The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) National Alumni Advisory Board was created to advise the SHPEP National Program Office on enhancing alumni engagement, identify opportunities to reach the program’s target population, and overall program activities. The Board is comprised of 11 previous participants from the Medical Minority Education Program (MMEP), Summer Medical Enrichment Program (SMEP), and the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP).

The Alumni Advisory Board holds bimonthly conference calls and convenes annually in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting or the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) annual meeting.

If you have questions or suggestions for the board, please submit them to

Advisory Board Members

Tamana (Bunny) Begay, D.D.S., is a member of the SHPEP National Adivsory Committee. Dr. Begay is of Navajo, Seneca, and Mohawk descent and was raised in Portland, Ore., with summers spent on the Northern Navajo reservation.

Dr. Begay began her college career at San Diego Mesa Community College and then transferred to the University of California, San Diego, Revelle College. She graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and minors in art history and psychology.

In 1999, Dr. Begay enrolled in the University Of San Francisco School Of Dentistry’s post-baccalaureate program. Following this program, she began her graduate studies at the University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry, in San Francisco. After earning her D.D.S. in 2003, she began working with the Indian Health Service.

Dr. Begay currently works as a general dentist at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. She is involved in several local and national organizations promoting American Indian/Alaska Native students into higher education and professional careers.

Diego DaSilva attended SMDEP in 2012 at Duke University.

SMDEP played a crucial role in his early professional development and gave him the tools, which later facilitated his acceptance and transition into medical school. He joined the board to help ensure that all eligible students have the opportunity to participate in SHPEP. More specifically, Mr. DaSilva wants to work on mentorship and guidance for those applying, as well as alumni.

Today, Mr. DaSilva is a fourth year medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon his completion, he plans to apply for a dermatology residency program.

Outside of dermatology his primary career interests include teaching, healthcare for the undocumented and the underserved community, and mentoring minority students.

Barbara Franklin attended SMDEP in 2013 at UCLA.

Ms. Franklin was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Apple Valley, California. She graduated from La Sierra University in June 2016 with a BA in psychology with minors in biology and neuroscience.

Ms. Franklin’s participation in SMDEP in 2013 left her forever changed by the experience. She has since made it her mission to mentor other young minorities and expose them to career-enrichment opportunities. Ms. Franklin is passionate about addressing health care disparities. As result of her passion, she is pursuing a master of public health degree with an emphasis on dentistry at A.T. Still University. Ms. Franklin aspires to attend dental school and become a public health dentist.


Chelsea Hooper attended the SMDEP in 2013 at the University Of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX.

Ms. Hooper graduated from Baylor University in Waco, TX. She is in her 3rd year of dental school at Texas A&M – Baylor College of Dentistry.

SMDEP was one of the greatest experiences of my undergraduate career. Every element of the SMDEP program is oriented to assist and offer insight on being a student in a pre-health professional school. As a SMDEP Scholar, I gained study skills, budgeting/ financing tools, and cultural competence in addition to a solid foundation of science prerequisites. These classes and informational sessions from my SMDEP experience have served as an immense help in applying for and now entering the healthcare profession. The fact that it is of no cost to its participants is just icing on the cake!





Karen Morris-Priester, M.D., attended MMEP in 2001 at Yale University and later graduated from Yale University Medical School in 2007.

She is an anesthesiologist practicing in Allentown, Penn. Dr. Morris-Priester gained national attention in 2007 when she appeared as a guest on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” where Ms. Winfrey recognized her for completing medical school as a single mother of five children and as the first grandmother to attend Yale School of Medicine.

Since then, Dr. Morris-Priester has traveled the country as a motivational speaker encouraging her audiences to follow their dreams. She also acts as a mentor to young people who aspire to become physicians. Serving as Chair of the alumni advisory board, Dr. Morris-Priester hopes to use her time to develop a process that will allow alumni to reach back to assist current participants in their journey to becoming aspiring physicians.



Barry Ordu attended SMDEP in 2016 at the University of Louisville.

Mr. Ordu is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky.

As a member of the SHPEP national advisory board, Barry looks forward to further improving the awareness of SHPEP and shedding light on improving health care for those who are medically underserved in local communities across the nation.

Attending SMDEP gave me a more in-depth look at medicine as a whole, from the incorporation of clinical experience, academic background and possible lifetime connections. SMDEP also helped me realize where I could best utilized myself as a healthcare professional.”


Oscar Paniagua-Morales attended SMDEP in 2011 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Mr. Paniagua-Morales’ interest in medicine grew out of his personal experience with kidney disease. In 2004, he lost his kidneys and underwent four years of dialysis. In 2008, he received a kidney transplant donated by his brother. Four weeks later, Mr. Paniagua-Morales enrolled in Colorada Mesa University.

In 2012, Mr. Paniagua-Morales was accepted into the prestigious Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Collegiate Medical Summer Internship Program. At the start of the program, he worked as a counselor in a summer camp with children who were on dialysis or had kidney transplants.  Mr. Paniagua-Morales currently serves as vice-chair of the SHPEP alumni advisory board.

I feel very lucky to have been chosen for this internship, because there are only 16 to 18 students chosen every year from all over the United States.  My goal as a member of the SHPEP national advisory board is to work together as a team with the other board members and tackle the important issues that can make SHPEP stronger every year. I also want to help recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds who may be thinking of pursuing careers in health care but don’t necessarily have the tools needed to reach their goals. Additionally, I want to help the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reach its vision of improving health and health care in the United States. I feel honored to have been chosen as a board member.

Chandni Patel attended SMDEP in 2015 at Duke University.

Chandni graduated from the University of Florida in May 2017 with a dual bachelor degree in microbiology and cell science and in food science and human nutrition, with a specialization in nutritional sciences on the pre-medical track. She is currently working on her master’s degree from the University of Florida in microbiology and cell science with a concentration in medical microbiology and biochemistry.

The rigorous six-week SMDEP program gave me an idea of what medical school would be like and gave me the tools and experiences that would aid me in the future. As a SMDEP scholar I gained patient interaction skills, shadowing experience, multiple networking opportunities, more knowledge about healthcare disparities, study skills and a strong base in science courses. Through the weekly shadowing opportunities and guest speakers, I got a feel for what a variety of the different specialties are like. The SMDEP program was one of the best experiences in my life! As a national alumni advisory board member, I want to help improve the program and help reach more students. By encouraging and aiding more students in the application process, more student will gain the tools and experiences they might not receive otherwise. I want more students to gain what they need to become successful healthcare professionals. By becoming a national alumni advisory board member, I want to reach more students so that they can gain everything that I have from the program!


Sherket Peterson, Ph.D., attended MMEP in 2002 at Duke University.

Ms. Peterson received her Ph.D in Pharmaceutical Science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She held a postdoctoral fellowship position at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Today, Ms. Peterson is a senior scientist at Johnson & Johnson.

This intensive six-week program provided me with a realistic view into the field of medicine and gave me insight into possible careers for the future. The clinical experiences and academic enrichment helped me to pinpoint my interest in drug discovery and scientific research. Through my service as an alumni national advisory board member, I look forward to enhancing alumni engagement and increasing awareness about the multitude of medical careers available to outstanding students.”


Andy Tang attended SMDEP in 2010 at the University of Washington.

Mr. Tang received his a BS in biology and environmental health from the University of Washington in 2014. He is currently a research scientist in the Department of Radiology, Body Imaging Section at UW Medicine where he participates in ontological imaging research and provides tumor response assessments for patients enrolled in clinical trials.

My personal commitment to serve on the SHPEP National Advisory Alumni Board is grounded in the belief of improving the health and well-being of medically underserved patients and communities. Our pursuit of this goal may be met by establishing a culture of health through the alignment of a diverse, inclusive, inter-professional team that informs and improves high quality patient, family, and community centered care. As such, I believe the educational pipeline through SHPEP and engagement of our alumni is critical to achieving this goal. Serving on the Alumni Board propagates my passion of reducing health and health care disparities, ensuring that the doors to medicine are wide open to those marginalized and those working towards reducing health and social inequities in health care delivery systems.”


Jazmin Villavicencio attended SMDEP in 2008 at the University Of Nebraska Medical Center.

Ms. Villavicencio graduated with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in public health, Mexican-American studies and spanish from the University of Arizona in May 2011. She also obtained a Public Health Training Certificate for American Indian Health Professionals from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Ms. Villavicencio currently works as a Parent Awareness & Outreach Coordinator with the First Things First organization, which partners with families and communities to support the healthy development of young children.

She is excited to serve as part of the National Alumni Advisory Board and hopes to be a voice for many other alumni that have participated in this great program.