Graduating UCSF Fresno physicians to care for patients and teach future doctors

FRESNO –  California is facing a shortfall of more than 4,000 primary care clinicians, according to a report released earlier this year by the California Future Health Workforce Commission. The projected shortfall of primary care clinicians in the state will have a disproportionate impact on the San Joaquin Valley where a doctor shortage already exists. Physicians who look, speak like and understand the cultures of Valley patients are especially needed.

More than 100 medical residents and fellows, along with three oral and maxillofacial surgery dental residents and five physician assistants will complete training at UCSF Fresno this year. Many will stay in the Central Valley to care for patients, teach future physicians or continue their medical education.

“Nearly 40 percent of physicians completing training in family and community medicine, almost 50 percent of pediatrics residents and 44 percent of internal medicine residents are remaining in the Valley to care for community members,” said Michael W. Peterson, MD, associate dean at UCSF Fresno. “This is outstanding news given the current and projected shortage of primary care clinicians in the region and state. Congratulations to these and all of our 2019 graduates.”   

UCSF Fresno’s 2019 Commencement will be held Thursday, June 13 at the William Saroyan Theatre, 730 M Street, in downtown Fresno. The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by the commencement ceremony at 6 p.m.

Media: The best time for interviews is during the social hour from 5 to 6 p.m. or by scheduling interviews in advance of the June 12 ceremony or on a date after graduation.

The 2019 graduating class includes:

Michele Maison-Fomotar, MD, originally from Cameroon, Africa, is completing a three-year residency training program in internal medicine. She will continue her education at UCSF Fresno as a fellow in the two-year infectious diseases program.  Dr. Maison-Fomotar earned her medical degree in Cameroon and worked for two years in a catchment hospital in a small city at the border of the Central African Republic. There, she worked with refugees and other underserved patients in the area. Her patients often presented with complex infection-related illnesses, especially HIV-related. This prompted her to earn a master’s degree in tropical medicine and international health in London.  After that, she came to California to be with her husband Marcel, who was completing a PhD at the time.  She decided on UCSF Fresno for residency training because of Fresno’s unique and diverse population, which often faces challenges including limited health care access and complex medical problems like the mix of people she cared for in Cameroon. The transition from working in an area with limited diagnostics and treatment options to an environment where much more is available was uniquely challenging and enlightening. The best part of residency, she says, has been the amazing people at UCSF Fresno – her co-residents, faculty and staff -who really support learning in a friendly, collegial atmosphere.  The unparalleled diversity and complexity of patient presentations, especially in infectious diseases, prompted her to stay for the ID fellowship. Afterward, she hopes to remain in the Central Valley, which has become her home. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking African food, cartoons, dancing and discovering new places with her family and friends.  

Rafael Martinez, MD, is completing a three-year residency program in family and community medicine. Dr. Martinez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with his family when he was five years old. He grew up in Visalia and went to Redwood High School. From an early age, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in health care, but it wasn’t until he worked as a health educator for Family Health Care Network that he was inspired to become a physician. The opportunity to care for patients across the life spectrum, including pregnant patients, newborns, adults and entire families, motivated him to pursue family medicine.  UCSF Fresno was his top choice for residency. He conducted rotations at UCSF Fresno as a medical student and his family is in the area. After graduation, he will practice at United Health Centers in Parlier where he trained as a resident and wanted to continue caring for patients there. A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Martinez said the path to becoming a physician is filled with many challenges, but he is fortunate to have the support of his family and is humbled every day to care for people whose voices aren’t heard often and who don’t have representation. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about cars, traveling and spending time with his wife and 10-month old son.

Lynna Nguyen, DO, is completing a three-year residency program in family and community medicine. Dr. Nguyen grew up in Orange County, California, where she attended Oxford Academy. She chose to pursue family medicine because it allows her to provide continuity care for patients as well as to serve as an advocate for them. Family physicians are in the best position to provide patient education and anticipatory care for their patients, according to Dr. Nguyen. “In no other specialty can a physician implement life-changing interventions as well as follow the outcomes through each developmental milestone and generation,” she said. She picked UCSF Fresno for residency training because the family and community medicine program is known for exemplary community-based training that is well-rounded and full-scope in both inpatient and outpatient settings with large and diverse patient populations. The Southern California native is staying in Fresno to practice at Kaiser Permanente after graduation. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing board games with friends and family.

H Kiran Reddy, MD, is completing a three-year fellowship in cardiovascular disease and will continue his medical education at UCSF Fresno as a fellow in the one-year interventional cardiology program. Raised in Hanford, California, Dr. Reddy’s history with UCSF Fresno dates back to the late 1990s when he participated in UCSF Fresno’s Summer Biomedical Internship Program as a student at Hanford West High School. Later, he conducted clinical rotations at UCSF Fresno as a fourth-year medical student and returned to complete residency training in internal medicine. When he completes the additional interventional cardiology fellowship, Dr. Reddy will have spent seven years training at UCSF Fresno. He intends to stay in the Valley to care for patients and work closely with his father, Hanford cardiologist, Raj Reddy, MD. “We have a lot of cases of diabetes, end-stage renal disease and hypertension,” Dr. H Kiran Reddy said. “These diseases happen early in life and many patients do not have good access to health care. Coronary artery disease can occur as a result of untreated, secondary diseases.” His goal is to increase access to cardiac health care and make a difference in Hanford and throughout the Valley.  When not working, he enjoys spending time with his two children and wife Pooja Reddy, MD, who also completed internal medicine residency training at UCSF Fresno. Dr. Pooja Reddy is a current faculty member who works with internal medicine residents at the VA Central California Health Care System in Fresno

Juan Rios, MD, is completing a three-year residency program in family and community medicine. Dr. Rios was born and raised in Reedley and graduated from Reedley High School. As the son of a 17-year-old mom and growing up in a rural farming community, it was challenging to evolve beyond the low expectations preconceived by his upbringing, he said. But, he was drawn to the sciences as a young student. While taking Advanced Placement courses in high school, he noted the relationship between science and medicine and the idea of working in medicine and applying science to real-life situations appealed to him. After witnessing the declining health of loved ones due to limited access to health care, dedicating himself to becoming a physician was an easy decision.  Family medicine was especially attractive because it allows for the unique opportunity to care for a wide variety of patients on any given day. There was never any doubt that UCSF Fresno is where he wanted to train, close to home. In fact, a significant portion of his residency training took place in his hometown. The first in his family to seek education beyond high school, Rios found it intimidating trying to navigate college and medical school with very little guidance. But, he persisted. After graduation, Dr. Rios will work at United Health Centers in Selma, California.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. He also enjoys regular exercise, watching baseball (Giants) and football (Cowboys) games, and his newest hobby, barbecuing.