Pediatrics Residency Program

Find out about the Pediatrics Residency Program from our residents and faculty.


Learn more about residencies and fellowships at the University of South Alabama and life on the Gulf Coast.



Richard M. Whitehurst, Jr., M.D.

Thank you for considering a pediatric residency at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

As a pediatric resident, you’ll join the USA Health team to deliver care to children in the inpatient and ambulatory settings at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, the only freestanding children’s and women’s hospital on the Gulf Coast. You’ll also work in our new pediatric clinic, designed to allow residents to follow patients for three full years, building the kind of rewarding physician-patient relationship that pediatricians treasure in their years of practice.

We strive to provide a well-rounded experience to our residents by giving them increasing responsibility and autonomy in delivering care to children and by facilitating participation in scholarly activities, and the teaching of peers and medical students.

Our patient population is diverse culturally and socioeconomically, drawn from urban, suburban and rural areas, including some of the wealthiest areas in Alabama and some of the poorest areas in the United States, allowing residents to provide access to care to children to ameliorate health disparities first-hand and to fulfill the desire that initially led them to medicine — the chance to help people who really need help.

When our residents’ work here is done, they are prepared to pursue whatever path they like. Over the last five years, 39 percent of our residents have embarked on general pediatric careers in private practice and 61 percent have continued on to fellowships on the way to a subspecialty career.

Not least of all, we pride ourselves on the diversity that we have among our residents and faculty with more than 20 nationalities and ethnicities represented.

We invite you to consider becoming part of the USA team. And whatever your future plans, we’ll do our best to prepare you to achieve them.

Richard M. Whitehurst, Jr., M.D.
Program Director, Pediatrics


▼   Program Leadership

David A. Gremse, M.D.

David A. Gremse, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics

Medical School: University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

Residency: University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

Pediatric GI Fellowship: Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH


Richard M. Whitehurst, Jr., M.D.

Richard M. Whitehurst, Jr., M.D.

Program Director

Richard Whitehurst, Jr is Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, and the Pediatric Residency Program Director at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

He received his BS degree in Medical Technology from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He then attended University of South Alabama College of Medicine, graduating in 1987. Dr. Whitehurst also completed his Residency in Pediatrics at the University of South Alabama. After his residency, Dr. Whitehurst did a fellowship in Neonatology at the University of Miami. Upon completion of fellowship, Dr. Whitehurst began his academic career here at the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Whitehurst has a long and distinguished career involving medical education within the Department of Pediatrics. He joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology in 1994. He received his initial certification in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine in 1999. Dr. Whitehurst started the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome program at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, and has been working with these patients since 1999. Dr. Whitehurst wrote the first official treatment protocol in 2010, He led the QI project to start a prenatal NAS consultation program in 2015, which reduced the need for pharmacological treatment and reduced the length of hospitalization. In 2020, Chiesi Farmaceutici of Parma, Italy, selected Dr. Whitehurst to lead a five-year multi-center international clinical trial examining treatment of newborns with opioid withdrawal spanning at least 19 clinical locations in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Whitehurst has a longstanding involvement in Graduate Medical Education in the Department of Pediatrics including terms on the Resident Recruitment/Selection Committee, Residency Training Committee from 1997-2000, the Research/Scholarly Activity Committee since 2000, the Faculty Advisors Committee, the Program Evaluation Committee, and the Clinical Competency Committee. He has been a part of the growth and development of the Department of Pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine for much of its history.

In his free time Dr. Whitehurst enjoys to travel, read, boat, saltwater fishing, collect Magic the Gathering cards & stamps, and playing with his grandchildren.


|Haidee Custodio, M.D.

Haidee Custodio, M.D.

Associate Program Director

Haidee Custodio is an Associate Professor in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and an Associate Program Director in the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

She received her BS degree at the Jesuit school of Ateneo de Manila University and obtained her medical degree at the University of the East in the Philippines before proceeding to New York for her pediatric residency training at Nassau University Medical Center. Dr. Custodio did her fellowship training in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, FL.

Following her fellowship, Dr. Custodio moved to Mobile and rose to the rank of associate professor. She is actively involved in the teaching of residents and students and received several awards recognizing her endeavors, including Best Attending. In addition to contributing peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and review articles, she participates in peer reviews for several pediatric journals and national conferences including the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting. She also served in the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Advisory Panels for Reshaping the MOC Part 3 Exam for General Pediatrics and Subspecialty, as well as in the ABP Pediatric Infectious Diseases Content Development Team.

Dr. Custodio loves to travel and explore what the world has to offer, whether it is getting lost in the mountains of Alaska, watching rodeos in Wyoming, or catching red snapper in the Gulf.


Myria Mack-Williams, M.D.

Myria Mack-Williams, M.D.

Associate Program Director

Dr. Myria Mack-Williams is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and an Associate Program Director in the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Dr. Mack is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she earned her B.A. degree. She earned her medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and subsequently completed her residency training in Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Mack-Williams brings 20 years of generalist experience to her role as Associate Program Director for the USA Pediatric Residency Program. She has practiced pediatrics in various venues throughout her career including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Children’s Hospital New Orleans. She has been named Top Doctor of Pediatrics in Delaware and in Louisiana. She has served on the board of directors of multiple advocacy organizations as well as a member of the Quality Improvement Committee for Medicaid of Delaware. Dr. Mack is excited to share her clinical knowledge and expertise gained from her years in practice with the pediatric residents.

In her free time, Dr. Mack enjoys attending musical concerts, the theater, and traveling with her husband and family.


Karen Parsell, M.D.

Karen Parsell, M.D.

Associate Program Director

Dr. Parsell is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and an Associate Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program at the Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama. She is a graduate of the University of South Alabama, where she obtained her undergraduate and medical degrees. She completed residency also at USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the sections on Hospital Medicine and LGBTQ+ Health. 

Dr. Parsell brings 20 years of general pediatric experience to her role as an Associate Program Director. She has worked in Tennessee, Minnesota, Florida and Alabama and in multiple pediatric roles -- inpatient, outpatient, ED, and newborn care -- over the years. She was excited to return to USA Health in 2020 as a pediatric hospitalist and has earned awards as Outstanding Resident Advocate & Best Attending. 

Dr. Parsell continues to be actively involved in the teaching of residents and students and is thrilled to continue to share her clinical expertise gained from her years in practice with the pediatric residents and is honored to further that role as an Associate Program Director. 


E. Melissa Perez-Garcia, M.D.

E. Melissa Perez-Garcia, M.D.

Associate Program Director

E. Melissa Perez-Garcia, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, and an Associate Program Director in the Pediatric Residency Program at the Whiddon College of Medicine.

Dr. Perez obtained her Medical Degree from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, her original home. Dr. Perez received residency training in pediatrics at USA Health, and fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She is board certified by the ABP in both Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology. She is an active member of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, ISPAD (International Society of Pediatric and Adult Diabetes), and ENDO Society. She won a best abstract award in ENDO 2019, and she is author of a book chapter in Endocrine Conditions in Pediatrics (2020). 

Dr. Perez returned and joined the faculty in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at USA Health in 2021 and has demonstrated active involvement with medical education of residents and medical students. She joined the leadership of the Pediatric Residency program in September 2022. 

Dr. Perez is a dog lover and dog mom of two. She enjoys practicing yoga and photography, as well as trying new local restaurants. 


Natalie Carlisle, M.D.

Natalie Carlisle, M.D.

Pediatric Chief Resident

Natalie grew up in Daphne, Alabama. She attended the University of South Alabama for undergraduate where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in French Language in 2015. She then attended the University of South Alabama College of Medicine where she obtained her medical degree in 2019. She was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society during her time in medical school. She then went on to complete her pediatric residency at the University of South Alabama in 2022. She continued at USA and began as co-chief resident for the year 2022-2023. She plans to pursue a career in outpatient General Pediatrics with a local practice after completion of her chief resident year.  

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, Ellie. She loves spending time by the pool and going to local beaches. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and reading.


Stephanie Leon Paredes, M.D.

Stephanie Leon Paredes, M.D.

Pediatric Chief Resident

Stephanie grew up in Guatemala City. She obtained her medical degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. She then went on to complete her pediatric residency at the University of South Alabama in 2022. She continued at USA and began as co-chief resident for the academic year of 2022-2023. She plans to pursue a fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology after completing her chief year. 

In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband and friends, biking, traveling and catching up on the latest movies. Her hobbies include reading, painting and baking.


Nicole Adair, BSBM

Nicole Adair, BSBM

Senior Pediatric Residency Program Coordinator 

Nicole is a native of Mobile, Alabama. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Business Management from Huntingdon College, Montgomery Alabama. She has a diverse background in healthcare administration and education curriculum. Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her 3 boys, husband and two doodles. In rare moments of downtime, you can find her relaxing at the beach or reading a good book. 

▼   Mission Statement, Program Aims and Overview

Mission Statement and Program Aims

The mission of our program follows that of the USA Office of Graduate Medical Education: to develop the clinical competency, medical knowledge, and professional attributes of pediatric physicians, to promote the safe and effective care for children, to advance the art of healing through quality improvement and medical research, and to develop skills of lifelong learning. 

The goal of our program is to train a diverse group of resident physicians to become:

  1. Professional and competent pediatricians to care for infants, children and young adults of the Gulf Coast, the State of Alabama and the nation, with a focus on quality and safety;
  2. Advocates for children at the local, regional, national and international level;
  3. Dedicated to lifelong learning and advancement of knowledge, and achieving a work-life balance to allow long-term success;
  4. Qualified to take the certifying examination of the American Board of Pediatrics and well prepared to become leaders in their personal and professional communities through independent practice of pediatrics or through fellowship training in any pediatric subspecialty.

Overview of the Program

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Alabama offers a three-year residency program in an environment that is both stimulating and friendly. Our residency program prepares the pediatrician-in-training to practice effective primary care pediatrics in the community, while simultaneously providing flexibility, allowing those interested in subspecialty training, academic pediatrics, and research the necessary background to pursue their professional goals.

USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital is a free-standing facility dedicated to providing quality care to the children and women of the Gulf Coast area.

Our pediatric resident training program is open and friendly, providing an atmosphere where housestaff and faculty interact at a level that promotes rapid professional growth. The faculty are readily available for consultation and informal discussion of patient-related problems. Regularly scheduled conferences are presented in an open and non-threatening atmosphere optimal for learning and promoting communication between housestaff, faculty, and community pediatricians. As there are no pediatric fellowships at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, residents achieve greater autonomy and a close relationships with attending physicians.

We believe that learning is best accomplished through:

  • Hands-on experience
  • Warm, supportive working and learning environment
  • Progressive responsibility for taking care of patients and their families
  • Progressive responsibility for teaching families, students, and fellow residents
  • High quality and readily available contact with faculty
  • Establishing primary care relationships with patients and their families
  • Interactive and structured conference; and
  • Independent, systematic study

We offer 12 residency positions for each year level in the categorical Pediatric Residency Program. In addition, there are 2-3 positions for each year level in the Internal Medicine / Pediatrics Combined Residency Program. Therefore, there is a peer group of 15-16 residents for each year level. This number provides for a good mix of abilities, talents, and personalities while allowing residents to forge personal relationships. The Pediatric Leadership team selects two fourth-year chief residents on the basis of outstanding ability in patient care, teaching, and leadership. A Pediatric chief resident supervises in the inpatient and outpatient settings, makes call and clinic schedules, and participates in residency administration.

Graduates of our program choose a diverse mix of general pediatrics and subspecialty options as the next steps in their careers. Of the residents who graduated over the past 10 years, 45 percent chose General Pediatrics and 55 percent matched into subspecialty training and practice.

Our residency program accepts graduates from U.S. and international allopathic medical schools and U.S. osteopathic medical schools. We accept either the USMLE or COMLEX examinations.

▼   Education

Pediatric residency training at USA prepares residents for either general pediatric practice or subspecialty training. The flexible nature of the subspecialty and elective schedule in the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years permits ample opportunity for subspecialty exposure and supervised research activity for residents interested in pursuing an academic career. A wide variety of clinical experiences are coupled with regularly scheduled didactic conferences and a Core Curriculum program.

Resident Progress

  • PGY-1: The first-year resident functions as the primary physician for children on the pediatric inpatient service, and in the nursery, the clinic and the Pediatric Emergency Department. The PGY-1 is responsible for the initial history and physical examination, developing an assessment and management plan, performing general pediatric diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, communicating with parents and consulting services, and instructing medical students on pediatric clerkships.
  • PGY-2: The second-year resident assumes a more supervisory role on the inpatient, clinic, emergency department, and nursery services as well as a more intensive involvement in the instruction of medical students. The PGY-2 should advance towards independence in the management of routine ambulatory and inpatient pediatric problems and begin to develop expertise in subspecialty areas, including pediatric critical care.
  • PGY-3: The third-year resident is the leader of the pediatric inpatient teams. The PGY-3 supervises PGY-1s and PGY-2s; family practice and psychiatric residents on the pediatric service; and junior and senior medical students and physician assistant students on pediatric clerkships. It is anticipated the PGY-3 will demonstrate progressive independence in the assessment and management of complex problems in pediatrics.

Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum consists of an initial two-month seminar series presented three times per week covering core issues essential to the care of ill children. During each subsequent month, one weekly conference addresses topics and skills important to the practice of pediatrics as well as periodic residency business meetings. A second weekly conference covers the content of the American Board of Pediatrics (AAP) content outline.   These conferences occur at noon and lunch is provided. All conferences are presented by Pediatric and ancillary faculty.

The content of these sessions is organized to assist preparation for the American Board of Pediatrics Certification Examination.  Question banks with explanations covering this core content are available through the American Academy of Pediatrics PREP-Self Assessment and the New England Journal of Medicine Knowledge question bank provided by the program.

Resident participation is tracked through conference attendance and participation, and successful completion of the question bank items.  The Core Curriculum covers the entire ABP content outline over the course of two years.


Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room, location for monthly Pediatric Grand Rounds.Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room, the location for monthly Pediatric Grand Rounds

Morning Report is attended by all students, residents, and faculty involved in the inpatient service at USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital. This conference focuses on evidence-based solutions to clinical issues related to recent admissions.

Grand Rounds is a weekly didactic conference presented by faculty of the pediatric department, supporting faculty from other departments and guest lecturers. Grand Rounds topics are chosen to address new information in the field of Pediatrics as well as the core educational objectives of pediatric residency education. Grand Rounds attendance is open to all interested individuals within the university and community.

Pediatric Case Conference is a weekly conference focusing on clinical application of the Core Curriculum content for that week. Pediatric Conference attendance is open to all interested individuals within the university and community.

Residency Conference is a weekly conference and is primarily an interactive conference that addresses topics and skills important to the practice of pediatrics as well as periodic residency business meetings. Lunch is provided. Active participation is strongly encouraged. This conference is open primarily to residents.

Subspecialty Conferences are held during most of the subspecialty rotations and consist of regular conferences and/or small group seminars. These conferences range from multi-disciplinary to one-on-one sessions.

Grand Rounds and Conference Speakers

Robert Moon, M.D. - Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Alabama Medicaid

From left: 2019 Pediatric Symposium Speaker Robert Moon, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Alabama Medicaid; Haidee Custodio, M.D., Associate Professor; David Gremse, M.D., Department Chair

Tamara Coyne-Beasley, M.D., MPH Director, Division of Adolescent Medicine University of Alabama

From left: Roger Berkow, M.D.; April 2019 Grand Rounds Speaker Tamara Coyne-Beasley, M.D., MPH, Director, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of Alabama; Haidee Custodio, M.D. 

2017 Grand Rounds Speaker Fernando Stein, M.D., FAAP

From left: Cathy L. Wood, M.D., FAAP, Alabama Chapter AAP President; Linda Lee, Alabama Chapter AAP Executive Director; Franklin Trimm, M.D., APPD President; 2017 Grand Rounds Speaker Fernando Stein, M.D., FAAP, 2017 AAP President; David Gremse, M.D., ABP President; Benjamin Estrada, M.D.; LaDonna Crews, M.D. 

▼   Rotations

X+Y Scheduling at the University of South Alabama

The Pediatric Residency Program at USA is transitioning to an X+Y immersion schedule in July 2019. In this format each resident spends three weeks on a core or block rotation followed by one week of ambulatory pediatrics. This scheduling format is part of a pilot project approved by the Pediatric Residency Review Committee and is implemented at 10 pediatric programs around the country. The goal of this scheduling format is:

  • Improved continuity in pediatric resident clinics
  • Less conflict between inpatient and ambulatory responsibilities
  • Improvement in resident wellness leading to less burnout
  • Improved patient and resident satisfaction

During the Ambulatory Pediatric rotation, residents spend four half days in the general pediatric clinic. Additional time during the ambulatory weeks is spent in the Developmental/Behavioral pediatric clinic or Adolescent Medicine clinic, community pediatric activities, a subspecialty clinic, an educational half day, and one half day of academic time to work on research or quality improvement projects. Residents remain with the same cohort of residents for the ambulatory week for the entire year.

One unique aspect of the X + Y schedule at USA is the inclusion of an initial four-week orientation month. New interns spend one week in each of the key areas of the hospital: Inpatient ward, Emergency Department, Newborn Nursery and ambulatory clinic, allowing interns to understand the workings of the entire system beginning with the first month of their residency. Night rotations are not included during this month.

Sample Schedules

Sample PGY Schedules 2020-21 [PDF]

Continuity Clinic

Each resident will spend one week out of every four in ambulatory pediatrics. This will consist of 3-4 half-days of general pediatric continuity clinic, one half-day of community and advocacy clinic, one half-day of subspecialty clinic, and two half-days of adolescent medicine or development and behavioral pediatrics. One half-day each week will be devoted to research, quality improvement, or advocacy projects. Residents rotate during the ambulatory week with the same group of first-, second-, and third-year residents for the entire year, allowing the development of a “Group Practice” model and optimizing teaching and learning. One half-day of each ambulatory week will consist of didactic and interactive sessions developed and presented by the faculty from the Division of Ambulatory Pediatrics.

The children in continuity clinic are followed for the entire duration of the resident's training. Well children are followed for health promotion visits, children with acute illnesses are managed, and children with chronic illnesses are followed concurrently with pediatric subspecialists. The patients are seen by their regular resident physician for as many of their healthcare visits as possible. This experience simulates the usual practice of private pediatricians. It also helps the resident learn longitudinal, ongoing care of children with acute and special healthcare needs in a way that no month-long rotation can provide. Residents follow 150 or more families through the continuity clinic during residency.

▼   Research and Scholarly Activity

The program supports participation of residents in scholarly activity – whether it be related to a clinical question, quality improvement project or advocacy. With the guidance of a faculty mentor, residents engage in every step from conceptualization and development of hypothesis and protocol, attainment of approval from the Institutional Review Board, data collection, data analysis, writing of the abstract or manuscript and presentation of the project.  

Their month-long efforts culminate in the presentation of their project at the annual Department of Pediatrics Research Day in April of their second year of residency. The resident with the best project receives the Charles J. Hoff Research Award.

The residency program also sponsors residents in their participation at the annual Southern Regional Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Many residents have presented their projects at the University of South Alabama Resident and Fellow Scholarship Exposition, and national meetings.  

Haidee Custodio, M.D., Associate Professor and Associate Pediatric Residency Program Director directs resident research. 

Scholarly Activity - Presentations 

Scholarly Activity - Presentations 

Scholarly Activity - Presentations 

Scholarly Activity - Presentations

▼   Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital is a renowned institution that provides care for a large sector of the Gulf South. Children's & Women's Hospital has deep roots in our local community. Centrally located in Midtown Mobile, Alabama, the USA Health team of physicians and staff are honored to serve a socioeconomically and racially diverse, multicultural community.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the USA College of Medicine encourages resident physician involvement in their diversity initiatives. For more information on additional diversity organizations, including MedPride and Muslims in Medicine, please visit the College of Medicine Affinity Groups.

Pediatric Residency Diversity Coalition

Pediatric Residency Diversity Coalition Co-Chairs

  • Dr. Myria-Mack Williams, MD
  • Myria-Mack Williams, M.D.
    Associate Pediatric Residency Program Director, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

  • Dr. Haidee T. Custodio, M.D.
  • Haidee T. Custodio, M.D.
    Associate Pediatric Residency Program Director,
    Associate Professor of Pediatrics


Pediatric Residency Diversity Coalition Mission Statement

The Pediatric Residency Program is strongly committed to increasing awareness of the importance of diversity. We understand that providing patients and families with excellent care requires us to address their physical, emotional, and cultural needs; therefore, our mission is to recruit and support a resident workforce that reflects and fosters the differences of our patient population. We seek to reduce healthcare disparities and create a learning environment for our house staff that teaches culturally competent care.

The Pediatric Residency Diversity Coalition was developed:

  • To provide support to existing faculty and residents in creating an atmosphere that fosters culturally competent care.
  • To help educate faculty and residents on issues of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias

To accomplish the mission of the Pediatric Residency Diversity Coalition, subcommittees were established. Each subcommittee appointment is a term of one year. Every member of the Diversity Coalition is welcomed and encouraged to be a part of any of the subcommittees of their choice. There are three subcommittees:

  1. Education/Curriculum Subcommittee: Helps to establish diversity curriculum in each clinical rotation; helps to setup diversity book club (Journal Club, Grand Rounds); helps to determine noon conference diversity lecture series for the academic year
  2. Community Outreach Subcommittee: Helps to secure opportunities with the community to participate in Health Fairs, Back to School Backpack Drives, provide health information to the local community (i.e., Pamphlets, Brochures); liaison with Community Pediatricians to provide healthcare to patients in the local area
  3. Social Media/Publications/Events Subcommittee: Oversees publishing of our Diversity newsletter “Variegated”; Diversity Cookbook; helps to establish social media presence to chronicle activities of the coalition (i.e. Diversity Dinners, Second Look Efforts, diversity mixers, advertising, bi-monthly dinner & discussions); helps to highlight diversity events in Mobile & surrounding areas (i.e. Greekfest, Mobile International Festivals, Pride Mobile, etc.)  

Visiting Student URiM Diversity Scholarship Program

The University of South Alabama, Office of Graduate Medical Education is sponsoring the Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) Diversity Scholarship for visiting students to provide support for fourth-year medical students interested in participating in a four-week rotation at our academic medical center. The scholarship includes $2000 stipend to help offset the cost of travel, housing, fees, and incidental expenses. It is available for eligible rising MS4 students who wish to rotate as a visiting student in our GME Programs from underrepresented backgrounds. The award aims to increase the number of Under-Represented in Medicine (URiM) trainees in the GME residency programs at USA. Medical students selected for this scholarship will be invited for a residency interview at USA.


  • Fourth-year medical student in good standing at an accredited U.S. allopathic/osteopathic medical school
  • Student must self-identify as under-represented in medicine by race or ethnicity (URiM - African American, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian).
  • Students must have completed all core clerkships.
  • Students must have successfully passed USMLE Step 1.

Scholars Receive

  • $2,000 stipend toward travel, food and housing
  • Matched with a resident mentor
  • Matched with faculty mentor(s)
  • One-on-one advisement with the Program Director
  • Networking opportunities with faculty, residents and students interested in your success
  • One additional $1,500 scholarship available specifically for General Surgery rotations. Learn more about the Department of Surgery's Visiting Student Diversity Program.

Scholar Responsibilities and Rotation Details

  • One-month rotation
  • Attendance at weekly resident didactics
  • Attendance at weekly Grand Rounds
  • Visiting students will adhere to the appropriate USA Health and USA College of Medicine COVID-19 safety protocols while participating in an elective.

How to Apply

Please send the following to Tomeika Hawkins-Rodgers, Institutional GME Accreditation Specialist, at

Scholarships will be awarded on a rolling basis.

2022 Diversity Coalition Exemplary Leadership Award Recipients 

This award recognizes residents and faculty who demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. It also recognizes exceptional efforts to promote an environment that is free from bias and discrimination. Initiative, enthusiasm, support, dedication, and contributions made towards advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

2022 Pediatric Resident Recipients

  • Chaitra Manjunath, M.D.
  • Chaitra Manjunath, M.D.
    Class of 2022

  • Bedour Jafar, M.D.
  • Bedour Jafar, M.D.
    Class of 2022

  • Swati John, M.D.
  • Swati John, M.D.
    Class of 2024

  • Yarelis Segui Acevedo, M.D.
  • Yarelis Segui Acevedo, M.D.
    Class of 2024


2022 Faculty Recipients

  • Maria Renee Roca, M.D.
  • Maria Renee Roca, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

  • Linda Hassouneh, M.D.
  • Linda Hassouneh, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

▼   Wellness and Advocacy

Building Resident Resilience and Wellness

At USA Peds, we are aware that residency will prove demanding even to those with advanced stress management skills. We provide many activities which foster resident wellness both inside and outside of the hospital. Some of these wellness benefits are:

  • Counseling services are available through the Human Resources Office and through the Counseling and Testing Services office, both on the USA campus
  • Wellness half-days are periodically scheduled for residents - time intended to schedule self-care, health maintenance, or any activity that contributes to wellbeing. This time is separate from vacation and illness
  • Residents are granted four wellness days during the Holiday Wellness Lagniappe Break, either at Christmas or New Year's
  • Confidential meetings with the program director are available to help all residents conquer the challenges of completing residency training

The X+Y scheduling is designed to improve wellness in an overarching, holistic approach. In the X+Y schedule, residents have a "golden weekend" (two full days off), once in every four weeks. Residents also receive one day off in seven. The schedule is developed a year in advance, so residents can plan ahead for special events.

Resident Activities

Wellness Retreats
All wellness retreats include Medicine/Pediatric residents to promote team-building.

Senior Resident Wellness Retreats
Senior residents are relieved of clinical duties to spend a day with each other at various locations in Mobile for a wellness retreat. PGY-2 residents take a day in September and PGY-3/PGY-4 residents take a day in October. Retreats include time for group discussion, outdoor exploration and team-building games. In the past, residents participated in a "Chopped" competition, arts & crafts, yoga, and Zumba.

Intern Retreats
In August, interns meet in the evening for a mini-retreat, focusing on getting to know each other, gratitude, and games. In May, the full-day intern retreat is filled with exercise, team-building, and leadership. The May retreat allows residents to reflect on the past year while preparing for their role as leaders in the next two years.

Monthly Wellness Conference
The second Friday of each month is resident wellness conference. Residents with birthdays during that month are celebrated with cupcakes or birthday from the Leadership team. Lunch is provided and the residents participate in different activities such as painting, yoga, Nailed IT competitions, and much more!

Meconium Bowl
An annual Jeopardy-style trivia game played between faculty and residents to end our academic year. Every year has a different theme.

The JagFIT gym, a new gym with both cardio and weight equipment/machines, is open 5 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily. Located near the residency office, staff and physicians are encouraged to utilize the gym for fitness and stress management.

USA Pediatrics Residency Wellness Retreat Activities 

USA Pediatrics Residency Wellness Retreat Activities

▼   Overview of Residency Training Graduates

2022 Pediatric Residency Fellowship Matches

JC Gonzalez, D.O.

JC Gonzalez, D.O.

2021-2022 Pediatric Chief Resident

Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Florida COM-Shands Hospital, Gainesville

Aishah Najam, D.O.

Aishah Najam, D.O.

2021-2022 Pediatric Chief Resident

Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Kirk Kerkorian SOM at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Fatima Al-Saygh, M.D.

Fatima Al-Saygh, M.D.

Medical Genetics, National Institutes of Health


Caroline Chinchilla Putzeys, M.D.

Caroline Chinchilla Putzeys, M.D.

Pediatric Gastroenterology, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, AZ

Bedour Jafar, M.D.

Bedour Jafar, M.D.

Pediatric Endocrinology, Children’s Hospital-Philadelphia, PA

Rakesh Lavu, M.D.

Rakesh Lavu, M.D.

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH


Chaitra Manjunath, M.D.

Chaitra Manjunath, M.D.

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Loma Linda University, CA

Dhakshitha Peddisetty, M.D.

Dhakshitha Peddisetty, M.D.

Pediatric Pulmonology, UC Irvine Medical Center, CA

Ramya Ramakrishnan, M.D.

Ramya Ramakrishnan, M.D.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of Texas Medical School – Houston, MD Anderson


Ramez Rawhani, M.D.

Ramez Rawhani, M.D.

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Jefferson Medical College/DuPont Children’s, PA

Ameera Sheikh, M.D.

Ameera Sheikh, M.D.

Child Neurology, UT Southwestern Medical Center



2022 General Pediatrics

Sriharsha Rallapalle, M.D.

Sriharsha Rallapalle, M.D.

General Pediatrics, Sylacauga, AL 




▼   Residency Training Verification Requests

According to the University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics, the following fee structure applies to requests for postgraduate training verification:


0-3 years: $65.00
4-8 years: $75.00
8-12 years: $100.00
More than 12 years: $150.00

*This includes verification of training dates and program specifics on training including procedures and narratives on resident performance provided on institution or agency’s form with a valid authorization for release of information.

Additional Fees

Overnight FedEx shipping: $40.00 (No P.O. Box please)
Standard FedEx shipping: $15.00 (No P.O. Box please)
Email or fax: No fee

Please allow up to 10 business days (excluding weekends and holidays) for your request to be processed, as requests are processed in the order that they are received.

Payment by check is to be made payable to:

South Alabama Medical Science Foundation (SAMSF)

Mail to:

University of South Alabama Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Residency Program Office
1700 Center Street, CWEB Room 1536
Mobile, AL 36604

Requests submitted without payment will not be processed. Requests are to be specific and must be accompanied by an authorization for release form. If you have questions you may contact the Pediatric Education office at (251) 415-1087.

▼   Prospective Applicants

We encourage you to visit Mobile, Alabama and interview with USA Pediatrics. Our residents practice at USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital and USA Health Strada Patient Care Center. Both additions are recent: Strada was completed in 2017, and the pediatric wing at the hospital was completed in 2013.

Children's & Women's Hospital has the area's only Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), admitting more than 1,000 infants a year to its 98-bed facility. Our Pediatric Emergency Department is also a Level III facility. As the hospital is the top provider for children in the area, pediatric patients are transferred up to 100 miles to receive care by our Critical Care team in the PICU, our hematologists/oncologists, and a variety of specialties.

Please view our enthusiastic healthcare community at the following sites:
USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital Facebook
USA Health Children's & Women's Hospital Instagram

Follow @USA_Pediatric_Residency on Instagram and @PediatricUsa on Twitter for content curated by our Pediatric Chief Residents.

How to Apply

We accept applications only via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) from the Association of American Medical Colleges, and all positions are offered through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

At least three letters of recommendation are required; however, a letter from your pediatric department chair is not required. All applications received through ERAS are reviewed by the program director.

Applicants who are selected for interview will be invited through ERAS via email. Our residency program coordinator will send your itinerary and detailed instructions about your interview day. Please email if you experience any scheduling issues.

We interview applicants on Tuesdays and Fridays via Zoom during an AM or PM session. Applicants may select their desired session at the time of scheduling an interview.  We look forward to getting to know you, introducing ourselves to you, and showing you the excellent training experience, we offer.

There are no minimum cut-off scores for USMLE. For international graduates, graduating within the last three to five years is desired, and You must have a valid ECFMG certificate. We do not require U.S. experience. We sponsor J-1 visas only.

For our program, a complete file included in the Eras application are the following:

  • MSPE (Dean’s Letter)
  • Medical School transcript
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • USMLE or COMPLEX scores
  • Personal statement

Prior to beginning training, applicants must also: 

  • Provide Passing Step 1 and Step 2 (CK) USMLE or COMPLEX scores (CE/PE)
  • ECFMG Certificate (if applicable)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an application deadline?

Yes, all applications must be received by the program by October 30th.

How many residents do you match each year?

We are currently approved for twelve categorical spots per year. 

What about Step 1 and 2?

There are no minimum cut-off scores for USMLE, we do take into consideration any failed attempts. Note: Step 2 exam results must be received by November 30th.

What about COMLEX?

We accept both USMLE and COMLEX Scores

What does a typical application consist of for those who are invited to interview?

With your USMLE scores, letters of recommendation have the most weight upon the selection process and should include at least one from a General Pediatrician, a letter from your pediatric department chair is not required. Honors in the pediatric clerkship, and a strong personal statement are also factors. All applications received through ERAS are reviewed by the program director.

Do you offer observerships?

Our department does not process observerships.  If you are interested in doing an observership, you should contact the division you would like to observe directly.

Is there a cut off from date of graduation?

We do not accept applications from applicants who have been out of medical school for more than 5 years. 

Is U.S. clinical experience required?

We do not require U.S. clinic experience to apply to our program.

Do you invite foreign medical graduates?

We invite candidates from foreign medical schools each year.

  • We only sponsor J1 Visas sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
  • USA Health Children & Women’s Hospital does not sponsor H-1B visas for graduates of international medical schools.
  • Incoming and continuing J-1 visa house staff are required to obtain their J-1 visas before their training. Failure to submit the requested documentation will result in a delayed start date.
  • We do not require U.S. experience for international applicants.
  • No more than three to five years out of medical school is desired.
  • It is not required for you to have your ECFMG certificate to apply, but you must have a valid ECFMG Certificate prior to beginning residency training at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital.
  • It is strongly recommended for Foreign Medical graduates to start working to obtain the SoN (Statement of Need) as set by ECFMG in a timely manner, failure to obtain the SoN could potentially delay the J1 visa process and/or residency training.

Once an application file is complete and the applicant has met our eligibility criteria, the program evaluates the applicant for an invitation to interview, and invitations are extended through ERAS to those selected. We will interview between 250-300 candidates.

Interview Dates 2022-2023:

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022
  • Friday, October 28, 2022
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2022
  • Friday, November 4, 2022
  • Tuesday, November 8, 2022
  • Friday, November 11, 2022
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022
  • Friday, November 18, 2022
  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022
  • Friday, December 2, 2022
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
  • Tuesday, January 3, 2023
  • Friday, January 6, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 10, 2023
  • Friday, January 13, 2023

*Additional dates may be added throughout the season.

USA Pediatric NRMP Program Number

Categorical Pediatric Residency: 1852320C0

Look for us on the free NRMP PrismSM app on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

▼   Contact Information

For more information, please contact our residency program coordinator at

Department of Pediatrics Residency Program
University of South Alabama
1700 Center Street
Mobile, AL 36604
Phone: (251) 415-1087