Matriculating Class of 2009

Abby Burns

Abby Burns was born and raised in Auburn, Maine. My parents are both from California, however, and so I renewed some family roots in the West Coast as an undergraduate at Stanford University. I finished my BA in Human Biology with a concentration in "Community Health of the Urban Underclass" in 2008. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to spend a summer volunteering with NYC's Housing Works, learning about integrated services for people who are homeless and living with HIV/AIDS; I followed up on this experience with a thesis project on harm reduction methodology at the Opportunity Center, a supportive housing and homeless services site in Palo Alto. I deferred my admission to medical school one year in order to work as a volunteer Field Organizer for the Barack Obama campaign in New Mexico and to live in Argentina for three months to learn Spanish. I recently completed the Shanti volunteer training and am excited to be matched as a peer supporter for someone living with HIV/AIDS or breast cancer in San Francisco. I am passionate about health care access and equality, and newly interested in applying community organizing principles to the public health arena.

Erika Flores-Uribe

Erika Flores-Uribe is from Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California earning degrees in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention as well as Biology. The needs of my primarily immigrant Latino community motivated my commitment to serve disadvantaged populations and provide leadership towards social justice. I worked to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers as an EMT and fire department volunteer. As a Health Educator for Planned Parenthood, I taught sex education to at-risk middle school students. I also tutored and mentored minority youth encouraging them to pursue higher education. Currently, I am working as a medical interpreter and language rights advocate in Los Angeles. In 2008, I was recognized as a Health Policy Scholar by the Kaiser Family Foundation where I was challenged to identify how policymakers can better meet the health needs of traditionally disadvantaged groups. During my fellowship with Congressman Charles B. Rangel, I advocated for health equity legislation and contributed to research addressing ways to better serve disadvantaged communities. As a physician, I look forward to my continued commitment to service and advocacy for members of underserved communities like my own.

Aurora Gomez

Aurora Gomez grew up in Napa, California. After transferring from community college, I completed my B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. As a physician, I hope to apply my skills, clinical and otherwise, in multidisciplinary public health settings in which I can practice clinically and continue to work with the educational and mental health needs of marginalized populations.

Alecia Greenlee

Alecia Greenlee was born and raised in Sacramento, CA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from California State University-Sacramento. She was a member of the Science Educational Equity program, where she worked as an adjunct facilitator in organic chemistry and served as a peer mentor to college freshman. During her summers in college she worked at the UC Davis medical center, where she learned about the day to day reality of medicine. Greenlee served on the subcommittee of the Black Infant Health program to organize an annual health seminar for families in Sacramento.

Claire Hines

Claire Hines was born and raised in diverse Oakland, CA, I have always been interested in social justice issues facing my local communities. As a high school and college student, I was also a community organizer focused on issues for youth and environmental justice. While a student at UC Davis, I majored in Human Development and conducted research on ethnic differences in response to psychological treatment for parents and children with histories of abuse. Since graduating in 2005, I’ve worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist at a Bay Area biotech company, post bacc’d at UCSF, and worked with kids and teens to improve their academic skills in addition to increasing their awareness of issues in their communities. My interests include women’s health, health inequities, and community clinics. I look forward to being a part of PRIME and JMP!

Elizabeth Iten

Elizabeth Iten grew up in Guatemala and then moved to the United States for college. She graduated from Santa Clara University in 2008 with a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Spanish. At SCU she volunteered as an interpreter at a free clinic in San Jose, did research on DNA polymerase in the Biology Department, participated in an ethics internship at O’Connor Hospital, and spent most of her years involved in Residence Life. After graduation, Elizabeth joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a Medical Case Manager at a clinic for the Latino Community. This experience has focused her research interests in public health, preventative medicine and health disparities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, watching movies and spending time with family and friends.

Especianise Loresca

Especianise Loresca grew up in a rural town of Haiti. At thirteen I immigrated to the United States as a political refugee and lived in Minnesota for ten years. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Biochemistry, I moved to the Bay Area and subsequently attended the UC Davis Post-baccalaureate program. I have been involved with various organizations that work on behalf of the poor in Haiti, as well as groups that serve economically marginalized communities in Minneapolis and the Bay Area. My long-term goal is to work as a community-based physician in the Bay Area serving those who struggle under the weight of economic and social injustice. I will also be active in the global health arena bringing medical resources and care to the world’s poor. I look forward to collaborating with future colleagues and community leaders to address social and medical inequities.

Najim Mohammady

Najim Mohammady is an outgoing individual who enjoys all aspects of life: from the simplest unit of life—the cell—to the magnificent interactions of molecules and electromagnetic radiation involved in a sunset. Believing that life itself is in the fulfilling relationships one has with other people, his goal is to leave an impact on the lives of others. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Najim was raised in the town of Garden Grove (near Disneyland) in Orange County, California. Curiosity for social and psychological issues led him to pursue a degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. Upon graduating UC Irvine in 2004, he pursued a career in pharmaceuticals where his interest for medicine first ignited. Enjoying patient interactions and identifying a need for more patientorientated physicians, he quit his job to tinker with the idea of becoming a physician and worked as an EMT, volunteered and took the necessary coursework. Najim is interested in health care reform and social-cultural beliefs about health and illness. In his spare time, he enjoys teaching and mentoring youth, reading stories about life, and doing anything that involves the outdoors, such as hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping and mountain biking. He is excited about the new trails ahead at the JMP!

Antonio Moya

Antonio Moya was born in the Philippines and graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a degree in Neuroscience. His undergraduate studies involved stroke clinical research with the UCLA Stroke Team. Some of the most valuable volunteering opportunities he has had involved working with underserved black and Latino communities in New York through a Cornell summer research fellowship program. He has also served Filipino and Latino communities in Los Angeles health fairs. As a saxophonist, Antonio hopes to take his jazz ensemble experience to use music as therapy for hospitalized patients in the Bay Area. During his recent U.S. Fulbright grant, Antonio studied stroke protocol and resource availability at three acute stroke units in Metro Manila. Health disparities in the Philippines are extremely evident as 12 of the nation's 17 acute stroke units are located in Metro Manila, a region which comprises less than 13% of the total Philippine population. His main project involved working with doctors to set up real-time internet conferencing between Manila stroke physicians and community members in the impoverished Smokey Mountain community. Telemedicine potentially serves as a powerful tool for Philippine health information dispersal since conventional means of public health campaigns through on-site medical missions are difficult to conduct in this archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands.

Chima Nwankwo

Chima Nwankwo was born in the the large West African city of Lagos, Nigeria. He and his family immigrated to San Francisco, California when he was 12. Although he is proud of his Nigerian heritage, he feels equally fortunate to be able to call the Bay Area home. Chima graduated from UC Berkeley in 2008 with a major in Integrative Biology and a minor in African-American Studies. While at UC Berkeley, he remained committed to his goal of ensuring that young people, especially those growing up under difficult socioeconomic conditions continued to see education as a key to a brighter future. To further this goal, Chima served as a youth mentor, tour guide, and tutor in various on-campus organizations. While at UC Berkeley, he was also able to pursue his love for writing by serving as writer and editor with the Onyx Express, UC Berkeley's Black student publication. One of the highlights of his time at UC Berkeley was the time spent conducting research on activity monitors in overweight African-American children. Immediately after graduation from UC Berkeley, after weighing several options, Nwankwo decided to work with City Arts and Technology HS in San Francisco to set up a reading intervention program. Chima worked with small groups of high school students, the majority of which came from disadvantaged backgrounds, to overcome their reading problems and experienced significant success.

Working with these students, and giving them the tools to be successful academically, proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of Chima's life. He spent late afternoons as the head coach for the June Jordan HS girls varsity soccer team, and also volunteered building affordable housing with Habitat for Humanities Greater San Francisco. Through various life experiences and by way of a collegiate education, it has become clear to Chima that there is a dearth of culturally competent physicians when it comes to working with urban underserved populations. He wants to work towards closing this gap - this is why Chima is so excited about UCSF-PRIME. After spending a year coaching soccer, he has developed an interest in sports medicine, but even in this arena, it has become clear to him that there are a multitude of social and economic factors affecting the treatment of sports injuries among young athletes. Chima is hopeful that the PRIME-US program will give me a proper framework to investigate these issues more critically.

Kenneth Payan

Kenneth Payan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and received his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA in 2006. As an undergrad, he volunteered as a Spanish interpreter with the Care Extender Internship program at Santa Monica-UCLA Hospital and as a community health advocate with SCOPE at the Venice Family Clinic. Kenneth also traveled through Central America with International Service Learning conducting medical triage and providing medical attention to indigent populations. In 2008, he participated and completed a post-baccalaureate program at UC Davis School of Medicine. While in Davis, he worked on the MICASA Project, looking at the etiology of poor health disproportionately affecting migrant farm workers and their families.

Payan's ultimate goal is to utilize his personal background, education in medicine and public health to empower underserved communities, ensuring that they have a standard of living adequate for the maintenance and propagation of good health. His ability to empathize with the struggles of the urban underserved, coupled with his desire to effectuate change in the delivery of medical care to disadvantaged populations, have influenced his commitment to working with these communities. Through the PRIME-US Program at UCSF, Kenneth will receive the education, skill set and awareness necessary to become an effective physician, health advocate and community leader.

Elizabeth Sanseau

Elizabeth Sanseau is happy to be back home in the Bay Area for at least the next 5 years. She earned her BA at Columbia in Art History and Italian and thinks she deserves an extra degree for sticking with DI lacrosse through her senior year. As any Art Historian/Italophile must, she studied at the Universitá di Bologna her Junior year and moved back to Italy after graduation in 2005 to work in the Vatican Museums. After six months in Rome she bid the Pope arrivederci and headed off on a new adventure: postbac at Mills by day, high school lacrosse coach by night (swears the latter made physics look easy!). The past 3 summers ‘Liz’ has traveled to rural El Salvador working with local health promoters to implement an oral health program for kids. Also worked at Oakland Children’s Hospital in HLA/molecular genetics for a year and a half. Fresh off the plane after 2 months living as a porteño in Argentina with family and thrilled to be back trail running in the sunny Berkeley hills and drinking Peet’s coffee.

Pocholo Selpides

Pocholo Selpides was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Rialto, CA when he was eight years old. He enjoys breakdancing and playing basketball. Pocholo attended Chaffey Community College and transferred to Cal State Long Beach (Go Beach!), where he earned a degree in Biology. Selpides was involved with the American Red Cross in Long Beach and volunteered in Biloxi, Mississippi to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief. He interned at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach and volunteered at the Comprehensive AIDS Resource and Education Program. Pocholo also tutored at a crisis shelter in Long Beach, and traveled to Tijuana and Sinaloa, Mexico to help provide health care to low-income families. He is thankful to be in PRIME-US and to be with others who share the same desire to work with urban underserved populations.

Eric Seymour

Eric Seymour was born and raised in Ocean Springs, MS. The first in his family to attend college, he graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a BA in Sociology. After college, Eric moved to the Mississippi Delta as a corps member with Teach For America. During his time there, Eric taught high school biology and worked in the community with the Delta Student Health Initiative to educate students about sexual health and with the United Female Empowerment Workshops to educate young girls about healthy choices. After his time in the Delta, he completed a post-baccalaureate premedical studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, all the while volunteering at the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. For the past year, Seymour has been living in New Orleans, LA volunteering as an HIV tester/counselor with the New Orleans AIDS Task Force. Eric feels incredibly fortunate and excited to be a part of the PRIME-US program at UCSF and is looking forward to working with his peers and mentors to develop the skills that will enable me to be a physician for all people.

Amarinder Singh

Amarinder Singh was born and raised in a small village in Punjab, a state in northern India. After completing his high education in a catholic school, Singh immigrated along with his parents to the United States. During his first few years in America he worked hard and faced some of the issues that are faced by the immigrant communities in California. While working in the Central Valley he attended Merced Community College and later transferred to UC Irvine where he completed his undergraduate education in Neurobiology. Amarinder's experiences as an immigrant, volunteer work with Merced Rescue Mission aimed at providing care to the homeless, and mentoring children of imprisoned parents has motivated him to join the UCSF PRIME-US program.