Help FHCSD reach its goal of raising $150,000 to fund the equivalent of one year of training for one resident!
In 2014, Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) created the Family Medicine Residency Training Program. The mission of the program is to train physicians from diverse backgrounds who are interested in providing care to the underserved communities of San Diego, while providing high-quality, broad-based clinical education and experience. The three-year residency program is primarily located at City Heights Family Health Center, located in an ethnically-diverse, often-marginalized neighborhood in central San Diego, California. More than 40 different languages are spoken at the clinic and a large percentage of its patients fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
Since the inception of the Family Medicine Residency Training Program, its medical residents have treated more than 2,000 patients and logged more than 16,000 hours. This program also helps FHCSD provide a pipeline of culturally-competent medical providers into San Diego communities, especially low-income neighborhoods. FHCSD’s residents all have a unique perspective on health care and caring for communities since they come from diverse backgrounds. This is another value of the program and the Teaching Health Centers model. For example, many of FHCSD’s residents grew up in poor neighborhoods and communities – just like their patients. This shared history provides a mutual understanding of what it’s like to have to choose between buying groceries and receiving basic medical care.
We invite you to learn more about a few of our residents and consider making a financial contribution to help sustain this residency program and the individuals who are part of it.
Nathan Singh, M.D.
Raised in an underprivileged neighborhood in Fresno, California, Nathan Singh was the youngest of six children born to his mother, a teacher, and father, a taxi driver. At the age of six, Nathan’s world was turned upside down when his father was brutally murdered while working. Not only did Nathan have to relive the horrors of that disastrous night during the subsequent murder trial, but had to watch as the tragedy took a toll on his family. One of his siblings ended up in prison while another gave birth to two children before graduating high school. “It scarred us in ways that you can’t really imagine unless you’ve been through it,” he said.
Determined to provide for his family, Nathan channeled his efforts into sports and academics, which ultimately paid off. He landed a spot at a coveted California Blue Ribbon School where he played varsity basketball and graduated with the highest grade point average in his county. He eventually earned a degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and eventually graduated with a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
While working with the homeless in downtown San Francisco, Nathan found his calling to help those less fortunate. “These people—they’re just like me,” he said. “They’ve fallen on hard times just like my family did. I see a lot of the brokenness in these people’s lives and can relate to that.” Since joining the FHCSD Family Medicine Residency Program, Nathan has been grateful for the work he’s done to affect people’s lives. “I’ve seen the impact that I’ve made and our residency program has made. We’ve saved people’s lives. Through the power of healing and medicine, we’re able to take these people off the streets and help them turn their lives around.”
Jie Liu, M.D.
Her father first arrived in the United States with $200 in his pocket and a suitcase with some clothes, a few books and a wok. A year later, Jie Liu, M.D., and her mother left Taiwan and joined him in a tiny garage studio apartment in Atlanta. The family didn’t have much, but they had the dream of a better life. Growing up in an immigrant family who did not understand the American medical system, Jie can count on one hand the number times she visited the doctor growing up. Appointments were difficult to obtain, and co-pays cost as much as a week’s worth of groceries for the family of three. Her parents were so worried about potentially going bankrupt from medical bills if something catastrophic occurred that they avoided the doctor’s office altogether. When her mother’s run-of-the-mill health concern turned into a serious kidney infection, Jie realized her calling: helping to increase accessibility to health care in the United States.
Committed to the belief that good health is a universal human right, Jie received her master’s degree in public health from Emory University. Upon graduation, she began working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the position felt far removed from the people she so desperately wanted to help. She decided to return to school and pursue medicine, and after graduating with a medical degree from UC San Diego, Jie discovered Family Health Centers of San Diego. Now a resident training under the Family Medicine Residency Training Program, Jie reflects on her past as she works each day with patients who remind her of her own story. She has come full circle in achieving her family’s dream, the American Dream, and hopes to help other families achieve theirs.
Sarah Rojas, M.D.
I faced so many of the struggles and realities that my patients face today,” said Sarah Rojas, M.D., a Family Health Centers of San Diego medical resident who grew up in a troubled Southern California neighborhood. That distraught environment sparked Sarah’s interest in medicine and providing for those living in disadvantaged communities. Before attending medical school at the University of California, San Diego, Sarah was an HIV researcher for the university while also working as a social justice advocate and organizer, rallying with local laborers for fair wages.
During medical school, she developed a mentorship program that helped undergraduates from underserved backgrounds gain entrance into the medical field. She eventually graduated and accepted a residency at the FHCSD Family Medicine Residency program located at City Heights Family Health Center, where more than 40 different languages are spoken. “My disadvantaged background, combined with my years of medical and social justice experience, has prepared me for this role,” Sarah said. “My love for community medicine has molded me into the teacher and leader that I am today.”