Joel Castillo, MD
Joel was born in the same Allen Hospital he would eventually be a resident at, and was raised in Yonkers, NY. Raised in a Dominican household, Joel was able to learn both English and Spanish and utilize his languages to further connect with his community. He attended Fordham University in the Bronx, NY, where he combined his interests in Biology and Anthropology that ultimately rooted his journey into medicine. At Fordham University, Joel served as a Social Justice Leader, where he worked with community organizations focused on food insecurity, the experiences of individuals uprooted by gentrification, and police brutality. He also volunteered at the Montefiore Family Health Center in the Bronx, where he began to tune-in to the disparities in healthcare present in underserved populations such as his own.
After graduating from Fordham, Joel went on to attend Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he diligently worked to improve his medical knowledge base and cultural awareness. He briefly served as a certified Spanish medical interpreter at a pediatric hospital, and was on the board for the Latino Medical Student Association. He was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha society and was selected as a Gold Humanism Honor Society recipient, based on his service to both the school and to his patients.
Joel is excited to return to New York and give back to the communities that have built him from the ground up. His desire is to continue to approach patient care in a multidisciplinary way, collaborating with important services like social work and other physicians to deliver services to the patients that need them most. He is particularly interested in the experiences of Latinx patients in an urban setting, and how their health interacts with the various financial and social systems that may create barriers to their care. He looks forward to connecting with the Washington Heights & Inwood community, so that he may learn from and work with them to become a resource on their journeys to improve their mental and physical well-being.
In his free time, Joel has a passion for music that he channels through hip-hop music production and as a long-time pianist. He also enjoys video games, anime, dancing, dystopian thrillers, horror movies, and spending time with friends. "
Shean Hinds, MD
Adjoa Mante, MD
Adjoa grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. She was raised by Ghanaian parents with connections across the globe who fostered her curiosity about different languages, cultures, and communities. Adjoa graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor's degree in Spanish with a focus on global health and Latin American studies. Her interests in the African diaspora, justice in health, and Spanish led her to further study and internships in Cuba and Colombia as an undergraduate. Adjoa continued to pursue population and community health work after graduation. As a public interest fellow in Chicago, she co-led neighborhood health planning efforts and developed tools to evaluate social service programs. Adjoa later returned to Philadelphia to attend the Perelman School of Medicine. As a medical student, she worked with community members to coordinate local health programs promoting activity through dance and barbershop-based blood pressure screenings. She also advocated for a more equitable and evidence-based approach to addressing race and racism in medical curricula alongside a team of students and mentors, earning a prize in medical education. Adjoa graduated as a member of the Gold Humanism Honors Society and was awarded the Morris Ginsburg Prize in recognition of her dedication to others.
Adjoa is grateful for the opportunity to take care of and learn from patients at Farrell Community Clinic and the Allen Hospital as a family medicine resident. She looks forward to getting to know the neighborhood of Washington Heights and exploring creative ways to address the individual, social, and structural factors influencing health. In her free time, Adjoa enjoys reading fiction and memoirs, running or dancing outdoors, and spending time with loved ones.
Olivia Patsos, DO
Olivia was born in New Hampshire and raised primarily in Concord, Massachusetts. She attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where she earned both a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience, with a Minor in Spanish. While at Tulane, Olivia volunteered as an EMT where she witnessed first-hand the many social and economic factors that compromise access to healthcare. This experience ignited both a passion for social justice and a desire to become a primary care physician.
After graduate school, Olivia worked as a Professional Research Assistant for the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado where she focused her academic research skills in behavioral health. This and her hands on clinical experience led her to attend medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. Here, Olivia was selected as a Gold Humanism Honors Society recipient and graduated with an honors distinction through the Care for the Underserved Pathways, a nationally recognized Area Health Education Centers Program for her dedication to serving marginalized populations.
Olivia’s approach to medicine is to focus on the root cause of disease instead of just treating the symptoms. Applying a holistic lens to her patients, Olivia is committed to treating her patients as a whole and in a manner that considers not only the patient’s role in their health, but the role that cultural and socioeconomic factors play in determinants of overall health. She is dedicated to serving all individuals and has a special interest in serving the LGBTQIA+ community and providing gender affirming care, advocating for reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, and taking harm reduction approaches to treatments.
Olivia is driven by learning from her patients and is looking forward to continuing to do so from the diverse medical community of NYP-Columbia University. She is so excited and fortunate to join the Family Medicine Residency at NYP-Columbia where she can provide comprehensive healthcare for all patients and their families while being supported by an outstanding group of co-residents and faculty.
Outside of medicine, Olivia enjoys running, reading historical fiction, going to her aunt’s 80s tribute band shows in the city, and binge-watching Jeopardy with her cat Leo.
Janani Prasad, MD
Janani was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from UCLA with a minor in Public Policy. In addition to developing her interest in medicine at UCLA, she also discovered her passion for working with underserved communities through teaching after-school classes to students at underserved schools in LA. As a student at UC Irvine School of Medicine, she learned how socioeconomic disparities extend to healthcare while rotating at federally qualified health centers in Santa Ana and Anaheim, CA and as a board member of a An Lanh student-run free clinic. She enjoyed working with family medicine providers at these clinics, loving the perfect mix of patient-centered preventative medicine, and community medicine in the specialty. Janani also received the Medical Arts and humanities award and graduated with distinction in Arts and Humanities for her role on two medical humanities publications, which used various visual, written, and performing arts to reflect on experiences in medicine.
Janani is so excited to join the NYP-Columbia Family Medicine Program, where she is excited to pursue her interests in community medicine, preventative medicine, reproductive health, advocacy and more! Outside of medicine, Janani enjoys dancing, baking, playing with her pup, Riley, and is very excited to start exploring New York City with her partner, Ralph :)
Mattie Renn, MD
Originally from the border of Rhode Island and Connecticut, Mattie grew up tagging along to theatrical rehearsals and quahogging with family. She attended college at the University of Chicago, majoring in Biology and minoring in Human Rights, and stuck around post-graduation to work in biophysics research. Mattie then moved closer to home to become the first “doctah” in the family. She attended Columbia through the Bassett track, with training in health systems leadership and trauma-informed care. During medical school, Mattie co-founded the American Medical Student Association’s Medical Students for Gun Safety national campaign. She also served as their Education and Advocacy Fellow between her third and fourth year, supporting all AMSA’s national advocacy efforts.
Mattie has a particular passion for activism surrounding health justice for native populations, gun violence prevention, access to mental health resources, and rights for immigrant communities. She hopes to pursue a career in health equity, providing ethical and just care to communities who experience violence at the hands of the American healthcare system. In her free time, Mattie likes to bake pies, spend time with her family, and take long walks through Fort Tryon Park with her partner, Trevor, and their dog, Peaches. She is incredibly grateful to be joining her co-residents in the NYP-Columbia Family Medicine Residency Program and is excited to continue learning from the wonderful Washington Heights and Inwood communities.
Eda Akyar, MD, MPH
Eda was raised in New Jersey with her twin sister by immigrant parents. She attended Carnegie Mellon University where she was a Science and Humanities Scholar and conducted research in both biological sciences and public health. She majored in Biological Sciences and earned a minor in Chemistry. At CMU, Eda recognized her passion for global and community health, founding CMU’s chapter of Global Medical Brigades and later creating local brigades to support surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
After college, Eda served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Tana Toraja, Indonesia. There, she taught conversational English to high school students and helped lead the UNESCO Youth Desk International Youth Forum. Upon her return to the United States, Eda attended the Yale School of Public Health where she earned a Master of Public Health in the Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases. At Yale, she was selected as a member of the Global Health Justice Practicum to explore the intersection between HIV criminalization and prostitution in the US. After graduate school, Eda worked as a clinical research coordinator and published research on linkage to care amongst suburban heroin users with hepatitis C in New Jersey.
Eda attended Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine where she led Loyola’s student-run free clinic during her second year. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eda organized and led Loyola University Medical Center’s COVID-19 hotline. She was awarded the Susan Hou Humanitarian Award and graduated with both Research Honors and Global Health Honors. Eda also worked as a public health administrator for the Chicago Department of Public Health, assisting with Chicago’s nursing home COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution. She is a founding board member of the Chicago Refugee Coalition. Eda is thrilled to be part of the NYP-Columbia Family Medicine Program and looks forward to pursuing her interests in community health and underserved medicine.
Carla Anderson, MD
Carla, a first-generation college and medical school graduate was born and raised in Southeast Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan in Neuroscience with a minor in Women’s Studies: Gender and Health. After college, she moved to Bronx, New York where she attended medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Having witnessed first-hand the effects of health disparities, Carla is passionate about learning ways to reduce health disparities and learning more about the barriers faced by those who are underserved. During medical school, she volunteered at a student-run free clinic at Walton Family Health Center. She believes that it is important for physicians to listen to their patients, while learning about their health concerns and finding ways to advocate for patients.
As a resident of the Columbia/NYP Family Medicine Program, Carla is excited about being a part of the Washington Heights Community and having the opportunity to continue to serve vulnerable populations in New York City.
In her free time, Carla enjoys acrylic painting, pilates, and spending time with friends and family.
Melissa Encarnacion, MD
Melissa Encarnacion was born and raised in New Jersey. She is a first-generation college graduate who earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Seton Hall University and medical degree at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Having been raised in a Dominican household, she became sensitive to the health care challenges of the Latinx community as she developed her interest in medicine. She participated as a student doctor and Spanish interpreter at Promise Clinic, a student-run clinic through which she worked in an interdisciplinary team to provide primary care for medically underserved and uninsured patients. Through these experiences, Melissa fell in love with promoting community wellness through primary care. Melissa is very excited to be part of NYP-Columbia Family Medicine Residency Program, where she will further nurture her interest in community medicine, advocacy, and women’s health. In her free time outside of medicine, Melissa enjoys playing the piano, exploring new places (or food), and strategic board game
Roxanne Ko, MD
Roxanne Ko grew up on an organic farm in Pālolo, Hawai’i. She received her first degree in linguistics and spanish from Boston University with plans on working in community improvement and education. A highlight of her time after graduation was her service in the United States Peace Corps, where she worked to develop sustainable agricultural practices and improve food security and nutrition in Guinea. This experience was a pivotal moment in her life and inspired her to enter the field of medicine. She continued her education and received a second degree in microbiology from the University of Hawai’i and explored her interests in medical innovation by working at Columbia University’s Genome Center while applying to medical school. For her medical education, she returned home and received her medical degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai’i. Now back at Columbia University for residency, Roxanne is excited to re-immerse herself in the Washington Heights and Upper Manhattan neighborhoods and learn about what can help the community thrive. She always embraced a healthy and active lifestyle and would like to work to make that a reality for all of her patients. She has a passion for pediatrics, geriatrics and preventative medicine and believes that true community involvement is one of the best ways to build strong and healthy neighborhoods. Outside of medicine Roxanne is an avid runner, diver and hiker and loves to learn languages.
Shikha Patel, DO
Shikha was born in India and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of nine. Her journey in medicine started in high school through attending the Health Care Sciences Academy at Morris County School of Technology in Denville, NJ. She then graduated with a BS in Human Biology, Health, and Society from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. While in college, she realized her passion for health policy and became interested in addressing both individual and societal level health problems. Being drawn towards the holistic model of patient care, she then decided to attend medical school at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ. In medical school, she advocated for changes in the healthcare system through meeting with Congress officials and writing resolutions for professional medical organizations. She also promoted osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) in the community through volunteering at the free OMM clinic.
Shikha is excited to be a part of the residency program at Columbia where she can pursue her many interests, including community medicine, integrative medicine, preventive care, health policy, and medical education. In her free time, Shikha enjoys watching international TV dramas, exploring New York City by foot, and spending time with family and friends.
Aerial Petty, DO
Aerial earned her BA in Spanish and minor in Anthropology from the University of Florida, her Masters in Medical Sciences from the University of South Florida, and her medical degree from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM). She enjoys using her Spanish to volunteer at underserved clinics in her community so that non-English-speaking patients may receive the best quality of care possible regardless of any cultural or language barriers they may face. As a medical student, Aerial played an active role in the SNMA and Omega Beta Iota Honor Society.
Aerial participated in the National Medical Fellowships (NMF) Primary Care Leadership Program twice, completing projects on the opioid epidemic in Boston, MA and later, on COVID-19 virtually in Miami, FL. She was also a three-time recipient of the NMF United Health Foundations Diverse Medical Scholars Program, where she completed a community needs assessment that led to the creation and implementation of a mental health education program for adolescent minority girls in her community.
Aerial’s professional interests include social determinants of health, health disparities, mental health, health policy and advocacy, and minority health care. Outside of medicine, she loves reading fiction novels, learning languages, eating way too many sweets, and discovering what it means to be a New Yorker. Aerial can still hardly believe that she gets to join her co-residents as a part of the NYP/Columbia University family medicine residency program and is so excited for her future here.
Aury Garcia, MD
Aury was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Washington Heights, NYC. As a first generation graduate in her family and someone who grew up in an underserved community, she was privy to many of the challenges that vulnerable populations face and the need for more Spanish speaking physicians. In pursuit of helping to ameliorate some of these challenges, Aury obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and pre-medical track at Columbia College. While at Columbia, Aury discovered her passion for reducing inequities through volunteer work in community hospitals, mentorship of children from marginalized communities, and health disparities research. For two gap years, prior to attending the Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, she conducted hypertension and stroke disparities research with a particular focus on Latinx and black communities. Furthermore, while in medical school, Aury’s interest in primary care blossomed through opportunities such as the Daniel Noyes Brown Primary Care Scholars Program, Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership student run clinic, and mixed-methods research focused on the first 1,000 days of life.
Aury is beyond excited to continue her residency training in her home and alongside family medicine mentors dedicated to clinical excellence and above all, compassionate care. In her free time, you can find Aury spending quality cuddles with her yorkie-poodle Leo, or indulging in the delicious NYC culinary scene with her husband, Geo.
Dara Jackson, MD
Dara is from Rockland County, NY, and the first person in her family to graduate from Medical School; born to Jamaican parents, who taught her the value and importance of cultural diversity. Witnessing first-hand the health disparities that exist, Dara knew she wanted to pursue a career that would help reduce such disparities and bridge access to adequate health care. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and later attended Rutgers Medical School in Newark, New Jersey.
Dara clings to a philosophy that, to be a great physician, it is important to understand the particular obstacles that patients face each day that may or may not impact their health outcomes. Thus, she made it a priority to volunteer in community organizations such as Harmony House Women's Shelter, where she not only conducted educational sessions for underserved pregnant women and new mothers, but also advocated for these women to get better access to health care. Additionally, she worked with at-risk youth in Newark, New Jersey, and researched addressing risky sexual behavior in vulnerable adolescent populations. Dara is thrilled to continue her educational experience in Family Medicine at Farrell Community Health Center; a location that values working together as a family, as well as devoting one's time and energy advocating for the vulnerable and diverse population they serve at NYP Columbia.
Brittany Martinez, MD
Brittany Martinez, a first-generation college and medical school graduate, was raised in River Edge, New Jersey. Growing up in a Puerto Rican and Dominican household, Brittany remained close to her cultural roots and was constantly reminded of the importance of family, creating strong networks, and embracing her community. She has had a passion for medicine, teaching, and mentorship since a very young age, which she attributes to her childhood mentor and pediatrician, Dr. Zeyad Baker. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences with a minor in Health and Society from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and went on to attend Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) to receive her Medical Degree. Her fluency in both English and Spanish helped her to connect seamlessly with the underserved Hispanic community throughout her various clinical and community service experiences. It has been important for her to use this skill in advocating for her Spanish-speaking patients, and to promote Spanish-speaking skills among her medical student colleagues. Brittany’s passion for working with the underserved, as well as her personal understanding of the many barriers they face, has motivated her to continuously serve as an advocate for the Hispanic community, especially whenever she felt that their voices were not being heard. She has held many leadership roles to bridge the language barrier between her Spanish-speaking patients and their health care providers. As a resident of the NYP/Columbia Family Medicine Residency Program, she is eager to continue to be the voice for the Latino community, to inspire others from underrepresented groups to pursue a career in medicine, and to be recognized as a committed patient and community advocate.
Erica Meninno, MD
Originally from a small town north of Boston, Erica graduated from Boston College with a degree in International Relations. The social justice work, led by the Jesuits at BC, was foundational to her experience as an undergraduate student. Erica joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working at Chrysalis in Los Angeles as a case manager for individuals experiencing homelessness. She continued to work with the homeless population back in Boston at St. Francis House, and developed additional skills in addiction services, counseling, and group facilitation.
As a student at Georgetown University School of Medicine, Erica merged her prior professional experience with her newly developing clinical skills. She spent evenings providing resources and basic medical care to individuals on the street through Georgetown Street Medicine Outreach and ran workshops across DC, distributing naloxone and empowering community members to intervene to save a life from the opioid epidemic. Erica is thrilled to take care of and learn from patients at the Farrell Community Health Center and the Allen Hospital. She is driven to continue to explore how the medical community can contribute to our patients’ well-being and fulfillment.
In her free time, Erica enjoys jewelry-making, sipping cappuccinos while reading a good book, cooking (and eating) with her husband, and visiting gardens for inspiration for her apartment plants.
Amy Sun, MD
Amy was born and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota, right outside of the Twin Cities. She majored in economics at Princeton University. After college, she worked for two years outside of Boston at a research organization in their health care finance division, where she was introduced to health care reforms that emphasized the importance of primary care. During that time, she volunteered as a social services coordinator at a community health center in Somerville, where she fell in love with community-based family medicine. She then moved to NYC to attend medical school at Weill Cornell Medical College. During medical school she became very involved with the student-run free clinic and the geriatrics house call program. Amy is incredibly excited to be a part of the Columbia/NYP Family Medicine program and is looking forward to caring for patients of all ages in the Washington Heights community. Her interests within family medicine include reproductive health, full-spectrum medicine, geriatrics, health care delivery, and community medicine. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching sitcoms and The Bachelor, dancing, water coloring, and unsuccessfully doing NYT crossword puzzles.