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Amber J Ortega, MD

Dr. Amber J Ortega is the class of 2018 chief resident at Family Health Centers of San Diego's Family Medicine Residency Program. Her academic career started back at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, where she finished summa cum laude, obtaining a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. In addition, in college, she was the chapter president for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science as well as the president of the local chapter of TriBeta Biological Honor Society. She raised funds for both organizations for fellow undergraduate students to attend appropriate conferences. She also was on the board for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for the NMT chapter in which she promoted the interface between technology and medicine amongst her colleagues. She even entertained the idea of a career in translational medicine and considered applying to MD/PhD programs after enjoying her many different medically based summer research projects throughout her university experience. She has spent summers at NMT (working on cancer drug development research that was published in the journal of Organic Biomolecular Chemistry in 2007), Stony Brook University (doing breast cancer genetic testing that was presented at a national conference), and Johns Hopkins University (creating nerve conduits with neurogenic growth factors in an engineering lab and surgically implanting them into rats with damaged sciatic nerves).

Beyond academia, Dr. Ortega discovered her true passion after volunteering in an underserved clinic in the small border city of Las Cruces, NM. She truly enjoys helping and serving patients directly and face to face. It was then that she decided to focus her career towards preventative care for the underserved and disadvantaged populations especially surrounding the US-Mexico border population. She continued this pursuit while obtaining her Medical Degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, one of the country's top medical schools for primary care. During her time at UNM SOM, she became a La Segura scholarship recipient for her commitment to underserved primary care and was nominated for the Gold Humanism Honor Society by her peers for outstanding community service, which included founding the first annual "Spring into Health" fair for medical screening services and health education in a low income neighborhood. She also used funds from a different scholarship to travel abroad to Peru to promote healthy living and dental hygiene to children at an orphanage in Cuzco. She was awarded various other scholarships to spend time working in Kingston, Jamaica at the Dept. of Dermatology at the University of the West Indies Hospital, promoting service to the poverty stricken island and offering medical services to those in need.

Following medical school, Dr. Ortega continued her pursuit of community based, underserved medicine through the field of family medicine with a focus towards women's health, preventative medicine, and dermatology. Her research projects in residency were geared toward Obesity and Hepatitis C related treatments and lifestyle modifications. She has electively been trained in medical hypnosis and has a strong belief system in alternative and complementary medicine.

Dr. Ortega feels blessed to have ended up in San Diego, CA for her residency, where she plans to stay and do a fellowship and continue working with the underserved population. Her future plans following her time in training will be to work as a community medicine primary care doctor in San Diego County and to remain involved in promoting health education for underserved populations to increase our minority work force in the medical professions.