NCMA Family Physician James G. Trapnell, MD Honored as ‘Top Doctor’ 2017

Northern California Medical Associates’ Family Medicine Physician James G. Trapnell, MD was recently selected as among 2017 top physicians by Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctors survey.

Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctor survey was submitted to Sonoma County doctors who were then asked which medical specialist they would most often recommend to a loved one, and more than 300 professionals emerged as top docs in 50 categories of medicine.

About Dr. Trapnell

Northern California Medical Associates’ Family Medicine Physician James G. Trapnell, MD was recently selected as 2017 top physicians in their respective specialties by Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctors survey.

James Trapnell, M.D., was born and raised in the bay area. A UC Berkeley undergraduate, class of 1986, Dr. Trapnell went on to attend medical school at UCLA, and then his Family Practice residency in Martinez, CA through UC Davis. Upon completing his residency, Dr. Trapnell worked in the East Bay, California, and in New Hampshire providing healthcare to the . He returned to the west coast in 1999, and has been a family physician at Spring Creek Family Practice for over 13 years.

Dr. Trapnell’s enjoys all aspects of family healthcare, especially providing a stable continuum of care for the elderly and medically complicated patients. Outside of work, Dr. Trapnell and his wife Annette are busy raising their two wonderful daughters. His hobbies include listening to music, cooking, baking, exercise, and gardening. Santa Rosa is Dr. Trapnell’s home, and he feels truly fortunate to have become a part of such a wonderful community–both personally and professionally.

Spring Creek Family Practice
1144 Sonoma Ave. # 119
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 544-3811
Fax: (707) 544-0128

NCMA Internal Medicine Physicians Recognized as Top Doctors in Sonoma County

Northern California Medical Associates’ Internal Medicine Physicians Dr. William Carroll, Parul T. Kohli, M.D., Neil A. Levin M.D., and Bruce N. Tucker M.D. were recently selected as 2017 top physicians in their respective specialties by Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctors survey.

Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctor survey was submitted to Sonoma County doctors who were then asked which medical specialist they would most often recommend to a loved one, and more than 300 professionals emerged as top docs in 50 categories of medicine.

About Dr. Carroll

William Carroll MDDr. William D. Carroll, M.D. is an Internist who specializes in Internal Medicine. He received his Medical Degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, served his residency in Internal Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Carroll practices at Santa Rosa Internal Medicine. To schedule an appointment call (707) 546-2180.


About Parul T. Kohli M.D.

Dr. Parul T. KohliDr. Kohli is an internal medicine physician who focuses on comprehensive “whole patient” care. She provides compassionate care continuing across the whole spectrum- from preventative health to chronic disease. Dr. Kohli enjoys spending time with her family traveling and outdoor activities like biking, skiing and kids soccer. She practices yoga and enjoys walking, running, music and dance. Read more about Dr. Kohli on her profile page. To schedule an appointment call 707-546-2180.

About Dr. Levin

Dr. Neil A. Levin, MD is an Internist specializing in Internal Medicine. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and served a residency at Stanford University Medical Center. He currently practices at Santa Rosa Internal Medicine. To schedule an appointment call 707-546-2180.

About Dr. Tucker

Dr. Bruce N. Tucker is an Internist who specializes in Internal Medicine. He received his degree in medicine at New York University School of Medicine and served a residency at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. He practices with Santa Rosa Internal Medicine and can be reached for appointment by calling 707-546-2180.


NCMA Welcomes Cardiologist Dr. Henry W. Huang, M.D. FACC to FountainGrove Cardiology

Dr. Henry W. Huang is the newest cardiologist to join NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services team of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to patient health care needs. Since 1975, the group has focused on sub specialization within cardiovascular health to provide services by the most highly trained and experienced physicians and staff.

About Dr. Henry Huang MD

Dr. Henry W. Huang is the newest cardiologist to join NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services team of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to patient health care needs. Henry W. Huang, M.D., FACC is board certified in both cardiovascular diseases and internal medicine and he currently holds certifications in clinical lipidology, nuclear cardiology, cardiovascular computed tomography and national board certification in adult comprehensive echocardiography. Dr. Huang has been featured for two consecutive years in Pasadena Magazine as among Top Doctors in the field of cardiology.

Dr. Huang graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2000. He continued his discipline with a chief fellowship at California Pacific Medical Center in 2006. Most recently Dr. Huang held the position of assistant professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Nuclear Cardiology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In his spare time, he enjoys working out and exploring the restaurants and wineries of Sonoma County. He is also a car enthusiast and sports fan.

About NCMA

From cardiac catheterization to open-heart surgery, from electrophysiology to rehabilitation and prevention, the Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Cardiovascular Services team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and the best patient results.  This team of professional staff not only maintains its commitment to our patients’ health and well-being but to maintaining a tradition of excellence and expertise in our practice of the most current, innovative treatments in cardiovascular medicine.

For more information about FountainGrove Cardiology and the full range of services offered by Northern California Medical Associates, visit the website. To make an appointment with Dr. Huang call (707) 573-6199.

NCMA Welcomes Internal Medicine & Geriatric Specialist Rachel Mayorga MD

Dr. Rachael Mayorga NCMA Healdsburg physician Dr. Rachel Mayorga is a primary care doctor who specializes in internal medicine and geriatric medicine. Her practice focuses on individualized preventative and long-term wellness.

Dr. Mayorga’s practice philosophy is based on the principles, which enable, patients to enjoy greater access to and more quality time with their doctor. Her practice is particularly suited for people seeking a doctor who will spend time with them to design a personalized plan for health.

Board certified in Internal Medicine and in Geriatric Medicine, Dr. Mayorga is a specialist in “Healthy Aging,” and has lectured and participated in community outreach programs. Dr. Mayorga collaborates with her patients to customize a care plan focused on their unique health needs and life goals.

Dr. Mayorga received a Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine from Rush-Presbyterian, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She completed residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated with an MD from the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.

NCMA’s Internal Medicine & Geriatric Physicians diagnose, treat, and manage a full spectrum of health conditions. In addition to general internal medicine services, they also have expertise, special interest, and experience in gastroenterology, endocrinology, health screenings, diabetes management and care, immunizations, women’s health and much more. To schedule an appointment call 707.385.0222.

NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services Physicians Among Those Recognized by Sonoma Magazine’s ‘Top Doctors’ Campaign

Santa Rosa physicians Masis Babajanian M.D., Patrick Coleman, M.D., Thomas Dunlap, M.D., and Dr. Keith Korver of NCMA Cardiovascular Services were recently selected as top cardiologists by Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctors survey.

Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctor survey was submitted to Sonoma County doctors who were then asked which medical specialist they would most often recommend to a loved one, and 327 professionals emerged as top docs in 50 categories of medicine. Among physician peers Dr. Babajanian, Dr. Coleman, Dr. Dunlap and Dr. Korver ranked at the top for cardiology specialists, supporting what the many patients who routinely benefit from the expertise and outstanding cardiovascular services provided by these exemplary physicians already know.

The NCMA Cardiovascular Services including Dr. Babajanian, Dr. Coleman, Dr. Dunlap and Dr. Korver is comprised of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to providing patients’ health care needs. Since 1975, the group has focused on sub-specialization within cardiovascular health to provide services by the most highly trained and experienced physicians and staff.

About Dr. Babajanian

babajanianmasisDr. Masis Babajanian is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, Invasive Cardiology, Nuclear Cardiology and Pacemaker Implants. He received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and received his fellowship in cardiology from Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine.

About Dr. Coleman

Dr. Patrick Coleman is a board certified cardiologist with fellowship training in nuclear and interventional cardiology. He serves as the Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories for both SRMH and Sutter Santa Rosa, as well as the Director of the Cardiology Section at NCMA. In addition to practicing cardiology at NCMA’s Santa Rosa and Ukiah offices, Dr. Coleman regularly gives lectures to the general public and health providers about maintaining and improving heart health and emergency response.

About Dr. Dunlap

Dr. Thomas Dunlap is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Peripheral Vascular, Endovascular Medicine, Interventional Cardiology and Pacemaker Implants. He is the Regional Director of Cardiac and Vascular Services at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Director of the Cardiology Division of NCMA, and Chairman of the Endovascular Committee of Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. He is published in numerous medical journals on cardiovascular health.

About Dr. Korver

keith-korverDr. Keith Korver is a fellowship trained Cardiothoracic Surgeon from UCSF School of Medicine as well as Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Transplant Surgery. He specializes in general and Cardiothoracic Surgery.


About NCMA Cardiology

NCMA Cardiology is comprised of a team of cardiologists and one cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon —all board-certified in their fields. NCMA’s HeartWorks Cardiac Rehabilitation Center provides each patient with a personal diet and exercise plan supervised by a team of physicians, nurses, and cardiac exercise specialists.  In accordance with its practice of providing comprehensive cardiovascular health care, NCMA offers comprehensive care in areas including;

  • Cardiovascular Testing and Services
  • Interventional Services and Procedures
  • pacemaker and defibrillator clinics
  • anti-coagulation clinics
  • congestive heart failure clinics
  • pulmonary hypertension clinics
  • lipid clinics
  • adult congenital heart clinic
  • general check-ups with cardiologists

NCMA’s services offers cardiac care in three counties, with 11 offices, located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah, and Lakeport. To learn more about NCMA Cardiology visit


NCMA’s Dr. Steele Shares Insights Concerning the Hazards of Too Much or Too Little Sleep

Northern California Medical Associate’s Dr. Marco Steele discusses the importance of getting enough rest and offers some options for people with chronic sleep issues.

TiredA new study out from Biological Psychiatry points out the importance of getting the correct amount of sleep. Findings reveal something that Northern California Medical Associate’s pulmonary specialist and board certified sleep expert Dr. Marco Steel is all too familiar with. “Many people believe that it’s too little sleep that can make the body susceptible to illness, where in fact it is both too little and too much sleep that can eventually lead to health problems.”

The report indicates that both sleep disturbances and long sleep duration lead to increased incidents of inflammation, a condition that contributes to both depression and many medical illnesses, according to study editors. Considered a ‘public health problem’ by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sleep disturbances such as insomnia have been associated with increased risk of inflammatory disease. In fact, the Institute of Medicine studies have correlated chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, depression and obesity, along with several types of cancer and increased mortality with people who also suffer from sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.

Getting the right amount of shut-eye

Biological Psychiatry’s analysis demonstrated that both sleep disturbance (defined as ‘poor sleep quality or complaints of insomnia’) and prolonged sleep durations of more than eight hours create elevated levels of proteins in the bloodstream that leave patients vulnerable to the ravages of inflammation. They also suggest that treatments targeting sleep behavior could be a strategy for reversing the inflammation and reducing the risk of inflammatory illnesses. For some people, getting the right amount of sleep can only happen with the help of an expert.

“Sleep problems such as chronic snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia as well as restless legs syndrome are actually quite common. Sometimes the best way to get back to having a good night’s sleep is to work with a specialist,” says Dr. Steele. “Good sleep is essential for maintaining optimal health. For example, without the right amount of sleep, a person’s hormone levels can become affected, causing mood swings and issues such as weight gain.” If insomnia persists for several hours each night for more than a couple of months, it’s a good idea to get a medical consultation.

What to expect from an expert

Most experts agree that adults should sleep at least seven hours per night on a regular basis in order to maintain optimal health. For someone with persistent insomnia going to a sleep center can help a patient identify the problem and offer solutions for a variety of issues including;

  • Chronic Snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Pediatric sleep disorders (night terrors, sleep walking, etc.)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

“Some adults may need a longer sleep duration exceeding nine hours per night,” says Dr. Steele. “People who need more hours can include young adults and people suffering from a chronic illness. There are some adults who are naturally short sleepers that continue to feel alert and refreshed on less than six hours per night, but that’s a fairly small percentage of the population. The best advice is to talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your sleep patterns, or if you feel constantly fatigued. For an ongoing sleep problem, seeking out the help of an accredited sleep center might be the best solution.”

About Dr. Steele and NCMA’s Sleep Centers


Dr. Steele

NCMA Pulmonologist James Marco Steele, MD provides diagnostics, treatment and management of a full spectrum of pulmonary diseases. He is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Internal Medicine as well as Critical Care by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). For more information, visit the NCMA website or call (707) 525-3786.

The New Vein Clinic at NCMA and Dr. Vishal Patel Provide a Wide Range of Healing Options for Patients with Venous Disorders

Northern California Medical Associates is proud to provide patients with a full range of venous treatment options at their new Vein Clinic

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) announces a new service under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Vishal Patel for patients with venous disorders – The Vein Clinic. Utilizing the latest minimally invasive techniques and treatments for a full spectrum of venous disorders, this new specialty clinic is unique to the area and provides advanced care for patients. The Vein Clinic at NCMA is part of the expert cardiac and vascular care team utilizing leading-edge medical technology serving the North Bay.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms

veinsNearly 25 million people suffer from venous reflux in the U.S., a condition which causes varicose veins and other severe venous diseases including leg ulcers. Venous reflux disease, also referred to as venous insufficiency, is a condition that affects the circulation of blood in the lower extremities. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, counter to the force of gravity.  When the valves become weak and no longer close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, resulting in a condition called reflux.

While venous reflux itself may not be serious it can cause major discomfort and various complications. Symptoms often increase the risks of a wide variety of other chronic conditions. Many of the resulting diseases, such as thrombophlebitis can be quite serious. Without proper treatment, venous reflux can even become debilitating. With diligent treatment and monitoring however, many patients experience dramatic symptom relief.

Facts about Venus Reflux and Varicose Veins

Venous reflux tends to be more common in women than in men. According the latest statistics, it’s also more likely to occur in women between 40 and 49 and in men between 70 and 79. Inactivity, which includes sitting or standing for long periods of time, can result in high blood pressure in the leg veins and that increases a person’s risk of developing venous conditions. Other risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • cancer
  • muscle weakness
  • leg injury, or trauma
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • blood clots
  • family history of venous insufficiency

Venous reflux disease can produce a number of clinical problems for the patient and can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle.  In addition to being very painful, the more serious symptoms include edema, skin changes, venous ulcers – and venous reflux disease commonly produces varicose veins which are abnormally swollen and discolored superficial leg veins.

Treatment Options

walking legsThe Vein Clinic at NCMA offers several treatment options depending on severity. “Our new Santa Rosa clinic offers patients several treatment options including radiofrequency ablation (also known as Venefit or VNUS Closure), which represents a minimally invasive means of curing varicose veins and venous insufficiency,” explains Dr. Patel. “This treatment involves the use of radiofrequency energy, delivered through a catheter in a vein, to close the vein from the inside. Only a tiny incision in the leg is required for this procedure to be performed.” It is often done in the office using only local anesthesia and does not require a hospital stay. “Most patients find that the procedure is nearly painless, and the vast majority of patients are back to their usual routine by the next day,” he adds.

About The Vein Clinic and Dr. Patel

The Vein Clinic at NCMA is geared toward putting patients on the path to long-term recovery. The clinic provides comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for all types of vein disorders without lengthy hospital stays or extensive surgeries.

Dr. Vishal Patel’s background as Director of the Vein Clinic began with board certification in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease, endovascular medicine and specialty certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation.  Vein disease treatment is Dr. Patel’s professional specialty and patient outcomes are extraordinary. To request more information about venous reflux today call (707) 573.6166.

Dr. Parul Kohli Provides Insight into the Importance of Strength Training for Older Adults

Northern California Medical Associate’s Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Parul Kohli discusses the latest research highlighting the impact physical activity can have on aging and the importance of adding strength training to the exercise routine.

Dr. Parul Kohli discusses the latest research highlighting the impact physical activity can have on aging and the importance of adding strength training to the exercise routine.“Aging well is a challenge for all of us, but there are things we can do to improve the odds of staying healthy for life,” says NCMA’s Dr. Parul T. Kohli.  “Research is showing more and more that there are simple, yet important steps that can be followed to maintain good health and reduce the risk of disease and disability as we age.” Top priorities Dr. Kohli’s recommends for her patients include;

  • exercise
  • healthy diet
  • regular health screenings
  • getting vaccines
  • getting enough restful sleep
  • remaining socially active

To this list Dr. Kohli may also suggest strength training as an important factor for patients who hope to remain fit and active for life. A new study conducted by Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and published this month suggests that in addition to aerobic exercise, strength training can play an important role in improving the quality of life for patients including; preventing early death, improved resistance to cardiovascular disease, dementia and chronic diseases such as diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

“Over the years, many different studies have validated the benefits of physical activity in older adults, and stressed the importance of building overall body strength, which helps to improve muscle mass and optimize physical function,” says Dr. Kohli.

Improvements as a result of strength training have been observed in chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, low back pain and of course, obesity. The new Penn State study revealed that older adults who strength trained at least twice a week had 46 percent lower odds of death for any reason than those who did not. They also had 41 percent better chance of avoiding cardiac death and 19 percent improvement in the odds of dying from cancer.

Incorporating Strength Training to Your Fitness Routine

Adding strength training to a regular fitness routine doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym every day of the week, or enlisting the aid of heavy barbells to enhance strength. Very small changes in muscle strength can have a significant impact on overall functionality and improve a person’s quality of life, particularly for patients who already experience some form of muscle weakness.

“Increasing strength in small ways can make it easier to do common tasks such as climbing stairs, opening jars, getting out of a chair and even walking around the block,” explains Dr. Kohli. “Exercise focused on the lower body is particularly important as it will help to improve balance – and maintaining good balance is key to avoiding falls – which can be a real game changer for an otherwise healthy older adult.”

According to the National Institute on Aging twice a week strength training for 30-minute periods is optimal, and exercising different muscle group is best for each session. Beginning with light weights and building up gradually over a period of time is the best way to get used to strength exercises, build muscle mass, and avoid potential injury.

About Dr. Kohli and Santa Rosa Internal Medicine

Dr. Kohli for PR 2

Dr. Parul T. Kohli

NCMA’s Internal Medicine Physicians diagnose, treat and manage a full spectrum of health conditions. In addition to general internal medicine services, Dr. Kohli focuses on comprehensive “whole patient” care. She provides compassionate care continuing across the whole spectrum- from preventative health to chronic disease. To learn more visit our website or to make an appointment call (707) 546-2180.





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Advocate for Women’s Heart Health

Throughout her life, cardiologist Dr. Kimberly Brayton, has strived to make the biggest impact in the field of health care. She has only been with Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) since March and already is advocating for community awareness of women’s heart health.

During Dr. Brayton’s first week at NCMA, she was a guest speaker at a Women and Heart Disease event for WHAM (Women’s Health at Memorial), a women’s philanthropy group. “It’s going to be an important part of my practice,” she says. “Community events like this are especially important for women’s groups, as well as on-going provider education, and especially emergency room front line providers and primary care physicians.”

Originally from Petaluma, Dr. Brayton began studying health policy in law school.

“It felt like health policy would have more of an impact than treating individual patients, a more global impact is what I had envisioned.” While she found that good in theory, “I really didn’t find it so satisfying on the ground.” She discovered that while participating in tenant and landlord disputes, she really liked direct services to clients, something she hadn’t anticipated.  What she really wanted was patient contact.

“It turned out that on a day to day basis what’s more interesting for me is to feel like I’m making a difference in individuals’ lives. I found that much more fun than my policy classes. It felt much more meaningful. I derive more joy from the face to face interaction. It’s more satisfying.”

Dr. Brayton applied to medical school while still in law school. She took the bar exam and started medical school two weeks later. While in medical school, Dr. Brayton maintained an interest in public health in general. And because heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., for men and for women, it made sense that to impact a greater number of patients she would focus on cardiology.

“It would be interesting to me medically, but I would also be treating a population where there was potential for a greater impact.” Historically speaking, women have not been well-represented in the medical profession. Although the field of cardiology is male dominated, it’s getting better, Dr. Brayton says. Medical school classes in general have started to even out in terms of men and women, but in sub-specialties like cardiology, there remains a pretty marked imbalance.

“It’s true for cardiology as much as any other type of medicine. Which means that the type of data we tended to accrue over the last 20- 30 years gives us a lot of insight into men’s cardiovascular disease, but much less so for women, both in terms of the presentation of the disease and the appropriate management. And whether therapies are equally effective for men and women is less clear.”

Heart disease is the number one source of mortality for women. In fact, more women who have a heart attack will die from it compared to men. Dr. Brayton says “There are a lot of factors that contribute to that. Part of it is that women’s symptoms are not the same as for men. Women less often have crushing chest pain so they don’t realize they are having a heart attack, and part of it is media portrayal of a heart attack, which is always the male experience of having crushing pain. So awareness is a problem. The awareness of women’s symptoms of a heart attack is lower. It’s true on the patients’ side, in that they don’t come in quickly enough, and it’s also true for providers, where their clinical suspicion of heart disease is lower because it’s not a typical presentation of symptoms.”

That makes it difficult for the physician to make the correct diagnosis and treat women’s heart conditions appropriately, which leads to worse outcomes for women. “What that highlights for me is the importance of continuing to be an advocate and make sure that women are included especially on the research side. That’s been an interest of mine since I’ve been doing health services research, and then drug development research; how do we make sure that women are well-represented in clinical trials?”

Kimberly Brayton MD

Dr. Kimberly Brayton

Dr. Brayton finished her fellowship at UC San Francisco in 2013, and continued with a post-doctoral fellowship in health services research at Stanford University, which she finished in 2014. For the next two years she was intermittently practicing medicine while doing clinical research in cardiovascular drug development. But again, something was missing. “I found the research and drug development interesting and thought it would have an impact, but I had the same problem I always had– there was not enough patient contact. For me, it was pretty clear I needed to get back into clinic. At NCMA, this is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Dr. Brayton’s husband is also a cardiologist with NCMA, Dr. Vishal Patel. They have an 11- month old son, Aash, and they are expecting their second child in July. They also have a 6-month old puppy. When Dr. Brayton is not pursuing one of her many interests, she is “chasing her son around.” The family also enjoys hiking adventures to see the countryside.

Visit Dr. Brayton’s profile to learn more and call (707) 573-6199 to make an appointment.

NCMA Docs Make a Difference: Dr. Adelina Stateva and GAP Community

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Podiatrist Adelina Stateva, DPM, demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism in her involvement with GAP Community, a non-profit philanthropic organization with global outreach. GAP Community is committed to providing tools to empower the disadvantaged people in our world to actualize their hopes and dreams. Through leadership training, international projects, and financial contributions, it is the goal of GAP Community to help people realize that, in any situation, circumstance, or struggle, faith, hope, and love can prevail.

IMG_1392049Dr. Stateva first traveled with GAP to Kayamandi, South Africa in 2007 on an international project to better the living conditions of the locals. The area is tragically known to be one of the rape capitals of the world, and its communities are deeply affected by violence, poverty, and HIV. The goal of the trip was to provide youth leadership training, and to help determine the best use of the organization’s financial contributions.


IMG_1625GAP Community’s training exercises are geared towards helping participants set practical goals that will lead them to achieve their dreams. Upon reflecting on her first trip, Dr. Stateva recalled her amazement at the hope and fortitude exuded by the children in the area. Even growing up in an environment plagued by frequent tragedy, the children in Dr. Stateva’s leadership training classes expressed enthusiasm for their futures. Dr. Stateva also worked closely with her fellow GAP volunteers to fund a housing project renovation for HIV sufferers in Kayamandi.

Dr. Stateva explains, “There really are few experiences in my life that have been more inspiring than the work I have done in South Africa with GAP Community. I’m very grateful for the kids I got to know during my time there. The active learning style we use is designed to give children the confidence and insight necessary to overcome limiting beliefs and difficult circumstances that prevent them from achieving their goals and dreams. I thought the kids in Kayamandi would be discouraged by their rough environments and exposure to atrocities at such a young age. Instead I found them energetic and spirited with high hopes for their lives ahead of them. Everyday in leadership training, they were engaged and excited to learn.

“All GAP members are responsible for raising their own funds for the international project trips, and for the South Africa trip in 2007 we collectively raised a healthy surplus that we wanted to share with the local community in Kayamandi. We found a home for people living with HIV that lacked ample space and facilities. The occupants had to share tiny rooms, and the single bathroom was outdoors a ways away from the main housing building. Using the restroom at night meant risking being attacked or raped.

“As a group, we decided to use our funds to expand the housing project and to install indoor plumbing. When I returned with GAP Community again in 2011 we were rewarded with the sight of the completed renovations. The residents are now living in a much safer environment while they recover from illnesses, and the facility we built can accommodate many more people than it could before.”

In addition to the housing renovations and leadership training, Dr. Stateva cites other successes that have come about thanks to GAP Community’s trips to Kayamandi. In recent years, conversations about HIV amongst communities in Kayamandi have become more common, and more privileged South Africans have begun to contribute more of their time and resources towards mending the HIV problem. In the aftermath of the apartheid era, separation and prejudices remain commonplace in South Africa, but groups like GAP that strive to spread HIV awareness have helped lessen the stigma and bring people closer together.

Dr. Stateva was born and raised in Bulgaria and she moved to the United States when she was 15 years old. Upon completion of high school in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Stateva attended Connecticut College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry. In 2002 she graduated from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Shortly thereafter she began residency at Palo Alto, VA where she also taught at Stanford University and continued residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. She moved to California in 2005 to begin her practice in Santa Rosa, and she joined NCMA in March 2014.

Dr. Stateva and her husband, a professional chef in Santa Rosa, dedicate time to go on mission trips with GAP Community when they can. The couple has had one daughter since their last trip to South Africa. Dr. Stateva remains engaged with GAP locally, helping with fundraisers and informing people of the great volunteer opportunities the organization offers. Visit for more information on GAP Community, and visit to learn more about Dr. Stateva and NCMA.