Matriculating Class of 2007

Stephanie Garcia

Stephanie Garcia is a native of Oakland, California. She is biracial: her mother is black and her father is Puerto Rican. Stephanie attended UC Berkeley where she studied Public Health and Poverty through the Interdisciplinary Field Studies Department, and later completed a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program at San Francisco State University. Garcia has some Spanish proficiency and have visited the Dominican Republic twice where she worked with orphans and visited the Haitian border. She has worked with homeless individuals in Oakland and Berkeley, as well as at-risk youth in school settings and in a locked treatment facility. She taught math to inner-city youth in Oakland for Girls Incorporated of Alameda County and as a contractor for the Oakland Unified School District. She is interested in pediatrics and internal medicine and would like to pursue her Master's in Public Health in infectious disease or tropical medicine. Stephanie sees herself working with children of the State and those who are undocumented within Oakland, CA. She would like to pursue medical missions in developing countries, particularly those that have been affected by the African Diaspora and those where many preventable tropical diseases are endemic. Her long term goals include developing a comprehensive clinic in an urban area and eventually working at a national level.

Jamila Harris

Jamila Harris was born and raised in San Francisco. After earning a BA in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley, she pursued her passion to become a doctor. She enrolled in San Francisco State University and completed her post-baccalaureate studies. In the meantime, Harris worked at the Women’s Community Clinic, a free clinic in San Francisco for women without insurance. In her three years at the clinic, she provided health education, HIV testing and counselling and street outreach. Jamila also worked as a clinic manager where she learned about the administrative aspects of running the clinic. She is excited to be a part of this diverse group of students united in their desire to help underserved communities. Jamila believes the PRIME-US program will expand her knowledge of community health and enhance her ability to discover adequate solutions for problems that face underserved populations.

Tanya Lagrimas

Tanya Lagrima was born and raised in Stockton, California, as was her family. She graduated from Edison High School and began her post-secondary education at San Joaquin Delta Community College where she was able to develop her academic interests in science and medicine. Tanya transferred to Mills College and completed a degree in biochemistry. After exploring other fields, she decided to seriously dedicate herself to becoming a doctor. Lagrimas' preparation for medical school included taking part in the UCSF post-baccalaureate program. She is motivated to practice medicine in a medically underserved area because she is a person who experienced the realities and injustices of living in such communities. Her background and history grounds her in the realities of marginalized populations, and continually renews her passion for restoring justice and equality to these communities. Part of her preparation for becoming a physician included working as an EMT in Oakland for three years. Tanya witnessed daily the health disparities of the communities of color she served. The PRIME-US program will help her to achieve her goal of becoming a physician for the urban underserved by providing her with a deeper understanding of the complex needs of these communities.

Brian McPhee

Brian McPhee grew up in Syracuse, New York and enjoyed studying writing, theatre, Spanish and politics. He moved to New York City when he was 18 and began studies at New York University. He studied abroad in Southern Mexico for a semester and completed a research project on education and healthcare in a Zapatista community. Brian also studied social linguistics and Latin American literature for a semester in Lima, Peru. During and after college he worked with a group of artists in New York on various performances and projects focused on politics, development and urban expressionism. Many of the works sought to expand social consciousness and question basic social assumptions, especially regarding cultural identity. During his time in New York, he volunteered in an underserved urban elementary school, worked as a Spanish-English interpreter in an ambulatory clinic, and assisted at a free health clinic. McPhee returned to school to pursue premedical studies at Bryn Mawr College, PA. For the last year he has been working with the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute, on improving HIV care for underserved populations without mainstream health insurance. He's very interested in programming and policy for underserved populations, especially undocumented immigrants, and HIV care. He hopes to study policy and foresee through PRIME-US a multitude of mentorship opportunities, exposure to a variety of clinical sites, and a well-developed understanding of the government’s role in providing quality care to the underinsured. He's fascinated by infectious diseases, specifically the changing field of HIV care, and public health care policy. Brian hopes to provide a combination of clinical care and public health leadership in his future career. He is excited by the opportunities that the PRIME-US program offers.

Mikah Owen

Mikah Owen was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. He attended college at Xavier University of Louisiana. Mikah also attended one semester at California State University, Sacramento.

Irving Salmeron

Irving Christhian Salmeron Blanco was born in Acapulco, Mexico but partially raised in the nearby village of Papayo. His second home has been the rural community of Fallbrook located in San Diego County. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005 with majors in Molecular & Cell Biology, Integrative Biology, and a minor in Education. In addition to his breast cancer research and residential construction work, he is extremely proud of his activities as a mentor, tutor and teacher at Oakland’s Longfellow Middle School, Digital Underground Storytelling Youth, FACES for the Future, and Laney College. At the moment, Irving is interested in the surgical field because of his exposure to family practice and in vivo studies as well as his personal experience with Palmar-Plantar Hyperhidrosis inspire him to help those who need specialty care. Salmeron hopes to use and share his specialized training in urban underserved communities because he feels the need is greatest there and his desire to make the greatest impact. Someday, he would like to work in a team that develops public policies and methods that will improve the quality and access to surgical services for the underserved. Irving has benefited tremendously throughout his entire life from the guidance of genuine and passionate people. Hence, he strongly believes, based on his interviews and communication with PRIME-US staff, that his specific goals in medicine will be fostered in the program. Furthermore, the fit between the goals of PRIME-US, student colleagues, and those of his own, will allow us to work together, along with allies, to ultimately accomplish them.

Emilia Wilkins

Emilia Wilkins was born and raised here in the Bay Area, in Oakland, California. She went to college at UC Davis and received a degree in Biological Systems Engineering. Throughout her life, she has spent a great deal of time doing outreach in urban underserved communities. While at UCD, Wilkins brought groups of underrepresented students to tour the university and tutored others in math and science. She volunteered as an interpreter at a free clinic geared to serve the uninsured Spanish-speaking population in Sacramento, as well as at an adult day center in Oakland. After college, she spent a year volunteering full-time with Americorps*VISTA at the American Lung Association (ALA) educating asthmatic middle school students from predominantly low-income communities in Oakland. When her term of service was over, the ALA hired her as a bilingual (Spanish/English) Asthma Case Manager to provide asthma education and home remediation to Oakland children and their families. Both in her personal life and in her work Emilia has observed the need for specially trained physicians to adequately serve the health care needs of the low-income urban population in California. PRIME-US will train Wilkins to effectively address these needs as a physician. With the training she receives from PRIME-US she plan to contribute directly to the betterment of health care services by providing high quality, culturally sensitive medical care to low-income patients in an urban area. In addition to addressing health disparities by seeing patients one-on-one, Emilia will use her training to participate on a larger scale, by collaborating with community organizations on public interventions that include health education and disease prevention. As far as her future specialty, she loves working with children and is interested in pediatrics.

David Grunwald

David Grunwald was born and raised in Berkeley/Oakland and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005 with a B.A. in Psychology. During college he spent a semester studying in Havana, Cuba. Grunwald studied and subsequently taught at the Young Musicians Program, an organization that provides music training to low-income youth from the Bay Area. He researched links between psychological stress and aging at UCSF and has worked at the school-based health clinic at McClymonds High School in West Oakland. During the past year, he taught art and science in an after school program at Oxford Elementary in Berkeley, where he also served as an assistant coach of the football team. David is a certified E.M.T. and currently volunteer with Kerry’s Kids, a mobile medical clinic serving homeless children of the East Bay. He anticipates that his experience in PRIME will help him better understand the issues that marginalized communities face, and expose him to work being done to address health disparities within these communities. David hopes that his work as a PRIME student will help him narrow his focus and discover particular areas where he might be able to impact the medically underserved. In terms of specialization within the medical field, he is keeping his options open, but he has a particular interest in school-based healthcare. He conducted research on stress and aging was with the Epel lab in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF.

Cami Le

Camha Le, but most people call her Cami, was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and did her undergraduate at UC Berkeley. She later moved to Pittsburgh, PA to pursue a Masters in Health Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University. During this time, she was also volunteering at a free clinic providing healthcare services to homeless men. After graduate school, Cami was accepted as a public health intern into the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Emerging Leaders Program. The majority of her time at HHS was spent at the Health Resources and Services Agency, where much of her work focused on health literacy, telehealth, and health information technology as means to increase access and quality of healthcare for underserved populations. During this time, Le was also volunteering at a community health center serving a predominantly low-income African American population in Washington, DC. Her career goal is to become a community- and physician-leader who provides quality care to underserved populations, conducts community health research to improve health outcomes for these populations, and informs and influences health policy on the issues facing the underserved. Cami feels that her future goals as a physician fully align with the goals of PRIME, and that the program would provide her with the structure, network, and support to achieve her goals.

Rebecca Lindsay

Since leaving Arcata, the small Northern California town of her youth, Rebecca has lived, worked, and studied in Chile, the Bay Area, New York, Vietnam, Cuba, India, South Africa, Brazil and Philadelphia. Rebecca graduated with a B.A. in Urban Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and later studied in the Postbac Premed program at Bryn Mawr College. She has been a teacher, sushi roller, ethnographer, researcher in Social Medicine, clinical Spanish interpreter, HIVAIDS outreach worker and perinatal health educator. Rebecca looks to the PRIME-US community for support and inspiration in her path to become a family physician. She hopes that the PRIME-US program will help her develop the tools to become a more effective physician advocate. Her interests include primary care, public health, policy and social justice.

Jason Randolph

Jason Randolph grew up in Oakland, California. He has a BA in Psychology from Berkeley and a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from SF State. At Berkeley as an African American Theme Program Mentor, Randolph taught a class for black students on establishing careers after college and was a TA for an interdepartmental Medical Ethics course. Additionally he performed in plays written to teach safe sex practices to high school and college students in the Multicultural AIDS Peer Prevention program. Jason loves playing Basket Ball, swimming, and playing Capoeira. By working in Molecular Biology labs at SF State and UCSF for the past three years he's had his education funded by the NIH's Minority Access to Research Careers program. Jason's most substantial research internship was in a molecular genetics lab that studies spermatogenesis in c. elegans. He's had a number of different jobs but his most rewarding position was as a science teacher and mentor for four years at a program in Oakland and SF for inner-city kids called Aim High.