People Profiles: Dr. Yewande Rukayat Alimi

Yewande Rukayat Alimi, MD (General Surgeon)

Yewande Rukayat Alimi, MD, (General Surgeon) holds many titles at MedStar Health. She’s a minimally invasive and bariatric surgeon; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the Department of Surgery; co-chair for the Working Group for Racial Justice; and co-chair on the Respect in the Learning Environment reporting subcommittee. She is also enrolled in the MedStar Health Teaching Scholars program, where she is learning the skills to be an education scholar and leader.

The thread that ties all these roles together is Dr. Alimi’s desire to create a more equitable learning environment and a more diverse workforce at MedStar Health.

“I’d like to envision a future of medicine where we are educating providers that represent the U.S. – meaning that we’re getting more folks who have been previously underrepresented in medicine and in surgery into positions of leadership. I envision a workforce that looks a lot more like the patients we are taking care of daily,” Dr. Alimi says.

Dr. Alimi is working with her MedStar Health colleagues to achieve those goals through each of her leadership roles.

  • As the Director of DEI within the Department of Surgery, Dr. Alimi is focusing on health equity and expanding access to medical education for underrepresented minority students. Dr. Alimi has been granted seed funding from MedStar Health’s Academic Investment Fund to support this work.
  • The Respect in the Learning Environment Committee is working to decrease specialty disrespect and microaggressions towards student learners. In her work on the reporting subcommittee, Dr. Alimi has been focused on creating better reporting mechanisms for students.
  • The Working Group for Racial Justice serves as a consortium within the health system that focuses on issues affecting underrepresented minorities within medicine. Dr. Alimi is helping build the House Staff Diversity Council so that underrepresented physicians have an additional avenue for community and engagement among their peers.

 Dr. Alimi cares deeply about investing in residents and fellows and takes pride in mentoring the next generation of physicians, largely because she has experienced the value in those relationships. She cited the support provided by Dean Padmore, Dr. Shimae Fitzgibbons, Dr. Eleanor Drew, Dr. Patrick Jackson, Dr. Steve Evans, Dr. Lisa Boyle – and many others – that really made her feel like MedStar Health was a place where she could thrive and make an impact.

 “I’ve had mentors who are really invested in me, and the things that I’m interested in – I in turn have engaged in those mentor-mentee relationships,” Dr. Alimi says. “I particularly like the engagement that you get with trainees. Being in some of my roles, I get to be a mentor and a visual representation that folks belong! Whether or not it’s that I’m a woman, or a Black woman, it’s been really influential.”

 Dr. Alimi also holds another important title that has influenced her work: Mom.

“It’s really changed the outlook I have on how I engage with my patients, how I engage with the world in hoping that it will look a little bit different for him than when I stepped into it.”