Pediatric Resident Profiles

PGY 1's

Muhammad ‘Mahad’ Alvi, MD

Mahad Alvi, MD

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

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

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

Hobbies: Traveling and outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking.

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

Colleen Barney, MD

Colleen Barney, MD

Hometown: Albuquerque, NM

Undergrad: University of New Mexico

Medical School: University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Why SIU Peds: I liked that it is a smaller program so there is more one on one time with attendings and the residents seem close which was important to me. I was also looking for a program with a diverse patient population and am happy to have found that here in Springfield!

Hobbies: Reading, baking, spending time with family

Career Plans: Peds emergency medicine fellowship

Shachi Daru, MD

Shachi Daru, MD

Hometown: Houston, TX 

Undergrad: Rice University 

Medical School: Trinity School of Medicine

Why SIU Peds: 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 couples 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, 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 Peds: ​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 everyday 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, acrylics. I enjoy playing volleyball and any board games. And I can't forget about walking my kitten Mali!

Career Plans: Most likely intensive care (PICU) 

Joanna Huynh, DO

Joanna Huynh, DO


Hometown: Grand Prairie, TX/Garden Grove, CA

Undergrad: University of North Texas

Medical School: Arkansa College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why SIU Peds: 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, 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, 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 Peds: 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, 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 Peds: 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 per​suaded me too :D

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

Career Plans: Pretty open minded, but my top two at the moment are Peds EM and Peds hospital medicine… We’ll see how I feel at the end!

PGY 2's

Emil ‘Emy’ Abraham, MD

Emy Abraham, MD

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Undergrad: University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Medical School: American University of Antigua

Why SIU Peds: 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, 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 Peds: 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 Peds: 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 NICU and general pediatrics. 

Saskia D’Sa, MD

Saskia D'Sa, MD

Hometown: Mississauga, ON Canada 

Undergrad: McMaster University 

Medical School: University of Limerick, Ireland

Why SIU Peds: 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, spending time with family and friends. 

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

Daphne Mlachila, MD

Daphne Mlachila, MD


Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

Undergrad: Royal Holloway, University of London

Medical School: University of Queensland, Australia

Why SIU Peds:  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, soccer (watching/playing)

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

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

Why SIU Peds: 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 and playing cricket, 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 is 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, 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 Peds: 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!

PGY 3's

Kinnera Are, DO

Kinnera Are, DO

Hometown: West Islip, NY

Undergrad: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Medical School: Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why SIU Peds: Love my co-residents, they make coming to work everyday enjoyable. Faculty are all super approachable and interested in teaching. Being the only children's hospital in the region allows us to get a variety of interesting patients from the surrounding towns and cities.

Hobbies: Cooking, watching TV/movies, Hiking/kayaking

Career Plans: General Outpatient with focus on newborn

Nikita Garg, MD

Nikita Garg, MD

Hometown: Chandigarh, Punjab, India

Medical School: Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India

Why SIU Peds: It was one of the most friendly programs I interviewed at. Everything felt so right from the pre-interview dinner to the interview day. I felt very warm and appreciated here, and could feel that this is the program that would help me achieve my goals in every possible way.

Hobbies: Dancing, doing craftwork, watching movies, traveling and talking to friends and family!

Career Plans: Peds Cardiology and then Interventional Cath!

Amber Hartman, DO

Amber Hartman, DO 

Hometown: Arnold, MO

Undergrad: Missouri State University

Medical School:  University of Pikeville - Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why SIU Peds: I love that it is a smaller program where you really get to know your fellow residents and attendings. Because it is a smaller program, this allows more one-on-one teaching time with the attendings compared to larger programs that I interviewed at. I also loved the family-type atmosphere that I experienced on my interview day and it helped show how much this program is dedicated to not only resident education but also resident wellness.

Hobbies: Dance (especially tap), trombone, reading, binge watching TV shows with my husband, spending time with family, and exploring new places.

Career Plans: General Pediatrics

Archana Jasti, MD 

Archana Jasti, MD


Hometown: Hyderabad, India

Medical School: N.R.I Medical College, India

Why SIU Peds:  I chose SIU because the first thing I noticed when I interviewed here was how close all the residents and attendings were. Everyone seemed happy to be here and that is what I was looking for. This program had everything I was looking for, a smaller city with a children’s hospital that is a big referral center with a diverse population.

Hobbies: I love cooking and baking. I enjoy watching movies and also any water based activity.

Career plans: General Pediatrics. I absolutely love outpatient Pediatrics, the continuity of care and getting to know families through the year and watching the kids grow up.

Laila Mahmoud, MD

Laila Mahmoud, MD


Hometown: Medani, Sudan

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 goals: Not sure yet, Inpatient general pediatrics, medical education or genetic fellowship

Foram Patel, MD

Foram Patel, MD


Hometown: Gujarat, India

Medical School: GCS Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, India

Why SIU Peds: SIU is a program with a well-organized curriculum and very supportive faculties, which is the best for the clinical and academic progress of a resident. The most beautiful part of the SIU is its people. It is not just a group of people working together; it is a family made by kind-hearted, helping, naturing and dedicated people. Residency is the toughest part of any doctor’s training, and I’m excited to do my pediatric training at the place where even on the worst day, I would be surrounded by people who care for me while I continue to care for others.

Hobbies:  Painting, doing art and craft activities, spending time in nature, listening music, outdoor activities

Career plans: Pediatric Endocrinology!

Ruby Raju, DO

Ruby Raju, DO


Hometown: Homewood, IL (Chicago Suburbs)

Undergrad: Saint Louis University

Medical School: Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis IN

Why SIU Peds: I was looking for a program with a great family feel. On interview day, the residents were so supportive of each other and genuinely enjoyed being together.

Hobbies: cooking, baking, spending time with family and friends and of course Netflix!

Career Plans: Interested in Hospital medicine, but open to other options as well!

Samiha Sarkar, DO

Samiha Sarkar, DO


Hometown: Peoria, IL

Undergrad: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Medical School: NYIT COM at Arkansas State

Why SIU Peds: When I interviewed at this program, I knew right away that it was the perfect fit for me. The supportive and friendly learning environment was evident. Everyone here felt like a part of a family. The residents were truly happy and had wonderful experiences. It’s a good size program and allows close one to one interaction with faculty who are eager to teach. There is a diverse patient population and disease pathology to further enrich your medical experience.

Hobbies: baking, planning and organizing events, painting, playing badminton, spending time with family or friends

Career Plans: Most likely general outpatient pediatrician but keeping an open mind for other potential pathways!