Joyce Beltran, MD
I was born and raised in the Philippines. After my medical school graduation, I opted to stay and do three years of residency in Internal Medicine, where I had the opportunity to serve many underprivileged. I moved to the US and initially resided in Georgia where I worked for 2 years as a medical technologist, medical assistant and transcriptionist for my uncle’s cardiology practice. The move from Georgia to California was unplanned. I initially came to Salinas for a short family visit but fell in love with the place. I began working at a Monterey County clinic, where I was able to get to know the wonderful patient population in this area. I aspired to continue working for the community I have grown to love and being at Natividad has fulfilled that dream. I also chose Natividad because of the unopposed training and the friendliness of the faculty, residents and staff. In my spare time, I love to catch up on sleep, read, spend time with my family, go trekking and taking road trips with my husband.
Oscar Gantes, MD
Keck School of Medicine
I am of Mexican descent, grew up in the Salinas Valley, and completed my undergraduate studies within Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. After medical school in Los Angeles at Keck School of Medicine, USC, I’ve happily returned back to the Central Coast to do my residency at Natividad. I entered into medical school wanting to do Primary Care but kept my mind open to all the specialties. Ultimately, I enjoyed all the areas of medicine and decided that my initial choice was the right choice for me. Family Medicine is a field that focuses on preventing illness and helping people with their chronic and acute diseases. I have volunteered in many health-related organizations and found that health disparities exist. This has given me an even greater conviction to become a physician who is culturally competent and who will be valuable to this community.
Christine Gjerde, DO
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
I grew up in the Bay Area right next to Berkeley and attended undergrad at UCLA with a double major in Biology and Scandinavian Studies. After working in clinical research at UCSF in the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism for two years, I attended Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, where I studied medicine and public health. I am extremely excited to be joining the amazing team at Natividad with the goal of becoming a well-rounded family physician. I enjoy all aspects of medicine but am especially drawn to women’s health and obstetrics, geriatrics and public health. My personal interests include traveling and experiencing other cultures. I have lived for long and shorter periods of time in Ecuador, Sweden, Mexico, Norway and Bolivia.
Kelly Gram, MD
Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara
Raised in small town central Texas, surrounded by hills, rivers, and a conservative political culture, I was greeted by the healthy illumination of diversity upon attending University of Texas at Austin. As a biology/premed student, I became slightly unsettled with the restricted range of my studies and followed curiosities towards a degree in what is the ultra-broad liberal arts concern of general anthropology. Two and half years as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural El Salvador bore a multitude of transformative lessons that have significantly impacted my trajectory since. It seemed an intuitive progression to continue living and learning in Latin America and attend medical school in Mexico at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. I am very pleased to be among the fine physicians, patient professionals, and kind care-givers here in the warm atmosphere of Natividad. It is truly a treat to be able to work in an environment where people are happy to be part of the care team and provide their respective services to a challenging and grateful patient population. I look forward with great anticipation to continuing to advance my knowledge and skills as a physician while serving the people of the Salinas Valley. I consider the practice of medicine to be a process of continual learning and improvement, while the delivery of care to be one of the profound human interactions of which we are blessed to have as the cornerstone of our profession. In addition to broad-scope family medicine, I have a distinct interest in disease prevention, and assessing and addressing social determinants of health and healthcare, both domestically and abroad. And, as if the Sunday needed a cherry, central California shines as a superb region to enjoy such extra-medical indulgences as hiking, biking, Mexican food, the ocean, mountains, surf, produce, etc.. .all in the gloryof sunshine and beautiful weather.
Ramandeep Kaur, MD
I was born in Oakland, California and have spent most of my life in Northern California. I completed my undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and then completed medical school at Ross University. I had the opportunity to travel to different countries during medical school but decided that no place compares to Northern California. Besides the perfect weather, excellent learning opportunities, and being able to serve the public here at Natividad, being close to my family is also a benefit! Outside of the hospital, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the gym, dancing, eating, and shopping.
Eloy Romero, MD
Univ. of California, San Francisco
I truly believe what Emiliano Zapata said, “The land belongs to those who work on it.” Coming from a family of humble farmworkers who emigrated from Mexico to escape poverty, I can empathize with the day-to-day struggle of many farmworker families here in the Salinas Valley. Though I was born in a very rural area in Zacatecas, Mexico, I have lived most of life in urban areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. As a UCSF Medical student, I participated in a farmworker elective in Parlier, a small agricultural town in the San Joaquin Valley. This experience brought me back to my roots and reignited my passion for practicing full-spectrum family medicine in underserved rural communities. I am truly fortunate to be at Natividad Medical Center, one of the premier residency programs, that will allow me to become not only an excellent full-spectrum family physician, but also an advocate for farmworker/rural health. I am also very much interested in the areas of diabetes, tuberculosis, the intersection of chronic and infectious diseases, and international medicine. I aspire to combine my clinical work with public health research for the cause of underserved communities. Outside of medicine I enjoy a variety of interests, including salsa dancing, playing the jarana (Mexican string instrument), playing basketball, horseback riding, hiking, and nature watching in general. I also hope to own my own farm someday.
Elizabeth “Beth” Varadian, MD
New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
Born in Colorado, raised in Rhode Island, and attended school in both Pennsylvania and New York, I have been lucky enough to call many places home. Prior to attending medical school, I graduated from Bryn Mawr College and was a high school biology and lacrosse coach in Brooklyn. At the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM), I earned a BS in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, was a pre-doctoral teaching and research fellow in the OMM and Anatomy Departments, and ran leadership development for medical students as the National Chair of the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP). In my new home, the “Nat,” I am challenged and excited every day. I have always wanted to work in a place where there were meaningful and diverse learning opportunities, which gave me great joy and pride every day that I came to work. Natividad is that kind of place! I have found mentors, colleagues, and friends here that share my enthusiasm for everything from Mexican food to ultramarathon trail running, and who are always available with a smile and encouragement.
Sarah Villegas, MD
Originally from the Bay Area, I grew up as part of a foster family that cared for medically fragile, drug exposed infants and children. As a family, we were also involved in a network of foster families for children from abusive situations. Getting to know people coming from broken families and making them part of my family was the beginning of my interest in Family Medicine. I went to college in Southern California at Biola University. While there, I played on the women’s basketball team and earned degrees in Biology and Bible. After graduating, I moved to Germany to teach and coach at the Black Forest Academy, a missionary boarding school. I taught and coached for an additional year in the States and worked in an ER before starting medical school at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I am so excited to be back in California and at Natividad. I love that, as a family doctor, I will be able to treat my patients in the context of their families.
Herbert Estiu, MD
Instituto Superior de Ciencias
Médicas de Santiago de Cuba
I was born in Cuba and received my medical school degree from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de Santiago de Cuba. After graduation, I was selected for a newly-combined residency program in Family Medicine and Ophthalmology in La Habana. After several months of training, I was appointed to be part of a joint health program between Cuba and Venezuela that provides free corrective eye surgery in extremely poor Venezuelan communities. From Venezuela, I settled in the U.S., where I completed the UCLA IMG Program. I’m now pleased to be at Natividad, where I look forward to the opportunity of providing comprehensive health care to people of all ages and show my commitment to care for the underserved communities of the Central Coast of California. I enjoy reading, watching soccer, tennis, baseball, hiking, movies, playing chess, jogging and traveling.
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