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Our Doctors

Our Doctors

Diane Nugent, MD

Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology, Dr. Nugent specializes in all aspects of bleeding and clotting disorders, hematology, bone marrow failure, anemia, and immune disorders.

Dr. Nugent founded CIBD with the goal of serving children and adults with genetic blood disorders, and their families, with comprehensive care tailored just for them. In 2005, she was named the National Hemophilia Foundation Physician of the Year, and later one of the Best Doctors in America in 2007-2008. She was also named Physician of the Year in Orange County. In 2011, she received the Physician Circle of Care Award from Cal-Optima.

Dr. Nugent serves as a Clinical Professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Among her peers, Dr. Nugent is the chair of review subcommittees for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health, and head of program projects for the hematology committees of the American Society of Hematology and International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis.

Dr. Nugent received her fellowship training at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Seattle and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Upon graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, she completed her residency and internship at Denver Affiliated Hospitals in Colorado. Dr. Nugent speaks Spanish.

Vanessa Salinas, MD

Dr. Vanessa Salinas is board certified in pediatric hematology-oncology and in general pediatrics. She completed her pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at CHLA and also completed a Coagulation and Bleeding Disorders fellowship at CHLA. She specializes in all areas of hematology with special focus in hemophilia and rare bleeding disorders, and red cell disorders, including sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

Dr. Salinas is interested in helping our hemophilia community and empowering our patients and families, through education and participation. She works closely with the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California, and was awarded as the Medical Professional of the Year in 2019. Dr. Salinas participates in clinical research studies as principal investigator as well as co-investigator. Dr. Salinas advocates for recycling, and she enjoys nature and outdoor sports.

Amit Soni, MD

Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology, Dr. Soni’s clinical and research focus is hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, especially as they relate to teens.

In his pursuit to finding innovative ways to connect with teen patients with hemophilia, Dr. Soni worked on a grant for special strategic communications training from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create interactive media aimed at connecting with teens with hemophilia. The goal is to provide teens with information about their disorder, so that they can take control of their health, and live productive lives as adults. More recently, he received the distinguished international Bayer Hemophilia Clinical Training Award.

A member of the CIBD physician team, Dr. Soni has medical staff privileges at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Soni completed medical school at Saint George’s University in Grenada, West Indies, completed his residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and his fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Orange County where today he is a hemostasis/thrombosis clinical research fellow director. He earned certification in clinical trials and product development from UCI’s graduate program.

Nina Hwang, MD

Nina Hwang, M.D. specializes in all aspects of hematology with a special interest in thrombosis/clotting. Upon earning her medical degree from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/The Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois, she completed both her general pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County. She is board certified in general pediatrics, and is board eligible in pediatric hematology/oncology. Dr. Hwang speaks conversational Mandarin Chinese.

Susan Claster, MD

An expert in the care of adults with hemoglobinopathies, Dr. Claster has a research interest in health outcomes for sickle cell disease. Board-certified in internal medicine and hematology, she specializes in benign hematology, including anemia, sickle cell disease, autoimmune diseases, clotting and blood disorders, and low platelets.

Upon earning her medical degree from the University of Chicago, Dr. Claster completed her residency at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, and her fellowship in hematology at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Claster has privileges at UCI Medical Center in Orange, and Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

David Buchbinder, MD

Dr. Buchbinder specializes in bone marrow transplant of patients with non-malignant blood disorders. Patients with aplastic anemia, beta thalassemia and other rare disorders requiring transplant are cared for through the continuum of pre-transplant, transplant and post-transplant therapies. His special interests include the psychological/social impact of a transplant on family members.

Prior to joining the hematology team at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and CIBD, Dr. Buchbinder completed his fellowship training at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Buchbinder has medical staff privileges at St. Joseph’s Hospital and UCI Medical Center, both located in the city of Orange.

Loan Hsieh, MD

Board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology, Dr. Hsieh specializes in all aspects of hematology, with an emphasis in Factor 13 deficiency, as well as rare bleeding disorders. She has medical staff privileges at CHOC Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, and UCI Medical Center, all in Orange.

After earning her medical degree at the College of Virginia in Richmond, she completed her fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology and her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Dr. Hsieh speaks fluent Vietnamese.

Arash Mahajerin, MD

Dr. Mahajerin is a pediatrician and pediatric hematology/oncologist who joined CIBD’s team of physicians in 2013. His areas of research interests include thrombosis and thrombophilia, as well as institution-wide bioinformatics endeavors. Prior to completing his pediatric residency and pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Indiana University/Riley Hospital for Children, he earned his medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

Geetha Puthenveetil, MD

A hematologist, Dr. Puthenveetil’s clinical emphasis is in hemoglobinopathies, including Beta Thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Board certified in pediatrics and in pediatric hematology/oncology, she completed her fellowship training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Before serving her pediatric residency at St. John’s Medical College Hospital and at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, she earned her medical degree from St. John’s Medical College in Karnataka, India. Dr. Puthenveetil has medical privileges at CHOC Children’s Hospital and UCI Medical Center, both in Orange, CA. Dr. Puthenveetil is fluent in Hindi.

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