Regional Chairs

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Annalyn Diaz
(She/Her/Hers)
Region Chair Coordinator

Hailing from Rancho Cucamonga, California, Annalyn graduated salutatorian from San Dimas High School and currently is a senior majoring in Human Biology and Society at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). As a pre-medical student, Annalyn is interested in public health, education, and decreasing disparities in health outcomes, particularly for underserved, minoritized communities. At UCLA, she is involved with Pilipinos for Community Health (PCH), a community service organization that seeks to serve and empower under-resourced communities in the Greater Los Angeles area by providing free health education and services. For the majority of her undergraduate career, she has also been involved with Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE), an outreach project under the Student Initiated Outreach Center that provides culturally-relevant education, promotes student empowerment, and provides resources to high schools and community colleges with high populations of Pilipinx-identifying students.

 

Through CYFAM's inaugural conference in October 2020, Annalyn was introduced to a welcoming community of Pilipinx-identifying physicians who were mentors and leaders in the healthcare field that inspired her to become further involved. As the first to hold the position of Regional Chair Coordinator, Annalyn is excited to build community and work with the Regional Chairs to facilitate a space that keeps CYFAM members across the country actively engaged and cognizant of the intersectionality within medicine. In her free time, Annalyn enjoys spending time with family and friends, bullet journaling, and venturing into the great unknown, whether in nature or at a new foodie joint.

Patricia Bunda
(She/Her/Hers)
1N New England Chair

Born and raised in the Cavite, Philippines, Patricia came to the United States in 2013 to pursue further education. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology; Minor in Biomedical Research. After college, she spent two years as a postbac fellow in the lab of Dr. Glenn Merlino at the NIH where she studied the mechanism of melanoma metastasis and organotropism. She is now a rising 2nd year MD/PhD student at Yale School of Medicine, with interests in internal medicine and nephrology. As a future physician scientist, she is passionate about improving the healthcare system and expanding research opportunities in the Philippines. She sees CYFAM as an amazing opportunity to form long-term collaborations with people who share similar goals and to help mentor the next generation of Filipino American physicians. Outside of school, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking Filipino food, spending afternoons in art museums, and mailing postcards to friends around the world.

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Rommell Noche
(He/Him/His)
1N New England Chair

Rommell Noche is a second year medical student at Frank H. Netter School of Medicine in Connecticut, with a concentration in Health Communications. Born in Guam, Rommell moved to Southern California at the age of five. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Master of Science in Chemistry in the Vagelos Scholars Program in the Molecular Life Sciences. Prior to medical school, Rommell worked for two years as a postgraduate research associate at Yale School of Medicine. He became involved with CYFAM after meeting Dr. Antonio Moya, one of the organization's founders, at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in 2020. Outside of CYFAM, Rommell is a student representative in Netter's curriculum oversight committee and a board member in their student-run clinic. His current interests include vascular disease, precision medicine, and health equity.

Claire Perez
(She/Her/Hers)
1 Northwest

Claire currently attends Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Originally raised on Guam, she ventured to the mainland to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor. She is applying general surgery in this upcoming match and is interested in Trauma/Critical Care, Surgical Oncology, or Thoracic Surgery. Her research interests vary from quality improvements and resident's health to diatom taxonomy.

 

She became involved with CYFAM through a classmate and proceeded to partake in the first national conference last year. She currently serves as the Regional Chair for Northeast and was the National Social Chair for SY 20-21.

 

During her free time, she likes to go to the gym and work out. She also likes to be around nature and go hiking. As a true islander, she always craves for the ocean and tries to go to the beach whenever possible. She also spends some of her free weekends volunteering at the local cat shelter.

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Gerald Coronado
(He/They)
2 Capital Chair

Gerald Coronado is a Capital Regional Chair for CYFAM. Prior to this role, he initially joined CYFAM on the Grant Writing Committee for CYFAM’s inaugural conference in 2020. As an MS3 medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCUSOM), he is a scholar in the VCUSOM Family Medicine Scholars Training and Admission Track, with an interest in pursuing Family Medicine. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia and later some post-baccalaureate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles Extension. Concurrently while in Los Angeles, he also worked as research assistant for breast cancer clinical trials, going on to publish articles and present posters on surgical devices for cryotherapy, intraoperative radiotherapy, and intraoperative margin assessment. Additionally, he currently serves as the medical student representative to the Inclusion Council as well as a member on the Students Committed to Leadership Coalition, both under the VCUSOM Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In his free time, Gerald enjoys learning Spanish, French, and Chinese on Duolingo; staying active with hiking, swimming, climbing, playing volleyball, and lifting weights; and exercising his imagination with reading and writing poetry.

Gaby Obedoza
2 Capital Chair

Gaby is a second-year medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCUSOM) in Richmond, VA. She is part of her school’s Family Medicine Scholars Training and Admissions Track (fmSTAT), a dual admissions program designed to support and develop students committed to a career in family medicine. At VCUSOM, she is the secretary and sports medicine coordinator of the Student Family Medicine Association as well as the legislative representative of her school’s American Medical Student Association chapter. In these roles, she supports fellow students as they explore opportunities in primary care and patient advocacy. Gaby also supports a local free clinic, Health Brigade, by volunteering with their comprehensive harm reduction program. 

 

During college at American University in Washington, DC, Gaby majored in biology and minored in psychology with a special interest in neuroscience. She conducted research in the field of neuroendocrinology, examining the effects of estrogens on zebra finch brains following traumatic brain injury. Gaby also interned with the American Association of University Women, working closely with their STEM education programs to increase representation of women in these fields.  

 

After graduating cum laude, Gaby spent time working in multiple healthcare settings. She assisted patients in navigating clinical trials as a Protocol Care Specialist with the Sarcoma & Bone Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also served as chief medical scribe at OrthoVirginia in Richmond, VA, which sparked her interest in primary care sports medicine. During this time, she also became involved with the National Patient Advocate Foundation and aided in the formation of a bill limiting step therapy practices that was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2019. 

 

A native of Norfolk, VA, Gaby graduated from Norfolk Collegiate School with an Advanced Studies diploma. While in high school, she took 7 AP courses and was active in her school’s soccer and sailing teams.

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Donita Barrameda
(She/Her/Hers)
3E Great Lakes Chair

Donita is a 4th year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She is originally from Rancho Cucamonga, CA and currently in Flint, MI for her clinical training and school's Medical Partners in Public Health certificate program. She interested in family medicine as a specialty with interests in community medicine, geriatrics, and public health. Donita first became involved with CYFAM as part of the Exhibition Committee in organizing the first CYFAM National Conference in October 2020. She is involved again with the committee to help connect with organizations and vendors to participate in the next national conference. She loves basketball (LA Lakers all the way!), gardening, video games, and listening to podcasts while going on long drives or walks at the park.

Edgar Geronimo Yap Junior
(He/Him/His)
3W Midwest Chair

Edgar is a third year MD-MA in Bioethics student at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). During his second year, Edgar was the President of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association as well as the Vice President of the Family Medicine Interest Group. Furthermore, he was involved in primary care research. He has a passion for working with under-resourced communities and students, mentoring nearby high school students in Westside Chicago through the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program and the Health Career Collaborative. Additionally, Edgar volunteered remotely with the Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals in Oakland, California, helping under-served patients with their insurances and healthcare needs. In the future, Edgar plans to pursue a Family Medicine residency. His dream is to work in a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves a large Filipinx population, as well as teach in an academic medical center and a local community college.

 

At UC Berkeley, Edgar majored in Integrative Biology and Anthropology. He was very involved in the Filipinx community, holding leadership positions in the Pilipinx Academic Student Services (PASS) for three years. During his second and third years, Edgar hosted dozens of recruitment and cultural events for under-represented K-12 and community college students through PASS. In his fourth year, Edgar was the Director of Internal Affairs for PASS and facilitated a course on Filipinx Identity and Leadership through the Asian American Studies Department. At the same time, Edgar conducted research on biofuels at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and human paleontology at the Human Evolution Research Center. Following graduation, Edgar worked as the surgery coordinator and co-office manager at a large scale private Ophthalmology practice in the East Bay Area. Edgar calls three places home, being born in Los Angeles, living in Kuwait for eight years, and growing up in the Bay Area.

 

Filipinx advocacy has been in his family since they arrived in the United States, with his parents being active in the development of Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles during the 1970s and 1980s. During his free time, Edgar enjoys playing basketball and watching the Golden State Warriors, cooking with his partner, and learning about dinosaurs.

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April Alcantara 
(She/Her/Hers)
3W Midwest Chair

April Alcantara is a third-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). She is a Los Angeles-native who earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University where she studied Human Biology and Health Policy. At Stanford, April was involved in the Pilipino American Student Union, where she was first introduced to organizing around the Filipino identity. Years later, April became involved in CYFAM in 2019 and has been interested in connecting with the Filipino community in Chicago and building a network of health advocates in the Midwest region.

 

Before starting medical school, April conducted research on using FDG-PET imaging to better understand Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders. Now at SSOM, April is involved in research on intravascular imaging and the role of diabetes mellitus in the development of atherosclerosis. April has also held leadership positions in several student organizations that she is passionate about, including the Cardiovascular Interest Group, the Geriatrics Interest Group, and Veteran Health Partners. Outside of medical school, April enjoys playing and watching basketball, discovering new restaurants and food trends, and building her music collection.

Melissa Palma, MD, MPH
(She/Her/Hers)
Chief Research and Education Chair

Melissa Palma, MD, MPH (she/her/hers) 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 is a Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine Resident 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 and serves on the Organization of Resident Representatives for the American Association of Medical Colleges. Dr. Palma also serves as a medical advisor for TayoHelp.com, a culturally tailored resource providing trustworthy COVID-19 information for Filipino Americans, sponsored by the FYLPRO COVID-19 Task Force. 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.

Joshua Dejoya
(He/Him/His) 
4 Southern Chair

Josh is a second year medical student at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He currently lives in Chapel, NC and has lived in North Carolina for the last 13 years. He got involved in CYFAM through his work in APAMSA and is currently one of the student leaders for the APAMSA chapter at UNC SOM. Josh also has an interest in history and is a member of the Bullitt History of Medicine Club at UNC SOM. After having spent his early childhood in Western Pennsylvania, Josh is an avid Steelers and LeBron James fan, and still finds time to watch the occasional Steelers game.

Angela C. Arata
(She/Her/Hers)
4 Southern Chair

Angela Arata is a Napa/Sonoma County native and second year medical student at the University of Florida College of Medicine. She serves as co-chair of CYFAM’s Research Committee and Southern Region. Angela is a former volunteer of the Mabuhay Health Center, a student-run free clinic in San Francisco, which is where she first got involved with CYFAM. As a non-traditional and first-generation college student, Angela is interested in mentorship and increasing diversity in medicine, which she hopes to bolster through work with CYFAM. Outside of school, Angela loves reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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Michael Baliton
(He/Him/His) 
5 Rocky Mountain Chair

Michael Baliton is a medical student at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine. Originally from the Bay Area, California, Michael has strong ties to his Filipino cultural heritage. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. During his undergraduate career, he fostered his interest in community engagement and serving the Filipino community through his leadership in the UC Davis Filipino American Community, Bayanihan Clinic, and the Filipinx Association for Health Careers (FAHC). He intends to cultivate his interest in global health in the Philippines with a focus on community engagement and research as a medical student and as a member of CYFAM.

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Althea Alquitran
(She/Her/Hers)
6 Southwest Chair

Althea Alquitran is a fourth-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and went to UCLA, graduating with a B.S. in Biology. She became involved with CYFAM through her work with the Filipino American Health Forum, which was originally founded by Dr. Angelico Razon. Within her roles in CYFAM, her passions are fostering decreasing health disparities and increasing connection through shared identity, experience, mentorship. She is interested in pursuing ophthalmology, and in her free time she teaches group exercise classes and loves to bake fancy cakes, sing in a band, and indoor rock climb.

Gwen Dumayas
(She/Her/Hers)
7 Pacific Northwest Chair

Ms. Dumayas is an international student from Manila, Philippines and graduated from Philippine Science High School with high honors. She is currently a pre-medical student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Dance at the University of Washington - Seattle.

 

In the Philippines, she volunteers in the medical-dental missions that her family organizes in different far-flung provinces of the country, therefore peaking her interest in becoming a medical doctor. She is currently interested in the specialties of Plastic Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery, or OB/GYN. As an undergrad, she is involved in various organizations such as Filipinx Association for Health Careers (as a co-marketing chair), American Medical Student Association, and Volunteers Around the World. She also serves as a Health Scholar in Swedish Medical Center and involved in research at the Weil Lab where they study the interactions between the human gut microbiome and cholera. Some of her hobbies include singing, dancing, and playing instruments such as the ukulele, guitar and piano. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring Seattle as well. A fun fact about her is that she used to be a fashion model in the Philippines!

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Justin Anthony Lopez
(He/Him/His)
8 Northern California Chair

Justin (he/him/his) is a first-generation medical student (MS2) at UC San Francisco. He is currently interest in either Psychiatry, Ophthalmology, or Endocrinology. He is part of the UC Berkeley/UCSF Joint Medical Program where he will also obtain an MS degree. Justin is also part of UCSF's Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US). As the first in his family to attend medical school — let alone a graduate college— from an intergenerational, working-class, non-health profession, immigrant family from the low-income community of South Sacramento, health equity is something that Justin cannot separate from medicine. He transferred from community college to UC Davis and graduated with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During undergrad, Justin was part of the student-run clinic Clínica Tepati where he experienced a transformative understanding of the conditions and disparities of the community he grew up in. During his gap years, Justin did a post-bacc, served for AmeriCorps in the Bay Area, and then led his local FQHC health education program back home in Sacramento. During these times, he involved himself in various community mentorship programs as both a mentee and mentor. Because of this, Justin comes to CYFAM excited to facilitate inter-organizational mentorship relations, improve the pipeline to medical school for minoritized communities, and strengthen his Filipinx identity amongst the nuance of the greater Filipinx diaspora. Apart from CYFAM, Justin is involved with White Coats for Black Lives, and the UCSF student-run clinics Mabuhay Health Center and Clínica Martín-Baró. During his spare time, Justin enjoys trying new foods, conversing in Spanish, learning new languages, growing cacti from seed, and skateboarding.

Felipe Cataquiz
8 Northern California Chair

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Gianna Kaye Apoderado,
(She/Her/Hers)
9 Greater LA Chair

Ms. Apoderado is currently in her gap year, preparing to apply to medical school. She was born and raised in the Philippines, immigrating to the U.S. in 2008. She currently resides in Fontana, CA. She graduated cum laude at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), earning her bachelor’s degree in Biology. She got involved in CYFAM as part of its inaugural conference leadership, with the goal of helping foster a network and community of Filipino-American healthcare professionals, current and aspiring. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, crocheting, baking, and playing with her maltese mix dog, Momo.

Brenden Gregorio,
9 Greater LA Chair

Mr. Gregorio is a third-year pre-medical student at UCLA majoring in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. Passionate about empowering the Pilipinx community and other underserved communities, he volunteers as a peer tutor for SPACE, a campus outreach project that promotes access to higher education through academic and holistic support. Brenden also works as a research intern at Cedars Sinai Medical Center—under the guidance of his PIs, he conducts lab work to study the effects of transcriptional regulators on neuronal plasticity, learning, and memory. On campus, Brenden is actively involved in the Multi-Interest Greek life. He is the internal vice president of Zeta Phi Rho, a multicultural fraternity, and served as the council treasurer for the Multi-Interest Greek Council. Understanding that everyone’s path to medicine is unique, he will be taking a few gap years before applying to medical school.

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John Dayao
(He/Him/His)

10 San Diego/Imperial Chair

John Kevin Dayao (Kevin) is a second year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He was born in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to San Jose, California in high school. He received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from UC Davis. While he's keeping his options open, he is currently interested in Pediatrics, drawing from his experiences working as a behavior therapist for children with autism during his gap years. As the regional chair for San Diego/Imperial/Riverside, Kevin is working with his team to spread the word about CYFAM and to build a close network of Fil-Am students in region 10. In his spare time, he likes to hike, walk by the beach, eat meals with friends, go to the gym, and sing.

Abby Ahyong

11 Desert Mtn Chair

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Maveric Abella
(She/Her/Hers)
12 Pacific Islands Chair

Maveric Abella is a second-year medical student, originally from Hawaii and currently attending the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. Her goals are to spread awareness of CYFAM and build a community of students and physicians in the Pacific Islands region. During her free time, she enjoys surfing and mentoring STEM students with Honua Scholars.