Biostatstics and Research Design

Sebastian Placide featured on NY1 as a recipient of the Diversity in Medicine scholarship from AMSNY

Sebastian Placide

Sebastian Placide, MS2, was featured on NY1 as one of the first recipients of the Diversity in Medicine scholarship from the Associated Medical Schools of New York. This scholarship is funded through a grant by the New York State Department of Health with two main goals: the diversification of the medical workforce and to provide medical care to underserved areas of New York State, where recipients of the scholarship are required to give two years of service post completion of their training. When fully funded, 40 scholarships will support NY medical students looking to make a difference in our state. We congratulate Sebastian on this achievement, as he and our other wonderful recipient, Ms. Diana Perez (Einstein MS1) had to not only show need but a good moral character and a commitment to serving the underserved in order to be awarded this scholarship. Congratulations!

NY1 Report
Diversity in Medicine Scholarship


Office of Diversity Enhancement

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We, in ODE, are committed to developing a broadly diverse cadre of clinicians, researchers and educators who will promote health and address health disparities in our local community, in the nation and abroad.

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Pipeline Programs

Einstein is dedicated to providing critical pipeline programs for racial/ ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged students, beginning in high school. These programs promote the educational advancement of underserved, economically and educationally disadvantaged students, giving them an opportunity to pursue and succeed in rigorous academic programs in the health professions. Hundreds of students benefit from Einstein’s pipeline programs each year.

  • The Einstein Enrichment Program

    The EEP is a New York state–funded Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP) that offers grade 7-12 students opportunities to excel in the sciences and exposure to careers in medicine. The 15-week curriculum includes hands-on learning such as ambulance-bay prep, seminars, test-prep classes and more. Among our graduates are M.D.s, physician assistants and nurses. To qualify, students must demonstrate high academic school performance, good school attendance, and an interest in pursuing careers in health, medicine and/or science. The program runs approximately fifteen weeks each fall and spring semesters, and students over the age of 16 have the option of attending our five-week summer program.

    Amira Williams, M.S. and
    Denise Velasquez, M.S.

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  • The Einstein Enrichment Program Extension

    The Einstein Enrichment Program Extension (EEPx) offers alumni of the Einstein Enrichment Program a continuation of services such as counseling, career assessments and test prep support including MCAT and GMAT prep. EEPx hosts a Pre-med Symposium & Reunion for EEP alumni in addition to a 6-week summer program for alumni currently pursuing undergraduate degrees, or recent undergraduate degree recipients who are continuing on a medical career track. The program consists of a medical science class, luncheon seminars, career counseling and over 96 hours of clinical or research site placements with distinguished faculty. All participants will develop an abstract and present a poster on a topic related to medical science at Einstein at the end of the program.

    Irene Blanco, M.D., M.S. and
    Amira Williams, M.S.

  • Diversity Student Summer Research Opportunity Program

    DSSROP gives college sophomores and juniors an opportunity to do biomedical research in a mentored program. DSSROP is a part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Program directed by Einstein’s Graduate Division in the Biomedical Sciences. The eight-week program consists of laboratory research, lectures by faculty, discussions on “hot topics,” and training in writing and oral presenting research work. Students conduct research under the direction of a faculty member. Research assignments will be made based upon availability of research opportunities and according to the mutual interests of the faculty sponsors and student participants.

    Contact: Nilda I. Soto, MS-Ed,

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Pipelines from Our Einstein Partners

  • Hispanic Center of Excellence Summer Undergraduate Mentorship Program

    HCOE SUMP is a six-week summer program for college sophomores through recent college graduates. Our goals are to motivate students to pursue careers in medicine, build confidence and foster working mentorship relationships. The program provides students with shadowing and mentorship opportunities with Montefiore and Einstein physicians, workshops, lectures and research experience.

    Contact: Cara Stephenson-Hunter, Ph.d, M.S.

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  • Montefiore Health Opportunities Program (Monte-HOP)

    Monte-HOP is a summer program that promotes, educates and encourages rising college freshmen through rising college juniors to pursue careers in health fields. Students gain valuable knowledge and professional skills through interactive workshops, mentorship by physicians, observation of physician-patient interactions, lecture activities and independent learning.

    Contact: Carol Whittaker

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  • Bronx Community Health Leaders, (BxCHL)

    The Bronx Community Health Leaders is a mentoring, and community outreach groups run in conjunction with the Family Health Center of Montefiore Medical Center. Created in 2014, and entirely student led, BxCHL offers pre-health scholars the opportunity to volunteer in a multitude of community based clinical initiatives, provide and participate in near-peer and faculty mentoring, in addition to facilitating leadership and scholarly opportunities. BxCHL seeks to devise strategies that attract socially and economically disadvantaged scholars to pursue a career in medicine, and thus further promote the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in Primary Care.

    Contact: Juan Robles, M.D.

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Our Team

Irene Blanco, M.D., M.S.

Irene Blanco, M.D., M.S.
Pronoun: She/Her
Professor of Medicine
Associate Dean, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Ave, Belfer 507
Bronx, NY 10461


A rheumatologist by training, Dr. Blanco has a particular interest in connective tissue diseases, most notably systemic lupus erythematosus and how it affects underserved populations. Her research currently focuses on addressing health disparities in rheumatology through developing structured didactics within the rheumatology fellowship curriculum. At the medical school, Dr. Blanco focuses on further diversifying both the medical and graduate school, with the end goal of having Einstein graduates at the upper echelons of research and healthcare nationally and internationally.

Nilda Soto, MS-Ed

Nilda Soto, MS-Ed
Assistant Dean, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Director, Einstein Enrichment Program

Belfer 507 718.430.3091

A native of the Bronx, Ms. Soto has been a member of Einstein's administration since 1990. In her role as assistant dean of diversity enhancement, Ms. Soto administers and supervises all minority student activities at the medical school and is involved in the recruitment, admission and retention of individuals underrepresented in medicine. She serves as director of both the Einstein Enrichment Program and the Minority Students Summer Research Opportunity Program. Ms. Soto served on the New York State Minority Health Council through March 2010. She currently serves as Vice President of the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives, as a member of the Board of Friends of the Double Discovery Center at Columbia University, and as Chair of the LeGrand Newman Scholarship Committee for the Northeast Region of the National Association of Medical Minority Educators, Inc.

Denise Velasquez

Denise Velasquez, M.S.
Vocational Counselor
Einstein Enrichment Program

Belfer 407 718.430.4166

My name is Denise Velasquez. I feel privileged to have spent over twenty years serving students from grades kindergarten through grade twelve and beyond. As a school counselor, I have provided students with academic support, college advisement, career development and social/emotional guidance.

I love working with students and empowering them to find their passions and be the best version of themselves.

Some of my professional highlights have been supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds, English as a Second Language students and students with learning disabilities through the college admissions process. Being a first generation student myself, I feel fortunate to serve as an advocate for students and parents. As a Bronx native, it is an honor to work in a community I still call “home”.

Some of my personal passions include travel, working out, reading and hiking. I also love spending time with my daughter who also works with disenfranchised students.

Amira Williams

Amira Williams, M.S.
Program Manager
Einstein Enrichment Program

Belfer 407 718.430.4166

Ms. Williams is a native New Yorker by way of Harlem.

She is a proud product of the CUNY system; she obtained her Associates degree from Hostos Community College and then, both her undergraduate degree in English as well has her MS-Ed from Hunter College. After working in the finance/health care sector for over 14 years, Ms. Williams decided she needed to utilize her professional degree and move back into the Social Services/Education sector. Since 2018, Ms. Williams has worked with the underserved communities of the South Bronx, including preventing families from being evicted from their homes, and assisting disengaged, young adults in obtaining their equivalency diploma, an accomplishment she holds dear to her heart as she was also a GED recipient.

Ms. Williams looks forward to her new relationship with the Einstein Enrichment Program, eager to continue working with the Black and Brown youth of the Bronx as they work towards their aspirations of a career in the medical field.

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Office of Diversity Enhancement
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
1300 Morris Park Ave, Belfer 507
Bronx, NY 10461


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