2022 Residency Graduates Fill Need for Primary Care and Specialty Physicians in Desert CommunitiesJun 16, 2022
Desert Regional Medical Center’s Program to Graduate Resident Physicians on June 17; Meet Four Featured Graduate Doctors Who Will Practice Locally
Palm Springs – The Graduate Medical Education (GME) program at Desert Regional will celebrate the graduation of 19 resident physicians and one fellowship-trained physician at a ceremony to be held June 17 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. There are 8 Emergency Medicine; 8 Family Medicine, 3 Neurological Surgery, and one Emergency Ultrasound graduates.
“We are proud to watch another successful graduation class complete their training at Desert Regional and are excited to know that several will remain in our area to practice medicine – fulfilling the mission that we set out to achieve when we launched the residency program,” said Michele Finney, CEO for Desert Care Network and Desert Regional Medical Center. “The Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin regions of California continue to have a physician shortage. These new doctors will play an important part in meeting the critical need for primary care in our region.”
The graduation ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (6/17) at the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N Gene Autry Trail, and will feature a keynote speech by Assembly Member Chad Mayes, who represents the 42nd District of California, which includes Palm Springs, where Desert Regional Medical Center is located, and Joshua Tree, home to Hi-Desert Medical Center.
Desert Regional Medical Center’s GME program welcomed its first class of residents in the Summer of 2015 and has since graduated 126 residents of which 29 stayed in the community to practice. The training programs for the specialties of Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Neurological Surgery have been key parts of GME since the beginning of the program. This year’s graduating class includes several Family Medicine physicians who are staying in town to fill the local need for physicians, both in the hospital and in the outpatient clinics of Desert Care Network Primary & Specialty Care.
“We are so fortunate to have so many of our graduates continue to stay in this area and practice,” said Chief Academic Officer Gemma Kim, MD, FAAFP. “They have all grown to love the community and the patients that they follow. It is inspiring to see how our graduates are continuing to share our commitment to equity, excellence, innovation and social responsibility to bridge gaps and enhance healthcare access to our valley.”
Here we introduce four of those new specialists in Family Medicine who will be staying in our community.
Shaudee Parvinjah, MD: Dr. Parvinjah started college at UC Irvine not thinking about medical school. Her friendships with pre-med students inspired her, and she has embraced the career ever since. In her first year at college, she went through a rigorous application process to volunteer at Hoag Hospital as a Clinical Care Extender in the Labor & Delivery unit.
“I was just passing out water and clean towels…. but I was so proud of myself,” Dr. Parvinjah said with a smile. “I felt like I had made it. I still have my khakis and my collared shirt.”
She would quickly progress into leadership roles in college and medical school at UC Irvine, including the School of Medicine Admissions Committee and co-chair of the UCI American Medical Association – Medical Student Section. She continued her volunteer work in several areas, including with Crescent Shifa Clinic of Orange County and for the Street Medicine Program of Desert Regional’s Family Medicine Residency. She appreciates the diverse patient population she has encountered in her work in the desert.
“The patient population is a gift for us as trainees,” she said. “We see a lot of advanced pathology that we wouldn’t otherwise see… because we are a big tertiary center for our area.”
One of the reasons Dr. Parvinjah chose to stay and work in Palm Springs was the mentorship, and sense of belonging, she felt among the faculty and staff at Desert Care Network’s Family Medicine Clinic.
And she recently had the experience of being a patient at Desert Regional Medical Center, where her baby girl, Lily, was born just one year ago. She loves the cohesiveness of the physician community in the Coachella Valley.
“I have physician friends who are local, and they have always been there for me, given me tips and tricks. It’s very supportive.”
Lauren Dallas, DO: Dr. Dallas, as a child, had wanted to be a veterinarian. She found her love for human medicine after graduating college, and working for a year as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the Chicago suburbs where she grew up.
“I kept thinking, what more could we be doing for these patients?” Dr. Dallas said. “And that inspired me to pursue medical school.”
She received a master’s in science from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center and her medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Oregon.
“The reason I like Family Medicine is that you have the opportunity to provide really comprehensive care and you get to go through people’s medical journey alongside them. Being able to share that with patients is a rewarding experience,” Dr. Dallas said. “It’s like a kind of friendship.”
She was attracted to the Family Medicine Residency at Desert Regional because of its location on the West Coast. She has embraced our desert’s hiking trails, access to outdoor activities, and she’s a big tennis fan, too. She also has been touched by the kindness of some of her patients here.
“This one patient brought me a Christmas gift -- tiny, handmade, jewel-studded earrings. She made them herself, which I thought was so sweet and so unexpected,” Dr. Dallas said.
“I see everything from airplane pilots to members of the homeless community,” Dr. Dallas said. “I like that it’s a wide range of patients that you get to see.”
Yea Ping Lin, MD: Dr. Lin was born in Taiwan but grew up in Northern California. He describes his path to becoming a doctor as non-traditional. He first worked in the biotechnology industry after obtaining a bachelor’s in molecular biology from UC Davis, a master’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston, and a PhD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He became a research scientist and project manager for Samsung Techwin Biotechnology, where he was working on blood testing. That job sent him around the world to interact with physicians and blood banks on the development of diagnostic instruments.
“I became more and more interested in medicine,” Dr. Lin said. “I wanted to see the patients, and the people who are affected. In the laboratory -- developing assays -- you affect more people, but you don’t see them. That’s what I missed.”
As a researcher, he was worried about large populations of people and how many might contract a particular disease. The doctors he met were more interested in the individuals who were suffering, and how treatment could make their lives better. That inspired him to enroll at Tulane University Medical School in a special program for PhDs who wished to become medical doctors.
He was attracted to the Family Medicine Residency at Desert Regional because it offered an opportunity to return to California and work in an area that has a great need for physicians. He also likes the diversity of patients that he can help here in the desert.
“We see financial diversity, diversity in terms of age – from newborn all the way to geriatrics. We see LGBTQ. You get a lot of different types of patients and that’s what I like,” Dr. Lin said. “It doesn’t make for a boring day.”
He and his wife live in Cathedral City and love the desert vistas and the proximity to the activities available in Southern California. He thinks the desert compares well with other areas he has lived: San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C., and New Orleans.
“I like to be in areas where a lot of tourists go,” he said.
Kimiko Tsuchiya, DO: Dr. Tsuchiya completed medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine after obtaining a master’s in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. Born in Japan, Dr. Tsuchiya grew up in West Virginia and California as her father pursued a PhD, first in physics and then moving into the field of biology.
“His mother, my grandmother, battled with cancer, so he ended up switching to cancer research,” Dr. Tsuchiya said. “He was at Stanford when we moved to Northern California…I think always as a child I gravitated toward medicine.”
For her undergraduate degree, she attended Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, which was founded on principles of peace, human rights, and the sanctity of life. The school’s emphasis on philosophy and dialogue-based classes influenced her decision to choose Family Medicine as a specialty.
“What fascinated me about Family Medicine was the different scopes of being able to take care of the young, to the young adults, and then the elderly,” she said. “I love engaging in the different realities of birth, aging, sickness and death. I feel that Family Medicine allows you to engage in those realities.”
Dr. Tsuchiya believes in giving back to humanity, both locally and globally. While at Michigan State, she volunteered for a medical mission trip to Malawi, in Southern Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world. She recalls helping to care for a child there who suffered from acute lymphocytic leukemia.
“He taught me resiliency and a fighting-spirit,” she said. “He didn’t really express any sadness or pain. Children have a youthful spirit, which I’m really drawn to.”