Class of 2019

Class of 2019

Olga Aminifard, MD

I was born and raised in Siberia – north central Russia, came to the US as a young adult, and started a family in Northern California. After a few years of full time work as a stay-at-home mom, I returned to school at Santa Rosa Junior College and then transferred to Columbia University in New York City. As a family, we enjoyed the fast paced city life and the cultural exposure only NYC can provide, but we grew eager to return to sunny California when I enrolled at UCSD School of Medicine. While in medical school, nearly every field of medicine appealed to me as I endeavored to find my calling. During one of the summers, I volunteered with a group of physicians and dentists in rural Uganda offering basic medical care. Consequently, these experiences solidified my interest in family medicine, as I enjoyed working with the wide variety of patients in the breadth of primary care.

Similar to many UCSD graduates, my family and I could not imagine leaving San Diego with its beautiful beaches and all-year-round perfect weather. Ultimately, UCSD became my first choice for residency training because of the great faculty I got to know and love during medical school, the near-the-border location, and the curriculum that facilitates all of my current interests in medicine with the focus on underserved populations and sports medicine. Outside of medicine, I enjoy a good classical concert, Broadway shows, tennis, yoga, running and hiking. As a family, we love road trips, camping and all things pertaining to the beautiful outdoors.

Joshua Braslow, MD

Hello, my name is Joshua Braslow and I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. I attended Brown University and majored in filmmaking with the goal to one day become a documentary filmmaker in order to help those struggling by telling their stories and increasing awareness. After graduating, I moved to New York City and worked with gifted documentarians on many inspiring projects. After spending 5 years in the documentary film and television industry, I discovered that I needed to do more to help people directly. Through my work I had seen just how devastating social inequalities can be on the health of individuals, families and communities as well as how impactful caring physicians were in helping at all of these levels. Ultimately I left my job and embarked to Oakland California to prepare for medical school.

I attended New York Medical College and worked diligently to promote and support Family Medicine at the college. I loved all of my clinical rotations which further solidified my choice to pursue a family medicine residency program. UCSD’s FMRP inspired me in many ways, particularly the warmth of the residents, the diversity of the patient population, the passion of the faculty, the opportunities for impactful community projects, and the unbeatable location. My interests in community medicine, integrative medicine, and sports medicine will be well supported at UCSD. In my personal life I love music/concerts, tennis, yoga, movies of all kinds, basketball, guitar, soccer, and exploring beautiful California.

Jenna Diggs, MD

San Diego holds a very special place in my heart. I grew up in La Jolla and spent time in high school working with underserved communities in the downtown area. I left California after high school to open my eyes to other cultures and regions of the county. After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine with a major in Biology and minor in Spanish, I served as a Teach for America corps member in the DC region. During that time, I also received my Masters of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education, at American University. My past experiences ultimately brought me to Family Medicine, because they helped me develop my calling to work with disenfranchised populations and to serve as a healer in the community.

My strong roots in San Diego ultimately brought me back to this city for medical school and kept me here for residency. I chose UCSD because I wanted to continue working with the patient populations with which I had already developed a rapport during medical school. I also valued the fact that this residency program strikes a healthy balance between more traditional academic training and solid exposure to various community settings, including neighborhood clinics and military medicine. Within this specialty, I am particularly interested in women’s health and outpatient procedures. After residency, I am strongly considering completing a fellowship in obstetrics. I have aspirations to work in a rural region for some time, and am contemplating exploring my options in military medicine.

In my free time, I enjoy international travel, cooking, yoga, running, and lifting weights. I played volleyball in college, so periodically participate in local indoor and outdoor leagues. I have two labrador retrievers that give me some of the greatest joy in my life. I spend a lot of time with my parents in San Diego, and try to visit with my brother in San Francisco as often as possible.

Maikha Jean-Baptiste, MD

I’m a first generation Haitian-American raised in Miami, FL where I spent many a weekend at the beach. I attended Amherst College where I had the opportunity to study abroad in Tanzania and Vietnam. After that I was bit by the travel bug and spent a year post graduation living in Ecuador and learning Spanish. Coming back to the U.S. I pursued my MD at Tufts University in Boston. I also had the opportunity to explore my interest in global health by doing a rotation in Nicaragua.

I knew that Family Medicine were I was meant to be when I realized the variety that it has to offer. I love having continuity with patients and being able to interact with people from all walks of life. I’m passionate about women’s and reproductive health, integrative medicine, urban medicine, working with underserved, global health and public health.

In my free time I like to dance, do DIY crafts, cook, play sports and do anything in the outdoors, read, meditate, learn languages and travel.

Looking for my next adventure, the west coast called to me and I’m excited about being back near beaches. Hopefully I’ll learn to surf while exploring all San Diego has to offer!

Caitlin MacMillen, DO

Hello!  My name is Caitlin MacMillen and I grew up in north county San Diego and enjoyed spending my time swimming in the ocean, exploring the coastal desert terrain, playing soccer, and spending quality time with my family and friends.  I attended University California Santa Cruz where I majored in Health Sciences.  While there I took advantage of the study abroad program and spend 8 months in Brazil which provided many opportunities to participate in community service projects throughout the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.  In the years in between undergraduate and medical school I participated in a pediatric oral health and nutrition project within rural communities of El Salvador and Ecuador.  My experiences abroad inspired me to pursue a medical school that would also support me to complete a Masters in Public Health.  My clinical years in medical school and public health experience solidified my decision to pursue FM as a specialty and I could not be more excited for my future as a FM physician.

I pursued residency programs in California because I love the diversity California provides and so my husband, a wildlife biologist, had the opportunity to continue to expand his growing career in California. I was immediately drawn to UCSD after my applicant dinner and interview day because I felt welcomed by the residents and staff I came in contact with, and was incredibly impressed with the strong and diverse training UCSD offers. I am very excited to get to train at a wonderful program as well as being able to move back to my hometown!

 

Laura Murphy, DO

I grew up in a rural town outside of Redding, CA with my twin brother, two older sisters, and two amazing parents who have played a very influential role in my life. My dad, a forester, introduced me to everything outdoors that I have come to love – camping, rafting, backpacking – and my mom, a family physician, inspired my love for medicine. 

I attended undergrad at University of California, Santa Barbara where I received my B.S. in biopsychology and then went on to attend Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine to pursue my passion for primary care and holistic medicine. As a medical student I was very involved in the California Academy of Family Physicians where I became a part of a caring, driven, and inspiring community of family physicians who taught me the thrill and importance of being an advocate for my patients and my profession.

I chose UC San Diego FMRP because I knew that I couldn’t get better training from such a supportive faculty and resident family (nor better weather) anywhere else. In addition to the people I couldn’t wait to get back to the ocean and enjoy the outdoors. In my free time I love to dance (especially hip hop, salsa, and swing), be outside, eat spicy food, hang out with loved ones, and meet new people.

Kaitlin Petranovich, MD 

I was born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico and moved to Albuquerque after high school to attend the University of New Mexico (Go Lobos!). After initially planning to be a traditional pre-med student with only science classes, I quickly changed my mind and ended up double majoring in Biology and Religious Studies with a minor in Health, Medicine, and Human Values. I stayed in the Land of Enchantment for medical school where I grew to love Family Medicine.

I’m so excited to be part of the UCSD Family Medicine Residency. I was attracted to the program because of the integrative medicine curriculum, diverse patient population, and the sense that UCSD was an academic program but with a community feel. I spent many summers vacationing in San Diego growing up, so the fact that this amazing program was in one of my favorite places didn’t hurt either!

Outside of medicine I enjoy group fitness classes, yoga, cooking, knitting, swimming, playing tennis, and cheering on the New York Yankees. I’m thrilled that the next step in my journey will be in San Diego with such an amazing group of people!


Alex Shaft, MD

I migrated to San Diego from the town of Reno, Nevada, where I grew up.  After partially growing up and graduating high school, I joined the Marine Corps.  During my years of service, I flew around the world as a KC-130 flight navigator, performing various combat training and humanitarian missions.  From these humanitarian efforts, and the various cultures and communities I was able to experience, I turned toward medicine as I finished my time in the Corps.  I immediately began my undergraduate education in biochemistry through the University of Nevada in Reno, where I conducted extensive research into epigenetics.  I then continued my education at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno, where I conducted further research into human motor control, and managed a student clinic for the uninsured and under-served.  I saw through my training that the heart of medicine and future of healthcare was in primary care, where patients can actively participate and be empowered to control their own health.   

Now, in San Diego, I am beyond excited to be involved in and help care for a vibrant active community with incredible diversity.  I am especially interested in the evolving landscape of primary care, and the education of future physicians.  I look forward to the upcoming years of training, and hope to continue my career in teaching and research in the future, as well as helping to continue shaping family medicine’s role in healthcare.  When I am not busy with this, I love to hike, snowboard, play guitar, cook, and brew an occasional batch of beer at home.  I am determined to learn how to surf on the beautiful beaches I now have so easily accessible, and to find the best taco shop in San Diego. 

Jean Pierre Valette, MD

Born and raised in the Bay Area, I left for the East coast at age thirteen for high school at Exeter in NH. I then attended Wesleyan University in CT for college where I was a neuroscience major and played on the varsity diving and ultimate Frisbee teams. Knowing I wanted to leave the harsh winters behind, I returned to San Francisco where I worked as an EMT and in the front office of a family physician's practice for two years while I applied to medical school.

During my time in medical school at UCSD I was fortunate to learn from many talented specialists who knew so much about their fields. When I worked with the UCSD family medicine physicians, however, I was inspired by well they knew their patients and could use this to individualize their treatment options. Family medicine particularly appeals to me because it allows me to help my patients with any of their medical issues while getting to know them on a meaningful long term basis.

UCSD offered me the perfect combination of things I was looking for in a residency program. It combined the rigor of an academic family medicine program, passionate and caring faculty, the ability to work with medical students, excellent exposure to sports medicine, and of course an unbeatable location. My particular interests in medicine include medical education, sports medicine, osteopathic manipulation, and integrative medicine.

In my free time away from the hospital and clinics I enjoy cooking, playing board games, exploring local beer spots (always easy in SD), and doing anything active/outdoors like beach volleyball, soccer, yoga, running, and cycling.