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Mission and Vision


The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Pediatrics (UTHSC DOP) is dedicated to recruiting, training and retaining a diverse body of leaders within pediatrics. To accomplish this goal, our department created the UTHSC DOP Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Our mission is to promote a departmental culture of respect, equity and inclusion for all our trainees regardless of race, ethnicity, country of origin, culture, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy status, physical ability, justice system involved status, and covered veteran status. We believe maintaining a culture of inclusion is a necessary feature of a safe and nurturing learning environment that allows all trainees to thrive and become culturally sensitive physicians and community advocates. In addition, our committee fully supports UTHSC DOP’s commitment to solving children’s health issues and eliminating disparities in our community.


We will act as an advisory board to UTHSC DOP to achieve the following:

  • Develop initiatives and programs to recruit, educate, empower, and retain under-represented individuals in medicine.
  • Provide training opportunities and implement additional courses on cultural humility, cultural sensitivity, social advocacy and health equity for our faculty and trainees. 
  • Develop a confidential and anonymous system for faculty and trainees to report instances of bias, microaggressions, and any other racially or culturally insensitive issues.
  • Enhance mentorship and support resources for under-represented individuals in medicine.
  • Collaborate with other diversity and inclusion groups within the UTHSC system as well as our health partners at Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare System, Regional One Health Medical Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Create community outreach initiatives, including mentorships and other projects, to educate under-represented individuals about healthcare and opportunities in medicine.
  • Foster interest and support research in social and health inequity.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

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LaPrecious Harrold, MD

Dr. Harrold's Bio

Hometown: Memphis, TN 
Undergrad: Howard University (Go Bison!)
Medical School: University of Illinois COM
Residency: Pediatrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Clinical Interests: Hospital Medicine, Quality Improvement 
Personal Interests: I’m a native Memphian who loves to travel, cook, cycle, and spend time with my loved ones.

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Crystal Pourciau, MD

Dr. Pourciau's Bio

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN 
Undergrad: Spelman College
Medical School: University of North Carolina, School of Medicine 
Graduate: MPH, Health Care and Prevention, UNC, School of Public Health 
Internship: Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Residency: Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI
Fellowship: Pediatric Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital
Clinical Interests: General pediatric dermatology, eczematous dermatitis, skin of color, health equity 
Personal Interests: I enjoy sunshine and warm weather as well as spending time with my family and friends.

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Nada Arwa, MD

Dr. Arwa's Bio

Medical School: University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
Residency: Pediatrics, Alexandria University Children’s Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt
Residency: Pediatrics, Nassau University Medical Center (affiliated with Long Island Jewish Hospital), Long Island, NY 
Fellowship: Pediatric Nephrology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH
Clinical Interests: Pediatric Nephrology, neonatal nephrology, and onco-nephrology
Personal Interests: Meditation, cooking, gardening, writing poems and short stories 
Self-Identification: Middle-Eastern, Muslim

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Bindiya Bagga, MD

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Cynthia Cross, MD

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Alexander Feliz, MD

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Karen L. Lakin, MD, MSPH, FAAP

Dr. Lakin's Bio

Medical Director, Le Bonheur CARES
Undergrad: Duke University
Masters: Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill
Medical School: The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University 
Clinical Interests: Parenting and Child Development, Child Torture, Medical Child Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence
Personal Interests: Cooking, Travel

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Adebowale Odulana, MD

Dr. Odulana's Bio

Undergrad: UNC- Chapel Hill
Medical School: UNC- Chapel Hill SOM
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth University
Fellowship: NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship, UNC Chapel Hill
Clinical Interests: Obesity Medicine
Personal Interests: I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family and trying to perfect my oxtails recipe. 

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Alicia Diaz-Thomas, MD, MPH

Dr. Diaz-Thomas's Bio

Undergrad: Tulane University: BA in English and Latin American Literature, cum laude
Medical School: Tulane School of Medicine (MD)
Graduate: Tulane School of Public Health: MPH with concentration in Tropical Medicine
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, Tulane Health Science Center/ Charity Hospital of New Orleans/ VA NOLA (Chief Resident) 
Fellowship: Pediatric Endocrinology, University of South Florida 
Clinical Interests: JEDI in medicine (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion), pediatric endocrinology (differences in sex development, pediatric bone health, disorders of growth and development)
Personal Interests: Reading, learning new things, music and dance

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Austin Dalgo, MD

Dr. Dalgo's Bio

Undergrad: University of Alabama
Medical School: University of Alabama Birmingham SOM
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, UTHSC 
Fellowship: Hospice and Palliative Medicine, UTHSC 
Clinical Interests: Ethics and Global Health
Personal Interests: Bird watching with my son and rock climbing with my daughter

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Claudette Jones Shephard, MD

Dr. Shephard's Bio

Undergrad: Loma Linda University College of Arts & Sciences (now La Sierra University) (Riverside, CA)
Medical School: Loma Linda University (Loma Linda, CA)
Residency: Obstetrics & Gynecology, State University of New York – Brooklyn
Fellowship: Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology, UTHSC
Clinical Interests: Adolescent Gynecology, Pediatric Gynecology, Child Sexual Abuse, Health disparities
Personal Interests: Photography, reading, community service

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Yonique Petgrave, MBBS

Dr. Petgrave's Bio

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Nephrology
Medical School: University of the West Indies Mona, Jamaica
Residency: Pediatrics, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital
Fellowship: Pediatric Nephrology, Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Childrens’ Hospital
Clinical Interests: Onco-nephrology, hypertension
Personal Interests: fitness, cooking

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Kathleen Cao, MD

Dr. Cao's Bio

Hometown: Columbia, SC
University of South Carolina - Columbia
Medical School
: University of South Carolina SOM - Columbia
Residency: UTHSC
Clinical Interests: I am interested in the PICU and am currently applying for an ICU fellowship. I am interested in sepsis and plan to continue sepsis research in fellowship
Personal Interests: Growing/eating spicy hot peppers and hanging out with my English cream golden retriever, Remy

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Meghna Singh, MD

Dr. Singh's Bio

Medical School: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Residency: Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Clinical Interests: Advocacy, Medical Education, and Palliative Care
Personal Interests: My dog Winston and Netflix

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Katharine McNiel, MD

Dr. McNiel's Bio

Medical School: Dell Medical School, Austin, TX
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, UTHSC
Interests: I grew up in Austin, Texas. I am passionate about health equity and social justice in medicine, particularly pertaining to medical weight bias and anti-Black sentiments in medicine. I am excited to continue addressing health disparities in a new community!!

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Nithya Swaminathan, MD

Dr. Swaminathan's Bio

Hometown: Chennai, India
Medical School: Grant Medical College, Mumbai
Residency: Kasturba Medical College, Manipal and Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY
Fellowship: Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of Columbia Presbyterian, NY
Clinical Interests: Congenital heart disease, transthoracic and fetal echocardiograms and enjoy being the Assistant Program Director for cardiology fellowship program
Personal Interests: Singing, dancing, cooking, traveling, social networking, organizing and planning events etc.

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Selamawit Tesema, MD

Dr. Tesema's Bio

Undergrad: UT-Knoxville
Medical School: UTHSC 
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, UTHSC 
Interests: In terms of clinical interests, I like too many fields (the med-peds in me), but I currently am considering a fellowship in Neonatology following residency. My personal hobbies include exercising (outdoor walks, gym work outs) and cooking. 

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Brooke Asemota, MD

Dr. Asemota's Bio

Undergrad: New York University
Masters: Tulane University, UT San Antonio/UTHSCSA
Medical School: Saint Louis University SOM
Residency:  UT Memphis Pediatric Neurology (PGY-4)
Clinical Interests:  Neurocritical Care
Personal Interests: I enjoy Latin dancing and Formula 1. 

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Megan Bivins, MD

Dr. Bivins's Bio

Undergrad: University of Louisville  
Medical School: University of Louisville  
Residency: Pediatrics, Children’s Mercy, Kansas City, KS
Fellowship: Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellow, PGY-5  
Clinical Interests: Quality Improvement, Medical Education, Implicit bias in clinical decision-making

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Vinson James, MD

Dr. James's Bio

Undergrad: Rosary Senior Secondary School, India 
Medical School: St. John’s Medical College, India (2004-2010) 
Post-graduate training: St. John’s Medical College, India (2014-2017) 
Clinical Interests: Onco-nephrology 
Personal Interests: Sports (Table tennis, Cricket, Soccer, Chess)

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Melissa Parkinson, MD

Dr. Parkinson's Bio

Undergrad: Brigham Young University
Graduate School: George Washington University
Medical School: University of Utah
Residency: Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, UTHSC, currently serving as a Chief Resident 
Clinical interests: Infectious disease! I am currently applying for a combined fellowship
Personal Interests: reading, baking, and hiking

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Taqwela Williams, MD

Dr. Williams's Bio

Undergrad: Georgia State University 
Medical School: Morehouse School of Medicine
Clinical Interests: Adolescent Medicine, Outpatient General Pediatrics
Personal Interests: Movies, Plants, Shopping, Styling (Home Decor/Fashion)

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Cari Rayborn, MD

Dr. Rayborn's Bio

Hometown: Magnolia, Mississippi
Undergrad: Tougaloo College 
Medical School: Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Personal Interests: I enjoy outdoor activities and exploring new places with my husband and daughter.

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Lauren (Correa) Shepherd, MD

Dr. Shepherd's Bio

Hometown: San Antonio, TX 
Medical School: UTMB, Galveston, TX 
Residency: Pediatrics, UTHSC (3rd Year)
Interests: I was born in San Antonio, TX (Go Spurs!) and completed medical school at UTMB in Galveston Texas. I’m planning to pursue a general pediatrician position where I would like to serve medically underserved populations. In my free time I love to read, exercise, and eat all kinds of food!

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Raven Anderson, MD

Dr. Anderson's Bio

Undergrad: Loyola University New Orleans
Medical School: LSUHSC-Shreveport SOM
Residency: Pediatrics, UTHSC (PGY-1) 
Clinical Interests: General Pediatrics (outpatient and inpatient)
Personal Interests/hobbies: Big foodie (and wino) and enjoy horseback riding!

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Kim Uchida, MD (pronouns: she/her/hers)

Dr. Uchida's Bio

Undergrad: University of Utah
Medical School: University of Utah
Residency: University of Colorado
Fellowship: Pediatric Critical Care
Clinical Interests: I am a first-year pediatric critical care fellow, interested in oncology-critical care as well as health equity in the ICU.
Person Interests: Skiing, Biking, Hiking, and playing with my corgi puppy, Miso. 

Last Published: Jan 13, 2022