Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee | NYU Langone Health

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Rheumatology Fellowship Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee

Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee

In NYU Langone’s Division of Rheumatology, diversity and inclusion are among our core values. The data are clear that a diverse physician and research workforce results in higher-quality care and more innovative discoveries.

In this pivotal moment in the history of social justice, we are both proud of our record and deeply aware of our need to improve. We are privileged to care for patients in the nation’s first public hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue, in the most diverse city in the country, and to embrace the principle that “no one is turned away.”

We have a proud track record of training fellows of all backgrounds and supporting trainees through our institution’s many diversity and inclusion initiatives. The task of promoting diversity and opportunity requires concerted and purposeful effort. With this in mind, we established our Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee (FDAC) in 2019. Among other roles, the FDAC ensures our accountability in trainee and faculty development, faculty and staff antiracism education, and best practices in reviewing fellowship applications.

We are committed to training quality fellows of all races, ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and gender identities. We encourage all to apply to our Rheumatology Fellowship and look forward to doing our part in building a rheumatology workforce as diverse as the country we serve.

Learn more about diversity and inclusion at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Committee Members

Ashira Blazer, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Dr. Blazer has been involved in diversity work at every level of her training and is acknowledged as one of the Top 40 under 40 Leaders in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum. She is studying the biologic and genetic determinants of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) severity in patients of African ancestry. She has forged multiple collaborations with rheumatology programs in West Africa, and through this work has preliminarily shown that APOL1 variant carriers with SLE experience internal organ scarring faster than other patients. Dr. Blazer is also studying the interplay between chronic inflammation, cellular function, and APOL1 gene expression in cell culture models, and aims to provide personalized treatment options to ancestrally African SLE patients.

Ruth Fernandez Ruiz, MD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Rheumatology Attending, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue

After obtaining her medical degree from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Dr. Ruiz became a rural physician for underserved communities in her home country. She completed her rheumatology fellowship at NYU Langone and now conducts research on the interplay between interferons and SLE, in addition to outcomes of SLE patients in the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. As a junior investigator, she is passionate about expanding academic rheumatology leadership and mentorship roles to underrepresented minorities in medicine as a step toward increasing diversity in medical training, with the goal of reducing health disparities and inequities in patient care.

Cesar E. Fors Nieves, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Throughout his career, Dr. Fors Nieves has dedicated himself to work with underserved urban communities in large safety-net hospitals, and his academic focus has been primarily on medical education. He is a founding member of the Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee, with the express goal of enhancing recruiting and retention of diverse fellows within the division.

Amit Saxena, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Dr. Saxena is the director of lupus clinical trials in our division and has been the site principal investigator in more than 25 industry, National Institutes of Health–sponsored, and investigator-initiated interventional and observational trials. He is also co-director of the Clinical Trials Design course for NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s MS in Clinical Investigation. As a founding member of the Rheumatology Fellowship Diversity Advisory Committee, Dr. Saxena believes that medical education plays an essential role in cultivating a physician workforce to meet the needs of our diverse communities.