About The Council
We aim to create a culturally proficient and welcoming environment for patients, faculty, staff and trainees through exceptional clinical care, diversity education, mentorship programs, and community service. We strive to champion diversity and inclusion in the department of neurology.
Racial Injustice Statement
Recent events surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have raised strong emotion and deep concern about issues of injustice, social inequities, and racism. We understand that this is a painful time particularly for the black community and to everyone who values the dignity of every human life regardless of color or creed. These events remind us that elements of injustice and racism continue to exist in our society at large and most probably around us.
As a department rooted in core values of compassion and respect for all people, we want our staff, trainees, and faculty to know that we see, hear, and feel your pain. We are in this together. While words and emotions may abound at a time like this, we want to ensure that these words are translated into actions that produce meaningful change to make our institution a more welcoming place for everyone, every marginalized group, and every race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr– “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
We want to welcome a conversation about these issues as the first step to combating the pain and inequities we face. We encourage everyone to lend a voice to this conversation. Let’s not be afraid to begin an open discussion about inequities and social biases that affect us and the patients we care for. Be the voice that speaks out against inequity and injustice when you see it overtly, covertly, or on a systemic level. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” MLK
Secondly, we encourage us all to be a light in the midst of darkness, to overcome hate with love. We cannot overcome injustice with more injustice. The solution is in standing strong on our core values of compassion and respect for all people. The solution is to overturn systemic injustice, discrimination, and inequality. As difficult as it may be, let us strive to be the light and the love to those around us by showing value and respect for all people. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” MLK.
Finally, our doors are open to anyone who wants to talk about solutions or initiatives on diversity and inclusion within our department. We are open to listening to all who feel unheard and marginalized. Our diversity and inclusion council aims to improve sponsorship of minorities into leadership positions and to develop a mutual relationship with our diverse local and regional communities. We have started an education series that aims to help our residents and staff to identify biases and to work on affecting systemic changes to decrease disparities and biases in our department. Please reach out to any of us in the diversity and inclusion council.
Remember our core value of “strength through diversity”.
Together we are strong.
George Ansoanuur, MD
Marc Alain Babi, MD
Maria Bruzzone, MD
Bryce Buchowicz, MD
Aisha Elfasi, MD
Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, MD
Ashley Rawls, MD
Diego Rincon-Limas, PhD
Alexis Simpkins, MD, PhD
Vinata Vedam-Mai, PhD
Diversity and inclusion council , University of Florida Department of Neurology
Meet the Team
Dr. Marc Alain Babi is a neurocritical care physician at the University Florida. He earned his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr Babi completed his residency training at the University of Vermont and subsequent fellowship training at Duke University. Dr Babi has mentored over 20 individuals of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Dr Babi lived in 4 different continents in the last 2 decades, speaks 5 different languages and stems of different ethnic backgrounds. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, outdoors, multiethnic cuisine and quality time with his family.
Dr. Maria Bruzzone is a neurologist specialized in Epilepsy at the University of Florida. She graduated medical school from Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay and did her residency and fellowship training in Chicago. Her native language is Spanish and she really enjoys working with underrepresented trainees with a Spanish background. She is currently a mentor for the University Multicultural Mentor Program at UF. She enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her husband and little son.
Dr. Rawls is a 2014 graduate of UFCOM, and completed her residency in neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina. She returned to serve her home state of Florida following her completion of the Stanford Movement Disorders program
Dr. George Ansoanuur completed Medical school at the University of Florida, and then went to Houston where he completed his residency in Neurology at the university of Texas. He moved back to Gainesville and completed a fellowship in Sports and Neurotrauma. His practice interests include headaches, concussions and pain management.
Dr. Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora is a neurologist specializing in movement disorders at the University of Florida. He graduated medical school from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico. He completed neurology training at Loyola University Chicago followed by a fellowship training at the University of California San Francisco. He has participated in several mentorship programs for students with focus on diversity and underrepresented minorities in medicine. He was part of the first diversity leadership award/counsel created by the Academy of Neurology. He has diverse cultural background and he enjoys outdoor activities and sports.
Dr. Diego Rincon-Limas is a neuroscientist with a PhD degree from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. He is strongly interested in issues related to the education, mentoring and professional development of underrepresented minorities in biomedical sciences. He served previously on the UF Council of Diversity, the UF Career Resource Center Advisory Committee, and the UF Minority Mentoring Program. He has mentored more than 25 individuals from underrepresented groups and is a Lifetime Member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. He enjoys multicultural food, landscaping, and spending quality time with family.
Dr. Simpkins is a vascular neurologist with an MD, PhD degree from the Medical College of Georgia and a Master’s of Clinical Research from the Medical College of South Carolina. She completed a neurology residency at the Johns Hopkins University followed by a vascular neurology fellowship at the National Institute of Health. Dr. Simpkins supports and encourages diversity in medicine. She was the keynote speaker for the Neurons & Synapses Making Network, NINDS Summer Internship Program Career Symposium in Washington DC in 2018, is a mentor for the University Multicultural Mentor Program at the University of Florida, and participates in community outreach.
Dr. Vedam-Mai is an Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Neurology and the Fixel Institute at the University of Florida. Research in her lab focuses on comprehending mechanisms of neuronal demise in neurodegenerative diseases in order to improve therapeutic strategies for their treatment. Dr. Vedam-Mai has mentored several students in the laboratory setting belonging to diverse backgrounds. She currently serves as a mentor for the University Multicultural Mentor Program (UMMP). She is also a board member for the Academic Association for Women (AAW) at UF. She is a member of the Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) group at UF.
Dr. Bryce Buchowicz is a neuro-ophthalmologist and is currently dually appointed with the departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology at the University of Florida. She completed Neurology residency at Yale University and neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Emory University. Her clinical interests include idiopathic intracranial hypertension and cerebrospinal fluid leaks. She enjoys spending time outdoors and adopting animals in need.
Aisha Elfasi grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Florida, majoring in Biology. She decided to stay in sunny Florida for medical school and was honored to be able to join the Gator family at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Her outstanding clinical experience as a medical student made her certain that she would love to become a double Gator by completing residency here. She is thrilled for this new journey and looks forward to finally becoming a neurologist!