PGY-1 NEUROLOGY PRELIM

Erick Martínez Juárez

MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA

Hola, ¡¿qué tal?! My name is Erick Martínez Juárez. The second of five children to Mexican-immigrant farmworkers, I was born and raised near Bainbridge, a small town in deep, rural southwest Georgia (and proud of it!). After briefly attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, I graduated from Harvard University and completed medical school at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Aside from all the wonderful amenities that SoCal has to offer (incomparable weather, sports/Hollywood culture, beaches/geography, vibes), UCLA’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion stood head and shoulders above its other outstanding qualities. As an unapologetically proud Latino with roots in a region with a very few Hispanics, I am especially excited to immerse myself in the inescapable Latinx culture here, and I especially look forward to caring for LA’s diverse patient populations. To seal the deal, UCLA’s sense of familia and camaraderie among residents and faculty rendered this decision a no-brainer. I knew that, in addition to receiving world-class clinical training in medicine and neurology, I would be supported to explore my interests in advocacy, health policy, and addressing health disparities. During my free time, I love dancing to Latin music (Bad Bunny, reggaeton, cumbia, salsa, merengue, etc., and hoping to improve!) running, watching/playing sports, and exploring new cultures and cuisines.

PGY-1 PRIMARY CARE

Dan Stokes

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

I grew up in the Boston area in a bicultural home where I would speak Portuguese with my mom and English with my dad. Each summer, we visited my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in central Brazil. After college, I moved to Rio de Janeiro and enrolled in a master's program in epidemiology at the Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública. In Philly, where I went to medical school, I worked with student groups on racial justice and equity and on improving medical education around substance use disorders and harm reduction. I spent an extra year working with doctors in the emergency medicine department on research utilizing natural language processing to amplify and understand patient voices and perspectives. While interviewing, I met folks at UCLA doing impressive work in all these areas. In the primary care program, I saw a community of residents who were committed to building health equity and to living full lives both within and outside of medicine. It was also important to me to work in a public safety net system, and I appreciated the opportunities I would have to work at Olive View both inpatient and outpatient through the Olive View/Santa Clarita primary care track. Moving forward, I am considering geriatrics or addiction medicine fellowships, and I hope to build a career where I can divide my time between outpatient clinical practice and community-partnered research. Outside of the hospital, I love to cook and bake, tend to my small but growing plant collection, hang with my cat Loaf, and play ultimate (Frisbee), beach volleyball, bird watch, and hike. The opportunity to spend my time outside of the hospital outdoors at all times of year was another big draw for me in choosing UCLA, and I typically bike to work when I am on rotations at the VA/SM/RR!


PGY-2 CATEGORICAL

Felicia Hsu

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

My name is Felicia, and I was raised in Orange County, CA. I studied Biological Engineering at MIT before pursuing my MD at Harvard Medical School. Having spent almost a decade in Boston, I was ready to come home to family (and year-round hiking friendly weather). A month before the start of intern year, amidst COVID, my life shattered into pieces when my dad was diagnosed with stage III pancreatic cancer. But going into work every day, ready to learn with people I respect and admire so much, has kept me going. My UCLA family has supported me through it all. With a passion for biotech innovation, I am also an entrepreneur in residence for Peter Diamandis. I am his strategist and thought partner for his large ecosystem of biotech companies, VC firms, and XPRIZE.  Doing this work alongside residency has allowed me to zoom out and appreciate the big picture of where medicine is heading in the next decade. I hope to be a hospitalist while staying involved in the industry side of medicine. I enjoy writing both fiction and nonfiction, and am in the process of publishing my narrative memoir of my family’s journey through my intern year and my dad’s diagnosis. When I’m not in the hospital, you can always find me hiking, long-distance cycling, shooting adventure photography, working on a new music video, playing tennis, or trying to trick our wards attendings with a casual game night of One Night Werewolf. 


PGY-2 CATEGORICAL

Olu Akinrimisi

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Long Beach, California. I have an M.S. in Healthcare Management from Johns Hopkins and an M.D. from UC San Diego. I chose to pursue a healthcare management degree because of my interest in quality improvement and problem solving in larger scales. Moreover, I am also passionate about educational inequality and a big advocate of bringing light to populations that are regularly ignored in academia. I chose UCLA because...who wouldn't? Los Angeles is just a phenomenal city. This city is truly home for me and I am happy to be here. What really sold me was the unity and camaraderie I felt among faculty and residents. I knew this would be a space where I can cultivate my strengths and expand my interest in medicine with so much support. Also, the passion and dedication to diversity played a huge role on why I came here. I wanted a program where I could advocate for social inequities, while stressing the positive impact a diverse workforce plays in healing our communities.


PGY-2 PRIMARY CARE

Thaís Salles Araujo

UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DE MINAS GERAIS (UFMG) FACULDADE DE MEDICINA

Oi! My name is Thaís, I grew up in Brazil, in the small town of Timoteo in the inland state of Minas Gerais. I completed medical school at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 2015 and my internal medicine residency at the Instituto da Previdencia dos Servidores do Estado (IPSEMG) in 2018, both in the state capital Belo Horizonte, Brazil. My particular interests are integrative health and humanistic care and during my residency I completed a medical acupuncture fellowship and came to UCLA for a rotation at the Center for East-West Medicine. Here in Los Angeles I found my soulmate, who is now my fiance, and along the way fell for the city’s culturally diverse communities, beautiful beaches and amazing healthy food scene. During my interview I felt right at home with the welcoming residents and faculty that I met and I chose the Olive View – Santa Clarita Primary Care track because I want to provide longitudinal care for under-served patients from many cultural backgrounds. Outside of medicine, I love being in nature, travelling, bicycling, enjoying the beach, trying new recipes and spending time with my fiance, family and friends. I’m looking forward to meeting my new patients and partnering with them to support their health goals and dreams.


PGY-2 CATEGORICAL

Tara Townes

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES DAVID GEFFEN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Hi! My name is Shatara Townes, but everyone calls me Tara. I’m what some people call a "Bruin-4-Lifer" having had all of my post-secondary education here at UCLA, including undergrad, medical school, and now residency! One of the reasons I love UCLA is because during my time here I have felt empowered to be my truest self, advocating for those who come from similar backgrounds, having experienced poverty and lack of access to care. I am proud to say that who I am today is a result of my upbringing, my environment, my culture, but also my education and the rewarding experiences I have had at UCLA. Honestly, it was an easy choice to continue on this journey at the place I call home! I’m not exactly sure what I want to do after residency, but I find that I have a passion for Infectious Diseases, particularly those infections affecting our immunocompromised patients. A goal of mine during residency is to work with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to strengthen our pipeline programs and forge new relationships with students in the LAUSD public school system, with the goal of planting and nourishing the seeds of young Los Angeles minds aspiring to be future physicians, as I once was.


PGY-2 PRIMARY CARE

Kaahukane Leite-Ah Yo

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII, JOHN A. BURNS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

My name is Kaahukane. A name I proudly share with my grandfather which was given to him by his pure-blooded Hawaiian grandmother. My last name is Leite-Ah Yo, a combination of my mother and father’s families ties to Portugal and China. I am what many of us from Hawaii affectionately call a “mixed plate”. Growing up in a small Hawaiian town made me a firm believer of the sentiment, it takes a village to raise a child. While interviewing at UCLA, I attended one of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion socials and I felt the feeling of community, support and diversity which reminded me a lot of home. Paired with its history of academic excellence there was no doubt in my mind that UCLA would best develop my mindset, skills, and advocacy to most affect the diverse and underserved populations I wish to serve in the future as a primary care physician. I am passionate about indigenous health, primary care, social determinants of health, and preventative medicine. During my free time, I enjoy playing beach volleyball, surfing, or finding new places to eat delicious food.


PGY-2 CATEGORICAL

Mary Obasi

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

I am a Bay area native from Richmond, CA. I am also Nigerian (Igbo Kwenu!). I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad, Harvard for my Master’s Degree in Public Health, and UC Davis for medical school. I’m excited that I get to continue my training on the West Coast in a city with similar diversity as the Bay Area, but with warmer weather. UCLA had all that I was looking for in a residency program—camaraderie amongst residents, clinical rigor, and support for career development. Additionally, attending the EDI Open House really confirmed that this institution is striving for equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice. I knew that I would receive diverse clinical training while also being supported to explore my interests in women’s health and addressing health disparities (globally and locally). In my free time I enjoy cooking, trying new restaurants, attending group exercise classes, and practicing African hair braiding.


PGY-2 CATEGORICAL, COUPLES MATCH

Claire Drolen

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Hi there! My name is Claire, and I’m from Pasadena, California. A Californian at heart, I’m glad to be back in LA after spending many years on the East Coast. I attended Penn for medical school where I met my partner, Beda, across the anatomy table. You could say it was love at first sight – but really I just needed someone with a strong stomach who could handle the saw. We ended up couples matching at UCLA after falling in love with the program on the interview trail. We were impressed by how welcoming and fun the residents and faculty were on interview day and felt that the large program and university affiliation would ensure that we would both find everything we needed to grow as individuals throughout residency. My own interests are in bioethics and medical education, and I’m planning to pursue a career in oncology.  Beda, on the other hand, is set on a career in academic cardiology, loves QI, and is a total EKG nerd.  UCLA has given us the resources to explore all of these interests and we feel so lucky to have joined the incredible UCLA residency community. Outside of the hospital I spend my time hiking, reading by the pool, baking for co-residents and friends, and exploring LA.  

Beda Cha

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

I was born and raised in Maryland, then went to college in Massachusetts and medical school at Penn, where I met my partner, Claire. She’s originally from California, so when it came time to couples match into residency, I knew I may need to leave the familiar confines of the Northeast I-95 corridor. I didn’t think twice about leaving the East Coast after Claire and I both fell in love with UCLA on the interview trail. UCLA stood out to us because of the diversity of opportunities the program has to offer – a huge asset when you’re trying to make a couples match work. I was drawn to the medical education career track and the program’s robust quality improvement curriculum. As a wannabe surfer, I was also stoked to be so close to the ocean (you can see the Pacific from the Reagan workroom on a clear day!). Claire was excited to find a program that’s strong in bioethics and also has a book club and a weekend hiking group. In our time here so far, UCLA has done a great job supporting these individual interests and also supporting us as a couple. I’ve also loved getting to know Los Angeles as my new hometown and have particularly appreciated the city’s unrivaled food scene.  Favorites include the noodle houses of Koreatown, neighborhood donut shops in Santa Monica, and Persian food in Westwood.  


PGY-2 MEDPEDS

Julian Lejbman

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Hi! I'm originally from Las Vegas and have been planning my escape since, with part one being attending college at the University of Pittsburgh then spending two years doing TBI research at the NIH. As a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, I worked to improve access to primary care among pediatric patients experiencing homelessness, build a mental health resource network at a gender clinic for trans and gender non-conforming youth, and spent time at Puentes de Salud, a clinic for undocumented Latinx immigrants in Philadelphia. I wanted the ability to care for these communities across the lifespan and chose Med-Peds, and came to UCLA because of the diverse patient population and the opportunity to train at county and community hospitals in addition to the traditional academic medical center. I'm also motivated to serve as a mentor for other first generation, Latinx, and LGBTQ trainees, and wants to ensure trainees feel a sense of belonging and support in medicine. Despite my desert upbringing, I have no tolerance for heat and am grateful every day for the West LA breeze. I enjoy bike rides along the beach, surfing with co-residents, and group boba breaks at work in the name of “team building.”


PGY-3 PRIMARY CARE

Shirin Poustchi

ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON MEDICAL SCHOOL

Born and raised in New Jersey, I went to school at Rutgers University through the PharmD/MD program at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I made the move across the country to continue my training at UCLA after being blown away by the commitment, dedication, and sincerity of the residents and faculty I met on my interview day. The culture of the program shined throughout my interview day, and I knew this was the place for me. Training at UCLA allows for the perfect blend of clinical rigor with diverse training sites and patients from all walks of life with a superb and genuine culture at one of the premier health services research institutions in the country. My research interests are design-thinking, healthcare system science, and health policy. I am specifically interested in exploring the dynamic between communities and healthcare institutions in order to address social determinants of health and improve practice models of primary care. I hope to continue to build a career that will allow me to blend clinical care and leadership of care systems redesign.


PGY-3 PRIMARY CARE

Gavin Ho

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

I grew up in beautiful, foggy San Francisco. After spending many years on the East Coast, it’s great to be back west. I enjoy playing golf and basketball – shout out to Hoop Diuretics, our resident rec league team! I was drawn to UCLA because the program focuses on both training strong generalists (for example, the Primary Care tracks) and being at the forefront of many of the subspecialty fields. Also, the interview dinner was by far my favorite one. There was an obvious sense of community and camaraderie among the residents, and I wanted to be a part of that! My favorite UCLA moment was bonding with my favorite VA patient – buying him his daily ice cream, sitting with him when there was some down time, and listening to his colorful stories and jokes. Also, there are so many amazing places in LA! On a typical day off, you may find me on the beach doing absolutely nothing, then in Sawtelle or Koreatown eating Asian food for dinner.


PGY-3 CATEGORICAL

Michael Ahlers

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

Hi there! My name is Mike Ahlers and I'm an intern. I grew up in Le Mars, Iowa, attended Vanderbilt University for medical school, and now am on a new adventure here at UCLA! I came to UCLA for a number of factors - namely the diversity and strength in clinical training experiences (having tertiary academic, VA, and county hospital experiences) and also the culture of the way the residents interact with each other. I felt the health science/clinical informatics opportunities were particularly strong, and I'll be pursing the Health Systems & Management Pathway, QI scholarship, and the Resident Informaticist Program during my training here. In my spare time, I play pick-up basketball (you can play outside year-round here) and hit up the many hiking trails nearby. If you have some extra time in LA, I highly recommend getting out to the beaches - either Venice or Manhattan!


PGY-3 CATEGORICAL

Laura Santoso

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS

Born and raised in Massachusetts, I left behind my favorite efficient coffee supplier that is Dunkin Donuts and came to train in the Golden State. I have found at UCLA that the people here are not only nice, they deeply care- about patients, learning, our healthcare system, and each other. It's pretty special to be surrounded by good humans who are also fierce clinicians and engaged advocates. UCLA is also an institution that can support my interests in engineering and design, and the diversity of Los Angeles is hardly paralleled. Outside of the hospital, I can be found moving in the ocean, mountains, Home Depot, or a boxing gym. Any outdoor adventure and I'm there! Ice cream and podcasts are also important. My life wouldn’t be complete without with my amazing husband, family, and friends. 

UCLA INTERNAL MEDICINE RESIDENTS 2021-2022

PGY-3

PGY-2

PGY-1