At UC San Diego Family Medicine, we strive to embrace our differences and work together to deliver quality and compassionate care, and to empower patients and the community at large to achieve greater health equity and social justice.
We believe that a multi-cultural and anti-racist approach to healthcare leads to excellence. Our inclusive perspective on diversity encompasses race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, spirituality/religion, immigration status, and other life experiences. We believe that delivering empathetic and socially conscious care to our unique patient population requires cultural humility and allyship, and this begins with diversity within our residency and faculty.
Rina Edi, MDAssistant Clinical Professor I was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. My parents immigrated to the United States from Indonesia. My desire to care for vulnerable and underserved populations came from my personal experiences growing up as a first generation Indonesian American. In medical school I was a co-founder of Project HEARTS (Health, Education, Advocacy, Resources, Temple/St. Luke’s), helping to establish a free clinic for uninsured patients in Bethlehem, PA. In residency I worked with vulnerable populations in Philadelphia, treating patients in our Refugee Clinic at Jefferson and volunteered at Puentes de Salud, providing healthcare to the Latinx immigrant community in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the faculty at UCSD, I cared for marginalized populations, mostly immigrant and underinsured patients in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. While working at UCSD I have had the privilege of working at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic in Downtown, providing high-quality and comprehensive care to uninsured and underserved patients throughout San Diego.
Richard Novotny, MDAssistant Clinical Professor
I was born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas, to a bicultural family. My mom is from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and my dad is from Nebraska, with Czech descent. The Hispanic culture predominated my upbringing, spending much of my pre-school years in Ciudad Juarez, where my grandparents would care for me while my parents worked. I credit a lot of who I am to my Hispanic upbringing, including my desire to care for those of whom are most vulnerable and underserved. Throughout my career trajectory, this has continued to be my primary driver, working alongside Preventive Medicine colleagues in caring for Asylee/Detainees, within Tijuana with Healing Hearts Across Borders and Good Samaritans, and caring for vulnerable populations within a clinic setting within St. Vincent De Paul Village Health Center, San Ysidro Health Center, and my own clinic at UC San Diego Health.
Akbar Rahman, MD, MPH
Associate Clinical Professor
I was born & raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My father immigrated to the US from Pakistan as a teenager (as a young child, he was a refugee from India to Pakistan). My mother grew up in Los Angeles in a family of Spanish descent. Before medicine, I spent over two years working in Tanzania. In medical school in Chicago, I was active with my SNMA chapter. Clinically, I have worked with vulnerable populations in Long Beach, Compton, Los Angeles, South Africa, and Haiti. In San Diego, I provide primary care to homeless patients at St. Vincent de Paul Village Health Center, and hospital care to patients at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
Regina Wang, MD
Assistant Program Director for Family Medicine Residency
Associate Clinical Professor
My grandparents on both sides were refugees from China in the 1940s. I was born and raised in Southern California. Having multiple Deaf family members, I pursued a 2-year Deaf Medical Fellowship at UCSD to learn medical American Sign Language (ASL) and learn the barriers to healthcare and education faced by the Deaf. I have conducted research on Deaf cancer education, and spoken at national conferences about disparities in healthcare for Deaf and Asian American populations. Prior to joining the faculty at UC San Diego, I cared for marginalized populations at a federally qualified health center with clinics in Long Beach and Compton, California, and a district hospital in Durban, South Africa. While working at UCSD in Hillcrest and St. Vincent de Paul’s homeless clinic, I have had the privilege of being able to communicate directly and advocate for my patients who speak Mandarin, ASL, and Spanish.
Jessica Brown, MD, MPH
Family Medicine Resident
I am a native of Washington D.C, and a first-generation college graduate. Growing up in the nation’s capital has not only exposed me to the beautiful and vast diversity that this country has to offer, but also to the complex economic and social issues ingrained in its structure. It was during my formative years when I began to wonder how these economic and social factors affect health. These curiosities and my love for learning led me to a career in medicine and public health. I have a bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University, a master’s in Clinical Forensic Science from Drexel University College of Medicine, and a master’s in Public Health and medical doctorate from Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine. I was a recipient of the National Health Service Corps primary care scholarship and I am passionate about providing care in medically underserved communities both domestically and abroad, particularly in urban communities. During my time at Wright State, I was able to live this passion through my work with Congolese Refugees in Dayton, Ohio, and abroad in Togo and Costa Rica. I love experiencing new things, reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. I chose San Diego because my fiancée Charles matched EM at Kaiser SD a year before me, and I chose UC San Diego particularly because it offers diverse experiences in a diverse population with a diverse group of residents. I look forward to serving communities in and around San Diego, and getting to know the city further!
David Powell, MD
Family Medicine Resident
Hello! I’m David. My hometown is Bakersfield, CA (located in central California). I come from a very mixed ethnic background. My maternal grandparents are immigrants from Yemen and Mexico (respectively). My paternal grandparents are Black from the Deep South. Fitness has been the foundation of my well-being which include swimming and weight training. I attended a Historically Black College/University called Xavier University of Louisiana, which is located right in the heart of New Orleans, LA. It was a life changing experience. I was involved in a wide breadth of extra-curricular activities from bench research to performing my saxophone with locally renowned Gospel choirs. I attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and strengthened my passions in mentorship, leadership, and community service during my term as the local chapter President of SNMA. I gravitated towards Family Medicine because of its mission to provide care in underserved communities and foster diversity in medicine. Being a UCSD Family Medicine Resident has been nothing short of a dream. The program goes the extra mile to foster creativity, diversity, and camaraderie. Within Family Medicine, my interests include Geriatrics, Palliative Care, and Mental Health (specifically treatment of mental health disorders with psychedelics).
Theo Roper, MD
Family Medicine Resident
Growing up in Los Angeles, California to a biracial family, and raised by my Black father, I was exposed to diverse cultures and experiences throughout my childhood that cemented my passion to serve communities similar to the one in which I was raised. During my junior year of college and shortly after the passing of my dad, I was granted the life-changing opportunity to study abroad in Ghana for nearly nine months during which time I volunteered at Save the Nation’s Sight, a small clinic that provides care to patients spanning the country with cases of preventable blindness. Witnessing the impact the physicians had on these patient’s lives confirmed my desire to provide for the underserved populations back home through medicine. After graduating with a degree in Psychology and African-American Studies from Berkeley, I completed a Post-Bacc program in Oakland prior to completing Medical School at the University of Cincinnati, in which I was an active member of our SNMA chapter and worked closely with The Center for Closing the Health Gap. Returning to Southern California, my goals are to work with people in their communities, matching healthcare with their individual needs based on self-identified concerns, and to extinguish the unremitting cycle of early disease and death and the sense of apprehension surrounding medical care by forming vital lifelong relationships with my patients. My interests are in urban underserved healthcare, global health, correctional medicine, and palliative care.
Lectures & Presentation Topics:
- Race in Medicine
- Implicit Bias
- Health Disparities in Women
- Contraception Bias
- Border Health
- Immigrant, Refugee, Asylee Health
- Asian American Healthcare Disparities
- LGBTQ Health
- Caring for Deaf Patients
Workshops & Activities:
- Annual Cross-Cultural Workshops with local residencies
- Journal Clubs regarding Healthcare Disparities
- Ava DuVernay's 13th Documentary Discussion
- Race, are We So Different? Exhibit tour & discussion at Museum of Man
- Privilege Walk
- Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Week
- Engelberg M, Nakaji MC, Harry KM, Wang RM, Kennedy A, Pan T, Sanchez T, Sadler GR.
Promotion of Healthy Humor Cancer Education Messages for the Deaf Community. J Cancer Educ. 2019;34(2):323-328. doi:10.1007/s13187-017-1305-5
- Soltani, M., Lindeman, K. Want Change Not Coins.
Acad Psychiatry 42, 729–730 (2018).
- Smith S, Malinak D, Chang J, Perez M, Perez S, Settlecowski E, Rodriggs T, Hsu M, Abrew A, Aedo S.
Implementation of a Food Insecurity Screening and Referral Program in Student-Run Free Clinics in San Diego, California. Prev Med Rep. 2017 Mar; 5: 134-139.
- Soltani M, Smith S, Beck E, Johnson M.
Universal Depression Screening, Diagnosis, Management, and Outcomes at a Student-Run Free Clinic.
Acad Psychiatry. 2014 Dec 10.
- Smith S, Thomas R, Cruz M, Griggs R, Moscato B, Ferrara A.
Presence and characteristics of student-run free clinics in medical schools.
JAMA. 2014 Dec 10;312(22):2407-10
- Smith SD, Yoon R, Johnson ML, Natarajan L, Beck E. The Effect of Involvement in a Student-Run Free Clinic Project on Attitudes Toward the Underserved and Interest in Primary Care. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 May;25(2):877-89.
- Smith SD, Marrone L, Gomez A, Johnson ML, Edland SD, Beck E.
Clinical Outcomes of Diabetic Patients at a Student-Run Free Clinic Project. Fam Med. 2014 Mar;46(3):198-203.
- Oser R, Beck E, Alvarado J.L., Pang V.O.
School and Community Wellness: Transforming Achievement Using a Holistic Orientation to Learning.
Multicultural Perspectives 02/2014; 16(1)
- Chen W, Smith SD, Johnson ML, Natarajan L, Robillos E, Beck E.
Measuring the Overall Quality of Well-Being of Patients at Student-Run Free Clinics. Abstract published in Proceedings of the 2013 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Conference on Medical Student Education. Teaching and Learning in Medicine. 2014;26(2);196-203.
- Smith S, Johnson M, Rodriguez N, Moutier C, Beck E.
Medical Student Perceptions of the Educational Value of a Student-Run Free Clinic.
Family Medicine, Oct. 2012, Volume 44. No. 9, pages 646-649.
- Wang RM, Aldridge AA, Malcarne VL, Choe S, Branz P, Sadler GR.
Health locus of control and assimilation of cervical cancer information in Deaf women. J Cancer Educ. 2010;25(3):354-359. doi:10.1007/s13187-010-0053-6
- Choe S, Lim RS, Clark K, Wang RM, Branz P, Sadler GR.
The impact of cervical cancer education for deaf women using a video educational tool employing American sign language, open captioning, and graphics.
J Cancer Educ. 2009;24(1):10-15. doi:10.1080/08858190802665245
- Beck E; Wingard D, Zúñiga ML; Heifetz R Gilbreath S.
Academic Medicine: Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved: A National Faculty Development Program. Volume 83 (11) November 2008 pp 1094-1102.
- Wortis N, Beck E, Donsky J.
Health and the Community. Book Chapter in Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients. Principles, Practice and Populations,
McGraw Hill, Lange: 2006, pages 159-165. (no copy online found)
The UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project: Transdisciplinary Health Professional Education. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Undeserved, Volume 16, Number 2, May 2005, pages 207-219. Beck, E.
- O'Connor S, Ganiats T, Beck E, Kaplan R.
Quality of Life in a Free Clinic. Abstract -Quality of Life Research,
Springer Volume 12, Issue 7, 2003
- Norcross WA, Ramirez C, Palinkas LA:
The influence of women on the healthcare-seeking behavior of men. J Fam Pract 1996;43:475.
- Norcross WA, Johnson B, Ganiats T, Siedler S:
Urinary gnathostomiasis in a Laotian refugee. J Am Board Fam Pract 1992: 5(5):533.
- Newman V, Norcross WA, McDonald R: Nutrient intake of low-income Southeast Asian pregnant women.
J Am Diet Assoc 1991; 91:793.
- Lerman D, Barrett-Connor E, Norcross WA: Screening for intestinal parasites in asymptomatic Southeast Asian immigrants.
J Fam Prac 1982; 15(3):443.
- Norcross WA, Wise E, Simms GR, Nidorf J, Thong M, Schneiderman LJ:
Fatal Oriental cholangiohepatitis in a member of the Hmong community. J Fam Prac 1981; 12:909.
- Hoffman SL, Barrett-Connor E, Norcross WA, Nguyen D:
Intestinal parasites in Indochinese immigrants.
J Trop Med Hyg 1981; 30:348.
- “Race in Medicine, Implicit Bias, and Microaggressions.” San Diego Academy of Family Physicians’ All Member Meeting: ‘Anti-Racism- Promoting Equity and Inclusion’ (February 2021) - Akbar Rahman MD MPH, Regina Wang MD
- “Human Trafficking Education for Healthcare Workers.” The Chadwick Center’s Annual San Diego International Conference of Child and Family Maltreatment (January 2021) - Regina Wang MD, Mary Gamboa
- American Heart Association Mandarin-speaking physician panel on Covid-19 streamed live on zoom across the Western Region states (April 2020) and then broadcasted on television (May 2020) - Regina Wang MD
- “Launching a Global Health Rotation in Jordan: Challenges & Lessons Learned.” American Academy of Family Medicine Global Health Summit (October 2019) – Akbar Rahman MD, MPH
- “Practicing Global Health in Your Own Backyard” American Academy of Family Physicians Global Health Summit (October 2019) - Regina Wang MD, Leopoldine Matialeu MD
- UC San Diego Health’s N=1 Podcast on Human Trafficking (January 2018) - Regina Wang MD, Sarah Williamson RN, Karen Mitchell-Keels RN
- “Healthcare Disparities in Primary Care Among Asian Americans” Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association National Conference (September 2014) - Regina Wang, MD
- “A Generation Lost – Women with HIV in South Africa” AAFP Global Health Workshop (September 2014) - Regina Wang MD, Akbar Rahman MD, MPH
- “The African Family Physician” AAFP Global Health Workshop (September 2014) - Akbar Rahman MD, MPH, Regina Wang MD
- “Developing Strategies to Reach the Deaf Community with Health Information: The Cervical Cancer Education Program.” American Association for Cancer Education’s Annual Meeting (October 2006) - Regina Wang, MD
- “Assessing Resident Perception of Diversity Climate in a Family Medicine Residency Program.” American Academy of Family Physicians Program Director Workshop (April 2021) - Leopoldine Matialeu MD, Akbar Rahman MD MPH, Erica Chan, Regina Wang MD
- “Assessing Physicians’ Perception of Patients and Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.” California Society of Addiction Medicine annual conference (September 2020) - Regina Wang MD, Mariel Janowsky MD MPH, Leopoldine Matialeu MD
- “Physician and Medical Student Knowledge of Human Trafficking in San Diego” International Summit of Violence, Abuse, and Trauma Across the Lifespan (September 2020) - Mary Gamboa BS, Regina Wang MD
- “Primary Care Physicians Can Treat Addiction Too: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Training in an Addiction Medicine Curriculum” PDW and RPS Residency Education Symposium (April 2020) - Regina Wang MD, Mariel Janowsky MD, MPH, Kanwardeep Kaleka MD, PhD, Akbar Rahman MD, MPH
- “Addiction Medicine for UC San Diego Family Medicine Present and Future” California Society of Addiction Medicine conference (September 2019) - Kanwardeep Kaleka MD PhD, Mariel Janowsky MD MPH, Akbar Rahman MD MPH, Regina Wang MD
- “Improving Patient Care: The Implementation of a Diversity Curriculum” PDW and RPS Residency Education Symposium (April 2019) - Regina Wang MD, Maikha Jean-Baptiste MD, Jean-Pierre Valette MD, Akbar Rahman MD, MPH
- “Integrative Approach to a Community Health Fair.” UC San Diego Public Health Day (April 2019) - Jennifer Chronis MD, Deepa Sannidhi MD
- “Jordan: Introducing Residents to Global Mental Health.” American Academy of Family Medicine Global Health Summit (September 2018) - Akbar Rahman MD, MPH
- “Ecuador: A Global Health Perspective on Integrative Medicine” American Academy of Family Physicians Global Health Summit (September 2018) - Regina Wang MD.
UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic
"In partnership with the community, provides respectful, empowering, high quality health care for the underserved while inspiring the next generation of health professionals."
St. Vincent de Paul Village Health Center
"Through specifically targeted and innovative services and programs, our vision is to break the cycle of homelessness by addressing underlying causes: poverty, the difficulty of finding work that pays a livable wage, access to medical care, mental illness, drug addiction, and domestic violence. We help homeless persons help themselves to become self-sufficient, productive members of society through an extensive and innovative continuum of care."
Linda Vista Health Fair
Health Fair for uninsured and under-insured patients offering free diabetes screening while serving as a pipeline program for under-represented minorities in healthcare. (July 2018 to March 2020)
A non-profit organization with a mission to work alongside existing institutions in Mexico in order to provide impoverished people with medical care, education, and awareness. UCSD undergraduate students recruit the help of residents, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, health educators (such as CPR instructors), and sometimes even alternative care specialists. It is important for them to familiarize themselves with Mexican tradition and culture to provide culturally sensitive care.
International Health Collective
A non-profit student-run organization that aims to solve health disparities in Eastern Tijuana and San Diego communities. International Health Collective, or IHC, takes on this issue through a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach. They hold a firm belief that it takes a wide lens and a diverse skill set to examine and alleviate root causes to health issues, IHC members originate from different backgrounds and fields of expertise. Specifically, IHC consists of UCSD undergraduate students (medical, engineering, humanities etc.), medical and pharmacy graduate students, health professionals, and community members. Members work towards disentangling the complex relationship between structural barriers and health disparity on a global scale.
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Family Medicine and Combined Family Medicine/Psychiatry 2020 intern class.
We would like to thank residency alumna, Maikha Jean-Baptiste, MD, who identified a need in our Family Medicine residency program and helped launch the initial Diversity Curriculum in 2017.