Meet Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital’s Veterinarians & Staff
Kaila Helmer, DVM
Most children have a vague fantasy of what they want to be when they grow up: fireman, ballerina, princess, superhero…. For me, when asked this question, my prompt answer was always "veterinarian". At 18 I began working at a small, family atmosphere veterinary hospital in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. We saw dogs, cats, birds, lizards, snakes, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters…. Pretty much anything a person might keep in their home, and some things that maybe they shouldn't. I loved the variety of medicine this required me to learn. Following high school, I attended UC Santa Cruz and earned a bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Throughout these four years, I was lucky enough to continue working and learning at the veterinary hospital, where the team player atmosphere and focus on educating the staff allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills working with a wide variety of animal species. Fortunately, I was accepted to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine following my undergraduate education! For the first year after graduation I have practiced and lived in Kona, Hawaii; my husband and I are very excited to be moving home to California to enjoy all of the opportunities available in the Bay Area.
I am very excited to be a part of the team at Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital. The family atmosphere, attention to detail and degree of care given to both the animal patients and the human clients is top quality. Over the years working in a small animal hospital and throughout my education, at UC Davis I have developed an appreciation for the skill required to develop lasting relationships, provide high-quality medical care, and communicate my medical knowledge in a relatable manner to everyone. I look forward to serving the community and caring for your pets!
Caroline Kim, DVM
I started at Presidio Way in Jan 2017. I've wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 7 years old, and I have been practicing now for over 20 years. I previously worked at a hospital in the Marina /Pacific Heights for 15 years and loved every minute of it. After they were sold to a corporation, I decided to find my cozy new home here at Presidio Way.
I'm a San Francisco native and always joke that if I ever leave this city again it will be under the rubble of an earthquake. I attended Lowell High School and then went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for pre-med, graduating cum laude with a Major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Tired of the cold, I returned to California to attend UC Davis for Veterinary School. There, I developed a real interest in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery. I went back to the east coast to complete a surgical externship at the Animal Medical Center in New York and became TPLO and laparoscopy certified after eventually returning to San Francisco for good.
I now live here in town with my husband, two kids, and two cats. When I'm not at work, I can be found in divey cafes reading my newspaper, at home typing a letter on my typewriter, or listening to the Wood Brothers on my turntable. I illustrate for my writer friend on the side, and occasionally play gigs on the fiddle. I also try as much as possible to speak French and Spanish to people who won't cringe at my terrible accent. If your pets are bi-lingual, get ready... I am known to try my conversational skills on my furry friends as well!
I'm so happy to be a part of the Presidio Way Vet Hospital team- we seem more like a family than co-workers, and I very much look forward to meeting you and your animal family soon!
AVMA, CVMA, DEA licensed, USDA APHIS accredited
2015, 2016 DJD and GN stem cell trials Animal Cell Therapies San Diego, CA
2011 Laparoscopy Certification - Oquendo Center. Las Vegas, NV
2003 TPLO Certification - Slocum Enterprises Eugene, OR
2003 Basic Abdominal Ultrasound Certification - Westchester, NY
2003 Basic Echocardiography Certification- Biosound Estate Inc Indianapolis, IN
Elizabeth Newsom-Stewart, DVM
Dr. Elizabeth Newsom-Stewart, originally from Connecticut, graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. She returned to Cornell as a veterinary student, graduating from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. Upon graduation, Dr. Newsom-Stewart relocated to New York City where she completed an internship in medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center and then worked as an associate veterinary on the Upper East side of Manhattan. Her special interests include dentistry, ultrasonography, and internal medicine. In her free time, Dr. Newsome-Stewart enjoys hiking, running and reading. She recently moved to San Francisco with her fiance, her dog, Molly, and her cat, Fawkes.
Bill Rivers, DVM
We are very pleased to have Dr. Bill Rivers as our consulting radiologist. Dr. Rivers graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and, after an internship with Dr. Steven Ettinger in Los Angeles the following year, he practiced general small animal medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. Dr. Rivers then completed specialty training and a Ph.D. in Radiology from the University of Minnesota. He became board-certified as a specialist in Veterinary Radiology by the American College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. After being on staff at two veterinary schools and a private specialty practice, he established his Bay Area Consulting practice in 1989.
Dr. Rivers performs the more complicated ultrasound examinations on our patients and helps us interpret our more complicated x-ray studies on our patients. His extensive training and experience help us to provide the highest level of care for our patients.
Amanda Sloan, Practice Manager
I hail from Downers Grove, Illinois, where I got my start in veterinary medicine in 2002. I began working at Presidio Way in September 2007. As the servant of two rescued cats and two rescued dogs, I am an avid supporter of animal rescue groups and shelters. Kaspian is a 13-year-old black and white domestic medium hair. He is very sweet and loves to be around people. Squid Vicious was found as a 4-week-old kitten in Battery Park City, New York. She is now an 11-year-old medium hair that loves to attack everything that moves. Hero and Monster are sweet little mixed breed dogs that are smaller than the cats. In my spare time, I enjoy singing along to my guitar, listening to records and hanging out with my family in the beauty of the Bay Area.
Maria Mercado, Client Service Manager
I've been in the veterinarian field as a Client Service Receptionist since 2008 and have been at Presidio Way since February 2012. I continue to learn new things every day which makes working much more fun and interesting. I have a lovely, goofy great dane, Gotham! She is a constant reminder of why I continue to stay in this line of work. It brings me great pleasure being part of a team who loves taking care of animals and to be able to help in any way I can. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my two daughters, reading, and baking.
Erin Breck, RVT
Erin joined Presidio Way In January of 2012, and took a brief leave of absence from 2015-2016, but came back to her Presidio Way family January of 2017. She graduated with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Animal Biology from UC Davis in 2005 but took a slightly different career path after graduation. Erin had found a special fondness for the nursing side of veterinary medicine, earning her RVT license in 2011. She began her veterinary journey when she was in high school as a kennel attendant and began working as a technician after college. In 2016, she celebrated 10 years of working as a technician! She was born in San Francisco but was raised in the rolling hills of Marin, where she developed an appreciation for nature and Marin's open space. Erin recently added a 5-month old kitten to her family of 3 at home. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and photography. Her special interest in this field is preventative care such as dental prophylactic cleanings, as well as radiology. She appreciates Presidio Way's excellent pet owners and loves seeing the life-long relationships we all form with the people and pets.
Cecilia Lin, Nurse
I was born in Burma and moved to the United States in 1995. Ever since I could remember, I was always surrounded by animals (cats, dogs, hamsters, and fish). It only felt natural for me to pursue a career in the veterinary field. I have a pit/lab mix dog named Oreo, that I’ve rescued and raised since he was a puppy, and a Maine Coon cat named Coco, that my family rescued from a shelter. In my free time, I’m always at the gym, running, swimming, or involved in outdoor activities; there’s never a day where I am ever idle!
Bianca Guafo, RVT
My love for and care for animals started at a young age taking care of birds, rabbits, turtles, and dogs. Since I was a child, I had always been intrigued by learning about all kinds of animals and knew that I wanted to work with animals in the future. As I grew older, I became more involved in tending to dogs and cats as I started volunteering at an animal shelter in 2011. I graduated from Foothill's Veterinary Technology program in June 2016 and became a veterinary nurse! Eager to begin my dream career, I started working at Presidio Way Veterinary Hospital in July 2016. I love learning new things every day and I am continuing to learn how to provide the best care for our client's pets. I greatly appreciate my role here and I am grateful to be a part of the Presidio Way team. Other than being a vet tech, my other passion is dancing!
Virginia Carter, Nurse
I grew up in the Bay Area and have had a passion for caring for and treating animals since I was young. I am currently finishing my last year at Foothill College Veterinary Technology Program and I plan on getting my veterinary technician license after graduating. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at a dog shelter, reading books and going to the movies. I live with my two rescue dogs, Daisy and Joe.