Pediatric Resident Profiles

PGY 1's  

Kayla Adams, MD 

Photo of Kayla Adams, MD

Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Undergrad: Fairleigh Dickinson University

Med School: St. George's University School of Medicine

Why SIU: My interview day really stood out to me, the program showcased such a healthy learning environment and I honestly felt like SIU would truly prepare me for any path that I wanted to take. I could tell that everyone truly cared for one another beyond just being a "work colleague" and everyone was like family.

Hobbies: Traveling, watching any sport live, playing soccer, Music, Outings with friends and family, Reading, and Baking.

Career goals: I am currently interested in pursuing either Emergency Medicine or Neonatology! 


Innocent 'Chino' Emenuga, MD

Hometown: Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

Undergrad: None

Med School: Madonna University College of Medicine, Nigeria

Why SIU: I wanted a program that was supportive, cared about their Physicians well-being and felt like family. SIU met all that and more.

Hobbies: Watching Documentaries, sci-fi movies, cycling, going for long walks, and spending time with my family.

Career goals: Still undecided, I am between NICU and Cardiology but keeping an open mind. 

Fatimah Gadeltayeb, MD

Photo of Fatimah Gadeltayeb, MD

Hometown: Bahri, Khartoum, Sudan

Undergrad: None

Med School: University of Khartoum, Faculty of Medicine, Sudan

Why SIU: Program reputation, amazing culture among residents and faculty, Springfield has a homey feeling, diverse and gives you a lot without big city traffic burden.

Hobbies: Cooking, exploring new restaurants, and a big fan
of Friends, the TV show.

Career goals: I want to do Pediatric Cardiology after residency.

Cecelia Lai, MD

Photo of Cecelia Lai, MD

Hometown: Fountain Valley, CA, USA

Undergrad: The University of Chicago

Med School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Why SIU: Smaller program with 1-on-1 learning opportunities, genuine feeling of community and camaraderie among residents and faculty, supportive atmosphere where I could envision myself growing and thriving as a physician.

Hobbies: Arts, crafts, & DIY projects; playing piano, singing, photography, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Career goals: General Pediatrics and/or Palliative Care.

Navnoor Singh, MD

Hometown: Kotkapura, Punjab, India

Undergrad: None

Med School: B.J. Medical College, Pune India

Why SIU: Everyone in the program seemed very friendly during the interview. I got a feeling that this is the place where I will enjoy working and learning. The size of the program is perfect where a lot of attention is given to each individual. Being the children's hospital in central/southern Illinois also promises a rich clinical exposure.

Hobbies: Watching sports, running, listening music, playing guitar, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Career goals: My goal during residency is to gain as much knowledge and skills as possible to be a well-rounded Pediatrician. Right now, I am open about the choices after residency. 

Maria Jose 'Majo' Vides Sanchez, MD

Photo of Maria Vides-Sanchez, MD

Hometown: Antigua, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

Undergrad: None

Med School: Universidad Francisco Marroquin Facultad de Medicina Guatemala

Why SIU: Loved SIU since my interview, it was possible to tell they were all friends and got along really well. I was looking for a healthy and welcoming environment to learn and grow. SIU was all that and more.

Hobbies: Reading, cooking and baking, musical theater, watching movies, music and spending time with friends and family. 

Career goals: I've always loved critical care so fellowship in that area is a huge possibility with Cardiology and Hematology/Oncology as close seconds. I'm also keeping my mind open to see if I like anything else.  

Joseph 'Connor' Vorreyer, MD

Photo of Joseph Vorreyer, MD

Hometown: Springfield, IL

Undergrad: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Med School: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Why SIU: The people. Very close-knit program. Felt like I mattered and would make a difference here. SIU will always be home to me.

Hobbies: Fantasy Football, Golfing, Watching/Quoting Movies, being with family & friends, video games and cooking!

Career goals: Unsure, but likely General Pediatrics!

Daniel Yoakum, MD

Photo of Daniel Yoakum, MD

Hometown: Tuscola, IL

Undergrad: University of Illinois Urbana

Med School: Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center

Why SIU: Attending to resident ratio, faculty truly cares about you and your future, high but reasonable expectations as there are no fellows, emphasis on teaching.

Hobbies: PC gaming, concerts/music, golf, weight lifting, and twitch.

Career goals: PICU or ID

PGY 2's

Muhammad ‘Mahad’ Alvi, MD

Mahad Alvi, MD

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

Undergrad: Government College University Lahore

Medical School: FMH College of Medicine & Dentistry (University of Health Sciences, Lahore)

Why SIU: Tight-knit environment of the program was the highlight of my interview here at SIU. Everyone seemed welcoming, friendly, and supportive. I’m glad that what I thought of the program is actually how it is in real life, and to be fair, it is even better.

Hobbies: Traveling, outdoor activities, hiking, and kayaking.

Career Plans: At the moment I am inclined toward Pediatric Cardiology but open to exploring other options as well.


Shachi Daru, MD

Shachi Daru, MD

Hometown: Houston, TX

Undergrad: Rice University

Medical School: Trinity School of Medicine

Why SIU: During the interview, I really loved the atmosphere at SIU and how all the interviewers had really tried to get to know us through our applications. The program was so kind to me in trying to help with the couple’s match process, which I truly appreciated. I also loved how the residents joked with each other and knew a lot about their colleagues.

Hobbies: Coffee-hunting, reading, traveling, fashion, dancing, and volunteering.

Career Plans: I haven't exactly decided but leaning towards fellowship in Cardiology or Neonatology! 

Kathryn Fix, DO

Kathryn Fix, DO

Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas

Undergrad: Kansas State University 

Medical School:  A.T. Still University, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine 

Why SIU: I know that I end up where I need to be, so having SIU Peds on my list was a blessing. I am so excited to be in a program with such a friendly atmosphere that supports my educational development. I wholeheartedly believe that I can learn something new every day and am happy to be able to learn from the wonderful doctors here at SIU. I was also encouraged (required) to be within driving distance for my mother to come visit!

Hobbies: Anything crafty! Sewing, quilting, crocheting, watercolor, and acrylics. I also enjoy playing volleyball, any board games, and I can't forget about walking my kitten Mali!

Career Plans: Most likely Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU)



Joanna Huynh, DO

Joanna Huynh, DO

Hometown: Grand Prairie, TX/Garden Grove, CA

Undergrad: University of North Texas

Medical School: Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why SIU: The residents and attendings here are all so nice and caring. When I did my away rotation here, I felt and received a lot of support from the residents, attendings, and staff. SIU Peds was somewhere I knew would help me grow not only as a pediatrician but provide me skills to help my community. The size of the program also drew me to SIU Peds because it provides a closer-knit group and more personalized training.

Hobbies: Baking sweets, playing with my puppy Obi, going on walks/hikes, exploring new foods and museums, cleaning, Harry Potter, Legos, and the MCU.

Career Plans: Still unsure, so I'm excited to explore all the fields within Pediatrics!

Batool Mehdi, MD

Batool Mehdi, MD

Hometown: Sylvania, OH

Undergrad: University of Toledo

Med school: University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences

Why SIU: SIU peds offers a month off bootcamp where interns are able to both learn and adjust into their roles as residents with supervision from both their seniors as well as faculty. The bootcamp has been a perfect transition for me and is very unique to this program!

Hobbies: Hiking, cooking/trying new recipes, and spending time with friends and family.

Career Plans: debating between Outpatient Pediatrics and Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics.

Ashley O’Neil, MD

Ashley O'Neil, MD

Hometown: Carterville, IL

Undergrad: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Medical School: American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine

Why SIU: I wanted to be in a program where the residents were happy and felt supported. I love that it's a smaller program with a family feel. Being closer to home is a bonus!

Hobbies: Travel, hiking, reading, and photography

Career Plans: I'm interested in NICU, but keeping my mind open to other options!

Fiyinfoluwa ‘Fiyin’ Soluade, MD

Fiyin Soluade, MD

Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa/ New Brunswick, NJ

Undergrad: St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies

Medical School: St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies

Why SIU: As cliché as it sounds, the camaraderie between the people was a big draw for me. I wanted to go to a program where I didn’t feel like “just another resident”, and I wanted to feel safe and included, and I knew I would feel that at SIU. And to be honest, the lower standard of living costs persuaded me too!

Hobbies: Reading, traveling, watching Olympic sports (specifically track and swimming), and doing escape rooms with friends!

Career Plans: Pretty open minded, but my top two at the moment are Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Hospital Medicine… We’ll see how I feel at the end!

PGY 3's

Emil ‘Emy’ Abraham, MD

Emy Abraham, MD

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Undergrad: University of Toronto

Medical School: American University of Antigua

Why SIU: I noticed the friendliness among all the Residents and Attendings on interview day (even though it was virtual). Everyone was happy to see us and answer any questions we had. The small program size and the friendliness of everyone I met really helped me make the decision to choose SIU as my training site.

Hobbies: Gardening, watching or being part of live theater, singing/karaoke, watching crime shows or documentaries, trying new restaurants, hiking, and traveling.

Career Plans: Still trying to decide between Peds GI and NICU, but likely will be Peds GI.

Sundos Ahmed, MD

Sundos Ahmed, MD

Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan

Undergrad: None

Medical School: University of Khartoum, Faculty of Medicine, Sudan

Why SIU: Healthy and friendly environment that promotes growth and self-development. 

Hobbies: I like making handmade crafts, reading, and cooking.

Career Plans: Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship

Anyka Clouden, MD

Anyka Clouden, MD

Hometown: St. David's, Grenada

Undergrad: St. George's University School of Arts and Sciences

Medical School: St. George's University School of Medicine

Why SIU: The caring, supportive and friendly family-like nature that I saw from interview day drew me to this program. I loved that it is a smaller program where everyone can get to know each other well. That the faculty and residents have good relationships and are very supportive.

Hobbies:  I enjoy reading, baking, swimming, and spending time with family.

Career Plans: I am interested in Heme/Onc Fellowship

Saskia D’Sa, MD

Saskia D'Sa, MD

Hometown: Mississauga, ON Canada 

Undergrad: McMaster University 

Medical School: University of Limerick, Ireland

Why SIU: Interviewing virtually was quite challenging to get a feel for the hospital and clinical setting from abroad. However, SIU Peds brought their authenticity to me. From the interview to working in person, everyone has been so genuine in their interactions and interest in me. Being a smaller program, I get to work directly with Attendings daily and learn about the specialties from the source. I could not think of a more fitting place to progress my career and train as a Pediatrician. 

Hobbies: Hiking, cooking, spa dates, exploring new places, playing musical instruments, watching tv, and spending time with family and friends. 

Career Plans: In the works, I am somewhere between GI and General Pediatrics… still very open and trying to narrow down my options.

Laila Mahmoud, MD


Hometown: Medani, Sudan

Undergrad: None

Med School: University of Gezira, Faculty of Medicine, Sudan.

Why SIU: It is a wonderful place that feels like one family. Residents support each other and Attendings are approachable and supportive as well.  Program leadership is committed to Residents' education and wellness and is very receptive to Residents' feedback which creates encouraging work and learning environment.

Hobbies: Traveling (I've been to 23 countries), painting, reading novels, watching documentaries, and spending time with family.

Career Plans: Not sure yet, Inpatient General Pediatrics, Medical Education or Genetic Fellowship.

Daphne Mlachila, MD

Daphne Mlachila, MD

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

Undergrad: Royal Holloway, University of London

Medical School: University of Queensland, Australia

Why SIU:  I chose SIU peds for the people. It's a small program so you get loads of one-on-one attention with attendings and other residents.  Everyone was just so genuine, patient, and kind hearted on the interview trail.  I love how everyone gets both a resident mentor and a faculty advisor to help them transition into residency and accomplish their career goals. Another aspect of SIU that I loved is how multicultural and diverse the program is. As someone who cares deeply about diversity, equity, and inclusion work, I was impressed with what concerted efforts SIU is making to ensure that residents come from diverse backgrounds that match the patient population which leads to more culturally mindful and inclusive care.

Hobbies: Traveling (25 countries so far), baking, trying new restaurants, writing poetry, and watching/playing soccer.

Career Plans: I hope to work for Doctors Without Borders one day and assist people in humanitarian settings. Following that, I hope to practice in General Pediatrics, helping members of low income and marginalized communities.

Harsh Patel, MD

Harsh Patel, MD

Hometown: Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Undergrad: None

Medical School: M. P. Shah Government Medical College, India

Why SIU: I chose SIU because of its welcoming and diverse group of people and the privilege it offers to connect with an under-served community with ample autonomy and hands on experience!

Hobbies: Doing outdoor activities, watching/playing cricket, and watching movies.

Career Plans: Neonatology!!

Sabina Qasim, DO

Sabina Qasim, DO

Hometown: Grapevine, TX

Undergrad: University of Texas at Arlington

Medical School: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why SIU: Starting from the beginning on interview day, everyone was so welcoming and showed a genuine interest in me and what my future goals were.  The whole faculty and staff are open to feedback and actually takes your opinions and needs into account when making long-term decisions. Everyone goes above and beyond to help you accomplish your personal and professional goals which is a huge factor in what made me choose this program. 

Hobbies: Spending time with family, traveling, reading books, and watching movies.

Career Plans: Pediatric Emergency Medicine or PICU

Christopher Vincent, MD

Chris Vincent, MD

Hometown: Westfield, Indiana

Undergrad: Purdue University

Medical School: Indiana University School of Medicine

Why SIU: The program felt very tight knit on interview day. I wanted to join a residency that works well as a team and enjoys the company.

Hobbies: Spending time with family, watching Formula One, watching Tottenham Hotspur, making mixed tapes and hiking!

Career Plans: Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship