Jon Froyd, DO
A.T. Still University
I grew up in Minnesota & attended Grinnell College in Iowa. Throughout school I worked as a dishwasher, cook, waiter, bar-back, professional mover & research chemist. My interests include: music, skateboarding, social justice & education. To gain health care experience I worked as a medical assistant at a homeless clinic in the Tenderloin & realized I wanted to be involved in primary care. I was fortunate to do a 4th year rotation at CCRMC & found the residents & staff to be extremely gifted, insightful, & compassionate caregivers. I am amazed everyday by my fellow interns & residents.
Christina Hamilton, MD
I grew up in the Bay Area & am so happy to finally be back home! Things I love in life: mountains, trees, rivers, chai tea, rocks, smiles, babies, people & their stories. I choose medicine because it incorporates all that I love to do in life – listen, learn, teach – & because it challenges me to be a better person. I came to CCRMC because I want to be the best Family Physician I can be, & I knew that training at CCRMC would allow me to achieve this goal.
Jessica Hamilton, MD
I did not always know I wanted to be a family physician and in retrospect, it feels like I actively avoided this perfect match for years. I grew up in a small rural town in New Jersey with a tight knit social fabric where my upbringing inspired a strong social consciousness, a deep love of the outdoors, a passion for cats, and an interest in austere medicine and simple(ish) living. My concrete-thinking brain found a home in the theoretical mathematical world at Rutgers University and I wanted to focus on theorems, but felt a pull to commune with humanity in a meaningful way. I was excited to start medical school in Philadelphia after a bit of a breather – road-tripping, time in the Sierras, Yosemite Search and Rescue, Tahoe ski patrol, and climb various types of rocks. When it was time to return to the East Coast, I sent my belongings ahead and climbed on my bicycle to pedal east.
I was a bit disenchanted by my didactic years in medical school; I had not expected to find such a specialized world and felt anxious when I tried to smash my varied interests into the fields provided. I took an extra year to explore public health and found a home working with the homeless population in Philadelphia. A qualitative analysis of a housing first program solidified a passion for people’s stories and a desire to work in a safety net healthcare system. My unquenched interests in women’s health and family planning combined with an overwhelming fear of full spectrum medicine ultimately led me to match in OB-GYN. In a moment of clarity, after skeptical glances for wanting to intubate surgical patients and workup cardiac conditions on L&D, I followed my heart and switched residency programs to join the incredible residents and faculty at Contra Costa where I have found the autonomy and challenge I craved in a residency. I am inspired by my community of colleagues and mentors and our patient population has encouraged me to open my heart to the struggles of humanity. From malaria in pregnancy (in California!) to patients with Hansen’s disease, I am continually surprised by how much we see and manage. I feel like I stumbled across a true gem – a haven of some of the most inspiring, dedicated and bright physicians and a family of residents who encourage me to be the best person I can be.
Geena Jester, MD
University of Illinois, Chicago
I was born & raised in San Diego. I worked my way through junior college & ultimately graduated from UCSD with a BS in Biology & minor in Environmental Studies. I was able to fit in some traveling during this time, including a Tropical Biology & Conservation Program in Costa Rica. I chose to do a month-long inpatient medicine rotation at CCRMC in my 4th year of medical school because of the hospital’s reputation for training residents well & protecting resident autonomy. When I rotated here it felt like home; the residents & staff are supportive, patient, knowledgeable, & incredibly encouraging.
Abby Luensmann, MD
University of Iowa
I was born in Dubuque, Iowa & spent my youth traveling around the Midwest playing soccer, volleyball, & basketball. I became interested in pursuing a career in medicine after having back surgery during high school. I went to the University of Iowa for medical school & was involved in the Family Medicine Interest Group as well as volunteered with Mobile Clinic, Tar Wars, Table to Table, & the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic. I am absolutely thrilled to be starting my residency training at CCRMC. If you are looking for a challenging, hands-on, procedural-rich program working with a diverse underserved population, then this is where you should be!
Joe Mega, MD
Jefferson Medical College
I was born in Massachusetts, just south of Boston, in the town next to where the Patriots play. My family moved over the border to RI when I was 3 & my mom spent the next 15 years putting herself though the hell of raising two rambunctious, hockey-playing boys. We grew up without health insurance in a charming, yet dilapidated home in a small town called Cumberland (like “Cumberland Farms” – that’s us!) Although I was always really interested in science, it wasn’t until I started wondering about the reasons behind why my brother & I didn’t have access to a doctor & how I could work to remedy this situation for others that I decided medicine would be the right path for me. I came to CCRMC because after doing a sub-I here last year & interviewing at far too many other programs I learned that there is no other residency like this!
Monika Mehrens, DO
Western University of Health Sciences
I was born in South Lake Tahoe, CA, where at the tender age of 17 I moved to the big city of Los Angeles for further education at UCLA where I studied International Development & Political/Economic Geography. My interests/activities include: nature, good food (especially ethnic), spending time with furry creatures & specific interests in medicine are HIV, women’s health, & integrative medicine. CCRMC is a magical world of family medicine where FM rules the world. It is unlike other FM residency programs that I looked at. It’s unique for several reasons. We have the honor to serve a large & diverse indigent population, there is a strong interest & many opportunities in global health, the faculty are highly trained & truly love teaching, & while being traditionally very hands on & procedure-oriented, our outpatient clinics, preventative care & integrative medicine are becoming bigger priorities.
Rohan Radhakrishna, MD
UC San Francisco
My parents emigrated from South India to the Midwest & I was born in rural Illinois & raised in suburban Kansas. A thirst for diversity sent me to California & a roller coaster journey: undergrad at Stanford, delinquent Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador for 2 years leading tours for Global Exchange & studying community health/integrative medicine, health policy internships at PIH & MSF, MPH at Berkeley, humanitarian work in Northern Uganda, & a year writing about my global health in India. Now I’m proud to be a family physician, married to my awesome esposa Fumi, & staying well by dancing, cooking, hiking, & meditating. Top ten reasons for coming to CCRMC: Full-Spectrum, unopposed program, Procedures, Dedication to the underserved, Passionate faculty, Strong global health program, Tribe of residents who have strong values of social justice, Larger vision of primary care driving US health reform, County level innovations, We’re fun, funny, & loveable, join us!
Jeana Radosevich, MD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
I grew up in El Cerrito, CA where I spent time playing sports, hanging out with my parents, two younger sisters, & extended family, & becoming involved in the community around me. During medical school, I soaked up the countless cultures of the Bronx & developed a tougher skin in the hustle & bustle of the big city. I fell in love with medicine there & had inspiring role models among the faculty at Montefiore & Beth Israel who dedicated their lives to providing great primary care for the poor of NYC. I knew I wanted to become a family doc but missed my family & the California sun, so I did a rotation at CCRMC. On the first day of my OB rotation as a 4th year student, I delivered a baby …and the deal was sealed. I knew I wanted to be here.
Abby Rardin, MD
St. Louis University
I grew up in Ohio & then moved to St. Louis, MO for college & medical school. During my time in St. Louis, I became involved with a lot of volunteer organizations & was able to travel to a few different places in the US doing service work. Some of the most influential trips were to very rural parts of West Virginia. It often surprised me that so many people in our own country live in a manner reflective of that in developing countries. Once I got to medical school, I realized that the way for me to be of the most help as physician was to become a family doctor. During my 4th year, I discovered CCRMC & found that this program could best train me to provide this wide range of service for my future communities.
Jason Reinking, MD
My parents met in Hong Kong and soon after, I arrived into this bustling world of commerce capitalism with deserted beaches around the corner. I have continued to thrive throughout my life in places of juxtaposition, studying in bastions of first world academic institutions and living amongst starvation where tarmac hasn’t yet arrived, from Asia to the Middle East to Africa. Contra Costa is a place where many corners of the world meet, and it is this diversity in patient population, urban and rural, insured and uninsured that brings many of us to its doors to learn what it means to practice full spectrum medicine. This is a special place that functions as a true safety net for those who have nowhere else to go, while also being the health system of choice for those with options due to its superior care. Ultimately, it is the people that make a place special, and it only takes a day here to feel the humility, dedication, and authentic care of its many providers.
As one who grew up in the heartland, relocating to California has been a real joy where days off are filled with outdoor excitement – beaches to mountains, and everything in between. The culture of the Bay Area is arguably unsurpassed, and I count myself very blessed to be in such a place of wonder during such an instrumental part of life.
Leah Schweid, MD
Although I don’t always like to admit it, I am a valley girl from Los Angeles. I grew up playing soccer & hanging out by the pool. I got a Masters Degree from Boston University & finally figured out I wanted to be a doctor. Working in various underserved communities in Boston & spending a summer living with a family in Peru led me to realize that although cheesy (& borrowed from BU), I really wanted to provide “exceptional care without exception.” At CCRMC family medicine is just that – you are the family doc who does it all from delivering babies to doing procedures in the ED, managing patients in the ICU, spending time in the OR & seeing patients in clinic.
James Walls, MD
University of Southern California
I grew up in South Florida & went to Georgia Tech where I majored in Chemical Engineering. Upon graduating, I came back to the bay Area to work for a large consumer products company. Ultimately, I was dissatisfied with the job because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything truly meaningful. That was when I first considered medicine. I left that job to join AmeriCorps & work at a network of community clinics in Oakland & Berkeley called Lifelong Medical Care. During that experience, I saw firsthand the value of primary care in urban underserved communities. I choose CCRMC because I wanted to go to a program with rigorous training to prepare me for working in urban underserved communities where resources can be limited.
Courtney Wright, MD
University of Arizona
I grew up in Arizona healing my siblings with creosote salves and mesquite bark…okay, not really, but I did put a lot of aloe on our scrapes. I went moved to Brown, an amazing place, where some pivotal moments – lectures from Paul Farmer, writing an NIH grant to study cultural barriers to minority use of methadone, and some inspiring fellow students – helped lead me to medicine, the path through which I can best combine my interests in health and the human experience. After a year working as a scientist, nanny, and waitress in Providence, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of the inaugural class of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. Within this supportive environment, I started a student-run clinic and several clubs, held a national AMSA position, worked in coastal Oaxaca and on the Tohono O’Odham Nation, and learned from several exceptional family physicians. I eventually crossed paths with some CCRMC faculty members who described what seemed to be the Holy Grail of Family Medicine training. My clerkship experience at CCRMC confirmed that the rumors are true – CCRMC really trains exceptional, full spectrum family physicians dedicated to the underserved. (For more details, please refer to my classmate Rohan’s list.) Like my alma maters Brown and UA-Phoenix, CCRMC is a place where your colleagues will inspire you and your only limitations are your own interests and abilities.
Ashley Ballard, DO
of Health Sciences - Osteopathic
I’m originally from Portland, OR. While going to college I would work to travel and studied abroad in Australia. After returning home as a senior in college, I realized I needed more. During that trip I had started reading books by Paul Farmer and became interested in infectious disease and public health. I toyed with the idea of social work, but ultimately decided I wanted to know anything and everything about how our bodies work and fight disease, so I started on the path of applying to medical school.
I never really thought I would leave the Pacific NW, however, while in medical school I fell in love with a fellow classmate who is from the bay area. We decided to couples match and applied as far east as Colorado. CCRMC sounded interesting on paper, but the moment I knew we wanted to be at this residency was when Brent called me on his first day of his away rotation here and said “oh my gosh Ashley, some of these surgeons are family docs and they handed ME the scalpel on my first day in the OR!” It’s not just that Contra Costa likes procedures; it’s that they like and WANT you to actively learn by doing. I couldn’t see myself anywhere else and I’m so glad I’m here. I love running, biking, camping, cooking, enjoying great microbrews, wine and cheese with friends and my fellow residents, and traveling!
Kim Butler, MD
University of Utah
School of Medicine
Many travels helped me cultivate a passion for language and culture, and realize how privileged we are as members of the “western society.” I came to CCRMC knowing how much we have to give and that being here would help me focus my education on a field that will empower me to make a difference; here I found a system full of providers who share many of my core values. CCRMC stood out for me in a sea of choices for many reasons: location (can you really beat the Bay Area?), lots and lots of procedures, strong one-on-one inpatient training, international programs and inspiring, compassionate, and intelligent physicians. Come join us!
Stephanie Cheng, MD
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Medicine
I grew up in the small town of Portola Valley, CA, and attended the University of Notre Dame. As an anthropology major with a minor in Asian studies, I explored health in the context of different cultures and became fascinated by different meanings of wellness and disease. Experiences in Thailand, Tibet, Honduras, the States and elsewhere have confirmed that for me, a life in medicine boils down to a life of service and connection with my fellow human being. For med school, I ventured up north to OHSU in Portland, the land of trees, beards, and occasional rain. My love of family medicine and integrative medicine deepened as did my interest in student/physician wellness, mindfulness, and palliative care. I'm thrilled to be joining the CCRMC team! I was drawn to this program because of the unique learning environment (registrars, nursing staff and pretty much everyone passionate about teaching!), diverse patient population (unparalleled learning opportunities at the county hospital), hands-on approach, supportive and empowering culture, balance of inpatient and outpatient, commitment to the underserved and social justice, appreciation of contextual care, and amazing people!! I'm excited to be back in the Bay Area and I enjoy spending time with my family and fiancée, being in the beautiful outdoors (particularly in areas with big redwoods), salsa dancing, sailing, yoga, aerial arts, meditation, and eating yummy food.
L. Emily Cotter, MD
George Washington University
School of Medicine
I was born and raised in Northern CA but embraced the opportunity to move to New Orleans for college at Tulane University. Serendipity inspired me to pursue an MPH and I fell back in love with the Bay Area during my time at UC Berkeley. Public health and a passion for human rights led me to Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sierra Leone, where I saw first-hand the critical importance of full- spectrum family medicine to underserved populations. I chose CCRMC for its commitment to the kind of family medicine I want to practice, as well as for its inspiring residents and faculty. Its location in the beautiful Bay Area is a fantastic bonus!
Danielle Draper, MD
University of Arizona
College of Medicine
I was born and raised under the sun and saguaros of suburban Arizona. My parents were both teachers and instilled me with a strong sense of social justice, love for community, music and the outdoors. I eventually ended up at Wellesley College where I was challenged to be a better person, grew into my skin, and majored in Spanish. Afterwards, I followed my heart to New Orleans where for AmeriCorps building homes in the upper Ninth Ward with Habitat for Humanity.
I returned to Arizona for medical school in Tucson. My aspirations for a medical career always involved frontline patient care, education and advocacy, which I learned, were all embraced in the philosophy of Family Medicine. I had the privilege to experience full-spectrum Family Medicine on the Hopi Reservation as well as rural medicine throughout Arizona and knew I had found my calling. As I searched for residency, I wanted to find somewhere I could train in an underserved community to learn true, full spectrum Family Medicine. CCRMC seemed too good to be true: a residency united by common ideals of service, social justice, and a drive to provide the underserved with the best medical care possible. I am amazed to be a part of this incredible community where I am challenged to be a better physician and learn from my peers and remarkable, yet vulnerable patients. I have no doubt I will leave this program with the training and confidence I need to succeed in practice whether in the inner city, the Hopi Reservation or a rural village anywhere in the world. I am so thrilled to have found my people and will happily answer any questions you may have to help you do the same!
Stephen Merjavy, MD
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, I was fascinated with the ancient world during high school and studied classics and philosophy at Notre Dame. Looking to teach and travel after graduation, I ended up living in Western Uganda working as a middle and high school instructor. Though I enjoyed teaching, I was drawn to the direct patient care and outreach work done at a nearby rural clinic, which led me to reconsider medicine as a career. While spending a month at Contra Costa as a medical student, I was struck by the strong commitment of the attending physicians from all specialties to teach residents. The opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients across the full spectrum of Family Medicine in a friendly and supportive atmosphere with people I enjoyed being around made a strong impression on me.
J. Travis Nelson, MD
University of Kansas
School of Medicine
I was born in Chicago, grew up in Kansas but went to China for a year during college, which prompted me away from a future career in film directing (or more likely holding boom mics) and into medicine. My primary focus is medicine is international nonprofit. Contra Costa was my top pick for residency as it combined a number of aspects I enjoy: a county hospital system serving patients with low-resources, gobs of procedures and obstetrics, international opportunities and the ability to be the primary physician directing the care of my patients at an early stage of my training. The staff is awesome; approachable, laid back and super smart, and the other residents are the selfless standard of what a family medicine physician should be. I've also spent time in South America (Bolivia mostly), and Tanzania and in my free time I like cooking and scuba diving.
John Parr, MD
Medical College of Wisconsin
CCRMC just fit what I wanted out of medicine. I felt confident that I would be trained to be competent in most any situation while still retaining the core values that drove me to family medicine in the first place.
David Piccinati, MD
University of California San Diego
School of Medicine
I was born in Berkeley but only lived her for about 6 months and have been trying to make it back to the Bay area ever since. I have been lucky enough to know I wanted to be a physician from a young age. After moving all around the country (8 times before high school) I was able to further solidify my desire to come back to the Bay. Eventually, my family found its way to Orange County, where I spent the majority of middle school and high school (where I started to first lacrosse team in the area). I did my undergraduate work and medical school at UCSD, where I got to enjoy the beautiful weather and surf (which I hope to continue up here, whilst avoiding the sharks). Ironically enough, I always wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon for most of my educational career, but once I got to medical school I realized I had been way off. I quickly found the light that is family medicine and never looked back. I'm interested in policy and politics of medicine, evolving the patient-centered medical home, and I am also working on expanding our sports medicine exposure. I hope to continue with full-scoped practice in the future, likely in a rural scenario, however only time can tell. I am living in Martinez and am loving the program so far!
Brent Porteous, DO
of Health Sciences - Osteopathic
I grew up just 40 minutes away from here in Danville. Growing up here in the bay I spent most of my time swimming and playing water polo locally, snowboarding in Tahoe, wakeboarding at Lake Berryessa, and mountain biking all over Mt. Diablo. I spent 4 awesome years at UC Davis where I learned I had a passion for medicine. After working in the bio-tech world for a few years I went down to Southern California to study medicine at Western University of Health Sciences where I met some of the most incredible people I've ever met, including my amazing wife who coincidentally is one of my co-residents here. With her and a great group of med school buddies I spent any free time (when I wasn't studying or surfing) working at clinics and traveling- sometimes combining the two. I needed excellent training to prepare me for any possible pathology and patient population I could ever encounter. I spent a month during my 4th year of medical school on a surgery rotation at CCRMC and I was hooked. The residents and attendings were very friendly, passionate about helping underserved populations, and ridiculously well trained. To be able to learn medicine in an environment like this surrounded by the amazing opportunities that lie in the Bay Area is a dream come true. Be it a night out in San Francisco, snowboarding in Lake Tahoe, wine tasting in Napa, or surfing in Santa Cruz, there’s virtually nothing you can't do within a few hours. Combine that with this amazing full scope Family Med program that lets you truly hone your skills to become a “jack of all trades” in the medical field and it’s easy to see why I chose residency at CCRMC.
Mena Ramos, MD
Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina
The events that ultimately led me to CCRMC were like bends in a river, one path making way for the next, shifting directions, finding eddies, but continuing along one journey. The seed of medicine was planted at a young age, spending my youth in the small town of Southern Leyte, Philippines. There I heard stories of my grandfather, who passed away without ever seeing a doctor for lack of access and where my grandmother still lives insisting on her simple way of doing things. From these experiences, I gained an awareness of how social inequality translates into health. In college, I spent a summer volunteering at a small clinic in Ghana where I instantly fell in love with Ghanaian percussion and the raw melodic intricacies of the 6/8 bell. I explored both musical and medical paths at Brown which ultimately led me to study medicine and percussion in Havana, Cuba. Havana is a setting rich in rhythm, warmth, and complexity, all within a paradigm where primary care enables access to healthcare for a population with limited resources.
Contra Costa means “opposite coast,” which is fitting as the tides are turning back to the basics in healthcare. I am so happy I chose Contra Costa to continue my journey. The full spectrum training equips me with the tools to practice in a wide range of settings, both locally and internationally, urban and rural. It is a place that is simultaneously challenging while it provides the support to continue to stay balanced, grow, and nurture humility and strength. Contra Costa is made up of a group of passionate people, dedicated to the underserved, teachers who bring richness to the art of medicine through their respective styles, a community of which I’m honored to be a part.
Erin Stratta, MD
Loyola University of Chicago
Stritch School of Medicine
Contra Costa is an extraordinary place. There’s a spirit here that I haven’t encountered anywhere else. The physicians dedicating to serving this County are truly salt-of-the-earth folks; they are ridiculously intelligent yet completely humble and accessible mentors. On top of that, you have nursing and hospital staff that consider you family and really take you under their wing and support you in serving a complex population. I didn’t realize how unique and incredible it is to have one on one daily teaching with your senior faculty. You literally have a Family Medicine trained Doctor dedicated to your specific learning every single day; and they happen to be inspiring to hang out with. Here you’ll find Residency is an adventure, and if you’ve got the gumption your guides will help mold you into a more proficient Doc than you thought possible. You bring the energy and passion; they really set the sails for you. I came to CCRMC from a varied road: Growing up in Nebraska, college at Santa Clara University, enjoying the adventure of two years of Peace Corps in Peru, and Loyola Chicago for medical school.
Tina Toosky, MD
Saint Louis University
School of Medicine
I grew up in Southern California, thankful in my reflection of being raised by my ingenious father, who would bring home various tools and mediums for nightly art projects, and my nurturing mother, who tended to her garden and children with every ounce of her being. After many learnings, comings, and goings, I moved to St. Louis to study medicine. Beyond my studies, in exploring the city’s history and culture, I discovered that a large part of providing meaningful care to a community is not only recognizing the underlying common humanity between all mankind, but also having a genuine understanding of each person’s values as reflections of their unique experiences and providing care based on their expectations. Since moving to the sunny Bay, I wake up every morning feeling like blessings have showered upon me and cannot come close to expressing the depth of my gratitude. In my training at CCRMC, I am engaged in continued edification in the medical sciences and procedural skills among a crew of inspiring and incredibly intelligent physicians and staff who are sincerely dedicated to the community and act in the spirit of service. Our role in family medicine is as servants of the community.
Lauren Wondolowski, MD
University of Toledo
College of Medicine
I grew up in the Bay Area then detoured to New Hampshire, Washington DC, and Ohio before finally making my way back here for residency. I did my undergrad at Dartmouth College where I majored in Chemistry, played water polo, and enjoyed the seasons of New England. In the years after college I spent a lot of time thinking about what to do with my life, and later about exactly what kind of doctor I wanted to be. Women’s health has been a recurrent interest of mine from working with sexual assault survivors to participating in medical mission work in Guatemala focused on women and children. I strongly considered going into OB/Gyn but my passion for preventative health, continuity of care, and social justice issues made me realize that family medicine is the right fit for me, and I couldn’t be happier. Coming back to the Bay Area was an easy decision for me, and I feel so fortunate to have found such a wonderful residency program right here. Our county system is essential for the community and every day the glaring disparities our families face serve as a reminder of the importance of safety-net systems. It’s already clear that this program is one that will push me well beyond what I thought I was capable of and in doing so will make me both a thoroughly competent and compassionate provider. It is amazing to see the way in which the county system has embraced family practitioners and I can’t imagine a better place to train in the full spectrum of family medicine.
Allison Berger, MD
University of Minnesota
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota before attending Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and majoring in sociology. During my junior year I spent six months studying abroad in Ecuador, including three months working in a jungle hospital that started me down a path exploring underserved medicine. Following college, I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer assistant case manager at Christ House, a respite facility for the homeless in Washington, DC. Upon returning to Minnesota for medical school, I continued volunteering with groups delivering medical services to homeless individuals. During my third year, I had the opportunity to be part of MetroPAP, a nine-month-long immersion in urban, underserved primary care in North Minneapolis, where I also worked on obesity prevention and high-risk sexual activity prevention research. I chose to rotate at CCRMC during my fourth year, where I was immediately impressed by the residents, faculty and staff and knew that the program would be a great place to further explore underserved medicine.
In my free time, I enjoy trail running, rock climbing, reading, and sharing meals with family and friends. I am incredibly excited to be moving to California to be part of the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center residency program, and to be living under the same roof as my husband for the first time since college.
Elizabeth Berryman, MD
University of San Diego
I grew up the daughter of two teachers in the small agricultural town of Ripon, CA, about an hour east of Oakland. I moved to San Diego to study Biology/Chemistry at Point Loma Nazarene University, but found my deepest lessons in social responsibility and care for communities at PLNU. Full of San Diego sun, I remained in San Diego for medical school at UCSD and was involved in the PRIME HEq Program, a community of students dedicated to working with the medically underserved of California. I took a year during medical school to focus on the bigger picture of medicine and got my MPH at Harvard School of Public Health, focusing on social determinants of health. When I'm not being a medical person, I love surfing and skateboarding, reading the occasional Russian novel, and sipping good coffee in the sun.
I chose CCRMC because I fit here, with this group of social minded residents who valued rigorous training, working with a diverse patient population, and enjoying the natural and cultural benefits the East Bay has to offer.
Christina Gomez-Mira, MD
University of Texas
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Spanish literature. Since then my path has led me in many directions including Peace Corps in a rural village in Burkina Faso, West Africa, working with refugees in Austin, starting a career in photography working with a wildlife photographer on an island in the Panama Canal and managing a clinic for street youth. It was while photographing medical relief efforts post-Katrina that I felt I was on the wrong side of the camera and an interest in working in health care was inspired. I chose CCRMC because of its full spectrum Family Medicine training, dedication to underserved care both nationally and internationally and the amazing community of residents and staff I would have the privilege of training with.
Kathryn Hamlin, MD
UC San Francisco
I grew up in Southern California and majored in psychology at Amherst College. After graduating, I taught English in a kindergarten in Guangdong, China, in search of an adventure and in the hopes of learning a new language. I returned to California a year later to gain clinical experience as a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood Watsonville, where I felt drawn toward a career in primary care. As a medical student at UCSF, I’ve pursued interests in working with the medically underserved and in developing as a teacher. I traveled to Nicaragua with a group called Teach for Health to help expand a system of community health promoters there. In the hopes of promoting interest in primary care and improving medical students’ early clinical experiences, I also helped teach an elective about health coaching for first-year students. This year, in addition to starting residency, I will be adopting a dog with my boyfriend and hopefully growing some tomatoes in our new backyard!
I’m very excited to be joining the program at Contra Costa. As a fourth-year medical student, I did an away rotation at CCRMC and fell in love with this unique program. The registrar system provided plenty of support to students and residents, while allowing for a lot of autonomy, as well—and most importantly, the people I met here were amazing. I really felt like there was a community at CCRMC that embraced the same values I did and took special pride in teaching me. I knew Contra Costa would help me develop into the kind of family doctor I want to be.
Christine Henneberg, MD
UC San Francisco
I grew up in the Bay Area and I plan to raise my own family here... or at least keep it as our "home base." As a lifelong writer who majored in English and Creative Writing at Pomona College, I developed an interest in public health and medicine while teaching English in India, and a few years later I went to medical school at the UCSF- UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program. My husband Mo and I hope to return to South Asia in the near future, to practice medicine and broaden our perspectives on global health and development. I'm thrilled to be training at CCRMC because of the program's commitment to global health, the unique registrar system, and the opportunity to work with a committed group of co-residents who bring diverse strengths and interests to our broad field of medicine. My medical interests include narrative medicine, women's health and reproductive rights, global health, and palliative care. I also love to swim, ride my bike everywhere, cook, read, and of course write.
Kendra Johnson, MD
UC San Francisco
I grew up climbing trees and catching bugs in rural Wisconsin before moving to the great city of Madison for high school and Boston for college. I spent my undergrad years traveling to Ecuador to work with an indigenous community in the Amazon rain forest on their community water system. This work almost convinced me to spend my life as water engineer, except that people kept coming to me with their health problems: diarrhea, machete wounds, and abdominal pain that turned out to be appendicitis. I felt vastly under-equipped to deal with these situations, and decided to pursue medicine to learn the skills I needed to address community health issues more broadly. Before eventually starting at UCSF, I spent a semester at a medical school in Cuba, and my experiences there inform my hopes for improving our medical system in the United States by granting equal access to everyone and grounding it in primary care. My hobbies include running, hiking, learning to cook new kinds of foods (pupusas are my latest love), thrift store shopping, and attempting to learn to play guitar.
I was drawn to Contra Costa for residency because of the incredible full spectrum clinical training, but it was during my sub-I that I knew for sure it was the program for me because I felt surrounded by such amazing people that have so much passion around the things that are most important to me: caring for the underserved, global health, and primary care innovation. I also knew that I would have the mentors and support to pursue areas of interest such as integrative medicine. Wherever my path takes me in the future, I know that I will be developing a wide skill set to bring to the communities where I will work, and I feel so fortunate to be joining the CCRMC community.
Christy Martinez, MD
University of Washington
I was born and raised in Homer, Alaska where I grew up commercial fishing with my family. I attended Claremont McKenna College in southern California and majored in biology and psychology. After college, I returned to Alaska and worked as a chemical dependency counselor in the Alaska Native healthcare system for 4 years. From a young age, I had thought about medicine as a career and had always hoped to return to my hometown as a primary care physician. After 4 years in counseling, I decided it was time to make a switch. I attended The University of Washington School of Medicine, trying to complete as much of my clinical training in rural Alaska as possible through UW’s WWAMI program. When looking for a residency, I gravitated towards CCRMC because I knew that I would need full spectrum training in order to return to rural Alaska and be comfortable in the scope of medicine practiced there, including surgical obstetrics and emergency medicine. I loved that CCRMC was an unopposed training program that allowed the residents to be the main providers no matter what service they were rotating on. I also loved the diverse patient population served by CCRMC. Outside of medicine my interests include backpacking, hiking, boating, four-wheeling, snow-machining, crocheting and spending time with my husband and our adorable chocolate lab, Cash.
Tamara McBride, MD
University of Arizona
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona but under the influence of a family very tied to Latin America. My grandfather had helped to open a hospital in Baja Mexico and I spent many of my vacations running around causing havoc with the other children. It was my time spent there the seeds were planted that influenced me to become a doctor. In undergraduate I studied Biology, but my real passion arose from my women and gender studies classes. I got involved in teaching sexual health education across campus and started volunteering at the women’s shelter. My focus became working with marginalized groups of women. The obvious choice of specialty would seem to be OBGYN, but when I finally did my family rotation on the Hopi reservation I realized that I didn’t want to give anything up. People live and work best as a community and I wanted to treat that whole community, start to finish.
CCRMC was love at first sight for me. On first hearing about the program I was excited to see my learning style mirrored. The hands on approach with patient care, autonomy, and diversity were unmatched in any other program. It has a reputation for being intense but I wanted a program that would prepare me for the global health work. The residences have a passion for their patients and social justice that was impressive and important.
In my free time I am doing capoeira, yoga, biking, climbing, hiking, dancing, and competitive sandwich making. I have a passion for community, learning, and coffee, which makes the bay area a great place to live.
Jennifer Owen, MD
Florida State University
Medicine is my second career but Contra Costa Family Medicine was definitely my first choice. I studied finance in undergrad at University of Florida and then worked as a budget analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. Several experiences and a lot of introspection later, I decided to pursue a career in medicine. I returned to Florida for medical school at Florida State University and decided to head west for residency. I rotated at Contra Costa and fell in love... with the program, place and, most of all, the people. When I left, I wanted to go back and I think that was the defining aspect for me. I feel like the program supports and empowers the residents in a way you can't find elsewhere. At Contra Costa nobody says "family doctors don't do that". I am so excited to train here and be a part of this amazing group.
Mana Pirnia, DO
Western University of Health Sciences
I was born in Iran and raised in Southern California where I stayed for the perfect nonweather to study psychology and classics at UCLA. I decided to pursue medicine when reading about Paul Farmer's work in Haiti during orientation at law school. Eight years later, I'm so excited to be joining the residency program at Contra Costa, not only for its dedication to global health and the underserved, but also for the immense amount of respect that is shown to everyone at the hospital, from the patients and nurses to the ancillary staff. The residents are so intelligent and passionate about their patients and full-spectrum family medicine that it is hard not to fall in love with the program!
Jonathan Powell, MD
Weill Cornell Medical College
I've been a New Englander most of my life, growing up in Connecticut and studying economics at Dartmouth College as an undergrad. After graduation, I didn't have much direction, eventually taking a job in the financial industry but quickly realizing it wasn't the right profession for me. so I applied to the Peace Corps and ended up in Mali for 2 years doing community development. It was there that I really thought about my future and felt medicine was the best opportunity for a challenging and fulfilling career. I completed a post-bacc program and ended up at Cornell in New York City. I often grew frustrated with the emphasis on specialty medicine there, but took advantage of their strong global health program, spending time in Zambia, Ghana, and India. I learned about family medicine mostly thru friends since Cornell doesn't have a residency program and was encouraged to do a clerkship at CCRMC as a 4th year. It was my first time living on the west coast but I was blown away by the people and the quality of care at CCRMC. It felt like home from the very beginning and I'm incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity to train here.
Marcie Richmond, MD
University of Nebraska
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, went to college at Iowa State, got a Masters in International Public Health at Johns Hopkins, then went back to Omaha for med school at the University of Nebraska. I chose Contra Costa because of its top notch family medicine training and its passion for the underserved. CCRMC trains family docs in a wide range of skills with a "can do" attitude toward the specialty. I left my interview convinced it'd be the perfect preparation for serving overseas -- which is strongly supported by this residency program. The residents were so cool, fun and easy to get along with; I felt right at home. And even though my blood flows Husker Red, I've always wanted to live in the gorgeous, wonderful, interesting Bay Area. So happy to be here and excited to start my intern year!
Neal Sheran, MD
UC San Francisco
I was born and raised in a beach town in Rhode Island. I spent the summers swimming, sailing, life guarding and working at a diner called Newport Creamery. I got a liberal arts education at Bates College; spent my junior year abroad in the Dominican Republic; and I majored in Spanish and Biology. After too many snowy winters, I moved to Los Angeles, and spent six years working in the social services. I did outreach work for an LGBT homeless youth drop-in center for two years. I then worked in health education, HIV testing and case-management at the adolescent medicine department of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. I have spent the past five years at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program.
I am thrilled to be moving back to the East Bay to begin my Family Medicine Residency at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. I first learned about CCRMC during my first year of medical school, doing my preceptorship at one of our outlying clinics, Richmond Health Center, which has since moved to the West County Health Center. I chose to come back to do my residency here because I believe in family medicine and I wanted to train at a place that is centered around our family medicine values. After residency, I hope to eventually work at a community clinic that focuses on the holistic health of underserved patients. I hope that my work reflects my primary interests in medicine, which include underserved populations, primary care, LGBT populations, medical education and primary prevention of chronic diseases.
Kaitlyn Van Arsdell, MD
Loyola University Chicago
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs before attending undergrad in gorgeous upstate New York. After deciding to pursue medicine, I took an extended detour to Perú before heading back to Chicago to hit the books. I always knew that I wanted to learn full-spectrum family medicine. An away rotation at Contra Costa convinced me that the program was a perfect balance: high-quality, well-rounded training among kind, inspiring people in a great location.