Residency Class of 2017


Thomas Betjeman MD

In a way it is the picture of the modern shaman that I wish to complete, a physician who combines evidence based medicine and traditional healing practices to address the mind, body, and soul of those who seek his help. Inspired by stories of general practitioners from the past as well as doctors I worked with in Mali, West Africa, during my time there as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as a consultant to the Carter Center, I decided on rural family medicine before beginning my medical education.

I love the versatility of being able to work effectively with minimal support and overhead as well as the opportunity to interact with and influence people at all stages in their lives, in their homes, at schools, where they work, and in the clinic. I am also passionate about integrating psychiatry and psychotherapy into primary care and plan to pursue this both during residency and in my professional career.

Coming from the Medical School for International Health in the Negev desert of Israel, it felt like a natural choice to continue my training in New Mexico (a diverse minority majority state with vast offerings for outdoor enthusiasts), and at UNM (nationally renowned for training in family and rural medicine).

Elisa Gutierrez MD

Being born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico has certainly shaped and guided my career in medicine. As a family physician, I look forward to fostering strong relationships that promote a healthy family, as well as having a positive influence on the community as a whole. Having grown up in a primarily immigrant community, I have a strong interest in working with minority groups and addressing the health disparities facing them.

In addition, I'm interested in global health, adolescent medicine, health prevention, and education. Family medicine is the only field of medicine that allows me to combine all my interests, but most importantly to me, I believe family medicine is the ideal field for addressing the health disparities in underserved minority communities within our country and around the world.

After graduating from Cornell University, I specifically chose UNM for this wonderful journey because of their strong focus on community medicine, the patient population, and the many opportunities available to explore my interests.

Kristy Riniker MD

Raised in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of a teacher and a social worker, I was involved in community service from a young age. As a cultural anthropology major at the University of Texas, I participated in a Human Rights Delegation in Bosnia, which led me towards an interest in development work.

On a subsequent medical mission trip to Kenya, I saw first-hand the influence doctors could have on not only treating disease, but also improving health, which spurred my interest in becoming a physician. Before starting medical school, I moved with my husband to Sanaa, Yemen, where I taught English and studied women’s health as part of my MPH.

I was drawn to Family Medicine because of the focus on the patient as a whole and the integral connections with public health. Following graduation from medical school at UT- San Antonio, I chose UNM for my residency training because of the strong commitment to community service, public health, rural medicine, research and innovation.

As a National Health Service Corps Scholar, I am committed to serving the underserved, and the opportunity to be in an academic center in Albuquerque for a year, followed by a community program in Santa Fe, is ideal for training me to be an excellent Family Physician ready to practice in any setting.