwestern University, completed an internal medicine residency at Case Western Reserve University and a nephrology fellowship at the University of Colorado. A nephrologist, he joined the faculty in 1982 and served in many roles. Always a clinician and teacher, he focused the first half of his career on research of the cell biology of acute kidney injury and the second half on administration and leadership. He served as Assistant Vice President for Research in the Academic Health Center; Interim Department Head, Senior Associate Dean, and Executive Vice Dean of the Medical School; and Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences.

Email: palle001@umn.edu

Deepti Pandita, MD, FACP, FAMIA

Dr. Pandita trained in Internal Medicine from the University of North Dakota where she was Chief Resident. She subsequently worked in rural Minnesota at the Mahnomen Indian Health Reservation where she got interested in equity in health care and tailoring healthcare for unique populations. Currently she is the Chief Health Information Officer and an Internal Medicine Faculty at Hennepin Healthcare. She is also trained in clinical Informatics and was in the first batch in the USA to be board certified in this Medical Sub specialty. Her interests are driving value in care for Medicaid populations by using technology and process improvement based solution. She is part of the MN e-health committee which is run by the MN department of Health and was a key stakeholder in the taskforce that developed guidelines to develop a foundational HIE (Health Information Exchange) linking all the state residents’ Medical information to drive effective care at a lower cost. She also was part of a team that created a homelessness indicator in the Electronic Medical record which could these patients to local resources.

Email: deepti.pandita@hcmed.org

Cuong Pham, MD - Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

Dr. Cuong Pham is internal medicine and pediatrics trained. He was born in Vietnam and escaped as a refugee at an early age. He was raised in Little Canada, Minnesota and is a proud life-long Golden Gopher from his undergraduate education to residency training. Currently he splits his time doing inpatient medicine at the University of Minnesota and primary care at the Community University Health Care Center.  He is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota and is the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee for Graduate Medical Education. He has a focus on immigrant health and has worked abroad from South Africa to Vietnam. He is a licensed Buprenorphine provider, treating patients with opiate addiction. He is also interested in further understanding the impact of opiates on our marginalized populations.

Email: pham0079@umn.edu

Elizabeth Rogers, MD, MAS - Secretary

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Rogers is an Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota (UMN). She works as a primary care physician at the Community University Health Care Center, a safety-net clinic in Minneapolis. She also conducts research as part of the UMN Program in Health Disparities Research. Her research focuses on improving primary care systems to support patients with social vulnerability and complex chronic diseases, particularly diabetes. She has studied models such as peer coaches and community health workers, and enjoys projects done in collaboration with community and other stakeholders. She has worked with communities domestically and in Central America and Mexico, and served as a board member of Doctors for Global Health for nine years. Beth is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. After finishing her combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency training at the Harvard Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Boston Children’s Hospital program, she completed the Primary Care Research Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Email: docelizabethrogers@gmail.com

Tom Schmidt, MD, MHS 

Tom Schmidt is starting his residency at University of Minnesota in Internal Medicine, with the goal of pursuing a fellowship in Infectious Diseases. Tom is the new Student/Resident board member at MDHEQ. Additionally, he is currently a Twin Cities Medical Society Advocacy Fellow working to improve syringe exchange services in Minnesota.

Having worked in Baltimore conducting HIV/HCV testing before medical school and working  at the syringe exchange within the Red Door Clinic, Tom has become a passionate advocate for harm reduction in the context of infectious diseases. While in medical school, Tom has been actively engaged in advocacy to improve immunization rates in Minnesota, improve Minnesota’s response to the opioid crisis, and harm reduction associated with injection drug use. His advocacy has been within the medical school to change the curriculum regarding pain management and opioids to working with legislators at the State Capitol to pass legislation on opioids. 

Email: schm1619@umn.edu

Paul Strain, Medical Student

Paul Strain is a 4th year Medical Student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Prior to starting his medical education, Paul taught high school biology and physiology to 9th and 10th graders at Fremont High School in Oakland, California. During his time in Oakland he learned about the impacts that racism has on the health and wellbeing of children and communities. While in medical school he served for two terms as a board member on the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics working alongside pediatricians to improve outcomes for all Minnesota kids. Paul partnered with fellow officers of the University of Minnesota Chapter of White Coats for Black Lives to develop an annual Health Equity Week to educate medical student peers about health disparities, social determinants of health, and racism that was absent from the medical school curriculum. Paul is excited to join the board of MDHEQ to apply a health equity lens to policies affecting the health of fellow Minnesotans. 

Email: strai048@umn.edu

Samreen Vora, MD

Dr. Samreen Vora is the Medical Director of Simulation for the Children’s Minnesota Hospital system. Dr. Vora is a Board Certified Emergency Physician who completed her medical degree from Chicago Medical School and her Emergency Medicine Residency at University of Illinois Peoria/OSF St. Francis Medical Center. Dr. Vora has a Masters in Health Care Administration and Management from Rosalind Franklin University. After EM residency, Dr. Vora pursued her passion for simulation by completing a two year fellowship in Simulation and Medical Education incorporating a Masters in Health Professions Education at University of Illinois at Chicago. During this time she worked as an attending physician at multiple Emergency Departments throughout the Chicagoland area. Dr. Vora was part of the Emergency Medicine Simulation Fellowship Curriculum Development Taskforce and worked with a team to publish national curriculum guidelines for EM Simulation Fellowships. Dr. Vora has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on a variety of Simulation and Medical Education topics. Dr. Vora’s current research focuses on the role of implicit bias in Simulation Education as well as the development of Simulation Based Mastery Learning (SBML) curricula for multidisciplinary health care professionals. Most recently, Dr. Vora has partnered with an interdisciplinary team at Children's Minnesota to create an organization-wide curricula to utilize simulation for implicit racial bias mitigation training.

Email: Samreen.Vora@ChildrensMN.org

Matthew Young, MD

Dr. Matt Young is a hospitalist at Hennepin Healthcare. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergraduate studies and medical school. He then completed residency in Internal Medicine at Hennepin Healthcare as well as a chief residency year. During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he held the role of Interim Director of the Division of Hospital Medicine and was a member of the hospital committee to ensure equitable COVID-19 care. He is currently the Program Director of the Transitional Year Residency and Clerkship Director of the HeLIX Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship at Hennepin Healthcare. To those programs, he has incorporated introductory curriculum on Trauma-Informed Care, social determinants of health, implicit bias, racism in healthcare and advocacy. 

Email: matthew.young@hcmed.org


Educating health professionals to work toward health equity


Health Professionals will use their voice, knowledge, and influence to eliminate the inequities that exist in health and healthcare, while working effectively with their patients, health systems, communities, and decision makers to address health equity wherever they live, work, learn, and play.

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