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Departments / Surgery / Residency Training / General Surgery / Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Mission statement:

To educate, enhance, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the surgery workforce. Diversity and cultural competence are essential to achieve our core mission in the University of Cincinnati Department of Surgery, which includes research, residency education, and exceptional patient care.


Professional Development
  1. Implement medical student scholarship for acting internship (**University of Cincinnati College of Medicine COVID restrictions apply).
  2. Financial Support of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS), Society of Asian Academic Surgeons (SAAS), Latino Surgical Society (LSS), and Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) from surgical department.
Training, Education & Recruitment
  1. Upgrade current curricula to include DEI education.
  2. Hold a virtual DEI general surgery forum and second look session for all interested underrepresented surgery applicants.
Staff Development & Support
  1. Develop speaker series with physicians, educators, and/or esteemed lecturers fostering diversity topics applicable to disparities in surgery and/or patient care.
  2. Minority resident mentorship/pipeline program.

Initiatives and accomplishments 2020 to 2021:

  • Establishment of Vice Chair of DEI and committee
  • Statements condemning systemic racism and Asian-American violence
  • Grand Rounds Speaker – Dr. Colin Martin, Opening the discussion on how to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in Surgery, October 2020
  • Cincinnati Research on Education in Surgical Training (CREST) quarterly DEI Journal Club
  • Financial support and sponsorship for equity-seeking surgical societies and resident/faculty participation
  • Adoption of holistic residency application process
    • Extended review criteria for URM resident applicants
    • Implicit bias training mandatory for all resident application readers
    • URM virtual open house and second look events for resident applicants
  • Establishment of Medical Student Summer Research Program/Joseph A. Dattilo Surgical Education Research Award for underrepresented medical students interested in pursuing careers in surgery

DEI committee members:


• Co-chair: Dr. Madison Cuffy

Dr. Madison Cuffy

Hometown and where you grew up:

I was born in Dominica, which is often confused with the Dominican Republic, but is a separate country and located in a different part of the Caribbean. At 1 year and 10 months, a hurricane destroyed the island, and I was separated from my parents. I was sent to Brooklyn, NY where I was raised by my great aunt.

What is something unique about your background?

In high school, I was part of a debate team. As part of a political science class, we entered a national competition called We The People, based on the constitution, where we won the Northeast regionals. As part of this team, I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC for the national championship. Although we lost the national championship and though my high school years are a past memory, I still find debates interesting and could sit for hours listening to arguments on various topics. I find this the most intellectually stimulating, especially on controversial topics.

How did you choose to become a surgeon, and how did you select your surgical specialty?

When I was 14, I volunteered at a local university hospital…I happened to be placed in the sterile processing room in the Operating Room. One day a nurse was looking for an instrument tray for a kidney transplant. She asked me about me what I wanted to do for a career. I told her I was not sure, and she asked me to come to the OR to observe a kidney transplant. When I walked into the room, the transplant surgeon was African American. From watching him operate and being fascinated with his enthusiasm, I embarked on my goal to become a transplant surgeon.

Surgeons are really busy. Why is DEI in surgery and health care a priority for you?

Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I was able to see diversity from a unique perspective. Brooklyn is considered the melting pot of America. I grew up with Russians, Italians, Latin-Americans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, LGBQT, etc and these experiences made me have a diverse view of culture, foods and ideas. When I look at health care in the US, there are many disparities. Some of these disparities exist in surgery, however the reasons why these disparities exist are complicated and unclear. By creating and training a diverse workforce, I believe this is one of the ways we can understand these disparities; address issues within the community and move forward in creating solutions in the health care system to make it more equitable.

• Co-chair: Dr. Lane Frasier

Dr. Lane Frasier

Hometown and where you grew up:

My parents were in the military when I was very young, so we moved around a lot. Eventually we settled in Vulcan, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, which is extremely rural.

What is something unique about your background?

My mother is a nurse and my father is a pilot. My mother worked in many clinical environments and spurred my interest in a job in healthcare. My research interests involve teamwork, communication, and systems of care, and many parallels have been drawn between medicine and aviation. Throughout my training it was interesting hearing my father’s perspectives on simulation, duty hours, and safety systems.

How did you choose to become a surgeon, and how did you select your surgical specialty?

I fell in love with surgery and the operating room during my third-year surgery clerkship, and nothing else came close. I was encouraged by some of the surgeons I worked with, overcoming my doubts that I didn’t have a “surgeon’s personality” and that I could thrive in the field of surgery as a woman. During residency my favorite rotations were trauma and SICU, making a career as a trauma surgeon a no-brainer.

Surgeons are really busy. Why is DEI in surgery and health care a priority for you?

DEI in surgery and healthcare is important for many reasons. First, we want to attract the best and brightest from all backgrounds into surgery. Prioritizing DEI ensures that all students feel welcome on their surgical rotations and can consider themselves as potential future surgeons. Second, Cincinnati has a top-notch general surgery residency. I want surgery applicants to consider our program and know that we have what they need to thrive and succeed. Finally, our patients benefit from a diverse surgical workforce. Emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion benefits the patients under our care.

  • Dr. Latifa Sage Silski
  • Dr. Jaime Lewis
  • Dr. Ayman Mahdy
  • Dr. Nilesh Patil
  • Dr. Elizabeth Shaughnessy

• Resident Lead: Dr. Betzaira G. Childers

Dr. Betzy Childers

Hometown and where you grew up:

I was born in concepcion del oro Zacatecas, Mexico. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two years old, and I spent the next 16 years of my life in Hereford, Texas.

What is something unique about your background?

I attended The University of Texas at Austin on a 100% Track and Field Scholarship competing in 1500m, 5000m, and Cross Country. In 2012, I ran a 5000m Olympic Trials Qualifier. I also represented Team USA in Edinburgh Scotland for International Cross-Country competition the same year. It was all very memorable!

How did you choose to become a surgeon, and how did you select your surgical specialty?

I am a first-generation college student and experienced many difficulties growing up, which shaped my mindset and outlook on life. Through running, I learned to appreciate the influence we can have on outcomes if we care deeply and focus our energy. Surgery is a specialty that allows me to put it all to use. It requires deep focus, discipline, self-control, and the ability to execute a plan. Through surgery, we must become better versions of ourselves to be able to help people in ways not everyone can.

Surgeons are really busy. Why is DEI in surgery and health care a priority for you?

Deliberate implementation and inclusion of DEI is necessary to create an environment where we can best serve and take care of one another. This holds true for the care we can provide our patients who come from all walks of life. I want every patient to be treated with the same kindness, dignity, and respect we would want for our loved ones.

• Research Resident Liaison: Dr. Aaron Delman

Dr. Aaron Delman

Hometown and where you grew up:

I was born and grew up in Toledo, Ohio.

What is something unique about your background?

I never was interested in science classes growing up, and as an undergraduate, I studied literature and history, and somehow managed to end up in medical school.

How did you choose to become a surgeon, and how did you select your surgical specialty?

On my third-year rotation I absolutely fell in love with the field, managing surgical patients, and the operating room. It was the discipline I was most excited to wake up for in the morning and that still rings true today. I feel truly privileged to have this opportunity.

Surgeons are really busy. Why is DEI in surgery and health care a priority for you?

DEI in health care is essential because it allows us to provide the optimal care for our patients, as well as ourselves. Through diverse backgrounds and experiences, we create better, higher functioning teams that can find improved solutions to enhance patient care and the profession as a whole.

  • Dr. Alex Cortez
  • Dr. Leah Winer
  • Dr. Kasi Pulliam
  • Dr. Dennis Vaysburg
  • Dr. Zishaan Farooqui


  1. Minority Housestaff Association
  2. UCCOM Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Jeffrey J. Sussman, MD
General Surgery Residency Director

Jenna M. Lengerich, MHA
General Surgery Residency Coordinator
Phone: 513-558-4206

Debbie Browne
General Surgery Residency Assistant Coordinator
Phone: 513-558-5862

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University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0558

Mail Location: 0558
Education: 513-558-4206