Happy Doc Family Medicine is a “micro practice” - a clinic with two doctors and no staff. The idea is to keep things small and simple, so we can spend more time with patients. The knowledge and skills that we worked so hard to acquire are not easily compressed into 10-minute visits, nor is responding to people’s innermost fears about their health.
If you come to our clinic you’ll see it doesn’t look like a typical health clinic. As one of our 8-year-old patients asked skeptically, “Shouldn’t this clinic be bigger?” In the 300 square feet of clinic, there is no receptionist or medical assistant. As patients are seen promptly at their appointment time, the waiting room is more for decoration than for waiting. Appointments are as long as they need to be for both the doctor and patient to feel satisfied, which is often 30-45 minutes. Soft, colorful gowns, made by Lara’s mom, adorn the exam room walls. One of our favorite things about this clinic is that we generally have time to answer all of our patients’ questions at each visit.
I’m from Portland originally, but moved around quite a bit before settling in Salem in 2011 and opening Happy Doc Family Medicine in 2013. I’m a part of the LGBTQ community and love working with queer folks. I provide gender-affirming care for transgender patients. I speak Spanish, enjoy serving the Latinx community, and have particular interests in reproductive health, pediatrics, and preventive health. On a fun weekend I might be biking, hiking, whitewater kayaking, or reading in my hammock.
Over a six-year period during college and medical school I traveled and wrote a book about women’s health in seven countries, called Reproductive Rights in a Global Context. Though my passport has gotten dusty over the years, I did get a chance to visit Uruguay in 2018 and learn more about their health care system. I love interacting with people from different countries and cultures.
College: Portland Community College and Marlboro College (Vermont), majored in international development studies
MD and Master’s in Public Health: George Washington University (DC)
Residency in Family Medicine: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Board-Certified with the American Board of Family Medicine.
I was born and raised in the Philippines, and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of the Philippines. During medical school at the same institution, I trained at the largest tertiary government hospital in the country. I moved to the United States for my Family Medicine residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation, I served as a primary care physician for underserved patients at a Federally Qualified Health Center. I took some time off to focus on raising my three young children. Salem has been our home since 2011.
I am excited to be part of Happy Doc Family Medicine, and have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I have always wanted to — that is, to have the time to really listen to and get to know my patients, and have a relationship of trust and collaboration. I want to help my patients by giving them the tools to make healthier choices.
I love seeing patients of all ages, which is why I chose family medicine. I am Board certified in Family Medicine, and currently obtaining certification in Obesity Medicine. I speak Tagalog.
I am also known as wife and mom. I have three energetic children and one energetic doggo. I am most content hanging out for family game night or movie night, reading, listening to records or traveling to the Philippines to eat the best mangoes in the world.
I am the manager of a group of gnomes who work behind the scenes, unseen and unheard, to make certain parts of the clinic work. Mostly you will never hear from me or see me, but I helped to build and nurture Happy Doc from its inception 7 years ago. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, playing with the kids in my life and thinking about systems and just how small we are in relation to the galaxy.