We welcomed eight new residents this year and this is the second of two articles introducing them. They are done with orientation and have officially started their four-year residencies. This group of introductions includes Drs. Maryam Laiyemo, Harshita Pinnamaneni, Lalita Thitiseranee, and Misha Zara.

We are incredibly excited to welcome…

Maryam Laiyemo, MD

Maryam Laiyemo

Dr. Laiyemo completed her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. She then spent a year at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Her undergraduate degree in Administration of Justice was earned from Howard University in Washington.

To build her research skills, Dr. Laiyemo worked with Principal Investigator Dr. Thomas Mellman on a study titled Motivational Interviewing for COVID-19 Vaccination Ambivalence designed to train non-medical professionals on motivational interviewing to facilitate conversations with individuals who were undecided about COVID-19 vaccination. She also worked with Dr. Careen-Joan Franklin on a study titled, Assessment of Naloxone Use in Individuals with Opiate Use Disorder.

Dr. Laiyemo also worked with Dr. Gail Nunlee-Bland on a study aimed to determine if the incorporation of a remote, technological based curriculum improved patient lifestyle changes regarding weight loss versus a traditional, in-class curriculum. Dr. Laiyemo is first author on the five articles she has had published in medical journals and has made several poster presentations during medical meetings.

An active volunteer, Dr. Laiyemo has had brief stints with several organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychotherapy Fair, the National Council of Nigerian Muslim Organizations health fair, the Howard University Health Fair, the Howard University-New Freedman's Clinic, and helped organize breakfast service at the Catholic Charities Men Emergency Shelter in Washington, DC.

During school, Dr. Laiyemo worked as a peer educator for RAHMA: Reaching All HIV+ Muslims in America and founded STYLISH: Sistas Teaching Young Ladies the Importance of Sexual Health, which targeted African American females aged 16 through 21 in Washington, DC.

When she has free time, Dr. Laiyemo enjoys learning about different cultures, watching international cinema, listening to music in a variety of different languages, and experiencing international cuisine. She also enjoys crafting projects, painting, drawing, interior decorating, and cosmetics and encourages her passion for social justice through friendly discussions and watching social justice commentary videos on YouTube.

Harshita Pinnamaneni, MD

Harshita Pinnamaneni

Dr. Pinnamaneni earned her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI, and her undergraduate degree in human biology from Michigan State University in East Lansing. While at Wayne State, she received a Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship. As a participant in the Medical Student Research Symposium, Dr. Pinnamaneni was the second-place winner in Prospective Clinical Sciences. She also won the Spirit of Community Award for her work with Auntie Na's House Health Clinic.

To build her research skills, Dr. Pinnamaneni worked in the Wayne State University lab of Dr. Teena Chopra to help with research on COVID in vulnerable populations. As part of a Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship, she worked with Dr. Jason Mateika in his respiratory lab at the VA Hospital in Detroit where she primarily studied the effects of intermittent hypoxia in obstructive sleep apnea. She is a coauthor of one journal article and has given one oral and one poster presentation.

As a volunteer, Dr. Pinnamaneni worked with FitKids 360 and Auntie Na’s Village, both in Detroit, was an education coordinator for the World Health Student Organization and spent a week working with Bridges to Community in Derrumbadero, Dominican Republic, doing healthcare screenings. She also volunteered with the MedLife-Michigan State University Chapter in Riobamba, Ecuador, providing medical care and education and spent about 18 months working with Michigan State University-Heartland Hospice providing companionship to terminally ill patients.

In her spare time, Dr. Pinnamaneni enjoys baking and cooking, watching Top Chef, and exploring local music venues.

Lalita Thitiseranee, MBBS

Lalita Thitiseranee

Dr. Thitiseranee earned her medical degree from Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China. Following graduation, she volunteered for many organizations, including translating materials for UCLA Cares, creating social media for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, teaching meditation at Heal One World in Los Angeles, and helping at Comfort Choice Hospice Care, also in Los Angeles.

In Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Thitiseranee volunteered with the Ministry of Public Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and with CoCare, a telehealth provider, working with patients who had mild COVID. In Taksin Hospital of Bangkok, she helped provide immigrant healthcare.

When she learned she had matched at the U of M, Dr. Thitiseranee Tweeted: “I matched at my #1!! Thank you … selection committee. Looking forward to enjoying the next four years in Minneapolis!”

Dr. Thitiseranee’s work experience includes a part-time assignment with the Asia America Career Connection in Chapel Hill, NC, as a medical education advisor. She also was a general practitioner at Vibharam Hospital in Chonburi, Thailand, working with underserved and uninsured patients and at Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hospital in Thailand, where she worked with high-need, rural, and underserved patients.

She built her research skills in the Department of Psychiatry at Chulalongkorn Hospital in Bangkok, as a postgraduate research assistant in the lab of Dr. Nuttorn Pityaratstian, helping study the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy on depression in Thai university students. Dr. Thitiseranee was also a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok in the lab of Dr.  Komsan Kiatrungrit, helping evaluate and manage patients at the gender-variant clinic. She coauthored one journal article and has made several poster and oral presentations.

When Dr. Thitiseranee has free time, she enjoys staying in shape, meditation, cooking, journaling and scrapbooking, photography, reading, and playing board and video games.

Misha Zara, DO, MS

Misha Zara

Dr. Zara completed her doctor of osteopathy and master’s (biomedical sciences) degrees at the University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) in Fort Worth. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Ohio State University in Columbus. While in school, she was awarded the W.R Hammond and the Zima Rohr Thompson Scholarships. Dr. Zara also received the Silver TOUCH (Translation Osteopathic Understanding into Community Health) Award for 50+ hours of volunteering.

Those hours were built during activities such as tourniquet training and demonstrating at Texas Christian University’s summer fair, performing vision checks at elementary schools through the North Texas Eye Research Institute Vision, and providing dental fluoride applications and vision screenings in a pediatric mobile clinic. She also worked for two years at True Worth Place, a homeless shelter.

Dr. Zara, who is multilingual, spent almost two years working at the Agape Spanish Speaking Clinic in Dallas, a student-run clinic that operates once a week. She helped coauthor four journal articles and has made two poster presentations.

To build her research skills, Dr. Zara was a student researcher for more than two years in a lab at TCOM, doing right aortic sinus cardiac variant analysis and studying LGBTQ+ vulnerabilities in medical analysis. As an undergraduate, she spent almost two years in the Ohio State University lab of Dr. Wael Jarjour working on several studies.

When Dr. Zara has some free time, she enjoys fashion photography, yoga, hiking, travel, trying new chocolate desserts, and producing a cultural podcast for South Asian women.

We are very excited to have all these new residents in our program. They bring diverse perspectives and experiences and over the next four years, will help the program grow in many unexpected ways.

Read part 1 of this series.