Meet our medical leadership!
At Family Health Centers of San Diego, we are proud to have such an exceptional and distinguished medical leadership team that provides caring, affordable, high-quality health care and supportive services to everyone.
Lysistrati Alimonos, D.O.Co-Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Lysistrati Alimonos is the co-chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Family Health Centers of San Diego. Dr. Alimonos received her medical degree from Touro University in Nevada in 2011. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency and was chief resident at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ in 2015. She is a clinical supervisor for the family medicine residents at FHCSD and physician assistant students from Point Loma Nazarene. She is board-certified and a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Claudio Cabrejos, M.D., MPH, FAPAAssistant Medical Director of Psychiatry
Dr. Claudio Cabrejos is assistant medical director of psychiatry at Family Health Centers of San Diego. He has been part of FHCSD since 2002 and became a core faculty member in 2022.
Dr. Cabrejos received his medical degree in 1988 from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru. After earning his master’s degree in public health from the University of Miami, he joined the psychiatry residency program at the Tulane University School of Medicine. With the school’s medical anthropology department, he provided mental health services, including psychosocial assessments and treatment, to displaced communities in the Peruvian Andes. Upon completion of his residency at Tulane University, Dr. Cabrejos joined an advanced psychiatry residency program at Yale University, where he specialized in addiction psychiatry.
Dr. Cabrejos has held several leadership positions, including medical director of Shoreline Recovery Centers and assistant medical director for adult services at FHCSD. He has a passion for teaching and has been involved in teaching psychiatry curriculum for the Family Medicine Residency Program at FHCSD and San Diego State University.
He is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Addiction Psychiatry. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and is a fellow of the APA. He enjoys working with adult patients with a special focus on cultural psychiatry, including refugee health and addiction services. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
In his free time, he enjoys camping with his family, surfing, free diving, koi breeding and art collecting.
Corey Carson, M.D., CAQSMAssistant Medical Director for Sports Medicine
Dr. Corey Carson is the assistant medical director for sports medicine at Family Health Centers of San Diego. He completed his medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his family medicine residency training at Georgetown University before moving to California to complete his sports medicine fellowship training at UC San Diego.
He serves as the head team physician for the Grossmont College Griffins and as clinical faculty for the FHCSD Family Medicine Residency Program. His clinical interests include fracture care, diagnostic ultrasonography and ultrasound-guided procedures.
Bahghi Keflezighi, M.D.Assistant Medical Director of Adult Medicine
Dr. Bahghi Keflezighi is the assistant medical director for adult medicine at Family Health Centers of San Diego. Dr. Keflezighi received her medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005. She completed her family medicine residency at Scripps Mercy Chula Vista in June of 2008. Dr. Keflezighi has traveled internationally providing medical care to patients in Ghana, Mexico, Fiji, Peru and Eritrea during her residency training.
Dr. Keflezighi served as the preceptor for our first APP Immersion Program class, is board-certified in family medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Keflezighi speaks proficient Spanish and Tigrinya. She has been a part of Family Health Centers of San Diego since 2008.
Mark Knight, M.D.Assistant Medical Director, Child Psychiatry
Dr. Mark Knight joined Family Health Centers of San Diego in 2014 and became a core faculty member in 2022. He is the assistant director for the child and adolescent division.
Dr. Knight received his medical degree from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). His passion to help individuals struggling with psychiatric conditions lead him to complete his general psychiatry training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Knight then went on to further his training by completing a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Dr. Knight specializes in treating children and adolescents with a focus on psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, especially mindfulness therapy. Dr. Knight is board-certified in general psychiatry, as well as child and adolescent psychiatry. As he enjoys teaching, he has been voluntary faculty at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), precepting the child and adolescent fellows during their outpatient clinic experience. He is also heavily involved in teaching child psychiatry curriculum to FHCSD’s family medicine residents. He was awarded the Top Doctors Award in San Diego Magazine in 2012. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family.
Lori Lapina, PA-C, AAHIVSLead Physician Assistant
Lori Lapina is the lead physician assistant at Family Health Centers of San Diego. Originally from Pittsburgh, Lori received two bachelor’s degrees in biology and physician assistant from Seton Hill University in 1997 and 2000. From 2004 to 2013, she served as a clinical preceptor for physician assistant students in three different PA programs. During this time, she also practiced primary care medicine in a correctional setting for four years and primary care in a psychiatric institute with emphasis in addiction for nine years. Lori lives in the beautiful North Park neighborhood with her dog Parker and enjoys trying new restaurants. She has been part of FHCSD since 2013.
Cindy Mangene, MSN, RN, FNP-BCLead Nurse Practitioner
Cindy Mangene is the lead nurse practitioner at Family Health Centers of San Diego. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and Master of Science in nursing degree from Vanderbilt University. She was a National Health Service Corps recipient and is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Honduras as a rural health care worker for the Ministry of Public Health. She is a member of the California Association for Nurse practitioners and board-certified as a family nurse practitioner. She is fluent in Spanish and has been part of FHCSD since 1998.
Kerin Orbe, D.O.Assistant Medical Director of Psychiatry
Dr. Kerin Orbe is assistant medical director of specialty services, which involves oversight of the Clozaril program, long-acting injectable clinic and the concentrated program. She joined FHCSD in 2019 and became core faculty in 2022.
Dr. Orbe received her medical degree from New York School of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her psychiatric residency at New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, where she was the chief resident in her last training year. Her passion for education was highlighted by supervising and teaching third- and fourth-year medical students throughout the years. She currently supervises FHCSD’s nurse practitioners. She is involved in FHCSD’s Family Medicine Residency teaching, including providing clinical rotation experience in psychiatry, as well as psychiatry lectures. She has provided electroconvulsive therapy for her patients over the years.
In 2014, Dr. Orbe was the recipient of a Caregram Award for employee of the month. She was elected as one of the «Best in California» as a featured psychiatrist representing San Diego, which will be published in the 2023 magazine edition.
She is board-certified in general psychiatry and is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Osteopathic Association and the Neurology Education Institute. She has worked with patients of all ages, but has a special interest in working with the elderly. Dr. Orbe is also fluent in English and Spanish.
In her free time, Dr. Orbe enjoys spending time with her family and pets, dancing and exercising.
Christian Ramers, M.D., MPH, FIDSA, AAHIVSAssistant Medical Director for Research & Special Populations
Dr. Christian Ramers serves as the assistant medical director for research & special populations and director of graduate medical education at Family Health Centers of San Diego. He earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego in 2003 and completed his internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center in internal medicine/pediatrics. He completed a fellowship in adult infectious diseases and received a graduate degree in public health at the University of Washington. Dr. Ramers leads several clinical and educational programs supporting HIV and hepatitis C treatment within our clinics, consults for the California Office of AIDS, the CDC and Project ECHO on HIV and HCV-related clinical care initiatives and is a co-investigator on several NIH-sponsored research projects in collaboration with University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University investigators. Dr. Ramers maintains a busy bilingual clinical practice providing specialty and primary care to underserved and homeless individuals of all ages.
Ibrahim Sawaya, D.D.S.Director of Dental
Dr. Ibrahim Sawaya has served as FHCSD’s dental director for over 15 years, with an additional eight years serving as a staff dentist at the organization and six years performing dentistry in private practice prior to joining FHCSD. Currently, Dr. Sawaya is responsible for the administration of all dental and oral health services and facilities at FHCSD, which includes oversight of dental services and ensuring regulations compliance across eight co-located dental clinics throughout San Diego County, including FHCSD’s homeless services dental program. Through Dr. Sawaya’s leadership, FHCSD’s dental program consistently increases our capacity to meet the oral health needs of low-income and medically underserved patients.
Dr. Sawaya embraces LEAN strategies for continuous process improvement and effectively uses Kaizen principles and PDCA cycles across the dental team to continuously standardize operations and eliminate waste. This results in the administration of an extremely efficient program that consistently ranks in the nation’s lowest quartile for costs per patient.
Dr. Sawaya earned a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry/cell biology at the University of California, San Diego in 1987. He completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the School of Dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1992, then completed a general practice residency in 1993 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in La Jolla.
In addition to Dr. Sawaya’s administrative leadership responsibilities, he continues to provide direct patient care two days a week at FHCSD, focusing his talents on the treatment of San Diego’s underserved, uninsured and medically compromised patients.
Sarah Schneider, D.M.P.Chief of Podiatry
Dr. Sarah Schneider serves as chief of podiatry at Family Health Centers of San Diego. She has an extensive background in surgical practice and is the proctor at Scripps for new podiatric surgeons. She has played a critical role in serving as a peer mentor and leader on the podiatry team.
Dr. Schneider received her Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University and completed her surgical residency at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Prior to joining the FHCSD, Dr. Schneider led results-driven teams in surgical podiatry practice. She served on the credentialing and examination committees of the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, through which she is also certified.
Additionally, Dr. Schneider is a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Schneider is a San Diego native who devotes her free time to raising her twin daughters.
Joe Sepulveda, M.D., FAPA, FASAMChief of Psychiatry
Joe Anthony Sepulveda, M.D., FAPA, FASAM, serves as the department chair, chief of psychiatry and medical director for substance use disorder services at Family Health Centers of San Diego, the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in San Diego. He is double boarded by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Preventive Medicine, certified in the subspecialty of addiction medicine and a fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Sepulveda has held several leadership positions throughout his career and is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the San Diego Psychiatric Society, the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the California Society of Addiction Medicine, where he also is a member of the Committee on Opioids.
Dr. Sepulveda is a graduate of the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his psychiatry training at Stanford University Hospital and Clinics after which he joined FHCSD in 2013.
Dr. Sepulveda has obtained several grants over the years and is well published. He has received several awards throughout his undergraduate, medical school and graduate school training and is a recipient of the FHCSD Provider of Compassion Award in 2018 for his dedication to patient care, service to the underserved and leadership within the departments of mental health and substance use disorder services at FHCSD.
Graduate medical education and teaching have been a central focus throughout Dr. Sepulveda’s career. In addition to being on the core faculty for the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, Dr. Sepulveda is an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Psychiatry and is on the clinical teaching faculty for the UCSD Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program, the UCSD Community Psychiatry Residency Program, the FHCSD Family Medicine Residency Program and oversees the FHCSD Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program and the University of San Diego (USD) Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner clinical training program at FHCSD. He is a sought-after lecturer and in the San Diego community and has been a voice for educating the public on mental health issues and substance use disorders on both television and radio.
In his free time, Dr. Sepulveda enjoys traveling, the cinema and swimming.
Charles Smoot, M.D.Chief of Clinical Informatics
Dr. Charles Smoot is the chief of clinical informatics at Family Health Centers of San Diego. He is responsible for directing the organization toward improving quality metrics across a wide variety of national standards using interdisciplinary methods. He works closely with the medical providers and the IT department to help develop a robust e-decision tool, as well as improve our proprietary electronic health records system.
Dr. Smoot received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego in 2005 and completed his family medicine residency at UCSD in 2008. He is a recipient of the UCSD Outstanding Contributions to Medical School Community Award, the Roderick K. Calverley Humanitarian Service Award and was a member of the Gold Humanitarian National Medical Honor Society.
He has traveled to both Haiti and the Honduras to provide medical care to patients, is board-certified in family medicine and speaks proficient Spanish. He has been part of FHCSD since 2008.
Marsha Spitzer, M.D.Chief of Pediatrics & Clinical Support
Dr. Marsha Spitzer received her medical degree from George Washington University in 1996. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and participated in the primary care track of her residency program. Following residency, she worked as a general pediatrician in Guam prior to joining Family Health Centers of San Diego in 2001.
She serves as the chief of pediatrics and clinical support at Family Health Centers of San Diego, represents FHCSD at Scripps Mercy and Sharp Grossmont to provide optimal care to FHCSD newborns and leads the pediatric obesity pilot Healthy Together at FHCSD. Additionally, Dr. Spitzer mentors UCSD pediatric residents as a continuity clinic preceptor and supervises the FHCSD family medicine residents during their adolescent medicine rotation.
Dr. Spitzer is the medical director for Reach Out and Read San Diego and is on the executive board of the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and holds a national position with the AAP representing California pediatricians. Dr. Spitzer is board-certified in pediatrics and is a clinical voluntary associate professor at UCSD.
Matya Strickland, FNPClinic Applications Coordinator
Khawla Suleiman, M.D., MAS, FAAPChief of Pediatrics, Strategy & Program Development
Dr. Khawla Suleiman joined Family Health Centers of San Diego in 1998. She serves as the chief of pediatrics, strategy and program development. Dr. Suleiman earned her medical degree from the University of Baghdad, Iraq in 1984. She completed a pediatric residency at the UCSF School of Medicine/UCSF Fresno-Central San Joaquin Valley Medical Education Program. She is board-certified in pediatrics and is a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Suleiman has great interest in community medicine, population management and child development. Dr. Suleiman enjoys caring for FHCSD’s diverse, multi-cultural families.
She completed a community pediatric fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. During and after her fellowship, she worked closely with the African community to help educate medical providers on cultural practices. Through a program with UCSD School of Medicine, she worked with a number of San Diego Unified School District underachieving schools and, led a team to help children with special needs and chronic illness to reduce absenteeism and improve school performance.
Dr. Suleiman earned a Master of Advanced Studies degree in leadership of health care organization. She is a UCSD voluntary clinical professor of pediatrics, has taught UCSD pediatric residents for over 20 years and is a member of the pediatric teaching faculty for FHCSD family medicine residents. She received FHCSD’s Provider of Compassion Award, was nominated by San Diego Public Health Department for a Public Health Champion Award and by the Chair of the Child and Family Development Department at the College of Education, San Diego State University for the inaugural Simms/Mann Whole Child Award.
Thao Tran, M.D., FAAFPChief Medical Officer
Dr. Thao Tran is the chief medical officer at Family Health Centers of San Diego. She has been with the residency program since its inception and was previously the associate program director and program director. She also led the Procedures Clinic and the practice management rotation for the program. She received her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2000. She completed her family medicine training at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa in 2003, with a focus on care for the underserved populations of Sonoma County. She continued her work with immigrants and underserved populations after moving to San Diego.
Dr. Tran is fluent in Spanish and Vietnamese, and competent in French. She has interests in women’s health, hepatitis B, nutrition and sports medicine. As an immigrant herself, she understands first-hand the challenges her patients face. As the first in her family to go to college and medical school, she works to promote the advancement of women and minorities in medicine. She is board-certified in family medicine and has been a part of Family Health Centers of San Diego since 2003.