Alejandro Anaya-Rocha, MD
Univ. of California Davis I am the proud son of Mexican immigrants who was born in Gilroy, but raised in Watsonville, California. Being a first-generation college student has been both challenging and rewarding. I attended Cabrillo Community College before transferring to UC Santa Cruz (UCSC). After graduating from UCSC in June 2017 I moved to Bethesda, MD where I worked as a Postbaccalaureate Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health for two years. I then returned to California, where I attended UC Davis School of Medicine (UCDSOM). This is where I gained an all-encompassing perspective of medicine and the ability to personally connect with patients of various backgrounds.
My perspective on health care straddles two worlds — the one I experienced in medical school while working at Kaiser Permanente and that of my lived experiences dealing with the shortcomings of the health care system in underserved communities. In my community some of the main health concerns are chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, and substance use disorders. I am confident that having access to culturally competent clinicians will help address many of these problems. Now that I have returned home, I am thrilled to be at Natividad, working to provide full spectrum, compassionate and integrated care for the underserved.
In my free time I enjoy being outdoors, exercising, trying different foods, cooking with friends, and spending time with my friends and family.
Alexandra Arnold, MD
American Univ. of the Caribbean I was raised in Klamath Falls, Oregon by my mother and grandparents who instilled a strong work ethic and compassion for all. My grandmother suffers from Paget’s Disease of the Bone. I often accompanied her to appointments and helped care for her after numerous procedures. The time I spent with her eventually exposed my yearning to study medicine. With the support of my family, I graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Microbiology and Chemistry.
During Medical School at the American University of the Caribbean, I worked with the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation to provide education and free HIV testing for the local community. My involvement with the foundation led me to obtain an Ambassador position with the AIDS Advocacy Network. I worked with other passionate medical students to reduce stigma and transmission of the virus while working alongside legislation to end the HIV pandemic. I would like to expand my education in HIV and Global Health while working with underserved populations. I chose to continue my medical training at Natividad because of the strong roots in Community Medicine and Global Health involvement.
In addition to the robust education offered at Natividad, I am excited to explore Monterey County and the surrounding areas. As a native Oregonian, I am overjoyed to return to the West Coast. Nature has always played a significant part in my healing and spirituality. I hope to discover new trails and spend quality time reconnecting with the Pacific Ocean. Along with my fondness for the outdoors, I’m an avid coffee drinker, enjoy live music, and prefer sunrises to sunsets.
Eleanor Battino, MD
Rush University Medical Center I grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin as the oldest of 6 in a fun and hectic household. I then went to Carleton College in Minnesota, where I studied Economics. After graduation, I worked at a non profit organization in Nicaragua called AMOS Health & Hope, where I worked with community health workers to identify community needs and work towards addressing them together. I was so inspired by the collaborations between community health workers, other community leaders, and healthcare workers, and I knew I wanted to do that kind of work in the future.
I went to medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago, where I was part of the Family Medicine Leadership Program and was involved in several community projects including a community garden and health education classes in local public schools.
I’m thrilled to be training at Natividad, a program and institution that is committed to caring for everyone. I was drawn to this program due to the focus on full spectrum family medicine and intentional community engagement and social justice. I’m interested in obstetrics, reproductive health, community-based participatory research, and Health at Every Size.
Outside of medicine, I love to spend time outside and am looking forward to exploring all of the beautiful nature that the area has to offer. I also love to read and try new foods.
Victor Carrasco, MD
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. After suffering from two herniated discs in my back as a teenager, I developed a strong interest in understanding the anatomy and pathophysiology of my injury and how to heal it. Driven by my passion for athletics and newfound knowledge of anatomy and physiology, I obtained a degree in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona and continued my athletic career. I attended medical school at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and completed my clinical clerkships in Tucson, Arizona.
My life experiences and medical education have made me realize that Family Medicine represents the framework from which I want to practice medicine and provide care. I am passionate about developing meaningful patient relationships, empowering patients, and serving as an advocate for them in their healthcare journey. Growing up in a predominantly Hispanic and underserved community myself, and volunteering in similar populations, my goal as a Family Medicine physician is to bring awareness to and support those whose needs are not sufficiently met by providing the care, dignity, and respect all people deserve.
I am grateful to be part of the Natividad Family where there is a strong foundation of teamwork, community, and full spectrum training that will allow me to best serve the community of Salinas, California. My professional interests include sports medicine, public health, point-of-care ultrasound, and procedures. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, attending sporting events, being outdoors, playing the guitar, reading, and cooking.
Helen Marie Colliton, DO
Western University I was raised in Plano, TX by parents who closely resemble the couple in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with a quiet Midwestern family on my Father’s side and a rowdy Armenian family on my Mother’s side. From Texas, I attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA, and received a BA in Chemistry. Grinnell exposed me to barriers people have accessing medical care in rural areas. It also helped me realize that as a medical provider, it is my duty to fight inequities that have been institutionalized in medical care. After college, I volunteered at a crisis center for survivors of sexual violence where I learned the importance of earnest listening and trauma-informed care. These experiences coupled with my interests in health and science sparked my passion for providing comprehensive and compassionate primary care and reducing healthcare disparities in underserved communities.
While attending Western University of Health Sciences COMP in Pomona, CA, my passion for Family Medicine and health advocacy grew stronger through volunteering and caring for patients. I helped design a bilingual (English and Spanish) project to promote mental health education at schools in the Inland Empire, as well as mentored students as part of the Pomona Health Career Ladder project. Many of my clinical rotations were located in South-Central California where I became familiar with barriers to healthcare within majority Latinx agricultural worker populations. I am beyond excited and honored to continue serving and advocating for these communities at Natividad.
My medical interests include full-spectrum Family Medicine, behavioral health, comprehensive women’s and reproductive health, community medicine, HIV medicine, addiction medicine, and LGBTQ+ health. Apart from medicine, I love to be outside – hiking, camping, backpacking, and gardening. I also enjoy cooking, singing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Chun Ning Hu, DO
Touro University of Osteopathic Medicine I go by “Ningning.” I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated with my family to the San Francisco Bay Area at the age of 6. I spent most of my childhood in Clayton, CA, a small city nestled at the base of Mount Diablo, learning the value of hard work from my parents who took on multiple jobs to make ends meet.
While getting my BA in Public Health at UC Berkeley, I utilized my Mandarin skills to establish an afterschool program for youths from low-income immigrant households in SF Chinatown and served as a Labor Coach for limited English proficiency patients. I also explored my interest in global and community health as a peer advisor for students engaged in diverse fieldwork that critically examined issues of poverty and inequality. Through my own fieldwork experience on international medical mission trips and my semester abroad in Argentina, I developed an understanding of cultural humility and a passion for equitable access to healthcare.
After graduating, I spent my gap year as a medical scribe for family medicine providers at an FQHC in Oakland, CA. I remember feeling unsettled by the unmet social determinants of health, which strengthened my desire to care and advocate for underserved communities. In medical school, I sought opportunities to become more competent to address health disparities and connect with populations in need such as by providing osteopathic manipulative treatments to individuals experiencing homelessness who taught me some of the greatest lessons in compassion.
As a 3rd-year medical student at Natividad, I was inspired by the mission-driven community, humbled by the resilience of the Latinx population, and excited by the full-spectrum family medicine training. I am grateful to be back to serve the community of Salinas! Outside of medicine, I enjoy being in nature, visiting family, playing music with friends, helping at church, and practicing Spanish.
Stephanie Morales, MD
Ross Univ. School of Medicine I was born in San Luis Obispo, California at the age of 5 my family relocated to Kingsburg, a small community in Fresno County. My parents are immigrants from Guanajuato, Mexico. They have been my biggest inspiration and my biggest supporters. I am the oldest of 3 children and the first in my family to pursue higher education.
For undergrad I attended California State University, Fresno and graduated with a B.S. in Biology. Prior to medical school I was a substitute teacher for a local school district. For medical school I attended Ross University School of Medicine on the beautiful island country of Dominica. During my time on the island I was given the unique opportunity to participate in Salybia Mission Project, a student run organization that provides healthcare for Dominica’s indigenous community. For clinical clerkships I found myself back in California (Southern San Joaquin Valley). As a 3rd and 4th year medical student I discovered my passion for working in underserved communities, women’s health, and health education.
Outside of medicine I enjoy spending time with loved ones (including pets), traveling, outdoor activities, baking, sporting events, trying new cuisines, and puzzles.
Henry Sanchez Ortigoza, MD
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Two short days after my 9th birthday, my mother and I immigrated to Orlando, FL from Bogota, Colombia. We came with a suitcase full of dreams and a handful of English phrases. Months went by and the reality of being an immigrant in the United States sank in. We faced the hardships that come with learning a new language, living miles away from family, and climbing the socioeconomic ladder. As a family physician in Colombia, my mother had access to the best care available. Here, we were uninsured for years to come. We feared not being understood or cared for in hospitals as we seldom encountered Spanish speaking physicians. Living through some of the inequalities that Latinx patients face in our healthcare system inspired me to pursue medicine.
I obtained my B.S in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of South Florida before attending Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. It was during my time in medical school where I discovered my passion for family medicine. On the floors, I saw the impact that the lack of preventive care has on patient outcomes, specially in black and Latinx communities. My heart ached knowing that increased access to healthcare and health literacy may have avoided my patient’s catastrophic stroke/MI/DKA. As a future family physician, my goal is to help my patients live healthy lives in mind, body, and spirit. During my M4, I had the honor of rotating at Natividad and quickly fell in love with the community and mission of the program. Words cannot describe my excitement in joining Natividad in caring for the Latinx community with compassion and kindness.
My professional interests include reproductive health, point-of-care ultrasound, palliative/end of life care, community medicine, and health education.
Outside of medicine, I love snuggling with my cat, Buster, and watching binge-worthy shows like Rick & Morty or Ozark. I enjoy late night video game sessions with my friends. When the sun’s out, I like cycling or exploring new hiking trails.
Marie Schilling, MD
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara I was raised in San Mateo, the granddaughter of a botanist who grew flowers in Watsonville and South San Francisco. My parents instilled the value of community service in me by taking me to serve food to homeless people, build local low-income housing, and pick up litter. This value of service developed into my desire to help people by becoming a doctor.
I attended University of California at San Diego for college, where I studied biology and political science. After graduating, I worked as a medical assistant at an allergy and pulmonology clinic. My desire to become a family physician was sparked from my experience volunteering at a free clinic under medical students, residents, and attendings in Jackson, Mississippi, where I completed a master’s degree. The free clinic opened my eyes to the medically underserved community and set me on the path to seek medical equity for all.
During medical school in Mexico, we visited migrant shelters to offer medical care to those attempting the treacherous journey on La Bestia from Central America to the United States. Then, during clinical rotations in Reno, Nevada, I joined a student outreach group to help screen members of the Latinx community for hypertension and diabetes. More recently, we were able to assist at bilingual vaccine clinics. These were valuable experiences which I believe have helped prepare me to be a resident at Natividad, serving migrant workers who may have passed through the shelters I visited in Mexico.
My professional interests include preventative care, family planning, medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder, patient advocacy, and outpatient procedures, particularly point of care ultrasound. Outside of medicine I enjoy any time I may spend outdoors, particularly on the water, and trying new restaurants with friends and family.
Georgina Aguilar, MD
Universidad Autonoma de GuadalajaraI was born and raised in San Fernando Valley, CA. by Mexican American parents, who taught me the values of hard work, higher education and family. My mother frequently encouraged me to be a positive leader and to strive for a successful career in order to become independent.
During college and graduate school, I worked part-time as a teacher’s assistant at my local elementary school while maintaining internships and fellowships. Throughout these years I learned valuable lessons in teaching and research, which continues to help me in my career. Along my journey I met my husband, which taught me a lot about Salvadorean culture, and he has been one of my biggest supporters. After graduate school, I worked as a lab manager/technician and biology professor before heading off to medical school.
Attending medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico allowed me to provide care to rural, marginalized indigenous populations. It was then that I found my passion for family medicine. After my first two years of medical school in Guadalajara, I completed my clinical rotations in Phoenix, AZ, and it is now my honor to serve the community of Salinas.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy painting and crafts, dancing, reading sci-fi fantasy books, hiking, baseball, horseback-riding, caring for my dog and spending time with my family.
Maura Becerra, MD
University of California, RiversideI grew up in Holtville, California, a small agricultural town about 20 minutes away from the Mexico border. It is known as the “Carrot Capital” of the world, where several members of my family worked and continue to work in the fields. It is a small town that holds a big place in my heart.
I am a first-generation college graduate from California State University, San Bernardino and first in my family to attend medical school, at UC Riverside School of Medicine. While at UCR, I volunteered at the San Bernardino and Riverside Free Clinics where my passion for working with the underserved continued to flourish. I also had the opportunity to be an ultrasound instructor with local high school and community college students to expose them to the medical field. In addition, I enjoyed mentoring premedical students via the Future Physician Leaders Program.
Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two dogs, Leo and Benito, as well as my family. We enjoy movies, soccer games and spending time outdoors.
I am excited to be a part of the Natividad Family where I will be able to learn to care for some of the most vulnerable populations and play a role in decreasing healthcare disparities. Coming from a family of migrant fieldworkers I understand the challenges they face and I am proud to be able to give back to a community who taught me so much.
Alejandra Beristain-Berajas, MD
University of California, DavisI grew up in Santa Cruz & Watsonville, CA and I am thrilled to be joining Natividad. My mom and dad immigrated to the United States as teenagers and instilled in me the passion for social justice and the value of education. The seed for medicine was planted when I was a young girl accompanying my mother and grandmother on the bus to their medical appointments and seeing the many difficulties they encountered. As a first-generation college student, I attended Harvard University where I studied Neurobiology and began to explore my interest in medicine. After college, I returned to Watsonville and taught high school math for a few years and then enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program at UCSF. I attended medical school at UC Davis as part of the Rural PRIME program. During medical school I co-directed Knight’s Landing, a student run clinic serving a small rural farming community. Later, I helped organize a health equity conference and develop of diversity training programs. I also traveled to Nicaragua and Nepal as a volunteer.
I am committed to reducing health disparities especially in rural communities in the U.S. and abroad, and I believe that some of the best ways to promote change are through advocacy and community partnerships. My medical interests include maternal and productive health, health education/preventative health, and increasing diversity in the medicine/STEM pipeline. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my husband Joao and our son Samuel, dancing, reading, traveling and trips to the beach.
Jason Chen, MD
University of Utah School of MedicineI am a language lover who became a physician to advocate for minoritized communities. I spent my childhood in Buffalo, NY and adolescence in Salt Lake City, UT. Growing up in the middle of the country with Taiwanese immigrant parents inspired my curiosity about different cultures. As a native English speaker, heritage speaker of Mandarin, and L2 learner of Spanish, I learned the power of language as a vehicle for equity as a medical interpreter in college.
After studying Spanish, Biology, and International Relations at the University of Utah, I pursued a Fulbright ETA in México. As an English teacher in Oxolotán, a town of 2,000 people along the Tabasco/Chiapas border with a majority indigenous Ch’ol population, I saw the intersections of racism, classism, and social accountability. Another key lesson was the importance of education as the great equalizer. I highly enjoyed my time in México- in addition to playing in the university rondalla, I even taught my own Mandarin class!
Living in rural México made me astutely aware of the importance of understanding my Asian and Asian American heritage. I pursued International opportunities during medical school such as the Princeton in Beijing program, the CLS Scholarship in Xi’an, China, and my MPH at the Utah Asia campus. These experiences empowered me to explore the rich Asian American history available in my own backyard. By leading trips to the Topaz Internment Camp and the Golden Spike of the Transcontinental railroad, I gained a better perspective on my thread in the American fabric. I am honored to continue exploring America’s cultural diversity through serving the immigrant and transnational communities of Natividad.
After residency, I am considering a career in academic medicine (clinician educator track), Public Health service (CDC-EIS), or as a medical director at an FQHC or the US Department of State. In my free time, I enjoy playing music, reading about American social identity (Educated, A Different Mirror, Borderlands/La Frontera, My Own Country, No-No Boy), and improving my language skills.
Chris Gunther, MD
I was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. After completing undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Health and Societies, I moved to New Orleans, where I worked as a teacher in public schools for several years. I left the classroom to pursue a career in public health, obtaining a Master’s in Public Health in epidemiology from the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. I then spent five years working for the New Orleans Health Department, helping the City incorporate public health strategies in its efforts to address the issues of murder and gun violence. Hungry for a more direct approach to building community health, I went to medical school at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.
After more than a decade in New Orleans, I was drawn to Natividad by the program’s commitment to addressing the social determinants of health and service to the community alongside robust training in the full spectrum of family medicine. My interests in family medicine include obstetrics and reproductive health, critical care, point-of-care ultrasound, and evidence-based physical diagnosis.
When I’m not working, my wife, Angela, and I can be found out and about with our dogs Beans, Domino, and Willie. We love the abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, swimming, surfing, sailing – the list goes on) on the Central Coast. I am especially excited to bring my bodysurfing talents, honed over childhood summers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to the Pacific Coast (with a wetsuit!).
Miguel Lopez, DO
Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic MedicineI was born in Guatemala. At the age of three, my family fled our country due to the civil war. I was raised in Oakland, California, where I worked from a young age in construction with my father and house-cleaning with my mother. My path into medicine began after my last cranioplasty surgery. I felt inspiration to pursue medicine as it showed me the possibility of helping others in need – something that resonated with my humble beginnings.
As an undergrad at San Francisco State, I began volunteering in primary care clinics that cared for underserved and uninsured communities throughout the Bay Area. During medical school, I worked on pipeline programs for underrepresented students with the goal of increasing diversity and providing an avenue for mentoring youth. After training, I plan to practice in an underserved community. My goal is to help others live a healthy life despite the challenges they may face.
As the first member of my family to graduate from high school, I have encountered many obstacles. These barriers are not unique to me, and I have witnessed firsthand how immigrants are resilient and resourceful. It is why I’m excited to live in Salinas, a community that reflects strength and ingenuity in the face of adversity. I’m also honored to train at Natividad, where there is a commitment to addressing health disparities and providing health care for all. Outside medicine, I enjoy eating and cooking different foods from around the world. You will also find me kicking a soccer ball at your local park, hiking and running the nearby trails, and spending time with my wife and dogs!
Joel Marshall, MD
Universidad de Navarra Facultad de Medicina, Spain My fascination with biology and medicine started on day one, having been born with a rare genetic condition called Phenylketonuria. From a young age I was already attuned to the patient experience of having health restrictions and managing a chronic condition, and as an adult, this contributed to my desire to be a doctor and to provide compassionate healthcare.
I was raised in Santa Cruz, CA in a family of teachers and farmers in the Central Coast. I spent my youth working in Watsonville in a plant nursery alongside immigrant farmworkers, where I first learned Spanish and became part of its rich community. I also lived in France at my mother’s family farm, getting my hands in the dirt and learning the values of respect and hard work. Being raised bicultural and bilingual, I saw the opportunity that languages open.
After completing my B.S. in Biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara I decided to become a doctor, and chose to study medicine at the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. My Spanish skills were put to the test, and I saw a glimpse of what it is like to be a foreigner in another nation. In Spain I also experienced another healthcare system, and after struggling for so many years to find health insurance in the US with a chronic disease, I was blatantly aware of the deficiencies of the American system. I am thrilled to help my home community receive equitable and family-focused healthcare.
Francis Rangel, MD
University of California, DavisI grew up in Mexico on a little ranchito in Michoacan. At the age of 12, along with my mom, we crossed the border in the back of a van. My hometown is Chico, California, where almonds, walnuts and rice grow. Both my parents’ roots are Mexican, and we come from an agriculture background. Most of our lives we have spent in the fields, where I learned the times tables by helping my abuelo during corn planting season. I’m the oldest of five and first one to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. While attending community college, as a dreamer and English learner, I worked as a nanny and attended instruction in the evenings. As a side job, I worked as a house cleaner and caregiver. During walnut season you can find us, my family and I, picking walnuts in the local orchards.
I transferred to University of California, Davis (UCD) where I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences . At UCD School of Medicine, I had the honor to join the Rural-PRIME program, where my passion for rural medicine continue to grow. My long-term goal is to practice in rural California and serve at a Federally Qualify Health Center. I enjoy all aspects of Family Medicine, but I hope to assist in the fight for reproductive justice. As a 3rd year medical student, I rotated with Dr. Peng at Natividad and decided to return as a resident. It’s my honor to returned as a doctor to serve the community of Salinas. ¡Gracias por la oportunidad y la confianza!
Outside of medicine, I enjoy carne asada with the family and walks in the afternoon with my doggy Gary. Outside of the hospital you will find me biking, running around town and at farmer’s markets. Looking forward to seeing you around!
Marie Schow, DO
Touro University College of Osteopathic MedicineGrowing up, my family moved around the country with my dad’s career as a wildland firefighter. I am lucky enough to call three places my hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming; and Peru, Vermont. Through these transitions, I developed a deep respect for the impact a community has on the health of individuals. This inspired me to study Community Health at Tufts University, where I furthered my understanding of the vast health disparities affecting our local and global population. I decided to pursue a career in medicine with the goal of improving health care outcomes for underserved populations through providing quality, affordable primary care. While preparing for medical school, I was able to volunteer with Amigos de Las Americas in Cusco, Peru, intern for Senator Bernie Sanders’ state office and research diabetes outcomes in relation to patients’ material needs.
As an osteopathic medical student at Touro University, I continued to focus on health care equity. I oversaw the implementation of a county-wide diabetes education program and advocated for health care access expansion legislation as chapter president of the California Health Professions Student Alliance. For my third-year clinical training, I rotated at Natividad, where I quickly felt right at home. I was delighted to discover an organization whose core mission aligned so closely with my own, and I am beyond excited to return as a resident.
In my free time, I enjoy outdoor recreation with family, friends, my partner and our growing puppy. I also love trying out new recipes and restaurants. I can’t wait to explore the delicious food and the natural beauty of Monterey County!
Saul Tapia, MD
Universidad de Guanajuato, MexicoI was born in Central Mexico into a young and vibrant family. I was the first of three children and grew up in various regions of California, Texas, and Mexico. Being a life-long member of a migrant Mexican American family meant moving from small communities in the Central Valley of California to larger cities in the state and Mexico. I became aware of the social disparities and struggles immigrant families face. Driven by an innate desire to help my community and family, I decided to enroll into medical school in Mexico, shortly after completing high school in Texas. In 2017, I graduated from the University of Guanajuato and began my journey as a physician in my parent’s hometown. I provided medical care for the entire community for a year and learned the aspects of primary care and rural medicine. In 2018, I returned to San Jose, California seeking to make a difference in our migrant communities. In 2020, amid a global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was admitted to the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. Here, I developed an interest in street medicine and our homeless population. Caring and advocating for the underserved and vulnerable population is a passion that Natividad Family Medicine will help me pursue.
Professional Interests: Community and rural medicine, preventive medicine, street and homeless care, LGBTQ+ health, and academia.
Personal Interests: Languages; Fluent in Spanish and English with moderate fluency in French. I desire to one day be able to speak Italian, German, and Portuguese. Sports: tennis and basketball. Outdoor activities like hiking, camping, rafting, and fishing. Traveling and road trips; enhancing multicultural engagement and making friends.
Rebecca Adams, MD
Texas Tech University School of Medicine I moved to Natividad from the US-Mexico border town of El Paso, where I had the opportunity to work with refugees and begin learning Spanish. Originally from Austin (the hippy-turned-tech capital of Texas), I learned interviewing techniques in my previous career of television and documentary filmmaking, and absorbed values of social justice while working at my local PBS station and volunteering with the Workers Defense Project. In my free time I enjoy hiking and swimming, novels by Louise Erdrich & Ursula Le Guin, and I like to be outside.
Joaquin Charles, MD
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Mexico Both sides of my family were migrant farmworkers, who eventually settled in California where the work was more consistent. My father, mother, two brothers and I moved around the country as my father broke the cycle and acquired higher education. However, we always returned to California to spend time with my grandparents during the summers.
I was born in Seattle, WA. We moved to Minneapolis, MN when I was two, where I spent my childhood until 5th grade when we moved to Salinas, CA for one year. We then moved to El Paso, TX for the next four years. Finally, we returned to our home in the central valley of California when I was a sophomore in high school. I graduated from high school in Visalia, CA. I then started my undergraduate course work at University of California at Santa Cruz. After finishing most my premed course work, I began a career in construction. I started doing tree work and landscaping, then eventually moved on to building/remodeling homes. At that time in my life, I had more time for my hobbies; traveling, woodworking, backpacking, mountain biking, surfing and playing basketball.
As life was passing by I realized I was ready to fulfill my dream of becoming a physician. So I took the MCAT and began my journey into medicine. My wife and I moved to Mexico for the two academic years of medical school at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, where our first child was born. Our twins were born in Henderson, Nevada during my two years of clerkships. I am blessed to work at Natividad. Because of my family’s roots in farm-working, I have a strong desire to focus my training on working with the underserved part of our community, especially farmworkers. My family and I continue to enjoy getting to know the Salinas Valley and its great people.
Jacob Ginsburg, DO
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine – Midwestern I took a winding road to get to medicine. I was born and raised in Chicago being a city kid doing city kid things. I went to college in upstate New York where I received a B.A. in History. The separation between academia and the people it desires to help pushed me away from that world. Through the unpredictability of random interest, I became an EMT. I continued on this path, traveling to Haiti after the earthquake with other EMTs, which helped persuade me to move back to Chicago to become a paramedic. There, I also met my future wife, adopted a couple of kitties, and eventually decided to become a physician. My degree in History gave me the words to describe the inequity I had seen growing up in Chicago and working (mostly) in bars and restaurants for the last 20 years; I found in medicine a fulfilling way to utilize my experiences to advocate for social change while providing a very useful direct service. Family medicine lends itself to many areas of focus, but I am particularly interested in working in community health centers and in correctional medicine. I am drawn to Natividad because of its actual ties to the community and its blend of academic pursuit and direct action. I’m excited about training with faculty and staff dedicated to improving health equity in a meaningful way.
But while I can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuously studying medicine, it’s equally important to not let it take over your entire life. I still love cooking (especially since I don’t do it for work), and being from a city I love exploring nature and the pacific coast with my fiancé! I also read all sorts of things, but nothing beats a good science fiction novel.
Evelin González, MD
University of California, Davis School of Medicine I was born in Mexico City and lived there for 10 years while my father worked as a migrant farmworker in northern California. As a child I was used to the idea of only seeing my father for a few months out of the year until we all moved to Woodland, CA in 2002. I then became the first one in my family to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Migrating from my home country, learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to overcome but it has also greatly informed the issues I am most passionate about. While I attended UC Davis for undergrad I worked for the Early Academic Outreach Program which allowed me to help first generation students pursue higher education. I was also a volunteer for the Knights Landing One Health Student Run Clinic which provided basic primary care services to rural agricultural families who were predominantly Spanish speaking. Through this work I became more aware of the health disparities that many of our rural and farm working communities face. I was able to continue this work later as Co-Director while at UC Davis School of Medicine and as part of the Rural PRIME track. Thus, I am very passionate about Latino health, community outreach and healthcare disparities that affect our Latino communities.
Outside of medicine, I am a big family person. My family means the world to me and would not be here today without them. I also love to cook (my favorite way to procrastinate), love the outdoors (running and hiking), will always say yes to dancing and enjoy traveling.
Elaine Lee, DO
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine California I grew up in Maryland as a first-generation Chinese-American under the cultural influences of the ‘80’s: big hair, Jimmy Carter, and classic rock ’n roll. After graduating from Cornell University, I set off on a decade-long road-trip, pursuing my dream of professional rock climbing and working as an outdoor educator for the National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound. Upon my return to conventional society, my passion for medicine was reborn after I was introduced to the principles of osteopathy during my continuing education as a Rolfing Structural Integrator—a form of hands-on manipulation that works with the fascia to achieve optimal alignment of the physical body. I realized that the pursuit of medicine was destined to be my next big adventure, and I began my training to become a Doctor of Osteopathy at Touro University in California.
For the past 20 years, I have called the Santa Cruz area my home, and currently live in the sleepy seaside town of Aptos. Completing my core rotations at Natividad Medical Center opened my eyes to the unique, diverse and incredible, yet often medically underserved, population of the Central Coast. I am inspired and passionate about bringing high quality, preventative care to the underserved Hispanic communities in this area. My medical interests include inpatient medicine, osteopathic manual manipulation, point-of-care ultrasound, and rural medicine. I feel grateful and privileged to continue my medical journey as a part of Natividad Family Medicine Residency program. Y estoy muy entusiasmada de mejorar mi español!
Alex Logono, MD
American University of Antigua I was born in South Sudan and fled my country when civil war broke out and survived ten years in Kakuma Refugee camp, in Kenya.
My life turned upside down in 2001 when I became one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” selected by the USA government to resettle in America. Not long after the move, I began my education at Mohawk Valley Community College in New York and also seized the chance to work as a nursing technician at the local hospital. Through my work at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, and later at St. Peter Hospital in Albany, I thoroughly enjoyed my growing involvement in direct patient care. In addition, I have worked in the lab of Monterey Bay GI Consultants Medical Group.
My surviving experiences inspire me to become a medical doctor. I graduated with BS in Biology from University at Albany, State University of New York, before receiving my MD from American University of Antigua, College of Medicine. At a very young age I learned to provide care for those in need, working as a medical assistant in the Kakuma Refugee Camp Hospital in Kenya, where I enjoyed the opportunity to provide health education on HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, examine and diagnose patients, and even provide treatment to fellow refugees.
Through the McNair Scholars Program, I was also fortunate to gain experience in the research aspect of the medical field. My research was on “Genetics of West Nile Infection of Insect Hosts” at New York State Health Department, Wadsworth Center in Albany.
I am so grateful to be among the residents who serve this community. After completing my training, it is my dream to provide health care to the underserved and join Doctors without Borders.
I enjoy outside activities, like playing soccer and running. I speak several languages including fluent Moru, Arabic, Swahili, and basic Spanish. I am currently living in Salinas with my family.
Rodrigo Mojica, MD
Universidad Mayor de San Andrés Facultad de Medicina, Bolivia I grew up in La Paz Bolivia, a crowded city in Los Andes Mountains. I applied to medical school at the University of San Andres where worked as a teaching assistant. In my fifth year, I joined a research institute where I experienced how medicine is improved through reason and curiosity. My social service year took place in a border town, where I practiced general medicine. I cared for a population that needed preventive medicine due to limited access to health care and medication. I learned the importance of continuity of care and the difference between episodic treatments and comprehensive care. After my internship, I graduated fourth in my class, and continued my medical career in Psychiatry. During my training, I worked with Family Medicine residents who taught me the longitudinal aspects of medical care. As a chief resident I was given the chance to lead a compassionate group of residents. After moving to the United States, I decided to specialize in Family Medicine. I admired the relationship that family physicians formed with their patients of all ages and their ability to provide health care, despite complexity of disease or resources available. Additionally, my hands-on experience with the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program was a unique opportunity to learn about the American medical system. Before residency I worked as a care giver in a nursing facility. Outside medicine I enjoy learning new languages- I speak French, Portuguese and Spanish. Riding motorcycles is nice too.
Matthew Musselman, DO
Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine California I am humbled & privileged to be part of the Natividad family! I grew up immersed in a diverse San Francisco neighborhood, befriending individuals whose views and culture differed dramatically from my own and each other’s. Drawing from my Jewish upbringing, I am dedicated to Tikkun Olam — Healing the World — through my actions and studies, which represent caring for fellow human beings, my purpose in practicing medicine.
When I’m not at the hospital/clinic, you can find me outdoors hiking (practicing my creative walking) with my partner Diana and our dog Bixby, or just hanging out with family and enjoying some comida salvadoreña.
Dolores Peña, MD
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Mexico I was born and raised in Oakland, California. My parents are immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico who instilled in their children the core values of family and a strong work ethic.
I am a first-generation college graduate from the University of California, Davis, where I majored in Exercise Biology and minored in Chicano Studies. My interest in primary care began in undergrad as a member of a student-run clinic named Clínica Tepati, dedicated to offering free health services to the uninsured and low-income communities in Sacramento. In addition, I participated in a medical/public health internship in Oaxaca, Mexico. Studying abroad in Mexico further exposed me to the health care issues Latinxs face at a transnational level. I grew a passion for addressing the cultural, linguistic, educational, and geographical disparities that limit an individual’s access to healthcare.
As a medical student I established an outreach initiative called, Nuestra Salud, aimed to offer chronic illness education, nutritional resources, and vital screenings for Spanish-speaking communities. Since graduating from medical school, I have returned to the Bay Area and worked in Women’s Health for La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland, CA. I am actively involved in mentoring and passionate about supporting the next generations of health care providers. In my free time I enjoy exercising both indoors and outdoors, sports, cooking, music and spending time with family.
I chose Natividad because the residency incorporates community health advocacy and outreach in its curriculum along with rigorous, full-spectrum training.
Natali Silva, MD
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, MexicoMy parents immigrated from Mexico to Salinas, CA, and raised my sister and me locally. Growing up I saw the need for more physicians to cater to disadvantaged populations in our community, including migrant workers like my parents. My personal experiences motivated me to work diligently and pursue a career in medicine. I graduated from the California State University of San Bernardino and earned my bachelor’s in Biology. I then moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco, to attend medical school at the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. I discovered my passion for Family Medicine while learning about various pathologic diseases and caring for patients of all ages during my clinical clerkships in Reno, Nevada. I’m honored to play a role in the health care team at Natividad and provide full-spectrum care to those in my community. I especially enjoy using my fluency in Spanish. My goal over the next several years is to continue to gain medical knowledge in hopes of becoming a better diagnostician and providing quality care to my patients. In my spare time, I enjoy running, hiking, and walking my dogs. I also love to cook for my family and spend time with my loved ones.