Dr. Laura Polito, MD – Medical Director of Street Medicine Teams

Dr. Laura Polito, M.D. is the Medical Director of the Street Medicine Teams for Doctors Without Walls.  She has worked with Doctors Without Walls at the Pershing Park Clinic, leading a team on street rounds, and at the Isla Vista Clinic.

Dr. Polito is Board Certified in Family Medicine and practices at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara.  She did her undergraduate work at Santa Clara University, in Santa Clara, CA, and attended Medical School at Creighton University, in Omaha, NE.  Dr. Polito completed her Family Medicine Residency at Offutt Air Force Base/University of Nebraska Medical Center.  After residency, Dr. Polito spent four years at Vandenberg Air Force Base, serving as Medical Director of the Family Medicine Clinic. Currently, Dr Polito also sits on the Board of the Santa Barbara County Medical Society.

Dr. Polito’s true passion lies in humanitarian medicine, providing needed care to the most vulnerable and underserved population in a community.  While in the Air Force, she was fortunate enough to serve on several humanitarian medical missions to Central and South America, providing medical care and health education to vulnerable communities.

Since coming to Santa Barbara, Dr. Polito has continued to pursue medical humanitarian work, flying to Baja, Mexico, with a local Santa Barbara organization to provide care to underserved populations still recovering from Hurricane Jimena.

Andrew Lee – Volunteer Coordinator

Andrew graduated from UCSB in 2017 and has been with Doctors Without Walls for three years as a scribe, EMT, and Companion Care volunteer. Doctors Without Walls has allowed him to pursue his passion for serving others and for helping provide better care and opportunities to underserved communities. He also works as an Emergency Department Technician at Cottage Hospital and as a scribe at a pediatric orthopedic clinic. In his spare time he enjoys playing sports, hiking and backpacking.

Melissa Ausanka-Crues – Parks Co-Coordinator

Melissa is a Santa Barbara native who holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Chemistry from Skidmore College. She has been been volunteering for Doctors Without Walls for over two years in the Companion Care, WFHC, scribe, packs, and vitals programs. Last year she was the WFHC Logistics Coordinator and the acting Companion Care Coordinator. Prior to DWW, she was an M.A. and Assistant Manager at a geriatric medical office in San Francisco. She is a licensed EM. Melissa plans apply to Accelerated Bachelor’s programs in Nursing to work in ICUs or in the ER, perhaps returning to geriatrics as an NP.

Cassie Roach – Lompoc Coordinator

Cassie graduated from UCSB in 2015 with a degree in Biospychology and Religious Studies. She has been volunteering with Doctors Without Walls for nearly three years. Cassie works full-time as the Program Coordinator/Senior Case Manager for the New Beginnings Safe Parking Program. She has a passion for working with the underserved and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and going to concerts.

Taylor Carson – WFHC Co-Coordinator

Taylor graduated from UCSB with a degree in Biopsychology. After college she worked as a Research Assistant at William Sansum Diabetes Center, working on industry trials that aim to benefit and improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes. She is currently in the Nursing Program at CSU Channel Islands. Taylor is extremely dedicated to advocating and enhancing the care of those suffering from mental illness. Once a nurse, she plans to further her education and become a Women’s Nurse Practitioner specializing in diabetes and mental health working on the frontlines of patient care in underserved communities to bring more of a holistic approach to provide the best comprehensive care.

Solmaz Soleimani – WFHC Co-Coordinator

Solmaz is recent graduate from UCSB with a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Feminist Studies. She has been volunteering with Doctors Without Walls for over a year and a half. She plans to pursue a joint degree of Physician Assistant Studies and Masters of Public Health and hopes to be able to continue investing my time and efforts in serving marginalized women. She is the head violinist of the UCSB Middle East Ensemble and frequently performs at events around town.

Gabriella Moreno – WFHC Co-Coordinator

Gabriella, a Santa Barbara local, is currently in her third year at Santa Barbara City College pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences while also tutoring for calculus and sociology classes. She has been volunteering with Doctors without Walls as both a general volunteer and scribe for over a year and a half. Her time at the Women’s Clinic has only furthered her desire to one day serve underserved communities as a physician. She loves learning, growing, and improving at every opportunity and on her down time she enjoys laying in the sun.

Niko Victoria – Companion Care Co-Coordinator

Niko is a Santa Barbara native who studied Biology and Applied Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University where he was introduced to the Jesuit philosophies of the university, “care of the whole person” and “living with and for others.” Niko joined Doctors without Walls to live out those philosophies and is pursuing a career in medicine to continue to do so in his career. When he’s not helping out on the streets he can be found sharing his love of science at MOXI or volunteering at Cottage Hospital.

Marina Najjar – Companion Care Co-Coordinator

Marina graduated from UCSB in 2017 and has since held the position of Volunteer Coordinator for Doctors without Walls. She is excited to be one of this year’s Companion Care Co-Coordinators. Every moment she’s spent as a outreach, scribe, and communications volunteer over the past two years has brought her pure joy and a better understanding of what it means to serve the underserved. She is thrilled to dedicate another year to this fantastic organization and is excited to work with this incredible group of people, from the fellow coordinators, to the amazing clinicians and student volunteers.

Serina Williams – Packs Coordinator

Serina graduated from UCSB in 2017 with a degree in Biopsychology and a minor in LGBTQ studies. She is a tech in Dr. Kippin’s lab at UCSB where she researchs how sex differences play a role in drug addiction. She is also a CLAS tutor for general chemistry and a scribe in the Cottage Hospital ED.  She hopes to attend medical school. She enjoys playing board games and video games, wine tasting, playing Pokemon Go and discussing riveting topics with her cat.

Leilani Do-Le – Assistant Packs Coordinator

Leilani is currently a 4th year undergraduate at UCSB majoring in Biological Sciences. Leilani joined Doctors Without Walls through the Women’s Free Health Clinic as a packs volunteer, but now will also be scribing. Joining Doctors Without Walls has been another way for Leilani to not only advocate for, but also help cultivate the Santa Barbara community. Additionally, Leilani currently works for and with the school and county of Santa Barbara as an advocate for food security among low-income students.

India Olchefske – Communications Coordinator

India Olchefske recently graduated with a Master’s in Public Health. She has experience working in health policy specifically centered around addiction and mental health. Running tandem to her passion for public health is a passion for ballet. She currently dances in Santa Barbara.

Stephen Chih – Data Coordinator

Stephen graduated from UCSB in 2018 with a degree in Cell and Developmental Biology. He has been involved with Doctors Without Walls since 2015 and is very excited to become a part of the team that helps maintain the EMR system, in addition to running projects that collect, organize, and analyze EMR data. During his free time, he enjoys running and playing the cello.