Class of 2019
Cynthia Fambro MD
Why Harbor ?: I am a first-generation college graduate, however despite a lack of formal education in my family, I have always maintained an inner desire to work hard and a passion for continual learning. Examining health disparities and the needs of the medically underserved played a definitive role in my decision to become a leader for improving health equity in diverse medically disadvantaged communities. Instead of spending my summer between first and second year of medical school traveling the world, I opted to work within the underserved communities of San Diego at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic. It was in this setting, that I became enamored with the concept of being the first line of care and first to address the complex needs of each patient. To that end, my sub-internship in Underserved Medicine marked the moment in which it became evident that Family Medicine was the best choice for me. I am excited to begin my journey at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center as I imagine no greater achievement than dedicating my life to creating enduring therapeutic relationships with my patients, offering comprehensive, compassionate, and patient-centered care to a vulnerable population.
Favorite places in L.A.: New to Los Angeles. But, I am enjoying spending the weekends exploring the beautiful beaches.
Celebrity Crush: Omari Hardwick and Idris Alba
Joaquin Galarza MD
Why Harbor ?:I grew up in country hills of Fallbrook, CA where weekends working in the flower and avocado groves showed me the beauties of nature as well as the hardships that many immigrant workers face when seeking healthcare in the U.S. After venturing into the hub of freeway interchanges and cultural diversity commonly known as LA, I embraced a life vocation for service and made my way into medical training. At Drew/UCLA, I gained a deeper understanding of the multi-dimensional challenges that face so many who are trying to access quality healthcare. I participated in the Summer Urban Health Fellowship with Harbor-UCLA’s Dept. of Family Medicine, mentoring pre-health high school and college students, while engaging the community through health talks and free health fairs in the most needy areas of South LA. Through the summer program, I began to realize the power of family practice, was attracted by its promise of tackling health issues not merely at the individual level, but at the family level and at the community level. I am humbled and honored to join the wonderful family at Harbor-UCLA, and I looks forward to continuing my engagement with underserved communities as I embarks on a lifetime of service and fulfilling patient relationships.
Languages Spoken: Spanish, English
Interests: road cycling and anything outdoors-y, musical composition and recording (vocal and acoustic guitar), being an uncle to ten of the most adorable kids
Juan Carlos Lopez MD
Why Harbor ?: Born and semi-raised in Quito, Ecuador, moved to Hollywood, CA at the age of 7 and finished ‘growing up’ right here in Los Angeles. When my family and I arrived, we spoke no English but were lucky to have relatives that were already established here, with work, who were willing to help us connect to work, education, health and social services. I quickly came to love Los Angeles and through my various opportunities to live, learn and play (attended St. Timothy’s elementary near Century City, then Loyola High School near downtown) I got to know the city and it’s fascinating people. I took a bit of time off after college to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, and during my 5 years as research technician/coordinator at the Addiction Pharmacology Research Laboratory (a wing of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute), I learned, first hand, the struggles of an all too often sick and vulnerable population and the seemingly impenetrable barriers to care they faced, often due to stigma and prejudice. This knowledge opened up other doors that awakened me to other very large subsets of the population that faced injustice and institutionalized violence, often ending up marginalized by the politics and social ‘norms’ of our government and even health care. I decided to pursue a combined post-bacc at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley, all while volunteering at Clinica Martín Baro – a free student run clinic for the largely Latino/a populations of South San Francisco and the Mission district, I began looking at schools, and eventually, residency programs, that believed themselves to have a social mission that emphasized community, wellness, political/social activism and mentorship. It is no surprise, that with all this background, I chose Family Medicine as my specialty very early on. I feel incredibly honored to have the privilege of working within the very communities and with the people that raised me here in Los Angeles and with other impassioned and aware colleagues – all eager to teach and learn from one another. I found no other residency that so welcomed my background and interests as did Harbor UCLA.
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, C++ and Java
What inspires you: Many many many people, too many to fit in this one line – first that comes to mind is my parents. Always have, always will inspire me.
Interests: Science-fiction, hiking/camping/backpacking, chess, traveling, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, Olympic weightlifting, cycling, video games, building/programming computers, spirituality, policy, etc.
Favorite places in LA: King Taco
Matthew Mejia MD, MPH
Why Harbor ?:I am passionate about working with individual patients especially in the underserved community. By working with individuals, I obtain a greater appreciation of the health needs within the community. I really enjoy the breadth of practice family medicine provides. Also, I appreciate the importance of public health in this field. After spending most of my 3rd year and 4th of medical school at Harbor, I came to know many of the residents in the Family Medicine program. I felt that this program had a great family feel and shared a common passion for social justice for those most in need.
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
What inspires you: My girlfriend (she’s sitting next to me) and Individuals who reach their goals in the face of adversity
Favorite place in LA: Manhattan Beach
Celebrity Crush: Rachel Bonnetta
Lynnea Morm DO
Why Harbor?: I volunteered as the clinic coordinator for a free clinic in a medically underserved area in rural Baja, California, Mexico. It was this clinic that awakened my desire to pursue medicine and nurtured my love for family medicine. I believe physicians are in the unique position to affect not only their own patients but also the greater community. Over time, family physicians become able to recognize the population’s needs and patterns and begin to address and improve them. Learning about the social determinants of health in the community surrounding our clinic was powerful. I started to see health care disparities back home and wished to eliminate them. I believe health is a basic human right. I chose Harbor-UCLA’s family medicine program because of its mission to help the most vulnerable populations and address health care inequality in the community. I am thrilled to be at Harbor-UCLA alongside people who share this mission!
Languages Spoken: Spanish and English
What inspires you: My faith, my family, and my community.
Favorite places in L.A.: Getty Villa, Little Tokyo, & Downtown
Lucia Munoz MD
Why Harbor ?: I was raised in East Los Angeles by a supportive family that taught me the importance of hard work and believing in myself. My interest in medicine came about during college, when a close family member became ill. I wanted to learn and understand the disease process in order to help. This experience along with my favorite topic, science, led me towards a career in medicine. I set out to explore the field, through participating in Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine, CCM, I was able to partake in organizing health fairs both in Tijuana, MX and East L.A. I found these opportunities to be extremely rewarding and eye-opening at the same time. On one hand, it gave me joy to provide education and basic preventative medical services but it also made me aware of the prevalence of health inequalities in my own community. I chose family medicine because I enjoy caring for people of all ages and walks of life. I am thrilled to be training at Harbor UCLA FMRP because of its strong commitment to providing high quality care and outreach to the community.
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
What inspires you: My mom & dad, my sister, my mentors, my colleagues, and anyone and everyone who follows their dreams, works hard, and is kind to others!
Favorite places in L.A.: The Griffith Observatory, The California Plaza, the CA coast, Knott’s Berry Farm, Dodger Stadium, The Hollywood Bowl, the myriad of restaurants in So Cal
Celebrity Crush: Ryan Gosling
Alexis Smith MD
Why Harbor ?: I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I spent high school summers working on health projects in rural Mexico and Panama. During this time, I was deeply inspired by the dedication and leadership of my host mother, Señora Elvira, who wisely utilized limited resources to establish and sustain a community health clinic ran through her house for her 300 person community. In college I learned more about community health through supervising a latrine construction project in Paraguay and helping establish and leading a monthly health clinic on the US-Mexico border. These activities opened my eyes to health disparities, taught me the importance of quality continuity care, and inspired me to pursue a career in primary care. I went to medical school in Washington DC, witnessed how health and politics intersect, and learned how to use the power of the white coat to advocate on behalf of patients and their communities. Clinically, I enjoyed getting to know patients, their cultures, families, and communities, and working with them to achieve their long term health goals. I decided to come to Harbor-UCLA because I felt a strong sense of camaraderie from the residents and faculty, who were working together to fight for health justice. I am very happy and fortunate to be here.
Languages Spoken: English and Spanish
What inspires you: Kindness, positivity, and social change movements
Interests: Dancing, swimming, the beach, traveling, trying new foods
Farah Syed DO
Why Harbor ?: I was born and raised in Santa Clarita, California. I did not always know that I wanted to be a doctor, but along my educational path, the things that always interested me were courses related to taking care and understanding the human body better (endocrinology, anatomy, nutrition, physical fitness, to name a few). After I graduated from college, I took a few years off and explored a variety of avenues of the health field. At the same time, I tutored math and science in my hometown, volunteered my time with several organizations, including UMMA Community Clinic in Los Angeles, IMRC Summer Volunteer Program in India, and worked as a medical scribe at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and as a Clinical Care Extender at Valley Presbyterian Hospital. It was through these experiences that I realized that medicine is the one field that uniquely integrates my intellectual curiosity of the human body with my passions in teaching and serving others. Once I decided to pursue medicine, I always envisioned myself as a Family Medicine physician because I enjoy long-lasting relationships, have a wide variety of interests in the health field, and believe that I could make a difference in the community at large. I am elated to be part of the Harbor Family, mainly because the people here are very compassionate and earnest in their work. I love being part of the greater community of Los Angeles, where I encounter an abundance of diversity and culture and people from all walks of life.
Languages Spoken: English, Italian, basic Spanish, and broken Urdu
What inspires you: my faith, my family, nature, arts (music and dance), culture, food!
Favorite places in LA: Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street, Pantages Theater, Six Flags Magic Mountain
Celebrity Crush: Hugh Jackman (movie star, song and dance man, mutant superhero…need I say more?)
Evan Tamura MD
Why Harbor ?: After high school I moved to New York City to attend Barnard College. I later relocated to the Bronx and to attended medical school, where I discovered my love for family medicine. I was very active in Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) and the student-run free clinic at Einstein, and through those experiences I soon developed a passion for family planning, abortion education, and social justice. I felt that reproductive health really encompassed my medical curiosity, my feminist roots, and my interest in advocacy. I am so excited that everyone else at Harbor also has a similar drive to provide quality healthcare to all, and that we are all working to rectify some of the health disparities that we see in urban underserved patient populations.
Languages Spoken: Spanish although my genetic roots are Japanese and Irish
Favorite place in LA: I am still getting to know LA after having spent so many years on the east coast, but I am loving having easy access to hiking, beaching, and eating at all times.
Celebrity Crush: Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Ten Things I Hate About You
Mimie Tran DO
Why Harbor ?: I was born and raised in Orange County, CA. During my 3rd year clerkships, I immediately gravitated towards Family Medicine for the opportunity to build trusting therapeutic relationships with patients over time and the opportunity to take a more holistic approach to patient care, taking into consideration each individual in mind, body, and spirit. I am ecstatic to now have the opportunity to learn and grow with the passionate, inspiring, and compassionate members of the Harbor UCLA family. I look forward to learning with my Harbor UCLA family and patients on how to be a better patient and community advocate and to better translate good intentions into positive actions.
Languages Spoken: English, Vietnamese, y un poquito Spanish
Favorite places in LA: Porto’s bakery, Little Tokyo, Philz Coffee, Dodger Stadium, the Getty Museum, and all the amazing hiking trails and beaches!
Celebrity Crush: Ryan Gosling, Klay Thompson
Jonathan Watson MD
Why Harbor ?: I want to work towards health equality. This means reaching out to communities that our industry has failed and working to ensure that they receive the highest standard of care, are treated with compassion and respect, and benefit from the best possible outcomes. There is no one more qualified to fill this role than a primary care provider with a broad skill-set and an ability to build partnerships with communities. This is why I chose to train in family medicine at Harbor. My interests include addiction medicine, family planning, nutrition and exercise, and health policy.
Languages Spoken: English (sub-fluently)
What inspires you: I want to work towards health equality. This means reaching out to communities that our industry has failed and working to ensure that they receive the highest standard of care, are treated with compassion and respect, and benefit from the best possible outcomes. There is no one more qualified to fill this role than a primary care provider with a broad skill-set and an ability to build partnerships with communities. This is why I chose to train in family medicine at Harbor. My interests include addiction medicine, family planning, nutrition and exercise, and health policy.
Interests: I am inspired by two main categories:
-Things that are done really well/creatively (for example: I recently rented a minivan that was seriously amazing. Anything that you could possibly need was right there in front of you. Plus the seats had heaters AND coolers… someone clearly put a lot of thought into it and it was very exciting).
-Things that are done really poorly and create problems that shouldn’t exist (for example: How our country views addiction, campaign finance laws)
Celebrity Crush: Elizabeth Warren (#swoon) and Queen Margaery of House Tyrell
Sayaka Weis Tokumitsu MD, MPH
Why Harbor ?:
I am a Nisei Japanese American hapa, born of two immigrant parents from opposite parts of the world. I grew up in La Canada, CA, a small suburb of Los Angeles, where my family often did not fit in- culturally or socioeconomically. Science was an early interest that provided me an avenue to making sense of the world around me. Medicine was not on my radar until very late in my college career, when I joined Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine. Through this inspiring community of students, I realized that medicine was about integrating science and service, allowing me for the first time to feel a part of the larger community of Boyle Heights. After college, I taught for some years in Kobe (Japan), Boyle Heights, and San Francisco and experienced first-hand the parallels between health disparities and education disparities and the opportunity to become an educator through medicine was further confirmation that medicine was how I wanted to influence change in an unjust world. As an undergraduate and medical student participant of the Summer Urban Health Fellowship here at Harbor-UCLA, I came to understand that Family Medicine was not only about preventive care, but also about understanding the influence of families and communities in a person’s health and applying this understanding to influence change through community advocacy. I was/am inspired by how strongly rooted this community of folks is in social justice and how committed they are to improving the way we, as a society, care for our underserved—not only through medicine, but through policy and service.
Languages Spoken: Japanese fluently, Spanish (not very patient-centered right now, but learning!)
What inspires you: My Patients, My Teachers, My Family & Friends, Goma my Monster Pup, Music
Favorite Places in LA: Olvera Street, Los Angeles Zoo, Huron Substation, Little Tokyo