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Dr. Benjamin Mba Is New Vice Chair, DEI

April 04, 2023
by Julie Parry

Benjamin Mba, MBBS, MRCP (UK), CHCQM, FACP, has been named Vice Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), for the Department of Internal Medicine, effective July 1, 2023. He will also serve as the Graduate Medical Education Director (GME) of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and Yale School of Medicine (YSM).

Mba comes to Yale after 23 years in various roles at Cook County Hospital and Rush Medical College in Chicago, Ill. During his time in Chicago, he became engrossed in DEI efforts, working to recruit underrepresented in medicine (URiM) trainees to Cook County Hospital.

When Mba saw the Yale posting, he was excited about the possibility of working with “great minds on a larger, more resourced platform.”

“I felt that if I was lucky enough to get this position, I could take this message, this energy, and this momentum onto a regional and national platform with more resources,” said Mba. “I noticed that when I visited Yale that everyone was supporting each other, working with each other, everyone geared towards the same goal. I liked the synchronicity between the GME, the department, and the medical school,” he said.

Mba earned his MBBS degree from the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria in 1994. He completed his internship from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, before relocating to Cardiff, Wales, to serve as senior house officer at Whitchurch Psychiatry Hospital. He then decided to pursue internal medicine and completed his residency at Staffordshire General Hospital in Stafford, England. Mba completed a subsequent residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Ill. from 2000 – 2003, where he also completed a chief resident year. As a resident, Mba received the Clinical skills and Scholarship Award from the Department of Medicine at Cook County Health twice.

Mba rose through the academic ranks at Rush Medical College, serving in a variety of roles from educational director to firm chief, to associate chair of medicine for faculty development. He was named professor in 2019. During his tenure at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Mba was a four-time recipient of both the Sir William Osler Teaching Award and the Cooker Teaching Award. He was also a four-time recipient of the Rush Medical College Excellence in Medical Student Education Award, for teaching internal medicine to students. Additionally, Mba was recognized as an extraordinary teaching attending in a national exploratory qualitative study that identified and studied 12 exemplary teaching physicians nationwide. The findings were published in Teaching Inpatient Medicine and several peer review journals.

His honors caught the attention of Patrick G. O’Connor, MD, MPH, MACP, Dan Adams and Amanda Adams Professor of Medicine and Chief, General Internal Medicine.

“An important piece of what Benjamin has to offer are his abilities as a mentor. In 2022, he won the National American College of Physician Certificate of Appreciation as part of National Mentoring Month. Those mentoring skills are going to be important in his new role at Yale, both in the department and in graduate medical education. So we are lucky to have him joining us,” said O’Connor.

Stephen Huot, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (nephrology); and senior associate dean for GME, was inspired by Mba and his commitment to DEI.

“He has had a range of lived experiences, born in Nigeria, educated in the UK and then in the U.S. He is viewed by his referees as the doctor's doctor, the teacher's teacher. And those are certainly skills that are relevant to the role,” said Huot. “I was really struck by his commitment to a broad understanding of diversity and to his strong desire to help us build stronger relationships with the community. Not only the community within the hospital, the department, and the school, but of the communities that we serve in the greater New Haven area. When you speak with him, he just brings a lot of energy to the conversation all the time.”

Since Inginia Genao, MD, left YSM in March 2022, Vandana Khungar, MD, MSc; Aba Black, MD, MHS; and Huot, have been supporting the DEI work in the Department of Internal Medicine and YNHH GME office. Huot and O’Connor spoke about the important roles that Genao, Khungar, and Black play in the department’s DEI efforts.

“Inginia built a foundation and now it is time to put the bricks on the house, right? Vandana did an exceptional job of not just being a caretaker interim associate chair for the department, but she really continued to push programs, and was actively engaged at absolutely every level. And I cannot imagine how we would have gotten through the year without things falling apart with her doing that,” said Huot.

“With Aba being the vice chief for DEI in the Section of General Internal Medicine, she has been doing a lot of wonderful creative things with us within the section, such as our annual DEI retreat in February and assuring that attention to enhancing DEI among our faculty is a top priority every single day. Her impact has been felt in a very positive way in the department as well,” said O’Connor.

Huot also applauded other support personnel in the department’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Internal Medicine (ODEIM) such as Cayetana Navarro, MBA, and Lori Williams.

Department Chair Gary V. Désir, MD, Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine and Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, is proud of how faculty and staff across the department has supported ODEIM and the department’s DEI efforts since the loss of Genao. “DEI is part of our mission statement and part of our everyday actions in internal medicine. We are incredibly thankful to Vandana, Aba, Steve, Cayetana, Lori, and others who kept our DEI efforts going during the interim period. We are excited for Benjamin to join our leadership team and continue with the work.”

Mba officially starts at Yale on July 1, 2023. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime, to not only grow personally, but to grow a mission that's very important.”

The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators, educators, and staff in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Julie Parry on April 04, 2023