- About Us
- Matriculating Class of 2016
- Matriculating Class of 2015
- Matriculating Class of 2014
- Matriculating Class of 2013
- Matriculating Class of 2012
- Matriculating Class of 2011
- Matriculating Class of 2010
- Matriculating Class of 2009
- Matriculating Class of 2008
- Matriculating Class of 2007
- Matriculating Class of 2006
- PRIME Alumni
Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved
Matriculating Class of 2011
Nicolás hails from Steinbeck country, Salinas/Monterey California. He graduated from Stanford University, class of 2007. During his time as an undergrad, he was especially inspired by the educational work of Paulo Friere, and has since aspired to model the activity described in Pedagogy of the Oppressed: to free bodies and minds by identifying and breaking down barriers that inhibit the realization of human potential while granting subjectivity to society’s powerless. As part of this effort, Nicolás has been active in a diversity of efforts dedicated to alleviating social and medical ills including work in educational non-profit organizations, youth development, and research in infectious disease. He is passionate about understanding the common variables that differentially affect diverse communities, both domestic and abroad. Aside from medicine, public health, and interdisciplinary study, Nicolás is a dedicated CrossFitter and an active reader.
Jessica Chow was born in San Francisco and grew up around the Bay Area. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2008 with a B.A. in Public Health, studying genetics and pediatric leukemia. While in Berkeley, she served at the Berkeley Free Clinic (BFC) for three years as a volunteer and coordinator. It was at the BFC that she was reminded of childhood and family encounters with limited access to preventive care, and the continued persistence of those health inequities for individuals and communities today. With newfound motivation to close those health gaps, she pursued a Master of Public Health at UCLA. For the past two years, she has been working on several local and national child and family health projects including the National Children’s Study (NCS), the Community Child Health Network (CCHN), the Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) Survey, and Best Babies Zone (BBZ) Initiative. She also helped to implement the Clinical Information Manager Program at the UCLA Emergency Department, where she trained scribes to work side-by-side with physicians. Her public health and clinical experiences have allowed her to develop skills in leadership, communications, grant-writing, research, and data analysis, and have solidified her commitment to translating what we know into practice. Her research interests include life course theory and application, health disparities, and population health. Jessica looks forward to the exciting opportunities ahead from JMP and PRIME. On her free time, she enjoys the great outdoors, comedic TV series, reading, hip-hop/breakdancing, and tumbling/flipping on trampolines.
Joshua Connor was born and raised in Oakland, CA with a single lesbian mother. His experiences growing up in the LGBT community during the early AIDS epidemic provided a catalyst for his later interest in medicine. Joshua graduated from Holden High School and followed a nontraditional path through education. He began his undergraduate education at Laney College in Oakland and received a B.A. in Humanities from New College of California. Joshua worked as a home care attendant for people with disabilities and terminal illnesses, as an elementary and middle school teacher, and as a research associate at UCSF/SFGH. Joshua has committed his life to working for fundamental social and political change. He has organized free childcare for grassroots organizations through the Bay Area Childcare Collective and worked for single payer health care in California and beyond. After deciding to pursue a career in medicine, Joshua completed a post-baccalaureate program at San Francisco State University. He explored the medical field by volunteering in the Emergency Department at SFGH and researching language disparities amongst low-income patients with diabetes. Joshua is a recipient of the UCSF Regents Scholarship.
Martín Escandón was born in Corona, California and grew up in Spokane, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2007, earning a BA in Spanish with a minor in Microbiology. Since graduating he has worked in AmeriCorps as a Patient Navigator in a south Seattle community health center, converted recycled bicycles into pedal-powered farm machines in Guatemala, and studied prostate cancer as a research scientist assistant at the University of Washington. Volunteering with organizations to promote urban gardening, access to healthy food, and urban cycling, Martín developed his interest in community health and social justice. He hopes to practice family medicine and is excited to learn new skills, meet new people, and continue to be inspired by serving urban communities in the future.
Cleavon Gilman was raised in Lakewood and Rahway, New Jersey. After high school he enlisted in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, where he first served as a cardiovascular technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Next, he went “green-side,” serving with the Marines at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan. In 2004 he was deployed as a Fleet Marine Force combat medic to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq with Alpha Surgical Company 1st Medical Battalion. In Iraq he split time between providing healthcare to Iraqi prisoners at a remote detention facility and serving as a member of the Shock Stabilization Team, tasked with the expedient treatment of battlefield casualties. After his enlistment, he majored in Biology at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista, CA and then transferred to UC Berkeley, where he received a BA in American Studies. Afterwards, he began a post-baccalaureate in Physiology at California State University East Bay. Aside from schoolwork, Cleavon loves to work out, watch any sport, and write hip-hop music.
Sunny Lai is a true Bay Area native: she has lived in Cupertino, San Anselmo, San Francisco, and received her B.A. in Development Studies from U.C. Berkeley in 2009. She is passionate about world music, traveling in sub-Saharan Africa, exploring homes, being present amongst natural wonders, and working at the intersection between poverty and health. In college, she studied global health in Boston, India, China and South Africa, and spent a summer in Kenya learning about tropical medicine and health care access issues facing rural communities – an experience which inspired her to monitor and evaluate a transportation project in rural Uganda. Back at home, she served two years as a live-in health worker and coordinator in residential halls. During this time, Sunny also investigated health and labor issues facing San Francisco’s Chinatown restaurant workers and the health care experience of recent African immigrants in the U.S. After graduation, she worked as a diabetes health coach and medical assistant at Southeast Health Center in Bayview-Hunter’s Point. Her experiences abroad and domestically have shaped her aspirations for becoming a community-based doctor for the urban underserved. Sunny is thrilled to be a part of PRIME as it brings her one step closer to building healthier communities in the U.S. and abroad.
Elieth Martinez was born in Managua, Nicaragua and grew up in Los Angeles, California. She earned her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego in 2009 and completed post-baccalaureate work in 2010. Elieth consistently worked with underserved communities in many capacities including helping to set up clinics for San Diego migrant farm workers, tutoring and mentoring inner city elementary school children, and traveling to Tijuana, Mexico to work with medical volunteers with Healing Hearts Across Borders. In 2011, Elieth was recognized as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation where she learned the effects of health policy on racial and ethnic minority groups. After working with legislative staff members in the office of Congresswoman Roybal-Allard in legislative pieces such as The Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act, Elieth was inspired to integrate her medical career with that of policy work to help alleviate disparities among underserved populations in California. Elieth has been working at the Kaiser Foundation under the Disparity Policy Project identifying racial and ethnic health disparities in Health Professional Shortage Areas, disparities in men’s health, and contributing to the monthly published disparities report.
Myrna grew up in Cupertino, CA. She double majored at Santa Clara University in Chemistry and Social Justice and Peace Theory. During college she volunteered with the Santa Clara Community Action Program at the Veteran’s Hospital in Menlo Park and tutored students at Sacred Heart Nativity Middle School in downtown San Jose. The highlight of her time at SCU was studying abroad in El Salvador through the Casa de la Solidaridad. At the Casa, she accompanied members of a rural coffee community as they went about their daily activities. Inspired by her experience in El Salvador, she joined Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and moved to the Colville Indian Reservation in Omak WA where she worked as a teacher, coach, and bedtime story reader at Paschal Sherman Indian School. She is ecstatic to be a part of PRIME and explore ways to bring justice to medically underserved communities.
Sarat was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. After graduating from Rutgers University, he moved to Houston, TX to become a 4th grade teacher through Teach For America. While at Port Houston Elementary (go Dolphins!), he was often asked to produce a hall pass by a colleague who was convinced that he was a student. By the time Sarat became a guidance counselor at Sacramento High School in Sacramento, CA (go Dragons!), he no longer ran into this problem because, as his students pointed out, he was prematurely balding. Sarat has spent the last year running a health literacy project at UMDNJ's University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey through the Global Health Corps program. He is a mediocre tennis player and one few remaining Indians to practice yoga. He enjoys dancing with and serenading his cats. Sarat has an excellent FICO score. He hopes to learn the merengue, play the harp in a Jaliscan conjunto, and marry his lovely fiancé.
Nicholas was born in East Los Angeles and grew up between East LA and the San Gabriel Valley. He then attended UCLA and majored in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and Neuroscience. While at UCLA, he worked on a methamphetamine and nicotine addiction inpatient study, thus developing an interest in substance dependence and research. Also interested in community health, he volunteered through UCLA Family Medicine with an early asthma intervention program at a San Fernando Valley middle school. There he learned about health disparities facing urban underserved Latino communities, and the importance of community-based interventions to address these health issues. After graduating from UCLA, he conducted basic science research in stem cells and cancer, chaperoned field-trips and mentored students at a South LA middle school, travelled to Guatemala for a short-term missionary trip, volunteered at the San Francisco General Hospital ED and completed a post baccalaureate program at UCSF. Most recently, he has worked as a clinical research associate and tobacco treatment study counselor through UCSF for psychiatric inpatients at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley and at SFGH. It taught him the importance of treating tobacco dependence in patients who suffer from severe mental illness, particularly those who are homeless or marginally housed and come from urban underserved communities. He hopes to continue this work while in the JMP. His interests are in public health, substance dependence, preventive care, health disparities and community based participatory research in urban underserved and Latino communities. During his free time, you can find him dancing, eating, spending time with his partner and family, running in the city, listening to music or playing with his cat named Guapo. He is excited to join the JMP and PRIME.
Liberty Reforma was born in the Philippines, but was raised in Sugar Land, Texas. She found a second home in California where she attended Stanford University and earned a BA in Human Biology with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Public Health in 2008. At Stanford, she served as co-chair of the Pilipino American Student Union. In college, her interest in working with the underserved was sparked by her experiences as a coordinator at Stanford’s Arbor Free Clinic and as a participant and leader of several service-learning trips. After graduation, she returned to the Philippines on a Fulbright scholarship where she served as an intern for the WHO, implementing fieldwork to determine strategies to improve infant immunization rates among the urban underserved. Back in the US, she has been working in Boston conducting clinical research on diabetes prevention in postpartum women, inspiring her interest in women’s health. She looks forward to continuing her work with the underserved and is thrilled to be a part of the PRIME-US family.
Kerrilynn Rice was born in Oakland, CA and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her Bachelors degree in physiology and metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley. While attending UCB Kerrilynn pursued her interests working in underserved communities by completing internships at Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Women’s Daytime Drop in Center Berkeley, research in juvenile diabetes in the African American community, and a medical mission during the summer of 2010 to Belize, Central America, giving much needed medical services. It has been Kerrilynn’s dream since grade school to become a physician and focus on the medical care of children in our community.
Yakira was born and raised in San Francisco. Since completing her degree in Latino Studies at Columbia in 2003, she has combined her interests in art, education and health through work in Latin America and the Bay Area. In Mexico and Central America, Yakira was exposed to innovative community-led models addressing health issues and access to care. While teaching in after school programs throughout the Bay Area, she became interested in the local implementation of community-based health programs for underserved communities as her students and their families faced barriers to care that echoed those in Latin America. Yakira completed her prerequisites at Mills while volunteering at San Francisco General Hospital in a pediatric obesity prevention clinic and a support and education program for cancer patients. This past year, she taught high school Biology and Health Education while continuing her work with community empowerment and arts programs in Mexico and Peru.
Yolanda Tejeda was raised in Sacramento CA where she attended American River Community College and first learned of her interest in public health and medicine. Soon after, Yolanda matriculated at UC Berkeley as a transfer student, and in 2009 earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. As a public health student, Yolanda reinforced her desire to address health inequities, specifically by addressing the needs of individuals with population-level approaches. Upon graduating, Yolanda served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the American Lung Association in Oakland, California. There she worked closely with the Oakland Unified School District to implement a school-based asthma education program to elementary and middle school students. Additionally Yolanda also facilitated Spanish asthma education workshops for parents of pre-school aged children throughout various cities in the East Bay. As a PRIME student, Yolanda is excited at the prospect of learning how to effectively the address health needs of underserved communities by incorporating a community-based approach to her future clinical practice. When she has free time, Yolanda enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercising, and finding new delicious places to dine at.
Natalie was born in Tokyo and first moved to the States at age one when her father accepted a teaching position in Columbus, Ohio. She grew up mostly between Madison, Wisconsin and Japan, where her parents still reside. During college, she sought out opportunities to work with prison inmates and families in transitional housing. Natalie majored in economics at Brown University. During junior year, she decided to pursue medicine after taking courses in medical anthropology and the economics of race and inequality, both of which illuminated the health inequalities she encountered in her volunteer work. After graduating, Natalie moved to Baltimore to complete the post-baccalaureate premedical program at Goucher College. She then worked in clinical research at Johns Hopkins: first, in Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, and next in the Division of Pediatric Neurology studying childhood epilepsy and stroke. She also continued her work with injection drug users, volunteering with harm reduction and overdose prevention programs in Baltimore. She is looking forward to further investigation of injection drug use in the inner city through the JMP and PRIME. Natalie is excited to explore the Bay Area with new friends and her lovable dog.