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Our Team

TIDES Program Leadership

A diverse group of professionals from multiple specialties brings their experiences and trajectories with DEI to cultivate a culture of belonging, safety, social justice, and equity for all. As we complete a long training, get certificates, and master skills and knowledge on evidence-based practices in surgery, we aim to take the same approach to increase our DEI skills, knowledge, and practices.

CupertinoPaula Cupertino, PhDcurrently leads the Transforming-Culture in the context of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (TIDES) is a complex and multi-faceted endeavor. In the Department of Surgery, we understand that TIDES demands intentional action and ongoing commitment. It takes time, determination, consistency, trials, and partnerships.

In Oct, 2022, Dr. Cupertino, under the direction of Dr. Linehan, founded TIDES. Dr. Cupertino has more than 20 years of experience in the development of community-based participatory research programs at other academic centers. She founded the Juntos Enhancing Latino HealthLatino Health for All, T-SCORE, and Community Outreach and Engagement at Wilmot Cancer InstituDavid Linehan and Paula Cupertinote. Dr. Cupertino has facilitated the transformation of the existing community partnerships into an action-oriented model, in which partners set shared priorities, identify implementation approaches and plan the evaluation of their impact over time.  Her community-engaged health equity research demonstrates that: 1) community-academic partnerships are central in the development of culturally and linguistically sensitive interventions; 2) community-based mobile smoking cessation intervention is effective for Latinos; 3) culturally adapted behavioral interventions have high acceptability and adherence; and 4) community-based interventions can successfully increase diversity in clinical trials accrual. Dr. Cupertino has more than 15 years of experience leading health disparities internships to empower high school students to co-create solutions to the structural racism, and health disparities affecting their communities, and to instill a long-term commitment to careers in the health professions and sciences.

 In medical education, she was the Director of the International Rotation for 4th-year medical students, developed the one-year social services for 4th-year medical students from the Universidad Autonoma de Morelos and Universidad del Estado de Hidalgo and co-led the foundation of medical Spanish elective. She has more than 20 years of experience leading health disparities internships with high school students and teachers and has mentored over 50 high schoolers and 40 college-aged URM youth to empower diverse young scholars, address health disparities affecting their communities, and to instill a long-term commitment to careers in the health professions and sciences. Addressing the impact of the social determinants of health in the city of Rochester, Dr. Cupertino and the Division of Acute Care/Trauma Surgery in partnership with Encompass Education Success Foundation, implemented the Teen Anti-Violence Alliance (TAVA) program with the Department of Surgery Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery when nine high school students developed a social media campaign to mitigate the growing violence they experience in their community.   

DavLinehanid Linehan, MDSeymour I. Schwartz Professor and Chairman Department of Surgery is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion.  Throughout his 25-year career as an academic surgeon, he has witnessed not only the decline in the number of surgeons of color but also decreasing numbers of surgeon-scientists. In his role as Chair, he has been instrumental in fostering opportunities for residents, faculty, and staff to seek new opportunities for engagement with the community.

Notable Alumni: Dr Linehan interviewed Dr. Thomas Penn on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Penn's first day as a surgery intern. Dr. Penn was the second resident of color to matriculate through the Department of Surgery Residency Program. Click to view the conversation


Calvin Cole, PhDCalvin Cole, PhDAssistant Professor, University of Rochester, received his BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. He went on to complete his graduate studies in Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition at Georgia State University, where his study focused on the Effects of High-Intensity Exercise and Body Composition on gastric hormone secretions. At the completion of his doctoral program, he completed an R25 Fellowship in Cancer Control and Survivorship at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery Oncology, Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR), and Wilmot Cancer Institute. 

His current research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of disease-related skeletal muscle wasting. Since his transition to basic research in 2018, he has published seven manuscripts and received several grants to support his research.  Most recently, he was awarded a K01 Career Development grant from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health. In addition to his academic work Dr. Cole also acted as director for the Center for Human Athleticism Musculoskeletal Performance and Prevention (CHAMPP) program, which seeks to reduce the prevalence and risk of injury in underrepresented adolescent student-athletes while improving academic, behavioral, and overall health outcomes. Being from an underrepresented community has instilled in Dr. Cole the responsibility to work to enhance health and socioeconomic equity for all persons here at the University of Rochester and at the state and national levels. To this end, Dr. Cole is active on several Diversity Equity and Inclusion committees at the University of Rochester and national organizations such as the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).  In addition, he serves as a member of the URMC Medical School Admissions Committee and the School of Medicine and Dentistry Medical Faculty Council (MFC). 


Stephanie ParedesStephanie Paredes

Former Program Manager, DEI Advocate

Empathetic leader, award-winning trailblazer & innovator. As DEI Advocate in the Department of Surgery, Stephanie is a natural leader who embodies the core values of DEIB and the people she serves. She has worked diligently through initiatives that serve diverse and traditionally under-represented communities. She has become a respectfully unapologetic voice for diversity and inclusion in the Greater Rochester communities. Most recently, she debuted her directorial career with Water by the Spoonful, a play that addresses burgeoning issues of race, recovery and mental health, which also received The Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award at the 2022 KCACTF National Awards Ceremony. Moreover, Stephanie serves on several boards including; the Rochester City School District’s Parent Leadership Advisory Council, The Greater Health Foundation Collaborative Learning Group, Writers & Books, Blackfriars Theater and the Latino Arts & Cultural Roundtable at Ibero-American Action League.

Department of Surgery Leadership Cabinet

From the beginning, the DoS cabinet members have committed to actively participate in DEI initiatives, vision, and Inform the leadership in their division alongside their staff and trainees. They have identified action items as a group and individually. In Spring 2023, they met to kick off the DEI Surgical Cabinet DEI Initiative. Dr. Cupertino brings an approach to listening and engaging each division on its DEI priorities.  Instead of using a One Size Fits All approach, it is critical to developing local importance to identify their DEI goals in the short and long-term goals.

The initiative of each division includes but is not limited to:

  • Diversity recruitment, promotion and retention across the department
  • Organize DEI processes and goals to create a safe environment 
  • Equip faculty, researchers, and staff to adopt a DEI lens on interactions in clinical care and mentorship
  • Understand structural racism and its impact across the department
  • Eliminate language barriers
  • Advocate for diversity in leadership roles  
  • Implement community outreach


Marjorie Arca, MD
Chief, Pediatric Surgery

Darren Carpizo, MD
Chief, Surgical Oncology

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Mark Gestring, MD
Chief, Acute Care and Trauma 

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Roberto Hernandez, MD
Chief, Transplant Surgery

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Michelle Janelsins, PhD
Chief, Supportive Care in Cancer

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Joseph Johnson, MD
Chief, Bariatric Surgery

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Carolyn Jones, MD
Chief, Thoracic Surgery

Theodor Kaufman, MD
Chief, Regional General Surgery

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Peter Knight, MD
Chief, Cardiac Surgery

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Howard Langstein, MD
Chief, Plastic Surgery

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Mark Orloff, MD
Transplant Surgery

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Mike Stoner, MD
Chief, Vascular Surgery


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Larissa Temple, MD
Chief, Colorectal Surgery

TIDES Committee

  • The Department of Surgery Transforming Culture with Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Surgery Advisory Committee consists of outgoing surgeons, investigators, trainees and staff that hold the values of DEI to a gold standard, they provide thoughtful recommendations and ongoing counsel.

Medical Education

  • Paula Cupertino, PhD; 
  • Marjorie J Arca, MD; Pediatric Surgery 
  • Joclyn Gaston, NP; Surgical Oncology
  • Nikesha J Gilmore, PhD; Supportive Care in Cancer
  • Roberto Hernandez Alejandro, MD; Transplant Surgery

Recruitment & Retention 

  • Charles Kamen, MD; Supportive Care in Cancer
  • Eric Ndikumana, MD; Surgical Residency Program
  • Mark Orloff, MD; Transplant Surgery
  • Bryanna Patterson, NP; Transplant Surgery
  • Yanjie Qi, MD; Acute Care and Trauma 


Skills Building

  • Sebastian Szczebiot; Central Administration
  • Pam Urban; Central Administration
  • Calvin L Cole, PhD; Surgery Research
  • Quarnisha White; Cardiac Surgery
  • Heather Shelley; Vascular Surgery

Community Outreach 

  • Clayton W Jones; Local Government & Community Relations
  • Laura Borate; Acute Care and Trauma Surgery
  • Emily Julian; Acute Care and Trauma Surgery
  • Elizabeth Schinski; Vascular Surgery
To Join a TIDES committee, ​please email Arlette Chavez