Ezinne Akpara, MD
CUNY School of Medicine
Hi! I’m Ezinne (Zee) Akpara. I attended the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine. Born and raised in New York City, I have lived here all my life, so I am ecstatic to be leaving and coming to Chicago to further my education.
Choosing UChicago was a no-brainer. I had recently come back from a vegan-food tour in California, and accidentally doubled booked multiple interviews the week of my UChicago interview. Despite all of the stress this accrued, I could not get my interview with Uhicago out of my head. All throughout interview season, this program stayed as my #1, and I am honored and incredibly happy to be joining the UChicago crew. I am a huge proponent of diversity, equity, and inclusion, community engagement, and mentorship, all of which are evident at this program.
My favorite hobbies include reading, boxing, dancing, and trying vegan foods across the country. My future hobby goals include obtaining boating, pilot’s, and skydiving licenses.
Matthew Bonomo, MD
Pritzker School of Medicine
Hey, I’m Matt. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Growing up, I was a high-energy kid. I loved playing team sports—mostly baseball, but also soccer, basketball, and football. When I wasn’t in school or sports, I kept busy by eating chicken nuggets and annoying my older sister. I went to Amherst College for undergrad. I played baseball there for a hot sec my first year, and I majored in Neuroscience and being unprepared for winter. After undergrad, I worked for 2 years as a scribe and volunteer coordinator at an FQHC run by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Working there, I learned so much from both our incredible patients and some outstanding physician mentors. I came to the Pritzker School of Medicine because of its strong sense of community and its commitment to service. Coming here was the best decision I ever made (Thank you, Dr. Carter!). I’m so grateful for all of my classmates, all that I’ve learned, and for having the privilege of helping take care of our patients. I ultimately decided to go into Emergency Medicine because I love working with the whole team in our ED and because I love that we take care of anyone who comes through our doors. I’m so excited to become a part of the UChicago EM family and meet all my co-interns! Outside of the hospital, my hobbies include: pretending to be an Iron Chef, doing exercise videos, playing Nintendo, being disappointed by the 49ers, picnics at Promontory Point, restoring things that I find in our alley, jumping in Lake Michigan, surfing (though not much since moving to Chicago), and watching scary movies.
Jon Giuliano, MD
Duke University School of Medicine
Hey everyone! My name is Jon, and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. Growing up, I enjoyed reading books, exploring the outdoors, and listening to music. Early interests in the sciences, technology, and the arts led me to study Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University. Through my classes, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experiences in the hospital, I became interested in a career in medicine, and after graduation I moved to Durham, North Carolina to start medical school at Duke.
At Duke, my experiences in the hospital and the community underscored the importance of universal access and social justice. During my first year, I had my first exposure to patient care in the emergency department, and I admired the ways emergency providers centered empathy, collaboration, and equity in the practice of compassionate care. As I considered my choice of specialty, I wanted the opportunity to coordinate care in a dynamic environment, support patients during difficult moments, and provide essential services to my community. It became clear that emergency medicine was the specialty for me!
During interview season, I was deeply impressed by the University of Chicago’s commitment to embracing diversity, caring for vibrant communities, and centering the social determinants of health in the delivery of care. I am so excited to join the UCEM family, and I am honored to have the chance to serve Chicago’s South Side and the surrounding areas, while continuing to develop my interests in community advocacy, health equity, and medical education.
When I’m not in the hospital, I enjoy spending time with my fiancée, friends, family, and cat. I love the outdoors, and I’m excited to start running on the Lakefront Trail during the summer and stopping at the first sign of winter. Other hobbies I will remember fondly during long days in the hospital include reading books and articles, listening to music and podcasts, and learning to cook (nearly 3 months since my last accident!).
Leah A. Goldberg, MD, MHS
Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Hi everyone! My name is Leah and I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I went to the University of Pennsylvania for undergrad, where I studied Biology and Art History. I then went to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where I earned a Masters in Heath Sciences (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and a concentration in Health Inequality and Health Disparities. In addition to the high-acuity, fast-paced environment of the emergency department, I was drawn to EM for the way the specialty interfaces with the community, public health, and systemic issues that impact the most vulnerable in our society. I am particularly interested in the ways emergency physicians can screen, identify and intervene on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals living with substance use disorders. Outside of medicine, I love exploring new restaurants, traveling, being outside (when its not too freezing!) and spending time with my friends and family. I am so honored to be joining the UChicago EM family, and can’t wait to work with the community to promote health equity in the South Side of Chicago!
Naeha Haridasa, MD
George Washington University School of Medicine
Hello everyone, I’m Naeha! I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a kid, I dreamt of a future career in interior de sign or teaching dance. I loved riding my bike, dancing, and voraciously reading Harry Potter – hobbies I still maintain! For college, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt University where I double majored in Neuroscience and Medicine, Health and Society, with a concentration in Anthropology. During college, I worked on campus as a Resident Advisor, volunteered as a health literacy instructor for refugees, and did research on sickle cell disease. Before my senior year, I traveled to Kenya, where I spent three months listening to and scribing patient stories on experiences with chronic illness and cultural healing practices. My classes and experiences solidified my interest in combining narrative, medicine and healthcare disparities. After college, I matriculated to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. During medical school, I served as a Student Delegate to the AMA, drafted policy resolutions for EMRA and volunteered with a MAT clinic – experiences that solidified my interest in health policy and public health. As I came to the end of my third year, emergency medicine seemed like a natural fit for its core tenet of serving all patients and communities.
Jose Bien Rafaelo R Hernandez, MD
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
Hey all! My name’s JB, and I’m a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. At 15 years old, I moved to the United States with my parents and four sisters (hence the many first names), and have lived in Wisconsin ever since. Throughout undergrad and medical school, I’ve held many different positions, but what unites them is my genuine enjoyment of finding work that’s rooted in purpose. Whether it’s becoming Colleges Against Cancer’s Advocacy Director while my mother and my sister were battling cancer, or working to expand the diversity and equity lens of my medical school.
The experience I found to be most transformative though was my medical school’s Training In Urban Medicine and Public Health program. There, I had the privilege of working with and learning from Justice-involved patients and assisting in their transition and reintegration into today’s ever-changing world. It was this program that opened my eyes to the many different realities, perspectives and intersecting identities that various underserved patient populations experience. It taught me what true and sustainable service looks like, one that is done in collaboration with community stakeholders, taking into account community assets, risks, and needs. It has humbled me. It has challenged me to do better and be better. And most of all, it has taught me how to care, and to do so with intention and persistence.
It was then easy to see how the University of Chicago was the perfect fit for me. “People came here to serve” were not simply said or written, but lived out by so many. It was evident in the diversity within UC’s patient population and residency community. It was evident through the work that’s already happening here and the mentors so eager to teach. People were clearly here to serve, not save, and did so alongside various community partners.
So while at UC, I see myself getting involved in DEI, immigrants and/or refugee health, and in the future, pursuing Social EM, Critical Care, or Flight Medicine. Outside of medicine though, my life is simply a constant stream of new hobbies, whether it’s climbing, photography, poetry, or ultimate frisbee. Currently, I’m trying to cook a new recipe once a week, with the future goal of creating my own Japanese Omakase. For now, I think I’ve mastered making the Carbonara, seeing that it no longer turns into scrambled eggs. Major progress.
Taylor Jordan, MD
University of Washington
Hello everyone! I’m Taylor. I grew up in Spokane, Washington with a few years stint in Bendigo, Australia. I attended undergrad at the University of Denver where I got my degree in Geography and Spanish. At the time, I had no idea I’d eventually pursue a career in medicine. After college, I spent two years serving in the Peace Corps where I taught high school English in rural Costa Rica.
My passion for working with underserved communities in an especially intellectually and interpersonally rigorous field is what ultimately led me to pursue medicine. I completed my postbac at Goucher College where I had many wonderful opportunities to give back to the community including volunteering at a clinic serving undocumented immigrants and tutoring incarcerated men in math and Spanish. I returned home to Washington for medical school and immediately knew Emergency Medicine was the field for me. I love emergency medicine for the diverse patient population, the variety of pathology, and the privilege that comes with meeting and caring for patients exactly where they are at.
I was drawn to the University of Chicago for its emphasis on diversity and service. Not only was I struck by just how down to earth everyone was here, but it was obvious on my interview day that the residents and faculty truly walk the walk. I feel humbled and privileged to train at the University of Chicago and serve this wonderful community.
My professional interests include social EM, global EM, and medical education. Outside of medicine I enjoy running and hiking with my dog, alpine skiing, and trying out new breweries.
Ziomara Jurado, MD
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Hello! I am Ziomara, Zee for short, and I am absolutely thrilled to be joining UChicago EM! Growing up, I moved around the US and even lived in Germany for a couple of years before spending the past 15 years living the ‘…the good life’ in Nebraska. Through the power of Kraft mac and cheese and a healthcare pipeline program, I found my passion in medicine and made the decision senior year of high school to pursue medical school.
I attended Nebraska Wesleyan University for undergrad (Yip! Yip!) where I majored in biology and during my gap year I was a full-time scribe and a retail employee. I returned to the University of Nebraska for medical school with the continued interested in our underserved communities and learning more about DEI efforts. I’ve always had a feeling I was going to become an emergency medicine physician and my decision was solidified after rotating through the department because of the people, work environment, and the breadth of patient experience and pathology.
What drew me to UChicago was the commitment to the community and the diversity within the program. On my interview day I could feel the warmth and support from the residents and faculty and I knew UChicago was the place for me. I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to continue my training to become an emergency medicine physician at the University of Chicago.
Outside of the hospital I enjoy roller skating, learning the ukulele (a work in progress), game nights, and trying to remember to do my Spanish lessons.
Arielle Kempinsky, MD
Hello, it’s me, Arielle! I grew up in Los Angeles, California, but ran away to the East coast for high school and never looked back. I went to undergrad in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins. After graduation, I moved to Senegal as a Peace Corps Volunteer and lived in a tiny village on the Southeastern border working on health education and infrastructure building. Once back, I started med school at Stanford; at some point during my third year, I decided on Emergency Medicine. I then took a year off to get a Master of Public Health degree in quantitative methods. My goal is to incorporate social services into the Emergency Department to more
efficient serve all populations.
During the interview cycle, University of Chicago stood out as a place where the residents truly loved what they did and loved their patients. They also liked each other and had a great time outside of the hospital. The hospital had exactly the unique combination of patient population and academic center that I was looking for.
Things of which I am huge fan: traveling, restaurants, watching sports, spicy cocktails, hiking, breweries, cribbage, The challenge, baking. Guess it is time to explore the Midwest, come hang with us in Chicago!
Natalie Lemon, MD
Loyola Stritch School of Medicine
Hey, I’m Natalie! I grew up in San Diego within miles of the beach. For college, I moved up the California coastline and attended University of California Santa Barbara where I studied Biological Sciences and Philosophy. In SB, I enjoyed hiking, cruising around Isla Vista on my beach cruiser, and exploring local restaurants. I spent a lot of time planning events as Social Chair of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. During my last year in college, I was exposed to the Emergency Department for the first time as a medical scribe at our local hospital. I loved this minimum wage job so much that it kept me in SB for a full year after graduation! For medical school, I decided to brave the cold winters of Chicago where I attended Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Much of my family lives in the city and I am passionate about serving the area. After living here for four years, I consider Chicago just as much my home as San Diego.
At Loyola, I nurtured my interest in social medicine by volunteering and serving on the board of Community Health Clinic, a free clinic for undocumented and uninsured patients. I also served as Co-President of Housing Forward, a local homeless shelter. In these roles, I saw firsthand the effects of limited resources, personified by the unseen patients and shelter members waiting outside our closed doors at the end of each day. Although unsettling, this insight serves as personal motivation to work in a setting where there is equal healthcare access for all. In the ED, I am comforted knowing that even when my shift ends, the doors never close.
Throughout medical school, I have also developed a passion for medical education as a tutor for Step 1 and a teacher at our school’s ultrasound workshops. After residency interviews, it became apparent that University of Chicago offered a unique combination of academic and social EM that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. I could not be more excited for the next three years of training at my dream residency program!
Outside of medicine, my perfect day off is spent exploring the city, trying new breweries, or cooking with my friends. I also enjoy practicing yoga and traveling the globe!
Jordan Marganski, MD
University of California San Diego
Hi everyone! My name is Jordan, and I am from Rossville, Illinois (about two hours south of Chicago). I grew up hearing wonderful things about the University of Chicago, so you can imagine my excitement at becoming part of the EM family!
For undergrad, I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studied Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. While there, I had the opportunity to be involved in research regarding depression and anxiety in adolescents as well as designing and hosting local outreach programs geared towards getting school-aged children interested in science.
I have been studying at the University of California San Diego SOM for the past four years. While here, I had the opportunity to expand my interest in youth outreach by hosting camps for adolescent students who had been identified as being at risk for health care disparities. As part of this team of graduate students, I helped organize the curriculum for multiple summer camps at UCSD that had the mission of improving health literacy in the attendees and encouraging exploration of careers in the medical field. During this time, I also got the chance to work in the ED for the first time and feel very fortunate to have found a medical specialty where the culture of teamwork and camaraderie truly shines through. The field of EM also attracted me because of the opportunity to serve such a diverse patient population that frequently includes medically underserved patients who otherwise have very little contact with the healthcare field. I identify EM as a service-based specialty, and these ideas have sparked an interest within me to explore the field of Social EM, with a special interest in the area of youth community outreach.
On interview day, University of Chicago EM impressed me as an incredibly genuine program that “walks its talk,” when it comes to identifying areas that need improvement in the community and taking steps to do so. I am honored to be joining such a dedicated group of people and am excited to see where I might be able to contribute to improving healthcare for members of the Southside community.
Udoka Oji, MD
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Hey, my name is Udoka! I was born in Owerri in Imo State, Nigeria. My parents and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was two years old and I grew up living in various parts of the greater Baltimore area.
I went to Brown University for undergrad where I studied Neuroscience and Literary Arts. I’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor since I was a kid, but my decision to pursue medicine was solidified by my experiences volunteering in various Emergency Departments throughout college including the Laurel Regional Hospital in my hometown and the Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI. I remember immediately loving the multidisciplinary, teamwork-based environment of Emergency Medicine and feeling like it was the right place for me.
After college, I attended the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine where I was actively involved with SNMA and the UCCOM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It was through my experiences working with passionate peers and mentors that my commitment to health equity and community engagement was fostered. I plan to carry these passions with me throughout residency as my interests lie in Social EM and Health Policy! I was drawn to the EM program at the University of Chicago because of their shared commitment to diversity and improving healthcare access for the most vulnerable members of the community, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to join in that mission.
Outside of medicine my interests include music, literature, cooking, and trashy reality TV. I am excited to move to Chicago as it is such a vibrant, diverse city with so much to do!
Hassan Owens, MD
Greetings! I am Hassan Owens. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My favorite things to do as a kid in St. Louis was biking at Forest Park and eating Imo’s pizza. While in high school, I played soccer and worked two jobs! I was a pharmacy tech and a cashier at McDonald’s. I also spent my summers at St. Louis College of Pharmacy participating in the BESt Summer Pharmacy Institute where I gained early exposure to the medical field. I completed my undergraduate studies at Xavier University of Louisiana majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. At Xavier I became deeply involved in service. I helped organized multiple “Day of Services” and was Co-coordinator of a mentorship program called Men on the Move. Near the end of my sophomore year of college I decided that I wanted to become a physician. What attracted me most to medicine was the duality of the field. Physicians are tasked with being excellent clinicians and incredibly empathetic individuals who tackle social determinants of health, health disparities, and so much more. After undergrad, I moved to Los Angeles for medical school. At UCLA I was student in the Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education program. The program is designed to prepare students to work in underserved areas. In medical school, I had the unique opportunity to train in many different private and county hospitals. I also continued to be involved in service and outreach. I volunteered with multiple organizations and organized different programming geared at providing early exposure to medicine for students from under-resourced and minority backgrounds.
Why EM? – Three major reasons: 1. I enjoy being the first physician to work-up a patient 2. I love the procedural competent of EM. 3. The ER takes care of all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Why UChicago EM? – 1. The opportunity to take care of patients on the Southside of Chicago. 2. Outstanding faculty that supports resident education and wellness 3. The diversity within the faculty and residents. 4. The overall happiness and satisfaction that I sensed from residents when interviewing.
I am super excited to be here and am looking forward to what the next three years bring! Aside from medicine, I enjoy festivals, concerts, and trying new restaurants.
Sara Twadell, MD
FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Hi, I’m Sara! I grew up in Gurnee, Illinois (aka home of Six Flags Great America where I used to work as a haunted house actress). I graduated the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology. While I originally intended to pursue Occupational Therapy, a variety of research experiences and a semester abroad studying the healthcare system of Argentina lead me to pursue medicine instead. I took one gap year where I worked full-time as a research coordinator for the UW Hospital & Clinics studying post-operative delirium.
My family relocated to Florida, which also led me south to attend medical school at Florida Atlantic University. During medical school, I was the president of the Arts in Medicine club where I organized the annual class talent show and created our class yearbook. I also enjoy using my passion for art to publish my illustrations in medical journals or post comics to my online blog. Prior to the pandemic, I was able to spend a summer rotating at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra in Spain where I further refined my Spanish speaking ability.
I decided to pursue Emergency Medicine because of my desire to maintain a large fund of medical knowledge as well as my interest in working with vulnerable populations. It was always my intention to return to Chicago for residency, and the University of Chicago stood out to me on interview day because of the variety of opportunities provided to residents and the strong sense of community I could sense (even virtually). My professional interests include graphic medicine, global health, and critical care. Outside of the Emergency Department you can find me doodling, attending live theater/comedy shows, playing soccer, or listening to a podcast.
Tajhshea M. Walden, MD
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Hi y’all! I’m Taj, and I’m originally from Memphis, TN (Go Grizz!). I’m a true southern girl at heart and attended undergrad at Xavier University of Louisiana. While in New Orleans for college, I studied Biology and Chemistry and eventually developed my niche in health disparities and working with the vulnerable and underserved. This kickstarted my journey into medicine, and I landed myself in medical school at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
While in medical school, I fell in love with everything Emergency Medicine. The vast amount of pathology that can be seen during every EM shift won me over from the very beginning. Throughout medical school, I found that I thrived working in fast pace and high intensity work environments. I also found happiness in being the first to meet a patient and making all the necessary connections for that patient to the medical community.
I’ve spent many summers in Chicago, and I’m beyond excited to finally call the windy city home. The community at the University of Chicago won me over with its strong emphasis on diversity and wellness. The faculty and residents, underserved patient population, strong social EM programs, and supportiveness of leadership make this program the perfect fit for me.
Outside of medicine my favorite actives include hosting game nights, kickboxing, shopping, couponing, going to brunch, attending music festivals, and all things outdoors. I’m a dog mom, and my shih tzu’s name is Soda. You can always find us exploring parks. Lastly, I’m a horror movie fanatic.
Lauren Wells, MD
University of Washington School of Medicine
Hey, I’m Lauren! I was born and raised in Washington state where I stayed for both undergrad and medical school. I studied biology and chemistry at Whitworth University and then attended the University of Washington (“U Dub”) in Seattle for med school. I feel so honored to be continuing my medical career at the University of Chicago!
My passion for emergency medicine came early in undergrad when I volunteered in the emergency department. This turned into a job as an ED tech where I worked until I started med school. Though at the time, I also worked as an outpatient scribe and a tour guide for a local distillery, I was honestly just looking forward to my next ED shift. Working in the emergency department showed me first-hand how flawed the US health system is, but it also opened my eyes to the positive impact that we in EM can have in our community.
A bit about my background… I come from a family of many generations of teachers who taught at under-resourced and alternative schools. At a young age, their hard work, passion, and the pride they took in their students inspired me to volunteer in classrooms and get involved in community outreach. I’ve known medicine was my calling for a long time, but the teacher genes run deep. During undergrad and med school, I continued tutoring, mentoring, and empowering the next generation in their pursuit of scientific and medical careers. Though I am the first in my family to be a doctor, I am excited to uphold my family traditions by exploring medical education and social EM.
Aside from medicine, I am very passionate about eating, finding new crafts, baking, day hikes, weightlifting, naps, traveling when I can afford it, true crime podcasts, being outdoors (when it’s warm), thrift shopping, learning Portuguese from my Brazilian partner, taking care of plants, visiting family, planning theme parties, and all things wellness!
Rachel Whittaker, MD
University of Kentucky
Hi all, I’m Rachel! I am so excited to begin my emergency medicine career in Chicago!
Growing up in Alexandria, a small town in northern Kentucky, my fondest memories of my childhood were cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals (Who Dey!) and the constant entertainment of being the sole sister of three adventurous brothers. When I was a teenager, my family relocated to southwest Florida (I’m going to be missing the sunshine when the Chicago winters come calling!) where I completed my undergraduate degree at Florida Gulf Coast University.
I have had an intense passion for medicine since childhood; therefore, while attending FGCU, I majored in biology. To further delve into the world of medicine, I served as a camp counselor volunteer at Camp Boggy Creek – an inclusive summer camp for ill children. Furthermore, I began working as a scribe in my local community emergency department in Naples, Florida. This experience ignited my love for emergency medicine as my time in the ER presented me the opportunity to work with a vulnerable population as well as gaining invaluable mentorship from physicians.
I chose to attend medical school as a member of the inaugural University of Kentucky – Bowling Green campus because of supportive faculty and opportunities to learn medicine in a smaller community setting. Along with my classmates, I was able to continue my commitment to community service by educating local youth about science and careers in medicine through school tutoring and shadowing days. I was also selected by the UK College of Medicine to serve on the admissions committee, which gave me a voice to advocate for underrepresented individuals in medicine. Despite my initial love for the emergency department, I kept an open mind to different potential specialties throughout my medical school journey. I led general surgery research efforts and enjoyed many of my clinical rotations but always circled back to my first passion – emergency medicine.
I am beyond thrilled to be continuing my journey in emergency medicine in the “Windy City” at the University of Chicago. Despite virtual interviews, I felt a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the residents and an unwavering support from faculty. I still remember calling my husband after my interview telling him my dream of one day training at U Chicago!
In my free time, I enjoy listening to live music, attending sporting events with my husband, hiking, scuba diving, and spending time with family.
Eric Young, MD
Nova Southeastern University CAM
Born and raised in Miami, Fl. I decided to earn a doctorate of Medicine degree after completing ten years as a tattoo artist and entrepreneur. I have also completed three years of employment as a Behavioral Health specialist and a phlebotomist. I am a proud father of two beautiful children.