Medical Director, State Street Office
William Meller has been working at the MedCenters of Santa Barbara since their founding in 1983. He is a board certified Internist who enjoys the variety of medical practice that Urgent Care and family medicine offer. He came to Santa Barbara in 1967 and graduated from UCSB in 1977. After receiving his MD degree from Georgetown University he trained at Cottage Hospital. During his residency he saw the need for an alternative to the long waits and high costs of an emergency room visit. This led to the opening of the first MedCenter, one of the earliest Urgent Care Centers in the country. Because of patient demand the practice quickly evolved into a family practice as well. His interest in anthropology led to an invitation to teach Evolutionary Medicine at UCSB in the College of Creative Studies. Evolutionary medicine is the study of the conditions to which humans adapted over millions of years during the Stone Age and early human history. This give us a better understanding of what is healthy for us to eat, how we work, play and sleep best, as well as how our minds work in happiness and under stress. He has integrated many of these insights into current medical practice, helping his patients to lead happier, healthier lives often with less medicine.
Milpas Street and Fairview Avenue OfficesBlanca Fernandez went to medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She completed her Family Medicine internship and residency at Sparrow Hospital/Michigan State University in 2003. She then spent 5 years working at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas until she returned home in 2008 to Southern California so she and her family could be closer to their parents and families. Dr. Fernandez has been married since 1996 and she is a proud mom to 3 healthy, happy sons. When not working she is a busy soccer/swim mom who enjoys reading, walking, hiking and photography (mostly of her 3 active children). Dr. Fernandez is fluent in Spanish.
Milpas Street OfficeR. Lansing Huffard (Lans) went to the University of Miami Medical School in Florida and did his Residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. He has lived in the Santa Barbara area and has practiced medicine with The MedCenter for more than 30 years. He enjoys hiking and biking in the great outdoors in his free time.
State Street OfficeJames Kahn trained at the University of Chicago, did an internal medicine internship at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and then an Emergency Medicine residency at USC/LAC Med Center and UCLA. After practicing at emergency rooms all around California, he settled here in Santa Barbara to spend more time with his family, books, and music.
State Street Office
Born and raised in Philadelphia and trained at Hahnemann Medical College Class of 1976, now part of Drexel University. I came to Santa Barbara for Residency in 1976 at the old S.B. County Hospital, and stayed to work and raise a family. I practiced as an ER physician for the next 8 years. I have been working as an Urgent Care physician in Santa Barbara since 1984, and joined The MedCenter in 2002.
Milpas Street, State Street, and Fairview Avenue Offices
Born and raised here in Santa Barbara, Mark Wienpahl MD graduated from S.B. High, Pomona College, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson in 1979. He completed residency and was Board Certified in Family Medicine in Colorado in 1982. Dr Wienpahl moved directly to a small, rural town in southern CO, Pagosa Springs, and assumed operation of a community supported clinic, in which he was the sole practitioner, sharing call with two other family doctors in another clinic. The nearest hospital was 60 miles distant. After 28 years of Family Practice there, he relocated to Santa Barbara for family and personal reasons after the Jesusita fire ravaged the family property here. His wife, August Vanderbeek practices psychology and advocates for the Deaf and hard of hearing locally. He has two grown children in CO, and a step-daughter in college here. Dr. Wienpahl strives to help his patients realize the treatment options that best suit their individual medical needs. He regards the patient and practitioner as teammates in planning the medical strategy. He enjoys folks of all ages, has had years of experience, and just regrets that he doesn't speak Spanish much at all.
State Street OfficeJill Christie earned her master's degree as a Physician Assistant from Oregon Health & Science University, and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She has worked in urgent care for several years prior to joining the Med Center team and has both ACLS and PALS certifications. In addition to this experience, she also worked in pediatrics at her alma mater treating and researching rare inherited metabolic diseases, including Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and Gaucher disease. When not working, Jill enjoys horseback riding, being in the great outdoors, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.