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.
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 17 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 medical 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 healthcare to be more patient centric, efficient, effective and in working with more closely with clinical partners to coordinate care and community groups to address the social determinants of health.
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.
Catherine Benedict. Compliance Officer
Catherine is a veteran in health care administration and in development and training related to compliance and fraud prevention. Most recently, she provided compliance oversight for the Alameda Alliance for Health and prior to that served as the Corporate Compliance Specialist for Blue Shield of California. From 1999-2006 she was Associate Administrator at the Chinese Community Health Plan in San Francisco. Catherine received a B.A. at Mount Holyoke College and a Masters of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.
Jessica Yee, MURP, MPH. Development, Planning and Evaluation Director
Jessica Yee 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.
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. 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.
Diana Mokaya, MD. Associate Medical Director, Family Practice
Dr. Mokaya earned her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her Family Medicine residency at O’Connor Hospital in 2016, which included training in maternity, infant, pediatric, and adult care within a diverse patient population. She is committed to caring for underserved populations through systems improvement and governmental advocacy. Her practice, which includes prenatal care and women’s health in addition to family medicine, is open to all patients, including newborns, children, adults, and pregnant patients.
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, NY in 2001 and finished her OB/GYN residency at Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT 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.