University HealthCare Alliance

November 18, 2019

Recap: UHA Honors 2019 “Women in Medicine”

In September, we were honored to highlight UHA’s “Women in Medicine.” These dynamic providers continue to be recognized by those who work with them every day:Wellness Model

  • Week One: Rachel Kitson, PA-C; Christina Pagano, MD
  • Week Two:  Suzanne Bovone, MD; Mariah Grace, MD; Karen Kunzel, MD; Charlene Reimnitz, MD
  • Week Three:  Rachel Roberts, MD; Susan Tran, DO
  • Week Four:  Sharareh “Sherry” Derakhshandeh, PA;  Patricia Espicha, NP;  Melinda Ragins, MD; Kala Chandler, MD;  Suman Veeragandham, MD;  Louise Hom, MD

Read their nominations:

Suzanne Bovone MDSuzanne Bovone, MD
Los Olivos Women’s Medical Group

“I would like to nominate Dr. Suzanne Bovone at Los Olivos Women’s Medical Center. There is far too much benevolence in her heart try to condense it down. To give a nutshell version of what an awe-inspiring person she is was truly a challenge.

“She is, and continues to be a star in her patient’s eyes. They have followed her from practice to practice, begging to get on her schedule, insistent upon seeing her because they know she will give them the time and compassion they deserve as human beings. She remembers intricate details unique to each patient and the patients appreciate her SO much for this. They will go out of their way to commend her on how she has touched their hearts as individuals and as the families she has helped along the way-delivering their babies. Patients have moved away, out of state, out of the country, and yet continue to make it a point to see her at least annually for their yearly check-ups. She is willing to bend her schedule to meet the needs of patients that are unable to accommodate the office schedule due to the increasingly busy lifestyle the Bay Area demands.

“Her patients REFUSE to see another physician as no one can care for them as she does. She provides an environment for her staff that is not only fun-loving and enjoyable but also conducive to efficiency and patient-oriented care. As her Medical Assistant, I can honestly say, I am the luckiest. She is right there in the trenches with me. Providing insight, encouragement, and knowledge from years of experience. But she doesn’t limit herself to me. She is at the entire office’s fingertips. And they know it. We can ask her ANYTHING and she will not make us feel inferior. In fact, she will collaborate with us. She will bounce her thoughts and ideas off us and genuinely take our opinions into consideration. She has so many fabulous ideas! The office staff feel extremely comfortable going to her for office matters and even personal matters. This really helps boost office moral-knowing they have someone they can talk to without judgment, person to person. Also, she keeps the snack drawer so full it won’t close as she knows low blood sugars can impair brain function.

“Dr. Bovone is unrelenting outside the office as well. There have been a couple of occasions where her colleagues had to go out on medical leave and she took the time to bring them dinners and visit with them in their time of need. She didn’t even think twice-it was something that was just done. She threw a retirement party at her home for a former colleague that she hasn’t worked with in over 5 years. She has hosted Christmas parties for the office staff at her home as well. They originally started out small and intimate for her immediate staff, but word traveled as they were such a hit, that invitation requests were made for the following years. She and her husband Tim are wonderful and very charming hosts.
Speaking of her husband, it is hard to believe she has time to balance work AND a family. But she does! She has a fabulous husband and 2 lovely children. She makes sure to take time to participate in her children’s school functions and to go on fun-filled vacations. They just adopted a new Labrador puppy which has filled their hearts with so much joy and small challenges. She also does Pilates! And so many other things I just cannot fit into my nutshell. Therefore, I would like to nominate Dr. Suzanne Bovone. Not only as an inspiration in Women’s Health, but as an inspiration in life!”  


Kala Chandler, MD
Bay Valley Medical Group’s in Hayward and Castro Valley

“Dr. Kala Chandler we thank you for your dedication to our patients and your team. You not only serve as an amazing OBGYN doctor, but you also our Physician lead. Your leadership creates a work environment where we are unified and thrive. It is a pleasure working with such a selfless individual who serves our patients day and night. You are truly a wonder woman to your team and to the many women you help with delivering their babies. Thank you for all you do and remember to take care of yourself.”


Sharareh-“Sherry”-Derakhshandeh-PASharareh “Sherry” Derakhshandeh, PA
San Jose Ear and Sinus Medical Center

“I would like to nominate Sharareh “Sherry” Derakhshandeh, PA for recognition as an amazing woman in medicine! Sherry is the PA at San Jose Ear and Sinus Medical Center. She is at the heart of the clinic, and brings everyone together. She not only spends her days seeing patients (who LOVE her), but she also finds time to add humor to the workplace, participate in our wellness challenges, encourages the office to choose healthy meal options, and brings in healthy food to share.

“Sherry also serves as a great role model in the community. Sherry is part owner of Beshkan Dance Academy, where she teaches her students about their heritage, traditions and also creates an environment for the community to learn about Persian culture.  I know it is very important to Sherry that her students grow up to be strong women and men in this time where so much negativity is placed on our cultural differences.  Sherry is an amazing mentor to her students and their families, helping them to rethink their views and actions, so they can thrive in this ever-changing world.”  

 Patricia-Espicha-NPPatricia Espicha, NP
Bay Valley Medical Group in Pleasanton

“Patients have told me time and again how much they appreciate the wonderful care they’ve received from Pat. If you are looking for someone to resolve whatever issue you have, Pat Espicha will get to the bottom of it with the utmost compassion and understanding. Her knowledge and expertise complement her excellent C-I-CARE. Pat is always accompanied by an old, worn out, medical dictionary, which I believe contains Pat’s tricks of her trade, (the world may never know). We’ve all been so very fortunate to work alongside such an amazing Nurse Practioner Pat Espicha.”


Mariah Grace, MDMariah Grace, MD
Menlo Medical Clinic

“Cool and collected. Add to that sincere compassion, and that is how I would describe Dr. Mariah Grace. Despite a popular and busy practice, she is willing to take time to wholly focus on patients and staff who come to her with questions. One time I received a call from a pregnant patient who was really worried about her symptoms. The patient’s own doctor in the same practice had the day off, but Dr. Grace stepped right in. She spoke to the patient personally and answered all the patient’s questions and offered to see the patient that day. That alone is not unusual for our providers, but the way she spoke with the patient was very peer-to-peer. Something I really appreciated is that Dr. Grace followed up with the patient even afterward.

“Dr. Grace takes time for patients’ concerns. She is also a mother who priorities her children’s special life events. Dr. Grace balances family, patients, and coworkers—often with long nights on call. With her, questions are welcome, and she takes time to educate fellow staff. She is not hesitant to voice her opinion.
I appreciate having a role model like Dr. Grace.”


Louise HomLouise Hom, MD
Bay Area Medical Group in Castro Valley

“Dr. Louise Hom, as the newest addition to our team, you have seamlessly fit in. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of general surgery team. The time you share has allowed us to respect, appreciate and value the work you do. You are kind and so compassionate to our patients that walk into our clinic, but especially to those newly diagnosed with cancer. Thank you for joining our team. We’re so glad that you are here.”


Rachel- KitsonRachel Kitson, PA-C
Valley Medical Oncology Consultants – Pleasanton

“I nominate Rachel Kitson for her consistent cheerfulness and grace under fire. She is a wonder! I have never seen her be anything but accommodating and affable. Rachel is very deserving of this nomination. She is a hard-working and compassionate provider who truly cares for her patients. She is also a valued team member who is kind and considerate towards staff.

“Rachel is a true pleasure to work with. She shows genuine care toward patients. She is a very warm, enthusiastic, likable and dependable person of the team!! She handles any task with a smile on her face. Although she is relatively a new member of the VMOC Pleasanton team, she has shown to be a valuable member of the team by her relentless efforts towards better patient care.”



Karen Kunzel, MD
Los Olivos Women’s Medical Group

“I would like to nominate Dr. Karen Kunzel of Los Olivos Women’s Medical Group for the Women in Medicine Month Spotlight Award. When I think of how to describe Dr. Kunzel, I am not sure there are enough words to explain the wonderful care this doctor provides.  Not only is Dr. Kunzel sympathetic, but she goes above and beyond to make sure that her patients are getting top-notch care.  She spends time with each of them to assure their needs are met, their concerns addressed and offers her assistance in anything else they may need. Whether it be calling another doctor’s office to get a patient seen in a timely manner, printing out further medical information regarding other topics, or simply calling patients during her lunch hour or after hours, she exudes the true meaning of C-I-CARE.  She is also extremely knowledgeable in her field, and if she is unsure of something regarding a patient, she will do research, and be sure to point patients in the proper direction to get the care they need. Her charitable behavior does not only go as far as patient care.

“She is a sensational team player, who is always willing to lend a helping hand to other doctors in the office. Whether it be assisting with surgery during her lunch hour, coming in on her day off to perform a procedure, double booking her schedule to accommodate urgent matters, she is always willing go the extra mile to offer her services to patients and staff. She always has a smile on her face, even after sleepless nights on call at the hospital. She comes in the office very cheerful, and ready to start her day. She is also on board at Good Samaritan Hospital and attends monthly meetings.  During her time here at Los Olivos she has helped mentor and welcome new doctors to the practice and always has an open door to her office.
I believe, it is without a doubt that Dr. Kunzel is acknowledged for her excellence in the OB/GYN field.

“Dr. Kunzel is an amazing doctor. She really goes above and beyond for every patient. She takes her time to teach staff and is always very helpful and resourceful. I believe she deserves the spotlight award because I know how hard it is to manage work and home life and she does all very well. She is a mother to 2 young adults in college, a wife and of course an amazing doctor! The specialty of being in ob/gyn requires more than just 40 hours a week. It includes long nights, no sleep, double booked schedule, you name it she does it all. Time and time again she continues to provide excellent care to our patients. If you think about it, she saves lives! She really deserves this award. I would like her to win so that she knows every day she is appreciated. Thank you Dr. Kunzel for caring so much for your patients, for Stanford and UHA, your family and of course your staff! We appreciate all your hard work!”


Christina Pagano, MD, MBA, MA Edu
Menlo Medical Center

“I would like to nominate Dr. Christina Pagano for her leadership skills, mentorship and teaching, the excellent care she provides, and for setting the example I believe, we all are trying to provide.  

“The best attribute of Dr. Pagano is the way she repeats her amazingness every day – 24/7. Dr. Pagano is on the constant caregiving, thoughtfulness path. Truly inspiring! I’ve worked with at least fifty Physicians, a dozen P.A.’s and Residents, hundreds of MA’s, RN’s, and NP’s in my 24-year career, and Dr. Pagano is in my top three favorite Physicians. Mainly due to her compassion and care of patients, and the effort she puts in maintaining that quality.

“She is truly inspiring, not only mentoring within the workplace but as I am a father of four, three of which are young ladies, I cannot express enough, just how inspiring Dr. Pagano’s mentoring is. I heard an expression long ago that “if you love your job it will never feel like work” and it rings true within me today and every day….. Well, most days….. Mostly the days Dr. Pagano is around because it’s just a wonderful heartfelt good day when she is.  Thank you Dr. Pagano for simply being the you, you are!” 


Melinda Ragins, MD
Bay Valley Medical Group in Castro Valley

“Dr. Melinda Ragins we thank you for your flexibility, patience, and compassion that you have for your patients. You bring such joy and energy to our clinic that when you are not here something is missing. Thank you for the leadership you demonstrate to our clinic and the support you provide to me daily.”


Charlene Reimnitz, MDCharlene Reimnitz, MD
Los Olivos Women’s Medical Group

“I would like to nominate Dr. Charlene Reimnitz with Stanford Healthcare Los Olivos Women’s Medical Group for our Women in Medicine during the month of September. Dr. Reimnitz goes above and beyond for her patients and staff. She is constantly re-educating herself and learning new things, as well as making improvements in our office. It really amazes me as to how she is able to “do it all”, such as balancing home life and work with being called out for deliveries and working a full schedule in the office. She is such a great educator, all that I have learned and come to know in regard to Obstetric and Gynecological care is because of her. She has been an amazing role model to me and I am proud to have her as our UHA OB Director.”

Rachel Roberts, MD
Collaborative Primary Care 

“Dr. Rachel Roberts is the Physician Site Lead at Collaborative Primary Care. Dr. Roberts is committed to giving her patients excellent care and her reputation precedes her. She is the absolute queen of turning a frown upside down. Over the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of working with her and witnessed her amazing ability to make even the most distraught patients feel at ease and in good hands. Even if the patient comes in upset or anxious they always leave with a smile. Dr. Roberts not only makes sure that her patients are taken care of, but the staff as well.

“She frequently checks in on everyone to make sure that everyone is ok and able to handle their workload. Even with her busy schedule she still manages to think of others. Dr. Roberts is the epitome of leadership, understanding, and compassion. Stanford Health Care is fortunate to have her and she is more than deserving of this recognition.” 


Susan Tran, DO
Collaborative Primary Care

“I nominate Dr. Susan Tran. Dr. Tran is extremely compassionate. She truly cares about her patients and goes above and beyond to keep them comfortable. Dr. Tran provides the best care for not only her own patients but also steps in and helps with other physicians’ patients when they are unavailable, sometimes double or even triple booking patients to make sure they are seen on the same day if needed. Dr. Tran has an amazing personal touch in her care.

“On several occasions, I’ve seen Dr. Tran come out to the front lobby after a patient’s visit just to greet and check-in with their family members. Recently, I went through a very traumatic experience and Dr. Tran made a sacrifice of her personal time to come and visit me in the hospital and even brought me food and something to drink. She is knowledgeable, kind, considerate and an amazing humanitarian/doctor. Her recognition is much deserved!”

Suman Veeragandham, MD
Bay Valley Medical Group in Hayward and Castro Valley

“Dr. Suman Veeragandham we thank you for the compassion and kindness you demonstrate to our OB/GYN patients. As part of the wonder women team, I commend the delicate and kind gestures that make you one hell of a doctor. Thank you for trusting in us and sharing your journey that leads to you becoming a great doctor. The jokes you share, without even trying to be funny, are truly missed when you’re not around. Remember to take care of yourself, as you are one of a kind.”