Meet the NCSP UCSF Scholars for 2021 – 2023: 

Adesuwa Akhetuamhen, MD (VA Scholar)

Dr. Akhetuamhen completed residency in Emergency Medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Nigerian immigrants and received her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky and her MD from the Yale School of Medicine. While at Yale, she worked as a teaching assistant for Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program and received the Downs International Research Fellowship to analyze the impact of educational interventions on mental health attitudes among medical professionals at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. As a resident, she developed a cultural competency curriculum that is now part of the required core curriculum for all emergency medicine trainees at Northwestern.  Dr. Akhetuamhen is a Northwestern Health Equity and Advocacy Clinical Scholar, a member of the McGaw Graduate Medical Education Committee, and serves as President of the Northwestern McGaw Underrepresented Residents and Fellows Forum. She received the John X Thomas Best Teachers of Feinberg award and was elected to the Gold Humanism Honors Society.

Research interest: Utilizing cross-cultural education, implementation science, and community-based participatory research methods to improve disparities in emergency medical care, specifically for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Lurit Bepo, MD, MPH

Dr. Bepo was born in Khartoum, Sudan and grew up in Texas. She studied biology and anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and continued her dual love of science and communities by earning her MD and MPH in health policy from Emory University. She learned to care for vulnerable and marginalized communities through her internal medicine residency in the San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care program at UCSF, after which she served as an inpatient chief resident. Outside of medicine, Lurit loves to spend time with her spouse, hike, travel (pre-COVID times), and play board games.

Research interest: Identifying policies and practices to increase access to care for vulnerable, minority, and immigrant populations, in particular by understanding the effects of COVID-19 on unemployment, Medicaid enrollment, and healthcare utilization and by educating clinicians in topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Ilana Garcia-Grossman, MD (VA Scholar)

Dr. Garcia-Grossman is a primary care physician interested in research and advocacy addressing health disparities. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Oberlin College. After graduating, she worked in clinical research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Research Center. She completed her medical degree at UCSF in the Health and Society Pathway. During medical school, she solidified her interest in caring for marginalized populations and was involved in a wide variety of research, advocacy, and educational initiatives addressing health disparities. During her residency training in internal medicine in the San Francisco General Primary Care Track at UCSF, she continued her advocacy and research in LGBTQ health, correctional health, and antiracism. As an NCSP scholar, Dr. Garcia-Grossman will complete her clinical work at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Research interest: Investigating interventions to improve health outcomes of vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ individuals and individuals impacted by carceral systems.

Sean McClellan, MD

Dr. McClellan completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago where he studied anthropology. After graduating, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the politics of health within indigenous social movements in Guatemala. He returned to Chicago and worked with grassroots immigrant rights organizing groups before beginning medical school at Rush Medical College. He was selected as a Pisacano Scholar to be part of a national program supporting the future leaders of family medicine. As a resident, he rotated in family medicine clinics in Mexico City and collaborated with the National Institute of Geriatrics studying the association between multimorbidity combinations and disability in older Mexican adults.

Research interest: Understanding the distinct ways chronic conditions affects different populations with an emphasis on global health and disparities and a specific focus on Mexico and immigrant populations in the United States

Dr. Vidya Eswaran
Melanie Molina, MD

Dr. Molina received honors degrees in Biology (BS) and Hispanic Studies (BA) from The University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated summa cum laude, before attending Harvard Medical School. During her residency at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency (HAEMR), Dr. Molina chaired the Social EM Interest Academy—designing and implementing a health equity curriculum aimed at raising awareness of race- and gender-based inequities in both physician and patient experiences.

Research interest: Identifying and addressing social needs within the emergency department, reducing disparities in access to care, and promoting health equity. 


Rachel Odes, PhD, RN (VA Scholar)

Dr. Odes has a PhD from UCSF's School of Nursing where she specializes in both Health Policy and Occupational and Environmental Health. Rachel's research focus is workplace violence in the healthcare setting and her dissertation uses mixed methods to investigate hospitals' implementation of California's new workplace violence prevention legislation. Rachel has been practicing as an RN, charge nurse, and nurse educator in the inpatient psychiatric setting for the past ten years. During that time, she has worked with her union and elected officials to improve patient and staff safety in the public hospital system. Rachel obtained a master's degree in nursing from San Francisco State University where she focused on mental health and substance use disorders. Rachel completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in sociology and film studies.

Research interest: Understanding patients' and their family members' experiences of community-based mental health crisis interventions; improving safety for patients and staff in psychiatric treatment settings.

Mignote Yilma, MD (VA Scholar)

Dr. Yilma is a third-year resident in General Surgery at the University of California San Francisco. She was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of fourteen, after which she obtained her undergraduate degree at Stanford University as a first generation college graduate. She received her medical degree at Charles R Drew/UCLA, where she received the Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Given her commitment to community engagement and advocacy, she served as class president and SNMA chapter president, and participated in longitudinal mentorship programs that she has continued into residency. She received several internal and external scholarships for her clinical excellence and career potential in academic surgery, including the Samuel L. Kountz Diversity Fellowship from Stanford. Her medical school research on social determinants of health among liver transplant recipients has informed her current research investigating the impact of socioeconomic status on pre-liver transplant hospitalizations and waitlist outcomes.

Research interest: investigating barriers to solid organ transplantation as well as exploring the role of primary language, educational level, and social support on transplant waitlist evaluations and transplantation outcomes.

Meet the NCSP UCSF Scholars for 2020 – 2022: 

Vidya Eswaran, MD

Dr. Eswaran is a Chief Resident in Emergency Medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in downtown Chicago, Illinois. She obtained her undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she majored in Biology and was a Laya W Wiesner awardee. She then went to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX where she was involved with numerous community outreach events such as organizing CPR training events and mentoring high-risk youth. She was inducted into the Gold Humanism Society for her efforts. As a resident, Vidya's focus has been on improving care provided to patients with mental health and substance use needs in the Emergency Department. She obtained a grant to initiate Medication Assisted Therapy in the Northwestern Emergency Department. She also created the Northwestern Social Emergency Medicine Academy, an interdisciplinary group of residents, faculty, social workers, nurses and pharmacists committed to providing equitable care in the ED.  

Career Interests: Dr. Eswaran hopes to pursue a career which combines health services research, health system innovation and clinical care to fundamentally improve how patients with behavioral health needs are cared for in the Emergency Department.

Research Interests: Dr. Eswaran is interested in researching how social determinants of health impact patients' ED visits, specifically those patients with a primary psychiatric diagnosis. She also has an interest in studying workforce diversity and how diversity in providers impacts clinical care. 

José I Gutierrez Jr, PhD (c), RN, FNP-BC (VA Scholar)

Dr. Gutierrez is a nurse-scientist and infectious diseases specialist interested in health disparities within HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C (HCV) populations. He focuses on prevention, treatment adherence and harm-reduction strategies.

Born and raised in Galesburg, Illinois as a first-generation son to Mexican immigrants, Jose received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) from Yale University.  He is currently completing his doctoral studies as a PhD candidate at Yale University, where he received an F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health to support his dissertation that focuses on determining preferences for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among at-risk populations utilizing conjoint analysis. Outside of his studies, Jose practices as an Infectious Diseases nurse practitioner in a federally qualified health clinic, providing HIV primary care and HCV treatment to the greater New Haven, CT area.  Additionally, Jose is a medical officer within the Air National Guard, where he serves as a nurse practitioner within an expeditionary medical support unit with a mission focus of emergency and disaster response.

Career Interests: As an infectious diseases specialist and nurse practitioner in the Air National Guard, Jose aims to improve the HIV/HCV clinical continuum of care utilizing evidence-based practices within at-risk and marginalized populations; particularly within military-experienced and veteran populations.

Research Interests: As a researcher, Jose is interested in utilizing conjoint analysis as a method to determine preferences for infectious disease interventions among at-risk populations, particularly preferences for HIV/HCV prevention strategies among homeless and/or veteran populations.

Alison Hwong, MD, PhD (VA Scholar)

Dr. Hwong completed her Psychiatry residency at the University of California San Francisco, where she served as Chief Resident of Research. She received an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Brown University. Following college, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Belgium, studying the history of the mental health community in Geel, and worked for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. She received her MD and PhD in Health Policy at Harvard.
Career Interests: Dr. Hwong plans to pursue a career in academic psychiatry and health services research.
Research Interests: Research interests include disparities in medical care for persons with serious mental illness, particularly cancer care; global mental health; and the integration of behavioral and physical health care.


Leslie Suen, MD (VA Scholar)

Dr. Suen is a primary care physician working to improve health systems and outcomes for people living with substance use disorders. Dr. Suen graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological and Environmental Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. After graduating, she worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Tom Waddell Urban Health Clinic, developing quality improvement programs to improve the care of patients experiencing homelessness and HIV. This work sparked her interest in caring for marginalized and socially disadvantaged populations and led her to complete her medical degree at UCSF. During medical school, she was clinical director of the UCSF Student Homeless Clinic and completed research in supporting LGBTQ communities. During her residency training in internal medicine and primary care at UCSF, she solidified her interest in health disparities and health services research in hopes of improving healthcare for persons living with substance use disorders. As a current inaugural scholar of the UCSF Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) Program, she is completing advanced coursework in epidemiology and biostatistics and conducting research studying the health outcomes of patients who use cocaine and who use chronic opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. 

Career Interests: Dr. Suen plans for a career that combines health services research, implementation science, and health policy to care for marginalized and socially disadvantaged patients. 
Research Interests: Dr. Suen is interested in conducting mixed-methods and implementation science research to inform local and statewide policies and to improve health outcomes for patients living with substance use disorders.”

Dr. Vidya Eswaran
Ana Velázquez Mañana, MD, MSc

Dr. Velázquez Mañana is a native Puerto Rican who is currently completing her hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Velazquez received her undergraduate degree in pre medical sciences at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. She obtained her medical degree at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, were she received leadership awards and the Dr. Ramon Ruiz Arnau research award. During her medical school training, she obtained a master's degree in biomedical sciences focused on clinical and translational sciences from Mayo Clinic's Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Velazquez completed her internal medicine residency training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City, were she was awarded the Ira B. Cohen Award for most outstanding house officer and was selected to serve as Chief Resident. During her residency training she led multiple quality improvement projects focused on resource overuse affecting hospitalized patients and cancer patients. 

Career Interests: Dr. Velazquez plans to pursue a career in academic medicine that combines her clinical focus in thoracic oncology, quality improvement, and health disparities research affecting minority cancer patients and survivors. She hopes to continue to advocate for healthcare workforce diversity and gender equity.

Research Interests: Her research interests include the study of cancer disparities and improving the quality of care delivered to racial minority cancer patients and survivors. 


Dr. Vidya Eswaran
Anita S. Hargrave, MD

Research interest: Mitigating the impact of interpersonal violence on health and health equity through conducting research and identifying patient-centered interventions


Dr. Vidya Eswaran
Michelle-Linh Nguyen, MD

Research interest: Investigating how time scarcity affects the quality and effectiveness of primary care, and reconsidering the design and allocation of time to foster careful, kind, and effective primary care.