Office of Diversity Enhancement

Who's Who in Diversity

Office of Diversity Enhancement

Irene Blanco, M.D., MS
Associate Dean, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Associate Professor, Clinical Medicine
Location: Belfer Building - Room 507
Phone: 718.430.3091

Irene Blanco, M.D., MS is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine as well as the Associate Dean of Diversity Enhancement at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Montefiore Medical Center.  A rheumatologist by training, she 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 is focused 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.


Milton A. Gumbs M.D.
Associate Dean Emeritus, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Location: Belfer Building - Room 507

Established in 1982 as an expression of the Medical College's strong commitment to "welcome students from all creeds and races," specifically, underrepresented minorities, the activities of the Office of Diversity Enhancement focus on medical student recruitment, development and coordination of academic support services, academic monitoring, and student counseling. As the department director, Dr. Gumbs provides leadership and oversight of these functions. Dr. Gumbs is also a member of the school's Committee on Student Promotions and Professional Standards.

The academic rigors of medical school are well documented and it can often be more so for underprivileged minorities, many of who had to overcome economic, social and/or personal hardships in order to make it into medical school. With its "open door" policy, Dr. Gumbs and the Office of Diversity Enhancement's assistant deans, Nilda I. Soto, MS Ed, and Yvette Calderon, M.D. provide the Medical College's students with needed support services that enable them to achieve medical school and life success.


Nilda I. Soto, M.S. Ed
Assistant Dean, Office of Diversity Enhancement;
Director, Einstein Enrichment Program
Location: Belfer Building - Room 507
Phone: 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. The former offers educational components to minority and economically disadvantaged high school students during the school year and summer, while the latter places minority undergraduate students in the laboratories of Einstein researchers for a eight-week period during the summer.

Ms. Soto served on the New York State Minority Health Council through March 2010. As a member of the Minority Health Council, Ms. Soto worked with other council members in considering matters relating to minority health. In addition to her membership on the Minority Health Council, 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. Ms. Soto received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Fordham University.


Heather A. Archer-DyerHeather A. Archer-Dyer, MPH, CHES
Director of Community Based Service Learning (CBSL)
Location: Belfer Building - Room 507
Phone: 718.430.3419

Heather joined the department of Family and Social Medicine in November of 2012 as the new Director of Community Health Outreach and Instructor. Formerly the Assistant Director of Public Health Practice at New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice, she brings skills in managing medical and graduate student practica and internship experiences. She has considerable expertise working with communities to advance public health, and developing public health projects for students. Additionally, Heather served as the Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Education of the Children's Environmental Health Center of the Hudson Valley (CEHCHV) at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Westchester Medical Center Health Network. She has demonstrated educational leadership in her community activities by developing and implementing many successful public health presentations and workshops.

As a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who completed a graduate certificate in Health Information Technology, Heather has been a resident of the Bronx on and off for eighteen years and remains an active volunteer on several task forces and coalitions in the area.

Many of her experiences in both the community and classroom have focused on prevention and health promotion in at-risk and underserved populations.

Heather is excited to take the reins from Dr. Maria Marzan and help the CBSL program, which is integral to the Einstein students, continue to grow and flourish. She shares our vision to involve our students in mutually beneficial service-learning activities and will help develop a robust program that will include all medical and graduate students of Einstein.  Heather also desires to overhaul the evaluation system in order to measure the impact of these programs on both student learning and the community in which our students work.

Heather can be reached via e-mail at: 


Dr. Melvin E. Stone, Jr., M.D., FACS
Academic Advisor, to the Office of Diversity Enhancement
Location: Jacobi Medical Center, 1400 Pelham Parkway South, Bldg. 1, 12th Floor Suite 1213

Surgeon cum Electrical Engineer, Dr. Mel Stone knows the importance of staying charged and powered up at all times. Born and raised in Chicago, Mel received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and his Master of Science from the University of California at Los Angeles in Electrical Engineering. He received his Medical Degree from the University of California at San Francisco in June of 1995. He completed his Trauma/Critical Care Fellowship in 2001 from the University of Maryland/Shock Trauma, one of our nation's most prestigious training programs.

Mel Stone chose to make us his professional home beginning in 2001. He secured his Boards in rapid succession in General Surgery (2001) and in Surgical Critical Care (2002). He serves as the Surgery Clerkship Site Director, is a Co-Coordinator for the Surgery Resident Journal Club and is a Course Director and Instructor for both Advanced Trauma Life Support and Advanced Trauma Operative Management. Mel is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and a member of many professional societies. In both 2009 and 2010, Mel was singled out by the Jacobi Emergency Medicine Residency Training Program for his teaching. He was inducted as a Member of the Leo M. Davidoff Society at Einstein for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Medical Students in May 2009. Mel's 24/7/365 responsibilities have not precluded him from lecturing or writing for academic journals.

His connection with clinicians and nurses is incredibly powerful, and his patience and warmth in working with families is a highly valued attribute. Mel acknowledges and thanks the people and team that he works with at Jacobi - especially the trauma/critical care staff. "What we do daily in the healthcare profession is vital and ranks among the most important contributions to society and community. My professional successes are impossible without my team."

Mel resides in Manhattan with his wife Janet Hernandez - also part of the Jacobi family - and with their two children Fiona Blue, five years old, and Matias Nathaniel, one and a half years old. Though Mel holds images of his patients, both past and present, close to his heart, no image is as precious to him as the one of his son Matias, fighting for his life in Jacobi's NICU.

Mel plays guitar with the blues rock trio WolfHustler. He is a triathlete and occasional marathon runner. He is always striving to sparkle in the many facets of his life to be a better father, husband, guitar player and surgeon. When asked what he finds beautiful about patient care, Mel states, "There is nothing more beautiful than helping another human being. It isn't about you, it is about everybody else, and once you understand this one truth, all of sudden you will get a lot more coming to you - that's the secret."


Maddy Ebanks, BS
Administrative Assistant, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Location: Belfer Building - Room 507
Phone: 718.430.3091

A native of Nueva Gerona, Cuba, Maddy's family immigrated to the United States. A product of New York City's public school system, she learned to speak English thanks to Bilingual Education classes which also allowed her to remain with her cohort. Maddy received a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehman College where she majored in Health Care Administration with a minor in Elementary Education. She graduated Cum Laude and was on the Dean's List.

She served the East Harlem community as a public education advocate. In this capacity she helped raise awareness of the needs of the public school community, and collaborated with other elected officials, parents, pedagogical staff, and community members to procure resources needed to support the instructional practices of their respective district.

Maddy has over twenty years of experience in the health care administration field. She is familiar with the accreditation standards governing graduate medical education and the accreditation and privileging standards governing health care organization operations and professional affairs.

Maddy values the empowerment of self and others through information which is in sync with our department's vision and mission. She is often heard saying, "an informed person is an army of one."

Maddy is a licensed New York State Notary.


The Einstein Enrichment Program

A. Julie Cruz, MA, MCDP
Manager, Office of Diversity Enhancement
- Einstein Enrichment Program
- Community Based Service Learning Program
Location: Belfer Building - Room 407
Phone: 718.430.4166 / Fax: 718.430.8841

Ana Julia started at Einstein as Counselor in November of 2006, and became Coordinator of EEP in September 2007. After assuming responsibility for the development of Einstein's Community Based Service Learning program in 2013 with Dr. Maria Marzan, Ana Julia became Manager of the Office of Diversity Enhancement.

She came to Einstein from New York University where she was Assistant Director of Marketing and Coordinator of the Center for Career, Education and Life Planning. Ms. Cruz is also a counselor in private practice and volunteer grief counselor with ACCESS (Air-Craft Casualty Emotional Support Services). In addition to individual counseling, Ms. Cruz has designed and facilitated many workshops and seminars related to career development for both adolescents and adults in transition, and most is currently developing a service learning curriculum for Einstein's CBSL program.

She earned her Bachelor's degree, Master's in Applied Psychology and Certificate in Adult Career Development from New York University, and has received the designation of Master Career Development Professional from the National Career Development Association. Julie is a member of the American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, Association for Death Education and Counseling, National Association for Advisers for the Health Professions, and the National Career Development Association where she serves as mentor for counselors. She presented a poster with Dr. Marzan on Medical Pathways at the AAMC GDI Conference in August of 2012.


Deborah Negron Cordero, MS
Counselor, Einstein Enrichment Program, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Location: Belfer Building - Room 407
Phone: 718.430.4166

A Bronx native, Deborah Negron Cordero assumed the Counselor position at the Einstein Enrichment Program in April of 2010. Deborah has been in the field of providing case management and counseling services for 15 years. Deborah received her Bachelor's Degree in the field of Human Services from the Metropolitan College of New York in 2001, and went on to obtain a Master of Science Degree in the field of Counseling in 2006 from Mercy College. Deborah is a licensed school counselor in both the states of New York and Florida and is a member of American School Counselor Association, and the College Access Consortium of New York.


Medina Byars
Program Assistant-Einstein Enrichment Program, Office of Diversity Enhancement
Location: Belfer Building - Room 407
Phone: 718.430.4166

Medina Byars has been with Einstein College of Medicine for over 26 years. She began working at the Van Etten Drug Treatment Program in 1981 doing billing, switchboard, and general clerical and reception duties. Medina continued her work at Einstein at Public Affairs formerly known as Public Information/Relations. By 1987 she moved to research, assuming the role of secretary for the Developmental & Molecular Biology formally known as Development Biology and Cancer Department. By 1989 Medina started to job share with another secretary in the Office of Minority Student Affairs – currently The Office of Diversity Enhancement. In 1991 Medina became the Administrative Assistant for the Einstein Enrichment Program and the next 17 years are history.

In addition to Medina's Einstein career, she became an Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Natural Health Professional. Medina graduated from the school of Integrative Medicine in 1993, earning Board Certification in Holistic Health Counseling. In 1994 she went to Everglades University in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Alternative Medicine. Since 1988 Medina Byars has owned Visions of Health, a consulting service that provides a holistic approach to wellness.

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