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Meet the Residents

Psychiatry Residents

Psychiatry Residents

Retreat 2019

group on a boat

Chief Residents

Chief Residents

Setare Eslami, MD

Christine Le, DO

Academic Seniors

Academic Seniors

Rachna Kumar, MD

Steven Siragusa, DO

Residents

PGY 4 Class

Setare Eslami, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I fell in love with psychiatry during my clerkship, due to the amazing ways in which psychiatric disorders present and the multifaceted ways in which they are treated. Psychiatry is seeing life from the inside out. In this field physicians are able to integrate modern neuroscience and medical illness into a holistic model focusing on the mind and patient experience that has been largely underutilized in current health care. In terms of research, now is a very exciting time for psychiatry. Advances in neurobiology are creating breakthrough in our understanding of mood, cognition and behavior and enabling us to find new treatments and psychotherapy methods. Also, globally there is an essential need for mental health care professionals and I would love to be part of that.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? I chose Kaweah Health because of the opportunity to work in a community based hospital, serving culturally diverse under-served and unserved population and being part of building a young residency program. During my interview I was fascinated with loving, intelligent, hardworking and down-to-earth residents, attending physicians and faculty. Living in California gives me the opportunity to be close to my sister, my only family member in the US.

What are your hobbies? Reading, hiking, camping, jewelry making, gardening, dancing, cooking new dishes and bing watching TV.

What is something about you most people do not know? My parents picked me a name that I never liked. Eventually when I was able to change it, I changed it to a name that meant exactly the same, only in another language.

Rubina Faizy, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? Choosing Psychiatry was an easy decision for me. I am fascinated by the interplay between the mind and the body and how certain chemical imbalances can affect a person’s quality of life. It is intriguing to learn about the patient and how their life circumstances have impacted their mental health.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? During my interview, I was very impressed by the faculty and the residency program. The hospital serves a very diverse and under-served population which compliments my interests and vision of what I would like to accomplish with my training. The camaraderie of the residents bespoke of mutual respect and admiration which was another important factor for me in choosing Kaweah Health.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy doing graphic design, reading, music, exploring the outdoors and spending time with my family.

What is something about you most people do not know? I love playing video games!

Christine Le, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? My pursuit of psychiatry results from my desire to treat the whole person. Psychiatry allows me to treat patients in a holistic manner, because the biopsychosocial approach to treating mental disease takes into account the physical symptoms, as well as the psychological and social factors that can affect a patient. Psychiatry is fascinating because no two patients with the same diagnosis present exactly the same. Each patient has a distinct social and family history and their disorders manifest in a unique manner.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? The residents are great and the faculty really enjoy teaching. Furthermore, training in Central California will provide many opportunities to work with diverse population that possesses a wide variety of psychopathology.

What are your hobbies? Cooking, eating and traveling.

Vahig Manugian, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? Patient interaction and the ability to help people.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? Culture, patient population, and the location .

What are your hobbies? Basektball and David Gilmour

What is something about you most people do not know? I have a list of pantheon movies I update frequently.

Juan Sosa, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I chose psychiatry due to my fascination with human mind and interest in neuro-biochemistry.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? Kaweah Health offered a unique opportunity to join a young established program filled with faculty who seemed more like mentors. .

Who influenced you to become a physician and why? My parents, who as immigrants always wanted something better for me and pushed me to follow my dreams. They not only motivated me but also supported me along this long journey. I owe it all to them!

PGY 3 Class

Truc-Vi Duong, MD

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? After my interview with Kaweah Health, I left impressed by the staff’s commitment to providing culturally competent care to the under-served population in Central California. I was also amazed by the amount of effort that this residency program puts into its residents’ personal growth and development. Kaweah Health’s faculty is well diverse. The residents are collegial and have a good work-life balance.

Why did you choose your specialty? I enjoy the complexity and challenges of psychiatry. In addition, I like to spend time to talk to my patients and to get to know them on a more personal level. Mental health and physical health are closely correlated, however, lack of knowledge and stigmas about mental health often lead to delay in seeking professional help. As a psychiatrist, I hope to use my expertise to educate my patients, and to diminish barriers from accessing mental health care among vulnerable populations.

What are your hobbies? I like to play ukulele, sing, and listen to music. I enjoy taking my dog for walks, and spending time with family and friends.

What is something about you most people do not know? One of my future goals is to open a café with rescued dogs running around. I’d like to create a welcoming and relaxing environment for those who need some puppy time. I also want to teach my customers how to make Vietnamese coffee in different methods.

Kristine Hwang, MD

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? To serve central valley especially Visalia, Orosi, Lindsay, and Porterville. The program was the best fit for not just my career goals but also for my family.

Why did you choose your specialty? I became a doctor because I wanted to help relieve suffering but I chose psychiatry because I felt it embodies this desire perfectly. Psychiatry enables me to not only deal with my patients’ problems on the surface. It also allows me to connect with them on a deeper level.

What are your hobbies? Cooking, Baking, Gardening, Boxing

What is something about you most people do not know? I’m pretty good at video games and can speak conversational Japanese.

Rachna Kumar, MD

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? As a student who rotated through this hospital, I was able to get an amazing clinical education from the wonderful doctors at Kaweah Health. I was given invaluable clinical opportunities with hands-on responsibilities in every field. Because of my experience here as a medical student, I see a lot of potential for learning and growth here as a resident. I am thrilled to be able to work with attendings and residents who are all so friendly and willing to impart their knowledge! I enjoy working with the patients in this community, and I feel that I can truly make a difference in my patients’ lives here in the Central Valley.

Why did you choose your specialty? To me, psychiatry is one of the only aspects of medicine where I can lead my patients to a happier and more fulfilling life. For many people, quality of life is determined by their mental health more than their physical health. I enjoy psychiatry, and I feel that there is a lot of progress yet to be made in this field in terms of both research and clinical practice standardization. I am excited to learn about the enigma that is the human brain and be a part of the future of psychiatry!

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include watching game shows with my boyfriend, playing with my dog Toby, watching Bollywood movies with my family, cooking, dancing, hiking, discovering new music, reading mystery novels, and making my home cozy! I’ve also been itching to start gardening!

What is something about you most people do not know? Most people don’t know that I am a painter! Since high school, I have completed over thirty large oil paintings, and I first learned from an eighty year old Catholic nun, Sister Josepha Rose. I spent many hours at her convent learning not only oil painting but her patient ways and her timeless wisdom.

Gerardo Perez, DO

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? The kind residents, knowledgeable PD and faculty, and the diverse patient population were the main reasons for choosing this robust program.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy ecotourism and attempt to completely immerse myself in new places by interacting with the locals, learning the language, exploring the environment, and most importantly eating the food. I also enjoy photography, audio books, teaching, and hiking.

Arul Sangani, MD

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? I completed the majority of my clerkships as a medical student at Kaweah Health. I was immediately impressed with the Psychiatry program and felt that I was making a positive difference in patient’s lives even as a medical student. I have also established a vast network of friends and colleagues at Kaweah Health and throughout the Central Valley.

Why did you choose your specialty? As human beings, we are a species of a sophisticated nature with intelligence, thoughts, emotions, and ideas; complex qualities that make us pioneers of the earth, but at the same time make us vulnerable to mental suffering. As I have learned, no one is immune to illness of the mind. I plan to use my education, personal experiences, and clinical training to be an advocate for mental illness awareness, prevention, and treatment. I simply hope to impact lives in a positive and meaningful way in the best way I know how.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy playing sports (football, soccer, basketball), watching movies, traveling, and writing.

What is something about you most people do not know? When I was thirteen, I scored a 133 on the Stanford-Binet IQ test and was on ESPN as a National Spelling Bee Finalist.

Steven Siragusa, DO

Why did you select Kaweah Health’s residency program? After rotating at the program, it was clear that the residents and faculty were committed to clinical learning and community outreach. Attendings were professional and committed to providing residents and students with a rich educational experience.

Why did you choose your specialty? Psychiatry aligned well with my personality and lifestyle. I greatly enjoy teaching and facilitating meaningful, lasting conversations with others. Nothing is more rewarding than assisting others in finding themselves in, often, their most difficult times.

What are your hobbies? Vinyl record collector, on-line gamer, amateur ramen chef

What is something about you most people do not know? I was lucky to have played a baseball game in Yankee Stadium when I was a teenager.

PGY 2 Class

Matthew Bonn, DO

Why did you select Kaweah Health? The people - kind, smart, and genuine faculty, staff & residents.

What are your hobbies? Cars / Auto racing, video games, board games, camping.

What is something about you most people do not know? I’m a physics & engineering nerd - I especially love learning about rockets, cars, planes, and the science behind making things go fast.

Reza Emami, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry?It is a challenging and fascinating branch of medicine that is very dynamic. The future for psychiatry is exciting and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping others in this field.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? I selected Kaweah Health because I had a great experience on my psychiatry rotation here during medical school. I saw a variety of patients, each with unique challenges that were intellectually stimulating. All the faculty and staff were excellent to work with.

What are your hobbies? JI love playing and watching all kinds of sports. My favorite sports to play are basketball and table tennis (ping-pong). I’m currently learning how to golf.

What is something about you most people do not know? I used to play video games at a competitive level when I was younger. One of my first LAN tournaments I competed in happened to be in Visalia.

Gursimran Kehal, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I chose psychiatry because it is a unique field where you build long term relationships with your patients and watch them develop positively over time. I also enjoy the collaborative nature of the field.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? One of the things that attracted me to Kaweah Health was it’s focus on providing care to the undeserved population of the Central Valley. In addition to this, residents receive exposure to a wide range of psychiatric pathology and patient populations. Lastly, everyone that I encountered at Kaweah Health is very friendly and approachable.

What are your hobbies? Table tennis, traveling, listening to Sidhu Moose Wala.

What is something about you most people do not know? I’m an only child.

Sarah Lee, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? Psychiatry is a unique branch of medicine with a biopsychosocial approach to treating the whole person. Mental and physical health are tightly linked and it’s rewarding to be able to help patients improve their quality of life. There is a lot of potential for the future of psychiatry regarding research into treatment methods, neuropsychiatry, therapy, and addressing barriers and stigma associated with mental illness.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? Kaweah was my top choice residency for several reasons, chief among them was I felt at home here. The faculty and residents are great educators, kind, and rewarding to work with. Kaweah is clearly invested in their residents’ wellness and work-life balance. The program is robust and an ideal place for learning and growth. I’m also interested in serving the diverse community here in the Central Valley.

What are your hobbies? Food runs a common theme through my hobbies, be it cooking, hosting dinners, or traveling and experiencing culture through food. I also enjoy playing the piano, hiking, photography, reading, binge-watching TV, eating cheese, and looking at cute pictures of cats.

Luis (Cyrus) Montes De Oca, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? It wasn’t a choice. Psychiatry values what I already love to do- learn medicine, listen to people’s stories, strive to help others, and advocate for mental health. This is a continuation of the direction I was always headed in.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? Visalia is conveniently nestled between my two favorite places in the Golden State: San Francisco and Disneyland. Tucked away in budget friendly Central Cali, it affords me timely travel to my favorite destinations all while gracing me with the underrated gem that is the Kaweah Health psychiatry residency program.

What are your hobbies? Console gaming, PC gaming, Pokemon Go, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Netflix, watching all things Pixar and Marvel on opening weekends.

What is something about you most people do not know? I would love to go back to college to work on a few more degrees, particularly in history, literature, and creative writing.

Jeri Watson, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? Psychiatry is the best specialty because the human mind knows absolutely no limits. The vastness of its capabilities are impossible to articulate. We learn new things about the brain every day, which keeps the field forever changing. I enjoy change in general, whether that’s change in people, places, experiences, etc., it keeps me on my toes and captivates my interest. I love hearing someone tell about their own unique story and discuss what they’re passionate about. Conversation is beautiful and psychiatry allows me to have that in a therapeutic setting where I can make a real difference in people’s lives

Why did you select Kaweah Health? You know how you get a gut feeling that a particular place or a major life decision is just the right one for you? I got that from this program. I love the size of Visalia and working in a community-based program is important to me. The interview totally sealed the deal. The program director and the residents I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with so far have been very warm and welcoming. I’ve had wonderful interactions with the dedicated individuals who work in the graduate medical education office and I cannot thank them enough for everything they do! Also, a huge bonus for me was because I’ve spent my entire life in Pennsylvania, I could not pass up the amazing opportunity to move to the west coast!

What are your hobbies? Music, bowling, basketball, softball, roller skating, long walks through the woods with my dog, Evalyn, exploring the psychological thriller section of movies on Netflix, eating wings (that’s a hobby, right?), trivia, and karaoke.

What is something about you most people do not know? I’m the first in my family to go to college, join the military (Air Force), or be involved in the health care field in any capacity!

PGY 1 Class

James (Harrison) Collins, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? Psychiatry is a fascinating blend of medicine and human behavior with so much opportunity for innovation and improving people’s lives. I really appreciate how the specialty addresses all aspects of a person, and the field is growing so rapidly. I’m optimistic for the future of psychiatry and what we will accomplish in terms of patient care.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? I felt how genuine, welcoming, and passionate faculty and residents were the moment I arrived and knew that this was where I wanted to learn.

What are your hobbies? Camping and hiking, cooking beans, dancing - I did ballet, running, reading fiction - I’m a sucker for Harry Potter, and eating all the pho I can find.

What is something about you most people do not know? I did colorguard for close to 10 years, and I can still throw a sabre or a rifle pretty high!

Sherry Kwon, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I initially thought I wanted to go into Pediatrics until after my Psychiatry clerkship. I built a special connection with the patients I saw on my clerkship and knew that Psychiatry was the field I would be able to make the greatest impact.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? I was drawn to the warm culture and strong teaching environment at Kaweah Health. The genuine passion amongst the team to serve the community was also something I wanted to be a part of.

What are your hobbies? Biking, Bouldering, Cooking, and Traveling.

Mithun Medagangoda, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I enjoy the humanistic aspects of psychiatry, as well as the pharmacology involved.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? Good fit!

What are your hobbies? Building/driving cars, cooking, reading.

What is something about you most people do not know? I was born in Sri Lanka.

Shashvat Patel, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I chose psychiatry because it allows me to establish a personal connection with my patients by listening to their stories and gaining their trust over time, and then being able to make a difference in their lives. This along with the growing nature of the field make it one I find deeply rewarding.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? I really appreciated and wanted to be a part of the friendly and positive learning environment I saw at Kaweah Health during my interview.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy 3D printing, gardening, video games, and painting miniatures.

What is something about you most people do not know? My SSN.

Karan Randhawa, MD

Why did you choose Psychiatry? What intrigues me most about psychiatry is the complexity of the human mind and how certain chemical imbalances in the brain can lead to different mental disorders. You are not only dealing with a concrete medical condition but also dealing with many confounding factors that may contribute to an individual’s mental instability. I personally enjoy getting to know my patients, learning about their life experiences, upbringing, and any social/cultural stigma they may face regarding mental health. The field of psychiatry has grown tremendously over the years and still has endless potential.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? There are several reasons why I chose Kaweah as my top choice. First and foremost, the staff, residents and faculty were kind, welcoming, and very supportive. Visalia is a few hours drive from my home so I can visit family often and most importantly the exposure to a diverse group of underserved patient population ensured me that I will be receiving great education and training.

What are your hobbies? Watching movies, listening to Punjabi music, traveling, spending time with family.

What is something about you most people do not know? I would like to pursue an MBA degree in the future.

Morgan Stanley, DO

Why did you choose Psychiatry? I studied psychology at UCSD and actually planned to become a clinical psychologist. After years of working in the mental health field, I became fascinated by psychopharmacology and the role of a psychiatrist in patient care. And as an incredibly empathic person, I love getting to know my patients so personally and helping them find balance in their lives.

Why did you select Kaweah Health? After doing a subI at Kaweah Health, I tried to compare every other residency audition and interview to here. The faculty, staff and residents are all so wonderful and kind, the patient population so diverse and it’s that smaller community program that I wanted to be a part of.

What are your hobbies? Hiking and camping, antiquing and thrift store hunting, gardening, playing tennis and volleyball, exploring restaurants and breweries with friends.