Our Team

Staff

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Luz Elena Esquivel Ramirez

Luz Elena Esquivel Ramirez, nurse- Mi porque es porque me gusta la salud pública y es poner mi granito de arena para ayudar a la comunidad. “Because I really like public health,

and it is doing my part to help the community”.

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Christian Alberto Armenta Angeles

Dr. Christian Alberto Armenta Angeles - Porque estoy contribuyendo en un problema social de mi ciudad, la cual como Tijuanense me importa mucho. “Because I’m contributing to a social problem in my city which, as a Tijuana’s citizen, (Tijuanense), I care a lot”.

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Cristina Luna García

Dr. Cristina Luna García - Por la atención que le doy a la población vulnerable y en transito (migrantes)“For the attention I give to the vulnerable population and in transit (migrants)”.

Board Members

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Laura M. Vargas

Laura M. Vargas MHS, PA-C is one of the founders and co-directors of Refugee Health Alliance and works in Neurosurgery at a  Medical Center in West Los Angeles. She attended the University of Florida, where she dual majored in Neuroscience and Biochemistry and was a Division 1 Gymnast. Laura also did postgraduate research at Boston University and taught Organic Chemistry. As an undergraduate she co-founded a non-profit, CBOB, “Children Beyond our Borders,” working with orphanages in South America and the organization is still running to this day and has helped to bring many orphans to pursue college in the US as CBOB funded scholars. During her PA studies she served as Service Learning Chair, organizing all of the volunteer projects for the PA program. As a PA student she joined UCLA Flying Samaritans and served as the liaison to the Charles Drew University PA School continuing on to serve as a clinician after PA graduation. She also remains active in the local community partnering with local social justice groups in LA, helping to create organized protests and bring awareness to disparities in healthcare and the LA community. Laura is Colombian, immigrating as a small child with her family to the US and is the first in her family in medicine. She is thankful for her privilege and studied medicine to be able to give back to “mi gente” and help to afford others the same opportunities she had. 

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Hannah Janeway

Hannah Janeway is one of the co-founders and co-directors of Refugee Health Alliance. They split their time between Refugee Health Alliance and work as an Emergency Physician in Los Angeles, California. Their work focuses on re-envisioning healthcare spaces to serve the people who visit them, free from carceral forces, border health and border abolition.

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Evan Tamura

Evan is one of RHA's founding members and started her involvement with RHA during her Family Medicine residency at Harbor UCLA. She is a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University as a Neuroscience and Behavior major, and then attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her 97 year old Japanese American grandmother was interned by the US government during World War II, and this family history was what first attracted Dr Tamura to this work with displaced populations again being made more vulnerable as a result of US foreign and domestic policies. During the first part of the COVID pandemic she worked as a primary care provider in LA while helping RHA adapt to catastrophic public health changes south of the border. Since then she has relocated to Columbus, OH where she continues to work in FQHCs as a primary care physician, remotely coordinating volunteers, physicians, and operations of the organization. Dr Tamura is passionate about primary care, harm reduction, reproductive justice, integrative medicine, and universal healthcare, and strives to maintain these values both inside and outside of the US healthcare system. 

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Psyche Calderon-Vargas

Dr. Psyche Calderon-Vargas is a Mexican general physician who believes that every person regardless of where they are from or their personal stories have the right to receive the best trauma informed medical care and that no human being is illegal. She considers herself an activist first, an educator second and a medical provider third. She is co-founder and co-director of Refugee Health Alliance since 2018 an organization that works in Tijuana, Mexico giving free medical attention to refugees, migrants and other displaced persons. She is the medical director of Centro de la Conducta since 2013 a substance abuse treatment center and she is a Professor of Border Health at the medical school of the Autonomous University of Baja California.

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Ximena Rojas

Ximena Rojas is a nurse and midwife. Her Inspiration: The Maternal and reproductive health is the heart of social justice, I strongly believe that the only way to transform the borders, the systems and avoid violence starts at birth, every family no matter their legal status, nationality, deserves access to health and respectful births, that moment can heal generations of trauma, birth can heal traumatic journeys pursuing a dream of a better life. The reward after witnessing such a powerful moment like life arising in the middle of the most difficult circumstances makes all the challenges in this work seem little compared to the power of life.

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Mojdeh Motamedi

Mojdeh Motamedi, PhD, is the mental health team coordinator and on the board of directors. She has especially helped with developing remote/online efforts and the mental health student practicum. She currently is a child clinical psychologist at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.  If you or your organization/university want to get involved supporting the mental health of migrants, email her at rhabienestar@gmail.com.

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Ronica Mukerjee

Ronica Mukerjee is a family nurse practitioner, acupuncturist, training to also be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. They are an assistant professor at Columbia University. Dr Mukerjee is passionate about racial, economic and health care justice in LGBTQIA+, refugees and migrant communities, for people with substance use disorders, and for people living with HIV. She is the creator and former coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Health Justice concentration at Yale School of Nursing.  Dr. Mukerjee is senior editor of the textbook: Clinicians Guide to LGBTQIA+ Care: Cultural Safety and Social Justice in Primary, Sexual, and Reproductive Healthcare was published in February 2021.

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Ellie Hekker

Ellie is a registered nurse from NY that started volunteering with RHA in January 2020. She works as travel nurse and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA. As a member of the board, Ellie recruits and coordinates nursing volunteers and collaborates with the clinic’s full time nurse Luz to improve outcomes for our patients. 

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Summer Khan

Summer Khan is an undergraduate student at UC San Diego working toward a degree in Global Health. She believes in health equity, access to basic necessities for life, and personal safety regardless of birthplace, status or creed. These principals inspired her to socially advocate for and directly aid migrants within her local border community through Refugee Health Alliance.

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Karina Anaya

Karina Anaya started volunteering with RHA in 2019, after completing her General and Child Adolescent Psychiatry training at LAC+USC. She is a graduate of University of Southern California as a Fine Arts and Psychology Major. It was during her undergraduate years that she first experienced the privilege of being of service when working at New Image Emergency Shelter, one of the largest homeless shelters in California at the time. Her parents are immigrants from Mexico and South America, who’s stories helped her weave a sense of belonging to a global community. She specializes in LGBTQIA+ mental health, chronic pain, trauma and minority stress. She is passionate about decolonizing mental health and treating patients from an anti-oppressive framework.

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Mikaela Mizuno

Mikaela Mizuno, MD Candidate started volunteering with RHA in the summer of 2019 before beginning her senior year at UCLA. Once graduating in June 2020 with a B.S. in Physiological Science, Mikaela moved to Tijuana, Mexico for her gap year to volunteer full-time as a clinic coordinator for RHA in which she helped manage RHA’s weekday clinic and coordinated shelter outreach clinic trips on the weekends. Mikaela is now in her first year at the UC Riverside School of Medicine. She hopes to continue working with asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, deportees, and undocumented immigrants in her future career as a physician. Her desire to start volunteering with RHA was inspired by the people close to her who were once in the same position as our patients and now continue to have many aspects of their lives negatively affected by immigration policies. Regardless of what side of the border you are on, or what your immigration status is, she believes you should have the right to healthcare and the basic needs of life, and her desire for this will continue to serve as her motivation to do this work until we reach a world where this is no longer an issue.

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Lynnea Morm

Dr. Lynnea Morm completed her medical education at Western University of Health Sciences, where she obtained her degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. She attended Harbor-UCLA for her residency, where she also served as Chief Resident. Dr. Morm’s special interests are in Street Medicine, pipeline programs and community outreach. She has coordinated many free clinics in the US and Mexico. She currently works as a family medicine physician in a residency program in Los Angeles. Dr. Morm believes that health care is a basic human right and is committed to working towards health equity. She is passionate about community medicine and mentoring the next generation of healthcare professionals. She coordinates the majority of RHA’s medical student and resident rotations. 

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Romina Kim

Romina Kim, MD is a pediatric hospitalist in Los Angeles, CA and the primary pediatrician for RHA. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in marine biology with a minor in Spanish language at UCLA where she developed her passion for working with underserved communities. At UCLA, she often traveled to Tecate, Mexico with the Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine organization to provide medical care to the local community.  After she graduated, she joined Teach for America and taught 6th-7th grade multiple subjects in South Central Los Angeles which is where she developed her passion for working with children. She then went on to obtain her medical degree at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and then returned to California to complete her pediatric residency and community medicine fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. She started volunteering with RHA in November 2018, when the caravans first arrived at the border. She is an immigrant from Argentina whose family has struggled with access to quality healthcare due to language and cultural barriers. This has fueled her passion/mission to provide quality medical care to anyone who needs it regardless of their background. Dr. Kim’s interests are in the health of children, particularly immigrant children, social determinants of health, and language barriers. She believes that healthcare is a human right and is passionate in achieving health equity for all some day. 

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Matthew Waxman

Dr. Waxman is Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and works clinically at the Olive View UCLA Medical Center as an attending emergency physician. He is board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine. He received a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Gorgas Course for Tropical Medicine in Lima Peru. Dr. Waxman has been a residency director, and over the past decade has worked internationally with several NGOs. Dr. Waxman serves on the board of directors of Drugs for Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases and has an active interest in tropical medicine as graduate of the Gorgas Diploma Course in Tropical Diseases. Dr. Waxman worked clinically in an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone during the 2014-2015 epidemic and subsequently published research in The Lancet determining outcomes patients co-infected with Malaria and Ebola virus. He is a reviewer and has published in multiple academic journals and textbooks including Academic Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine, the Lancet. Dr. Waxman lead a WHO supported trauma stabilization point in Iraq during the Battle of Mosul in 2017. He served as Medical Director of the NGO NYCMedics Global Disaster Relief and coordinated emergency medical services responses in Yemen, the Caribbean and Iraq. During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Waxman had a leadership role at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in disaster preparedness and is a frequent contributor to MSNBC News and other local news organizations.