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A Catalyst for Talent

Ravenswood Family Health Center (RFHC) is a catalyst for talent, for people with a keen interest in supporting the health care needs of the underserved. Our staff is as diverse as our patient population: 47% Latino, 9% Pacific Islander, 11% African American, and 33% Caucasian/other. Since Spanish, Tongan or Samoan is the first language of 74% of our patients, having a bi-lingual staff is essential.

It is the professional skills of our staff and their sensitivity to our patients that determine how effective we are as a health care organization. Our bi-lingual/bi-cultural staff has both expert health care knowledge and skills and firsthand knowledge of life in low income, culturally diverse communities. This combination allows RFHC to bridge cultural barriers and create a bridge to health care for the underserved residents of our service area.

As a staff we hold to a high standard. Every week there are training sessions to help us improve. Licensed professionals receive a week off and an expense allowance for continuing medical education (CME).

To learn about the dedication and competence of our exceptional staff read the short bios under each staff category.

Brad Hamann, MHS, PA

Family Practice Physician Assistant

Brad completed the Physician Assistant Program at Duke University Medical Center in 2003 and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a BS in Biochemistry in 1996.  He served with the Peace Corps for two years in Ecuador. For five years prior to coming to RFHC he was a Physician Assistant at the Family HealthCare Network in Orosi, California.

Lisa Lestishock, PNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Lisa Lestishock joined our pediatric team in 2002. Her first encounter with community medicine was as a public health nurse in the barrio of Guatemala City. She completed nurses training at Villanova University and Advanced Practice Pediatric Nursing at University of California, San Francisco. Lisa splits her time between Ravenswood Family Health Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where she works on their mobile clinic and specializes in the care of high-risk and homeless adolescents.

Yogita Butani Thakur DDS, MS

Dental Director, Ravenswood Family Dentistry

Dr. Yogita Thakur trained as a dentist in India at the VYWS Dental College and Hospital (1991-1996). She received her Masters of Science in Dental Public Health at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She then completed a fellowship at UCSF School of Dentistry’s Centers to Address Disparities in Oral Health and obtained her certificate in Pediatric Dentistry at UCSF School of Dentistry and was chief resident. She was also a Clinical Scholar at UCSF’s School of Global Health from 2008-2010. She has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the AAPHD leveret Award and an NIH funded COHORT Training Grant. Her key interests include childhood caries.

Michelle Buccholz

Family Nurse Practitioner

Michelle was raised in the Bay Area, but left California to pursue studies in International Health at Georgetown University.  After her undergraduate training, Michelle worked with public health organizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a community health researcher and educator.  Michelle subsequently earned her BSN and MS degrees at the University of Pennsylvania as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  Prior to joining RFHC in 2016, she practiced at a federally qualified health center and a psychiatric hospital in Philadelphia.  Michelle is particularly passionate about health care for the homeless, and integrating mental health care in the primary care setting.  In her spare time, Michelle enjoys traveling, open water swimming, camping, and cooking.

Nina Duong

Nurse Practitioner

Nina earned her undergraduate degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Community Health and Child Development from Stanford University in 2012, and went on to complete her training to become both a Registered Nurse and a Nurse Practitioner at the University of California at San Francisco after a stint as a project coordinator at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities.  Nina completed her Family Nurse Practitioner Residency at RFHC, and came back to join us full-time in 2017. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and taking dance classes.

Erin Shah, DDS

After graduating from Columbia College of Chicago with a BA in Business Management, Dr. Erin Shah earned her DDS degree at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in 2014. She completed her Pediatric Dentistry Residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago in June 2017, and also earned an MS degree in Oral Sciences.  Upon graduation, she served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry with a focus on clinical examination, infection control, and advanced composite techniques. Prior to coming to Ravenswood, Dr. Shah worked in San Francisco, at the clinic of Cynthia K. Brattesani, DDS, and at Dental Power. Dr. Shah also worked at the Marin Community Clinic and Marin County Dental Clinics, where she conducted procedures such as dental prophylaxis, fillings, extractions, pulpotomies and crowns for pediatric and special needs patients.  She also worked as an on-call Dentist at La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland in 2015.

Sailaja Nalamati, DDS

Dr. Nalamati began her career as a Dental Surgeon Intern at Mennakshi Ammal Dental College in Chennai, India. She went on to become an Assistant Dental Surgeon, and worked in India for a number of years before moving to the United States and obtaining her California Dental License. Dr. Nalamati practiced dentistry with private groups including Shoker Dental and Western Dental Services, and with other dentists in California, before joining our staff at Ravenswood Family Dentistry. She is also certified to work with Radiology.

Macario Soliman, DDS

Dr. Soliman completed his DDS degree at the University of California at San Francisco in 2007, and finished his Pediatric Dental Residency at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2010. He is very passionate about Pediatric Oral Health, and likes to remind all of his patients to brush with toothpaste and floss every day to stop cavities!  In his spare time, he enjoys motorsports and spending time with his family.

Chiung-Huei Liu, RPh


Chiung-Huei received her Pharmacy degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and her Master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, a naturopathic institution.  She has 20 years of community retail pharmacy experience in the Bay Area.  During her spare time, she is an active volunteer with the Tzu Chi Foundation.  Her many volunteer activities include editing the Spanish journal, serving as a Spanish interpreter in community programs, installing smoke detectors in low-income areas, and participating in medical outreach events throughout California, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and more.

Dr. Gary Ho


Dr. Ho received his Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California, Berkeley and completed his residency training in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Diego. During his training, he participated in a volunteer mission to Nicaragua working to reduce avoidable vision impairment. Prior to joining Ravenswood Family Health Center, he worked in private practice and started an on-site workplace vision clinic in Silicon Valley. Dr. Ho enjoys spending time with family and friends and working on Do-It-Yourself home improvement projects in his free time.

Luisa Buada, RN, MPH

Chief Executive Officer

Luisa Buada has over 38 years of experience in health care administration, management and organizational development. She was the founding Executive Director of both Clinicas de Salud in the Salinas Valley and of Berkeley Primary Care Access Clinic. She cofounded LifeLong Medical Care in Berkeley as part of a merger with Over 60 Health Center in 1996. She participated as a consultant in the development of Ravenswood Family Health Center (RFHC) in East Palo Alto. After serving 12 months as Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) she became the Permanent CEO of RFHC in November 2003.

Luisa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing in 1977 and her Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) Policy and Administration from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990. In March of 2010, Buada was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2013 she received the California Senate Woman of the Year Award for the 13th District from Senator Jerry Hill. She was a 2016 Visionary of the Year Award Honoree sponsored by The San Francisco Chronicle and the School of Economics and Business Administration at St. Mary’s College and received the 2016 John W. Gardner Exemplary Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley. In 2018, she received the California State Assembly Woman of the Year award for the 24th District from Assemblyman Marc Berman

Allison Adachi, DDS


Dr. Allison Adachi recieved her degree in Dental Surgery from the University Of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry in June 2011. After receiving her degree, Dr. Adachi completed her Residency with a certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentisry from UCSF Lutheran Hospital in June 2012.  Dr. Adachi currently practices dentistry with several other private groups throughout the Bay Area and provides patients with oral health education and emergency treatments.

Isabel Quiñonez, MPH

Women's Health Services Manager

Isabel Quiñonez is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at San Jose State University. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science, with a concentration in Health Services Administration, from San Jose State in December 2006 where she was a Dean’s Scholar.  Isabel first came to RFHC as a summer intern through the Health Career Connection program before joining RFHC in 2007.  She now oversees our Women’s Health Services, including the mammography program and our Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program.

Gralyn Jacques

Chief Financial Officer

Gralyn Jacques served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Haight Asbury Free Clinics, Inc. for four years, serving as a Senior Manager of the organization, managing a $12M budget, overseeing contracts and grants management, compliance,  audits, and was responsible for all internal and external reporting.  Prior to this, he was an internal auditor for Old Republic Title Company where he performed tests of the company’s internal controls and also conducted special investigations relating to fraud and defalcations.  Gralyn became Ravenswood Family Health Center’s CFO in March 2019. Gralyn is also a licensed real estate broker and has represented both buyers and sellers since 2002. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting from San Francisco State University. He is in the process of obtaining certifications in Wellness Coaching, Personal and Group Fitness Training, and Nutrition Education.

Jaime Chavarria, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Jaime Chavarria has been in family practice for over 18 years. He was Chief Resident at the Family Practice department at University of Southern California/California Medical Center and received his Medical Degree at the University of California, San Diego, Medical School. From 1994 to 2002, he worked with the San Jose Medical Center and prior to that he worked in a four family-physician medial group in Los Angeles that served a multi-cultural population. He served as a faculty member and preceptor for the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Family Practice Program at California Medical Center, and was a part-time faculty member at the Whittier Family Practice Program. He is very interested in redesigning health care to be more patient centric, efficient, effective and in working more closely with clinical partners to coordinate care and community groups to address the social determinants of health.

Reshma Thadani, MD, MPH


Dr. Thadani received her B.A. in Child Psychology and Spanish from Tufts University.  She then completed her Master’s in Public Health in Population and Family Health from Columbia University.  She received her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland in 2006. . Prior to joining RFHC in 2008, Dr. Thadani worked for two years at Bancroft Pediatric Medical Group in San Leandro.  She is on the general pediatrics faculty at the Stanford University School of Medicine and is interested in reducing rates of asthma and obesity in underserved populations.

Yogita Butani Thakur DDS, MS

Chief Dental Officer

Dr. Yogita Thakur trained as a dentist in India at the VYWS Dental College and Hospital (1991-1996). She received her Masters of Science in Dental Public Health at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She then completed a fellowship at UCSF School of Dentistry’s Centers to Address Disparities in Oral Health and obtained her certificate in Pediatric Dentistry at UCSF School of Dentistry and was chief resident. She was also a Clinical Scholar at UCSF’s School of Global Health from 2008-2010. She has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the AAPHD leveret Award and an NIH funded COHORT Training Grant. Her key interests include childhood caries.

Kathleen Yau, DDS


After receiving a degree in general dentistry from the University of California at San Francisco in 2009, Dr. Yau completed a Lutheran Medical Center residency at the Shasta Community Health Center in Redding, Ca.  Following residency, Dr. Yau practiced dentistry with a several private groups before joining the staff of Ravenswood Family Dentistry.

Dental Residents

Ravenswood Family Dentistry is a site for the Lutheran Medical Center-UCSF residency program in Clinical-based Advanced Education in General Dentistry.  We welcome two dental residents to our dental staff.

Sharon DiPierro, MD


Dr. Sharon DiPierro completed her undergraduate studies in 2006 at Brown University with a major in Community Health. After earning her medical degree in 2010 from the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, she spent her Pediatric Residency at the University of California, Davis. Her primary areas of interest are teen health and working in underserved communities. During residency, she was part of the first group of physicians from UC Davis to practice at The Effort, a federally-qualified health center in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood.

Rebecca A. Pinto, PA-C

Physician Assistant, Certified

Rebecca is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine Physician Associate program and is a Board Certified Physician Assistant in Primary Care and Surgery. She has 20+ years experience in gynecology and in adolescent medicine and primary care. Rebecca began her career on the orthopedic surgery staff at the Lahey Clinic near Boston, and was a long-time staff member of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate where she was Lead Clinician and Trainer.

Ivonne Velado, MHS, PA

Family Practice Physician Assistant

Completed the Physician Assistant program at Duke University Medical Center in 2001 and graduated from University of California in San Diego with a double major in Biology and a BA in Literature in 1995.  Prior to joining RFHC, Ivonne worked as a Physician Assistant at the County’s Willow Clinic and most recently at Family HealthCare Network in Visalia, California.

Jessica Chiu, MURP, MPH

Development, Planning and Evaluation Director

Jessica Chiu is highly experienced in grant writing and management as well as program planning and evaluation. She joined RFHC in 2013 as its Grant Development Manager, where she not only wrote and packaged grant proposals, but also managed grants throughout their entire life cycles. Prior to joining RFHC, she worked at another federally qualified health center in the Bay Area where she wrote and managed an extensive portfolio of government, foundation, and corporate grants. Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis. She received her second Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018.

Amy Wolfe, M.P.H., FNP

Family Nurse Practitioner

Amy joined the staff of RFHC in December 2001 and has provided primary care services to adult patients since the day the clinic opened. She received her Masters in Public Health from UCLA and then worked for six years as a research assistant at UCSF Center for Reproductive Health Policy.  She completed her second Masters degree in the UCSF Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2000.  After graduation she spent 7 months working in Ecuador in both rural and urban settings.

Jonathan Shaw, MD

Family Practice Physician

Dr. Jonathan Shaw received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, during which he spent a research year in Guatemala. He completed his family medicine training at Oregon Health & Sciences University, and then practiced community based medicine in Hillsboro, Oregon providing maternity, infant, pediatric and adult care to a diverse patient population. Most recently he completed a research fellowship at Stanford University and the Palo Alto VA, where he gained training in evaluating health services, focusing on the interaction of psycho-social factors and health.

Jose Lopez, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Lopez received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 1992, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1993.  While Dr. Lopez has over 14 years experience working with a general psychiatric population, he has expertise working with the following clinical populations:  working with Spanish-speaking psychiatric populations; the assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD; and the assessment and treatment of children in foster care settings.  At Ravenswood Family Health Center Dr. Lopez will provide short-term counseling to individual, families, children, adults and adolescents.

Erika Simpson

Chief Operations Officer

Erika Simpson is a native of East Palo Alto. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health, with a focus on global health, from Touro University in Vallejo, CA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Howard University in Washington D.C. Erika has worked with underserved populations throughout her life. She has worked as a mentor and counselor to East Palo Alto youth through the Leadership Training Academy’s summer Community Government Institute, as well as the Programs and Outreach Coordinator of the Community Breast Health Project where she worked with young women under 40 in need of breast cancer screening and diagnostic services.  In 2003 she joined RFHC as the Volunteer Program Coordinator where she established RFHC’s Volunteer Program. She then moved on to hold various roles at RFHC including Interim Clinic Manager and Health Educator. In 2006 she helped establish our second clinic site (which is now closed and part of our main health center) in the Menlo Park Belle Haven neighborhood where she was the Clinic Manager. In 2007 Erika was named the first awardee of the Geiger Gibson Emerging Leader award, presented by the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University, giving national recognition for her accomplishments as an emerging leader in community health.

Sandra Escobar, PhD

Integrated Behavioral Health Services Clinical Director

Dr. Sandy Escobar obtained her BA in Psychology at UCLA, and completed her doctoral in Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. Since 1995, Dr. Escobar has held several leadership and clinical positions working in community behavioral health programs serving the neediest and most disadvantage individuals in our communities. Her professional track record includes successful advocacy of an integrative approach to services, building community partnerships, implementing new programs and advocacy for community culturally appropriate evidenced-based clinical therapies, outcome driven services and clinical supervision for postdoctoral students.  Before joining Ravenswood, Dr. Escobar was the Senior Division Director for a large nonprofit community organization providing leadership and managing a large-scale multi-million-dollar health division.

LaRae Garrigan, CPC, NCP

Director of the Billing Cycle

LaRae Garrigan moved to San Francisco from a small farming community in Nebraska with a population of 720 people. She started working as a Medical Receptionist in a private doctors office in 1989, and within a year had worked her way up to Office Manager/Practice Administrator.  LaRae joined Ravenswood in 2009, bringing over 20 years of medical billing knowledge, successful staff management and efficient workflow processes to our team.  She is a Certified NextGen Software Professional, as well as a Certified Professional Coder. LaRae is also a Certified Private Investigator and California Licensed Real Estate Agent.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Varsha Gadgil, RPH, PIC

Pharmacy Director

Varsha Gadgil is Pharmacy Director at Ravenswood Family Health Center. She started working at RFHC as locum Pharmacist in the small dispensary. She was instrumental in growing the small dispensary to a Licensed Pharmacy. She had to work with multiple agencies to establish inventory, licensing and setting up pharmacy software systems. She successfully implemented ten new insurance plans, and transitioned legacy plans to electronic claims. She has set up an ongoing collaboration with HPSM and their Pharmacy and therapeutics committee. She launched the Pharmacy and therapeutics committee here at RFHC. She ensured that the Pharmacy meets compliance requirements, and efficiently addresses any concerns including those from patients regarding dispensing practices. She continues to work diligently to expand Pharmacy services at RFHC. Varsha received her Master of Pharmacy degree from S.N.D.T University, India. Previously she was an Inpatient Pharmacist at Kaiser Permanente where she was instrumental in setting up a new Inpatient Pharmacy. She has done medical and community outreach work abroad. She also participated in fundraising initiatives for funding small businesses for underprivileged women. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, and travelling with her family.

Jaclyn Czaja, MD, FAAP

Associate Medical Director, Pediatrics

Dr. Jaclyn Czaja completed medical training at the University of Michigan’s Medical School in 2007, followed by a three year pediatric residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to hospital duties, she worked with an inner city, and largely immigrant, population at the Harborview Children and Teen’s clinic. During her residency, she also participated in Seattle Children’s Global Health Pathway; working on a pediatric ward assessing the chronically ill children in Kisii, Kenya. Dr. Czaja is a Stanford graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Biology.

Sonia Menchavez, OD, MPH

Optometry Director

Dr. Sonia Menchavez received her Doctor of Optometry degree as well as her Master in Public Health at University of California, Berkeley. While studying at UC Berkeley, she was the first optometry student to receive the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship which is designed to prepare the next generation of leaders to address underlying causes of health inequities. Dr. Menchavez is passionate about developing sustainable vision care for underserved communities. As the Optometry Director at Ravenswood, she has played an integral part in developing the clinic’s first in-house optometry department. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, salsa dancing and spending time with family.

Sonia Santana, MD, OB/GYN

Associate Medical Director, Women’s Health

Dr. Sonia Santana was born in Bogota, Colombia and immigrated to the United States in 1987. She completed medical school at York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, New York in 2001 and finished her OB/GYN residency at Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut in 2005. Dr. Santana worked in private practice in the East Bay before joining RFHC in 2015. She is also a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Santana has a passion for women’s health and is results-driven in her practice. Her goal is to provide the highest quality care to effectively meet the needs of her patients. In her practice, she emphasizes educating her patients on self-management while involving their families and the community which are at the heart of RFHC’s mission.

Christy Silva, MBA

Quality & Project Management Officer

Christy Silva had a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences when she worked in the government in El Salvador as a communication advisor. When she moved to the Bay Area she started in an entry-level position at RFHC as a Patient Service Assistant registering patients and checking their insurance. Within a few months she moved to the Billing department and then to the Finance department. She liked finance and decided to go for a Master’s in Business Administration degree, which she earned with honors. Working full-time by day and studying by night, she graduated after two and a half years with a concentration in Project Management. Within a year she was promoted to Project Planning Manager. Her expertise met a critical need to help manage two major projects – the implementation of electronic health records, and project oversight of a major Health Care Innovation grant awarded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services that has intensive reporting requirements on multiple indicators related to management and health outcomes of chronic disease patients. As the Director of Project Planning she continues to work on new initiatives and improvement projects with the vision of whole person care and value based health care.

Kim Rufus

Director of Decision Support and Front Office Operation

Kim Rufus is a native of East Menlo Park, and she is passionate about serving the community that she grew up in. She began her career working at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) in 1998 as a Patient Services Representative, and within a year became the lead in her department. In 2001 Kim transferred to the Quality & Planning department, and after five years became a System Analyst III (senior analyst). In 2008, through PAMF’s Community Health Partnership program, Kim began working with RFHC to set up their reporting systems and their databases. In 2010 Kim joined RFHC as a full-time staff. Kim oversees seven departments in RFHC. The departments consist of Decision Support, Health Information Management Systems, IT, Audio Visual, Enrollment and Eligibility, Front Desk, and Call Center. Kim completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Notre Dame de Namur University in May of 2018.

Diana Mokaya, MD

Associate Medical Director, Family Practice

Dr. Diana Mokaya is a Family Medicine provider. Dr. Mokaya received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her family medicine training at O’Connor Hospital in 2016, which included training in maternity, infant, pediatric and adult care to a diverse patient population.  She is committed to caring for underserved populations through systems improvement and governmental advocacy. Her practice is open to all patients, including newborns, children, adults and pregnant patients.  Prenatal care and women’s health are part of the services she provides for her patients.
When not working, Dr. Mokaya enjoys any kind of craft, including knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving. She is an avid reader, and her favorites are sci-fi and fantasy novels.