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Kaweah Health graduates 43 resident physicians; first class of anesthesiology physicians

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  • Written By: Maria Rodriguez Ornelas

Kaweah Health graduates 43 resident physicians; first class of anesthesiology physicians

45 percent of the teaching hospital’s graduates have stayed in Central Valley to practice

VISALIA – There are more doctors in the Central Valley thanks to Kaweah Health’s residency programs, which graduated 43 resident physicians in six specialties, including its first class of anesthesiologists, as part of its sixth annual commencement ceremony. Since its inception, Kaweah Health has graduated 118 resident physicians, 45 percent of which have remained in the Central Valley to practice medicine.

Kaweah Health, the Visalia-based teaching hospital, honored its 2020-21 class last week during two ceremonies at the Visalia Marriott to limit the number of people in attendance due to COVID. Last year, Kaweah Health like many residency programs, held its graduations virtually due to the pandemic.

“We are truly grateful for the impact you had on us,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “These residents had options where they wanted to continue their training. We couldn’t be more proud, honored and privileged that they chose Kaweah Health as the place where they wanted to do their formal training.”

Kaweah Health graduated its first anesthesiology residents – Caitlin Cammarano, D.O. and Michael Green, M.D. Dr. Cammarano will go on to complete an Acute Pain and Regional Fellowship at Cedars Sinai, while Dr. Green will go on to complete a pediatric anesthesia fellowship at John’s Hopkins.

“There is a huge shortage of anesthesiologists in California and nationwide. In the Central Valley, we’re the only residency program between LA and San Francisco, so that’s wonderful that we’re able to graduate residents,” said Michael Tang, M.D., Program Director of Kaweah Health’s Anesthesiology Program.

Dr. Lori Winston, Kaweah Health’s Vice President of Medical Education, thanked the “COVID” class for caring for the community on the frontlines. “You’re a unique class because you lived through and completed residency during a once in a century experience,” she said. “You’ve seen the worst and the best of medicine over the past few years. What are you going to take from this going forward to make the world a better place? The profession has forever changed and you have changed with it.”

Dr. Dane Zappa, a graduate of the Emergency Medicine program, who also served as Chief Resident, said completing his residency at Kaweah Health afforded him numerous learning opportunities. “The greatest lesson I learned was to think and think again and remember to do the right thing for the patient, even if it just makes sure they are here a little longer,” he said. “It’s OK to think and think again and revisit. It’s a sign of growth.”

During the ceremony, Setare Eslami, M.D., a psychiatry graduate, was given the “Frank and Teresa Kleist Award,” which is being given to a graduating resident physician who best exemplifies humanitarian compassion in the care of patients. The award was donated by a local book club honoring Dr. Frank Kleist, a retired member of Kaweah Health’s Medical Staff and Faculty Emeritus of Kaweah Health’s Psychiatry Residency Program.

Throughout their training, residents have taken care of community members throughout the hospital and at various participating sites. The family medicine residents additionally care for patients at the Kaweah Health Family Medicine Center, 202 W. Willow Ave. (fifth floor) and psychiatry residents care for patients at Kaweah Health’s Mental Health Hospital.

Kaweah Health’s Graduate Medical Education Program began in 2013, and now offers residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery, anesthesiology, and transitional year. The first class of physicians graduated in June 2016.

This week, Kaweah Health’s six programs will support the training of 130 total resident physicians for the upcoming academic year, among them the next class of 48 resident physicians as they begin their two-week orientation.

Congratulations to the resident physicians who graduated last week:

Emergency Medicine

Albert Wong Aparicio, M.D.

Benjamin Camacho, M.D.

Carli Nichta, M.D.

Dane Zappa, D.O.

Hector Guerrero, M.D.

Jeff Wells, M.D.

Josue Guzman-Burgueno, M.D.

Nicole Guillen, M.D.

Patsy Chenpanas, M.D.

Priscilla Henson, M.D.

Stephanie Songey, D.O.

Theresa Kim, M.D.

Travis Helm, M.D.

Family Medicine

Ann-Gelle Carter, M.D.

Daniel Proctor, M.D.

Faiza Nawaz, M.D.

Jason Wong, D.O.

Lakai Banks-Dean, M.D.

Linh Tran, M.D.

Mara Santamaria, M.D.


Christine Le, D.O.

Jessica Uno, M.D.

Juan Sosa, M.D.

Rubina Faizy, M.D.

Setare Eslami, M.D.

Vahig Manugian, D.O.


Geoffrey Darby, M.D.

John Popovich, M.D.

Kenny Lee, M.D.

Lucas Toho, M.D.

Transitional Year

Alexander Hamill, DO

Aubtin Saedi, DO

Brent Twiford, DO

Grace Park, DO

Gregory Herting, DO

Jaclyn Lundberg, MD

Regina Brown, MD

Ryan Lee, MD

Savannah Truehart, MD

Scott Daniel, DO

Timothy Lee, DO

Whitney Liehr, DO

Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. With over 5,000 dedicated medical professionals and employees, Kaweah Health is committed to meeting the community’s health needs through state-of-the-art medicine, high-quality preventive services and specialized health centers and clinics. For more information, visit