Jose Ajoc, Jr. MD
Born and Raised: Surigao, Philippines
Medical School: Mindanao State University College of Medicine, Philippines
I was born and raised in rural Surigao, Philippines. Since I was a kid I have always wanted to be a doctor after seeing wounded soldiers during the height of political unrest in my country. Fortunately, I was granted the scholarship to pursue my dream. I attended Mindanao State University College of Medicine, in Iligan City, Philippines, a problem-based and community-based school where I enjoyed learning and working with the underserved communities. Right after medical school I worked for several years in a rural hospital. Receiving a simple "thank you" or a bunch of bananas, and a decent salary was very fulfilling. The thirst for more knowledge encouraged me to join and finished Internal Medicine Residency in Zamboanga, Philippines and at the same time worked as a faculty member in a community-based medical school. Moving to the US after experiencing the effects of political uncertainty was not an easy decision for my family. I am grateful now that I have joined the Natividad family to pursue my passion to serve the underserved communities.
Allen Andrews, MD
Born and Raised: New York, New York
Medical School: Oregon Health & Science University
I was proudly born and raised in New York City and graduated from NYU with a BA in biochemistry. I was then fortunate to go to graduate school at Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge where I completed an MPhil in biochemistry. I rowed on the college rowing team and added my NYC basketball street ball ‘skillz’ to a strong team that won the Division I national championships in the United Kingdom. After Cambridge, I moved to San Francisco and worked at UCSF in a biomedical research lab. While living there my passion for social, health, economic, and environmental justice developed further in the vibrant city of San Francisco. The next logical step was an MPH degree and while at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health I focused on international health in regions experiencing violent conflict. With cooperation from organizations such as the UNHCR and IMC, I helped lead a research project in Amman, Jordan, the published findings of which were used to help create mobile clinics serving the healthcare needs of 750,000 refugees displaced by the Iraq War. From Baltimore, I moved to Portland and gained my medical degree from the Oregon Health & Science University. While a medical student, I advocated for and completed research in support of a single payer health care system. This was followed by with a year in California pushing for a transition to a universal healthcare system for the state. I started my postgraduate medical training in surgery in Atlanta but found that my interests were better supported and empowered within the family medicine community. I’m very excited to be returning to California and specifically to serve the healthcare needs of the unique and diverse Salinas population.
James Beckwith, DO
Born and Raised: Portland, Oregon
Medical School: Touro University California COM
I’m from the beautiful (and annoyingly wet) northwest and graduated from the University of Oregon. At Touro, when I wasn’t neck deep in books, I spent my time volunteering at free clinics. Eager for more opportunities to serve the community, I founded the Napa-Vallejo Flea Market Health Fair in my second year, which has since become a bi-annual event.
My passion for working with underserved populations stem from my upbringing. The 4th of 6 children, I grew up in poor neighborhoods dependent on welfare and subsidized housing. Despite the hardships we faced on a day to day basis I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood and remain thankful for the lessons this early adversity taught me: how to appreciate the little things, the value of hard work, humility, and most importantly—compassion.
I’m looking forward to serving the community of Salinas and am honored to receive my full scope Family Medicine training at Natividad Medical Center! When I’m not honing my clinical skills you’ll find me exploring the outdoors by foot, bike, and to some of my colleagues horror—motorcycle. I am 6’4” and yes, I do play basketball, but I also plan on seeing how well my snowboarding skills translate (or don’t) to surfing. I also love to cook, eat, read, watch cable TV dramas, & spend time with family. I enjoy many of these luxuries thanks to my good health, and I chose Family Medicine so I can partner with a diverse array of patients to optimize their health and hopefully provide them the same opportunities I’ve been so fortunate to have.
Cy Cedar, MD
Born: Santa Clara, California
Raised: Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, California
Medical School: Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia
I grew up on the California Central Coast. I started working at age 11 delivering newspapers, moved into landscaping, then bookkeeping, then managing a copy center, eventually getting a degree in mathematics. I did a first "real" career in the Seattle software industry, starting back before the internet, when software was sold in a box. I wrote code sometimes, but mostly I managed projects and streamlined people-processes. I loved having a brain stuffed full of hard-earned expertise, which I could use to solve big and little problems all day every day. After several years I had a bird's eye view of the company and industry, and I could see why problems happened, and work within the system to prevent them from happening. So why am I a doctor now? Well, my midlife career change started when my nephew was born. I got to watch a medical team care for my family through the day and into the night. I love big responsibilities and big decisions - the doctors had enormous responsibilities and made huge decisions! I was in awe, and I wanted to know more! But I didn't personally know any doctors, nor how to become one. So, I started volunteering in an emergency room, then trained to work as a labor support doula for birthing women, then I volunteered with cancer patients. In medical school I ran a free clinic and worked in community organizations. I got schooled by fierce grandmothers on how the world really works...and how it doesn't work. The little bird's eye view that I have now, as a fresh doctor, is that there is a complicated maze of challenges in providing medical care. I want my clinical training to prepare me to walk that maze with anybody and everybody. I chose to come to Natividad because the rigorous training covers the full clinical spectrum, and because the location is unbeatable. I'm delighted to be back on the Central Coast!
Alison Clarke, DO
Born and Raised: Lafayette, Louisiana
I was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun country. From an early age I knew I wanted to be a writer, so in addition to majoring in French, which was a given having grown up surrounded by Cajun French, I received my BA in Creative Writing from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. I moved to the bay area shortly thereafter and began working at a publishing house in San Francisco, but I soon realized that this was not the field for me. I explored other options, which included volunteering at George Mark Children’s Home, a pediatric palliative care home, and it was there I discovered a passion for patient advocacy and public health. I began taking night courses at UC Berkeley while still working in publishing. Five years later I began medical school and started to work on my Masters in Public Health. I am grateful to be joining the Natividad team as I am passionate about both family medicine and patient advocacy for the underserved.
Daniel Demirchyan, MD
Born and Raised:Los Angeles, California
Never in one place for very long, I am thrilled to be here in the Central Coast to continue my training. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, after which I moved to the Bay Area to complete my undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. After a short stint in editing and international diplomacy, I found myself traveling abroad to beautiful Grenada to study medicine. Now that I am back in my home state, I look forward to pursuing my professional interests including maternal and child health. Outside of medicine, I enjoy attending live concerts, traveling, and spending time with my rescue dog.
Chris Irvine, MD
Born and Raised: Southern California
I grew up in various suburbs of Los Angeles and moved the Pacific Northwest to attend Whitworth University. During my undergraduate years I competed in mixed martial arts, learned to meditate, practice yoga and climb mountains, travelled through Central America studying sociology, and completed a degree in Religion and Theology. I left college motivated to learn what drove people forward in their lives, what barriers they perceived, and what their sense of purpose was.
Between graduation from college and beginning medical school I worked in youth outreach, in social work with at risk homeless adults, and also as a fitness coach with people of all ages. In each of these settings, I partnered with people to clarify their needs and wants and to determine what they perceived to be holding them back in their pursuits of these visions. Together we would create action plans to get them moving towards accomplishing their desires. I then took the show on the road to study medicine in Jalisco where I attended the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and became quite endeared to Mexico and it’s people. It is a privilege to return to California to continue to work with and serve a Latino population that taught me so much during my years in college and medical school.
I am tremendously excited to continue my medical education at Natividad Medical Center. Training in full spectrum family medicine at a community hospital is my ideal setting for this next chapter of life. I look forward to the tremendous breadth of experience and knowledge that the faculty of NMC collectively brings forth and I am grateful to be a part of this legacy.
Andrew Last, MD, JD
Born: New York, New York
Raised: Grand Rapids, Michigan
My path to medicine has been a bit longer than that of many of my colleagues. I spent the 1990s practicing law, but the most important thing I ever did was meeting and marrying my wife of 15+ years. Now we have three great children, and it was my experience with each of those complicated pregnancies that first kindled my interest in labor and delivery.
I grew up in the Midwest, but have lived in Sacramento for the last 20 years. I speak four languages, badly, and my hobbies include skiing, crossword puzzles, gardening and our two dogs. I am very excited about living and working in Salinas and look forward to a career in primary care, with a special emphasis on women’s health.
Steven Liu, MD
Born and Raised: San Francisco, California
Medical School: St. George’s University
Growing up in San Francisco, I was exposed to a full array of cultures which helped me develop who I am today. I completed my undergraduate studies with a BS in Molecular Biology down the street from Salinas at UC Santa Cruz (100% Slug), and then immediately ventured off to Grenada, West Indies to pursue my medical degree at St. George’s University. While I was in medical school, I was involved in annual health fairs in Grenada and I also took advantage of an opportunity to travel to Thailand for a medicine selective. These experiences had further drawn me into Family Medicine because they fulfilled my motive to work with patients of every age from different backgrounds. In my free time, I like to stay active by going to the gym and playing outdoor sports, as well as traveling to different countries (while immersing myself in their culture and food!). I am proud and honored to be returning to the Central Coast to start my training as a physician at Natividad Medical Center.
Bret Namihas, MD
Born: Orange County, California
Raised: Redding, California
Medical School: Saint George's University in Grenada of the West Indies
Born in Orange County, I was fortunate enough to grow up in the beautiful countryside of Northern California after moving to Redding at a young age. In the summer you could find me at Shasta Lake, and in the winter at Mt. Shasta. I returned to Southern California for undergrad, getting my bachelors degree from USC. Go Trojans! I attended medical school at Saint George's University in Grenada of the West Indies. I had the opportunity of doing an elective rotation at Natividad during my fourth year of medical school, and immediately felt right at home. It is an absolute pleasure working with the local population of Salinas, whom I find to be extremely respectful and courteous people. I'm really looking forward to returning to such a warm faculty, and spectacular area so close to the Monterey coastline. After work you'll find me at the gym, tennis courts, or swimming pool getting some laps in.