Education Research Service
  

 

CURRENT RESIDENT BIOS

 

Lalita Abhyankar, MD (R1)

Hello! I am so excited to start residency at Columbia! I’m from the Southwest, and except for a yearlong stint at Hopkins for my Masters in Health Science, my Bachelors degree in biochemistry and my medical schooling were both at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Coming from the West, I applied to Columbia on a total whim. However, when I came here to interview I was impressed by the faculty’s and residents’ focus on evidence based medicine and their dedication to community. I loved that we had our own Family Medicine service at the community hospital, but still got all the perks of a big time academic institution! When I found out about the various procedure clinics, the narrative medicine rounds, the blossoming opportunities in integrative medicine, and the emphasis on quality improvement, I knew this was the right program for me. The fact that it’s in NYC is just an added bonus! I’ve never lived in such a diverse and vibrant city before and I’m looking forward to all the great restaurants, museums, and shows throughout the next three years! Most of all, I’m excited to be a part of a hardworking and dedicated group of physicians who are as passionate as I am about the future of Family Medicine!

 
 
 
 

Sharon Chacko, MD (R1 )

I was born in a suburb outside Chicago and was delivered by our family physician! We moved to Tampa, Florida when I was 9, where I fell in love with the beach. I attended undergrad at the University of Florida – GO GATORS! I majored in psychology because I thought this would give me a great foundation when working with patients.

I headed back to Tampa for medical school at the University of South Florida. Working with wonderful family docs, a passion for building lasting relationships with patients and an interest in preventive medicine all solidified my decision to go into family medicine. I chose to do  residency at Columbia after meeting the amazing residents and faculty, learning about our unique Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) model and getting the overwhelming feeling  that this was the right place for me.

I am so excited to work with such caring, devoted people and getting to train in the ever-exciting NYC! Within medicine my interests are in women’s health, pediatrics, underserved medicine and integrative medicine. I am part of our new Integrative Medicine in Residency program and am thrilled to be able to incorporate what I learn into patient care! Outside of medicine I enjoy yoga, cooking, exploring NYC, tea time and spending time with family and friends!

 
 

 

   
 
 
 

Elyceia Dortch, MD (R1)

Hello! I was born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and completed my undergrad at the University of Georgia where I majored in Biology. I then attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. Needless to say I believed that residency would be the perfect opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and take this southern girl out of the South! Columbia’s program attracted me because of the unique Community Oriented Primary Care aspect. I also wanted to work in an underserved urban area and getting to work and play in NYC is a definite bonus! Columbia also offers training at both a smaller community hospital as well as a large academic institution so there are so many resources at your fingertips.

I pursued family medicine because of the diversity and broadness of the specialty as well as the personal relationships you develop with your patients. I am particularly interested in palliative care, women’s health, behavioral health, procedural medicine, and international medicine. While in medical school I had the chance to travel to Peru and provide health care to women from disadvantaged areas-a truly humbling experience. As a family physician I can also be an advocate for my patients and explore the socioeconomic barriers that surround medicine. In my downtime I enjoy trying out new restaurants and recipes, exploring the different neighborhoods/museums/parks of NYC, Zumba, Netflix, theater, and hanging out with family and friends. I’m excited to start my residency training as well as live in the vibrant community of Washington Heights.  I have high hopes that by the end of residency my Spanish will be much improved!

 
 
 
 

Lara Harisay, MD (R1)

Hi! I am originally from the tranquil town of Sublimity Oregon. I migrated to Connecticut for college and I’ve been hooked on the east coast ever since! While in undergraduate at Trinity College I fell in love with econometrics, a branch of economics that provides individual context to the birds-eye view theories of Economics. I graduated with a degree in economics and worked for several years applying my background to the online space, trying to cultivate a better understanding of how people utilized different aspects of the internet within their daily lives. While it was an incredibly interesting task, I realized I wanted to spend more time face to face and quickly turned to medicine. At Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, I gravitated to Family Medicine due in large part to its ability to step back and appreciate an individual’s goals for their own care, and acknowledge how forces outside the exam room like family and community structure influence people’s decisions about their health. I am thrilled to be joining the incredible team at Columbia’s Family Medicine Center and continue to be so impressed by its commitment to its patients and desire to constantly explore novel ideas to help enhance their health. I am also loving the move to Washington Heights / Inwood and in my free time you can find me out enjoying a fantastic bite at El Rey De Pollo, or working it off in Isham park.

 

 
 
 
 

Quang Huynh, MD (R1)

I grew up in Camden, NJ, where I learned goodness, fortitude, and the ability to see the silver lining in any cloud. I was the first in my family to graduate college, when in 2006 I earned a BA in Biology from George Washington University. I then spent 5 years in Washington, DC working with its HIV-infected and homeless communities. During that time I helped lead a competitive hip-hop dance team called Capital Funk which was the source of so much joy and pride in my life. In fact, I was so devoted that even during medical school, I continued to bus down to DC to rehearse and compete in shows. I returned to my home state to attend Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ – four unforgettable years spent with some of the most gifted and vivacious people I’ve ever met.

My hobbies include dancing, listening to and mixing music, writing, sketching, boxing, and collecting sneakers. I’m shooting to eventually be a world-class connoisseur of tacos and root beer. New York City’s pretty good for all those things, but enough with the parking tickets already! I’d known that I wanted to be a family doctor as far back as middle school. My first-hand understanding of the inner city, moral upbringing, and bright outlook on life all coalesced into a mission to be the kind of doctor who takes root in a community and pours the remainder of his years into it. Yes, I’m a softy! I like to think that if medical school is like learning a new language, then residency must be like learning how to write poetry; in which case, I am so thrilled to be training at Columbia-New York Presbyterian!

 
 
 
 

David Jang, MD (R1)

Hello there!  I am thrilled to be living in New York City and training at the NYP/Columbia family medicine residency program.  I was initially drawn to this program because of its focus on caring for an urban, underserved, and Spanish-speaking patient population, but I was really impressed by its genuine commitment to community-oriented primary care.  Not only do we see patients in a neighborhood clinic and community hospital, we also deepen our engagement with them through a longitudinal COPC project, medical Spanish classes, and a week-long intern trip to the Dominican Republic, from which most of our patients hail.  The program seemed like a perfect fit for me, and my impressions were confirmed upon meeting the warm, down-to-earth, and rather humorous residents, faculty, and staff that make this program work and put the “family” into family medicine.

As for myself, I was born in California to parents from Korea and grew up in San Francisco.  I went to college at UCLA, where I majored in economics.  After graduation, I worked a couple of corporate jobs before realizing that I wanted more out of my career than just a paycheck.  After a period of reflection, I decided to give medicine a try and took my prerequisites at Cal State Long Beach, where I was fortunate enough to meet my future wife (!!!) and gain admission once again to UCLA.  Now that I’m in New York City, I’m looking forward to taking the subway, people watching, experiencing new foods and cultures, and exploring the city with my wife.

 
 
 
 

Christine Chang, MD (R2)

SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn NY

I've moved around a few times in my life - I was born in Queens, NY and survived a couple of years of public school in the Bronx, but I have also lived in different NY and NJ suburbs for many years. Despite all the places I've lived, NYC is the place that I have come to call home. Having gone through the daily grind here for the past 10 years, I've experienced a lot of the deep hidden life beyond the initial dazzling lights. It amazes me how the complex the life of the everyday individual interacts with his/her health. I'm hoping that training at Columbia will equip me to deal with issues specific to urban underserved medicine so that I can practice effectively in NYC after I graduate. I'm excited to be a part of a community oriented program that has the same interests that I do, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do together!

I attended Barnard College and also did research at Columbia University before going to medical school, settling down in the Washington Heights neighborhood feels like coming back home. I love it when the aroma of cilantro unexpectedly hits me as I'm walking down the street. Central Park is just as accessible as the Cloisters, and I'll be within a subway ride from the Broadway shows I've grown to love.


 
 
 
 

Emily Holt, DO (R2)

Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg,VA

I was born in Washington, DC, where I learned to love politics and policy. I initially thought that I wanted to be a "policy wonk" in social policy, so I majored in sociology as an undergrad.  After becoming an EMT, transferring to Tulane University in New Orleans, and working through Hurricane Katrina there as an EMT, I realized that I wanted to help people through medicine. That storm was a turning point for me-its aftermath magnified the poverty, poor health and failure of a health care system that countless people endure daily in this country. It also reaffirmed for me that there is tremendous opportunity for positive change, and primary care physicians have a central role. Family Medicine was the perfect fit for my interests in preventive care, women´s health care, underserved medicine, community health and health policy.

I am lucky to have a husband and family who are very supportive of my many interests, and before enrolling in medical school I was able to complete a bucket list of sorts: I spent four month living in Madrid, Spain, completing an adult Spanish language immersion program. I received an MPH in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology, and I worked as the Health Policy fellow for the Wounded Warrior Project in Washington, DC. My life experiences helped inform my decision to come to Columbia. The program has a solid academic core where I can learn from world-renowned specialists, and at the same time I get to work at a smaller community hospital. The mostly Hispanic and Dominican patient population was a big draw for me and I hope to become fluent in Spanish while here. I am also excited that my one year old son will probably be fluent in Spanish from living in our wonderfully cultural neighborhood, Washington Heights. My family and I are so excited to make the Big Apple our home and to enjoy all the diverse aspects of this great city!

 
 
 
 

Zane Martindale, MD (R2)

University of Texas Health Science Center Houston Medical School

Houston, TX

Hi! I grew up in Waco, Texas, home of Baylor University and the Dr. Pepper Museum. I moved to Austin for undergrad at The University of Texas at Austin, where I majored in Plan II, Spanish, and History. My senior thesis focused on the history of the community health center in Waco, which showed me the importance of community support and outreach in developing a high quality primary care network. After college I went south for medical school at UT Houston, where I fell in love with the diverse community, the Tex-Mex and BBQ, and the hot and humid summers.

During medical school, I enjoyed all my third year rotations and found that family medicine was the right fit for me. Working in the hospital districts and community health center, I saw the power of family medicine to take care of the whole person. The personal relationships, the holistic preventive health, the connection with the community, the awareness of cost, the mission-minded attitude, the sense of passion and duty in work, all these things drew me to family medicine.

Columbia’s program attracted me with their high quality of the residents and staff, their position in the Washington Height’s community, their interest in community health in the Community-Oriented Primary Care (COPC) model, and the desire for humanistic healing. At my interview and second look I met devoted physicians who wanted to improve the health of their community, and I wanted to join them in their mission.

 
 
 
 

Olivia Perlmutt, MD (R2)

University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

I hail from Chapel Hill, North Carolina raised by a Southern physician and Danish artist.  My passion for Family Medicine started during college, where I majored in Community Health at Brown University.  This concentration provided me with a great academic foundation in Public Health, and allowed me to apply this knowledge in diverse communities both in Providence and abroad.  I spent a semester in Santiago, Chile in order to learn about public health in Latin America and solidify my Spanish language skills.  There I volunteered at a free clinic run by the Red Cross, which sparked my interest in Reproductive Health.  After these experiences, I was convinced medicine was the right path for me.  I completed my premedical requirements at Columbia University’s Postbacc Premed Program, where my excitement for Columbia and NYC blossomed. 

I returned home to North Carolina to work as a clinical research assistant studying COPD treatment at UNC's Pulmonary Medicine Department.  I then attended med school at UNC and gained a strong foundation in primary care.  I am excited to continue my lifelong passion for community health as a member of Columbia's Center for Family and Community Medicine.   I chose Columbia's program for its unique Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) program, its dedication to care for its neighboring under-served communities, and its commitment to a full-spectrum education in Reproductive Health.  I also immediately admired the enthusiasm, warmth and intelligence of the Faculty and Residents at Columbia.  I’m ecstatic to be back in NYC.  When I'm not working, I will value the time to see great art and film, explore new neighborhoods, ride my bike, and cook with friends and family nearby. 

 
 
 
 

Anoop Raman, MD, MBA (R2)

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA

I was born in Queens and was raised in Jersey. I attended Brown University as a pre-med student, but chose to major in Economics. After college, I worked as a supervisor in a supply-chain management company called McMaster-Carr Supply Co. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in the private sector, and decided I'd marry my penchant for business with my passion for medicine by pursuing an MD/MBA at Tufts University.

During the middle of my 3rd year in medical school, I had the chance to build on my nascent experience in both fields by working with Partners In Health (PIH) in Rwanda. I took a two-year leave of absence, and worked as a Finance Advisor and then in clinical Project Management to help PIH expand their chronic care and community health programs into over 20 health centers in eastern Rwanda. It was an incredible experience.

During residency, I'm hoping to use the skills from the MD/MBA to work on quality improvement projects in the hospital and health center. After residency, I would love to be involved in helping to shape how health care changes in this country, either at the health center or the policy level.

Outside of residency, I love playing intramural basketball and football, exploring the endless bars/restaurant/museums/parks/theatres that NYC has to offer, and most of all just hanging out the couch and chatting with an old or new friend about nothing and everything.

 
 
 
 

Michael Spertus, MD (R2)

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL

Hi! I grew up in the Daytona Beach area of Florida, and knew from an early age that I wanted to go into medicine. I completed my undergraduate degree at Brown University, concentrating in Human Biology. Between graduation from Brown and medical school, I lived and studied in Mexico, improving my Spanish and developing a deeper appreciation of community involvement and service while working with Rotary International. I came back to sunny Florida to study at the University of Miami for medical school. While attending a conference for the Florida Academy of Family Physicians in my first year, I became hooked on Family Medicine and never looked back.

Though it will be hard to adjust from the warmth of Miami, I am thrilled to come back north for the NYP/Columbia Family Medicine program! The community focus along with the resources of a fantastic academic research institution, superb faculty, and passionate residents make it a great place to train. I was also drawn by the strong connection to a Hispanic patient population, since I worked so closely in medical school with Hispanic patients in Miami and during several health trips to the Dominican Republic. My academic interests include preventive medicine, mental health, public health and policy, and integrative medicine. Outside of medicine, I enjoy fitness, yoga, movies, singing whatever pops into my head, and exploring New York City!

 
 
 
 

Tirsit Adane, MD (R3)

Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

Hello!! I’m an Ethiopian-born Oklahoma-raised girl who somehow found herself transplanted to the Big Apple.  I went to undergrad at the University of Oklahoma (go Sooners!) and majored in Zoology.  I attended medial school at one of the leading institutions to produce Black physicians and dentists (shameless plug) -- Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN.  I decided to go into family medicine because I wanted to be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to treat every member in a given community.  In 15 years or so I hope I’m somewhere in rural East Africa providing much needed health care to everyone: young and old, sick and well.  Or in the urban sectors of Anywhere, USA.  As long as I’m working in an underserved community, I’ll call it a success.

My interests in medicine include: Woman’s health, refugee health, global medicine and preventative care.  I chose Columbia Family Medicine because it allows me to be trained at a world renowned academic center that’s conveniently located in an urban setting.  Not only do we have the advantage of getting exceptional teaching, but we also focus on being present in the very rich and vibrant community in which we serve, Washington Heights.  Between the amazing residents, supportive faculty and the abundance of resources, I could not be happier in my decision to come here. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to be living in one of the greatest cities ever!

When I’m not working on becoming the best family physician I can be, you can find me: running down the Hudson River Greenway, shopping in SoHo, watching an Afro/Caribbean/Brazilian Jazz performance at Zinc bar, reading in Washington Square Park, yelping to find my next great meal, dancing or sleeping.

 
 
 
 

Daniela Diaz, MD (R3)

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY


I was born in Washington Heights, New York City. Both of my parents are from the Dominican Republic and emigrated here at teenagers/ young adults. In high school I focused a lot of my time on playing soccer and dancing, as well as spending time with my large family.  I went to Williams College in rural northwest Massachusetts during which time I spent a few months living with my grandmother in the Dominican Republic. I returned to the place I was born to attend Columbia University Medical School. In medicine I enjoy the full spectrum of patients that Family Medicine offers, but am especially interested in adolescent medicine.  I chose to do residency at Columbia mainly because of the mainly Hispanic and Dominican patient population: this was important to me given my background. However, familiarity with the Columbia system and access to my family were also major factors in my decision.   Even without my family, I love living in New York City, because it has everything you could ever want/need. With a short train ride or walk you can find yourself in serene park or even a suburban neighborhood, but at the same time you have access to so many amenities most of which you can take advantage of no matter what time it is which is great.


 
 
 
 


Cristine Espinosa, MD (R3)

Albany Medical College, Albany, NY

It is so good to be home! I am a born and bred New Yorker and now have the privilege to take care of mi gente. Prior to medical school, I think I managed to dream up every career possible, from fashion designer to fighter pilot. I’ve wanted to do it all at some point, and thankfully my family dreamed with me the whole way. In my senior year of high school I decided to pursue medicine and I have never looked back. I attended a seven year medical program called The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and was involved in research studying the patient-doctor relationship. This set the stage for a passion to work with underserved populations and improve the health of families through the course of their lives. I wanted to be able to take care of people like my grandparents, Cuban immigrants who worked hard to provide opportunity, education, and art to their family. I found that my own mission met the mission of The NYPH-Columbia Family Medicine Residency Program. This program places emphasis on discovering the community in which you practice with the principles of community oriented primary care (COPC). Limitless opportunities and resources of a premiere University Medical Center, training in an technologically advanced community hospital, experience doctoring in a community health center, along with one of the most diverse, dedicated, and determined  groups I’ve met have culminated into something special. I am so happy to be a part of what’s happening here. Oh, and I get to work and play in the best city in the world!   My interests in medicine include the patient-doctor relationship, sports medicine, adolescent medicine, and public policy design and implementation. In my spare time I enjoy going to the theater, Metropolitan Opera, cooking, traveling, and cheering on my New York sports teams.



 
 
 
 

A. Selina Harduarsingh, MD (R3)

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

I was born in New York but lived on the island of Trinidad until I was 7 years old, after which I moved back to Brooklyn, New York for 9 years. Following another move, this time to Virginia, I am back in New York after a 10 year hiatus. I love spending time with my family, doing Zumba, or just chilling out and watching sitcom reruns on TBS. I have had a number of odd jobs while in college and medical school such as being an Activities Assistant for a retirement community, Administrative Assistant for a bank and a Research Assistant in the Geriatrics department of Baltimore’s Veterans Hospital. Within medicine I have an interest in the field of Geriatrics which started when I worked as an Activities Assistant in a local retirement community during college. Although medical management can become more complex when patients are older I also find it satisfying to improve their quality of life.  I chose Columbia because the ample inpatient experience will allow me to determine what can be managed outpatient vs. what is an emergency and should be managed as an inpatient. There is also an opportunity to either learn a new language or brush up on your Spanish speaking skills and patients are very willing to teach you. Also, last but not least one of the best things of this program is the location. There is always something fun to do when you have free time, delicious places to eat and there is no need for a car with the well connected mass transit system. I am looking forward to the 1-week intern trip to the Dominican Republic this Fall!    

 
     
 


Sarah Van Wagner, DO (R3)

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine

First I want to say how excited I am to be a Family Medicine Intern at Columbia! This is an amazing program in an equally amazing location. A little about myself...I grew up in New Jersey, spent my undergrad years at NYU, and ended up back in NJ for medical school. I am passionate about the Hispanic community, something that grew out of a volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic in high school and led to a major in Latin American Studies, a year abroad in Spain and Chile, and a short stint as a middle school Spanish teacher. Columbia is a place where I can really serve that community in a supportive, academic environment. Within Family Medicine I have specific interests in women´s and behavioral health as well, and am looking forward to learning as much as I can during our procedures clinics. I am thrilled to be back in NYC, where I enjoy trying new restaurants, doing yoga and pilates, and exploring all the city has to offer.

 
 
 
 

David Weiss, MD (R3)

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA

 

I grew up on Long Island and developed an interest in science and medicine from early on.  I did undergrad at Brandeis University, where I majored in biology and neuroscience.  After graduating, I spent a year working in PS 154 in the South Bronx as a City Year corps member.  I had the pleasure of getting early clinical experience while serving as an EMT in the Jericho Fire Department when home summers during college and during my year "off".  I went to med school at Tufts University, where I was in the MD/MPH program.  There, my interest in environmental health led me to join a Tufts project examining highway pollution and cardiovascular health.

My passions in medicine are care for underserved and marginalized populations and the role of physicians in promoting social justice.  I decided to do my residency at NYP/Columbia both because I know the program will prepare me well for a career pursuing these passions and because of the wonderful residents and faculty; the program is a truly supportive learning community.  I'm loving living in New York City and exploring the parks, restaurants, and museums during my free time.


 
 
 
Graduated 2014

Eric Blacher, MD, MPH

Saint George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies

It thrills me to be living in the Greater NYC area where I am enjoying a rich cultural diversity similar to what I experienced growing up in Miami, Florida.  After high school, I left Miami for the tundra of Middlebury College in Vermont where I majored in Theater and completed Pre-Med.  It was after a college-sponsored service trip to El Salvador that I became passionately inspired about Global and Public health issues.  I subsequently earned a Master's in Public Health and became sold on primary care as my life's profession and calling.   I am particularly interested in woman's health, procedural medicine, medical humanities, resident-as-teacher, health policy/advocacy, global health, and serving the urban underserved.  Columbia/NYP Family Medicine was the natural choice for my residency education because it nurtures my interests by providing me with experience and opportunities in all of these areas.  I am also proud to be serving our country in the U.S. Air Force Reserve (USAFR), where I will begin serving as a Flight Surgeon one weekend per month after I complete residency.   With all that I have going on, I am so very fortunate to have such a supportive fiancé, and two feisty dogs (dachshund and beagle) that keep me on my game.  For fun I love exploring the city, trying new restaurants, being outdoors, SCUBA, biking, theater, movies, and doing this all with my loving fiancé. 


 

 

Yissel Jorge Puig, MD

Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas de la Havana, Cuba

                                     

I was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. My love for medicine began when I was four years old. Back then, my uncle had just begun his career, and I remember the excitement of seeing him in his white coat. I pursued my dreams and graduated valedictorian from Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas de la Havana.  My first year of postgraduate training was at a rural community in Cuba.  A year later, I was fortunate to be chosen as Senior Physician to serve in Haiti. I faced numerous diseases and complications, which I had only read about in books such as malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and AIDS.  I became strongly involved with the community and I made positive changes in the population’s knowledge through health promotions concerning sanitary environmental conditions and lifestyle habits.  In that same year, I completed my residency in General Integral Medicine, also known as Family Medicine.

When I returned to Cuba, I enrolled in Ophthalmology residency, one of the most competitive specialties in Cuba. However, I soon discovered that as an ophthalmologist, I was not able to see the patients in a comprehensive manner as I had enjoyed early in my career.  Because of this, I decided to go to Venezuela as a family physician. I spent four years of hard work there combining Family Practice and Ophthalmology since I was in charge of the diagnosis and follow-ups of patients with cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

The quest for lifelong learning and excellence in medicine brought me to the United States. To acquire from the best, I accepted a Family Medicine Residency position from a Weill Medical College of Cornell University Affiliate in Brooklyn, NY. I am blessed and excited with the opportunity to complete my training in the Family Medicine Residency Program at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center.  I hope to acquire additional skills in this intellectual collegiate milieu to complement my interests in providing culturally compassionate medical care to the under-served and to our international community here and abroad.




 

Mariana Khawand, MD

University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and my family moved to the United States when I was one month old. I grew up in Miami, Florida where I developed a love for Latin music and culture. Within medicine I am interested in international health, complementary and alternative medicine, women's health and palliative care. I love the Columbia Family Medicine program for several reasons- great location, wonderful community hospital, diverse patient population, and of course, the awesome faculty, residents, and staff! Washington Heights is vibrant and rich in culture, and I love practicing my Spanish and Arabic with our diverse patient population. Outside of work, my interests include cooking, travel, dance, video games, and hiking. I try to stay balanced during residency by taking advantage of days off- brunch, going out dancing, and discovering new neighborhoods on foot or bicycle. New York City is a great place to do residency because it is impossible to get bored here!



 

Allison Lynch, MD

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond VA

I'm basically just a typical kid who grew up outside of Boston, MA. I always had a knack for the sciences and fell in love with medicine while volunteering in a hospital during college. As a person with many interests and a desire to establish long term relationships with my patients, I decided to become a "jack of all trades" and pursue Family Medicine. Some special interests include: Integrative Medicine, Global Health, Sports Medicine. I wanted a program focusing on the urban underserved with the academic resources of a major medical center like Columbia. Also, after living in Virginia for 8 years of college and med school, I decided to shift gears and move to a major city. What better place than NYC (a.k.a the center of the universe)! After meeting many of the light-hearted, caring, diverse group of faculty and residents at Columbia, I knew I was home!



 

Daniel Neghassi, MD

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY

I'm from New York City, and I went to med school here at Columbia. I decided to stay here because I love the people and found the teaching from both faculty and residents to be excellent. Also, I consider Washington Heights/Inwood a great place to practice and learn medicine (and Spanish too!). It's a primarily Dominican neighborhood with a sense of community that's hard to find in an urban setting. Our residency also gives great support and more-than-adequate time for our Community-Oriented Primary Care projects.

I chose family medicine because of, among many reasons, the breadth of practice – the opportunity to see patients of all ages and in different settings – and of course the idea of getting to know patients and keeping them healthy. Within medicine, my passions include food (how it impacts physical and mental health, its connection to our culture and the culture of other people, how to counsel patients to eat healthfully, etc); HIV (I find both the pathophysiology and the psychosocial aspects from sexual history to medication adherence fascinating); and counseling in general. I took a year off during med school to pursue some of my interests and worked with a program that promoted healthy lifestyles in our neighborhood.

For fun, I enjoy food (both cooking and eating), photography, and cycling.


 

Crissaris Sarnelli, MD

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, N.Y

Hello! I grew up in the Inwood/Washington Heights area, where the first ideas about wanting one of my life goals to be to help people help themselves were born. I then moved away for college at Yale, where my love for learning from and about people from different walks of life found wonderful opportunities to grow, through travels around the world--working with health organizations and groups interested in sustainable development. There, too, I also started seeing the possibilities of using medicine as a vehicle for social and individual change--for the health care system as a whole and each player involved. After college, I spent a year working in DC at Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care where I worked as a liaison between the clinic, patients and social services in the community, further cementing the importance of a holistic view of health, before heading back to the community that nurtured my initial aspirations. I went to medical school at Columbia, where Family Medicine found me. It fit quite perfectly with my diversity of interests in people, community medicine and the social forces that affect health. The folks at Columbia's program also turned out to be awesome teachers, learners, and wonderful people in general. Nothing could really beat that :)

 

Nicole Mathes, MD

University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX

I was born in Houston to two South American parents and spent my childhood in various places around the world due to my father´s job in the Oil Industry. I returned to Houston to attend Rice University where I majored in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and stayed in Texas to obtain my medical degree. My decision to pursue Family Medicine was an easy one it was my favorite rotation during my third year clerkships. I valued the continuity of care that the teaching FM faculty had in their practice as well as the diversity of patients, especially those that were underserved. As a native Spanish speaker, I also wanted to put this skill to use. After completing an away elective at Columbia´s FM program, I knew it was the program for me. I was taken in by the Columbia family of faculty, residents and staff, and, most of all, the patients. A quality of the Columbia FM program that I value is the willingness to work with residents one-on-one to cater to their needs, both professional and personal. As a newlywed, I never tire spending time with my husband, whether exploring NYC or traveling across the world to Beijing for an away elective in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I also enjoy reading novels, trying different cuisines, and watching Law and Order on Netflix.



   
 
 
 

  



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