Class of 2021

Lulua Bahrainwala, MD
Family Medicine, Fontana

Medical School: MVP Samaj Dr Vasantrao Pawar Medical College Hospital and Research Center
Residency Training: Emanate Health Family Medicine Residency Program
Living in four different countries growing up- Bahrain, India, Canada and finally the USA, Dr Bahrainwala takes pride in calling herself a global citizen. Adapting to multiple cultures and experiencing four different health systems, it gave her a window into the vast expanse of understanding how priorities in different countries work. After medical school in india and arming herself with a Masters in Global Health Sciences from UCSF, Dr Bahrainwala completed her Family Medicine residency at Emanate Health Family Medicine Residency program, CA as chief resident. During her time there, she was awarded the AAFP Family Medicine Cares Grant to open and run a School Based Adolescent Clinic with an FQHC and was a champion of the Medication Assisted Treatment project for their patients diagnosed with substance abuse disorders at their residency program. She chose to work in this Community Medicine Fellowship to help strengthen her skills of serving her community and furthering medical education, with a special interest in health policy and increasing access to quality healthcare. When she has any leftover free time, she spends it all entertaining her two year old toddler and preparing for another baby on the way. Being the daughter of a travel agent, she loves to travel, and finds any opportunity to see new countries. Her favourite places to travel to have been Rome, Italy and inner-country Turkey. Once COVID-19 is safely controlled, she hopes to travel with her family to New Zealand and explore all the outdoors it has to offer.

Shwesha Govil, DO
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills

Medical School: Touro University, College of Medicine
Residency Training: RUHS/UCR Family Medicine Residency
Shwesha grew up in San Francisco, CA but spent much of her childhood staying with family in India. She graduated from UC Berkeley where she majored in Integrative Biology. After college, Shwesha spent 1 year volunteering as a research assistant at UCSF, helping teach Physiology lab at UCB, and tutoring undergraduate students in the NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate program. She completed her medical degree at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she also obtained a Master’s in Public Health with emphasis in Community Health. She then completed her Family Medicine residency at Riverside University Health System, the Riverside county hospital, where she gained a deeper understanding of the socioeconomic, language, and educational barriers which influence patients’ health literacy and ultimately health outcomes. Through this fellowship, Shwesha hopes to gain more experience in public health and health policy so that she can become a better leader, advocate for improved healthcare delivery, and educator for her patients. In her free time, Shwesha enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring new scenic locations, playing basketball, joining Indian dance classes, drawing, and watching movies.

Kerrie Nguyen, MD
Family Medicine, San Diego

Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente San Diego
Growing up in an immigrant household where her parents were always at work and knew minimal English, Kerrie had to learn how to navigate the system to access the resources available. That usually entailed taking care of all the paperwork, calling hotlines, and translating for her parents. In the process, she experienced some of the struggles and barriers to healthcare that some of her patients face. Despite well-meaning as doctors because their patients’ health is their priority, sometimes their priorities may not align with the patient. Kerrie recognized that while it may be intuitive for her to see a doctor when she’s sick, it may be a luxury that some patients cannot afford with or without healthcare, because a sick day may mean a day of lost wages as she’s witnessed with her parents. And so while Kerrie may question why a patient may continue to eat daily fast food despite their health risks or why one would wait until a preventable condition had deteriorated so badly to require hospitalization, she’s reminded daily to consider circumstantial factors that may affect each patient, or more broadly, a particular community. Kerrie hopes that by working in and alongside the people in these communities, she will have a better understanding of their needs to not only better serve the patients, but also to become a better clinician in the process. Kerrie is excited and humbled to have the opportunity to hopefully make some sort of lasting impact in the very community that she grew up in.

Elizabeth Pelayo, MD
Pediatrics, Los Angeles

Medical School: Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
Elizabeth grew up in North Hollywood, CA and attended UC Berkeley where she majored in Physiology and Metabolism. During her time in undergrad, she was actively involved in diabetes health education on the UCB campus and the surrounding low-income minority communities in Berkeley. After graduating undergraduate school, she worked for 3 years as a clinical research assistant at UCSF and UCLA. Subsequently, she completed her medical degree at Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program. During this time, she participated and helped organize community health fairs. She completed her pediatric residency at KP Los Angeles and she is a current KP Los Angeles community medicine fellow. In the future, she envisions practicing medicine in the low-income, and underserved community where she was raised and where most of her family resides. In addition, she plans to use her native Spanish-speaking skills and her interest in conducting community based research and public health to improve health education and accessibility to medical care in her community. On her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the warm and sunny Los Angeles weather.

Janelle Rodriguez, MD
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: UCLA/DREW Medical Education Program
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
As the daughter of Cuban political refugees, Janelle is cognizant of the challenges that immigrant families endure when it comes to the assimilation of a new culture, economic instability and language barriers. Janelle is equally sensitive to how these challenges manifest as barriers in achieving health equities and the liberties that financial security can afford. Reflecting on the disparity of healthcare delivery at both an institutional and individual level, ignited her interest in pursuing Medicine. As a career changer, Janelle attended the DREW/UCLA PRIME Medical Education program where the social determinants of health were emphasized regularly within the medically underserved community of SPA-6. She was fortunate to have a plethora of experiences which further motivated a degree in Community Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health. Here she came to understand the long-term implications on health (mental and physical) secondary to societal and environmental distress. Janelle pursued a Family Medicine residency for various reasons: 1) its focus on social justice and social determinants of health 2) its critical role in helping patients navigate a complex healthcare system, 3) its flexibility to collaborate across various disciplines of medicine, and 4) its engagement with patients across a spectrum of ages and disease. While in residency, she further developed an interest in working with marginalized populations, including LGBTQ+ patients and those afflicted by substance use disorders and HIV. Ultimately, she chose to continue her medical training as a community medicine fellow as it will create opportunities to further strengthen her foundations as a clinician, harvest her potential as a patient advocate and grant a track towards HIV medicine specialization.

Anokhi Shah, MD
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine
Anokhi grew up near Chicago and then went to college and medical school in Saint Louis. In Saint Louis, Anokhi became interested in public health and community service. She learned about race relations that were further strained when the events of Ferguson occurred. In medical school, she received a distinction in medical education and was active in the curriculum committee. After medical school, AnokhiI left the Midwest to come to Long Beach, CA for her family medicine residency. During residency, Anokhi had the pleasure of working with a diverse population. During this fellowship, she hopes to gain experience as junior faculty and learn more about using community resources to help our underserved patients. Outside of medicine, she enjoys hiking, reading, yoga and drawing.

I-hsiang Shu, MD
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of Vermont School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
I-hsiang began his professional career as a software developer after receiving an EECS degree from MIT. It was during this time that he realized that he wanted to apply himself in a more meaningful and personal way at which point he began his path towards medicine. He received his MD from the University of Vermont and completed his internal medicine residency training at Kaiser Los Angeles. He has worked at community clinics in Los Angeles as well as mentored students at a local community high school. In this fellowship year, he hopes to connect with patients and the community, focus on the stories and situations that contribute to illness and apply his medical training to better care and advocate for his patients. Additionally, he also hopes to use his prior technology experience to improve healthcare delivery. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, two kiddos, and dog, as well as playing tennis and biking.

Class of 2020

Adegbemisola “Gbemi” Daniyan, MD
Family Medicine, Fontana

Medical School: Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

Gerardo Hernandez, MD
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: University of California, Davis School of Medicine
Residency Training: Long Beach Memorial

Peifen (Sophia) Hu, MD
Family Medicine, San Diego

Medical School: Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente San Diego

Romina Kim, MD
Pediatrics, Los Angeles

Medical School: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (Flint)
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

Rima Shah Leclere, MD
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: Boston University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

Amarachi Okoro, MD
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills

Medical School: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

Amy Sun, MD
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

Class of 2019

Adegbemisola “Gbemi” Daniyan, MD
Family Medicine, Fontana

Medical School: Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
Having grown up in an developing country, I was exposed to the challenges that can occur with limited access to proper healthcare. However, I also observed how many, like my father, would use the resources that were available to provide the best care they could. I am grateful to now live in a country with abundant resources. As I have progressed through my medical education journey, I have come to realize that all that live here may not have equal opportunity to access these resources. Throughout my year as a community medicine fellow, I hope to learn more about the challenges of providing care to patients with limited access to healthcare. I look forward to not only growing as a clinician during this year but also learning ways in which I can make an impact in the community in which I live, one patient at a time.

Jason Gilbert, DO
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
Over the years, my passion for medicine, and approach to medical care, has been shaped by a number of local and international community service experiences. Whether it be my time as a health educator in South Africa, or as an AmeriCorps intern in the homeless neighborhoods of San Francisco, I have always had a strong passion for community medicine. This commitment continued during my medical school training where I worked to develop health education programs for low-income communities in Pomona, CA, and piloted an HIV outreach program for a small NGO in Moshi, Tanzania. Moving forward, I believe the community medicine fellowship will strengthen my primary care skills and prepare me for a diversity of clinical and academic roles. I am excited for the opportunity to help shape and improve our health care system at both an individual and community level.

Peifen (Sophia) Hu, MD
Family Medicine, San Diego

Medical School: Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente San Diego
I love puzzles. As a child, I loved the act of discovering how each little cardboard cutout fits into one beautiful image. Through education, I learned about the intricacies of the human mind and body; how each organ system fits together to become a unique individual. But the biggest puzzle that I have yet to grasp is the inexplicable ties that bring people together: the community. Individuals exist as integral pieces of one community, forming relationships and interactions that are ultimately irreplaceable. More importantly, in order to have a lasting positive impact on a person, one must understand the community he or she lives in. Before medicine, I joined Teach for America as a high school science teacher in Hawai’i to learn about the barriers to obtaining quality education for low income families. In medical school, I volunteered and helped organize a student-run free clinic in the Philadelphia Chinatown, where I discovered just how much of a deterrent language can be to seeking medical care. During residency, I participated in various global health mission trips to gain understanding of the culture and provide care for patients in low resource settings. I am honored to be a part of the Community Medicine Fellowship this year, and I hope to continue piecing together the knowledge needed to provide high quality patient-centered care to my neighbors.

Elizabeth Kuilanoff, MD, MPH
Pediatrics, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of California, Davis,
Residency Training: University of California, Los Angeles
As a second year fellow, the Community Medicine Fellowship is helping me become the most effective pediatrician for my patients, my families and my community. Through my work in underserved clinics and various community projects, I am working to prevent and treat disease on an individual level while also applying my experience to larger scale public health programs and interventions. I am training to look beyond the disease process and focus on the upstream factors and social determinants that strongly influence children’s health. I am also educating future physicians about the intersection of clinical medicine and public health while improving the way we train medical students. Children suffer from unique disease processes that have the potential to affect their long term morbidity and mortality. This life-course perspective of health is what I find most interesting about pediatrics. A concerned and well-trained pediatrician can prevent much pathology and that is exactly the type of physician I continually strive to be.

Duy Duc Nguyen, DO
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Orange County
I immigrated to the United States from Viet Nam at age 5, and was fortunate to have insurance through Medicaid. My parents and older siblings, however, struggled with being uninsured. I remember that first health policy class I took as part of my Public Health Minor at UCLA was the moment I felt a strong desire to become a family doctor to prevent disease, instead of treating it. But this dream, as I have come to realize in residency serving the underserved, is hard-fought and at times seemingly impossible. This fellowship is my golden opportunity to realize this dream a bit further, to tackle those challenges head-on. I hope to integrate more into my clinical practice public health, a field that understands a patient’s well-being is not dictated by the confines of 15 minute doctor’s appointment, but more so by the physical and psychological environments they return to after leaving the clinic. I am a believer that we will eventually achieve the health care system that each one of us deserves.

Kellie A. Toporczyk Tafet, MD
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills

Medical School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills
Since the start of my medical career I’ve wanted to be a family medicine doctor. I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and returned to the The City of Good Neighbors for medical school. Buffalo is not just the birthplace of Buffalo Wings—it’s an incredibly demographically and economically diverse city. My childhood and subsequent medical school training allowed me the opportunity to interact and care for these diverse communities; these experiences sparked my interest in caring for vulnerable and underserved patients. My residency at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills taught me how to be resourceful, and how to treat patients using evidence based medicine. During this fellowship I will strive to push my training beyond learning about taking care of patients, and learn to care for a community as a whole. I have no doubt this year will present a multitude of new and exciting challenges, but I will face them head on and with a smile.

Andrea Yanez, MD
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of California, Davis School of Medicine
Residency Training: Long Beach Memorial
My passion for community medicine began as an undergraduate volunteer at Clínica Tepati, a student-run clinic with a goal to provide free, quality, and culturally sensitive care to the underserved and uninsured Latino community in Sacramento, CA. I was inspired by the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers, medical students, and physicians, witnessing first hand the significant impact you could make in the health of patients who previously had not felt seen, heard, or understood by the health care system. As a medical student at UC Davis and a Family Medicine resident at Long Beach Memorial, I continued to thrive in experiences which connected me to the community, learning the challenges we as health care physicians face, not only to treat the individual, but the importance of focusing on the health and wellbeing of the community as well. My interests include adolescent medicine, women’s health and mental health, all which I look forward to cultivating further over this next year as a Community Medicine Fellow. In collaboration with our community partners, I hope to continue to develop the skills necessary to provide the best care for the diverse and ever-changing landscape of the underserved, and create a program which produces lasting change in the health of our local Los Angeles community.

Class of 2018

Gunnhild Albrecht, MD
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of Arizona College of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

A few years ago, I volunteered as an ESL teacher for newly arrived immigrants. Most of my students struggled financially and had no reliable access to health care services. Additionally, I saw how their situation was complicated by the language and cultural factors. As a Community Medicine fellow, I am looking forward to providing health care through free clinics to individuals of diverse backgrounds, including immigrant populations, for whom free clinics are a safety net. I am also looking forward to serving as a health educator, as I believe that a person’s own understanding of health and illness is an important part of good health maintenance.

Teresa Doan, MD
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills

Medical School: University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills

Raised in a low-income Vietnamese refugee family, I had the formative experience of navigating a complex medical system. I internalized the experience and it sensitized me to the difficulties of other families, much like mine, struggling to access adequate healthcare. Armed with this experience, I progressed through my medical career seeking out opportunities to work with the underserved. I volunteered at my medical school’s student operated free clinic, developing a HIV-screening and counseling program. In residency, I became involved with community outreach programs, forming a mentorship program at a community-based teen clinic. I am excited for my role as a Community Medicine Fellow to continue to grow the tools I need and to collaborate with others to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

Edward Erlikh, MD
Family Medicine, Fontana

Medical School: New York Medical College
Residency Training: Family Medicine Riverside

Ever since that first biology class in middle school, I was fascinated with the inner workings of the human body. As an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego, I pursued a degree in Physiology and Neuroscience to satisfy my curiosity for the complexity of the mind/body connection; turns out it’s much more complex that we think. While pursuing research in a lab was intellectually taxing, I felt I wasn’t making an impact in my community. After shadowing several physicians, I knew becoming a doctor would fill that gap. During my medical training, I found great pleasure working with physicians at a student-run clinic dealing with a multitude of health problems in the heart of Harlem, NY. This experience inspired me pursue residency in a discipline with a uniquely broad range of training, Family Medicine. As a resident physician, I was able to experience a unique system of medical delivery with a focus on health and longevity rather than symptom management. Throughout my residency, I was also able to volunteer at the University of California, Riverside student-run clinic. This helped marry my growing knowledge of medical practices and my passion for providing care to the medically underserved. Through the community medicine fellowship, I hope to gain valuable insight into health policy in order to help bring a focus on health and longevity into community clinics.

Kathryn McHenry, DO
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Orange County

Growing up, my father was a city council member, showing me the importance of being involved in one’s community. In medical school and residency, I strove to blend the ideals my father instilled in me with my work with patients. I worked to immerse myself in healthy policy, as well as spending time volunteering with underserved populations both locally and abroad. As a member of the National Health Scholars Corp, I have signed on to continue working with those patients that need care the most. I look forward to my role as an upcoming Community Medicine Fellow in order to further prepare myself in working with the underserved, and to light a spark in other primary care residents.

Mandy Kao, MD
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills

Growing up in Taiwan as a child, having routine care from a doctor was a foreign concept. In fact, getting the mandatory pre-immigration physical exam as a twelve-year-old was my first time seeing a doctor outside of ER visits. Soon after, my family immigrated and settled in southern California. While my parents understood the importance of having health insurance, it was simply too costly for their meager income from the few odd jobs that they could get given cultural and language barriers. Consequently, even as a child, I recognized and feared that any serious illness would mean complete financial ruin for the whole family. Because of my own first-hand experience as an uninsured immigrant, working with the uninsured and the underserved became a cause dear to my heart when I decided to pursue a career in medicine. During medical school, I volunteered in the student-run free clinic, helped put on health fairs in the inner city, and led health screening effort for the local refugee population. During residency, I continued to volunteer at health fairs in different neighborhoods around Los Angeles and began mentoring minority pre-medical undergraduate students. I am grateful for the opportunity through this fellowship to continue to serve and learn more about the health needs of the community.

Elizabeth Kuilanoff, MD, MPH
Pediatric, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of California, Davis
Residency Training: University of California, Los Angeles

Pediatrics involves more patient education than any other medical field. So much of what I do involves anticipatory guidance, return precautions, and how well I can relay those messages. I also want to educate future physicians about the intersection of clinical medicine and public health while improving the way we train medical students. There is a lot we are expected to know as physicians, but it’s even more critical to be able to pass along information in a meaningful way. I plan to spend my life making children and families healthier. In my career, I want to prevent and treat disease on an individual level while also applying my experience to larger scale public health programs and interventions. Children suffer from unique disease processes that have the potential to affect their long term morbidity and mortality. This life course perspective of health is what I find most interesting about pediatrics. A concerned and well-trained pediatrician can prevent much pathology, and that is exactly the type of physician I will continually strive to be. The Community Medicine Fellowship will help me become the most effective pediatrician for my patients, my families and my community.

Avelina Sandoval, MD, MPH
Family Medicine, San Diego

Medical School: The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente San Diego

I like to think that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their library…if they even have one! If you look at my personal home library, you will find books in spanish, books in english, books about the medicine of children, books about the medicine of adults, books about the medicine of women’s health, books about public health and the environment impacting health. I was one of those kids that always liked to read but never in a million years imagined I would be where I am now. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities life has given me and find my passion to be in some of the most fundamental concepts of higher education: learning and teaching. I feel that community medicine is an exciting area in medicine that allows me to practice this the most. I am very much looking forward to the training and experience I will gain at various community clinics this year and hope to better learn how to do my part in the world to effectively help the patients that need us most, both on an individual and population level.

Class of 2017

Rebecca Ahdoot
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of California, Irvine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

In medical school I quickly discovered my passion for Internal Medicine. I have always been committed to not only excel academically, but also work towards becoming a physician leader and counselor dedicated to providing comprehensive and culturally sensitive care. My parents immigrated to an unfamiliar country in order to escape religious persecution at home and give my sisters and me a chance to a better life. My parents’ courage and pioneering spirit has fueled my commitment to address disparities in access and quality of care. To that end, The Community Medicine Fellowship empowers me with a rich curriculum in public health and health policy, which will provide the knowledge and training necessary to address larger institutional barriers and be a greater force for change. Additionally, it is immensely rewarding to provide patient care to various underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area, while also mentoring medical students and residents.

Radeeb Akhtar
Family Medicine, San Diego

Medical School: New York Medical College
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente San Diego

The community medicine fellowship in San Diego opened a door of advanced training in family medicine as well as a focus on public health work. Public health is a fundamental passion of mine that drove me into family practice originally; the fellowship experience will be able to guide and focus my drive for community care, from bright eyed thought into grass roots change. This year I am hoping to gain personal experience for practice in the community, board credentialing in HIV care, and competency in Colposcopy; though, more importantly, I am excited about conducting several research and public health projects that will improve medical outcomes in my local communities via population medicine. I chose this fellowship so that I can train myself to effectively direct community based interventions, and become a leader, advocate, and facilitator for health care in underserved communities

Frank Aliganga
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: UCLA/Drew Medical Education Program
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles

I was born in the Philippines and grew up in South Jersey. I went to Northeastern University for college and majored in Biochemistry. I had the opportunity to work in cancer research and I found that work exciting especially with the advances in science and technology. However, as I continued bench-top research, looking at slides, I came to the realization that my passion was to provide care for those already suffering. When I started medical school I had the chance to work in the community through Charles Drew University and realized that I thrived in opportunities to provide care to the underserved. I chose family medicine because of its broad spectrum of training with a focus on the social determinants of health. Now I am exciting to bring this training to the community as the Kaiser Permanente Community Medicine Fellow. After the fellowship, I hope to eventually find myself in an academic institution teaching medical students and residents, and continuing to advocate for my underserved patients here and abroad.

Kevin Fang
Pediatrics, Los Angeles

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine
Residency Training: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

After college at Duke University, I took a detour in my medical career and taught high school biology in Atlanta, Georgia through a program called Teach For America. It was that experience that truly hit home my own privilege of being born in a suburb of Washington, DC, which afforded me a multitude of academic and social opportunities. I was set up for success simply by virtue of my place of birth. My experience in Atlanta led me to develop a mentorship and medical immersion program for teens in Cleveland, Ohio, where I attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University. I recently completed internship and residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, during which I worked to promote the Hollywood High School Wellness Center. As a fellow, I’m now a physician at the Hollywood High School Wellness Center and hope to use this time learn more about school-based health in order to merge my interests in primary/secondary education and medicine.

Brandon Sievers
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: University of California, Irvine
Residency Training: Long Beach Memorial

From my humble beginnings growing up in Long Beach, becoming a family medicine physician was unheard of from my community. My dream to become a physician, to work towards excellence through mentorship and community outreach, stems from a commitment to my family and community, to rise above adversity for a better tomorrow. There is a great need to increase diversity in the medical field, to have physicians that can mirror the community that they serve. Throughout my academic career and training, I have pursued mentoring youth in hopes of enhancing diversity within the medical field. Attracted to the complexity between medicine, culture, and socioeconomic determinants of health; my decision to pursue a community medicine fellowship was inherent.

Heather Washington
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills

Medical School: University of Illinois College of Medicine
Residency Training: Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills

I decided to pursue the fellowship because it allowed me to mix my passions of family medicine and underserved medicine. Urban community and underserved populations are reasons why I wanted to become a physician in the first place. In addition to honing my clinical skills, I hope to get more involved in the community and health policy to improve patient health and wellness on a greater scale.

Class of 2016

Karina Melgar
Family Medicine, Orange County

Medical School: UC Davis School of Medicine
Residency: Family Medicine, Long Beach Memorial

Dr. Melgar partnered with several organizations including Latino Health Access, Lestonnac Free Clinic, Clinic in the Park, Century High School, and OC Health Care Agency. In her first year, Karina worked on a collaborative effort to open a student run free clinic. This year, Karina partnered up with Lestonnac Free Clinic to address the behavioral health needs of the local uninsured low-income community through the implementation of an integrative behavioral health clinic. One of the main focuses of this project is inter-professional collaboration to accomplish comprehensive patient centered behavioral health care.

Angie Ng
Internal Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Residency: Internal Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Medical Center

Dr. Ng’s clinical interests are in preventive and cardiovascular medicine, which prompted her to focus her fellowship project on patient and clinic staff education regarding blood pressure monitoring. Having worked at KHEIR Clinic, Clinica Romero, and Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, Dr. Ng educated patients, medical students, and residents on preventive health. After completing the community medicine fellowship, she will begin a cardiology fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.

Melissa Ruiz
Pediatrics, Los Angeles

Medical School: Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Residency with Chief Year and Master of Public Health: University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Ruiz works at the Hollywood High Wellness Center, Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, ChapCare in Pasadena, Eisner Clinic in Downtown LA, and the KP HEAL multidisciplinary clinic for obese adolescents. As part of a collaborative of the pediatric residency training programs in California, Dr. Ruiz performed an assessment of current clinic screening practices for unmet social needs. This collaborative will be moving forward to incorporate food insecurity screening into clinical practices up and down California. In partnership with the local AAP chapter, she was awarded an AAP CATCH grant to work with the Pasadena Unified School District to educate parents about and increase student access to a medical home.

Benjamin Silverberg
Family Medicine, Los Angeles

Medical School: University of Connecticut
Graduate Schools: Georgetown University(MS), Duke University (MS)
Residency: University of Virginia

Dr. Silverberg is a part of the treatment teams at Marshall and Belmont High Schools, Venice Family Clinic, UCLA Mobile Clinic, and Saban Community Clinic. During his fellowship year, he probed the knowledge of and attitudes towards sexual minorities in the day-laborer community in Westlake/MacArthur Park through semi-structured interviews. He also led health workshops for the day-laborers at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), an NGO that works for social justice. Next year, he will join the faculty at West Virginia University to work in Student Health and Urgent Care. He would like to thank his mother for instilling in him a love of teaching and caring for others.

Brigitte Watkins
Family Medicine, Fontana

Medical School: University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Residency: Family and Community Medicine, UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital

Dr. Watkins works in a variety of underserved clinics throughout the Inland Empire including Kids Come First Health Center, Al Shifa Free Clinic, Lestonnac Free Clinic, Well of Healing Mobile Clinic, and various high school clinics. She also provided health education to fourth and sixth graders at Poplar Elementary in Fontana. Her project addressed the increasing mental health needs of children. She participated in designing an alternative to suspension curriculum with Fontana Unified School District, and helped educate staff on how to support students with mental illness. The district will continue to use the presentations to educate their staff and parents.

Tracey Young
Family Medicine, Woodland Hills 

Medical School: George Washington University, School of Medicine
Residency: Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, Woodland Hills

Dr. Young works at the Free Clinic of Simi Valley, Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) Clinic in Pacoima, North Hills Wellness Center at Monroe High School, and the Conejo Free Clinic. Dr. Young teaches at UCLA Medical School for the On Doctoring program. She collaborated with KP physicians to make a video to inspire wellness. She started a mentorship program at Monroe High School for students interested in pursuing a career in a health field. She is on the board of directors of the Free Clinic of Simi Valley. She has two research articles pending publication.

Additional Alumni