Student Bios

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First Year

 

Anna Gorman

Anna Gorman is a senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health news service and a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. As a health journalist, she writes for media outlets nationwide, including CNN, NPR, The Washington Post and The Atlantic.

Anna previously spent nearly 15 years as a reporter at The Los Angeles Times. While there, she covered health, immigration and the Mexican border and was on a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Southern California wildfires.

She completed a yearlong Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University and taught journalism at Harvard and at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She has also been a fellow with both the Journalists in Aging program of the Gerontological Society of America and the California Health Journalism Fellowship program at USC.  

Before becoming a reporter, Anna taught bilingual 3rd grade in Oakland. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University.

Anna lives in South Pasadena with her husband and two daughters and travels as often as possible.

Caitlin Gallardo-Sebti

Caitlin Gallardo-Sebti currently works as a Program Manager with Junior Achievement of Northern California in San Jose, CA. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida (go gators!) with a degree in Public Relations.

Shortly after graduation, Caitlin travelled to Peru and spent five months in Chimbote volunteering with 4-14 year old children in a drug and gang prevention center. After returning to the US, she got job as an advertising assistant with a company in Jacksonville, FL. This was not the career she pictured for herself, so she started looking in to the field of sexual health education.

Caitlin was fortunate to land a job as a health educator with Planned Parenthood in Orlando, FL, where she delivered the evidence-based program, Safer Sex. It was this position that inspired her to further her education and career in the field of public health. Ultimately, Caitlin would like to be a change leader in the standards for sexual health education in the US.

Caitlin and her husband are immensely enjoying the California lifestyle after spending most of their lives in Florida. Specifically, she likes hiking, wine tasting, and not using air conditioning 90% of the year.

Catherine Pham

Dr. Catherine Pham is currently a Pediatric Dental Resident at UCLA-Westwood. She graduated Cum Laude from University of California, Davis with a BS in Biological Sciences and went on to graduate and receive her doctorate of dental surgery from University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry.

During dental school, she was involved in public health research that observed the oral health of children across many cities of Southern California. This sparked her interest in pursuing a Masters in Public Health in addition to a career in pediatric dentistry. Having an MPH degree as a pediatric dentist would allow her to have the knowledge and skill set to be able to educate underserved communities on the importance of oral health.

When she’s not in school, she loves to read, bake sweet treats, and try out new restaurants. She has also been a hip hop dancer since high school.

Elaine Kim

Elaine is currently a Registered Dietitian at a dialysis center for US Renal Care. She graduated from California State Long Beach with a BS in Nutrition. She did her dietetic internship through CSULB ISSP program and really enjoyed her rotation in dialysis and clinical. Elaine also volunteered at APLA (AIDS Project Los Angeles) and Veterans Affair Long Beach to widen her scope of practice in the field of dietetics. 

Elaine enjoys reading books, and going to the library on her free time. She also likes to visit art museums and listen to music. Her favorite amusement park is Disneyland and is an avid Disney fan especially Disney classic movies.

Ergueen Herrera

Mr. Herrera graduated from the Autonomous University of Baja California in Mexico, with a BA in International Relations and earned a MBA from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain.

He worked for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mexican Secretariat of Health. He’s Board Member of the White Memorial Community Health Center, Vice-Chair of the Community Leadership Council of White Memorial Medical Center and Member of the Binational Health Week Committees in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and Oxnard.

Mr. Herrera speaks both Spanish and English and know some French. One of the reasons he decided to pursue the MPH is because he believes, everyone in the world is entitled to receive basic healthcare.

He would like to work for the World Health Organization and apply knowledge to help others. He enjoys traveling, sports, volunteering and spend time with his family.

Erin Van Hoy

Erin Van Hoy is currently part of Kaiser Permanente’s Oncology Research Team in Southern California. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University, with a B.S. in Pre-Medical General Science and Professional Mathematics.  Promptly after graduating, Erin moved overseas to begin her public health career.  Erin is proud to speak Otjihereo, which she learned while serving as a health education volunteer in the 2014 Peace Corps, Namibia group 40. Erin hopes to return to work in the village clinics again one day. 

Erin has submitted multiple research papers that she co-authored while working as a research coordinator at Vanderbilt Medical Center. She also has a history of being an active volunteer in her community; working with organizations geared towards HIV/AIDs awareness, prevention, and treatment. Additionally, Erin has also volunteered with several high risk and underserved populations.

Erin’s future plans include pursuing a Masters in Public Heath and gaining more work experience in the healthcare field. She desires to apply her public health skills to improve education and treatment of people at risk or currently infected with HIV/AIDs.  She has a strong desire to work both in the United States and overseas where health misconceptions are very prevalent. 

Erin recently moved from Nashville, Tennessee to Torrance, California; now she enjoys running on the beach in place of the greenways. She also enjoys exploring new places, reading, volunteering, and playing sports. 

Frances Walsh

Frances is currently the Oral Health Program Manager at The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health, a nonprofit organization working to improve student health across the Los Angeles Unified School District. This work includes community-wide education, coordinating school-based prevention services and increasing access to restorative care. Prior to this position, Frances spent two years as a Community Outreach Manager for a mobile dental program where she facilitated school-based dental clinics throughout Southern California.

Her commitment to community health was sparked through her time spent as an education development volunteer for the United States Peace Corps, serving in a rural village in Chadiza, Zambia. As a Community Education Specialist, Frances focused on teacher training, youth empowerment and promoting HIV/AIDS prevention.

Originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Frances moved south to attend East Carolina University where she graduated with a B.S. in Communications/Public Relations. As an undergrad, she was active on campus as a Spanish Tutor and was awarded a merit of achievement in Spanish studies, although her firm grasp of Spanish is now strongly influenced by ChiChewa, the Bantu language spoken in Eastern Province, Zambia. Frances is hoping to work through that in due time.

Her passion is to inform and empower all generations to make health a priority in an ever-changing world. In her downtime, Frances enjoys riding her motorcycle both on and off-road, exploring new places, two-step and line dancing and spending time with her sweet pet pig, Piggy Smalls.

 

Kristen Wolfe

Dr. Kristen Wolfe is originally from Minnesota, and completed her undergraduate training at the University of MN-Twin Cities where she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelors degree in physiology and spanish. She then moved to Northern California and completed one year of service with AmeriCorps in rural West Sonoma County as a community health outreach worker, helping connect the latino immigrant population with health care services at a local federally qualified health center. 

She subsequently enrolled at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, where, in addition to graduating in the top 15% of her class, she completed service projects including educating high school female teens about reproductive health and served as the president of the medical student policy organization, coordinating multiple trips to Sacramento for lobby events. She then went on to UC Davis to complete residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

She is now completing a 2-year fellowship in Family Planning, a specialty dedicated to training medical providers to provide comprehensive reproductive health care and advocating for reproductive health justice. During the fellowship she will be completing the MPH degree, which will serve her well in future endeavors with domestic and international public health organizations and NGOs. 

In her free time Dr. Wolfe enjoys yoga, hiking and camping with her husband, and wine tasting. She is looking forward to starting the MPH HP program. 

Michael Esters

Michael Esters is an African American male and is currently holding a position as a Specimen Processor/ Lab Technician at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. He also substitue teaches for difficult charter schools in the Los Angeles county area in his spare time. He received is Bachelor of Arts degree at California State Univerity in Dominguez Hills, California with honor in the major of Political Science.

Mr. Esters was a major part of the roll out of the Beaker/ Care Connect installation initiative in whih the UCLA Health system implemented this past March 2016. This initiative was the biggest use of the Care Connect program and Mr. Esters continues to help provide crucial information to make the program more efficient and user friendly for future use.

While pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Health, Mr. Esters will continue to his leadership position in the Pathology and Laboratory medicine department at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Cented to provide more efficient practices and procedures in the care of patients.

Mr. Esters has worked as a clinical lab service technician and medical examiner for some of the nation’s most well known companies for over ten years, including Quest Diagnostics, Labcorp, Exam One, and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

He recently created a podcast in which he serves as the host, while discussing a plethora of topics that inlude politics, health, entertainment, and philosophy. He enjoys reading, podcasting, traveling, and exercising, and indulging in the consumption of fantastc food.

Neek LaMantia

Dr. Neek LaMantia was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She studied Biomedical Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of California, San Francisco in June, 2016. Neek is currently pursuing a Masters in Public health from UCLA in conjunction with her Pediatric Dentistry certificate. Her clinical interests are in quality improvement and gaining better access to care for those who need it most. Throughout the last four years Neek has traveled on various dental mission trips, her favorite being the "1000 Smiles" mission trips to Jamaica while in dental school.

Neek and the youngest of two older sisters. She enjoys running half marathons, doing yoga and meditation, cooking healthy foods, and discovering new café’s around Los Angeles to drink coffee. Neek’s favorite animal is a horse, favorite color is yellow, and favorite hobbies include doodling and making crafts! Growing up she competed internationally in Irish dancing and still practices occasionally (if you ask she might show you!). Neek has two adorable baby nephews who she loves caring for and playing with.

Vivian Kanchian

Vivian Kanchian is currently working as a regional correspondent at the health startup ENDPAIN. After a lengthy career in publishing, she decided to pursue her longtime passion for nutrition, and earned a BS in Nutrition from California State University Los Angeles in 2014. While at CSULA, she was the recipient of an Adele Davis Scholarship award for academic excellence.

Upon earning her degree, she began working in the field of complementary and alternative medicine, as a fitness and nutrition coach. She also apprenticed with a naturopathic doctor who specialized in women’s health. Here, she conducted community-based wellness workshops and assisted clients requiring specific nutritional help. Concurrently she wrote evidence-based wellness articles for her personal blog and for local health food store Erewhon. These combined experiences led her to broaden her scope to include other mind-body contributors to wellbeing. She plans to combine her knowledge of publishing and holistic health to share important health messages that will favorably impact the quality of life in populations on a global scale. To that end, she currently volunteers with UCLA’s Global Media Center for Social Impact.

Vivian fluently speaks Armenian, and maintains proficient writing and reading skills in her family’s native language.

This past summer, she visited Yosemite National Park for the first time, staying on a nearby ranch with more than 40 animals. Since reading Andy Merrifield’s book The Wisdom of Donkeys, she had dreamed of “meeting” a donkey, and got her wish at the ranch when she met two lovely ladies named Libby and Jewel. Vivian craves time in nature, and is a big believer in its healing powers. She also adores cooking healthful meals for her boyfriend and watching as he devours huge portions in single sittings.

 

 

Second Year

Agatha Berger

Dr. Agatha Berger is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist who is currently pursing a fellowship in Family Planning in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA.  She received a BS in Biochemistry at the University of Scranton and then completed her medical degree and OB/Gyn residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA.  While in residency, she became interested in pursing a specialization in family planning after seeing many discrepancies in reproductive health care access.

Dr. Berger has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals on a range of topics in Obstetrics and Gynecology and also has presented posters at a couple of conferences.

By pursuing a Masters in Public Health, Dr. Berger hopes to expand her professional knowledge in order to better promote women’s health.  She is very interested in health education, reproductive choice and contraception.  Her current research aim focuses on assessing the reproductive health of opiate-addicted women. 

Dr Berger speaks English and Polish fluently and she is also trying to teach herself Spanish as well.  She is new to Los Angeles and is excited about exploring a new city.  She enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, hiking and biking.

Ying (Katie) Cai

Katie Cai grew up in China and graduated with B.S in Cell biology from Xiamen University. After moving to California in 2000, Katie continued her passion for science working as the lab manager and research associate in a molecular and cellular cognition lab in the Department of Neurobiology at UCLA.

Combining molecular and cellular techniques with behavioral neuroscience, Katie has worked on cognitive disability models including Noonan Syndrome, Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC), in an effort to understand neurobiological mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and to develop target therapies. Her research findings have been published in multiple scientific journals and presented in annual Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society and Society for Neuroscience conferences.

Through her professional experience, Katie became interested in the relationship between genetics, social/environmental issues and mental health. She is very excited to join MPH program and hopes to broaden her knowledge and be able to aid in promoting and improving public health issues.

In her free time, Katie enjoys yoga, dancing (zumba, salsa), and meditation; loves cooking, movies and all beautiful things!

Anna Chamberlain

Dr. Anna Chamberlain was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from Rio de Janeiro State University and practiced general dentistry for four years before moving to Los Angeles, California. In 2012 she joined the Professional Program for International Dentists (PPID) at UCLA School of Dentistry and received her DDS degree in 2015. She is currently attending the UCLA Pediatric Dentistry Residency expecting to graduate in 2017.

Dr. Chamberlain has received awards as of the Excellence in the Section of Pediatric Dentistry, Excellence in the field of Removable Prosthodontics (Dr. Theodore Berg Award) and Outstanding Achievement at UCLA Venice Dental Center. She has also received the David and Miki Lee; Yoshio Yamaguchi; and Dental Foundation of California Scholarships.

While attending dental school at UCLA she received the Pre-Doctoral Dental Public Health Certificate upon completion of a selective course offered by the UCLA Student Chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry. Throughout the course, she had the chance to start learning how to better service the community, to think globally, to focus on health promotion and disease prevention. This encouraged her to pursue a Master of Public Health.

Upon graduation from the Pediatric Dentistry Residency and MPH, she plans to dedicate her time to community service, clinical practice and a part time faculty position. Dr. Chamberlain speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

She enjoys traveling, going to the movies and visiting theme parks in the company of her husband and their 8-year-old daughter.

Celine Colmenares

Celine Colmenares is currently an Associate Site Administrator at an outpatient mental health clinic where she supervises the administrative services departments.  She graduated Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with a BS in Health Care Administration.

Celine’s experience in mental health has helped her understand the complexity and stigma of mental illness for adults and children. Prior to being a supervisor, she assisted Hispanic and monolingual families by providing in-house translation for their therapy and psychiatric sessions.  She has also worked in various administrative departments for mental health clinics. Her experience and interactions with patients has helped her in her role as a supervisor. She understands the needs of the community she is serving and therefore strives to empower her staff and provide good quality service. Celine has always had a passion for administration and management, she became a supervisor soon after she graduated with her BS in Health Care Administration and became one of the youngest supervisors in the history of the company.

Celine also volunteers for the American Cancer Society (ACS) on the weekends, attending health fairs and educating the public about cancer prevention, early detection, and the various services that are provided by ACS. Volunteering at ACS sparked her interest in Public Health and health promotion with an emphasis on cancer prevention and research.

In her spare time, Celine enjoys staying active and being outdoors. She loves going to sporting events, traveling, and spending time with her family members and friends.

Brian Ly

Dr. Brian Ly was born in southern California and growing up has lived in many parts of California. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA receiving a B.S. in Biochemistry. While an undergraduate student, he was involved with the Pre‐Dental Student Outreach Program, Vietnamese Student Union (VSU), VSU Modern, and worked at Community Programs Office (CPO). It was during his third year that he learned about how he can impact the community through dentistry.

During his gap year between dental school and undergraduate school, he was a full time Technology Manager at CPO located at the Students Activities Center, maintaining and improving the department’s technological infrastructure and managing a team responsible for creative media, design, and social media.

He continued his education at UCLA School of Dentistry where he was heavily involved with organizations that give oral hygiene instructions and education to kids and parents through health fairs and school visits in the greater Los Angeles area, as well as organizing night clinics to treat underserved children. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery alongside the Class of 2015. Dr. Ly is currently a dental resident at UCLA Venice Dental Center’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program where he is treating patients with complex cases that can involve anything from implant placement and restoration, periodontal surgery, endodontic treatment, removable prostheses, and full mouth rehabilitation.

Dr. Ly has interests in technology, choreographed hip hop dance, eating out, and has recently started playing Tennis. He hopes that with his education in Public Health, he will be well equipped to address low access to care issues in Dentistry.

John Marshall

Dr. John R. Marshall is a Faculty Development and Education Fellow within the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center.  He was born and raised in New Jersey and recently completed his residency training at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the South Bronx, NY.   He graduated from Rutgers University cum-laude with a BA in Biological Sciences in 2006 and went on to graduate with honors from Saint George’s University School of Medicine in 2011.  

It was in residency that Dr. Marshall developed a strong interest in both public health and the teaching of young medical professionals.   He hopes to develop research studies within the realm of public health and devote his life to academic Emergency Medicine after fellowship.  As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Dr. Marshall enjoys skiing, cycling, attempting to long-board, and spending time with his wife and new daughter.

Julie Monji

Julie Monji received her B.A. in Public Health Policy and B.S. in Public Health Science at the University of California, Irvine.  Julie’s passion for prevention began with her first project as a data investigator for a UC Irvine (UCI) research project, monitoring secondhand smoke exposure levels in outdoor environments.  Later hired on as a Project Coordinator for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD-OC), things went full circle as she worked on a state-funded (California Tobacco Control Program) grant in Orange County to advocate for outdoor secondhand smoke policy protections, using data similar to the UCI research project to demonstrate concerns with outdoor secondhand smoke exposure. 

Currently, Julie oversees a grant funded by the Orange County Health Care Agency, Tobacco Use Prevention Program (TUPP), focused on reducing youth smoking prevalence rates and tobacco sales to minors.  As a CADCA National Coalition Academy trainee and active member of the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition (OCTEC) and South Orange County Coalition (SOCC), Julie is trained in best practices for creating and maintaining partnerships, prevention planning and implementation.  While her focus within public health has been primarily focused around tobacco control issues, she’s looking forward to expanding her competencies through the UCLA MPH|HP Program. 

Julie is excited to become an aunt in 2016 and is anxiously stockpiling cute clothes and stuffed animals in anticipation.

Ferdous Pourmirza

Ferdous Pourmirza, a native to the Los Angeles area, has always had an interest in the public health field. Ms. Pourmirza graduated from Dominican University of California with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences. Her participation in various research programs at USC, UCSF, and Cedars-Sinai hospital provided her with immeasurable experience. Ms. Pourmirza also has experience in the clinical field during her time shadowing physicians in family practice, dermatology, orthopedic surgery and in her brief attendance at medical school.

Ms. Pourmirza currently works for the California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch. As an Environmental Scientist, she is responsible for the regulation and licensure of medical device manufacturers, cosmetic manufacturers, and home medical retail facilities.

With a Masters in Public Health, she plans to further her education allowing the opportunity of acquiring leadership positions and allowing her education and experience to benefit those in her community. Her dream of opening a free clinic in an underserved community offering healthcare in the traditional and holistic sense remains a prominent goal.

Aside from her interest in public health, Ms. Pourmirza enjoys playing piano and violin as well as writing poetry and fictional works. She loves to travel and her plans to visit China and Thailand next spring are in the making.