Celebrating Our Differences

A Letter from the director of the UIC Pediatric Residency Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Diversity is something that we celebrate here in the Pediatrics Department at UIC. We all come from different places, have a variety of backgrounds, grew up in different family structures, and have various religious beliefs. We are a heterogeneous group that are a variety of ages, sizes and colors with unique interests, career goals, and life responsibilities. It is our differences that make us stronger as a department and allow us collectively to learn from each other and achieve individual growth.

The key to diversity and inclusion is to first recognize that certain groups in this country have historically been marginalized and disenfranchised. Secondly, it is to give support and opportunities to those who have been affected by the structural violence of our history and are now underrepresented in medicine. Yet at the same time, for us to be successful we must create opportunities for everyone to speak and have open conversations, sharing personal perspectives so that we all can learn from each other and make sure history does not repeat itself.

As defined by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), underrepresented in medicine (URM) means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population. This lens currently includes students who identify as African American and/or Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), Pacific Islander, and mainland Puerto Rican. The definition also refers to students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or identify as LGBTQ.

This year we have a variety of activities and lectures meant to spark conversation, learning and growth!

For more information about our diversity and inclusion programs and activities, please ask us on your interview day!


Kristen Kenan, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Director of the UIC Pediatric Residency Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Taking A Walk In My Shoes Lecture Series

This lecture series embraces the idea that a person does not have to experience something first hand to have empathy and learn from the lives of others. In this series we invite individuals and community organizations to come and share their stories. We listen and open the floor for questions and discussion.

Pediatric Residency Diversity Lunch Pot Luck

Everyone brings a dish and we all eat. This lunch time tradition allows everyone to come together over food and share stories about their families and their culture. No matter if you are from Idaho or Peru we all have a special dish that is dear to our hearts and our stomachs!

Bridging the Gap

Every year the UIC Department of Pediatrics has the opportunity to participate in a symposium called Bridging the Gap – Emerging Health Issues in Underrepresented Minorities. It is an opportunity for everyone – the community, law enforcement officials, educators, physicians, and students – to come together and be part of the solution.

Ditch the Weight & Guns – Englewood 5K

The mission of the walk is to help raise awareness and promote fitness, nutrition, and gun violence prevention in the Greater Englewood Community. Research shows a direct correlation between poverty and both obesity and crime. It is a great opportunity for collaboration between the department of pediatrics and the community we serve.