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M.D. Program

M.D. Program

Current Rural-PRIME students

Meet our students!


Alex Buss – Hometown: Jackson, CA - I grew up in the small town of Jackson, CA and plan to eventually return to a similar setting, so the basic premise of Rural-PRIME is very appealing to me. The fact that rural physicians are in such great demand, yet low supply, inspires me to make a difference by serving as a rural physician myself. I love the concept of telemedicine and view its potential applications as a new frontier in medicine; I hope to make great use of it throughout my career. Lastly, I look forward to learning about rural medicine with a small group of dedicated and passionate individuals—all of whom I hope will become my lifelong friends and colleagues. back to top
Alexa Calfee  Alexa Calfee - Hometown: Davis, CA - I grew up in Yolo County on the edge of Davis, CA. I chose Rural PRIME because I want to practice in a rural community as a general practitioner. I want to manage a small clinic and develop outreach programs for the community in which I live. Ideally I would also like to be able to work abroad for part of the year- running clinics or public health outreach programs. back to top
Luis Godoy – Hometown: Suisun City, CA - Rural physicians should have a high degree of dedication, motivation and self-reliance under pressure. In addition, they must be strong community leaders and advocates. I chose Rural-PRIME because it will provide me with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and experience that will enhance my future career as physician and allow me to achieve my goal of providing healthcare to those in underserved areas. The extra shadowing opportunities with rural mentors will be a valuable asset that will enrich my doctor-patient communication skills. By integrating the advanced training in telemedicine gained during Rural-PRIME with the knowledge gained in the clinical setting, I will become a physician better equipped to meet the needs of and advocate for the underserved communities. back to top
Bryce Gregerson – Hometown: Arcata, CA - I plan to return to my home town of Arcata, and I feel that a rural-oriented medical program will better prepare me for the challenges I will face practicing in a rural area. Also, I look forward to the opportunity to rotate through different rural medical sites during Year 3. back to top

Denise Gutierrez -Hometown: Salinas, CA - I was attracted to Rural PRIME’s vision to foster rural physician leaders via an MPH degree, telemedicine training, and clerkship rotations in different rural communities across California. As a child of parents who were farm workers in the Salinas Valley, my goal as a future physician leader and public health researcher is to not only care for individual patients, but also to advocate for vulnerable communities by addressing the public health obstacles that hinder healthy lifestyles and interfere with preventive care in Salinas.

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 Emilie Halbach  Emilie Halbach, Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA - Rural-PRIME offers the extended training that a rural physician is likely to employ in the absence of urban resources. This training will give us the confidence to go forth as rural physicians, and to tackle whatever weird scenario unfolds. I am excited to receive all the training I can, and to be prepared for anything! I hope to be of a positive influence to my patients, as well as the community in which we live—if this is achieved via a general practice, or emergency care, or obstetrics, or surgery, I hope my practice can alleviate stress and worry from their lives, and enhance their quality of living. back to top
 Kari Kompaniez Kari Kompaniez, Big Bear Lake, CA - Being raised in a small mountain town where there are limited health care facilities and professionals as well as, working with underserved populations in both the States and abroad, I became acutely aware of the shortage of physicians practicing in underserved communities.  This inspired and motivated me to pursue a medical career that centered on working in underserved areas. As more medical programs strive to educate future physicians about the importance of practicing in underserved communities, I anticipate that clinical care will be more readily available in underrepresented populations.  I expect that this will only be enhanced by changes to health care policy to make health care easily obtainable within the States.  As a prospective physician who intends to serve these communities, I hope I will help make this vision a reality.  back to top
Julia Lonhart Julia Lonhart, Hometown: Los Altos, CA - California is a diverse state with every patient population deserving equal access to the highest quality care. There is a real need to realign health and quality care. The shortage of primary care doctors – who serve as the frontline for addressing social determinants of health and their impact – is endangering the entire healthcare system. This problem is compounded in rural areas. However, with such challenges come the opportunity for change and improvement, which I see as a promising opportunity for personal growth and a meaningful career.

I want to develop the tools that link health and society and serve as platforms for the discussion and development of patient-centered and community-based care. In times of intense change –health care reform, the recent recession and current political climate – vulnerable populations are most at risk. I hope to serve as a bridge between research, practice and policy, to improve the access of rural patients to high quality care while limiting the burden on the healthcare system

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Joni McAtee Joni McAtee - Rural Connection: Humboldt County - The program promises to provide all of the experiences that I need in order to serve the rural areas that I love. It will prepare me to be a confident physician in an area with very few resources and doctors. I plan to work as a family practitioner in a remote location. My experiences with childbirth and assisting with labor have shown me that I have strengths in OB. I am excited to face a wide range of doctoring needs. back to top
Eva Montes - Hometown: Modesto, CA - Through Rural-PRIME, I hope to foster my cross-disciplinary thinking and growth into a culturally competent physician while providing the foundation and skills necessary to address policy, research and healthcare for the underserved.  Rural-PRIME provides me with an opportunity to join the pioneering role of UC Davis in telemedicine and work with rural populations to address the shortage of physicians and lack of access to care in those areas. During my time in the Program, I plan to earn a Master’s in Public Health; this unique dual degree program will allow me to become proactive early on in my medical education and supplement my desires to practice health education and preventative medicine in the rural underserved communities I come from while developing my role as a physician leader in my community.
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Angel Moran - Hometown: Watsonville, CA - I grew up in a rural community and experienced the difficulties that prevent rural residents, mostly migrant farmers, from accessing and fully utilizing the available healthcare services. As a physician, I plan to return to my community, serving rural agricultural towns that are in need of a culturally competent physician who will understand and address the healthcare concerns of patients. Importantly, I plan to address the geographic health disparities that prevent people of rural communities from accessing specialized healthcare. I will accomplish this goal by providing my patients with the telecommunications technology needed to contact specialized physicians who are located in distant cities. Rural-PRIME will provide me with tools that enable me to take a leadership role in my community where I intend to not only treat, but also educate patients on healthcare issues that are common and unique to these communities. back to top
Casey Nevitt – Hometown: Aptos, CA - I chose Rural-PRIME because the program facilitates leadership, provides opportunities for community engagement and hands-on learning, and emphasizes a multi-perspective approach to healthcare.
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Jessica Prior – Hometown: Ketchum, Idaho - Growing up in a small mountain town, I experienced first-hand the various health care delivery issues and the impact they have on families, emotionally and financially. While there is no immediate solution, programs like Rural-PRIME will provide the guidance and tools to continue working towards solutions for outreach and healthcare delivery in rural areas. In particular, Rural-PRIME integrates tele-medicine into our learning. In addition, doing rotations outside Sacramento and in a rural community will provide diverse training. The rotations in rural areas are one aspect that attracts me because it allows me to work in different communities during medical school as opposed to doing all rotations in one location.

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Michael Robbins, Hometown: Paradise, CA - Growing up in rural California has shown me that there are large disparities in the care available to rural populations. Since I plan on returning to a rural area for my practice, I believe that Rural-PRIME will provide me with a solid foundation and the tools necessary to confront these issues and close the gaps in rural health care. back to top

Tonantzin Rodriguez, M.P.H. - Hometown: Marysville, CA - During Rural-PRIME, I would like to master the skills gained from the unique rural clinical experiences, rural physician mentoring, and widespread use of telemedicine. I will serve as a primary care physician and be active in community-level public health efforts. In my clinical practice, I will utilize information technology, implement evidence-based intervention programs, and become an advocate for my patient community.

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Leona Shum - Hometown: San Francisco, CA - After moving from an urban center to a small rural town to teach for two years, I had a chance to experience the dramatic contrast of lifestyle between urban and rural communities. I hope to continue to learn about the intricacies of the rural communities and also serve as a bridge between rural and urban communities. I want to open a clinic in a rural community to provide accessible and high quality medicine to the local population. But beyond providing direct care, I hope to work with community members to build infrastructure and legislation that will prevent illness and promote healthy living for the community and its future members. back to top

Elizabeth Taylor – Hometown: Susanville, CA - Rural-PRIME fits perfectly into my widely varied goals for myself as a physician.  I was raised in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, where even now there are few medical providers.  In my studies abroad, I have also developed a strong desire to serve in the francophone regions of Western Africa, improving community health programs with a focus on preventing disease transfer between animals and people.  Rural-PRIME will allow me the opportunity to serve these groups in the circumstances unique to each.

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