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Pamilya Mentor Heads

Christine Acob, MD, FACP

Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, Cook County Health

Dr. Christine Acob is the Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. She graduated from the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in the Philippines. A proud alum of this program, she started as an intern at the old Cook County Hospital and became a Chief Medical Residents at the inception of the Firm System. She practiced in the General Medicine Clinic for 10 years before joining the Division of Hospital Medicine in 2007. She was the Firm A Associate Firm Chief for 13 years and mentored generations of residents in this role before becoming the Associate Program Director in 2012. She is passionate about mentoring, teaching medical residents, as well as creating innovative program processes. Dr. Acob was awarded the 2016 Department of Medicine Quentin Young Award for her contributions to the department in the areas of education, clinical service, and administrative leadership. She is a two time recipient of the Osler Award for Teaching of Internal Medicine as an attending and Senior Resident of the Year as a trainee.


Music, travel, photography, and archery are among the many interests of Dr. Acob outside of medicine. As a way to encourage and have bonding time with her then 6 year old son, she learned to play drums. She became the drummer of the resident rock band Code Blue and they played at various department functions for years. She also played keyboards for other resident bands Fluid Thrill and more recently The Bouncebacks.


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Justine Alim, MD, MBA

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellow, Year 2

Justine is a Filipino-American doctor with an MBA originally from Los Angels who has also spent portions of her life in Guam, Manila (where she attended Ateneo de Manila University for college and Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health for medical school), New Jersey for pediatric residency, and now Florida for her Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Living in both the developed and developing world has given her a unique perspective on society, culture, language, communication, economics, and public health issues.


She is an aspiring neonatologist with an interest in simulation education to improve delivery room management of newborns, a writer, traveler, adventurer, singer-songwriter, scuba diver, rock climber, yogi, peace keeper, change maker, day-dreamer, do-gooder, human being (with lots of feelings).


Michael D. Cabana, MD, MPH

Professor & the Chair of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, NY

Michael D. Cabana, MD, MPH is a Professor & the Chair of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. He is a general pediatrician and trained at Johns Hopkins. He previously was on faculty at the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Francisco. His research focuses on clinical trials and health services research for common pediatric conditions, such as colic, eczema and asthma


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Nicolo Cabrera, MD

Nico is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. He came to the US for Internal Medicine residency at John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago where he was chief resident. He did fellowship training in Infectious Disease in the Immunocompromised Track of University of Texas jointly with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is now a fellow in Immunocompromised Host/Transplant Infectious Disease in Stanford University.


Consuelo Cagande, MD

Division Chief of Community Care and Wellness at CHOP, Senior Association Program Director Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at CHOP, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Dr. Cagande earned her degree in Bachelor Arts from Rutger’s University, in New Brunswick, NJ and her medical degree from Cebu Institute of Medicine, in Cebu, Philippines. She trained in General Psychiatry at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ. She did a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. She was a Psychiatry Residency Training Director for 12 years, a Psychiatry Course and Clerkship Director at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, an invited speaker nationally and internationally, published articles, authored book chapters, and editor of a textbook on Positive Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychotherapy. She is an Area 3 Assembly Representative to the American Psychiatric Association, Chair of the APA Committee on Access to Care. She is awaiting faculty appointment as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of interest are access to care, health disparities, cultural psychiatry, telemedicine and integrated and collaborative care. Currently she is the Division Chief of Community Care and Wellness and Senior Associate Program Director and Fellowship Advisor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is married to an Anesthesiologist, has two daughters and a Shih Tzu named Coco.


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Leo Anthony Celi, MD, MS, MPH

Associate Professor (Part Time), Harvard Medical School; Principal Research Scientist, MIT

As clinical research director and principal research scientist at the MIT Laboratory for Computational Physiology (LCP), and as a practicing intensive care unit (ICU) physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Leo brings together clinicians and data scientists to support research using data routinely collected in the process of care. His group built and maintains the publicly-available Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care (MIMIC) database and the Philips-MIT eICU Collaborative Research Database, with more than 15,000 users from around the world. The MIMIC-III paper has been cited more than 1700 times since 2016. In addition, Leo is one of the course directors for HST.936 – global health informatics to improve quality of care, and HST.953 – collaborative data science in medicine, both at MIT. He is an editor of the textbook for each course, both released under an open access license. "Secondary Analysis of Electronic Health Records" has been downloaded more than 500,000 times, and has been translated to Mandarin, Spanish and Korean. Leo has spoken in more than 35 countries across 6 continents about the value of data and learning in health systems. His publications have been cited more than 6000 times since 2015.

Tessa del Carmen, M.D.

Geriatrician and Palliative Care Physician

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Dr. Kathleen Perez Dela Cruz, M.D.

As a California native, I attended the University of California Irvine where I received my B.S. in Neurobiology. I decided to pursue medicine and attended medical school at UCLA/Charles Drew and completed my pediatric residency at Albert Einstein/Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. While I enjoyed the fast paced life of New York City, I always knew that I would return to California and am thrilled to grow my pediatric practice at Kaiser Permanente's Walnut Creek Medical Center. I'm also a mom to two adorable, energetic little boys Kayden (3 years old)  and Leo (6 months old). They keep my husband (another proud UCLA/ Drew Alum) and me on our toes and have ultimately been my greatest teachers.  

Jennifer Fagel, DO

Internist, Founder/Physician Coach at Life Reclaimed

Dr. Fagel is an Internist and Physician Coach. She completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University then proceeded to Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, graduating in 2013. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware where she stayed on as an Attending Hospitalist for 2 years. She is currently a physician coach for medical students and young physicians through her business Life Reclaimed whose mission is to champion the whole person behind our medical degrees. Additionally, along with Dr. Kathleen Wang an Allergist/Immunologist, she is the co-founder of The Grown Up Asian, a coaching program for Asian American women. She lives in NJ with her husband, an orthopedic surgeon, and 2 toddler girls.


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Cecilia Gambala, MD, MSPH

Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, Director of Ob/Gyn Medical Student Education

Dr. Cecilia Gambala received her Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology and Bachelor of Arts from H. Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University. She also earned a Masters of Science in Public Health and a Medical Degree from Tulane. She subsequently completed her Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency and Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship in Chicago at the University of Illinois. She returned to Tulane University Medical School to begin her academic career and currently acts as Assistant Dean for Clinical Education and Director of Medical Student Education in Ob/Gyn. Dr. Gambala is passionate about helping students develop their medical professional identity while keeping their love for medicine and their personal role in patient care as key components in their journey.


Julieta Gabiola, MD, FACP

Stanford University, Clinical Professor of Medicine; Educators for CARE faculty

Julieta Gabiola, MD, FACP is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and the founder of ABC’s for Global Health, a non-profit organization with a vision to provide health care access in underserved population of the world to help mitigate health disparity. Her expertise is in clinical medicine and translation of science into practical solutions to help people improve their health and productivity. Her focus the last decade has been on teaching both young students map their life trajectory and the public on lifestyle modification to prevent chronic diseases. She has done 10 years of yearly medical missions to the Philippines connecting with communities to understand their culture, beliefs, attitudes and gaps in health care.


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Katrina Heyrana, MD, PhD

Dr. Heyrana is an OB/GYN and family planning fellow at LAC+USC in Los Angeles. She completed a combined MD/PhD program at Penn State, where she studied structural retrovirology and developed an interest in how vulnerable populations make complex medical decisions. During her OB/GYN residency at the University of Rochester, she developed a locally-focused social determinants of health curriculum incorporating reproductive justice (RJ) principles into patient care. She currently provides general OB/GYN care, complex contraceptive services, and abortion care to patients in LA County. Her research employs an RJ framework to explore the interplay between acculturation and the reproductive health needs of different AAPI populations, with a focus on Filipinx communities.


Jeffrey J. Hsu, MD, PhD

Instructor, Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology, 

UCLA Health

Dr. Hsu received his undergraduate education at MIT, where he double-majored in Mechanical Engineering and Biology, and he subsequently received a Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering at MIT. He attended medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he was deeply involved with the Filipino Americans in Medicine (FAIM) and Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA). He received his Internal Medicine residency training at UCSF Medical Center. He completed his General Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant fellowships at UCLA Medical Center, where he served as Chief Fellow. As a fellow in the UCLA STAR Program, he received his Ph.D. in the UCLA Molecular Cellular & Integrative Physiology (MCIP) department, in which he led several projects focused on molecular imaging of cardiovascular development and disease.


Dr. Hsu is currently a clinical instructor in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA Health, and is a member of the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology group. His research interests include studying the mechanobiological mechanisms of cardiovascular disease (especially cardiovascular calcification), as well as the use of wearable devices in the remote monitoring of patients with heart failure. In addition to heart failure, he is also interested in sports cardiology and exercise physiology, and he is a member of the UCLA Sports Cardiology Program.

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Joyce Javier, MD, MPH, MS 

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine

Joyce R. Javier MD, MPH, MS, FAAP is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and an Attending Physician at AltaMed General Pediatrics. She completed pediatrics residency training and a general academic pediatrics fellowship at Stanford University. She is a general pediatrician and physician scientist whose research over the past 18 years has focused on addressing health disparities among minority immigrant populations. Her most recent studies focus on recruitment of Filipino families in randomized controlled trials and using community partnered participatory research to decrease mental health stigma and prevent adolescent depression and suicide among Filipino youth by partnering with parents and community stakeholders to implement and evaluate evidence-based parenting interventions. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health NCATS KL2 and NICHD K23 awards, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the SC CTSI, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. She currently serves as an Executive Committee Member on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Community Pediatrics, Co-chair of the Society for Pediatric Research Advocacy Committee, and a member of Pediatric Policy Council. In 2018, she received the AAP Local Hero Award and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Filipina Women’s Network. | Facebook@filipinofamilyhealthLA | Twitter:@JoyceJavierMD


Scarlet McClure, MD

Physician, My Care My Home program; Medical Director Home Health and Hospice, Napa Solano Kaiser

Dr. McClure grew up in Hayward, CA - the first physician in a family full of nurses. After obtaining her BA in Integrative Biology at Cal, and her MD at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, she completed an Internal Medicine residency at Valley Medical Center in San Jose. An additional year as chief resident allowed her a crash course in teaching and hospital administration. She then spent the next ten years in Primary Care at Kaiser Vallejo, drawn to the diverse population and proximity to the East Bay. In 2017, she pivoted to Geriatrics, doing home visits for homebound elderly and hospice patients, and treating patients in local nursing homes. She has two boys in Berkeley public schools and spends her spare time dancing and travelling with the LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble.

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Antonio Moya, MD MPH MSHP, CYFAM Co-Founder

Antonio Moya, MD MPH is a Board Certified Neurologist and LA County DHS Scholar working at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.  He completed his neurology residency at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Prior to residency, he graduated from the UCSF School of Medicine as a PRIME-US Scholar and also completed his MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health with a focus on Global Health in Asia.  


He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in the Philippines before medical school, specifically working on establishing telemedicine stroke care in this archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands.  Antonio has primarily focused on the Filipino and Asian Pacific Islander global community, having served as one of the medical directors of the UCSF Student-Run Clinic Mabuhay Center and Director of the UCSF Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association.  Antonio has partnered in Los Angeles with the Filipino American Service Group Inc. (FASGI), having been awarded multiple community and national grants to leverage media tools to improve health behaviors related to stroke and other non-communicable diseases.


Career Interests: Dr. Moya is interested in stroke prevention and treatment among underserved communities, telemedicine to facilitate neurology education, referrals, diagnostics, and treatment, and Asian Pacific Islander immigrant health disparities.  He will be working as a full-time neurologist at the LA Department of Health Services in July 2020.  

Research Interests: Dr. Moya is interested in using qualitative research methods to understand stroke and health disparities.  He uses research as a means of advocating for the disaggregation of data among Asian subgroups. He would also like to focus on how to use telemedicine as a  platform to increase neurology care for immigrant, non-English speaking patients.

Carlos Oronce, MD, MPH 

Fellow, UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program

Carlos Irwin A. Oronce, MD, MPH is a fellow in the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program and a primary care physician at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System. He received his MD and MPH from Tulane University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His work focuses on the role of the health system in improving population health, advancing health equity, and delivering better value in care. His research interests include: (1) examining the relationship between public spending on the social determinants and community health, (2) understanding the impact of value-based care and payment policy on quality and outcomes with a focus on vulnerable patients, and (3) evaluating interventions that improve quality and value while reducing disparities for racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations.


Melissa Palma, MD MPH, Research & Program Committee Mentor

Melissa Palma, MD, MPH  is an Iowa-raised daughter of Filipino immigrants. She graduated with degrees in biochemistry and medicine from the University of Iowa and began her career dedicated to the health of underserved populations. Her medical school capstone project for the Service and Global Health Distinction Tracks focused on health education programs for rural migrant farmworkers and a needs assessment of refugee social services in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.

Dr. Palma was a Family Medicine resident at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts prior to training in Preventive Medicine  at Cook County Health in Chicago, IL, one of the oldest and largest safety-net health systems in the US. She graduated with a Masters of Public Health from Northwestern University in June 2020 and serves on the Organization of Resident Representatives for the American Association of Medical Colleges. Dr. Palma also serves as a board member of FYLPRO, a leadership program affiliated with the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and the Ayala Foundation, Inc. Her academic interests include immigrant and refugee health, advocacy for health equity and addressing health disparities, and mentorship of underrepresented students in medicine.

Dr. Palma  also advocates for the Filipino community as an inaugural member of the Bicultural Iowa Writers’ Fellowship anthology, We the Interwoven, for emerging Iowan writers from immigrant backgrounds. Exploring themes of migration, belonging, and home in the Filipino diaspora, her writing has been featured in the Des Moines Art Festival, the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature Book Festival, and the non-circulating Pilipinx American Library exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Asian Art.

Angelico Razon, MD MPH MSHP, CYFAM Co-Founder

Dr. Angelico Razon is a post-doctoral fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include patient- and community-centered system design and policy interventions to promote patient self-efficacy and address social determinants of health. His research focuses on transitions of care, especially with how Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) access the healthcare services as they develop into adults.


After completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard College, he served as the Nonprofit Management Fellow at the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run nonprofit human service organization serving youth and communities in the Greater Boston Area. Afterward, he attended the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California through PRIME, a dual degree program focused on leadership in underserved and vulnerable communities. He pursued a Masters of Public Health in Healthcare Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he also received the Zuckerman Fellowship for interdisciplinary work in public service. Dr. Razon completed Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency at the University of Michigan.

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Richmond Ramirez, MD, FAAFP


Dr Ramirez is a family physician who will be starting an insurance-based practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and completed his family medicine residency training in Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2018 and held teaching positions in Brown University Warren S Alpert School of Medicine and Kent Hospital FM Residency program. Prior to his relocation, he was employed as a family physician in an FQHC in Rhode Island. He is looking forward in mentoring students and collaborating on research topics, especially about lipid disorders and obesity management.

Rommel Rivera, MD

President of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America

Dr. Rommel Rivera is the President of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), the national organization of FilAm Physicians. He holds leadership positions in many organizations including: the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, and the Order of the Knights of Rizal. He has over 20 years leadership experience in community, business, and medical organizations.


He is the Medical Director of the Acute In-Patient Psychiatric Unit of Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pennsylvania, and the owner and principal psychiatrist of a private medical practice in Philadelphia. He holds faculty positions at the Drexel University College of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He organizes on-going webinars, FilAm Health Forum on COVID-19 (10 online episodes to this date), which broadcast nationally and internationally. Dr. Rivera received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the Philippines and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East- Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Center College of Medicine in the Philippines. He finished his Internship and Residency training in Psychiatry at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. He pursued a fellowship in Special Immunology at the University of Miami School of Medicine – Jackson Memorial Hospital and a fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Nichole Roxas, MD, MPH

Nichole Roxas is a Filipinx American Ate raised in Bergenfield, NJ, now living in New Haven, CT, doing psychiatry residency at Yale. Many of her loved ones are survivors with mental health histories. It is an honor to heal together through the years. Yet, working within our healthcare institutions demands reckoning with how systemically we harm and isolate people, so she reflects on what it means to be a healer in community and reimagines healing rooted in collective power through activism, kindness, and revolutionary love towards each other and ourselves.


Lauren Sanchez, MD, MA 

Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and BMT

Lauren Sanchez grew up in a predominantly Filipino-American community in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to college at UCLA, and completed a dual BS/MA degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. She earned her medical degree from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She was also a fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program at the NIH, where her work focused on the natural history of a newly described primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD). She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at UCSF in 2018. She had many amazing mentors that influenced and supported her path along the way. Currently Dr. Sanchez is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital (BCH) in the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and BMT. She has a research interest in the transition of care of PIDD patients to adult care and the quality of life of patients with PIDD. She is also interested in medical student and resident education and organizes the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology rotator program. She is an active member of the UCSF BCH Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and is passionate about addressing DEI issues that impact patient care. She loves spending time with her husband, running after her one year old son, cooking, exploring Bay Area beaches, and binge-watching reruns of Top Chef.


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