Faculty

Abigail Fletcher, MD | Program Director
abi-fletcherI recently took over as program director after being on faculty for 17 years. I could not be more excited to continue to develop innovative new curriculum for the residents and maintain Long Beach Memorial as a top residency program in Southern California. I attended medical school at UCLA (go Bruins), then did an OB/GYN internship at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia. After discovering I disliked surgery (and cold weather) but loved obstetrics, sports medicine and primary care, I switched to family medicine and graduated from Long Beach Memorial in July 2000. I also completed a fellowship in faculty development at USC after graduation.
My professional interests include maternity care, women’s health, sports medicine and LGBTQ health. As part of the maternity curriculum, I supervise prenatal care and deliveries. I am a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association and American Medical Society of Sports Medicine.
Outside of work, I enjoy running, mountain biking, triathlons and watching sports, especially football. I also spend a lot of time with my husband and 2 young children.


Cynthia Herzog, MD | Associate Program Director
herzog-cynthiaSome folks around here might call me a “lifer”.  I say that because my first experience at LBMFM was as a medical student in the summer of 1989 when I rotated as a fourth-year medical student.  I went on to train as a resident at Long Beach from 1990 to 1993 and in my third year, I assumed the role of administrative chief resident.  After graduation, I joined the faculty and I have been having fun learning and developing skills as a teacher and family physician ever since.  I am now the Associate Program Director, and I assume many teaching and administrative roles at the residency program.  I work with our Office Manager and Program Director on the operational functions of the Family Medicine Center.

Clinically and academically, I have interests in women’s health and preventive medicine.  Recently, I have enjoyed learning about information technology and its application to medicine and patient care.  Outside the residency program, I have been involved as a physician leader.  I was chair of the hospital’s Physicians’ Informatics Committee as we prepared for the implementation of an entirely new electronic health record.  At the state level, I have been involved with the California Academy of Family Physicians,  having served as a member of the Medical Student and Residency Affairs Committee and president of the CAFP-Foundation.

I am an alumna of Loma Linda University Medical School and I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of California, Irvine.


Brooke LaDuca, MD | Associate Program Director
laduca-brookeI am a graduate of University of Southern California School of Medicine and completed my residency training here at Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine. After graduating residency, I joined a small group practice, with several other LBM graduates in Los Alamitos, California. We provided ambulatory and inpatient care to both adult and pediatric patients. I was also very fortunate to be able to continue teaching students from USC, UCI and UCLA within the context of my busy practice. Although I enjoyed my private practice very much, when the opportunity to return to the program arose, I jumped at it without hesitation.

My professional interests include Global Health, Hospital and preventive medicine. I recently completed the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Institute in Tropical Medicine and Public Health Program. The knowledge and the connections that I garnered at Johns Hopkins allowed me to establish a Global Health area of concentration for the residency program. I have been traveling extensively and working hard to establish more connections globally to further enrich the Global Health AOC.

Outside of my professional life, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, participating in marathons and triathlons, cooking, skiing, boating, hiking and pretty much anything outdoors.


Jeffrey S. Luther, MD | Director Emeritus/Director of Health Policy
luther-jefferyHaving attended medical school at UC Irvine and completed my residency training at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital and Glendale Adventist Medical Center, I joined the full-time faculty here in 1993 after working in private practice in Oxnard and Torrance, California. Among my roles here I served as Program Director from 2010 to 2017 and Associate Program Director prior to that. Having handed over the Program Director reins I am now able to concentrate on areas of particular interest to me, including addressing health policy and advocacy in residency training. I also coordinate our weekly House Calls Service, which takes me and the residents out to some of the more colorful neighborhoods of Long Beach. I have particular clinical interest in immunizations and vaccine-preventable diseases, in asthma and allergy, and in electrocardiography.

Outside of the office I am actively involved with the California Academy of Family Physicians. I am a CAFP Past-President and serve as a Delegate to the AAFP’s Congress of Delegates. I also work on CME development and as a CME speaker for the CAFP. Additionally, I serve on the Boards of Directors for three local charitable organizations, including the Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

On the home front, I enjoy music, sports (particularly soccer), cooking and brewing beer. My wife, Nicole Reilley, is a United Methodist Minister, and we have one son, Jacob, who is a first-year medical student in New York.


Carrie Fields, DO | Director, Westside Neighborhood Clinic
fields-carrieI joined the full-time faculty in 1995 after three fun-filled years doing my residency at Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine.  As with Cindy Herzog, my initial entry point was a fourth-year medical student clinical rotation, so perhaps that makes me a “lifer” as well….not such a bad deal!  I consider myself most fortunate in that, as I was making my career plans as an R3, an opportunity arose to assume the Medical Directorship of the underserved clinic through which we rotated.

I have been teaching community based medicine at the Westside Neighborhood Clinic since graduation, and have recently completed a fellowship in Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved.  I also serve as a member of the Long Beach Diabetes Collaborative, a citywide, multidisciplinary organization that is looking at innovative ways to bring improved diabetes care to our diverse and challenging population.  I have also been involved in designing a project to prevent obesity in Latino youth.

On a personal note, I am a mommy to 15-year old twins, as well as a being “Ariel’s Mom” to my wonderful 23-year-old, who was born during my second year of residency.  My husband George, is a local family physician.  We love traveling, staying involved in our community and watching videos and getting pizza delivery on Friday nights…our movie theater days currently being on hold!


Wendy Linderholm, PsyD | Director of Behavioral Medicine
wendy-linderholm-6I am a Clinical Health Psychologist with specific training in family practice and patient populations.  I completed my undergraduate work at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and my Doctor of Psychology degree at the California School of Professional Psychology here in LA.  The Doctor of Psychology degree, or PsyD (pronounced “sigh-dee”), is equivalent to a PhD in psychology with a greater emphasis on clinical work.  In practice, that means I have had more years of direct clinic work, more clinical supervision, and a specific training focus on the application of research to patient populations.

I happily worked in the family medicine residency setting for four years at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program, before coming to Long Beach.  I also have specific interest in oncology, HIV and AIDS, neurological disorders, and the relationship of lifestyle and stress to health.

I believe that family medicine is the gateway to all health care, and so represents a unique opportunity for assessment, education and appropriate referrals to create the best care for all.  I believe that as a multidisciplinary team we can, in a creative and caring way, have an enormous impact on our community.  My goals as Behavioral Medicine Director are three-fold:

  1. To provide education regarding assessment, diagnosis, treatment and referrals for the psycho-social issues of our community.
  2. To organize and continually improve our residents’ Behavioral Medicine education, including the opportunities of trainings, shadowing and direct clinical experience.
  3. To provide support and practical guidance in the professional and personal development of our residents.

Beyond my work, I love being outside and being active – anything from hiking and camping in the mountains, all the way to dancing Hawaiian Hula.


Rose Ruiz Swords, MD | Director of Maternity Care
swords-roseI am fortunate to have found Memorial Family Medicine, a place I love to work and have plenty of opportunity to grow.

After obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at UC Davis, I attended medical school at UC Irvine.  While I had every intention of moving back to Northern California after medical school, Long Beach Memorial became my first choice for residency after spending a month here as a medical student.  I was torn between my love for OB and primary care when deciding on a residency, but was able to find a great blend of both.  The location of the residency program also allowed me to interact with a variety of patients, especially Spanish speaking patients which I am drawn to given my Mexican Heritage (which is at times difficult to guess given my married name of Swords).

Residency was so great that when the opportunity arose to join the faculty following graduation in 2010, I knew there would be no other position that would even compare.

As director of maternity care, I supervise prenatal care and deliveries.  I also meet with residents twice a month to discuss continuity OB patients.

I enjoy women’s health, diabetes management and office procedures as well as working with residents and medical students.  I am a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the California Academy of Family Physicians.

Outside of work, I love to spend time cooking and exploring new places with my husband and two wonderful children.  I look forward to serving the community of Long Beach for many more years to come.


Lauren Barnes, MD | Director of Inpatient Medicine
barnes-laurenI am so excited to be a part of the Memorial Family Medicine team!  I was one of those crazy people that combined my BS/MD degree, completing my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at UC Riverside and then going on to medical school at UCLA (go Bruins!).  I got the travel bug in medical school and took a year to travel throughout Central America and Africa, exploring international medicine (one of my interests).

In medical school, I kept hearing all the hype about the Long Beach program, so I decided to come check it out as a 4th year student.  Well, it quickly felt like home, and I can’t imagine having done my residency anywhere else.  During residency, I realized how much I loved inpatient medicine and teaching.  I was ecstatic when the perfect position was created for an Assistant Director of Inpatient Medicine in the summer of 2010.

I am now Director of Inpatient Medicine and work alongside Dr La Duca with our inpatient family medicine service, developing our curriculum and overseeing patient care.  Some of my other interests are women’s health, office procedures and international medicine.  I am currently looking forward to continue to grow with our program and community of Long Beach.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling whenever I can, baking (mostly things containing chocolate), dinner parties, spending time with my family and friends, and the occasional run.


Pamela Wade, MSN – FNP
Wade more formalI joined Memorial Family Medicine in January 2011 after working at Westside Neighborhood Clinic for 10 years.  I am a Family Nurse Practitioner with a multitude of interests.  I obtained my RN license in 1985 and worked as a NICU nurse and nursing supervisor for 15 years.  I returned to school and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1994 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 1999 with a focus in family medicine.

I love community health and currently split my time between Memorial Family Medicine and Westside Neighborhood Clinic, an underserved community clinic that provides care for the uninsured.  The clinic also serves as a wonderful clinical rotation for our residents during their 2nd and 3rd year of residency.  I also have experience as an NP in pediatrics and women’s health.

Personally, I am a wife and proud parent of 3 wonderful children ages 25, 24 and 18.  My free time is spent with friends and family.  I also enjoy watching and attending sporting events, especially college football and basketball.


Jeffrey Lai, MD, CAQSM | Director – Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship
JeffreyLai1I am board certified in both family and sports medicine and practice as a Primary Care Sports Medicine specialist in Long Beach, California. My clinical focus includes general medical care of athletes at all levels, general musculoskeletal care of all patients, sports physicals, sports concussions, and musculoskeletal procedures especially involving ultrasound guidance for joint and soft tissue injections.

I grew up in the South Bay and moved up north to attend college at Stanford University, where I graduated with distinction in Industrial Engineering. I worked in Silicon Valley in the software industry for a number of years, and then attended medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Thereafter, I returned to Southern California and finished residency training in family medicine at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where I served as Academic Chief Resident.

After residency training, I joined the MemorialCare Medical Group to became a full-time faculty physician at Long Beach Memorial then I became the inaugural fellow at the Long Beach Memorial Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship in 2014.

I serve as the Head Team Physician for nearby California State University, Long Beach, and oversee the medical needs for over 400 NCAA Division I athletes. I am a volunteer team physician for Cypress College, and have provided sideline sports medicine coverage for numerous local schools including Cabrillo HS, St. Anthony HS, Los Alamitos HS, and Marina HS. I am a proud volunteer team physician for the Long Beach State Rugby club. I have participated in medical coverage at the Disney Half Marathon, the Tour of Long Beach, the FIVB World Series of Volleyball, amateur boxing shows, and the UC Irvine Zot Trot Triathlon.

My outside interests include running, cycling, auto racing, and listening to broadcasts of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball. I have run the New York Marathon (2006) and the Los Angeles Marathon (2015), and am a “legacy” runner of the Long Beach Half Marathon.


Karina Melgar, MD | Director of Community Engagement & Diversity
MelgarI was born in El Salvador and migrated with my family to the United States as a child. I have lived in various parts of Los Angeles and received my Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA in 2001. After college, I received my Bilingual Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for five years. I then moved to Sacramento to attend medical school at UC Davis.

During my 4th year I rotated at Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program and was really impressed with the program. I received my MD in 2011 and then began my training at Long Beach. I served as Academic Chief Resident and completed my Family Medicine Residency in 2014. I went on to do a Community Medicine Fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Santa Ana Family Medicine Residency Program. There I divided my time between teaching as Jr. Faculty and collaborating with many community organizations. I enjoyed it so much that I stayed for a second year and finished in 2016.

After Fellowship, I stayed with Kaiser Permanente in Long Beach for a few months until this great opportunity to become Faculty at Long Beach Memorial emerged in 2017. I still volunteer at the Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange, where I serve uninsured and mostly Latino patients. I am also still one of the Medical Advisors/Directors of a student run free clinic, An Lanh Clinic, in Garden Grove. I work with UCI undergraduate students, UCI medical students and Western University medical students.

My passion and focus is to provide care to underserved communities, mentor students at different educational levels, and focus on increasing diversity in the medical field. My clinical interests are women’s health, behavioral health, public health/policy, global health and community empowerment. Outside of work, I am likely at a family part (I have a humongous extended family). I also spend time with my dog and enjoy running, spin, yoga, soccer, snowboarding, dancing and exploring the city that I live in and love, Long Beach.


Christopher Kroner, MD, MPH, CAQSM | Associate Director, Sports Medicine Fellowship

After spending my college years at UC Davis and medical school in New Orleans at Tulane, I was happy to return to Southern California to complete my family medicine residency and sports medicine fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.  I spent the first part of my career in the family medicine department at UC Irvine where I helped to develop a sports medicine service and coordinated sports medicine rotations for residents and students.  I moved to Long Beach Memorial to be able to work in the community in which I live and to join a group of motivated faculty and residents dedicated to caring for the broad range of patients that our community provides.

I have worked on the medical staff for the Anaheim Ducks and USA Water Polo, traveling internationally with each, and I help coordinate and supervise medical coverage for runDisney events at Disneyland.  Since my residency I have helped care for student athletes at high schools and colleges from Torrance to Santa Ana, and have advised on medical care protocols for several high schools around Orange County.  Over the years I have covered events from small local races to large nationally televised extreme sports competitions.

While many aspects of medicine are exciting, I have a particular interest in bedside ultrasound and the clinical practice opportunities that it provides.  I love learning and teaching musculoskeletal and body ultrasound to residents and medical students.

I have always enjoyed experiencing new things and had many jobs before getting into medicine.  I have worked in food service, construction, and was a substitute teacher.  I was a firefighter in the US Forest Service and worked for my college’s police department providing event security on campus.  My newest and most exciting experience is raising my children with my wife and growing into our home in Long Beach.