Matriculating Class of 2018
Kamran Abri (JMP)
Kamran was born and raised in Livermore, California. At UC Berkeley, Kamran became involved in the Berkeley Free Clinic and the Suitcase Clinic, learning about health and social justice in low-income settings. These experiences motivated him to major in Public Health at Cal, and have since driven a deep passion for street advocacy and intervention. His time at Berkeley brought him to focus on how institutionalized injustices drive societal inequities. Following his time at UC Berkeley, Kamran worked in the UCSF Cancer Center, where he operated Phase I clinical trials for end-stage cancer patients. Kamran became the Lead for the unit, managing a large team of Clinical Research Coordinators. His time at UCSF taught him about the high energy environment of clinical research, end-of-life care, and the mentorship of young professionals. In his free time, Kamran enjoys hiking and backpacking in the mountains, reading science fiction, and playing blues guitar.
Lauro Nathaniel Avalos
Nate’s hometown is Hawaiian Gardens, CA. His paternal family is from Zacatecas, Mexico, and his maternal family is Tejano mixed with Mexican and Native descent. He is a CSU San Marcos and UCSF Postbacc graduate. He feels lazy now, but was a swimmer, soccer player, and competed in Cross Country and Track & Field in college. Nate was a research assistant in the neurobiology of drug addiction at the Scripps Research Institute, at Johns Hopkins Hospital within a neurovirology lab, and a neurosurgery lab, in the emergency department at ZSFGH, and assisted on a stroke study at Rady's Children's Hospital. While living in Baltimore, Nate was a tutor at Sarah's Hope, a women's & children's shelter on the west side, and a case manager at Charm City Clinic, a free community clinic in East Baltimore. During the Postbacc, Nate was a scribe at Southeast Health Center in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. Currently, he is enjoying being a high school teacher.
Elodia was proudly raised in Brentwood, New York, a predominantly immigrant community. As the daughter of immigrants and volunteer for her local ambulance company, she experienced health inequities first hand. Through these experiences, she cultivated an interest in medicine, recognizing the necessity of her perspective in combating challenges in healthcare delivery that impact communities like her own. She attended Columbia University and graduated in 2017 with a degree in Neuroscience. At Columbia, she was an active member of the Latinx community and served her community as an EMT and rape-crisis counselor. She also worked abroad as a public health research fellow at ICAP Kazakhstan, working on HIV/AIDS projects. After graduating, she volunteered as a rape-crisis counselor and domestic violence advocate for the Crime Victim’s Treatment Center. She continued to work directly with underserved populations as a doctor’s assistant in a Brooklyn pain management clinic. Elodia enjoys lifting, reading; awful dad jokes, and is excited to join the PRIME-US family!
Katherine was born and raised in Burma until the age of 11, when she immigrated to the United States with her family in 2004. She has four siblings and attended public schools in San Francisco. She completed her BA at UC Berkeley in Public Health. She is passionate about working with medically underserved communities. During her time in college, she volunteered as an interpreter for Burmese immigrant women during labor and delivery and was also involved in breastfeeding clinical research at UCSF. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she went on to attend the UCSF Interprofessional Health Post- Baccalaureate Program. She then worked as a summer counselor/mentor at the UCSF PITCH science program for high school students and continued to work in breastfeeding research as she applied for medical school. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city with friends, being active--jogging, yoga, badminton, volleyball, and swimming--and spending time with family.
Joshua Aintoine Cole
Hailing from Atlanta, Joshua is a community-oriented, creative, and queer African-American who has alchemized power from dejection and committed himself to serving the under-resourced communities that have raised him. Guided by social justice and data-driven solutions, Joshua strives to advance health and healthcare equity in African-American, LGBTQ, and justice-involved communities. Prior to PRIME-US, he worked as consultant at Health Management Associates where he led a county-based HIV/Hepatitis C Virus vulnerability assessment among Injection drug users in California, co-developed trainings on data collection for Kaiser Permanent’s National Diversity & Inclusion office, and evaluated Colorado’s Jail Based Behavioral Health Services Program. Joshua earned his Master of Science in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and French Studies from Boston University. Being a creative, Joshua spends his free time engaged in figure drawing, calligraphy, and drinking tea with friends.
Laeesha was born and raised in San Francisco (besides a three-year stint in New York). During her undergraduate years, she explored her interests in public health, education, medicine, and social justice. She regularly returned to the Bay Area to work at clinics that had provided free healthcare to her family and her while growing up. She graduated from Pomona College in 2016 with a degree in Neuroscience and returned to her hometown of San Francisco. Laeesha worked at the Low Income Investment Fund on a three-year, $90 million initiative focused on health, climate-resilience, and equity in six U.S. cities. She also volunteers with the Women’s Community Clinic’s homeless outreach program, delivering health supplies and services to women and children on the streets and in SROs. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, running, and spending time with family and friends. Laeesha is thrilled to join the PRIME-US family!
Willow Frye (JMP)
Willow grew up in Middle America and studied Political Science and Spanish at Swarthmore College. They decided to pursue medical school while living in Bogotá, Colombia and working with families displaced by the armed conflict. Witnessing the impact of extreme violence and forced migration, they saw the intersections of health, trauma, policy, and community organizing. Returning to Chicago, they started to complete post-baccalaureate courses. During this time, they held positions as an HIV tester, a medical interpreter, a sex education facilitator, a research coordinator, and a data manager. They have also been involved in efforts to develop policies for hospitals and clinics to protect undocumented patients. Through these experiences, they became interested in frameworks such as reproductive justice, trauma-informed care, and design thinking to improve how medical care is distributed among underserved communities. They are very excited to enrich these approaches with the PRIME-US family. Their other life practices include meditation, hiking, running, reading, and traveling.
Nazineen Kandahari (JMP)
Nazineen was born in the Middle East and raised in the Bay Area. At the University of California, Berkeley, she studied Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology with an emphasis in Infectious Disease. Her life experience managing the health of her refugee family ignited her passion to change the individual and structural systems perpetuating health disparities. Her commitment to health equity was further fueled by her research with Kaiser Permanente on improving reproductive and sexual health services for young women of color, her honors thesis with an HHMI-funded molecular genetics lab on delaying age-related decline, and her service with a predominantly Latino church on using technology to produce culturally-sensitive cancer-screening promotion materials. Nazineen firmly believes that happiness and balance fuel success; for her, this manifests as maintaining an active lifestyle, creating art, baking and enjoying sweets, and exploring the outdoors.
Madeleine Kane (JMP)
Madeleine (Maddy) was born and raised outside of Denver, CO. They studied Human Biology at Stanford University, where she focused on the social determinants of health and community-based research. After graduating, they worked on policy, community organizing, and public health at a local government collaborative in the Bay Area for two years. They then took an internship with a microfinance organization in Guatemala, which inspired them to pursue both medicine and public health. For the past year, Maddy has been running health programs for a nonprofit in Pescadero, coordinating everything from Zumba to mobile dental clinics for Latinx farmworkers and their families. When not working, Maddy is either hiking and biking outdoors, drinking coffee, or nerding out over puzzles and sci-fi. They are incredibly excited to join the JMP and PRIME-US communities to continue to advocate for health equity while driving systems-level change for underserved communities as a physician.
Alexandra was born in Los Angeles, where she grew up volunteering at health fairs in low-income and minority communities. Moved by the need she saw around her, she sought ways to reform the systemic problems affecting these disadvantaged groups. After graduating from Haverford College with a major in political science, Alexandra moved to Washington, D.C. to gain experience with policy reform and advocacy. She worked at a medical non-profit organization aimed at community improvement where she served as a health outreach officer and specialized in education programs and health initiatives. Alexandra found that medicine was the perfect combination of her interest in social justice and her desire to give hands-on aid to those in need. She is excited to join PRIME-US and work with others dedicated to improving both individual health and community wellness of vulnerable populations.
Jordan McDonald grew up in upstate New York and graduated from Brown University. At Brown, Jordan developed an intellectual passion for the social determinants of health and majored in medical anthropology. He moved to San Francisco in 2014 and conducted clinical research at the VA Medical Center with veterans experiencing PTSD and alcohol use disorders. Later, he provided substance use counseling to men who have sex with men and transgender women at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Most recently, Jordan worked as a patient navigator in the San Francisco County Jails where he supported 100 patients in completing Hepatitis C treatment. He volunteers his time outside of work with an HIV prevention organization and at a needle exchange in the Castro. In his free time, you can find him in the kitchen, reading in the park, on a hike, or befriending neighborhood cats.
An East Bay native, Diane is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. During her time at Dartmouth College, Diane worked with the homeless population in San Francisco and rural Vermont. She also participated in and serves on the board of Telling My Story, a program working with women in recovery and incarcerated men to use creative expression to break social walls and stigma that surround addiction and incarceration. Through these experiences, Diane developed a deep commitment to work with marginalized communities. After graduating with a B.A. in Biology, Diane did a fellowship with the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program for two years. As part of the family team, Diane provided case management to families experiencing homelessness while developing and facilitating wellness oriented programming and groups in shelters. Moving forward, Diane hopes to delve deeper into the issues of homelessness, incarceration and addiction through the lens of medical care and advocacy work.
Francesco grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended UC Berkeley for undergrad, majoring in public health. In college, he was involved with the Suitcase Clinic, a student organization that runs three drop in clinics for the homeless. Seeing the health disparities among people of color in this community sparked his interest in community health and medicine. Following graduation, he worked as a reproductive health specialist at Planned Parenthood. There, he worked as a medical assistant and health educator, counseling patients on sexually transmitted infections, birth control, preconception care, healthy pregnancies, cancer screenings, abortions and sterilizations. He spent his final months focusing on how the organization could better provide PrEP and PEP services to its patients. He is excited to join the PRIME-US community to continue working on health disparities and inequities. In his free time, Francesco enjoys playing the trumpet, running, traveling, and listening to live music.
Having lived with serious illnesses throughout his life, Christopher has learned firsthand the value of having proactive and compassionate advocates to help navigate our complex healthcare system. While pursuing his degree at UC Berkeley he sought out less traditional experiences within healthcare such as working in Foster Care, Hospice, and as a health coach in novel, patient-centered clinics at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Hospital. Christopher is eager to begin the PRIME-US program and engage with the incredible communities in and around the Bay Area.
Jazzmin was born and raised in Stockton, CA. In 2017, she earned a B.S. with honors in Human Biology from Stanford University. In college, she worked to mitigate healthcare disparities for residents of East Palo Alto through Stanford Health Advocacy and Research in the Emergency Department. In this role, she connected patients and their families with local resources for food and income insecurity, unemployment, health insurance, and legal needs. Passionate about teaching and mentorship, she also volunteered as a facilitator for Decision Medicine, a program that aims to inspire low-income and minority teenagers in the San Joaquin Valley to pursue a medical degree, and then to help close the physician gap in their communities. After graduating, she taught nearly 200 sophomores introductory biology as a Human Biology Core Course Associate. Jazzmin is incredibly excited to join the PRIME-US community and for what she will learn from faculty and peers.