Francine Choi

Francine Choi
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
University of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil

As a medical student in Brazil, Francine witnessed how poverty and other socioeconomic factors prevented the adoption of simple and important health behaviors. This experience fueled a passion for preventive care, and her desire to specialize in Family Medicine.

Francine especially appreciates the multiple roles a Family Medicine physician plays: advocate, educator, counselor, community leader, and healer. At the University of Mogi das Cruzes, Francine was an active member in the student union, raising funds for social projects, serving as president of the Pediatric league, coordinating the student-run children’s clinic, and authored an academically recognized research study on exclusive maternal breastfeeding. 

Outside of Medicine:  In her leisure time, she loves to be outdoors and enjoys adventurous travels with her husband, and spending time with her faithful dogs, Dolce and Blue.

Professional Interests: Expanding her clinical skills and knowledge to provide extraordinary care to under-resourced Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking communities.


Alexandra Cervantes

Dr. Alexandra Cervantes
UCLA Family Medicine Residency Program
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali.

Dr. Alexandra Cervantes was born in Lexington, Kentucky. She graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali.  Although she lived most of her life in Mexicali, Mexico, she traveled throughout the United States and Canada where she learned and appreciated the impact of culture on health and well-being, a lesson in cultural humility. 

As a student of the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program, she completed all USMLE board examinations to become a certified medical graduate. During her clinical clerkships in multiple facilities throughout Los Angeles County, she interacted with patients from diverse cultures, languages, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Outside of Medicine: She enjoys exercising, reading, traveling and spending time with her loved ones.

Professional Interests: Care of the underserved in the areas of Academic Medicine Hospital Medicine, Preventative Medicine and research.


Luis Molina

Dr. Luis Molina
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Havana Higher Institute of Medical Sciences

Dr. Molina was born and raised in Cuba and graduated from the Havana Higher Institute of Medical Sciences. He completed a Pathology residency at the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital of Havana.   

In 2015, he immigrated to the United States due to the political climate in Cuba. Once in the U.S., he was determined to pursue Family Medicine residency and completed all USMLE examination requirements. 

In 2019, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, he was on the front lines at the Olive View/UCLA Medical Center as a member of UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. After graduation, Luis plans on working at a community health center. 

Outside of Medicine: Luis enjoys painting, rollerblading, and hiking.
Professional Interests: Full-spectrum Family and Community Medicine with a focus on providing care to the LGBTQ community.


Saul Tapia Ruiz

Dr. Saul Tapia Ruiz
MATCH
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Universidad de Guanajuato

Dr. Tapia was born in Celaya, Mexico. He and his family members were migrant Mexican American farm workers. He grew up in the small towns and cities of California’s Central Valley and graduated high school in Texas. He is a graduate of the Universidad de Guanajuato Departamento de Medicina y Nutrición and served as a general practitioner in his parent’s hometown. 

In 2018, Saul moved to San Jose, California and worked as a materials manager for an outpatient surgical service while studying for the USMLE exams. Here, he remained committed to addressing the unmet needs of the Mexican-American community. In 2020, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, he began the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program and was part of the medical team providing care at the Olive View/UCLA Medical Center.

Outside of Medicine: He enjoys traveling, speaking Italian and French, playing tennis and hiking.
Professional Interests: Working with underserved migrant communities, becoming a medical educator at a medical school and teaching at a community college. He hopes to serve as a role model and address health inequities.


Zachariah Badii

Dr. Zachariah Badii
MATCH
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara

Born in San Diego, California to immigrant parents, Dr. Zachariah Badii was raised in a trilingual and tri-cultural home. After completing high school, he chose to pursue his medical degree in Mexico in an effort to bolster his connection with his maternal heritage. He received his medical diploma from the Autónoma de Guadalajara. 

In late 2019, after completing his social service, Dr. Badii joined the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program where he has spent his time assisting with the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in and out of the hospital. Using his background in computer science, he designed and prototyped a low-cost infrared temperature scanner to help with COVID-19 screening.

Outside of Medicine: In his free time, Dr. Badii enjoys tutoring, rock climbing and spoiling his family with gluten-free cooking. Above all, he tries to go about life quietly with a calm heart.

Professional Interests: Addressing justice and equity in healthcare, especially for the urban underserved. He is particularly passionate about using technology to improve the availability and quality of medical care.


Loja Yi Blanca

Dr. Blanca Loja Yi
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University

Dr. Blanca Loja Yi, the third generation of Chinese immigrants, was born and raised in Lima, Peru.  She graduated from the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University then worked as a general physician for employees of several organizations while continuing volunteer duties.

In 2017, she moved to Seattle, Washington while studying for the USMLE exams and later began working as a research assistant at the University of Washington. In 2020, she was accepted into the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program. As a member of the program, she had the privilege to serve disadvantaged communities within the Olive-View/UCLA Medical Center in the middle of the pandemic. She observed the positive impact of providing language concordant care.

Outside of Medicine: Blanca enjoys baking cakes and pastries, reading and working out.

Professional Interests: Providing evidence-based care to underserved communities in an academic setting. Continuing research activities focused on health care worker’s mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Eluar Mendez Robles

Dr. Eluar Mendez Hernandez
MATCH
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Sancti Spiritus, Cuba

Dr. Eluar Mendez Hernandez was born and raised in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. He comes from a humble family and he was the first to attain a postgraduate degree and become a medical doctor. He graduated from the Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Sancti Spiritus with honors.

After graduation, he participated in the Cuban Government neighborhood care model and international migration of physicians where he was assigned to Venezuela. 

He immigrated to the United States to gain personal freedom and pursue additional medical education. Here, he immediately began studying for the USMLE exams while working as a pharmacy technician and later as a certified medical assistant at a primary care practice.

In 2020, he was accepted into the University of California at Los Angeles’ International Medical Graduate Program, where he prepared for U.S. residency training. He looks forward to sharing his experiences from the Cuban health system, which offers large-scale accessibility but lacks basic resources.

Outside of Medicine: He enjoys Brazilian and Canadian comedies, working out, and having fun with his family.

Interests: Providing full-spectrum Family Medicine to patients living in a California Health Professional Shortage Area.


Licet Imbert Matos

Dr. Licet Imbert Matos
UCLA International Medical Graduate Program
Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas de Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.

Dr. Imbert Matos was born and raised in Holguin, Cuba and graduated from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de Santiago. Following her social service, she completed a Hygiene and Epidemiology Residency. She earned a leadership role and served as Chief of the Institutional Infectious Diseases Program in Holguin Province.

She immigrated to the United States through the Cuban Family Reunification Program settling in Kentucky. While there, she held several full-time healthcare positions, and participated in part-time volunteer work serving uninsured communities. In May 2020, she moved to Los Angeles to join the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program.

Outside of Medicine: Licet enjoys baking with her daughter and practicing bailes folklóricos.

Professional Interests: Promoting healthy lifestyles, practicing evidence-based, cost-effective medicine, and caring for underserved communities.


Cecilia Covenas

Dr. Cecilia Covenas
MATCH
UCLA International Medical Graduate
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru

Dr. Covenas was born and raised in Lima, Peru and graduated from the Cayetano Heredia University.  After graduation, she led a medical project in Quispicanchi, a rural community in the southern highlands of Peru. As the only doctor in this rural community, she provided medical care and community health education.  

She immigrated to the United States seeking professional development while studying for the USMLE step exams and volunteered with the American Red Cross, Refugee Health Alliance and Care Harbor among others. She is an advocate for individuals with autism and members of the LGBTQI communities.

Outside of medicine, Cecilia enjoys cycling, dancing, running and yoga. She enjoys cooking Peruvian dishes and spending time with her family

Interests: Providing care to underserved communities with an emphasis on women’s health, HIV Medicine and, Integrative Medicine.