Dr. Sarah Bahsas
Universidad Central de Venezuela
UHS Southern California Medical Education Consortium, Temecula Valley
The youngest of three children, Dr. Bahsas was born in Caracas, Venezuela, into a family of medical professionals. Her mother was a dentist and her father an ophthalmologist. When she was only eight years old her father started taking her to his eye clinic, located conveniently on the ground floor of their apartment building. There she would watch her father work and help by reciting her father’s instructions from memory. After high school, Dr. Bahsas graduated from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and performed a year of service in La Guira, where she provided community health services to a medically underserved population. While working there she also gathered epidemiological data for the National Health Department of Venezuela and focused on the prevention and treatment of illnesses common to rural, impoverished populations, especially preventable infectious and tropical diseases.
In 2014, Dr. Bahsas moved to the United States to pursue a residency and opportunities to practice. In 2018, she was accepted to the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. She will begin residency training at the UHS Southern California Medical Education Consortium in the Temecula valley, California.
Her professional interests include rural primary care and women's health. In addition to her interest in medicine, Dr. Bahsas enjoys cooking and renovating classic houses.
Dr. Ariel Brito
Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara, Cuba
Rio Bravo Family Medicine Clinica Sierra Vista Residency Program
Dr. Ariel Brito was born and raised in Villa Clara, Cuba. He graduated with honors from the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences in Villa Clara. During his two years of social service in rural communities as a general physician, he was in charge of a variety of Cuban Health Programs to ensure and preserve the health of the entire population. Afterwards, he served as an emergency department doctor for seven years in his hometown community hospital.
In 2008, Dr. Brito immigrated to U.S. to pursue a better life for his family and to continue developing professionally. Once in the U.S., he managed to assimilate to a new culture and get involved in the American health care system. He worked for Open Arms Children’s Health, a compassionate pediatric health center that meets the medical, dental and behavioral needs of children, including those who are refugees and have special needs. In 2018, the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program accepted him with advanced standing due to his completion of USMLE Step 3 and his prior medical experience.
Dr. Brito is a passionate and dedicated international physician who is excited to begin residency training with Rio Bravo Family Medicine Clinical Sierra Vista Residency Training Program in Bakersfield, CA. He looks forward to further developing his skills as a physician and bringing his unique skills to caring for his patients, particularly the underserved.
His professional interests include community health, prenatal care and global health programs.
Dr. Nadia Chavez
Fundacíon Universitaria San Martin, Colombia
Northridge Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program
Dr. Chavez was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, to a middle-class family. She learned about being compassionate and bringing comfort to others by volunteering in nursing homes with her parents. These experiences created an affinity for medicine, and she became the first doctor in her family.
Nadia is a medical graduate of the Fundación Universitaria San Martin. After medical school, she completed her social service in a rural area in Colombia's jungle where she had the opportunity to work with the community to reduce perinatal mortality by improving access to health care and creating a model of disease prevention. Later, Dr. Chavez moved to Bogotá and worked in both public and private high-complexity level hospitals for five years. She had the opportunity to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of pediatric conditions, and observed the impact of disease on the health of the family. Those experiences encouraged her to pursue specialization in Family Medicine.
In 2014, Dr. Chavez joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program where she successfully completed the USMLE Steps 1, 2 and 3. Now she is excited to begin Family Medicine training with the Family Medicine Residency Program at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
Her professional interests are women's health, preventative and community medicine. During her free time, she loves cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.
Dr. Juan Deras
Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango, México
Adventist Health Hanford Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Juan Deras is a native of rural Durango. As a child, he and his family immigrated to the United States where he spent time in both California and Colorado. As a member of a first-generation immigrant family, he experienced the struggles that came with assimilating into a new country and culture. Juan was the first in his family to obtain a college degree and is the first doctor in his family.
Dr. Deras attended the Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango and spent his social service year in the rural town of Francisco Javier Mina. During this year, he learned the value of the patient-doctor relationship and the impact that a trusted physician has with families and communities. In 2016, he joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program and began his journey towards becoming a family physician.
Dr. Deras is excited to provide bilingual and multicultural healthcare to underserved populations and looks forward to his residency training at the Adventist Health Hanford Family Medicine Residency Program in Hanford, CA.
When he is not busy studying for an exam or working, he enjoys watching movies and cooking for his family.
Dr. Oscar F. Fernández Arce
Universidad de Guadalajarara, México
Harbor-UCLA Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Oscar Fernández comes from a family of Mexican professionals. He received his medical diploma with honors from the University of Guadalajara. Thereafter, he completed a residency in Ophthalmology and a two-year fellowship in retinal diseases.
After the completion of his medical education, Dr. Fernández practiced as a private physician in his hometown for four years. In 2015, he made a life-changing decision when he moved to the United States to embark on a new life as a married man. He relocated to San Diego, and began preparing for the USMLE exams while working full time as an ophthalmic technician.
In 2018, he joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program following the same pathway that his spouse did the previous year. During his time as part of the program, he became more knowledgeable with the U.S. healthcare system. He also learned to care for underserved and marginalized communities.
Dr. Fernández is thrilled to begin his U.S. residency at the Harbor-UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program where he is hoping to apply his prior skills and learn new skills to improve the health of the community that he will serve.
His professional interests include promotion of healthy lifestyles and caring for the urban underserved. In his free time, he enjoys working out, traveling, and spending quality time with his husband.
Dr. Wilmer E. Garcia Ricardo
Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana, Cuba
UC Davis Stockton/San Joaquin General Hospital Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Wilmer Garcia grew up in Holguin, Cuba. He attended medical school at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana where he graduated with honors. After graduation, he was selected to serve in a medical mission sponsored by the Cuban government in Venezuela. During his six-years in Venezuela, he provided free medical care to low-income neighborhoods on the outskirts of Caracas, that country's capital. After completing his contract in Venezuela, he immigrated to the United States and moved to Louisville, Kentucky. While living in Kentucky, he held several full-time healthcare-related jobs and prepared for the USMLE examinations.
In May of 2018, Dr. Garcia moved from Kentucky to Los Angeles to join the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program where he participated in clinical rotations and gained experience as a medical trainee in the U.S. healthcare system.
Dr. Garcia is a defender of social justice and human rights. He is committed to offering high-quality medical care to vulnerable populations, thereby contributing to the development and well-being of underserved California communities. He is excited to join the UC Davis Stockton Family Medicine Residency Program at the San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, California.
Dr. Flor Lopez
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Valley Consortium for Medical Education Family Medicine Residency Program, Modesto
Dr. Flor Lopez was born Guatemala and raised by her great-grand parents. Her great-grandmother was also her inspiration to become a physician. She demonstrated how compassion and altruism impact everyone around them. Her mother has also been a role model because of her hard work, persistence, and unconditional love.
She graduated from the University San Carlos of Guatemala. During her final year of medical school, she was in charge of providing basic medical care and preventive medicine to a group of rural communities by participating in many health care campaigns and traveling deep into the mountains to provide primary care. She also helped implement basic medical training to the midwives of those communities.
Another defining moment in Dr. Lopez´s career came when she, along with her husband Carlos Ramirez, who is also a doctor, opened their own medical clinic in a small rural town. She had the honor of serving the community for more than five years. It was her mission to bring low-cost accessible, evidence-based, medical care to the community. During this time, she grew personally and professionally as a general physician in that community.
In 2013, Dr. Lopez and her family had the opportunity to move to the United States where she and her husband have been pursuing their medical careers in California and at the same time raising three wonderful children. In 2018, she had the opportunity to become part of the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program where she gained U.S. clinical experience and received the necessary support to succeed as a resident in Family Medicine.
Dr. Lopez is very excited to start her training at the Valley Consortium for Medical Education Family Medicine Residency Program in Modesto and to begin providing communities with compassionate bilingual and bicultural health care.
Dr. Christian Ramirez Haro
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, México
Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Christian Ramirez was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. After being in an accident that required a hospital stay, he experienced firsthand the doctor-patient relationship and realized how acts of reassurance and understanding from his physicians and nurses were something unique and memorable. Through this experience his passion for medicine grew.
In 2017, he graduated with honors from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. He subsequently was accepted into an Orthopedic surgical residency in Mexico, but later decided to study a broad clinical specialty instead. In 2017, he moved to the United States and was accepted into the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. He is looking forward to beginning his Family Medicine Residency training at the Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program in Long Beach, California.
Dr. Ramirez believes medicine is the perfect combination of science and humanism and hopes to use his profession as a tool for social justice. After residency, he will continue developing his professional interests which are evidence-based medicine and healthy aging of our seniors. In the future, he hopes to pursue a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine.
On a personal note, he enjoys traveling, watching movies, sports and spending time with his loved ones.
Dr. Abel Eduardo Rojas-Parra
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana
UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program
Dr. Abel Rojas was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised by his mother. She instilled in him a love for reading and studying, and through her own work at the Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, he witnessed how the medical staff helped restore patients’ health. This and other experiences motivated him to pursue a career in medicine. In 2016, he graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. During his year of community service, he provided medical care in the small rural town of Valle de Las Palmas in Baja California and served as tutor to the medical students at his university. These experiences piqued an interest in both Family Medicine and teaching. After graduation, he worked at a local community clinic in Tijuana, where he saw a variety of patients, many of them suffering from chronic degenerative diseases and who lacked resources to be properly treated.
In the summer of 2018, Dr. Rojas had the opportunity to join the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. During his clinical rotations at several UCLA-affiliated hospitals and clinics, he gained insight to the California health care system and the needs of California’s diverse underserved population. Dr. Rojas intends to use his bilingual and bicultural skills to reach patients of diverse cultures and backgrounds. He is looking forward to beginning his Family Medicine Residency training at the UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program. In the future, he would like to be in a position where he can educate and care for patients and share his knowledge and experience with future medical students.
Dr. Rojas’ interests in medicine include Geriatrics and HIV Medicine. His hobbies include hiking, reading, brewing beer, walking his dog, movies and traveling.
Dr. Celia Sanchez
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana
Pomona Valley Hospital Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Celia Sanchez was born in Tijuana, Mexico, but when she was eight years old, her family moved to San Diego in search of better opportunities. Her passion for science and service guided her to become the first doctor in her large family. She was accepted to a top-tier public medical school in Mexico, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
Dr. Sanchez's love for Family Medicine became obvious during her intern and social service years of medical education. After graduation, she returned to the United States in pursuit of professional growth. She joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program and completed all of her board examinations while being enrolled. Moreover, she became a qualified language-proficient workforce member through UCLA Health.
Life circumstances have made Dr. Sanchez uniquely bicultural and bilingual. She understands how living in an underserved community impacts patients because she came from similar origins. She hopes to become a pillar of the community, an advocate for the underserved, and an example to her nieces and nephews. Furthermore, she loves all aspects of patient care, especially nurturing her desire to practice the full spectrum of Family Medicine. Establishing a relationship with her patients and helping prevent disease are her passions. Her long-term goal is to improve the welfare of her community by providing well-rounded, high-quality healthcare. Dr. Sanchez is thrilled and overjoyed to be one-step closer of reaching her life goal and will begin residency training at the Family Medicine Residency Program at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Sanchez’s professional interests include Integrative Medicine, Preventative Medicine and Sports Medicine. Her personal interests include cooking, baking, experiencing new cuisines and learning about other cultures.
Dr. Michael Trujillo
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Kaiser Permanente Fontana Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Michael Trujillo was born and raised in southern California. During his undergraduate education, he explored diverse disciplines such as literature, anthropology, philosophy and religion. Of particular influence on his life was time spent in India on silent meditation retreats. While engaging in various service projects, especially teaching relaxation and stress management in drug rehabilitation centers and in youth detention facilities, he became interested in working with underserved communities. Studying medicine was a way to combine his passion for helping others with his curiosity for medical science.
After completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from California State University in Long Beach, Dr. Trujillo attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. Shortly after graduating medical school, he joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program where he participated in hands-on medical training in the United States. During his time in the program, he was particularly interested in applying information technology to patient safety and evidence-based medicine while emphasizing -centered care and the importance of linguistic and cultural expertise.
Dr. Trujillo is excited to join the Kaiser Permanente Family Medicine Residency Program at Fontana Medical Center, is particularly passionate about healthcare access inequality, and is committed to using his cultural and linguistic fluency to improve the health of the immigrant population in California.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Trujillo enjoys running, reading, mediation, teaching his daughter ukulele and spending time with his wife and family.
Dr. Luis Verduzco Mercado
Universidad Xochicalco School of Medicine, Tijuana
Northridge Hospital Family Medicine Residency Training Program
Dr. Luis Verduzco was born and raised in Mexicali, Mexico. During high school, he earned a certificate enabling him to work in a medical laboratory. This experience piqued his interest in medicine, and he eventually gained admission to the Universidad Xochicalco, School of Medicine, in Tijuana.
Upon graduation, Dr. Verduzco decided to complete his social service year in a small, underserved community in the Mexicali Valley. There, he had the opportunity to provide preventive, primary, and urgent care to his patients. Dr. Mercado also taught health topics to teenagers, pregnant women, and patients with chronic-degenerative diseases.
During this time, Dr. Verduzco became aware of the Spanish-speaking physician shortage in California. After researching the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program and particularly identifying with its mission and vision, he applied for admission and was accepted in 2016. He completed his board examinations and clinical rotations in different hospitals and clinics around Los Angeles, and will now continue his training at the Family Medicine Residency Program at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
After completing residency training, Dr. Verduzco plans to work in a community clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. He hopes his bilingual and bicultural background will help him improve health outcomes for the border population. His professional interests include community health, chronic-degenerative diseases and HIV Medicine. During his free time, Dr. Verduzco enjoys reading about astrophysics, poetry and mechanical watches. He cherishes the time spent with his family.