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Resident Profiles


Resident Profiles

2014-2015 Housestaff Roster Poster (PDF)

Recent resident achivements:

  • August 2014: PGY2, Cameron Escovedo was selected as one of two resident members on the editorial board of the Journal of Graduate Medical Education.
  • April 2014: PGY4 Weiyi Tan (MedPeds) and PGY2 Cameron Escovedo won the Excellence in Teaching with Humanism Residents and Fellows Award.
  • January 2014: Pavni Mehrotra (PGY3) Poster presented at Western Society for Pediatric Research: A Novel Technique of Double Umbilical Venous Catheterization: Is it worth it?
  • Sept 2013: PGY3 Peter Chau, PGY4 Colin Robinson (MedPeds) publication in Neoreviews: Index of Suspicion in the Nursery: Persistent Tachypnea (DOI - 10.1542/neo.14-9-e463)

Resident Spotlights

  Neil Gholkar, Chief

Neil is one of our four 14-15' academic year chiefs and was in the Primary Care and Public Health Track.

Where you are from:  My roots were firmly planted in frigid Upstate New York until my family decided to move to Arizona during my first year of undergrad.   I got fed up hearing about the beautiful winters in Phoenix while I was dealing with my frost-bitten nose, and decided to follow them out West.  I was at the University of Arizona for medical school and have now fallen in love with Southern California. What are your interests are in residency/career/future (ideal job, fellowship, research or other): One of the main reasons I chose UCLA for residency was because of their strong commitment to community health and advocacy.  I've always envisioned my future job as one that equally involved both clinical medicine and grassroots initiatives to improve public health.  I'm also very passionate about global health and a recently founded a small organization in Uganda geared at reducing malnutrition rates through infrastructure improvements at a village hospital.   Why you chose UCLA:  When I was on the interview trail, one of my mentors told me that at the end of each interview day, stop outside the hospital, close your eyes, and ask yourself, "would I be happy here."  I honestly felt that I would be happy here at UCLA, and can tell you now that I'm proud to be here for my training.  I was impressed with their dedication to teaching and resident work-life balance.  And above all, I wanted a program that would support my dreams of becoming a competent physician and strong community advocate.    What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA:  What's not to love?! Coming from suburbia in New York, living in Los Angeles is a dream come true!  The proximity to beaches, museums, and incredible restaurants- there's never a dull moment (or cloudy day) in LA.  I highly recommend driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, it's where you'll find me and my camera on a day off. What you might want an interested resident to know or advice (or a fun fact about yourself):  If you're looking for a program that will challenge you and help you develop into a confident and well-rounded pediatrician, then look no further than UCLA.  We train in an incredibly warm and supportive environment, and honestly, you can't find a better place to hang out on your days off. 

 Shruti Nagaraj, PGY-3

Shruti is our PGY-3 American Academy of Pediatrics Representative and is in the Primary Care and Public Health Track.

Where you are from: Raleigh, North Carolina
What are your interests in clinical care: I am still deciding! I am enthusiastic about primary care but I am unsure about the exact clinic position I would like at this point. I tend to appreciate higher acuity patients but I also am passionate about working with Spanish-speaking populations and would like to have my career incorporate consistent time abroad.
Why you chose UCLA: Of course this sounds cliche but I got a great vibe from the program - I could tell that people valued work-life balance. I also liked the idea of being trained at a multi-site program and being comfortable working in a variety of clinical settings with different patient populations.
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA: It's great when you have a busy/odd schedule to know that your day off will very likely fall on a day with great weather and there will always be something fun to do. I also like that I get the big city life with suburban comforts (i.e. driving to the grocery store or Target)
What you might want an interested resident to know: The whole match process is incredibly anxiety inducing but I really believe that it all works out. You can great training at a lot of places so go with the place and program that just feels right! 



 Andy Newcomer, Chief

Andy is one of our four 14-15' academic year chiefs.

Where you are from: Bonne Terre, Missouri
What are your interests are in residency/career/future (ideal job, fellowship, research or other): Heme-Onc, general pediatrics
Why you chose UCLA: I chose UCLA because I loved the residents I met on my interview day. You can get wonderful training in so many programs, but if you don't enjoy the people you're working with it's just not worth it.  I also liked the fact that we're trained in so many different settings; we get exposure to different types of patients with different levels of access to care which I think is really wonderful.
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA: I've lived in L.A. on and off for over a decade and I'll admit I didn't love it at first.  I moved here from New York City and just felt like this city was so spread out that it was hard to find the place where I best fit in.  Even now I'm still discovering new parts of the city I never knew existed.  I came back here after medical school because I love the weather, the people, the restaurants, the night life.  There's a great gay community here.  When people say they don't like L.A. I always tell them they just haven't found the right area yet, because there is truly a place for everyone here. 


  Steve Jonas, PGY3

Steve is one of our Physician Scientist residents and has PhD in Materials Science and Engineering.

Where you are from/where did you go to school:  I grew up in a little suburb of the Motor City called Birmingham, MI.  Academically I'm a proud Michigan Wolverine (undergrad, Go Blue!), but I'm also a tried and true UCLA Bruin (medical school and PhD)!!
What are your interests are in residency/career/future (ideal job, fellowship, research or other): I would ultimately like to pursue a career as a physician scientist. My ideal job would be to become a faculty member at an academic institution where I would have the opportunity to combine my active clinical responsibilities with running a dynamic research group. I would like to focus my research toward the development of enabling tools and technologies that merge concepts from nanoscience, stem cell biology, and medicine to address traditional bottlenecks within the healthcare space.  At this stage, I'm a little undifferentiated clinically as there are so many intriguing areas to choose from as far as fellowships, but so far I think that Heme/Onc, Cardiology, and NICU would fit really well with my goals and interests.
Why you chose UCLA:  This is going to sound corny, but it just "felt right."  The UCLA program had everything that I wanted from a clinical and research perspective.  Having done my MD/PhD training at UCLA, I knew that I would be exposed to outstanding faculty and diverse training environments both clinically and scientifically.  UCLA is an extremely collaborative institution that encourages the exploration of multi-disciplinary approaches to complex scientific problems.  I wanted to be at a program that encouraged me to continue expanding upon my research interests and that would be an incubator for my goals as a physician scientist. The UCLA program met those expectations perfectly.  Another huge factor was the family atmosphere of the program.  There is tremendous support at each level of the program from the residents to the administrative staff to the program director.  I cannot begin to tell you how important that can be when selecting a training program.
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA:  Variety is easily LA's strong suit.  There is simply a wealth of amazing and culturally diverse opportunities and activities that you have access to living in Los Angeles.  If you are or ever wanted to see what it's like to be a hipster, foodie, outdoorsy, surfer or some combination in between then there is a neighborhood/scene for you to explore in this city.
What you might want an interested resident to know or advice (or a fun fact about yourself):  Take a deep breath. Relax.  It is all going to be ok.  Most importantly trust your gut and select the program that you feel will not only best support your development as a physician but that will also be there for you when things get rough.  Ask a lot of questions and make sure you are comfortable with the complete package.



  Courtney Amajoyi, PGY3

Courtney is in the Primary Care and Public Health Track.

Where you are from: Los Angeles CA
What are your interests are in residency/career/future (ideal job, fellowship, research or other): I am interested in Adolescent Medicine, specifically outpatient school based clinics. I was a social worker prior to medical school so I love research involving transition of care and the impact psychosocial factors have on health.
Why you chose UCLA: I chose UCLA because it offered a nice composite of pediatrics. As residents you rotate through a private setting at Cedars, a county setting at Olive View and can choose to have your continuity clinic at a private practice or community clinic. This offers exposure to a huge patient population. Also I LOVE LA!!
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA: I absolutely love the fact that you are close enough to everything to do whatever you like. In LA, the mountains are a short drive for those that like skiing or snowboarding, the beach is around the corner, downtown offers an exciting night life, Las Vegas is a reasonable drive, and wherever you turn there is great shopping!!!
What you might want an interested resident to know or advice (or a fun fact about yourself): I recently had a baby boy as an intern all while working on a research project (YIKES!!) So if you have any questions about time management, planning a family while in residency or research...I'm your gal!!

 Ben Wang, PGY3

 Ben is participating in the Research Design Track modules.

Where you are from:  I immigrated from Beijing, China when I was 9 and have been in California ever since.  I went to Stanford for undergrad (Go Card!) and UCLA for medical school.
What are your interests are in residency/career/future (ideal job, fellowship, research or other):  My career path will probably lead to subspecialty training (field undecided) and remain in academics.  I was fortunate enough to do a year of HIV clinical research in China between my MS3 and MS4 through the Doris Duke Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill (thanks Professor Cohen and Professor Tucker!).  Interacting with children with HIV in my homeland inspired me to pursue an academic career striving to improve children's health here and back in China. 
Why you chose UCLA:  As a medical student rotating on pediatrics I really connected with the residents and faculty.  They were always kind to me and encouraged me to become a better physician everyday.  The residents had the right balance between working hard for patients and laughing out loud about silly things with each other.  I felt I could be part of a family here.   
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA:  LA really does have everything.  Just like a well done tiramisu (if you can't tell I like to cook), there are many layers to this beautiful city, each one with a distinct taste & texture that all blends harmoniously together.  Even after living here for many years I am constantly surprised to find new places to explore, interesting restaurants to try, and events to attend (often recommended by other residents who just moved here from another state!). I also enjoy cooking for friends a lot, and participating in residency top-chef nights, just ask my co-residents!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday since I do a crazy fun turkey dinner!
What you might want an interested resident to know or advice:  Applying for residency is both exciting and nerve-racking.  I encourage everyone to explore both the program and the local area in depth. After you've gone through the whirlwind of interviews, take some quiet time for yourself and listen to that calm voice deep inside of you.  That voice is accumulation of all your experiences and values, and will guide you to the right place!


  Arija Weddle, PGY2

Arija is in the Fellowship and Hospitalist Based Careers Track.

Where you are from: I was born and raised in Fairfield, CT; attended college at Yale University in New Haven, CT; worked for a few years in children's book publishing in New York City; and then returned to CT for medical school at UConn. When I moved out to Los Angeles for residency, it was the first time in 30 years I'd ever lived more than an hour's drive from home!
What your interests are in residency/career/future: Ideally, I'd like to work in a higher acuity setting where I have continuity with complex patients - most likely as a hospitalist or perhaps as an intensivist. I'm very interested in palliative and comfort care, as well as long-term management of chronic illness and its impact on patients, siblings, and family. I also plan on being involved in academic medicine through as much of my career as possible - working at an academic medical center means access to the latest in medical education, research, and technology, which is really exciting to me.
Why are your chose UCLA: I wanted to train in a setting where I'd have access to some of the most medically complex patients on earth while still getting a solid foundation in general pediatrics, both in- and outpatient. Also, it was important to me to train in a place where I could use and continue to develop my Spanish-language skills. I did a rotation at UCLA as a 4th year med student and was very impressed with the quality of teaching from the faculty, as well as the genuine rapport among the residents.
What you love about Los Angeles or life in LA: Am I allowed to say the weather?! Coming from New England, where it sometimes snows in April and summer days have 100% humidity, I absolutely love living in a place where even when I leave the hospital at the end of a long shift, it's sunny and warm outside. I have easy access to the beach and to some of the most magnificent hiking I've ever experienced. Plus, I love living in a culturally important city -- Los Angeles is so vibrant, diverse, and full of history, and different geographically and culturally from the Northeast cities I grew up around.  I think everyone should live in LA for at least a little while given the chance!
What you might want an interested resident to know or advice (or a fun fact about yourself): I moved to Los Angeles without a car and have made it almost a year using public transportation and commuting by bicycle. LA is obviously known as a driving city, but it's actually a GREAT biking city too -- no rain, not too many hills (on the West side, at least), lots of bike lanes, and bike parking all over the place. PLUS you beat traffic -- during rush hour I routinely get to work faster than my coworkers who drive cars!


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