Class of 2024

Pulcherie Guissou Ada, MD

Pulcherie Guissou Ada, MD

Bio

Medical school: University of Missouri School of Medicine 
Hometown: Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
Career interests/research: Outpatient Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Global Health.
After residency: Unsure about fellowship yet, but I might be interested in Cardiology 
Hobbies/interests: Cooking, traveling, hiking, watching movies, listening to Christian songs and podcasts, reading personal development books
Bio: I was born and raised in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, a French-speaking country. This will sound cliché, but I wanted to be a doctor since I was 5 years old. I wanted to provide medical care to the underprivileged children in my village who were receiving free education and food through the Non-Governmental Organization my parents founded. My plan B was to be a pilot because I was very impressed by planes. I ended up choosing medicine because I did not want to be always away from my family. During my 4th year of medical school (a 7- years curriculum) I relocated to the US with my husband. It was a difficult decision since the French system curriculum was not transferable and I could not get credit for the previous years of studies. However, I could not see myself doing something else, so I went back to school, starting from scratch. I went to the University of Missouri-St Louis for undergrads and majored in Biological Sciences with a minor in Biotechnology and continued my education at the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine.

I chose MedPeds because it will equip me to care for a wide range of populations with routine to complex issues, which aligns with my interest in global health and my plans for my home country.

I decided to stay in Columbia after a summer externship between my first and second year in the Medicine-Pediatrics clinic because I liked the opportunity to learn from different providers with different styles and who love to teach. Columbia is also a great place to live as it provides a lot of opportunities for my family to thrive. We enjoy fishing, gardening, hiking, and visiting parks. 

John Rockett, MD, MPH

John Rockett, MD, MPH

Bio

Medical school: The University of Missouri
Hometown: St. Charles, Missouri
Career interests/research: Hospitalist, Academic medicine, Critical care, Underserved areas, Health advocacy and education
After residency: Planning to do a few years in an underserved area. After that I am considering doing a fellowship or faculty position in academic medicine.
Hobbies/interests: Music, playing and building guitars, dog training, fishing, hiking, movies, art, acquiring new hobbies.
Bio: I spent most of my childhood living just outside of Chicago (Go Cubs!) before moving to the St. Louis area for high school. I went to Mizzou for undergrad where I majored in Biochemistry. I loved Mizzou and Columbia so I stayed here for my Masters of Public Health and medical school. During my masters and medical school, I developed a passion for healthcare advocacy and working with underserved populations. For residency, I chose Med-Peds because I wanted to be able to work with all age groups and be able to treat a gamut of issues from the simple to the complex. I chose to stay at Mizzou for residency because I love the area and the program here. The program here is a tight-knit, supportive family and I felt right at home. When I am not at the hospital, I can be found working on some new hobby and spending time with my wife, daughter, and our many pets.

John Rockett, MD

Parker Russell, MD

Parker Russell, MD

Bio

Medical school: University of Missouri
Hometown: Eldon, Missouri
Career interest/research: Right now, thinking fellowship but unsure in what.
Hobbies: Reading, Biking, learning random fun skills
Bio: I grew up at the Lake of the Ozarks and attended Mizzou for undergrad. I pursued a degree in Physics and Mathematics so that I could play in the nuclear reactor and tailored my courses to work on nanoparticle research with specificity in cancer binding. As you can tell, my interests are so broad, I found that Med/Peds was a perfect choice! When not at the hospital, you can find me enjoying coffee too late at night and then reading some random books/articles!
Parker Russell, MD

Jacqueline Santamarina, MD

Jacqueline Santamarina, MD

Bio

Medical school: American University of the Caribbean
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Career interests/research: Hospitalist medicine
After residency: Med-Peds Hospitalist
Hobbies/Interests: playing piano, anime/manga, listening to music, eating all the foods ;)
Bio: I’m a first generation Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, Florida. I studied biological sciences at Florida International University. For medical school, I went to American University of the Caribbean in Sint Maarten. During my free time, you can find me watching cat videos on youtube, sipping on Cuban coffee, making chocolate chip pancakes (I’m a chocoholic and need my daily dose, or else I go into withdrawal), or watching scary movies on Netflix. I chose University Hospital here at Mizzou because everyone is so friendly and supportive. The faculty, staff, and other residents really make you feel at home. This is where I was meant to be and I couldn’t be happier!
Jacqueline Santamarina, MD

Class of 2023

Abdul-Azeez Abdullahi, MBBS, MD

Abdul-Azeez Abdullahi, MBBS, MD

Bio

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Medical School: University of Lagos College of Medicine. Lagos, Nigeria.
Career interests/research: Outpatient Medicine, Hospitalist Medicine, Rural Medicine.
After residency: Unsure if I want to pursue a fellowship program yet.
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy exploring nature, hiking, listening to music, trying out new places to eat, playing soccer and going down old town roads.
Bio: I was raised with three siblings in a densely populated city in Lagos State, Nigeria. For me, growing up in my city can be summarized as lots people going lots of places and car horns that seemed to never stop blaring. 7-year-old me loved it. I didn’t always want to be a doctor. At age 9, I was certain I would become President. Why not? It was the most important job in the nation. I would even insist people addressed me as ‘your royal highness', which in hindsight doesn't make any sense. At age 13, my city came to grips with an incident that left many injured. I remember watching the news, waiting for the President to address the situation. Instead, I saw people in white coats swinging into action, saving the day. At that point, I decided I would rather be a superhero like them.

After graduating medical school, I spent a year working in a primary health care center located in a rural community. Med-Peds was the obvious choice for me because I wanted to continue working with patients of all age groups. The focus on variety without sacrificing depth of knowledge will prepare me to provide care in any clinical setting life throws my way.

I chose Mizzou because it combines the quiet serenity of living in a small town with the perks of training in a large academic facility. I can’t explain the exact reasons why I felt connected to the people I met during my visit. It was one of those ‘when-you-know-you-know’ moments. After hanging out with them, I left looking forward to spending the next 4 years in their company. As far as life changing decisions go, this was an easy one.

Abdul-Azeez Abdullahi

 

Amenah Jafarey, MBBS/MD

Amenah Jafarey, MBBS/MD

Bio

Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan
Medical School: Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan
Career interests: ID and critical care, health education and advocacy
After residency: Fellowship or MPH
Hobbies/interests: photography, watercolor painting, biking + swimming, collecting cacti and succulents.
Bio: I was raised in 3 widely different cities in Pakistan and then went to high school in Singapore. I’ve known since I was very young that I wanted to become a doctor, and had always been interested in pursuing a career in Pediatrics. In medical school, I enjoyed working in the community, designing health campaigns for disease prevention and health education and advocating for the health needs of patients in underserved communities. During this time, I was exposed to patients of all age groups and became acutely aware of the lack of general practitioners as well as continuity of care in Pakistan. I decided to pursue a Med-Peds residency because seeing patients from birth to adulthood will allow me to provide them with the best possible care and foster strong bonds with them. I chose Mizzou because coming from a big metropolitan city, I wanted to do residency at an academic center while living in a small town, away from the noise and chaos I was so used to. After meeting the residents and faculty during interviews, I was convinced I’d be happy working with the people here. In my free time, I enjoy playing my ukulele, learning and practicing modern calligraphy, swimming and reading.

Amenah Jafarey

 

Errisha Richardson, MD

Errisha Richardson, MD

Bio

Hometown: Oakland, CA
Medical School: American University of Antigua, Caribbean
Career interests/research: Combined or adult rheumatology, Sports Medicine
After residency: Most likely fellowship but open to hospitalist also.
Hobbies/Interests: Watching/playing sports, chilling with friends, shopping, reading, traveling, going to movies, weight lifting, cooking, trying new things, working on puzzles.
Bio: I was born and raised in Oakland CA (part of the San Francisco Bay Area). I completed my undergraduate education at Spelman College (HBCU located in Atlanta GA) majoring in biology/pre-med. I attended American University of Antigua, College of Medicine. I am grateful for my experience living outside of the United States for two years, as I learned to appreciate the good and the bad.

I wanted to work in medicine since I was 5 because my mother was a nurse. I heard all types of stories growing up. She mainly worked in the ED where there was never a shortage of good tales. I actually wanted to be a pediatrician and a veterinarian from about age 5 until maybe age 8. Then I learned that you have to do them separately, so I ended up choosing pediatrician. As I got older, my interests changed, and I wanted to be an internist. During application time, I decided to apply to combined medicine-pediatrics programs because I still liked working with kids, but I didn’t want to give up the adult side. Fast forward and I enjoyed my interviews so it was easy decision. I ended up at Mizzou because the university education system has a broad spectrum of opportunities and provides a chance to truly learn about all the diseases we spent so much time reading about. The residents that I met during my interview day were also a huge reason. Everyone was so nice and made you feel at home, which was important considering I’ll be here for 4 years of my life. This is also the only part of the US that I have not lived in; West, South, and East have all been covered, so time to explore a new part!

Errisha Richardson

 

Class of 2022

Photo of Nwamaka Gloria Akabogu, MD

Nwamaka Gloria Akabogu, MD

Bio

Hometown: Fontana, CA, but originally born and raised in Anambra State, Nigeria
Medical school: Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica
Career interests: rural medicine and global health
After residency: general practice for now, maybe fellowship, still undecided. Eventually at some point in the future, I will love to travel to Nigeria and set up some health initiatives.
Hobbies/interests: dancing, cooking, water rafting, exploring nature, traveling, medieval movies and TV shows.
Bio: I grew up in Nigeria; I was in my 2nd year of undergrad when my family and I immigrated to the US. I completed my undergraduate studies in California Lutheran University, with B.Sc. in Bioengineering. I had desired to be a doctor even while I was still in Nigeria, so I attended Ross University School of Medicine, in the Caribbean, and I am ever thankful for the adventure. Growing up in Nigeria, I witnessed the poor healthcare available and was inspired to make a difference. 

I chose to pursue Med-Peds because I want to be equipped to care for all ages and to get an in-depth training on how to manage both easy and complex health situations – a skill that will be valuable in my home country, someday. I chose to come to Mizzou because people here are nice and welcoming. I also like the feel of a small town, not-too-busy, but with enough activities to make it interesting.
I enjoy traveling, dancing, cooking my Nigerian dishes, exploring nature, going to the beach, watching movies, and listening to music and Christian sermons.

Photo of Nwamaka


 

Photo of Ellie Olander, MD

Ellie Olander, MD

Bio

Hometown: Gurnee, IL
Medical school: Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI
Career interests/research: primary care, preventative care, underserved populations, student-run free clinics
After residency: Outpatient primary care for both kids and adults
Hobbies/interests: Hot yoga, traveling, gardening and acquiring house plants, shopping for deals.
Bio: Prior to residency, I spent 8 years in Milwaukee for undergrad (Marquette University) and medical school (Medical College of Wisconsin). Being a Midwest girl at heart, I knew I wanted to stay in the area for my residency, but never imagined I would end up in Columbia! I’ve fallen in love with this city so fast. Everyone is just so nice and really cares about your wellbeing. This goes for everyone from the program directors and residents, to the nurses and coordinators. I chose Med-Peds because I like knowing a little bit about everything. I also could never pick just one patient population. I’m excited to be in the Med-Peds program here because the residents are really close knit and Dr. Emerson (program director) is fantastic!

Ellie Olander, MD


 

Paulina Perez, MD

Paulina Perez, MD

Bio

Hometown: Addison, IL
Medical school: University of Medicine & Health Sciences, St. Kitts
Career interests/research: preventative medicine, cardiology
After residency: Combined med/peds fellowship or outpatient practice
Hobbies/interests: Hiking, yoga, weight training
Bio: Chicago is my true first love, but I love to travel and meet new people! Working with children in different settings has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I also adore my dog, Addison, who is basically my child. We love going for long walks and exploring what Columbia has to offer. In general, I like being active either working out or working on a project at home. Med-Peds was definitely the right choice for me, as it has been challenging but rewarding all in the same. I chose Columbia because how could you not?! I’ve been blown away by how welcoming and kind people are here. Whether it’s in clinic, the hospital, or out in the community, people are truly wonderful. I look forward to the next four years with my new MU family!

Paulina Perez, MD


 

Juan Camilo Pineda, MD

Juan Camilo Pineda, MD

Bio

Hometown: Columbia, MO
Medical school: University of Medicine and Health Sciences – St. Kitts and Nevis
Career interests/research: GI Fellowship
After residency: GI Fellowship and with future desire to do both specialty and primary care combined.
Hobbies/interests: surfing, snowboarding, snorkeling, hunting, Latin dancing, and auto-enthusing.
Bio: I was raised in Columbia, MO and completed my undergraduate education at the University of Missouri. I attended the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts. My father and grandfather, two excellent physicians from Medellin, Colombia, ignited my passion for medicine. I look up to them and admire both of them deeply. I chose Med-Peds because the training involved allows you to become a very versatile physician; I love having the expertise to handle and care for a patient of any age. Over the years I have met many residents and physicians that were trained at Mizzou. I have always been impressed by the extraordinary caliber of clinicians that they are as this is what I aspire to become. I truly enjoy how Mizzou offers a hometown feel among the staff, patients, and fellow colleagues. In my free time I enjoy traveling with my wife, surfing, snowboarding, snorkeling, hunting, Latin dancing, and auto-enthusing.

Class of 2021

Photo of Aireen Agulto, MD

Aireen Agulto, MD

Chief Resident

Bio

Hometown: Fairfield, CA
Medical school: St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies
Career interests/research: Adult gastroenterology
After residency: Fellowship
Hobbies/interests: Food, travel, documentaries about food or travel, killing plants, and hanging out with my Cavapoo, Yams!
Bio: I grew up in the Bay Area and majored in Psychology with a minor in Education at the University of California Berkeley. I made the decision to pursue medicine after undergrad and did some post-baccalaureate courses at UC Davis. My involvement with a pre-medical/pre-surgical program solidified my choice as I became comfortable with the idea of taking responsibility for the overall care of my patients. I was accepted to SGU and lived in the Caribbean for two years, which was truly a life changing and humbling experience. I finished my final two years of clinical clerkships in NYC. I chose Med-Peds because the ability to switch between the two specialties appealed to me. I also knew I would want variability in patient populations after three months, so I enjoy getting a break by switching from one specialty to the next. I chose Mizzou for the smaller, closer-knit class size, and to experience the Midwest after living on either coast. 

Aireen Agulto, MD

Venkata Gupta, MD

Venkata Gupta, MD

Chief Resident

Bio

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Medical school: University of Missouri – Columbia, Columbia, MO
Career interests/research: Neonatal CPAP IRB Research, Advocacy, Diversity & Inclusion
After residency: Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Hobbies/interests: If I am not working, you would probably find me with my camera somewhere outdoors trying to capture that perfect shot. I also love to restore old Apple computers, watch movies, and work out. If you love the outdoors Columbia is a perfect place for that and we will get along very well. Reach out if you have questions.
Bio: I spent most of my childhood in southeast India, moved to the United States during 7th grade to Chicago, IL, and eventually to Columbia, MO for medical school. I joined Mizzou Med-Peds because I loved working with Med-Peds residents and attendings at Mizzou as a medical student. Their breadth of knowledge, passion, and hardworking mentality paralleled to none. In addition, I wanted to go to an institution that valued Med-Peds, and Mizzou was my top choice for that, since it has attendings trained in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics among inpatient and outpatient setting, from primary care to speciality services. Also, having separate hospitals for adult and pediatric patients was important to me because it conveyed that they have an equal emphasis on adult and pediatric patients. Finally, the most appealing part about the Mizzou Med-Peds program to me was having a free-standing continuity clinic apart from the hospital run exclusively by the Med-Peds residents and attendings.

Photo of Venkata Gupta, MD

 

Bryce Meck, MD

Bryce Meck, MD

Bio

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Medical school: Wayne State University
Career interests/research: Medical Education, Gender affirming care, Ambulatory Complex Care Coordination, Underserved populations
After residency: Pediatric Hospitalist, Med-Peds Primary Care
Bio: Coming from Automation Alley in Metro Detroit, I grew up in a world of many social disparities and was motivated from a young age to make my mark in making the world a better place. I think living with the chronicity of my mother’s multiple sclerosis, an untreatable disease at that time, pushed me into medicine. That dream drove me to become the first doctor in my family. I attended Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI for undergrad and obtained a full ride to play on the women’s golf team. There I met my husband who absolutely remains horrible at golf but knows how to have a good time (maybe that’s why we’ve been together for a decade now.) He followed me to Wayne State in Detroit where I was very involved in Street Medicine Detroit, an organization that focuses on a model of medicine where care was provided to unhoused patients in the field. At the time, I was absolutely positive I wanted to be a Pediatric Neurologist and be double board certified in adult and child neurology. Guess what? We all make mistakes – some bigger than others. I initially matched for prestige, perceived reputation, and size of the program, and... was miserable. About a year in, I still knew I wanted to take care of children and adults but realized I had been drawn to neurological patients for the chronicity and complexity of their care. I wanted to treat the whole patient. I thrived on the relationships I established in my continuity clinics. Medicine – Pediatrics was the only training option that would allow me the training to do what I REALLY wanted. Additionally, I was sick of being a number, sick of being one of nearly 100 residents in the Pediatrics prelim I was in. Through a comedy of errors and sheer dumb luck, I landed my spot as a transfer at Mizzou, and it has completely changed my life in all the best ways. I get the large institution with the feeling of being a part of a family. The people are kinder here and the traffic’s better. The cost of living? You can’t beat it. MU Med – Peds is the miracle that changed my life, and I can’t say enough good things. I’m so happy to be here every single day! In my free time you can usually find me enjoying a cold one on the couch while playing video games or watching anime with Sabrina and Bailey, my cat and dog. Napping usually competes with my other interests which include golfing with the hubs, weightlifting, and sewing. Cringey fun fact: I go to a few anime conventions a year with friends all across the country and enjoy competing in costume construction competitions (think comic con but for Japanese animation)  and I make all my own props and costumes!

Daniela Navarrete, MD

Daniela Navarrete, MD

Bio

Hometown: Maryland
Medical School: St. George’s University School of Medicine, West Indies, Grenada
Career interests/research: Hospitalist medicine, infectious disease, critical care
After residency: Med-Peds hospitalist, ID, critical care
Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, biking, training for half marathons, parks, traveling, latin dancing, city exploring, indoor rock climbing, bouldering, canyoning, sewing, knitting, Netflix, reading historical fiction and memoirs, learning about different cultures.
Bio: I’m originally from Quito, Ecuador and moved to Maryland at age 4 with my parents and younger sister. I went to undergrad at UMBC and majored in biological sciences and psychology. I chose med-peds because I love the challenge and vast knowledge that come with encountering a wide range of ages. I enjoy seeing a little bit of everything! During interview season, I was impressed by the warmth of the Mizzou residency program and the midwestern hospitality. Columbia Missouri has been my home away from home. My favorite things about Columbia include Wilson’s gym, the parks and trails!

Daniela Navarrete, MD

 

Courtney Savilla, DO

Courtney Savilla, DO

Bio

Hometown: Winfield, WV
Medical school: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, WV
Career interests/research: Inpatient internal medicine and pediatrics, rural medicine
After residency: Undecided
Hobbies/interests: Travel, food, movies, dance, reading, target shooting, gardening, planning resident wellness activities.
Bio: I grew up in the hills of West Virginia watching "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman". It's hard to say if, at 4 years old, that's what sparked my interest in medicine, or if I watched it because I was already interested. The first in my family to complete a bachelor's degree, I attended West Virginia University for my BS in Exercise Physiology. From there, I moved to southern WV, near the famous Greenbrier Resort, for medical school at WVSOM. I chose Med Peds because the depth and breadth of training will fully prepare me for whatever comes my way in the future. Mizzou was a no-brainer: it gave me the smaller, family feel I was looking for, as well as the resources and training of a large facility. More importantly, these are just my kind of people. Outside of work, I live in constant limbo between FOMO and my love of naps, and on Sundays you can catch me playing kickball on our resident team. I also organize monthly resident wellness events. Last, but certainly not least, my husband and I recently welcomed a Bernedoodle puppy named Nessie into our family, effectively occupying any last shred of free time we have.

Photo of Courtney