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Board Members and Executive Staff

Current membership is 15 - 8 physicians and 7 public members; most are appointed by the Governor, except 1 public member is appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly and 1 public member is appointed by the Senate Rules Committee.

Kristina D. Lawson, J.D.

Kristina D. Lawson, J.D., President

Classification: Public | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 10/28/15 | Term Expiration: 06/01/26


Kristina Daniel Lawson, of Walnut Creek, has served as a public member of the Medical Board of California since 2015. She is the Managing Partner and chief executive of Hanson Bridgett LLP, a California law firm with six offices throughout the state. Lawson also serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Bay Area Council, an organization of 300+ influential employers committed to working with public and community leaders to keep the San Francisco Bay Area the most innovative, globally competitive, inclusive, and sustainable region in the world. She was a member of the Walnut Creek City Council from 2010 to 2014 and served as Walnut Creek's Mayor in 2014. Lawson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Arizona.


James M. Healzer, M.D.

James M. Healzer, M.D., Secretary

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/25/21 | Term Expiration: 06/01/25


Dr. James Healzer was appointed to the Medical Board in 2021 by Governor Gavin Newsom. Dr. Healzer is Chair of the Chiefs of Quality for The Permanente Medical Group and Staff Anesthesiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center. He is also Chair of the Permanente Federation's Peer Review Advisory Committee. He completed residency training in Anesthesiology at Stanford University and Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and he is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Healzer earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in biological sciences from Stanford University.


Irving Ayala-Rodriguez, M.D.

Irving Ayala-Rodriguez, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/12/24 | Term Expiration: 06/01/28


Dr. Irving Ayala-Rodriguez, of Bakersfield, has been appointed to the Medical Board of California in 2024. Dr. Ayala-Rodriguez has been the Chief Medical Officer with Clinica Sierra Vista since 2022 where he previously served as a Walk-in Clinic Director and Associate Medical Director. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. He completed a pre-residency program at the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program and his Family Medicine Residency Program at UCLA. He is currently board certified in Family Medicine and certified as an HIV specialist through the AAHIVM.


Michelle Anne Bholat, MD, MPH

Michelle Anne Bholat, M.D., MPH

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/08/22 | Term Expiration: 06/01/25


Dr. Michelle Anne Bholat served as a member of the Medical Board from 2015 to 2019, appointed by former Governor, Edmund G. Brown Jr. Later, in 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed her to the Medical Board. She is an editor for the Journal of Medical Regulation of the Federation of State Medical Boards. She also served as an expert reviewer to the Medical Board for many years. Her public service has been long-standing and she has been a member of many boards concerned with vulnerable populations including the Los Angeles County Public Health Commission, Health Care Los Angeles, IPA Chief Medical Officers and the Association of California Health Districts. Currently, she is a board member of the Beach Cities Health District. Dr. Bholat earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of California at Irvine and completed residency training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Post-residency, she earned a Master's in Public Health Policy and Management from UCLA School of Public Health. She is board eligible in Addition Medicine. She is Professor of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Executive Director of the UCLA International Medical Graduate Program in the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA.


Hermant Dhingra, M.D.

Hemant Dhingra, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 02/16/24 | Term Expiration: 06/01/26


Dr. Hemant Dhingra is a board-certified Nephrologist and has been President and CEO of The Nephrology Group in Fresno, CA since 2014. Dr. Dhingra serves as the Chief of Medical Staff at Saint Agnes Medical Center since 2023, where he was Founding Program Director of Internal Medicine. He is a member of the American Society of Nephrology and the California Medical Association. He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed his Fellowship in Nephrology at Texas Tech University.


Nicole A. Jeong, J.D.

Nicole A. Jeong, J.D.

Classification: Public | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 04/14/22 | Term Expiration: 06/01/26


Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Nicole A. Jeong, of South Pasadena, to the Medical Board of California in April 2022. Jeong has been the Southern California Regional Director of Advocacy at Root & Rebound since 2021, where she's been an Attorney since 2018. She was a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney at Legal Services NYC from 2016 to 2018 and a Litigation Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP from 2014 to 2016. Jeong earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School.


Asif Mahmood, M.D.

Asif Mahmood, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/01/23 | Term Expiration: 06/01/27


Dr. Asif Mahmood comes from humble beginnings, growing up in the remote Pakistani village called Kharian. He received his medical degree from Sind Medical College, did his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center followed a Pulmonary fellowship at the University of Virginia and Harlem Hospital at Columbia University. Dr. Mahmood has been a practicing physician at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena since 2000 and has served in different capacities from medical executive committee member to chief of staff in different hospitals. He is also on the board of the East Los Angeles College Foundation and the United Nations International Children's Fund, Western Region.


Wendy Mitchell

Wendy Mitchell

Classification: Public | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/04/2024 | Term Expiration: 06/01/2028


Wendy Mitchell, based in Los Angeles, has been appointed to the Medical Board of California in 2024. Mitchell is a trailblazer, having founded Empower Her Mentoring in 2023, an esteemed organization dedicated to empowering women in the public policy, regulatory, and non-profit sectors. Mitchell has been the Principal of Wendy Mitchell Consulting Inc. since 2006. Her consulting firm provides strategic counsel in the areas of transportation, energy, and infrastructure across California and Washington, DC.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Journalism from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Southern California. Additionally, she served for six years on the California Coastal Commission and for the last five years on the California Horse Racing Board.


Richard E. Thorp, M.D.

Richard E. Thorp, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 06/01/23 | Term Expiration: 06/01/27


Dr. Richard Thorp was appointed to the Medical Board in 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom. Dr. Thorp has been president and chief executive officer at Paradise Medical Group since 2001. He was an internal medicine physician and medical director for Butte County for the California Medical Foundation from 1994 to 2000 and internal medicine physician at Richard E. Thorp MD Inc. from 1981 to 1994. Dr. Thorp is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, California Medical Association and the Butte-Glenn County Medical Association. Dr. Thorp earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine.


Dr. Veling Tsai

Veling Tsai, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 04/14/22 | Term Expiration: 06/01/25


Veling W. Tsai, MD, JD, FCLM, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles - David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Tsai is also an attending physician in the Department of Surgery, Division of Head and Neck Surgery at Olive View - UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, California. Additionally, Dr. Tsai is in private practice in Alhambra, California. He attended UCLA and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography/Environmental Science, graduating with Latin honors. Dr. Tsai then received his dual law and medicine degrees from Southern Illinois University - School of Medicine and School of Law. Dr. Tsai completed his Head and Neck Surgery residency training at UCLA, and is a board certified otolaryngologist by the American Board of Otolaryngology. He is licensed to practice both law and medicine in the State of California. Dr. Tsai previously served as the President of American College of Legal Medicine, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Legal Medicine.


Eserick 'TJ' Watkins

Eserick "TJ" Watkins

Classification: Public | Appointing Authority: Senate Rules Committee | Appointment Date: 6/01/23 | Term Expiration: 06/01/27


Eserick "TJ" Watkins was appointed as a public member of the Medical Board of California by The Senate Rules Committee in 2019. He previously served as a Board member on the Physical Therapy Board of California and held the vice president position.

Mr. Watkins is the owner of The Next Level Coaching, a hybrid strength training and life coaching company. He also serves on the board of South Coast Foundation, a US-based private foundation that funds children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Mr. Watkins is a published author, speaker and coach; he holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Graduate School of Business, Stellenbosch University.


Felix C. Yip, M.D.

Felix C. Yip, M.D.

Classification: Physician | Appointing Authority: Governor | Appointment Date: 12/08/2023 | Term Expiration: 06/01/26


Felix Yip, of San Marino, has been appointed to the Medical Board of California, where he served from 2013 to 2022 and in 2003. Yip has been CEO and a Urologist at Felix Chi-Ming Yip MD Inc. since 1987. Yip has also been a Clinical Professor of Urology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine since 2013 and at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine since 2023. He is a member of the American Board of Urology and the American Urological Association. He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, a Master of Business Administration degree in Healthcare Management from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin.


Members Chart
Name Classification Appointing Authority Appointment Date Term Expiration
Kristina D. Lawson, J.D., President Public Governor 10/28/15 06/01/26
VACANT, Vice President Public Governor
James M. Healzer, M.D., Secretary Physician Governor 06/25/21 06/01/25
Irving Ayala-Rodriguez, M.D. Physician Governor 06/12/24 06/01/28
Michelle Anne Bholat, M.D., MPH Physician Governor 06/08/22 06/01/25
Hemant Dhingra, M.D. Physician Governor 02/16/24 06/01/26
Nicole A. Jeong, J.D. Public Governor 04/14/22 06/01/26
Asif Mahmood, M.D. Physician Governor 06/01/23 06/01/27
Wendy Mitchell Public Governor 06/04/2024 06/01/2028
Richard E. Thorp, M.D. Physician Governor 06/01/23 06/01/27
Veling Tsai, M.D. Physician Governor 04/14/22 06/01/25
Eserick "TJ" Watkins Public Senate Rules Committee 06/01/23 06/01/27
Felix C. Yip, M.D. Physician Governor 12/08/2023 06/01/2026
VACANT Public Governor
VACANT Public Speaker of the Assembly
Updated 06/14/2024

Note: Governor appointees may continue to serve in a grace period for 60 days past their expiration date. Senate and Assembly appointees may continue to serve in a grace period for one year past their expiration date.


Executive Staff

Reji Varghese

Executive Director

Reji Varghese

  • Marina O'Connor, Deputy Director
  • Kerrie Webb, Staff Counsel
  • Douglas Hock, Chief of Licensing
  • Jenna Jones, Chief of Enforcement
  • Aaron Bone, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs
  • Alexandria Schembra, Public Affairs Manager

Contact

Medical Board of California

Mailing Address:
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95815

Email: webmaster@mbc.ca.gov

Phone: (800) 633-2322