Executive Committee

Renuka Verma, MD


A pediatric infectious physician and pediatric residency program director, and my passion circles around children and teaching. This job provides the opportunity to fulfill both. Working with residents has taught me a significant deal of resolve, patience, and skills in dealing with people from different parts of the world and cultures. Just like parents, your job as a pediatrician starts from birth and it remains your responsibility until your patients become adults. A program director’s job responsibilities are very similar as well, you need to be a good coach, a disciplinarian and yet nurturing. I have been enjoying that role for the past eighteen years and have found pride in each resident’s success and accomplishments. I have been helping and training hundreds of residents in their adventure of becoming a pediatrician and taking responsibility of a primary care provider in the remote areas of United States, or choosing subspecialty training as their calling. At the same time daily patient interactions, listening to their stories and being able to help them in their distress is my lifeline, whether it is a small ailment or a serious illness each poses similar challenge, and I take delight in all. My role as a Section Chair of IMG is showing me the ways that can benefit new generations of IMGs in their tussle and triumph of pediatric training.


Ayesha Mirza, MD

Dr. Mirza is currently Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Florida, College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases & Immunology. In addition, she is also the Pediatric Residency Program Director. She currently serves on the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Section on International Medical Graduates where she is the editor of the newsletter. She served on the AAP Committee on Pediatric AIDS from 2013-2019. Dr. Mirza was also a member of the AAP PREP ID Editorial Board from 2008 through December 2016. Her responsibilities apart from direct patient care include residency program administration, teaching and clinical research. Dr. Mirza is board certified in general pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. She also holds a certificate of knowledge in clinical tropical diseases and traveler’s medicine from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. She has written numerous articles that have been published in scholarly journals, text books chapters and presented at regional, national and international meetings. Her clinical and scholarly interests include pediatric HIV/AIDS, global health and medical education. In her spare time she enjoys traveling around the world and spending time with family.

Claudia Espinosa, MD

Dr. Claudia Espinosa attended medical school at the Universidad del Cauca Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud in Colombia, completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Michigan. She also has a Master in Science in Health Services Research from the University of Michigan. After fellowship, Dr. Espinosa was faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine until 2019. Dr. Espinosa joined the University of South Florida in August 2019 as an Associate Professor.

Her research interests focus on clinical trials of vaccines and antimicrobials, surveillance of respiratory viruses, and neonatal and perinatal infectious diseases, including CMV, hepatitis B, C and HIV. Dr. Espinosa has been involved at different levels with SOIMG, SOMHEI, SOID, and most recently FLEX Peds within the AAP, and the Emerging Infection Diseases Task Force within FCAAP (Florida Chapter). In addition, at the institutions she has worked for, Dr. Espinosa has implemented successful protocols for the management of infants with perinatal exposure to a range of pathogens.

Praveen Kumar, MBBS, DCH, MD

Dr. Praveen Kumar is associate head of department of pediatrics and clinical professor of pediatrics at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Dr. Kumar completed his medical education and pediatric residency training from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India. He completed a fellowship in Neonatology at Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit and worked as neonatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago before joining Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria in 2014.

Dr. Kumar is a strong advocate for infants, their families and physicians. He has served in leadership roles at both regional and national levels. Dr. Kumar is a member of several societies including APS, SPR, AAP, APA, MWSPR, Indian Academy of Pediatrics and Indian Medical Association. He is a past member of AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborn, AAP Neonatal Resuscitation Program Steering committee, SPR Member Engagement Committee, NeoReviews Plus editorial board, Pediatrics editorial board, executive committee of the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of Illinois, and Illinois Department of Public Health Genetic and Metabolic Advisory Committee. In 2011, he served on the Workgroup on Screening for Critical Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease for Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Diseases in Newborns and Children, which developed the strategies for implementing screening for critical congenital heart disease in US. He is a current member of ABP Sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and executive committee member of AAP Section on International Medical Graduates. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and published a book for primary care providers on congenital malformations in 2007.

He and his wife Sara, a recently retired pediatrician, have been married for 38 years and have two daughters and two grandsons, aged 8 and 5 years. His hobbies include travel, gardening and watching movies.

Christiana N. Oji-Mmuo, MD, FAAP

Christiana Oji-Mmuo, MD, FAAP is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and board certified in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. She completed her neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at Penn State College of Medicine, did a pediatric residency at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, and attended medical school at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. She currently practices neonatology at the Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine in Hershey PA. Her research interest is in the neurobiological underpinnings impacting the severity of neonatal abstinence syndrome. The principal focus of Dr. Oji-Mmuo's current research is on early risk assessment of opioid-exposed neonates using physiologic biomarkers to determine those who will be at the highest risk for severe neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and potential adverse neurodevelopmental sequelae. She is an active member of the AAP’s section of neonatal-perinatal medicine (Women in Neonatology Equity and Inclusion) and the executive council of the Section on International Medical Graduates (SOIMG).

Roberto P. Santos, MD, MSCS

Dr Robert Santos is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. He is currently a professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He serves as one of the pediatric infectious disease/HIV providers as well as the Vice Chair of Pediatrics for Diversity & Inclusion at the Children’s of Mississippi. He is a member of the American Board of Pediatrics – Sub-Board in Infectious Diseases (2020-25). He is member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society – Inclusion, Diversity, Access & Equity Task Force.

Najla Ba Sharahil, MD

SOPT liaison

Dr. Najla Ba Sharahil attended medical school at the University of Sharjah’s College of Medicine in United Arab Emirates. She then completed a residency in pediatrics at Hamad Medical Corporation followed by pediatric pulmonology fellowship at Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medicine in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Ba Sharahil is currently doing her pediatric pulmonology fellowship at University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a Masters degree in Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Ba Sharahil’s research interests focus on respiratory morbidities among children with developmental and neurological disorders with emphasis on sleep disordered breathing, chronic ventilation, and systemic co-morbidities affecting the respiratory system. She is also interested in studying how to improve IMG transition to training in the US and has been actively working with Department of Pediatrics at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the IMG committee. Dr. Ba Sharahil is involved in the AAP through the SOPT and is the SOPT liaison to SOIMG.

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics