I’m one of those 2020 grads below, now doing full spectrum family medicine with OB at the Zuni Comprehensive Community Health Center, here in the Zuni Pueblo in the Western part of the state. I divide my time between my primary care clinic, running a 2 room emergency department and small hospital, working at an urgent care, and taking care of laboring mothers. I work with absolutely brilliant primary care doctors committed to rural care in under-resourced communities.
I learned about this job by rotating here as one of my two rural New Mexican electives that all Northern New Mexico residents participate in. The other rotation was just as amazing at a single provider critical access hospital in Santa Rosa on the Eastern side of the state.
It’s been a steep learning curve, intimidating to “do it all” with expert colleagues, but ultimately I was well prepared for the work by my training in Northern New Mexico and I’m excited to polish those skills and teach more students and residents in person once sheltering guidelines allow.
Like the rest of the world, our residency program has been adjusting to life since COVID-19. In addition to becoming Zoom experts, we all became pretty adept at clinic visits by telephone. We also engaged our family medicine flexibility as we managed some last-minute changes to rotations, and some of us learned more than we cared to about nasopharyngeal swabs. But COVID brought exciting opportunities as well, including unique experiences working with the NM Department of Health as the state mobilized in response to the pandemic.
We will be saying bittersweet goodbyes to our seniors at the end of June – sad to see them go but thrilled for their new adventures. Two will go on to fellowships: Mahmoud Ismail will study sleep medicine and will hopefully return to us in Santa Fe, since we’re in need of a sleep doc (hint hint). Niraj Ganjawala will get a year of training in emergency medicine and critical care before returning to Socorro. The other two will stay in our beautiful state to do important work in primary care: Camilo Werlin-Martinez has committed to work on the Zuni reservation, where he will perform full-spectrum primary care, and our current chief, Kavitha Kirubanandan (affectionately known as KK), will go home to Hobbs (without a doubt, their soon-to-be-favorite PCP), with a focus on women’s and adolescent health. Her leadership will be missed, but Katherine Arkwright will step up as our new chief and is certain to do an amazing job.
Four new interns will replace the four graduating residents. They hail from New Mexico, the Navajo Nation, and Virginia. In addition, we are excited to announce that two former residents will be returning! Nora Gibbons, who left to do a fellowship in global health (spending time in Malawi and Chiapas, Mexico) has signed on as faculty. And Gina Lutz, who completed a fellowship in palliative medicine, returns to Santa Fe to provide residents with training in palliative care as well as clinical opportunities in correctional medicine. Strong work, everyone!
— Maya Armstrong, R3
Class of 2020 (left to right): Dr. Mahmoud Ismail, Dr. Camilo Werlin-Martinez, Dr. Kavitha Kirubanandan, Dr. Niraj Ganjawala
I practiced medicine in India for 9 years and I’ve worked in healthcare now 17 years in India & the US . Family medicine beckons me because it allows me to practice to the fullest. I enjoy it’s variety and it’s demands in this changing healthcare environment. I am lucky to be a part of the UNM-Santa Fe program. I enjoy my downtime with my family & our dog: traveling, listening to music, creating/fixing stuff in the garage, and playing pool
John P Kavanaugh
I am thrilled to be joining the Santa Fe program with my goal of practicing broad-spectrum, rural family medicine in NM. Originally from Virginia, I came to New Mexico to study philosophy at St. John’s College where I met my amazing wife. We fell in love with New Mexico and backpacking through the wild places and National Parks of the West. I earned my MS at UNM in Biology with a focus on ecology and conservation. I taught college Anatomy and Physiology and became fascinated with medicine. Our son was born two weeks into medical school–he watched online lectures with me before he learned to crawl. I enjoy hiking, camping, reading philosophy and science fiction, drinking tea, and going on make-believe adventures with my kid.
Abraham “Abe” Guimaraes
I grew up in Gallup and am a proud New Mexican! I received a bachelor’s degree in Health, Medicine, and Human Values from the UNM in the combined BA/MD program. I chose family medicine because of its diverse scope of practice, holistic care, and commitment to preventive medicine. I am a sports aficionado (go New Mexico United!) and have some interest in sports medicine in addition to rural medicine. I am excited to train at the UNM Northern New Mexico Family Medicine program as it gives me the opportunity to work with a diverse patient population with opportunities to focus on rural medicine. I want to return to my hometown to give back to the community that has given me so much. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, playing video games, watching sports, and snowboarding.
I am Big Water Clan (Tótsohnii), born for the Mexican People Clan (Naakaii Diné’é), the Tangle People Clan (Ta’neeszahnii) are my maternal grandfathers, and the Black-streaked Wood People Clan (Tsi’naajinii) are my paternal grandfathers. I am Diné (Navajo) from Burnt Corn Valley, Arizona. On a professional level, I have a big interest in Native American Health and hope to continue my career at an Indian Health Service facility after Residency. On a personal note, I am a total geek in love with Lord of the Rings (books and movies), Star Wars (currently playing Jedi Fallen Order), Harry Potter (Go Gryffindor!), Doctor Who, Firefly, and Disney, to name a few. Oh, and I love memes!
During this year’s AAFP student and resident conference, I had such a blast returning to Kansas City as a resident and chapter delegate to the Congress of Delegates held in conjunction with the National Resident & Student Conference. The last time I was at the conference, I was a 4th year medical student from Arkansas and didn’t know quite where to start exploring Family Medicine residencies. I remember wandering through the exhibit hall and even stopping in the New Mexico section. It was one of my first exposures to the diverse programs throughout the state, and I was really excited to be able to talk to future FM residents about New Mexico and specifically the Santa Fe Residency Program. Fortunately, the whole 3rd year class of Santa Fe residents were able to go to the conference this year and act as ambassadors for our program – we certainly talked to a lot of students from all over the country and abroad! It was also great to see some of the other residents from Las Cruces, Silver City, and UNM.
I was also grateful to have the opportunity to act as the New Mexico Chapter Delegate to the Congress of Delegates. I was impressed by the AAFP’s attempt to involve more residents and students to make a change to the AAFP itself as well as healthcare in general. Residents and students sit on various committees within the AAFP, ranging anywhere from political action/healthcare policy to Graduate Medical Education policies to informatics. Some resolutions that were passed this year by the Congress of Delegates involved having the AAFP adopt a policy on the health impacts of immigration policy, universal health access, and increasing pediatric mental health funding. It was a great learning experience, and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to represent New Mexico in this fashion.
by Nora Gibbons, MD (The Roadrunner, Fall 2018, page 2)
Photo: (provided by Nora Gibbons) Residents and Faculty of the NNMFMR at the AAFP National Conference of of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, Fall 2018.
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2018! The graduation ceremony will be held on June 30th, 2018 at the Inn & Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In case you will not be able to join us for the celebration, we wanted to share with you what we will be doing following graduation.
Rawan Maali, MD
Rawan will be staying in Santa Fe, along with her husband who is finishing up his residency in Family Medicine. She will be working as a hospitalist at Christus St. Vincent Hospital and also doing some Urgent Care within the community. Rawan has a special interest and talent in dermatology. No doubt she will be using her skills and knowledge to continue serving the community of Santa Fe in any way that she can.
Estevan Apodaca, MD
Estevan has taken a full-time position as a full-spectrum Family Medicine doctor at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, a critical access hospital in Santa Rosa New Mexico. He will going back to his roots where his family is originally from and looks forward to serving his community and the adventure that lies ahead.
Gina Lutz, MD
Gina is on her way to Little Rock Arkansas for a one-year fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The fellowship is a fully accredited by the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education . She will be taking her adopted New Mexican chocolate lab, Bruno, along for the ride. Afterwards, she plans to return to her home in New Orleans.
Catherine Smith, DO
Catherine will be moving back home to Seattle for a one-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at Swedish Medical Center. She will be board certified in addiction medicine and after completion plans to use this training to help develop addiction programs for different organizations while maintaining full-spectrum family medicine in her practice. She has a special interest in correctional health and hopes to incorporate her addiction training to help develop addictions programs within correctional facilities.
Joanna Mae Souers, MD
Joanna will be entering a new one-year Rural Medicine Fellowship at the University of New Mexico (UNM) that combines working in Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, a critical access hospital in Santa Rosa New Mexico, and further training in Emergency Medicine, ICU and inpatient medicine at UNM. Joanna looks forward to continuing work with the underserved population of New Mexico and exploring more of this beautiful state known as “the land of enchantment”.
We had a wonderful time at the NMAFP Winter Refresher on Saturday, February 10th at the Hotel Albuquerque. There were many different exhibitors and speakers. Many of the talks were by UNM Family Medicine Faculty including Dr. Robert Surawski’s presentation on “Cultural Competent Healthcare” based on his experience working at Zuni IHS and the Pueblo of Zia.
As a group of residents, Dr. Rawan Maali, Dr. Catherine Smith and myself presented a poster presentation titled, “Point-of-care Ultrasonography (POCUS) Utilization in Outpatient Settings”. The poster was compiled with different case vignettes and images with special thanks to Tamara Barrett from the University of New Mexico.
There was a lot of interest in our poster that generated great conversation about the growing number of ultrasound applications in the field of Family Medicine. We look forward to the next Winter Refresher and we invite you to join us for the 61st Annual Family Medicine Seminar in Santa Fe, July 26-29th 2018.
Up here in magnificent Northern New Mexico, we just finished our annual faculty-resident retreat at Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort & Spa. It was a wonderful time to get together as a program and discuss our ACGME self-study, elucidating the strengths and weaknesses of the program, practice team-building exercises, and focus on wellness and resilience.
Some of the key strengths of our program we discussed include that it is a rural program in a culturally rich and diverse community affiliated with the University of New Mexico and La Familia Medical Center, an FQHC that has served Santa Fe since 1972. We also commend the flexible curriculum that allows us to tailor our training to our individual interests and spend time in different communities in rural New Mexico including Zuni, Shiprock, Farmington, Taos, Santa Rosa, Silver City and many more.
We are grateful that we have core and volunteer faculty that are so dedicated to our formation as doctors. We look forward to making our program one of the best in the nation and aim to train residents that are not only competent physicians, but future leaders in the field of Family Medicine and pillars of their community.
(Written by Joanna Mae Souers, MD – published NMAFP Roadrunner, Fall 2017, pg. 5)
AAFP Conference – Kansas City 2017 (PGY-3 residents, left to right, Catherine Smith, Rawan Maali, Joanna Souers, Gina Lutz, Estevan Apodaca)
Spring is in the air in Northern New Mexico, which means that we are sweating in the sun one day and watching the snow fall the next. We just had our resident retreat, which included camping and rafting on the Rio Grande as well as lots of great conversation, and a time to bond with each other and focus on wellness. Faculty also recently had a retreat, where they discussed ways to improve feedback and enhance resident’s learning experience.
The graduating residents have taken their board exams and look forward to setting off on new adventures. Kristy Riniker, MD, MPH has accepted a position at the Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic in Yakima, WA, where she will be providing outpatient care at a FQHC while fulfilling her NHSC scholar commitment. Thomas Betjeman, MD has been accepted to the Contra Costa/UCSF Global Health Fellowship, where he will be doing full spectrum Family Medicine while continuing his training. Elisa Gutierrez, MD will be staying in Northern New Mexico, splitting her time between working as a hospitalist at CHRISTUS St. Vincent and doing outpatient and OB at La Familia Medical Center. The current interns are almost finished with their first year at UNM and look forward to the move to Santa Fe in July. Their first month will focus on community health to jump start their integration into our wonderful Northern New Mexico community.
By Kristy Riniker, MD, MPH (The Roadrunner NMAFP, Spring 2017, pg 11)
Northern New Mexico Family Medicine Residency is a “1+2” Training Program in collaboration with the University of New Mexico (UNM), CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and La Familia Medical Center. It provides a unique training opportunity at an academic center and unopposed community hospital in a rural setting.
We encourage you to explore this site and contact us if you have any questions.
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