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Current Residents

Class of 2020

Lillian Batizy, MD

Medical School

University of Toledo College of Medicine

Hometown

Akron, OH

Why Kaweah Health?

Kaweah delta has a high volume of ED so there is opportunity to see anything and everything. This combined with their well trained faculty who take great pride in teaching leads to a fantastic learning environment.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

EP's have the resources, knowledge, and skills to treat the sickest and neediest of patients. I also enjoy the fast-pace and the ability to see a wide variety of cases.

Hobbies/Family

Biking, hiking, camping, swimming.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Be an active participant in your health care and well-being.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

It's never to late to do what you love.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I lived in Budapest till I was 7.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

I was a biostatistician for a number of years and worked closely with physicians and nurses on their research. That work and their stories, along with their encouragment, made me realize that I wanted to work directly with patients.

Kevin Carpenter, MD

Medical School

UC Davis School of Medicine

Hometown

Livermore, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

3-year program that serves a large underserved population with abundant Spanish speakers. Also very close to so many great outdoor destinations.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

Fast, exciting, shift work in a fun environment treating a most diverse patient population.

Hobbies/Family

Snowboarding, backpacking, yoga, rock climbing, ukelele, surfing, barbecuing.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Exercise your body if you are able. There are many patients who wish they could, but are physicially limited in ability to exercise or even perform ADLs. Enjoy the body you have and take good care of it so it will last you into your elder years.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

There are many routes to becoming a healer. Find one that fits your interests and personality.

What is something about you most people do not know?

One of my favorite genres of music is pop songs covered by punk/screamo bands.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

I was injured often as a young athlete, requiring many doctor visits, mostly with orthopedic and emergency physicians. These experiences exposed me to doctors and encouraged me to pursue a career in medicine. My mother also played a large role and supported my passion for biology and physiology from a young age.

Braxton Duncan, DO

Medical School

A.T. Still University -Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

Hometown

Roosevelt, UT

Why Kaweah Health?

Kaweah is a high volume ED where residents get real hands-on experience early in their training that prepares them well to practice anywhere. Visalia seems like a great, affordable place to live.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

The diversity of patients and pathologies, wide array of practice environments, fast-paced work-day, and jack-of-all trades mentality made emergency medicine a perfect fit for me.

Hobbies/Family

Basketball, anything outdoors and off the beaten path, auto restoration, spending time with family.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat right, be happy.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Study hard and be responsible, but don't be in a hurry to get through your education. Develop a real satisfaction in helping and serving others.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I don't have a dancing bone in my body but met my wife country swing dancing.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My dad is a veterinarian. He is great at what he does and is a great example in his service to others. Helping him with emergencies growing up inspired me to become a physician.

Matthew Henschel, DO

Medical School

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Hometown

Fresno, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

After rotating here as a medical student, I knew I would receive the highest quality medical training. As a native to the central valley, it was the perfect fit for me and my family.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

Emergency Medicine is a fasted paced environment that always keeps me moving. An additional bonus is no call when I'm off.

Hobbies/Family

Angels baseball, ultimate frisbee, frisbee golf, saltwater aquariums, and summer cruisin.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Take control of your own health. Ask questions, know your medications, and stay informed.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

It's a long road. Know what lies ahead and make a plan. Spend time in the healthcare field to ensure this is the right path. Find a practicing physician who will mentor you.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I speak Thai to my mother and Teo-chew to my father, but during large family gatherings, I can pretend to understand Cantonese and Vietnamese.

Brian Ho, MD

Medical School

UC San Diego School of Medicine

Hometown

Fremont, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

California weather, 3-year program, unopposed residency, large catchment area, friendly culture

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

See a little bit of everything, good mix of procedures, great work environment, fast paced.

Hobbies/Family

Music (piano, cello, learning guitar), video games, weightlifting, hiking, exploring slow cooker recipes

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Exercise and eat as healthy as you can.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

fee! tree explore something else before medical school. That way you have no regrets.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I used to have long hair.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

All the patients that I have taken care of throughout my time as a hospital volunteer and medical student.

Mark Monterroso, MD

Medical School

Loma Linda University

Hometown

Bakersfield, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

Residents and faculty. Robust patient population. Family in the central valley.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I wanted to be the most well rounded doctor I could possibly be.

Hobbies/Family

Backpacking, fishing. surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, gardening.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Enjoy your life and don't be too serious.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Start developing discipline and time management skills now.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I love plants.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My mom encouraged me throughout my entire journey. She continually told me I would make a great doctor someday.

Camille Enriquez, MD

Medical School

University of utah School af Medicine

Hometown

West Jordan, Utah

Why Kaweah Health?

Friendly residents and innovative residency program.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

EM is exciting and is the perfect blend of medicine and hands on procedures,

Hobbies/Family

Baking, Traveling, and Calligraphy

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

The most Important advice I have for my patients is fo not be afraid to ask questions regarding your care.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Any student wanting to pursue a career in medicine is inevitably going to face an obstacle to their path. My advice is to stay grounded, remember your motivations for medicine, and as cliche as it sounds, never give up. Part of the path to medicine is adaptability and persistence.

Niklas Eriksson, MD

Medical School

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

Hometown

Culver City, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I thought the residents and faculty were all great and very welcoming! The community hospital setting of Kaweah Health was also a great motivator for me, I wanted the ER training of a community program that I believe will prepare me very well for my career as an ER attending. I also grew up in California, and my fiance is from the central valley, so we are excited to come to Visalia!

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I really love treating emergency situations and being able to provide immediate interventions and relief for patients. The ER allows me to see a wide variety of patients, and perform many different procedures. I also enjoy being able to treat all patients who come to the ER, no matter what they present with. Every day brings something new.

Hobbies/Family

Gym, swimming, finding new Netflix shows, homebrewing.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Take ownership of your health, stay as informed as you can about which diagnoses you have and which medications you are taking.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Start getting involved with volunteering or shadowing in a medical setting today. The best way to see if medicine is right for you is to start getting as much exposure to the profession as you can, and try to see as many different settings and specialties as you can to get a more complete view of the different responsibilities of each specialty.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I speak fluent Swedish, and love Swedish food

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

During my undergraduate years, I volunteered at a community hospital in Oxnard, CA. The physicians and nurses I worked with there were all so helpful, caring, and enthusiastic about teaching me and taking care of their patients. They all really inspired me to go in to medicine.

Robert Granata, MD

Medical School

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Hometown

Fresno, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

The Central Valley is my home. I love this community, and I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve it. Kaweah Health will offer me excellent training in Emergency Medicine, and great mentorship in my academic career.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

The practice of Emergency Medicine allows me to make robust interventions at critical times that can profoundly improve my patients' lifes. It's why I went to medical school.

Hobbies/Family

Snow & water skiing, wakeboarding, tennis, competitive shooting (IDPA), and computers &technology.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Shadow as many different kinds of providers as possible. Set your goals as high as you can, don't be afraid to lean on friends & family for support, and never sell yourself short.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I was a DJ in college.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

The ED staff caring for my grandfather during his numerous visits to the hospital, and who ultimately gave me an additional 10 years with him.

Eric Patten, MD

Medical School

UC San Diego

Hometown

San Diego, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

After doing a 4th year clerkship here, I was blown away by the amazing people here!

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I was looking for a specialty that saw undifferentiated disease, but did not enjoy the rounding of IM.

Hobbies/Family

Rock climbing, boxing, MMA, video games, movies.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

You should always listen to your mother!

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Undergrad and medical school are each for years of your life; be sure to get out there and enjoy it!

What is something about you most people do not know?

I spent 6 years working as an auto mechanic and two as an event planner.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

All the patients that I have taken care of throughout my time as a hospital volunteer and medical student.

Suzanne Shah, MD

Medical School

UC San Diego

Hometown

Northridae, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

The People

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I want lo know how to save a life in the most dire moments.

Hobbies/Family

Cooking,baking, writing (prose, poetry), interior decorating, weight lifting

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Sneak uo and fight for yourself

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Don't quit and keep trying

What is something about you most people do not know?

I love scary movies

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Mv father- he showed me the value of nood health in this world

Joanna Sitzmann, DO

Medical School

AT Still University of Health Sciences

Hometown

San Rafael, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I rotated through the department and was incredibly impressed with the quality of the program. Additionally, residents and attendings seemed happy.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I love the fast-paced nature of the specilty and helping people in their time of most need.

Hobbies/Family

Yoga, hiking, reading, and spending time with my dog

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Medicine and health is a two way street. It is up to you and your doctor to work together for health.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Work hard, but also make sure you are enjoying fife. A happy docotor provides the best quality care.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I went skydiving a year ago! It was the scariest thing I have done.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My aunt is a nurse. I grew up watching her care for people both in her career and at home. She inspired me to pursue medicine.

Emily Trinh, MD

Medical School

Rush Medical College

Hometown

Pasadena, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

The friendly people and the phenomenal training! I felt very welcomed during my interview day and had a great impression of the program. The residents are happy about their training and the attendings are supportive and ready to teach. I also chose Kaweah Health because of its dedicated service to the medically underserved community of the Central Valley. With the diverse pathology encountered and abundance of procedures, I am confident that the education I receive here will help me to become a well-prepared EM physician in the community. I am very excited to be a part of the Kaweah Health family!

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

There is never a dull day at work as an Emergency Medicine physician. We see a large spectrum of illnesses and treat patients of all ages. I love the practicality of the specialty in which we are able to use our training to treat "anyone, anything, and anytime." I enjoy diagnosing undifferentiated cases and treating critically ill patients as well as the opportunities for hands-on procedures. I find that Emergency Medicine is challenging, but fun, and it fits my personality.

Hobbies/Family

Snowboarding, yoga, basketball, guitar, traveling

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Health should be your top priority. Health is wealth--save up and spend wisely.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

It may be a long and tough process, but it is a very fulfilling one. When you are feeling discouraged, remember to remind yourself as to why you want to become a physician. Don't lose sight of the big picture!

What is something about you most people do not know?

I speak Thai to my mother and Teo-chew to my father, but during large family gatherings, I can pretend to understand Cantonese and Vietnamese.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

All the patients that I have taken care of throughout my time as a hospital volunteer and medical student.

Class of 2021

Albert Aparicio, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Rowland Heights, CA

Medical School: Howard University College of Medicine

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? I absolutely fell in love with the culture of this program. Also, aside from the amazing family-oriented staff and faculty, I know Kaweah Health will help me become the best emergency medicine physician I can be.

Why did you choose your specialty? I am convinced that emergency medicine is my niche in the medical field. It allows me to become a first responder and gives me the opportunity to treat patients of different backgrounds. It also gives me the opportunity to work with various other medical disciplines and tackle a huge breadth of pathology and physiology.

What are your hobbies? Hip-hop dancing, weightlifting, traveling, music

Benjamin Camacho, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Medical School: UC San Francisco School of Medicine

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Outstanding core faculty with a strong residency program designed around constant exposure and hands-on, intense training in a busy emergency department. Kaweah Health allows residents to often work in a one-on-one dynamic with their attending physicians, providing personalized and attentive, detail-oriented teaching in a fast paced setting.

Why did you choose your specialty? Emergency Medicine allows me to provide care with advanced imaging and laboratory studies while working alongside other dedicated medical professionals to populations who require assistance in diagnosis or management of their disease regardless of ability to pay, documentation or insurance status.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy traveling to distant foreign countries, learning languages and various culinary techniques

Patsy Chenpanas, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Medical School: Howard University College of Medicine

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? The program’s leadership and staff were all so inviting, engaging and welcoming on interview day! I was also very impressed with how the residents were very happy and energetic about their experiences here and about the community they serve. Also, the location is ideal - you are within 2-3 hours of anything the state of California has to offer, with less traffic and a cost of living that is hard to beat.

Why did you choose your specialty? As an EM doctor, you are prepared to handle anything, anywhere, at any time. This is the type of doctor I have always wanted to be - equipped and ready for any problem or anyone that may come through the emergency room doors. I also enjoy the wide variety of situations you are exposed to in emergency medicine, which constantly challenges me to be a better doctor.

What are your hobbies? Hiking, camping, exercising, traveling, art, food festivals, and live shows or music

Hector Guerrero, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Hesperia, CA

Medical School: University of California San Diego

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Visalia is an exciting city with a lively downtown and close proximity to the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains. The area’s diverse patient population, low cost of living, and community feel make it second to none. The hospital sees varied pathology with a lot of trauma while serving an underserved population; in combination with a supportive faculty, it makes Kaweah Health a great place to train.

Why did you choose your specialty? Emergency medicine trains physicians to be able to handle some of the most complex and challenging illnesses seen in medicine. Emergency physicians must be able to quickly discern between someone who is sick and very sick, then quickly intervene to treat. I’ve always enjoyed the ED pace, the teamwork, and the diversity of patients seen.

What are your hobbies? Backpacking the Sierra Nevadas, cooking carne asada tacos for friends, travel, and SCUBA diving

Nicole Guillen, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Sparks, NV

Medical School: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Why did you choose your specialty? Diversity, fast pace, fun people

What are your hobbies? Hiking, camping, swimming, my dogs

Josue Guzman-Burgueno, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Murrieta, CA

Medical School: New York Medical College

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Close to my hometown, affordable housing, 3-year program, receptive faculty, large class size

Why did you choose your specialty? Treating everyone on the age spectrum was a big draw for me. Each day is different in the ER, and you never know who or what will walk or get carted through the doors.

What are your hobbies? Going to rock concerts, attending sporting events, singing in the car, exploring local breweries, and playing with my pup

Travis Helm, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Kingsburg, CA

Medical School: Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? It is a program full of great people in the community I want to spend my career in.

Why did you choose your specialty? It offers the broadest knowledge base and the ability to see anyone and treat anyone.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy any outdoor activity such as camping, hiking and golfing. I usually spend most of my free time renovating our home, and spending time with my wife, friends and family.

Priscilla Henson, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Reno, NV

Medical School: University of Nevada, Reno

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Everyone was so friendly - faculty, residents, support staff - they all made me feel welcome. I also prefer small towns like Visalia over big cities, so the idea of a residency program with a busy ED that wasn’t in a huge city was very appealing.

Why did you choose your specialty? I love the variety and the pace of emergency medicine.

What are your hobbies? Hiking, reading, and especially cooking

Theresa Kim, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Medical School: Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? I really enjoyed talking to the residents during the resident’s social the night before and participating in the interactive small groups on interview day. The faculty were so welcoming and the residents seem to really love being part of the Kaweah Health family. In addition, the underserved patient population that Kaweah Health serves makes it an ideal place to train. Visalia is so close to home (LA), as well.

Why did you choose your specialty? I was an EMT before going to medical school. As I would hand off patients, I never knew what happened to them. I wanted to be involved in stabilizing patients at the hospital. As I was doing my clerkships during my third year looking for the right fit, I noticed I loved certain aspects of every rotation. My last rotation was emergency and that’s when I realized, it had all my favorite parts of all my 3rd year rotations (suturing, LPs, intubations, etc). It’s a perfect fit!

What are your hobbies? Hapkido (black belt), indoor rock-climbing, watching UFC and horror/crime movies

Carli Nichta, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Westlake Village, CA

Medical School: Creighton University School of Medicine

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Fit with residents, small town, location

Why did you choose your specialty? Fit

What are your hobbies? Hiking, running, working out, cooking, being outdoors, surfing, playing with my dog

Stephanie Songey, DO - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Danville, CA

Medical School: Midwestern University, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? I rotated at Kaweah Health as a fourth year medical student, and had one of the best experiences of medical school. The current residents, faculty and emergency department staff were so encouraging and I felt I fit into their team. The residents are some of the most confident and experienced residents I have learned from. I knew being a resident here would set me up for success.

Why did you choose your specialty? I love what I am able to do in Emergency Medicine. I love the people I get to work with, the fast paced environment and the ability to make an immediate impact and know how to save someone’s life.

What are your hobbies? Traveling, hiking, skiing, playing the violin

Jeff Wells, MD - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Fresno, CA

Medical School: University of California, San Francisco

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Close to home, love the community, great program with great residents

Why did you choose your specialty? Fast-paced, good lifestyle, shift-work, ED family

What are your hobbies? Pianist, gamer, outdoors, assembling metal earth products, being with friends/family

Dane Zappa, DO - Resident Physician

2021 Graduation Class

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Medical School: Western University of Health Sciences

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? Ever since I met my wife, I’ve loved visiting the Central Valley. I know, I know, I get a lot of raised eyebrows at enjoying my time with her parents in Hanford, but you get used to the cow smell. I love the rural aspect of this location and I love the unpredictability of what rolls in through the ED doors.

Why did you choose your specialty? A combination of loving the variety of pathology and hating clinic and rounds. I like practicality, and I never understood making a patient wait 5 hours for you to round on them when there are things that can be done beforehand. The ED was the right choice for me.

What are your hobbies? A combination of healthy and unhealthy things. I like to run, lift, bike, especially on the trails with my dog, cooking and gardening. I also enjoy television, movies and video games.

Class of 2022

Lauren Bacon, MD - Resident Physician

Medical School

Howard University College of Medicine

Hometown

Los Angeles, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I really enjoyed my interview day and found that there is genuine love that exists for the specialty, the residents, staff, and the community itself. The program also offers strong clinical training, dedicated residents and staff, a diverse underserved patient population and opportunities for professional growth in a fostering environment. It is the perfect place for me to continue my training and I am beyond excited.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

It has always been my dream specialty and being an EMT prior to medical school provided the exposure to the field that I needed. I enjoy the high-acuity, sometimes fast paced environment that exists and the ability to be able to manage anything that walks through the door. Also, procedures!

Hobbies/Family

Anything active, basketball, kickboxing, hiking, running, documentaries, sci-fi and action films.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Be empowered. Often times patients don’t feel they have a voice to speak about their own care. So reminding them of that and staying in their corner is very important.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Don’t Stop Believin’ - Journey

What is something about you most people do not know?

Not only am I an identical twin, but I have parents who still can’t tell us apart. Also, I have a life-goal of backpacking through Latin America, from Mexico down to Chile/Argentina. Expected travel time is 1 year.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Not who, but what. I experienced a multiple casualty incident as a teenager that sparked in me a desire to pursue medicine. Since, I have had an intense aim to put myself on the path to be trained to do the most good for those around me in any setting, at any time.

Jeffrey Castrillon, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Western University of Health Science

Hometown

Granada Hills CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I came into medicine wanting to work with the underserved, minorities and lower social economic individuals. After rotating here during my fourth year away rotations not only did I fall in love with the hospital but the patient population and mission.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

You get to see a little bit of everything and have to constantly use your critical thinking skills. You also have the privilege of helping people out on their worst day.

Hobbies/Family

Skiing, Surfing, Rock climbing, working out, traveling, Hiking, computer gaming, going to Disneyland

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Try to follow up on any medical conditions to make sure you are taking the proper medications

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Follow your dreams, it will be tough and many road blocks will come your way but it will all be worth it at the end.

What is something about you most people do not know?

Ran with the bulls in Pamplona Spain

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My Pediatrician, who happened to be Peruvian and became my first mentor answering all my questions about the human body.

Eric Donn, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Touro University California - College of Osteopathic Medicine

Hometown

Saratoga, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I rotated here as a fourth-year medical student and I was very impressed by all of the residents and faculty I worked with. I imagine myself working in an emergency department similar to Kaweah’s in the future, and I knew that doing a residency here would prepare me very well for any challenges I might one day face. The location was also a big plus for me.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I like the fast paced environment and the fact that when I am at work I am fully engaged in what I’m doing. I also like the challenge and mystery of seeing new patients all the time and figuring out the best way to help them.

Hobbies/Family

Backpacking, photography, cooking, baking, travelling, snowboarding, piano

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Eat well, live well.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Study hard, but don’t forget to enjoy life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because nobody does this alone.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I have an extra bone in my foot

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Jean Valjean - So this is going to sound strange, but I watched Les Miserables for the first time when I was 7 or 8 and it had a profound impact on me. Here’s a man who gets a second chance at life and dedicates himself to bettering the world around him. He treats people with compassion, empathy, and dignity, and genuinely tries to help those in need. That led to me wanting to be a doctor because this profession gives me a chance to do all those things every day.

Puneet Gill, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine- New York

Hometown

Chino, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I chose Kaweah Health because it’s a three-year Emergency Medicine program in California, fairly close to home. As the only trauma center between Bakersfield and Fresno this hospital has a huge catchment area with a diverse patient population and pathology. On interview day the residents and faculty were very welcoming and enthusiastic. In addition Visalia is situated in the Central Valley with a low cost of living, minimal traffic and is within a few hours drive of LA and the Bay.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I fell in love with Emergency Medicine while scribing in Southern California prior to medical school. No other third year rotation appealed to me as much as EM. The attendings I worked with were always enthusiastic, willing to teach and had a good sense of humor; a dynamic which was important to me. I enjoy being on the frontline, the variety, the fast paced environment, diverse patient population, the procedures and no call! It is also an honor to take care of patients at their most vulnerable state and make an impact in their lives.

Hobbies/Family

Running, hiking, traveling, exploring new places, cooking, baking, wine-tasting, and spending time with family and friends

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Eat well, move often, hydrate frequently, make time for yourself, sleep regularly, love lots, laugh daily- it’s the best medicine.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Perseverance and determination are key. Remember that failure is not an option. Surround yourself with a strong support system!

What is something about you most people do not know?

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My grandfather, parents, physician mentors, and the patients I’ve encountered along this journey have been my inspiration to pursue medicine.

Alfredo Guerrero, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Hometown

Norwalk, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

The people. I have always had a desire to work with underserved communities and give back to the communities that gave my family the opportunity at the American dream. The leadership, faculty, residents, and patients at Kaweah Health made me feel welcomed in Visalia, and I am glad to call it home for this next step in my career.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

Anyone, Anything, Anytime. Emergency Medicine gives us the privilege of interacting with patients on what it possibly their worst day of their lives and with that comes a responsibility to provide the best care possible to whomever comes through the department doors. The fast pace, diversity of patients, procedures, and teamwork exhibited in the Emergency Department all cemented my choice to join the best specialty in medicine.

Hobbies/Family

I am a wrench monkey and love working on cars, I have a passion for soccer, and I enjoy being outdoors.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

You CAN do it. The road is long and strenuous, but very rewarding. Seek mentorship, network, and develop a plan to achieve your goals.

What is something about you most people do not know?

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Hady Khalifa, MD - Resident Physician

Medical School

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Hometown

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Why Kaweah Health?

From my first interactions with the residents and faculty, it was clear that training was at Kaweah Health was among a close-knit family. Dedication to ultrasound training, procedural exposure and KD’s high volume ED in central Cali with a large catchment area stood out. Lastly Visalia’s location with low cost of living and proximity to LA, San Fran, the beach, and the mountains was unparalleled.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

Fast paced shift work, which allows me to learn and help patients who have a wide variety of personal backgrounds and medical diseases in a myriad of different specialties.

Hobbies/Family

Billiards, backpacking, Soccer, Tennis, Snowboarding, dystopian fiction, rock climbing

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Doctors are experts in Medicine, and patients are experts in themselves. Don’t shy away from expressing your concerns about a doctors plans. A good doctor will encourage your honesty and work with you to find a plan suitable for you. If you just nod and agree with a doctor’s plan but know you can never fulfill it, it’ll only lead to more doctor visits

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Truly figure out why you want to go into Medicine. Talk with physicians at various stages of training to learn what your path looks like, and understand what sacrifices need to be made along the way. Medicine is a wonderful field for those that love it, but a very demanding field for the rest of your life for those whose passions lie elsewhere

What is something about you most people do not know?

While I am Canadian born and raised in Ohio, I am the biggest freeze baby, you will ever meet.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Daniel Khushigian, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Liberty College of Osteopathic Medicine

Hometown

Fresno, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

I grew up in the Central Valley and wanted to return home to serve my community. I also worked as an emergency room scribe at Kaweah Health prior to starting medical school. It is exciting to return to a hospital system I am familiar with and to many of the people with whom I previously worked.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I chose emergency medicine because of the diverse patient population and their medical needs.

Hobbies/Family

Fitness, Sports, San Francisco Giants baseball, Guitar, Backpacking through the Sierras

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Value your health, exercise and eat in moderation.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Work hard in all you do but enjoy some life while you are young. Gain some perspective and maturity. It will be wise to gain some experience in medicine prior to starting medical school. Make sure it is what you want. Medical school is tough but also enjoyable if you truly love it.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I do not like coffee or chocolate.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

I don’t think I was influenced by any one person. But my previous medical experiences at work and in missions led me to the conclusion that this is a unique platform to serve people at home and abroad in their most vulnerable times.

Andre Lee, MD - Resident Physician

Medical School

University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine

Hometown

La Mirada, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

Completed a 4th year rotation here and loved the comradery of the residents and faculty. Excellent hands on training and patient ownership. Attendings are dedicated to furthering the program and giving back to the community of Visalia.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

The unique team dynamics of the ED, versatility of training in both diagnostic and procedural work, having something to offer for anyone who comes in the door.

Hobbies/Family

Music, Judo, boxing, live shows, scary movies

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

What is something about you most people do not know?

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

Benfie Liu, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Touro University California

Hometown

San Leandro, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

Great pathology and lots of procedures! 3 hours away from home.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I enjoy seeing patients of all backgrounds regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Hobbies/Family

Making ice cream, DIY projects, traveling to other countries

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Prevention is key. Eat healthy and be active.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

You can do it! Find your passions and ask for help. There are many ways to becoming a physician.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I have a grumpy duck as a pet.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My parents. My dad was a Vietnamese refugee and my mom grew up during the Communist Revolution in China. They didn’t have access to higher education and worked incredibly hard after immigrating to the US. They remind me to stay humble, work hard, and help others.

Michael Niechayev, MD - Resident Physician

Medical School

UC Irvine

Hometown

Riverside, CA

Why Kaweah Health?

During my elective rotation, I found the faculty and residents to be incredibly supportive and welcoming. I also found Kaweah Health to offer a wealth of procedures and a great patient population to work with. Additionally, Visalia offers a low cost of living, a beautiful location in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and no traffic!

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I enjoy the acuity and pace of the emergency department as well as caring for people in times of need.

Hobbies/Family

Photography, camping, hiking, mountain biking, board games

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Make sure that you enjoy what you are doing. Doing so will help you to be happy no matter where you are in life.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I have a twin brother.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

The patients and physicians I worked with through years of volunteer work.

Clayton Starnes, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

A.T. Still University

Hometown

Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Why Kaweah Health?

I had the incredible opportunity to rotate at Kaweah Health, which quickly felt like the perfect fit. Residents were genuinely happy and very well-educated. As a student, it is easy to feel like a burden, but the staff at Kaweah Health was happy to teach and I felt well utilized as a contributing part of the team.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

Emergency Medicine provides an opportunity to provide care for all aspects of medicine in a team based setting.

Hobbies/Family

I enjoy doing almost anything that involves being outdoors. I surf, skateboard, snowboard, ride motorcycles, camp, hike, and love being with my family.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Be patient. Ask questions.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Find a mentor early on that will be someone willing to help you through the process. Also write yourself a letter about the reasons you want to embark on the long, sometimes exhausting journey to become a physician. It will help keep you motivated through the tough times of school.

What is something about you most people do not know?

My biggest fear is the dentist.

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

When I was a firefighter/paramedic, one of the emergency room physicians planted the seed that I could be a great physician.

Diana Trumble, MD - Resident Physician

Medical School

University of Arizona Tucson

Hometown

San Jose, California

Why Kaweah Health?

I wanted to work in a community ED with an underserved population. The residents and faculty were all so friendly and welcoming, so I knew it would become my new home. Being close to my family was just icing on the cake!

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I love the breadth of knowledge and patient variety that comes with EM. I love working up an undifferentiated patient and the procedures involved. Being the first line of contact with the healthcare system will allow me ample opportunities to teach patients and the community.

Hobbies/Family

Roller skating, crocheting, and baking

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take control of your own health. There are no stupid questions, and asking allows us to help you be healthier.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

Never give up. It’s a long road, but it’s so worth it. Tenacity will get you very far in medicine.

What is something about you most people do not know?

I love math (which is why I used to be a math teacher!)

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

My mom. I grew up watching medical TV shows with her, and when I told her I wanted to be a doctor as a young kid, she always believed that I could.

Joseph Vega, DO - Resident Physician

Medical School

Western University of Health Sciences

Hometown

Morristown, NJ

Why Kaweah Health?

Kaweah Health was my first-choice residency program for so many reasons. First, I rotated here as a student and immediately felt like I was a valuable member of the team. I also developed many positive relationships with the residents and attendings which made me feel comfortable knowing these fantastic people were going to help me train over the course of three years. Finally, the unique placement of the medical center allows for unparalleled training; there is a huge catchment area, no other trauma center nearby, great pathology, and a wonderful community who truly appreciates the care that you provide them.

Why did you choose Emergency Medicine?

I chose to be an emergency physician because I wanted to treat all the patients in my community. I also loved the idea of being a key member in my patient’s health during some of their most vulnerable moments and helping to form the medical safety net that so many people rely on to preserve their own health. Additionally, emergency medicine offers the best aspects of every medical specialty. We have the opportunity to deliver live-saving care, practice essential medicine, perform emergency surgical procedures, provide critical care, etc. Who wouldn’t want to be an ER doc?!

Hobbies/Family

I love to do anything outdoors which includes hiking, fishing, skiing, etc. I also love to travel and eat all the signature foods of the region.

What is the most important advice you have for patients?

Lifestyle is everything. It is much easier to maintain good health than it is to reverse the complications and problems associated with poor health.

What advice do you have for a student who would like to become a physician one day?

The most successful people in life, doctors included, are the people who have incredible work ethic. If you truly want to become a physician, study hard, volunteer often, and always remember that your work will directly benefit your patients one day.

What is something about you most people do not know?

Who influenced you to become a physician and why?

I had the opportunity to do a clinical care internship as an undergraduate student and was so impressed by all the doctors I worked with.