Department of
Internal Medicine at Highland Hospital
A member of Alameda Health System

Chief Residents

Chief Residents 2017-2018

Alisa Takeda, DO

 I consider myself a native Bay-Area gal. I am multi-racial, multi-cultural and on  weekends I eat and hike, and explore the many delights this part of California has to  offer. I spent  my college years studying on the beaches of sunny San Diego but came  back to the Bay Area to go to Touro University in Vallejo for medical school where I  earned by DO and  MPH degrees. I was more than ecstatic to have matched in the  primary care track at Highland Hospital. Not only was I fulfilling my dreams of staying  in the Bay Area, I was able  to carry out my training taking care of the diverse and  vulnerable population of Oakland. Training at Highland hospital has exceeded all my  expectations. After three years of  hard work I feel confident to approach any problem head-on, to care for patients from any racial and cultural background, and to provide high-quality holistic healthcare.

 I didn’t need to think even for a minute when I was asked to be one of the chief residents for 2017-2018.  I jumped at the opportunity to contribute and give back to this program  that gave so much to me and my colleagues. I am excited to continue receiving mentorship in clinical teaching, administration, and clinical reasoning from the inspiring faculty. I  have a few goals for myself for this year: to improve my approach to teaching so that I can meet learners at different levels, to improve the palliative care and end-of-life curriculum, and to practice my osteopathic manipulative skills.  

Susan Nasr, MD

 I love Oakland! I love Highland!

 I am so proud to be a part of this residency program, which attracts diverse and  compassionate residents, and turns them into fearless physicians. We’re all complex  tapestries. I am no exception. I am an Egyptian-American, born in Maryland, who  earned a Master’s Degree in Science Writing from M.I.T. and worked as a science  writer before pursuing medicine. I followed my humanistic instincts to the University  of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where I steeped in the biopsychosocial  model, and followed that road to Highland. Check us out. We are warm, collegial,  dedicated to our community, and the training here is nothing short of excellent.  

Mike Ajuria, MD

 I was born here in Oakland and grew up across the bay on the peninsula in Belmont.  It was my dream to become a physician since childhood.  After high school I  ventured south to San Diego for undergrad at UCSD to study human biology.  While I  was there I worked at the Salk Institute at a lab researching transcription  factors for  HIV, where my love for pathophysiology started.  After my undergrad days, I moved  back home to the Bay Area.   I worked at a biotechnology company  that performed  genetic expression tests on post-heart transplant patients to monitor rejection.  I  also  completed a post-baccalaureate program at UC Berkeley  while applying to  medical  school, and was accepted to St. George’s University in Grenada.

At St. George’s University, I was exposed to the much underserved population of Grenada.  I realized the impact that medical care (or the lack thereof) can have  on a person’s life.  This impact is especially magnified in the underserved, which led me to a look for a place to serve this population.

I returned home to the Bay Area for residency here at Highland Hospital.  I have come to truly love Highland during my 3 years here.  The program, the people I work with, and our patients make my work both enjoyable and rewarding.  I am excited during my chief year to be working on clinical teaching, resident mentoring, and continuing to develop my clinical skills and knowledge. 

Chief Residents 2016-2017

Kweku Hayfron, MD

I grew up in Ghana but moved to the United states in 1998 for college. I attended the University of Arkansas where I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology. I also have a masters Degree in microbiology from Georgetown University.

I returned to Arkansas to attend medical school. I decided to come to Highland for residency after a doing a fourth year elective here. During my elective, I saw amazing examples of humanism in medicine from faculty and residents, coupled with excellent clinical teaching.

My three years at Highland afforded me the opportunity to learn to be the best doctor I could be, while serving one of the most unique and diverse patient populations in the country. Everyone in the program has a commitment to providing healthcare to underserved populations.

As Chief Resident, I am looking forward to becoming a good teacher and helping future residents not only make the transition from student to physician, but become excellent clinicians.

Chelsea Rhoades, MD

I was born and raised in a rural area of Northern California, in the small town of Mendocino (pop. 893)  I left to attend university at UCLA where an interracial dynamics course steered my interest toward helping the urban underserved, and my love of medicine began to blossom. After college, I worked in two different research labs: the first focused on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the second on Alzheimer disease. From there I went on to Philadelphia, PA to complete a post-bacc program at Drexel University before attending medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies.

I returned to the U.S. for the second two years of medical school where my rotations exposed me to many different medical specialties and practice settings.  I found myself enticed by the critical thinking and patient relationships fostered in internal medicine. The exceptional caliber of the Highland teaching faculty, the vast diversity in the patient population and pathologies, and the opportunity to work with the underserved drew me to Highland.

After spending 3 years as a resident here, I have grown to love this place. I decided to pursue a chief  year to expand my skills in clinical teaching, to enrich the medical knowledge of the residents here as well as myself, and to give back to the program that has given me so much before I go on to begin my career in primary care. My hope for this year is to support the residents as they pursue their interests, while providing meaningful learning experiences through our educational conferences and patient interactions. 

Jeff Scott, MD

I was born in the St Louis area where I spent most of my childhood and adolescence.  After high school, I studied psychology at a liberal arts college in northern Missouri.  Although not directly related to medicine, my psychology degree provided lessons in scientific rigor and statistical analysis that were invaluable for a lifetime career of evidence-based practices.  It was also the study of human sensation, perception, and neuro- and sensory organ anatomy that really engaged me in the biological sciences.  For a change of pace, I then moved to New York City and enrolled in a master’s program in Human Nutrition.  There I learned how health can be affected by nutrition and environment from intracellular to societal levels while living in one of the greatest cities in the U.S.  I left the Nutrition program when I was accepted into medical school at Saint Louis University.  Although I had grown up in the area, caring for an underserved population on a daily basis gave me a new perspective on the city and a greater awareness of the disparities faced by certain communities.  Upon completion of medical school, I moved to Washington, DC where I completed an internship in General Surgery.  I learned a lot during that time, but by the end, I knew that surgery was not my calling.  I applied to Internal Medicine programs and was fortunate to match here at Highland. 

Over the past several years, I have truly realized how unique Highland Hospital is compared to other training programs.  The patient population is amongst the most diverse in the country, and the pathology is atypical and severe.  We care for the underserved, yet Highland has many more services available than most county hospitals.  This results in a work environment able to support resident education while delivering ideal patient care to those who would not typically receive it.  As chief resident, I look forward to helping the housestaff grow into strong physicians and medical educators while continuing to develop my own skills in providing for our patients at this distinctive institution.