Meet the Class of M18

Shayna Adams was born in Singapore and grew up in San Diego. She graduated at the age of 19 from the Business Honors Program at San Diego State University with a specialization in Integrated Marketing Communications. Shayna has experience heading non-profit campaigns, conducting extensive market research, and writing feature articles and press releases. Her latest venture was joining a team to develop a healthcare app that improves health outcomes for cancer patients. Whilst exploring various interests in college, she became a clinical intern in an emergency department as well as a research associate at UCSD School of Medicine. Shayna was trained by board-certified psychiatrists, for the purposes of research, to diagnose patients with an array of psychiatric ailments such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. She aspires to apply the tools of business to the field of medicine to ensure her patients receive the highest level of care.

Danna Biala was born and raised in central NJ and attended a specialized Business Administration Learning Center for high school. Realizing that she also loved the sciences, she went on to Brandeis University, where she graduated in 2008 with degrees in Biochemistry, Biology, and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies. She then received her Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University and has been working as a clinical dietitian providing medical nutrition therapy to patients in the skilled nursing setting. During this time, she has also given lectures to Alzheimer’s support groups and community senior centers on nutritional concerns for older patients, written articles for, and developed a wellness program for a large aeronautical engineering company. She is very excited to utilize her business roots in the MD/MBA program, where she hopes to become a stronger leader well-versed in the intricacies of the changing healthcare system. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, hosting dinners, and organizing events.

My name is Erika Chow. After growing up in the suburbs of Boston, I went off to University of Michigan to complete my undergraduate studies in Neuroscience. Working with underserved populations and children was a crucial part of my experience, and helped to shape the direction I aim to pursue in healthcare. Nonetheless, I took a year off to travel, and to explore my fascination with food, health, and nutrition. I attended culinary school, where I learned how to prepare health-supportive meals, as well as how to cook for certain diseases. My path toward the MD/MBA program stemmed from my interest in using food as a tool for healing, and I hope to start a business that will empower people to do so. In my free time, I love running road races, trying new foods, exploring the city, and meeting new people!

Benjamin Gardner is from Benbrook, TX, although he was raised in many locations across the southern US. His father was an Air Force flight surgeon and a civilian ER physician, and consequently Ben was exposed and acclimated to medicine at an early age. Ben attended Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, earning a Bachelor's of Music in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Business Management in 2009. He then attended Florida State University and earned a Master's of Music in Vocal Performance in 2011. By this point, Ben decided to make a change in his career path and prepared for and applied to medical school. As an MD/MBA, he would like to work in hospitals to improve the relationship between administration and the physician workforce, thereby increasing the quality of healthcare. He is excited to be a part of this program at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Brendan Harrison was born in Boston, MA and grew up in Seattle, WA. He graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 and was hired as a Research Coordinator at the UW Department of Surgery, working on multiple quality improvement projects geared towards turning clinical research data into real-time process of care changes. Last year, Brendan worked at Benchmarket Medical as a Project Manager in charge of a data abstraction team which scanned electronic medical records for trends that could lead to improvements in patient outcomes. In an era where innovations in technology help us to live longer and tireless research is done to find cures for disease, Brendan believes the basic care we receive in a hospital is sometimes taken for granted. His goal is to find and execute the best ways to improve the quality of care patients receive in hospitals not only on an individual level as a physician but also on a broader level from an administrative position.

Michael Held was raised in Chappaqua, New York. He graduated from Horace Greeley High School in 2010, where he played football and lacrosse. Michael then moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Spanish. While studying at Vanderbilt he volunteered to teach science at local middle schools. He also researched bone biology and surgical site infection in the Schoenecker laboratory at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. During his junior year he studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain. In his semester overseas he was able to enhance his Spanish communication skills and observe a foreign healthcare system, while shadowing a physician at a local clinic. During his free time, Michael enjoys playing golf, watching football, and hanging out with his family and friends. As a MD/MBA candidate, he hopes to be better equipped to face the many challenges within healthcare. 

Hillary is from Mendham, New Jersey.  In May 2014, she graduated from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Hillary’s area of focus within public health is Health Policy and Management.  During the summer of 2013, Hillary completed a healthcare administration internship at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta.  During her time at the Emory Clinic, she gained valuable, hands-on experience in hospital relations and patient satisfaction.  Hillary is very interested in the value-based-purchasing payment model and the relationship between satisfaction scores and reimbursement payments.  Hillary plans to pursue a multifaceted career in both endocrinology and executive hospital administration.  She enjoys running, exercising, and cooking clean, farm-to-table meals.

Damien Lazar grew up in the suburbs of New York City and attended Cornell University.  After graduating with a double-major in Classics and History in 2010, Damien founded a company to provide athletic tournament services to regional high schools and served as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, PA before moving to Cambridge, MA to work as a legal analyst at a consulting firm.  Growing up with both parents in the healthcare field, Damien has always been very interested in medicine, but post-collegiate professional experiences led him to develop an interest in management, which ultimately contributed to his pursuit of the MD/MBA program.  Damien is eager to begin his studies and to apply his learning to improve patient care through increased efficiency and more effective management.  In his spare time, Damien loves to socialize, play sports, and engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking.

My name is Guannan (David) Li. Originally from the suburbs of Southern California, I attended UCLA, where I studied Biochemistry and worked extensively with clinical stroke research at both Ronald Reagan Medical Center and the UCLA Stroke Center. During my time at UCLA, I established two successful nonprofit programs with the aim of fostering student volunteerism and increasing preventative measures in modern medicine. Outside of school, I have been labeled a “Jack of all trades” by those closest to me—which I take as a compliment. My hobbies include playing the guitar, hiking in random places, finding new ways to cook cheap steak (crucial as a medical student), watching movies well into early mornings, and sketching artwork which inspires me. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to go to medical school in the heart of Boston, and I look forward to taking this next step in becoming a physician.

Douglas Rodgers is an M’18 MD/MBA candidate. He was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduation high school, he attended The John Hopkins University, where he majored in Economics and minored in Entrepreneurship & Management. He chose to pursue the dual MD/MBA program so that he can continue to pursue his strong passion for both medicine and economics. Douglas plans to one day us a systems perspective, which he will acquire through the dual program, to improve upon the health care delivery system by eliminating many of the inefficiencies that exist in it today. He is looking forward to begin the next chapter of his life and is very excited to become a member of the tufts community. 

Monica was born in Boston and grew up in Newton, MA. She attended high school at Concord Academy and went on to graduate from Tufts University in 2013 with a double major in Biology and Community Health. During her gap year, Monica worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a research assistant in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. While coordinating a surgical outcomes study and experiencing the operations of a large, academic hospital, she was constantly reminded of the fact that healthcare is profoundly impacted by the system in which it is practiced and was motivated to pursue a combined MD/MBA degree. She aims to apply her training in hospital administration, optimizing healthcare delivery and ultimately benefiting patients. Outside of academics, Monica loves soccer, lacrosse, traveling and photography. She is eagerly anticipating beginning the next chapter at TUSM and particularly excited to be living in her hometown of Boston.


Emem Udoh is confident that the MD/MBA will allow him to effectively practice medicine, while leading other physicians through healthcare constantly shifting landscape. He grew up in his Father’s independently owned pharmacy, and realized early on that regardless of the intent and expertise of the professional, healthcare does not work without effective management and organization. After high school, he left Central California to attend Hampton University in Virginia. At Hampton, Emem pursued a degree in Cellular/Molecular Biology and became involved in various organizations that (Beta Kappa Chi, HU Honors College, Golden Key, etc.) forced him to push re-evaluate himself in order to learn to lead. In 2013, he graduated from Hampton and became a Physio of Georgetown University’s Special Master’s Program in Physiology where he put his hopes to the test, confronting a year’s worth of medical school level classes. Now with Georgetown behind him and Tufts on the horizon, he is not only self-assured, but also determined for these new challenges to force him to grow academically, socially, mentally, and in width of perspective.


Gordon Wong was born in Chengdu, China but grew up in Winnipeg, Canada and Thousand Oaks, California. He  double majored in Integrative Biology and Economics at University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a senior thesis examining the effects of HIV/AIDS on African economic growth. In addition, he took part in nutritional biochemistry and development economics research with two lab groups and co-founded Health Guardians of America, the first initiative that encouraged students to exercise and rewarded them with financial incentives.  His interests aside from medicine are indoor rock climbing, music, and foreign languages. As an MD/MBA candidate, he looks to unify his interest in healthcare economics with the knowledge and skills to develop innovative solutions that will refine the delivery of medical care.