Fellowship awardees Ariel Engelman, Jalisa Kelly, Brienne Ryan, Farzana Ali, and Michelle Dick.

Fellowship awardees Ariel Engelman, Jalisa Kelly, Brienne Ryan, Farzana Ali, and Michelle Dick. 

Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship

This opportunity is offered to candidates accepted into the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences whose individual life experiences and perspectives will enhance inclusion in our community.

Guided by strong evidence that a diversity of perspectives and experiences provide richer solutions to the complex challenges of academic medicine, motivated by UB’s commitment to be fully inclusive and supportive of all students, and dedicated to the belief that a diverse medical student body enhances the quality of the educational experience for all students and ultimately improves health care in the global community, we seek applicants with:

  • Unique circumstances, skills or talents that will enhance the diversity of the medical school's scholarly community
  • A deep commitment to a spirit of inclusiveness
  • A dedication to working with others to address issues such as overcoming healthcare disparities, outreach to underserved populations and social equity and justice

Awardee will become a member of a committee of the Council on Inclusion in Medicine and Science.

Application Closed

We are not accepting applications for the Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship at the moment.

Details for the 2021 application will be posted as they are made available.

Award Amount

$5,000 annual tuition allowance for four years; $20,000 total




Awardees will be notified at a time to be determined.

Past Recipients

  • Andrea Alfonsi, MD '24 (2020)
  • Santa Anigo, MD '23 (2019)
  • Kiana Saade, MD '22 (2018)
  • Jalisa Kelly, MD '21 (2017)
  • Farzana Ali, MD '20 (2016)
  • Brienne Ryan, MD '19 (2015)
  • Ariel Engelman, MD '18 (2014)
  • Michelle Dick, MD '17 (2013)

Generously supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Office of Inclusion and Cultural Enhancement funds. 

Profiles of Past Award Recipients


Andrea Alfonsi.

Andrea Alfonsi, MD '24

As Andrea begins medical school, she is looking forward to continuing her work with underrepresented populations by engaging and supporting refugee and underserved communities in Buffalo and Western New York.  Andrea has extensive experience working with underserved populations. Specifically, she has examined social determinants of health among Venezuelans related to the sociopolitical events that have occurred in their recent history. These events have contributed to poor mental health outcomes for the overall Venezuelan population and other particularly vulnerable sub-populations. Andrea is keen to push for the further inclusion and success of displaced health professionals who look to establish themselves as credible experts in their new homes.


Santa Anigo, MD '23

Santa’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion is evident by her continuous support for individuals facing health disparities. In particular, Santa has worked with individuals afflicted by chronic substance abuse, in addition to working with many others facing homelessness, incarceration and deportation. Santa is passionate about forming and organizing grass roots communities to maximize wellbeing and minimize the consequences of health disparities experienced by people in these communities.


Kiana Saade, MD '22

Kiana’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion is a passion reflected in her commitments to mentoring undergraduate trainees, and to helping the refugee community, particularly the children. This is Kiana’s way to give back as at the age of 10 she was also displaced from her native home of Lebanon during war times. Kiana has returned to Lebanon as a volunteer with the international organization Caritas to provide health care to children displaced by the Syrian war.


Jalisa Kelly, MD '21

A native of Niagara Falls, her commitment to diversity has been apparent throughout the years in her pursuits, whether it be in her encounters with different patients from various backgrounds or her involvement on campus. She has shown to be very open-minded and has a level of understanding and empathy that often goes lacking in much of the medical world. She is an active volunteer in her community where she assists in various community health fairs, educating minority communities about the risks of diabetes and heart disease. In her personal statement, she declared that she wants to be “a voice for all those who are underrepresented, and the hope for minority communities that medicine is evolving, that it is a profession that is becoming just as colorful and diverse as our nation.” 


Farzana Ali, MD ‘20

She has overcome great adversity since her family emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh. She is fluent in five languages, has achieved outstanding success in scholarly pursuits, and seeks to inspire others to overcome their own struggles. She actively participates in projects designed to enhance the knowledge of health profession students and individuals with disabilities regarding spinal cord injury and disability experience, and has worked to educate diverse populations about disability rights and accommodations.


Brienne Ryan, MD '19

She faced and overcame great adversity in her home and family life growing up due to poverty and the ripple effects of mental illness. She has a unique perspective on community-based medicine concerning individuals from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and the social dynamics that influence an individual’s access and willingness to pursue adequate healthcare. 


Ariel Engelman, MD '18

Through her work in rural areas, she saw first-hand how socioeconomic factors play into health care, affecting both access to care as well as patient and family interactions with the system. Through a public health program she co-founded, she has already worked to prevent drug overdose and help save lives. 


Michelle Dick, MD '17

Throughout her life, she has pursued opportunities to educate others about diversity, using her multiethnic background and a birth defect as teaching tools. Her experiences and personal identity quest have enriched her life and provided her the skills to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds.


Applicants for the fellowship must be accepted as first-year students of UB's medical school. Applicants who have received other scholarships from the Office of Admissions are not eligible.

Application Process

To apply, e-mail the following as a single PDF document to smbs-inclusion@buffalo.edu

  • Your current CV or resume
  •  A personal statement no longer than 2 typed, single-spaced pages that addresses:

What significant or unusual social, cultural, economic or other barriers have you overcome in pursuit of your education? Please provide details as to the insights, perspectives and/or skills you gained. How will your personal circumstances, experiences and beliefs contribute to an inclusive scholarly community? What do you hope to accomplish in your medical career in terms of community outreach and dealing with health disparities?

Request the following be sent on your behalf to smbs-inclusion@buffalo.edu

  • Two letters of endorsement from former professors, supervisors or colleagues who could effectively support your application. Letters are to be submitted by their authors, not by the applicant.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the fellowship, please e-mail smbs-inclusion@buffalo.edu or call (716) 829-4345.

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Dubocovich, Margarita

Margarita Dubocovich, PhD

SUNY Distinguished Professor; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

955 Main Street Buffalo, NY 14203-1121

Phone: (716) 829-3048 / (716) 82

Email: mdubo@buffalo.edu

Fellowship News