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Students, Faculty, and Staff Honored at Annual School of Medicine Awards Ceremony

More than 50 recognized at event that opens 2021 Commencement season
By Ross French |

The UC Riverside School of Medicine formally kicked-off its end-of-the-year celebration with the annual School of Medicine Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. The event, which was held on Zoom, included awards to more than 50 students, faculty, and staff in cerebration of their contributions and achievements.

The full list of recipients can be found below. A recording of the awards ceremony can be viewed here or at the bottom of this page.

Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H., opened the event by thanking the students, faculty, and staff for their efforts over the last 12 months.

"This has been an extraordinary year for the medical school and we would not have achieved so much without each and every one of you," she said.

The event included the presentation of the Dean's Mission and Values Award and the Dean's Social Justice Award.

Archana Reddy
Archana Reddy

The Mission and Values Award, which is presented to a graduating medical student who embodies the school's mission and values was presented to Archana Reddy. Reddy served on multiple student organizations, was the class representative for two years, and was a student instructor in the medical simulation program. A passionate advocate for health equity, she also played a key role in communicating on concerns in curriculum and policy to her peers and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Reddy was also named an outstanding student in pediatrics.

josue_reynaga
Josue Reynaga

The Social Justice Award, which is presented to a graduating fourth-year student who has exceptional character, leadership, and demonstrates a commitment to social justice while exemplifying the SOM values, was presented to Josue Reynaga. Reynaga was an advocate for LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities in several leadership roles and served as the community engagement representative. He volunteered at several student-led free clinics. He was also inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Niresh Perera
Niresh Perera

Two fourth-year students, Niresh Perera and Rebecca Ocher, were presented special awards by outside organizations.

Perera was recognized as a recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Public Health Award from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Physician Professional Advisory Committee. The award recognizes medical students across the United States who advance public health in their communities and exemplify the program's mission to protect, promote, and advance health and safety. and was presented by Dr. Naeemah Logan of the USPHS.

He also received the Thomas Haider Clinical Award of Excellence in recognition of his outstanding scholarship and clinical skills.

Perera helped develop and served as the first president of the UCR SOM Medical Student Council. He has made significant academic contributions as one of the developers of the case-based curriculum for the Longitudinal Emergency Medicine Experience as well as founding and designing the Tips and Tricks for Clinical Learning, Knowledge and Experience curriculum, which is designed to help assist the transition of students from the classroom to the clinical clerkship. He was also the first president of the UCR SOM Medical Student Council

Rebecca Ocher
Rebecca Ocher

Ocher was presented the American College of Physicians' Southern California Region 2 Governor’s Award in recognition of her work in internal medicine. She was also named outstanding student in internal Medicine.

The School of Medicine will host its Commencement and Hippocratic Oath Ceremony on Friday, June 4, 2021, at 6 p.m.


2021 School of Medicine Award Recipients

Listed in order of presentation.

Outstanding Support to Careers in Medicine

Dr. Parastou Farhadian
Associate Clinical Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Family Medicine

Outstanding Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience (LACE) Students

Hanna Mandell, Class of 2024

Carina Bell, Class of 2023

Maria Macias, Class of 2022

Outstanding Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience (LACE) Faculty

Dr. Sunil K. Patel
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Jean Russell
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Moazzum Bajwa
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Family Medicine and LACE Director

Outstanding Practice Improvement Projects (PIP)

Alexa Pazos, Class of 2023
"COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance in Latino Farmworking Communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley, Riverside County”

Laurel Nelms, Class of 2022
“Increasing Pediatric Vaccine Compliance by Improving Identification of Parents’ Vaccine Misconceptions”

Maura Becerra & Michelle Smith, Class of 2021
“Motivational Interviewing to Increase Physical Activity in Patients with Cardiac Risk Factors"

Outstanding Pre-Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Zhenyun Yang
Lecturer in Internal Medicine for his instruction in the Gross Anatomy Lab

Outstanding Doctoring Instructors

Ruben Robles
Community-Based Clinical Faculty Member

Dr. Hina Mohsin
Community-Based Clinical Faculty Member

Outstanding Case-Based Learning Instructors

Dr. Rebeca Gavan
Co-Director of Clinical Skills, Director of Case-Based Learning and Faculty Director of the Standardized Patient Program

Ms. Jennifer Zamora
Community-Based Clinical Faculty

Outstanding Clinical Skills Instructors

Dr. Nathan McLaughlin
Associate Clinical Professor of Health Sciences in the Department of Family Medicine

Dr. William P. Hunt
Community-Based Clinical Faculty

Outstanding Standardized Patient

Ted Puffer

Outstanding Emergency Medicine Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Samuel Zidovetzki
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences

Outstanding Family Medicine Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Jin Seon Kim-Paglingayen
Assistant Clinical Professor, Health Sciences

Outstanding Internal Medicine Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Scott Kubomoto
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences and Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency

Outstanding OB/GYN Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Mallory Stuparich
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences and OB/Gyn Clerkship Director

Outstanding Pediatrics Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Adwoa Osei
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences

Outstanding Psychiatry Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Roberto Castaños
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences

Outstanding Surgery Clerkship Instructor

Dr. Karl Schulz
Community-Based Clinical Faculty

Outstanding Block and Clerkship Directors

Dr. Chris Lytle
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Meera Nair
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Robby Gulati
Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education

Outstanding Public Health Faculty

Dr. Brandon Brown
Associate Professor, Department of Social Medicine, Population and Public Health and member of the Center for Healthy Communities

Outstanding Clerkship Students

Sana Hadyah, Class of 2022

Laurel Nelms, Class of 2022

Outstanding Pre-Clerkship Staff

Tracy Bereal
Associate Director, Educational Instruction

Outstanding Clerkship Staff

Kathleen Witty
Clerkship Program Coordinator

Outstanding Student Affairs Staff

Alejandra Torres
Academic Specialist

Outstanding General Staff Member

Ariel DeGuzman
Manager, Assessment & Evaluation Systems and Manager of the Gross Anatomy Lab

Outstanding Student in Psychiatry

Alfonso Vera, Class of 2021

Outstanding Student in Internal Medicine

Rebecca Ocher, Class of 2021

Outstanding Students in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Jasmine Correa, Class of 2021
Anne Lyon, Class of 2021
Jordan Towne, Class of 2021

Outstanding Students in Pediatrics

Katherine Domenici, Class of 2021
Archana Reddy, Class of 2021

Outstanding Student in Family Medicine

Julia Devito, Class of 2021

Outstanding Student in Surgery

Troy Ruff, Class of 2021

Stewart and Elaine Shankel Award

Nikita Kadakia, Class of 2021

Thomas Haider Clinical Award of Excellence

Niresh Perera, Class of 2021

Dean’s Mission and Values Award

Archana Reddy, Class of 2021

Dean’s Social Justice Award

Josue Reynaga, Class of 2021

Golden Apple Award

Dr. Alexander Friedman
Assistant Clinical Professor of Health Sciences

Golden Brain Award

Dr. Remus Popa
Clinical Professor of Health Sciences

Golden Lung Award

Chris Miller
Director of Operations - Medical Simulation and Research

Wesley Lockhart
Simulation Specialist and Clinical Faculty

Neal L. Schiller Award for Excellence in Compassionate Medical Education

Dr. Emma Simmons
Salma Haider Endowed Chair for the Thomas Haider Program, and Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Excellence in Public Health Award

Niresh Perera, Class of 2021

American College of Physicians Southern California Region 2 Governor’s Award

Rebecca Ocher, Class of 2021