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Summer 2020

Dr. Brian Johnson
Residency Director
Program Director's Corner

Adapting to the New COVID World

Dear CCRMC Family,

Disruption has been the theme of our lives since our last newsletter. Like for everyone, COVID has turned the residency upside down. We have moved to virtual learning for all non-clinical teaching; we are training residents in virtual visits, and we are changing our system at a pace never seen before. Our residents, staff, and faculty have led these changes while simultaneously adjusting to the COVID-life, which includes concerns about personal safety and social isolation.

In late May, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd shined a light on another public health crisis, one that was seeded in the foundation of our nation, weathered by our Black and Brown communities for centuries and only now being recognized by the nation as a whole.

It has been a long, hard few months. But I am also able to see signs of hope.

Working within the CCFMR has brought me great gratitude for many things: the way our system and our residents, faculty, and staff have met COVID head on to protect of our community; the rapid evolution of new patient interfaces (telehealth) at CCRMC, which will serve our patients long after COVID ends; and resident-led innovation to meet our patient's social needs.

Contra Costa County's healthcare delivery system grew out of the progressive roots of the post-war era. It was only natural that in the 1970s a "new" specialty of Family Medicine sprang from this fertile ground. And now we arrive at a moment in history that is asking to change what we do. We need to do what we have always done -- train excellent clinicians while also supporting our public health and safety net delivery systems to keep our communities safe from disease and lifting the voices of the community we serve. Consistent with our CCRMC tradition, it is now time to tap again into our progressive roots and model positive change.

We within the Residency will continue to do our part and we ask you - as alumni, family and friends - to do yours. Raise your voice with us to create a more just, safe and equitable society.

Brian and the Core Faculty

Antiracism Advocacy

Another pandemic that has long affected black and brown communities and patients is now being more fully recognized and the residency is committed to holding ourselves accountable. We aim to elevate the voices of those most affected as we move our program towards anti-racism and anti-oppression. To that effect, we will dedicate a space in our newsletter to highlight efforts to move the needle forward and include action items for our larger residency community.

Action Item:
Consider donating to The Ladder pipeline project:

- THE LADDER is a pipeline program for young folks aged 9-24 years old focused on health careers and science enrichment. These sessions take place on the 3rd Saturdays of every other month at West County Health Center, with the goal of expanding the Ladder to our three main health centers. Modeled after a well-established pipeline program in Minnesota (, the Ladder was launched in August 2018 by Dr. Mariel Lougee, a residency graduate. Our residents present topics such as asthma, stroke, CPR, vision and hearing. Funds will go towards supplies - backpacks, school supplies, snacks, gift cards for families, gift cards for volunteers and peer educators from high school and college.

To donate, click here and select "Residency Program" in the drop-down box AND below write in "Antiracism Advocacy" in the box labeled "Others. Please specify fund name" box.

If you have action items for future residency newsletters, please email

Our new interns are here with CCRMC jackets thanks to you!

The residency would like to send a special thank you to all the alumni who contributed to the residency with our last fundraising request. With your assistance, we raised over $4000 which has gone to purchasing each of our interns a CCRMC jacket. Additionally, your donations have one to supporting the Sasha Fund, a fund established by the family of one of our former graduates, to support residents requiring temporary financial support with the goal of "paying it forward" when our residents graduate and have the ability. This fund has supported residents to cover personal medical expenses, cover study materials for board courses, purchase last-minute flights to make it to Contra Costa during COVID and close financial gaps to ensure residents can focus on their patients and their learning rather than covering rent. Your support helps makes us a family.

Alumni Profile

Sergio Urcuyo, MD

After graduating, Sergio Urcuyo worked in the ICU and as a hospitalist at CCRMC. He soon became Chair of the Department of Hospital Medicine and after a brief stint as the Medical Staff President is now leading the charge as CCRMC Hospital Medical Director and the main Incident Commander for the COVID Pandemic at CCHS. We were able to talk with Sergio and ask him how his training at Contra Costa prepared him for all his accomplishments in his career.

"There is no better way to get a flavor for every department in the hospital than having trained in those departments, which helps inform the way that I work and lead those people. The ability to handle the stress, multitask and not lose my cool is informed from the education that I got during residency. The ethos of learning how to handle anything that walks through the door is why I chose to train here. I saw the residents working and they didn't get stressed when faced with a novel situation. You do what we are trained to do, and that is pick apart the problem to find a solution and don't forget the people along the way."

*Please send us names and contact info of CCFMRP alumni to highlight for our next newsletter. Email or with alumni name, class year and contact info!

Residency Diversity Council

The Resident Diversity Council (RDC) is a leadership taskforce dedicated to improving and sustaining diversity in our residency program. To that end, we recognize the role of institutional racism, and see health inequities in the black and brown communities as manifestations of these systems of oppression. In the wake of recent calls to action, we are committed to our efforts in promoting awareness of inequities in medicine and supporting underrepresented individuals in medicine through our pipeline programs, such as Health Career Pathways and The Ladder. We are calling for our residency to continue its efforts in supporting a diverse workforce that reflects our communities, and works to elevate and center the voices and leadership of our Black community. Additionally, we also plan to collaborate with the RLG to require UCSF Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training for all teaching faculty and to incorporate anti-racism teachings into our curriculum. We recognize that diversity, equity and inclusion are important to patient care, health outcomes and to our overall professional development and know that these steps reflect a step in strengthening our training.


Ne (Melissa) Ferguson, MD
Core Faculty: Lead for POCUS, Undergraduate Medical Education and Recruitment

Dr. Ferguson was recognized for her accomplishments at the UCSF FCM Virtual Rodnick Colloquium on May 28, 2020 and was awarded the UCSF Family Medicine Educational Alliance's Award for Excellence in Educational Collaboration. This award recognizes faculty for unwavering passion for promoting partnership in education, ability to build and sustain bridges, and strong positive impact as a role model.

Jenn Shrestha, MD
Recent Class of 2020 Graduate

Dr. Shrestha was recognized for her accomplishments at the UCSF FCM Virtual Rodnick Colloquium on May 28, 2020 and was awarded the UCSF Family Medicine Educational Alliance's Award for Promotion of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This award recognizes Jenn for her outstanding efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion for the residency and in the wider community.

Liam Guerin, MD
Recent Class of 2020 Graduate

Dr. Guerin was selected by the medical students at UCSF to receive a UCSF Family and Community Medicine Excellence in Student Teaching Award. This award recognizes his unwavering passion for teaching, outstanding commitment to student education and his strong positive impact as a role model.


Dr. Barry Miller

Prompted by the death of Dr. Barry Miller, we will periodically be including pieces on alumni whom we have lost. Please feel free to forward information to us so that we can share with the CCFMR community at large. Dr. Jon Stanger includes a notice below:

We have lost one of our own. In the early morning hours of Thursday, June 4, Dr. Barry Miller died peacefully in the loving embrace of his wife, Linda, at their home in Crockett.

Barry trained in child and adult psychiatry at Yale. He pursed a vibrant private practice before joining CCRMC, where, as a beloved member of our teaching faculty, he provided compassionate care, expert consultation, and invaluable instruction for more than twenty years. Most of all, he loved his work with residents and often pointed to his "incredibly good fortune at having found such an inspiring group of young doctors to work with."

Barry was an outstanding physician and dear friend. He will be greatly missed.

Important Dates

Graduation for Class of 2020
June 26, 2020

Medical Staff Dinner
September 25, 2020 (Tenative)

CCMRC Resident Education Conference
Feb. 26 - March 28, 2021 (Tentative)

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