Meet the Students

Chelsea Gong Chelsea Gong, Class of 2018
Hometown: Visalia, CA 
I have grown up among several rural communities and I have gotten to know the people who work in these towns and cities to provide for themselves and their families. As a primary care physician, I want to have relationships with my patients that go beyond coming in to the office once a year for a check up. By practicing in a rural area, I believe that I will be able to serve the hard-working people who live there as well as be able to build strong relationships with my patients in order to serve them in the best way possible. In the future I hope to practice family medicine in a rural area of California, possibly specializing in geriatrics.
Daniel Ayala-Ortiz Daniel Ayala-Ortiz, Class of 2018
Hometown: Ukiah, CA 
I plan to practice in a rural area. Rural prime will allow me to serve members from rural populations with greater capacity.
Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez, Class of 2018
Hometown: San Diego, CA 
Working with underserved and rural communities greatly motivated me to pursue a career in medicine. I believe Rural-PRIME will enrich my medical education by providing me with the appropriate tools to serve rural communities and to help decrease health disparities in these areas. In addition, I am excited to incorporate innovative technologies such as telemedicine into my practice in primary care, and to learn in a small group setting. In the future, I hope to provide primary care (family medicine or pediatrics) to underserved and rural populations.

Emanuel Jaramillo Emanuel Jaramillo, Class of 2018
Live Oak, CA 
Growing up in a small farming town and having to travel long distances to receive high quality healthcare has impacted my motivation to pursue a career in rural medicine. Communities located in rural areas tend to have limited access to healthcare, causing many families to slip through the cracks. As I saw during my clinical experiences abroad, many individuals ended up with medical conditions that, if caught early, could have been prevented. Through telemedicine training and close interaction with rural mentors, I feel that Rural-PRIME will be able to provide me with the skills needed to become an influential physician leader who will help address these health disparities. I believe my passion to provide compassionate and high quality healthcare to some of our most vulnerable populations aligns perfectly with the mission of Rural-PRIME. I look forward to the opportunity to rotate through different rural medical sites during Year 3.
Fiona Scott Fiona Scott, Class of 2018
Davis, CA
As a future physician leader, I hope to practice medicine in a rural primary care clinic in Northern or Central California. Through my graduate research on farmworker health and my time as co-director of a clinic, which serves a large farmworker population, I have developed a comprehensive understanding of the challenges accompanying life in a rural area. In addition to providing health services in the clinical setting, I hope to use my public health knowledge and experience working at the Knights Landing Clinic to establish health education classes, after school tutoring, mentorship for teens and other public health efforts to further empower the community. 
Melanie Koppula Melanie Koppula, Class of 2018
Turlock, CA
While working in a rural hospital near my hometown, I recognized the need and limited access of high quality health care in underserved areas. Through this experience, I felt inspired to pursue a medical career that emphasizes care for underserved populations. I was drawn to Rural-PRIME because the opportunity to receive unique clinical experiences, training in telemedicine and the option to pursue an MPH degree would offer me the skills and education to properly address the pertinent issues of the localities I hope to practice. In my future clinical practice, I plan to address and advocate for the needs of underserved and vulnerable communities through public health education and tailored patient care. I feel confident that Rural-PRIME will equip me with the necessary knowledge to create a positive change in the communities I serve.
Scott Russo Steven Russo, Class of 2018
Livermore, CA
My interest in rural medicine grew from my experiences coaching underserved youth soccer players in my hometown of Livermore. Recognizing the socio-economic, geographical, and other barriers that stopped my players from receiving medical care, I founded TEEM – a nonprofit organization focused on preventing youth sports injuries and improving athlete access to healthcare. Working with athletes from mostly rural California communities, my work with TEEM showed me the desperate need for rural physicians and medical care for everyday needs. With Rural-PRIME’s focus on telemedicine and unique community rotations, I will learn the skills and knowledge to bring healthcare to any community. 
Sundip Jagpal Sundip Jagpal, Class of 2018
Yuba City, CA
I chose Rural-PRIME because my family background pushes me to work in an agricultural setting like my hometown. I believe the extra training and support provided in the program will help me become a great doctor for whatever small community I end up serving. I hope this program will help me develop the skills I need to reach out to a rural community and help it overcome whatever obstacles may be limiting its members from accessing the best available treatments in medicine. 
Alison Uyeda Alison Uyeda, Class of 2019
Hometown: Watsonville, CA 
Growing up on a farm, I witnessed the healthcare disparities faced by rural populations and want to gain the practical skills to help contribute to solutions in the future. I am looking forward to learning about the unique approach to medicine that distinguishes health care in a rural setting.
Betty Hom Betty Hom, Class of 2019
Hometown: Sacramento, CA 
Providing access to care for medically underserved populations has been the primary motivator for my career. Within the last few years, I realized the need for better care in remote areas on both a global and local level, especially concerning communities around my hometown of Sacramento. I chose Rural PRIME to learn how to effectively identify and resolve public health issues in these communities, as well as develop the skills needed to provide quality care in environments that may not be as resource rich as those of larger hospitals.
Christina Monroy Christina Monroy, Class of 2019
Hometown: Greenfield, CA 
I chose to join the Rural-PRIME family for multiple reasons including Rural-PRIME’s strong commitment to preparing students to become physician leaders in underserved communities. I was born and raised in the small agricultural town of Greenfield, CA. Through family experiences with health complications I witnessed the struggles of accessing preventative care and developed a strong passion and commitment to serving underserved communities. PRIME will help me gain and develop the skills and knowledge to become a health advocate and leader in my community with hopes of becoming the catalyst that helps break down some of the barriers underserved communities like the one I grew up in face when accessing care.
Claribel Solorio Claribel Solorio, Class of 2019
Hometown: Mammoth Lakes, CA 
I became interested in Rural-PRIME because I observed the struggles that my family faced by living in a rural area. In addition, I have always been interested in working with underserved communities because many family members and friends have been unable to afford and access medical care. For these reasons, I felt that this program would help prepare me to accomplish my goals of providing the highest quality care to the patient population that I wish to serve.
Kayla Conover Kayla Conover, Class of 2019
Hometown: Three Rivers, CA 
My love for rural areas was developed as I grew up in beautiful Three Rivers, population barely over 2,000. I love the community that small towns have. Having seen firsthand how supportive small town communities can be has created a desire within me to give back to the communities that have given me so much. I want to practice in an area where I can develop lasting relationships with my patients that go beyond just the occasional checkup. I chose rural-Prime because I know I want to practice in rural areas in California. I believe the rural- Prime curriculum will help me to become the best physician I can be to serve that population.
Maria Gonzalez Maria Gonzalez, Class of 2019
Hometown: Lamont, CA 
I chose Rural-PRIME because its emphasis of training physicians to work in a rural setting parallels my career goals and personal mission to work with rural underserved populations.
Martha Vargas Martha Vargas, Class of 2019
Hometown: Sacramento, CA 
As the daughter of a farmworker I have experienced many of the health care disparities underserved communities face. I grew up seeing families around me struggling with preventable and treatable diseases like diabetes and hypertension. These were families like my own, where language, cultural, and financial barriers prevented them from receiving care. I became aware how integrated social issues and medicine are. I chose to join Rural-Prime because I am confident that it will give me the tools to recognize and remedy health-care disparities in our vulnerable rural communities. Through my family, I am emotionally tied with rural underserved communities. With the help of Rural- PRIME, I hope to return to these communities and serve as a physician leader.
Miguel Leon Miguel Leon, Class of 2019
Hometown: Escalon, CA 
I joined Rural-PRIME because of the rural people and the rural community setting.
Navjot Dhammi width= Navjot Dhammi, Class of 2019
Hometown: Yuba City, CA 
Rural-PRIME emphasizes a key personal belief of practice: community immersion. It trains students to promote community engagement and empowerment. The program highlights positive relationships and team building as traits of success aligning with my own views.
Sarah Johnson Sarah Johnson, Class of 2019
Hometown: Dixon, CA 
Growing up in Dixon, I learned to appreciate the incredible sense of community felt in small rural towns. Now, after being exposed to the many difficulties rural communities face and after developing a love for the Spanish speaking community, I have decided I would like to incorporate serving rural communities into my career. I chose Rural-PRIME to be better equipped to help and serve remote communities. I am also interested in getting an MPH.
Wyatt Hanft Wyatt Hanft, Class of 2019
Hometown: Raymond, CA 
While growing up in the old mining town of Raymond, CA, I experienced the insufficient medical care that often accompanies rural living. Although my family and neighbors still suffer without proper health care, they persist due to their resilience and strong sense of community. It is this combination of necessity for physicians the strength of rural communities that drives me to pursue a career in rural medicine. The unique education, experiences, and skills that Rural-PRIME provides will allow me to competently practice medicine in these regions.
Alejandra Beristain-Barajas, Alejandra Beristain-Barajas, Class of 2020
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

Benjamin Verseman Benjamin Verseman, Class of 2020
Hometown: Loomis, CA 
After facing the challenges in submarine medicine that came from detached medical service, hearing about the shortfalls of the Californian Highlands medical system from my sisters, and having personal experience with these issues, I am strongly driven to learn more about what it takes to deliver quality care in rural regions and address this issue in California.
Evelin Gonzalez Evelin Gonzalez, Class of 2020
Hometown: Woodland, CA 
I have always wanted to cater to underserved communities and I believe that Rural-PRIME will provide me with the tools necessary to become a well prepared and competent physician no matter the setting in which I decide to practice. The seminars and learning opportunities the program provides will also allow me to become a more socially aware and well-rounded individual.
Jordan Rode Jordan Rode, Class of 2020
Hometown: Arcata, CA 
There has been a call to arms for physicians who have experience and compassion to serve rural locations worldwide. Rural-PRIME has heard that call, and I hope to respond by educating myself on the requirements of physicians who are dedicated to serving these communities. I plan to utilize my medical education to provide change to these populations in the form of policy, advocacy, medical practice, and community growth.
Kenyatta Barnes Kenyatta Barnes, Class of 2020
Hometown: Rural South Carolina 
I myself have both lived and worked in rural communities for several years. Though I have enjoyed the pleasantries of pastoral, bucolic environments, I am also aware of issues, and this program provides guidance on meeting the unique needs of such communities. I look forward to learning a great deal.
Kelsey Millar Kelsey Millar, Class of 2020
Hometown: Angels Camp, CA 
I chose Rural-PRIME because I am interested in returning to serve a population similar to where I was raised. I understand some of the barriers to healthcare that residents in these areas face because I have experienced them firsthand from a patient’s perspective.
Savannah Marks Savannah Marks, Class of 2020
Hometown: Placerville, CA 
There is a primary care shortage across the nation, but rural communities are the most affected. This is further complicated by the fact that there is a higher acuity population of patients that have multiple co-morbidities in rural areas. Rural-PRIME is focusing on closing this gap, and I want to be part of the solution by committing to serving in rural California areas after my residency. The program will provide opportunities that properly prepare me for the independency and resiliency needed as a rural physician.