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Meet the Residents

Resident Experience

Mary Canders, M.D.

Mary Canders, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: University of California, Santa Barbara

Medical School: Albany Medical College for Medical School

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in the East Bay and attended undergrad at UCSB. After spending some time working, I ventured to Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago for a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, and my first experience with winter. Apparently, one winter just wasn't enough, and after completing my masters I went to upstate New York to attend Albany Medical College. Throughout medical school, I developed a desire to treat patients of all ages and from all walks of life, and had early experience with the underserved community in Albany. I chose the Pomona FMRP for its full spectrum training, its dedication to a variety of patients from different backgrounds, and the sense of community and support amongst the faculty, staff, and residents. In my free time I enjoy running, yoga, rock climbing, going to pet stores to look at all the animals I wish to one day own, and eating a lot.


Abdul Kublan, M.D.

Abdul Kublan, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Medical School: Tishreen University School of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in a small, beautiful city on the Mediterranean coast in Syria called Tartous. I attended Tishreen University School of Medicine, then completed a five-year residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the National Obstetrics Hospital in Damascus. During my residency, my country was torn apart by a horrendous civil war, and I used my medical training to help those hurt in the conflict. It was a harrowing experience, but it reinforced my desire to practice medicine and help those in greatest need. I arrived in the United States three years ago, settling in the Los Angeles area to be near a Syrian friend who lived here. I chose Pomona Valley Hospital because of its kind and supportive faculty, and that chance to serve a diverse patient population. In my free time, I enjoy photography and driving, which is the perfect way to discover Southern California!


Thu Nguyen, M.D.

Thu Nguyen, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: University of California, Berkeley

Medical School: Western Michigan University School of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born in Phan Thiet, Vietnam. When I was eighteen years, I moved to Orange County, California by myself. I was the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college with an Honors degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley. After college, my employment as an Affordable Care Act Health Educator exposed me to grassroots community advocacy groups that helped prepare me to be a valuable advocate for my patients. With my background, I had opportunities to work with underprivileged and immigrant populations. My love for family medicine has grown immensely during medical school at Western Michigan University School of Medicine. The memorable patient relationships I have experienced compel me to continue my work towards becoming a compassionate family physician. I chose PVHMC Family Medicine Residency Program because I wanted the valuable experiences and knowledge of a comprehensive, patient-centered and evidenced-based residency program with diverse clinical opportunities. To fully be the compassionate and well-rounded physician, I look forward to my training with the team of medical leaders at PVHMC. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga, jogging and reading good books.


Justin Pegueros, M.D.

Justin Pegueros, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: USC

Medical School: Albany Medical College

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in the Bay Area before moving to Southern California, where I attended USC. From there, I ventured to Albany Medical College in New York to study medicine and pursue my MPH at SUNY Albany. I chose Family Medicine because I want to build lasting relationships with my patients, to treat people in all stages of their lives, and because I believe in treating the whole patient—mind, body, and spirit. Pomona Valley offers incredible training in full-spectrum Family Medicine, and is an institution that shares my passions for patient advocacy and community engagement. The residents, faculty, and staff are generous, cheerful, and deeply caring. I could not have imagined a more perfect place to complete my training. In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer, watching movies, and dancing with my wonderful wife.


Elaine Roh, M.D.

Elaine Roh, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: University of Southern California

Medical School: UCR School of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in Southern California. While studying gerontology and working with the older adult population at the University of Southern California, I gained a strong passion to work in the geriatric field and my interest continued while attending the UCR School of Medicine. I am ecstatic to be a part of the Family Medicine residency program at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and gain more experience serving the elderly patient population through the geriatrics track. In addition to the track, I chose PVHMC because of the amazing and nurturing faculty, staff, and residents who left a great impression on my interview day. With the long history of the family medicine residency and the support the residents receive as the only residency program at the hospital, I am excited to start training at PVMHC, where I am confident I will be able to become a well-rounded family medicine physician. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and exercise, especially cardio kickboxing!


Christine Russell, MD

Christine

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: UC Davis

Medical School: UCLA Prime-Drew

Describe Yourself:

I was raised in South Central Los Angeles, a historically underserved environment where I recognized my passion for improving continuity health care while experiencing family financial stress and witnessing my mother’s battle with chronic fatigue, diabetes and severe menorrhagia. Her health was an essential foundation for our family and her story inspired me to explore opportunities for a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to managing personal hardships compounded by clinical illness. I was the first in my family to complete college, graduating with a B.S. degree in Psychology and I pursued a medical degree at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (PRIME) in conjunction with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to focus on training in underserved environments. In the midst of my medical school journey, I received an M.B.A degree at UCLA Anderson School of Management to optimize the coordination of healthcare at all levels. I find PVHMC Family Medicine Program is an environment where residents thrive as we become well-trained Attending Physicians, providing all-encompassing care: womb to tomb. In my free time I like to organize community-based events through my organization, “Heath, Education, Activism, and Leadership (HEAL),” which focuses on developing programs to build a strong foundation upon which people can initiate and cope with change. I also love painting my daughter’s nails and spending quality time with friends.


Abraham Vela, M.D.

Abraham Vela, M.D.

Resident Year: 2021

Undergraduate School: San Francisco State University

Medical School: Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina

Describe Yourself:

Being a child of Guatemalan immigrant parents, I was exposed very early on to the language, social and economic barriers that our communities face when trying to access health care and other social services. This motivated my desire to pursue medicine and use it as a means for social change. During my undergrad at San Francisco State University I had the privilege to take part in the creation of a free student run clinic, Clínica Martín-Baró (CMB), which continues to provide free, comprehensive and culturally competent health services to the underserved population of the bay area. This experience continues to motivate me to create community spaces like CMB. I had the honor to attend the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba, where I learned that preventive community medicine that is accessible to everyone is key to creating a healthy society. I saw the importance of having access to this model of care and treating each patient as a bio-psychosocial human being. PVHMC’s full spectrum family medicine training will allow me to better serve my community by providing comprehensive and accessible health care. When not studying I enjoy playing soccer, exploring new foods and going to the beach.


Celia Sanchez Casarez, M.D.

Sanchez

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Campus Tijuana

Medical School: Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Campus Tijuana

Describe Yourself:

Tijuana, Mexico was my birthplace. I had the privilege of growing up in both Tijuana and San Diego, moving back and forth between both countries for many years. This gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in both cultures and languages. Becoming a doctor had always been a dream of mine since I was a small child. My mother taught me from example to be compassionate, dedicated, loving and to help others in need. I was fortunate to study medicine in the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Campus Tijuana. I joined the UCLA IMG program where I had the opportunity to learn the American medical health system. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has an amazing faculty and such a diverse population where I can grow professionally and personally by helping the underserved. In my spare time I like to spend time with my family, bake, go to the gym or the movies, travel and learn from different cultures.


Duc Doan, D.O.

Doan

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: University of Southern California (USC)

Medical School: University of New England College of Medicine (UNECOM)

Describe Yourself:

I was born in Vietnam, but immigrated to the US when I was seven years old. Being the nerd in my family, I was the first member in my family to graduate medical school. It wasn't a quick decision because I spent a few years after college working, but it was an easy one because I knew I always wanted to help people. I'm interested in learning more about integrative & preventative care and treating patients with mental disorders and addiction. Outside of work, I enjoy geeky activities like playing board games and watching anime. But I also like to be active so I play ultimate frisbee, hike, and practice jiu jitsu.


Victoria Ho, M.D.

Resident Victori Ho

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: University of California, Irvine

Medical School: University of Toledo College of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in Garden Grove, Orange County. During medical school I was drawn to family medicine (FM), because I appreciate the relationships that the FM physicians build with their patients and the continuity of care they provide. I particularly like the emphasis on preventive medicine as well. I joined Pomona Valley Hospital’s FMRP because of the empathy the doctors at PVHMC display as well as the opportunity to work with a diverse population. I am excited to address different economic, social, and language barriers that affect my patients’ quality of life and their access to healthcare. Special Interests - behavioral health, outpatient procedures, outpatient clinic Hobbies - arts and crafts, spending time with family and friends, eating, my cat, animals


Chidimma Kalu, M.D.

Resident Kalu Chidimma

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: Harvard University

Medical School: The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born in Texas, and grew up in Colorado. I completed my undergraduate studies at Harvard University with a Bachelor’s in Human Evolutionary Biology, and earned my medical degree at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. I participated in sports from elementary school through medical school, and have always had an interest in Sports Medicine. I chose Pomona Valley not only because of the opportunity to complete the Sports Medicine Track, but also because of the obvious commitment that all members of the program (faculty, staff, and residents) have to fostering the development of competent, compassionate doctors. I have a myriad of interests, including orchid growing, learning piano, and taking care of my dog.


Tiffany Kilbas, D.O.

Resident Tiffany Kilbas

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: California State University Los Angeles

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in Southern California where I received my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. During college, I participated in bioinformatics research and volunteered with the local underserved population in East Los Angeles. In the years following, working in quality assurance for an organ procurement organization solidified my desire to further pursue medicine as a career. My interest in family medicine grew while obtaining my medical education at Western University of Health Sciences. Throughout my clinical clerkships the far reaching impacts of primary care providers and the importance of compassionate care as well as relationship building in family medicine became apparent. I am excited to receive my training at PVHMC, a supportive program that places gravity on community engagement while providing comprehensive training in broad spectrum family medicine. I look forward to serving this diverse patient population in a location that has always been home to me. In my free time, I enjoy reading, painting and spending time outdoors.


Romina Sifuentes Palomino, M.D.

Resident Romania Palomino

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: UCLA

Medical School: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was raised in the San Fernando Valley, California. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in Biology. After graduation, I tutored chemistry to international university and college students. I then moved to the midwest and had the privilege to attend Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. During medical school I created a preventative healthcare curriculum and held health coaching classes in the underserved community of Maywood, IL. My attraction to the field of Family Medicine has been about offering adequate health care and creating access for those that need it the most.Within medicine, I'm particularly interested in sexual and reproductive health, obstetrics, office procedures, offering patient education, and academic medicine. Outside of the hospital, I love to mentor pre-med students, eat delicious food, and spend time with my precious nephews.


Kenna Schnarr, D.O.

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: California State Polytechnic University Pomona

Medical School: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born and raised in a small, tight knit, desert town in SoCal. While studying human nutrition at Cal Poly Pomona, I chose the path to medicine due to my passion for fitness, health, and preventive medicine. Prior to medical school, I completed a Master of Science through the City of Hope Cancer Center where I was using stem cells to treat triple negative breast cancer. I then ventured to the Midwest (Kansas City) for medical school. During medical school, I continued to pursue breast cancer research and even added a year to my medical education by completing an anatomy/pathology teaching and breast cancer research fellowship. I am an individual of many passions in medicine and initially pursued Ob/Gyn with the idea that I could fit many of them under the umbrella of obstetrics and gynecology. After I completed two years in Ob/Gyn at Loma Linda Medical Center I realized that I am truly a family practice doctor at heart. In addition to women's health, I can incorporate many more aspects of medicine into my future practice. PVHMC was exactly the diverse, well rounded, all encompassing, and supportive program that I more than hoped for. Outside of medicine, I have many a hobby, including spending quality time with family and friends, weight lifting and boxing, food spotting adventures, cooking and baking, as well as travels abroad to immerse myself into learning of various cultures and cuisine. I am also an avid car enthusiast and enjoy customizing my own personal vehicles. Currently under the hoods of my Corvette C7 and Jeep Unlimited. :)


Ashley Thomas, D.O.

Resident Ashley Thomas

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: University of Maryland Baltimore County

Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born in New York and raised in Towson, Maryland. I attended UMBC and received a BS in Biology and a BA in psychology. I have always wanted a career centered around helping others but found my passion for medicine through volunteering in various hospitals. Through my medical school experiences, I developed a passion for creating lasting relationships with my patients and practicing the full scope of medicine. I also have a passion for women’s health and I am excited to explore it more at this program. I am happy to be a part of such a caring and compassionate team. In my free time I enjoy yoga, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.


Carolyn Vu, D.O.

Resident Carolyn Vu

Resident Year: 2022

Undergraduate School: University of California, San Diego

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences

Describe Yourself:

I was born in San Jose, California and spent the latter part of my youth living in Saratoga. My interest in medicine began when I stumbled upon an opportunity to work at an adult day care center as an activity therapist. Over time, I developed a sincere appreciation for the elderly, and since, have grown in my desire to do more for that population. I selected Family Medicine for my area of specialty because I wanted the training and exposure that would challenge me most to listen empathically and to address the widest array of medical and psychosocial issues possible. I feel blessed to embark on my career here at Pomona Valley, where faculty and staff are incredibly supportive, and where I feel valued both as an individual and as part of a team. Outside of work, I enjoy journaling, listening to music, being outdoors, and dining with family and friends.


Manuel A. Cruz, M.D.

Resident Alejandro Cruz

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: Whittier College

Medical School: Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara Facultdad de Medicina Guadalajara Mexico

Describe Yourself:

Hello, my name is Manuel Alejandro Cruz, but I like to go by Alex. I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. At the age of 7 came to the U.S. with my parents and grew up in East Los Angeles. I graduated from Whittier College in 2013 with my BA in Biology. I decided to go back to Guadalajara for Medical School at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine. After graduating medical school I wanted to further learn what Family Medicine was in California and I applied to the UCLA IMG Program. In the program it furthered my desire for Family Medicine because of its broad scope of practice and caring for the underserved with educating and giving continuity of care.


Peter Doan, M.D.

Resident Peter Doan

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: University of California Los Angeles

Medical School: University of Colorado School of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I attended UCLA and majored in Microbiology/Immunology. I wanted to come to PVHMC due to the welcoming nature and strong support of the faculty and the opportunity to serve the diverse population found at PVHMC. I am excited for the opportunity to listen to patients and provide care that is tailored to their needs. I have a passion for community engagement and seek to educate and collaborate with patients about their health. I enjoy hiking, playing tennis and other sports, listening to an eclectic range of music, attending concerts, playing video games, watching basketball and football, and going on scenic drives.


Millie M. Hathaway, D.O.

Resident Millie M. Hathaway

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: Dominican University of California, San Rafael, CA

Master's Degree: Master of Public Health - Touro University of California

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Describe Yourself:

I was born and raised in San Francisco and have lived most of my life in the Bay Area prior to attending medical school in the Inland Empire. I have been passionate about partnering with my patients, working with vulnerable groups, and addressing health disparities in my community. My public health training and experiences working in a free clinic serving an uninsured, low-income, and undocumented population strengthened this desire. As a provider, it is my goal to build a relationship with my community so that I can advocate for my patients and serve as both a resource and a teacher. I'm grateful to be a part of PVHMC's Family Medicine program as I am surrounded by supportive and caring faculty, residents, and staff and the opportunity to serve a diverse patient population. Outside of work, I love running, hiking, hot yoga, drinking boba, and spending quality time with my family, fiance, and friends.


Nora Kratz, M.D.

Resident Nora Kratz

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: Lewis & Clark College

Medical School: Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina Cuba

Describe Yourself:

I was raised in a mountainous region of Wyoming and completed a degree in Biology from Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon. My interest in primary care medicine stemmed from a strong desire to be a doctor from early on and was further deepened through my travels and experiences living and working in various cities and communities worldwide after graduation. I decided to further deepen my understanding of global medicine by pursuing a scholarship from the Latin American School of Medicine, an international medical school in Havana, Cuba, which educates a worldwide community of doctors from a diverse array of nations. I also had the privilege of learning Spanish along the way. My interests in primary care center around community needs, vulnerable populations, building relationships with patients and finding ways to further strengthen our pursuit of quality, and equitable medical care for our world. I am very happy to be a part of the PVHMC team where I feel honored to be surrounded by compassionate and skillful caregivers, educators, residents, faculty and staff! I enjoy many outdoor sports, especially skiing, as well as printmaking and photography. On days off, I love to learn about the local plants, cycle around town with my wonderful girlfriend, and play with our darling cat.


Michael Okazaki, D.O.

Resident Michael Okazaki

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: University of California, Irvin

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Describe Yourself:

I grew up in Foster City, California. I attended University of California, Irvine where I majored in Biological Sciences. I choose Pomona Valley Hospital because of the full spectrum training. I had always envisioned practicing all aspect of medicine and treating the young and the old when I decided to become a doctor.
I have always been passionate about educating and empowering patients with the tools to live healthy lives and help prevent the common and chronic illnesses that plague our healthcare system today. My desire is to provide care that can span across multiple generations while building long lasting relationships. My personal interest and hobbies include watching any bay area sports team, playing basketball or pretty much any other sport, exercising, watching movies, reading, spending time with my wife and family.


Megumi Sugimoto, M.D.

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: University of California, Irvine

Medical School: Drexel University of College of Medicine

Describe Yourself:

I was born in Japan and moved to Cupertino, California, when I was 9. I attended UC Irvine as a Biology major, and that’s when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I chose PVHMC for its family-like supportive environment, unopposed training, great obstetrics training and opportunity to pursue the OB & Women’s Health track, and proximity to my family - especially after spending 4 years in the east coast away from my family. I am excited to finally have the chance to get to know my patients better over a longer course of time, and I am also passionate about working with a culturally diverse group of patients as I am an immigrant myself. Within family medicine, I am especially interested in women’s health, obstetrics, procedures, and behavioral health. I spend my free time looking for new places to eat, going to Disneyland!!!, playing with my dog, and spending time with family and friends.


Tam Tran, D.O.

Resident Tam Tran

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: University of California, San Diego

Medical School: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University

Describe Yourself:

I was raised in San Jose, California and attended the University of California at San Diego where I majored in Molecular Biology and received a Masters in Biomedical Science. I chose to become part of the PVHMC family due to the diverse background of the community and staff in terms of ethnicity and culture. PVHMC also provides for the underserved community which aligns with my goal of serving this population group. I am passionate about discovering who my patients are as people, increasing my knowledge in preventative medicine, and honing my skills in dermatology, pediatrics, community medicine, and psychiatry. On my free time, you can find me reading comic-books, posing action figures, playing video games, attempting to draw, beatboxing, running/working out, and catching up on financial education.


Kim Vu, D.O.

Resident Year: 2023

Undergraduate School: University of Southern California, Los Angeles CA

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Describe Yourself:

I grew up in Santa Ana, California in a predominantly Latino and Vietnamese community. I began my undergraduate education at USC (go Trojans!) undeclared and finished with degrees in Neuroscience, Human Development and Aging, and Biological Sciences. I was particularly interested in Gerontology because I grew up in a multi-generational household with my grandparents. It was fascinating to observe how their culture, religion, community and health all played roles in how they aged. Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, just down the street from PVHMC. I enjoyed Gerontology so much, I completed a Master’s degree in Gerontology at USC also and worked as Director of Social Services for a skilled nursing facility within a continuing care retirement community.

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