Resident Stories

Through experiences at diverse training sites in San Francisco and beyond, residents in our program are exposed to the broadest possible range of patients and faculty, leading to an incredibly rich clinical experience.

Read the following interviews to learn what it's really like as a UCSF resident:

Anita Hargrave

Anita Hargrave
Anita Hargrave

"I knew the program would be clinically rigorous and would recognize the importance of addressing healthcare disparities locally and globally."

 

My path to medicine started with an interest in how healthcare systems are created and who benefits from or is disenfranchised by them. After college, I moved to Ecuador and worked with a women’s cooperative tucked away in the Andes Mountains. The cooperative was working to improve the economy of the area, where 99% of people lived in poverty. It was located in front of a free government clinic. However, the majority of locals did not go there to get care because they did not feel welcomed. This taught me the importance of the making patients feel comfortable and valued. I then moved to Europe for a year to study how national health-care systems function. The experience showed me the unique role physicians play in advocating for improvement to healthcare policy because they witness first-hand how it affects the health of their patients. These were some of many experiences that motivated me to go to medical school. I studied at UCSF, where volunteer work at Clínica Martín Baró in the Mission District of SF and research on inpatient delirium led me to pursue a residency in Internal Medicine. I chose to stay at UCSF for IM Residency because I knew the program would be clinically rigorous and would recognize the importance of addressing healthcare disparities locally and globally. Since starting, I have met incredibly inspiring mentors and co-residents. I have been able to continue to do research on Dengue and Zika in Ecuador, work on QI initiatives and experience the true meaning of team-based care, patient-centered care. I have also been able to continue to explore my many interests outside of medicine including writing, dance, camping and mountain biking!

Colette Dejong

I was born and raised in the college town of Urbana, Illinois. After high school, I spent a year working with Habitat for Humanity in the Mississippi delta and Costa Rica. I later graduated from Brown University in 2011 with a degree in International Relations. At Brown, I worked for a health nonprofit in Bamako, Mali, led a confidential support group for LGBTQ students who were questioning or coming out, lived in a co-op and dedicated the rest of my life to competitive ultimate frisbee. After college, I interned at Partners in Health and spent a year working for Green City Force, an environmental justice AmeriCorps program in Brooklyn. I then attended medical school at UCSF in the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US). During medical training, I completed a year-long research fellowship at the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value, and conducted a study of pharmaceutical marketing and physician prescribing that made it onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal, not to mention Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and The Onion. I stayed on at UCSF for medicine residency, having fallen in love with UCSF’s three-hospital system, focus on health equity, and commitment to attracting diverse residents and faculty. I especially love working with the tight-knit nurses, therapists, staff, and faculty at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, which was home the country’s first HIV ward and lives up to its legacy of advocating for health and social justice. Outside of medicine, I love driving my used red convertible down the coast with my surfboard strapped to the front seat and Robyn on the radio. My partner Laura and I are applying to rescue a greyhound.

Colette and car
Colette Dejong

"I stayed on at UCSF for residency, having fallen in love with UCSF’s three-hospital system, focus on health equity, and commitment to attracting diverse residents & faculty."

Lurit Bepo

Lurit Bepo
Lurit Bepo

"I chose SFPC for its dedication to training physicians who will be leaders in caring for the underserved, health policy, patient advocacy, and community engagement."

My worldview has been intimately shaped by my experience as an immigrant from Sudan, where larger societal forces—in this case, civil war and political instability—significantly impacted individual lives. It gave me an early understanding of the social and structural determinants of health that are often beyond one’s control and yet inevitably affect one’s health outcomes. It also led me to pursue both medical and public health degrees in an attempt to address not only disease in individuals but also larger systemic issues that plague our society. I chose UCSF’s San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care program for my internal medicine training specifically for its dedication to training physicians who will be leaders in caring for the underserved, health policy, patient advocacy, and community engagement. I love that in SFPC, in particular, and at UCSF, in general, I am surrounded by a vibrant community of clinicians, scholars, and educators who are striving for this same sense of equity, improvement, and excellence in their own areas of interest. Outside of medicine, I enjoy spending time with my spouse, board games (my current favorite is 7 Wonders), reading social and political commentaries, and exploring northern California’s natural beauty and wine country.

Nghiem Ha

Medicine was never initially part of the plan. My family and I immigrated to America to provide my brother and me the educational opportunities that my parents never had. We lived in a low socioeconomic area for the majority of my life with both of my parents working multiple low-paying and unstable jobs. I started working full time at the age of 14 while attending school to lessen my family's financial burden; thus, the aspect of obtaining a medical education was never considered feasible. Given my background as an immigrant from a country with endemic viral hepatitis and liver cancer, and through my family’s personal struggle with the disease, I begin conducting research on the epidemiology and clinical characteristics/outcomes of viral hepatitis, non-viral hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. As my family's financial situation stabilized, it became possible to pursue medicine; I wanted to improve the health status of my community not only through research and education, but also through direct patient care. More importantly, I wanted to give back, to those that cared for my family when we did not have insurance, provided us support when we were going through difficult times, and provided me mentorship/guidance throughout my career.

I chose UCSF for my internal medicine residency because it is a special place that encapsulated this ideal – that the community is only as strong as the sum of its parts – with deeply held values of health equity and public services, in addition to providing comprehensive evidence-based care to some of the most vulnerable populations. Furthermore, UCSF is an amazing institution for clinical and basic translational research, with innumerable opportunities and mentors who are invested in the trainees’ growth not only as a researcher, but as a clinician and educator – aspects that are of equal importance and complements one another. Lastly, the city of San Francisco is similar to the beautiful mosaics found around its neighborhoods – pieces of different shapes, colors, and patterns, simultaneously fitting effortlessly together – representing the incredible diversity that the city has to offer. It is also a great place to raise a family, providing several activities for my spouse and daughter to explore. I plan to pursue a career in academic medicine as physician-scientist in transplant hepatology, and am currently applying in the ABIM-research pathway into Gastroenterology, with a subsequent fellowship in advanced/transplant hepatology.

Nghiem Ha
Nghiem Ha with family

"I chose UCSF for residency because it is a special place that encapsulated this ideal – that the community is only as strong as the sum of its parts – with deeply held values of health equity and public services, in addition to providing comprehensive evidence-based care to some of the most vulnerable populations."