10.07.21 Leadership

Meet the 2021-2022 Leadership Development Institute Cohort

Each year, the AMA Foundation welcomes a diverse cohort of aspiring physician leaders who are committed to serving the needs of their communities and improving our nation’s health one patient at a time for a year-long program. The Leadership Development Institute offers a unique opportunity to gain individualized insight into the skills needed to foster their careers and the future of medicine. Participants receive professional development opportunities as well as mentoring throughout the course of the program year. We are proud to introduce the 2021-2022 cohort:

Tara Ahmadi, MPH, Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM)

Tara is interested in medical education, advocacy, and research. Her research interest is in health inequities, narrative medicine, and medical ethics. During her first and second year of medical school, Tara was the director of the general clinic at the Sharewood Project, a student-led health education program at TUSM, offering limited health care services to people with limited or no access to health care as well as uninsured. Tara also co-founded the LGBTQIA+ task force with the help of two of her mentors at the Lynn Community Health Center and continues to work with the community to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in health care systems.

Oluwasegun Emenogu, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences

Oluwasegun seeks to pursue a career in Neurology. He is passionate about diversity and inclusion in medical education and health equity. As a student, he helped start a task force in his school to work on ways to incorporate educational material for cultural sensitivity in the preclinical curriculum, as well as creating stronger methods of reporting incidences of racism on campus that protects students. He also currently serves as a Regional Delegate for the Medical Student Section of the AMA.

Jaleesa Harris, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Jaleesa is passionate about health equity and health education.  In 2017, she founded the community project Mystery Organs where she used cadaver organs to teach health-centered science lessons to elementary and high school-aged students on the west side of Chicago.  She was an Albert Schweitzer fellow and has served as co-chair for the Campus Environmental Committee and on the Curriculum Committee at her medical school.

Ernest Morton, MBA, MS, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, MD School of Medicine

Ernest is an aspiring Urologist who is passionate about helping others achieve their dream of becoming a physician. As a first-generation future physician, he knows how difficult it can be to successfully matriculate into medical school and has created an online course and written a book, “A Med Student’s Guide to Getting In” that helps students navigate through their undergraduate years in order to earn acceptance into medical school. He is also actively engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at his own institution, serving on numerous committees and holding leadership positions in organizations focused on supporting students underrepresented in medicine.

Kelsey O’Hagan, New York Medical College

Kelsey is a medical student, pursuing a career in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Throughout her time in medical school she has been heavily involved in student government, organizing volunteer efforts throughout the pandemic, acting as a student member on the school’s strategic planning team, and analyzing student survey responses.


Niki K. Patel, MS, University of Mississippi School of Medicine

Niki is the former Southern Region Chair for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and currently serves as an Ambassador for the American Medical Association. Over the course of her medical school training, she became heavily involved in research and various leadership roles locally and nationally, where she discovered her passion for advocacy and health equity. Her interests stemmed from growing up in rural Mississippi as a first-generation American.

Megan Rescigno, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Megan seeks to pursue a career in Pediatrics, ideally ending up in Pediatric Emergency Medicine or Pediatric Critical Care. Her interests are in pediatric advocacy, substance use education and prevention, and underserved populations. As a medical student, she has served as the district representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is currently on the Nevada Board for the AAP. In addition to advocacy, she has worked with the National Institutes of Health on various projects in the field of Endocrinology and has developed a substance use and addiction curriculum for high school health classes in Washoe County School District.

Kori Porosnicu Rodriguez, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Kori is pursuing a career in Neurology with interest in promoting equitable health care through public health, research, and medical education initiatives. She works as an Osler Apprentice for the Hopkins Neurology Department, which has provided her with the opportunity to help design several virtual electives for medical students. She currently serves as the president of the Hopkins Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN) and was selected for the 2021-2022 American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Diversity Program. She also serves as the National Vice President of External Affairs for the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA).

Ashley Schaefer, MA, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Ashley is excited to pursue a Primary Care-focused medical career with an emphasis on public health advocacy and education. She held the position of President of the Chicago Medical School Class of 2022, where she worked extensively on equitable medical school curricular opportunities and the implementation of peer-to-peer learning clinical models. She has also served as Co-President of the Rosalind Franklin University Chicago Medical School American Medical Association Chapter, where she focused her efforts on community outreach and on-campus advocacy expansion.

Olivia Vennaro, New York Medical College

Olivia aims to provide equitable care and serve her community as a Neurologist. During her time in medical school, she founded the Infectious Disease Interest Group, which spearheaded multiple fundraising activities and provided a lecture series to educate the community. She has also participated in many mentorship organizations and hopes to continue educating and mentoring students in the future.


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