Alexander Albanese, EDs
Alexander Albanese, EDs, set out to start an effective and structured approach for
bilingual evaluations during his internship year at the Cape Henlopen School District.
He developed a professional multi disciplined team including two bilingual Speech
Pathologists, the English Language Learner Specialist, Reading Specialist, and Special
Education coordinator. Every week they meet to develop the bilingual evaluation process,
provide educational interventions for teachers with students who speak another language,
and coordinate the next best step. Alexander communicated with families, interpreted
special education meetings, and described the process in simple terms so that they
could understand and advocate in their role as a parent and also part of the decision
to accept or deny special education services. Alexander hopes to develop a model for
the rest of the state of Delaware to improve upon the quality of education for those
who don’t speak English and connect more fully with families so that they feel included
in their child’s education.
Renee Burns, MS/ODL
As a sign language interpreter, Renee Burns, MS/ODL, works to increase access, equity, and inclusion for a very diverse population: the
Deaf and hard of hearing (DHoH) community. Renee chose the Organizational Development
and Leadership (ODL) program at PCOM because she sought to complement her interpreting
skills and connections to the DHoH community with a program from which she could learn
to make even more of a difference. Renee was able to bring a unique perspective and
wealth of knowledge to each class and assignment, hopefully spreading awareness to
PCOM’s students, faculty, and staff about a community often overlooked by DEI. The
focus of her capstone, as well as many of her projects for the ODL program, have focused
on disability justice and illustrating the countless benefits of partnering with the
DHoH community. She plan to use what she learned at PCOM to further develop organizations
and improve their accessibility for all.
Nicole “Zlata” Demcenko, MS/MHC
As charity and program coordinator for Psi Chi, Nicole “Zlata” Demcenko, MS/MHC, focused
on establishing connections with local nonprofit organizations, including Mitzvah
Circle Foundation. Zlata believes in speaking up against discriminatory messages even
in uncomfortable situations. Zlata hopes to continue working in community mental health
to deliver dignified services to diverse populations.
Heidi Elthanan, MS/Biomed
Heidi Elthanan’s, MS/Biomed, passion has always been to serve as an advocate for minority
and marginalized populations which is why she served as an executive board member
on SNMA’s Cultural Competency Program this academic year. The Cultural Competency
Program is a student led initiative to address the social determinants of health and
their impact on patient care. This year she assisted in creating two Cultural Humility
in Medicine weeks where they focused on mental health issues impacting women worldwide,
microaggressions Muslim patients face, disability advocacy, and queer voices in the
Tyasia Guadalupe, DO
During her time at PCOM, Tyasia Guadalupe, DO, served as the Co-President of Global
Health Initiative, the Diversity Chair on the DO Student Council, the PCOM Student
Diversity Ambassador for COSGP, Diversity Co-Chair for SNMA, an Executive Member of
the Cultural Competency Program Board, and as the Region VIII Research Liaison for
SNMA. Through her leadership positions, Tyasia has championed a variety of diversity
and inclusion efforts at PCOM, including organizing and establishing PCOM’s First
Cultural Humility in Medicine Week, which is currently in its third year.
Simone Sims-Riley, PsyD
Simone Sims-Riley, PsyD, has worked in the mental health field for eight years in various capacities. Throughout
her career, she has focused on serving diverse populations with the intent to destigmatize
mental health treatment in communities of color. Furthermore, Simone volunteers her
therapy services with Black Men Heal to provide free therapy to black men in her community.
Lastly, Simone continues to advocate for community involvement in all mental health
resources to increase accessibility and affordability for all.
Jordyn Walker, MS/PA
Jordyn Walker, MS/PA, is a graduating biracial physician assistant student who recognizes
the value of allyship and diversity in medicine, both in and out of the classroom.
She is passionate about providing quality health care to patients in underserved populations.
Over her years studying at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ms. Walker
advocated for diverse teaching staff and inclusive language to be used in lecture
content. Ms. Walker served as Treasurer on the PCOM Student Chapter of American Academy
of Physician Assistants, also called Sara Somers Rupert Student Society, while organizing
fundraisers to increase accessibility of additional medical resources and question
banks to students in her cohort. In her free time, she also maintains an Instagram
page in which she shares her experience as a PA student and provides free mentorship
for students pursuing the physician assistant career.