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Department of Medicine Names Inaugural Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion

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Naudia Jonassaint releasePITTSBURGH Naudia Jonassaint, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been appointed as the Department of Medicine’s first vice chair for diversity and inclusion. Jonassaint, who also is the medical director of clinical hepatology at UPMC Presbyterian, will work to develop new initiatives and programs to enhance diversity and inclusion across the department.


“We are delighted to have Dr. Jonassaint in this new role, leading us in our commitment to building an environment of excellence that is diverse and inclusive. She is a gifted physician and leader, exemplified by her stewardship of many clinical and educational initiatives at UPMC and her very successful role as director of clinical hepatology,” said Mark T. Gladwin, M.D., Jack D. Myers Professor and chair of medicine at Pitt’s School of Medicine. 


In her role, Jonassaint will work with other department leaders and faculty to enhance residency and fellowship recruitment, retention and advancement. She also will focus on efforts to promote the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty into the Pitt Department of Medicine, and work with leaders across the wider institution on community building and engagement initiatives to foster an environment of diversity and inclusivity. 


“Diversity in health care improves access to care, leads to better outcomes and experiences for both patients and physicians, and enriches the academic environment,” said Jonassaint. “I’m honored to have been appointed to this role.”


Jonassaint was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 2014 to join the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and in Hispanic and Italian studies with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 1999. She then attended the Yale School of Medicine and completed a thesis focused on the black-white achievement gap. Jonassaint returned to Johns Hopkins where she completed her internal medicine training, chief residency, and gastroenterology and transplant hepatology fellowships. During her time there, she served on the Diversity Council, the Residency Selection Committee and the Council for Women in Medicine. She also received a Master of Health Sciences degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she studied disparities in liver transplant outcomes. Her subsequent research continued a focus on transplant outcomes and post-transplant Hepatitis C treatment. 


More recently, Jonassaint has taken on several leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh, including her 2017 appointment as medical director of the section of hepatology. She has led initiatives to meet value metrics and quality outcomes in hepatology at UPMC. In addition, Jonassaint has served on the UPMC Presbyterian clinical executive committee, functioned as the clinical lead on quality and safety initiatives in hepatology, and is serving on the residency and fellowship selection committees. 


Throughout her career, Jonassaint has been committed to clinical and research excellence and has exhibited a passion for teaching and mentoring. She was awarded the gastroenterology fellowship teaching award in 2017 by the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in Pitt’s Department of Medicine and serves on the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Diversity Committee.  




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Credit: UPMC

Naudia Jonassaint, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine