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Department of Family and Community Medicine

Department of Family and Community Medicine


Klea D. Bertakis, M.D., M.P.H. - Professor and Chair

Dr. Bertakis received her B.S. degree from U.C. Davis and M.P.H. from U.C. Berkeley. She attended medical school and completed her family practice residency at the University of Utah. She joined the Department of Family and Community Medicine in 1980 and founded the U.C. Davis Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care in 1994. She became Chair of the Department in 1995 and was elected Chair of the Council of Chairs in 2000.  In 2005, she was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring for her role supporting the professional development of faculty and residents. Dr. Bertakis was the youngest recipient of the Curtis G. Hames Research Award in Family Medicine, which is a lifetime achievement award for contributions to family medicine research. She currently serves as the chair of the Practice Management Board as well as a member of the UCDHS Strategic Planning Steering Committee. She has sat on numerous editorial boards and is currently a member of the British Medical Journal U.S.A. Dr. Bertakis has also served on the National Board of Medical Examiners and Medical Board of California. Dr. Bertakis' research focuses on the doctor-patient interaction and the effects of physician practice style on patient outcomes and health care delivery. She is married to Stylianos Spyridakis, Ph.D., a UC Davis Professor of History. They have two sons, Vasilios (lawyer) and Demetrios (doctoral student at Columbia University). Every summer they love to travel to their home on the island of Crete, where members of both of their families still live.


Thomas Balsbaugh, M.D. - Professor and
Vice Chair of Clinical Services, New Clinic Models and Residency Education

Dr. Balsbaugh graduated with distinction with a B.S. degree from Duke University before obtaining his medical degree from the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, where he also completed both a family medicine residency and a faculty development fellowship. Dr. Balsbaugh, who served as Residency Program Director between 2000 and 2014, was instrumental in setting the design and direction of the family medicine residency program.   Dr. Balsbaugh has led numerous federal and state grants aimed at promoting innovative practice models in family medicine, and has been recognized within the UC system for his expertise in transforming an academic family medicine program into a medical home practice. He currently serves as co-chair of the Community Health Innovation Zone Task Force, a group assembled by the Dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine to align the school’s educational and community health missions with the goals of an accountable care organization.  His clinical interests include teaching chronic disease management and quality improvement initiatives. Outside of his active clinical practice and his role as residency director, he has a busy life with his wife Karyl, an OB/GYN, and their 3 beautiful children: a son named Andrew and twin girls, Deanne and Patricia.


W. Suzanne Eidson-Ton, M.D., M.S. - Professor and
Director of Rural Program in Medical Education (PRIME)
Co-Director, FCM Medical Student Education Program


Dr. Eidson-Ton completed her medical school training at University of California, San Francisco. After completing a joint residency in Family Medicine and Obstetrics at UC Davis, she joined the UC Davis Family and Community Medicine faculty in 2002 where she helped to coordinate the integration of women's health, obstetrics and newborn care in the Residency Program. Dr. Eidson-Ton is also the Co-Director of the family medicine medical student education program at UC Davis and Director of the Rural-PRIME program in the School of Medicine, a new model for non-urban medical practice. This innovative program is designed to increase student exposure to rural practice and allow for consistent teaching and mentorship by rural physicians to encourage students to enter rural practice. Dr. Eidson-Ton's clinical focus on women's health and maternity care allows her to support families as they are going through a transformative part of their lives. She is also passionate about cross-cultural issues in medicine, particular as they relate to maternity care. As part of her commitment to community medicine, Dr. Eidson-Ton volunteers at the Knights Landing Student-Run Clinic and supports medical students and residents in numerous community engagement projects. She also holds a joint appointment in the Department of OB/GYN as a provider on Labor and Delivery. When not teaching or providing patient care, Dr. Eidson-Ton enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband, two children and various pets on camping and hiking adventures, as well as playing the viola in a quartet with other UC Davis employees.


Joshua J. Fenton, M.D., M.P.H. - Professor

Dr. Fenton graduated from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and completed his residency at San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Fenton subsequently served as a family physician in a rural practice on the Navajo Indian Reservation at Crownpoint, NM. Before joining the Department in 2005, he served as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Washington. Dr. Fenton conducts research on the accuracy, utilization, and clinical impact of cancer screening. Current research focuses on the dissemination and clinical impact of mammography innovations and colorectal cancer screening tests.  Dr. Fenton is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine and is Associate Editor of the Evidence-Based Medicine.  Dr. Fenton grew up in Modesto, CA and he is committed to Department’s mission of increasing access to quality primary care in California’s Central Valley.



Ronald L. Fong, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Network Director

Dr. Fong obtained his B.S. degree from the University of California, Irvine before graduating from Wayne State of University, School of Medicine, with his medical degree.  He subsequently completed a family medicine residency at the King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles.  After completing fellowships in clinical hypertension, nephrology and primary care outcomes research, he joined the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Family & Community Medicine in 2005. He has led federally and privately funded research studies focusing on improving outcomes in diabetes and hypertension control since joining the department.  Dr. Fong currently serves as the director for the UC Davis Network of Affiliated Family Medicine Residency Programs and is also the faculty advisor to the resident advocacy group.  He is also a member of Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s Sacramento Health Care Working Group.  The group functions to aid Congresswoman Matsui’s office outreach efforts in implementing the Affordable Care Act in the Sacramento region. He resides in his hometown of Sacramento with his wife and three sons.


Peter Franks, M.D., M.P.H. - Professor

Dr. Franks received his M.D. degree from the University of London, England, escaped with his American wife to Rochester, New York, where he completed residency training in 1979 and joined the faculty there. For the next 20 years he adopted many guises, including residency director, research director, medical director, and associate chair before seeing the light and moving to Sacramento in 2000. It's been great here. Apart from clinical work, and teaching, his focus is on research. His research interests are appropriately diverse for a family physician and include health services research with an emphasis on the role of primary care in the health care system, study design in primary care settings, and psychosocial factors affecting health, health care, and health care delivery.




Shelly Henderson, Ph.D. - Associate Clinical Professor

Dr. Henderson earned a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. After completing her internship and postdoctoral fellowship in Primary Care Psychology at UC Davis, she joined the Department of Family and Community Medicine faculty where she is the director of behavioral medicine. Her interest is in the integration of behavioral and primary care. She practices as a health psychologist in the Family Practice Clinic and uses motivational interviewing, among other approaches, to promote health behavior change in patients with chronic diseases. She emphasizes mindfulness in her work with learners and patients alike. Dr. Henderson completed her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz and received a master’s degree in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College where she also studied her life long passion, modern dance. 


Anthony F. Jerant, M.D. - Professor and
Vice Chair of Research, Academic Personnel and Medical Student Education

Dr. Jerant attended medical school at Saint Louis University and completed residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. After completing his commitment to the army, he joined the Department of Family & Community Medicine in 1998. Previously the director of medical student teaching and mentoring activities in the department, Dr. Jerant is currently the Co-Instructor of Record for the FAP430 Primary Care Clerkship, an 8-week outpatient primary care rotation required for all 3rd year medical students at UC Davis. Dr. Jerant is also a health services researcher with a strong interest in developing and evaluating interventions to increase patients' participation in their own health care. His recent studies have focused on finding effective and resource-efficient methods of enhancing patient self-efficacy (confidence in ones ability to accomplish health-related tasks), a powerful mediator of multiple kinds of health behaviors. Dr. Jerant serves as a peer reviewer on numerous academic journals. When not working, Dr. Jerant enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa and his two sons (Alex 8, Nico 3), playing the guitar, and listening to an ever-growing collection of CDs and vinyl records.


Huey Lin, M.D. - Professor and Associate Residency Director

Dr. Lin received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his Family Medicine residency followed by a one year Geriatrics fellowship at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA. His professional interests include geriatrics training, residency training, and pre-doctoral education. He has a strong interest in management of the elderly in long-term care facilities and identification of elder abuse.  Dr. Lin is the Medical Director in a local nursing home and supervises rotations in the facility for family medicine residents. He enjoys cooking, hiking, traveling, solving puzzles, and table tennis. If you come by the city of Davis, you may find him providing manual labor for his wife's garden or playing in the park with his daughters.



Elizabeth Magnan, M.D., Ph.D. - Assistant Professor

Dr. Magnan received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Her primary interest is research to improve health outcomes and the patient experience for patients with complicated health needs, including diabetes and multiple chronic conditions. Outside of research, Dr. Magnan loves to teach and showing trainees how wonderful family medicine and the patient-doctor connection can be. Clinically, she believes in working with patients to find plans that work for them and enjoys chronic condition management and behavioral health. Outside of work, she enjoys athletic and artistic endeavors of all kinds. She runs and lifts weights in her garage gym and loves modern quilting, photography and all types of music. 



Sarah Marshall, M.D. - Associate Professor and Associate Residency Director

Dr. Marshall received her undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in 1999 and her M.D. degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2003. She completed a combined residency program in Family Medicine and Obstetrics at the University of California, Davis in 2007. Dr. Marshall joined the Department of Family and Community Medicine as a faculty member in August 2007 and also has an appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Marshall has been honored not only with the New Faculty Scholar Award (2009) from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, but also with the Department’s Outstanding Teacher Award (2010).  Dr. Marshall is an active member of numerous School of Medicine and department committees, such as the: Medical Student Education, OB Best Practice and the Resident Education. She lives with her husband Matt and daughter Eleanor in East Sacramento.  The McKinley Park playground slides are a frequent hang-out of theirs. 



Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H. - Professor

Dr. Melnikow received her M.D. degree from the University of California, San Francisco and completed her family practice residency training at the University of Massachusetts in 1987. She served as a family physician at the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital before joining the faculty of Case Western Reserve University. Since joining the department in 1992, Dr. Melnikow has explored her professional interest in women's health through her research on cancer screening and prevention issues in underserved populations, evaluation of women with abnormal pap smears, and cost effectiveness analyses. She is a nationally recognized leader in health services research with appointments on the United States Preventative Services Task Force, the National Institutes of Health’s Health Delivery and Methodologies Integrated Review Group, and is the vice chair for public health for the California Health Benefits Review Program. In addition to her role within the department, Dr. Melnikow also serves as the Director of the Center for Healthcare Policy & Research, an official organized research unit at UC Davis. 


Kay Nelsen, M.D. - Professor and Residency Director and Curriculum Director

Dr. Nelsen received her M.D. degree from Bowman Gray School of Medicine. She completed her Family Practice residency at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base and then completed an Obstetrical fellowship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. With the Department of Family and Community Medicine since 2003, Dr. Nelsen assumed the leadership role of Residency Program Director in 2014. As Residency Program Director, she strives to ensure a positive and successful academic experience for each resident. Her medical interests include Women's Health and Pediatrics. She also manages a busy home environment with her husband, Steve, which includes two daughters, 3 dogs and 2 cats.



Thomas Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H. - Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances

Dr. Nesbitt graduated from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1979 and did his family practice residency at the University of Washington affiliate in Spokane, WA. After practicing in California and Idaho for several years, he completed a faculty development fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Nesbitt joined our faculty in 1988. His research interests include rural health, OB access to care issues, and telemedicine. As the Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances, is responsible for advancing the UC Davis Health System’s excellence in telemedicine. Toward that goal, he works closely with leaders throughout the state in developing partnerships with regional hospitals, clinics and centers to expand access to quality health care and create a statewide broadband telehealth network. He also ensures that faculty and staff excel at using innovative technologies to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art medical care.


Jim Nuovo, M.D. - Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education


Dr. Nuovo attended medical school at the University of Vermont and completed his family practice residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington in 1983. After working in private practice and on staff at Madigan, Dr. Nuovo joined the faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle where he completed a faculty development fellowship. He was the residency director there for two years before joining our program in 1992 to become the director of the residency program.  Dr. Nuovo’s clinical and research interest in management of chronic diseases led him to become the founding director of the UC Davis Chronic Disease Management Center. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine, in 2004 Dr. Nuovo became the Assistant Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and in January 2010 he was named the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Career Advising for the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Kris Srinivasan, M.D. - Assistant Professor

  After studying English and genetics at UC Davis and a brief diversion studying molecular biology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Srinivasan became interested in health care after learning of the work of Paul Farmer and Partners in Health -- in particular the concept of treating poverty as a social disease with profoundly negative health consequences for people. He worked for Partners in Health briefly and then decided to pursue a career in primary care, mainly as a way to address the health disparities associated with social inequity. He learned how to be a family physician at UC Davis and is proud to join the terrific faculty that has provided mentoring for all these years. He works and teaches both here and at the Salud Clinic in West Sacramento, which is a community health center serving those with public or no insurance. Dr. Srinivasan's medical interests continue to include social disparity, but more practically include full-spectrum primary care including procedures, non-operative obstetrics, and inpatient care of patients of all ages. His personal interests include building and fixing things, creating and enjoying music, various forms of inner and outer exploration, the Oakland A's, and hanging out with his cool family.