Meet the Residents: Class of 2023

 

Class of 2023


Jennifer Akazawa, MD

Where are you from?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, spent a few years in the San Francisco Bay Area for college and for research, and then returned home to Tucson for medical school.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?
I chose UA Family Medicine in order to give back to the Tucson community that has raised me. During medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, I found that UA Family Medicine physicians strive to serve as advocates and long-term partners for their patients. As a community physician, I look forward helping patients understand and achieve their unique goals of care in order to guide them towards a healthier lifestyle.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?
I look forward watching my hometown of Tucson grow as the community thrives together. I hope to always be trying new foods and discovering hidden food, culture, and art gems in my neighborhood.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?
Cooking, gardening, hiking, camping, yoga, biking, podcasts.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?
Integrative Medicine, Food as Medicine, Healthcare to Underserved Populations, Preventive Medicine, Adolescent Medicine, Community Medicine.
Favorite way to spend a day off?
Going to the farmer’s market in the morning to get the ingredients for a picnic after a long hike on Mt. Lemmon with my dog, followed by cooking a meal from my garden with friends and family.
Top item on your "Bucket list"? 
Building a chicken coop and sharing eggs with my friends, family, and community.


Bernardo Chavira, DO

Where are you from?     
Chihuahua, Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?    
Because of the diverse population being served, the integrative program, the full spectrum education, and the friendly people that are part of this program.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?    
The food, culture, the outdoor activities (including the 5-10 degrees cooler than Phoenix weather), and the community.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
Spending time with my family, being outdoors, playing soccer and volleyball, sports cars, and Netflix.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
I’m interested in preventive and integrative medicine, procedures, and working in underserved populations.
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Dinner and movies with family and friends, car ride/traveling, or just relaxing.
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
Learn to drift a car.


Jason Dorian, DO

Where are you from?
Porter Ranch, California.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?
The UA Family Medicine program offers strong opportunities in both community and academic medicine as well as a positive learning environment. Throughout the interview and social, I couldn’t help but notice how supportive and caring both the residents and faculty were of one another and how dedicated they were to provide culturally competent care.  
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson? 
Meeting new people and anything involving the outdoors.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?
Hiking, cooking, yoga, traveling, guitar, sports, and spending quality time with loved ones.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?
Geriatrics, palliative medicine, sports-medicine, integrative medicine, global health, mental health, and working with underserved populations.
Favorite way to spend a day off?
Waking up early, going on a hike, trying a new restaurant, and ending the night with a great show on Netflix.
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
See at least one country on every continent.


Martha Esparza, MD

Where are you from?   
Phoenix, AZ
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?    
I choose UA Family Medicine because of their focus on providing care for medically underserved populations in Tucson. Not only do they treat a diverse population, but their residents, staff and attending physicians also represent their commitment to diversity and inclusion. I wanted a program that provided a strong foundation in medicine and encouraged a life outside the hospital to create a healthy, well-rounded physician.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?    
I am looking forward to exploring the hiking and biking trails with our 1 year old. I also enjoy finding what will be our new favorite locally owned restaurants and businesses. It is the neighborhood communities and personalities that make Tucson so special and inviting. I am excited to share these experiences with my mother as she is coming along for this new adventure.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
I enjoy a good non-fiction book and still prefer my books on paper. While I still enjoy yoga and a good bike ride, most of our time is currently occupied with one of our new hobbies: becoming educated on teething, potty training and life with a toddler.  I would be remiss if I did not mention our 3 rescue dogs that add to the fun.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
I have an interest in women’s and adolescent health, preventative medicine, and reproductive health. In addition, with my previous career in policy analysis and health program evaluation, I have a strong interest in advocacy and health equity.
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Listening to an audiobook with my partner, catching up on Sesame Street with our daughter, or completing a renovation project around our new house. There is always a wall screaming for tile or paint or a backyard garden that can be built.
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
There is one item that I have always wanted to complete and now I might get to share the experience with our daughter. While studying and traveling in Spain, I had the luck of witnessing and chatting with a group as they arrived in Santiago de Compostela. The joy mixed with exhaustion and sense of accomplishment solidified my desire to complete the Camino de Santiago someday.


Abigail Stephens, MD

Where are you from?     
I grew up all over the US and lived in Mexico when I was a little girl.  More recently, I called Reno my home for over 8 years and fell in love with the openness and beauty of desert and mountains.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?    
When I interviewed here I felt right at home.  There was a resonance of being among kindred spirits who wanted to inspire and encourage each other towards excellence in patient care and medicine as a lifelong passion.  I saw that this group valued hard work and also acknowledged the importance of having a life and being a whole person in creating a sustainable, healthy, thriving career as a physician.  When I saw the opportunities to study Integrative Medicine, and learn and work in a beautiful city with so much access to the outdoors, I knew this was the place for me.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?    
I am excited to go explore the outdoors- mountains, trails, whatever I can find!  I want to go dancing and am also looking for a dance studio to join.  I’m most excited to meet people and make new friends here in Tucson.  I’ve also recently tried boba tea which is delicious and I would like to try more flavors- and also ice cream.  It’s very warm here and I feel a lot of ice cream will be required.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
I am interested in trail running, dancing, singing and playing acoustic guitar!  I decided I do enough yoga to call myself a yogi- right now I’m into hot yoga which has been a new challenge.  I learned to ski this past season so I plan on continuing on and would like to get AVI certified and backcountry ski.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
Integrative Medicine is one of my primary interests and aligns well with my passion for preventative care.  I’m also curious about the role of the psyche in the decisions we make and the impact that has on our health and lives.  My goal is an understanding of the underlying cause of any problem and approaching a solution with that in mind.
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Outside with my favorite people
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
Traveling to New Zealand for a month of backpacking and exploring


Jennifer Stepp, MD

Where are you from?  
Ahwatukee (Phoenix, AZ)
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?     
I chose the UA Family Medicine because of the incredible people and its focus on integrative and preventative medicine in underserved communities.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?  
I am excited for the Cactus Margaritas, the Tucson Rodeo, Gem Show, and Winter Haven experiences.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
I love to be outdoors, when it’s cool enough. I love to play with my daughter, my dog, and I love to water color.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
I am particularly drawn to preventative medicine and rural medicine. I am passionate about closing disparity gaps of underserved and resource limited populations.
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Spending time with my family and enjoying all Tucson has to offer.
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
I really want to learn ASL, and go to the Christmas Market in Vienna!


Sameer Suhale, MD

Where are you from?     
I am from Chicago, Illinois but I’ve lived in many different countries.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?    
I chose UA family medicine for the integrative medicine education it offers as well as the well-rounded experience. I also find it rewarding to work with the underserved.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?    
The number one thing is living so close to a National Park. I am also excited about having warm weather year-round.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
I like to woodwork, going on hikes and snowboarding.
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
Mental health in primary care, OB/prenatal care, integrative medicine
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Either lounge around in my pajamas and watch TV or go for a hike in Saguaro National Park or Sabino Canyon.
Top items on your "Bucket list"?
1. Travel around Japan and see Mt. Fuji
2. See the pyramids of Giza
3. Go to Jerusalem


Nikie Tong, DO

Where are you from?     
Born and raised in Hong Kong, then moved to Torrance, CA.
Why did you choose UA Family Medicine?    
I was attracted by the 2+2 curriculum and the immersive experience in integrative medicine. I knew that Tucson is where Dr. Andrew Weil started the Center for Integrative Medicine and being able to be surrounded by like-minded people was important to me. Also, the people I met during the interview process gave off very chill vibe and were down to earth and easy to talk to.
What are you most excited about for life in Tucson?    
This will be the city where I have a real full time job for the first time so I am excited to go through adulting here! This city will witness my growth as I learn to become a skilled physician, manage my finances, live without roommates and getting my first puppy! I am also excited to explore what this city has to offer in terms of the holistic and alternative therapy. And lastly, the food, of course!
What are your interests or hobbies outside of Medicine?    
Trying out restaurants with friends and family. Going out into the nature because it calms me down and makes many of my concerns very small in comparison. I also do yoga and Pilates. I also like to recreate Chinese dishes and make quick and easy but delicious vegetarian dishes (I do plant based diet).
What are your professional interests within Medicine?     
Prevention, nutrition, lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine. If I am doing a fellowship, it would be in geriatrics or integrative medicine.
Favorite way to spend a day off?    
Sleep in, clean, try out a restaurant that’s new to me and watch a movie.
Top item on your "Bucket list"?
Purchasing my own house, scuba diving, play with dolphins, take a pottery class, going on the Disney cruise.