Fostering Leaders in Advocacy Work
The mission of the Social Justice Pathway is to equip trainees to be change agents in our healthcare system and society. Profound social and systemic barriers create health inequities that are a feature of our healthcare system. Healthcare professionals have a unique vantage point to speak to the social, economic, and political factors that influence the care our patients receive. Through our social justice didactic curriculum, community outreach, and mentorship, we believe that residents will better understand the injustices in our healthcare system and society and be better positioned to find their role in providing solutions.
The Social Justice Pathway is designed for residents who aim to be leaders in advocacy work. Beginning in their PGY2 year, residents will participate in a three-pronged curriculum:
- An immersive didactic course in their PGY2 year
- Local community outreach and advocacy work
- A longitudinal research or innovations project
Through community outreach, residents will be exposed to grassroots efforts to confront social injustices that range from health disparities and food insecurity, to prison, immigrant, and LGBTQ health.
Through didactic presentations and skill-training experiences, residents will deepen their understanding of the complex systems that influence healthcare and appreciate how advocacy interventions at various levels can have longstanding effects at the population level. Residents will be encouraged to develop their own identity as physician advocates in ways that fit their unique interests and personal values.
Research and innovation can become an extension of a resident’s identity as an advocate when the work promotes equity, access, and participation for diverse populations. Residents will learn about the needs of the community and will develop practical solutions to respond to those needs. Residents will be paired with a mentor who will provide support and guidance to help with individual or group projects that address local, regional, or national social justice issues.
For more information, please contact:
Lika Targan, MD
Associate Program Director
Division of General Medicine and Primary Care
Meet Our Program Directors
Lika Targan, MD
Dr. Lika Targan is a primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). She received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley and her medical degree at the University of California, Davis. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
During her residency training, she was a part of the Clinician Educator Track, a two-year program aimed at helping residents develop the skills necessary to be leaders in medical education. During this time, she helped design a longitudinal curriculum to enhance resident team leadership on the inpatient wards, which has since been incorporated into the residency curriculum.
After her residency training, she rejoined the Internal Medicine Residency Program as a Chief Medical Resident. She delivered didactic and small group instruction to the medical residents in the form of morning and noon conferences. She also led a monthly multidisciplinary morbidity and mortality conference, investigating root cause analyses and highlighting quality improvement goals within the medicine department.
Upon completion of her Chief Residency year, she joined the primary care faculty at BIDMC. She has continued in her clinician educator role, serving as a preceptor for residents. She is a core faculty member in clinical skills assessment at Harvard Medical School, and also serves as a foundational continuity clinic preceptor. She remains connected to the BIDMC residency program as an Associate Program Director.
Over the past few years, she has continued to develop curricula for the Internal Medicine residency program. She developed a novel nutrition curriculum for the primary care medical residents and helps run the Social Justice Pathway, aimed at equipping trainees to be change agents in the healthcare system and society.
Giovanna Leddy, MD
Dr. Giovanna Leddy is an Associate Director of the Social Justice Track. She studied at the College of William and Mary, the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She previously practiced primary care and now specializes in the management of obesity and weight-related conditions.
During medical school and residency, she spent time with medical organizations internationally in Uganda and Liberia and nationally in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, and in rural communities within Vermont. Through these experiences, she became acutely aware of structural determinants of health and resultant health disparities that exist on a global and local scale.
After her residency, Dr. Leddy practiced primary care at Bowdoin Street Health Center in Boston. There, she developed a deeper understanding of the upstream factors impacting the health of her patients and a strong desire to become a better physician advocate. She participated in The Kraft Practitioner Program, where she worked to expand resident education to incorporate more training in community health and on topics of social justice and health equity.
Currently, in her role as an Associate Director for the Social Justice Track, she aspires to train a new generation of physicians who will be well positioned to lead necessary change and to improve health equity.
Ruvandhi Nathavitharana, MD, MPH
Dr. Ruvandhi Nathavitharana is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Her research on tuberculosis (TB) focuses on the use of implementation science to optimize TB diagnosis and improve TB care delivery. Dr. Nathavitharana has served as a technical expert analyzing data to inform WHO policy recommendations on TB diagnostic testing.
As an infectious diseases physician, Dr. Nathavitharana is increasingly aware of the importance of advocacy to advance health equity, in recognition of often unaddressed social, economic and political dimensions of illness. She serves the Chair of TB Proof, an advocacy organization, based in South Africa, whose mission seeks to combine stories and science to destigmatize TB and mobilize national and global resources to end TB. Dr. Nathavitharana is passionate about creating community-based learning and mentorship opportunities for residents and fellows interested in social justice, and building interdisciplinary partnerships across the Beth Israel Lahey Health network and community organizations.