P&I residents selected for PROUD-MED program

Dr. Patricia Hernandez (left) and Dr. Homayemem Weli (right).

Patricia Hernandez, MD, Clinical Pathology Resident in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine, and Homayemem Weli, MD, PhD, Clinical Pathology Resident in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine, were recently selected for the PROUD-MED program through the university. The program, which is an initiative supported by Washington University School of Medicine and the university’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), seeks to enhance underrepresented minorities in medicine faculty development by providing individual mentored clinical research training, resources, senior faculty support, group mentorship, and funding opportunities to trainees or early career faculty members.

PROUD-MED aims to recruit 12-16 individuals per cohort. Senior clinical fellows and trainees who have completed the majority of their training and newly appointed clinical faculty are eligible to apply. Dr. Hernandez, a third-year resident selected for the 2023-2025 cohort, is looking forward to the support and mentorship she will receive in the program.

“I am proud to be part of the PROUD-MED program, an initiative from ICTS to support individuals from underrepresented populations to enhance career development. As a resident who plans an academic pathway for mid- and long-term, I am very excited to be mentored and prepared to achieve my career goals,” Dr. Hernandez said.

Dr. Weli, a second-year resident selected for the 2024-2026 cohort, is also excited about training and mentorship in the PROUD-MED program, which will help her move to the next level in her career as a physician scientist.

“I am excited to be part of the incipient ICTS PROUD-MED cohort. It will provide structured foundational framework required to launch into the next phase of my career. I look forward to obtaining training and mentoring from leaders in the field, moving towards my goal of becoming an independent physician scientist,” Dr. Weli said.

Dr. Hernandez and Dr. Weli applied to the program with letters of recommendation from department leaders. Dr. Hernandez applied with a letter of support from one of her division co-chiefs, Ann M. Gronowski, PhD, Oree M. Carroll and Lillian B. Ladenson Professor in Clinical Chemistry, Pathology and Immunology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division Co-Chief of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine.

“Dr. Hernandez is a perfect candidate for PROUD-MED. During her residency training, Dr. Hernandez has distinguished herself as an extremely intelligent, skilled, and independent physician-scientist. Last year she was chosen to serve as our Chief Resident for Clinical Pathology. During her residency, she has been extremely productive with four publications already and two in press or under review. Dr. Hernandez has an interest in global health and healthcare disparities. She has been actively trying to engage the department in ways to both educate about, and improve, healthcare for marginalized people. I envision her involvement in this type of work will continue to grow,” Dr. Gronowski said.

Dr. Weli applied with a letter of support from Neil Anderson, MD, D(ABMM), Associate Professor of Pathology and Immunology and Director of the Residency Program in the Department of Pathology and Immunology.

“We are incredibly proud to have Dr. Homa Weli as a representative from our pathology training program joining the PROUD-MED initiative. Dr. Weli’s academic work has ranged from the studying of S. aureus alpha toxin to analyzing the impact of point of care A1C testing. She has given invited presentations of her research at the Washington University Physician Scientist Training Symposium, the Washington University Pathology and Immunology Trainee Research Symposium, the Missouri Society of Pathology and the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists national meeting. Dr. Weli is a talented trainee with a bright future in academic medicine.  We are excited to see how she uses this fantastic opportunity to further develop her career,” Dr. Anderson said.