Broward Health Coral Springs
Charles Lago, MD
March is Colorectal Awareness month, and with that Broward Health Coral Springs acknowledges the hospital’s past medical director, Charles Lago, M.D., who has dedicated his career to colorectal care. It was through Dr. Lago’s leadership that the Broward Health Coral Springs Colorectal Center was pioneered as the first Colorectal Center in Florida and the second in the nation to achieve top marks in Joint Commission accreditation.
Dr. Lago is a graduate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He completed a surgical residency at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellowship in colon rectal surgery at Orlando Regional Healthcare System/University of Florida Affiliate.
Dr. Lago is a Diplomat of the American Board of General Surgery and a Diplomat of the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery.
Joseph P. Corallo, MD
As we recognize Colorectal Awareness Month, Broward Health Coral Springs recognizes Joseph P. Corallo, M.D., medical director of the hospital’s Colorectal Center. Dr. Corallo is recognized for his continued dedication and contributions to colorectal care. As Florida’s first Colorectal Center, it is through Dr. Corallo’s leadership, along with a group of multidisciplinary clinicians specializing in colorectal surgery, that Broward Health Coral Springs continues to achieve top Joint Commission accreditation. This recognition is a stamp of excellence and shows that the hospital is committed to
offering our patients the highest quality care.
Dr. Corallo is a graduate of New Jersey Medical School. He completed a general surgical residency at the University of Miami /Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he also received a fellowship in colorectal surgery. In addition, Dr. Corallo is a Diplomat of the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery.
Broward Health Medical Center
Sunil Kumar, MD
Sunil Kumar, M.D., is the chief of staff of Broward Health Medical Center. Specializing in critical care and pulmonary medicine with over 20 years of experience he is also the hospital’s medical director of the Intensive Care Unit.
Dr. Kumar has been on the frontlines of critical care medicine since 1997, when he started in the Emergency Department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Kumar has played a pivotal role in treating patients who suffer from the most severe symptoms, while also serving as a leader for all ICU caregivers.
“Being a physician, it’s not just about your knowledge. I think it’s also about how you treat others,” said Dr. Kumar. “In medicine you can’t do this by yourself, you must have a team with you. In the beginning of the pandemic we were all scared, but the care team came together. Once we all put our minds together it became much easier to handle this pandemic.”
Dr. Kumar was recognized in November 2020 for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic with an Excellence in Healthcare Award by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. He also received the Humanitarian Award from the Indo American Press Club (IAPC) at the International Excellence Awards in October 2020.
Dr. Kumar received his medical degree from Government Medical College in Trivandrum, India. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Long Island College Hospital, SUNY Brooklyn, in New York. He did a critical care fellowship at Brown University School of Medicine in Rhode Island and a pulmonary medicine fellowship at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Dr. Kumar serves on the South Florida Board of the American Lung Association. He is a professional member of the American College of Physicians, The Society of Critical Care Medicine and American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
Tenet Florida Physician Services – North
Eduardo Parra-Davila, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Dr. Eduardo Parra-Davila is committed to offering quality patient care with the best technology available today which includes robotic assisted surgery, one of the many tools he uses to deliver minimally invasive surgery care. In addition, Dr. Parra-Davila holds the distinction of serving as a Board Member with the Society of Robotic Surgeons (SRS) and Clinical Robotic Surgery Association (CRSA), as well as President of the Robotic Surgery Society of Latin America. Dr. Parra-Davila specializes in colorectal surgery, general surgery with an emphasis in abdominal wall reconstruction and bariatric surgery. With a focus in robotics and minimally-invasive surgery, Dr. Parra-Davila provides colorectal and general surgery care including treatments for hernia, abdominal wall reconstruction, colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, rectal prolapse, hemorrhoids, endometriosis, fecal incontinence, bariatric surgery, gallbladder disease and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Dr. Parra-Davila has an office with Tenet Florida Physician Services and is on-staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing medicine since 1988 and is trilingual in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Palm Beach Children’s Surgical Specialists, Tenet Florida Physician Services –North
Avraham Schlager, MD, FACS
Dr. Avraham Schlager considers the opportunity to provide pediatric general surgery care along with the responsibility and accountability to communicate effectively with parents both an honor and privilege. Dr. Schlager develops a minimally invasive approach that starts during the office exam. As he moves forward to treatment, Dr. Schlager concentrates on a testing and procedure plan focusing on the least traumatic and most positive experience for the pediatric general surgery patient. An expert and highly-trained pediatric general surgeon, Dr. Schlager specializes in advanced minimally invasive surgery (MIS) which typically focuses on a laparoscopic approach and smaller incisions. In addition, Dr. Schlager provides pediatric general surgery care including complex neonatal surgery with prenatal counseling, oncologic surgery for childhood malignancy, thyroid surgery, inflammatory bowel disease and pectus excavatum (NUSS Surgery). Dr. Schlager has offices with the Palm Beach Children’s Surgical Specialists group in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. He is on-staff at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center in Boca Raton.
Memorial Hospital West
Victoria Valinluck Lao, MD, PhD
Like all colorectal surgeons, Dr. Victoria Valinluck Lao is a proponent of the colonoscopy, long considered the screening gold standard and now recommended for adults over the age of 45. The procedure reveals polyps that can be removed before they can develop into cancers of the colon and/or rectum.
“Cancers in this area are very often preventable, treatable, and beatable,” said Lao, the mother of two children. “It requires a strong partnership between doctor and patient and a tailored, multi-disciplinary approach. Our surgical procedures, whenever possible, are minimally-invasive.”
Now in her second year in the Memorial Healthcare System after completing fellowship training in colon and rectal surgery, Lao appreciates the MHS culture. “Every patient, doctor, and staff member is valued, which leads to people doing the right thing. We’re all focused on making the decisions that lead to the best patient outcomes.”
Kristina Khazeni, MD
Dr. Kristina Khazeni, a general surgeon, has a very hands-on approach to patient care, and that’s not just in the operating room. She takes ownership of her cases, before, during, and after procedures are performed.
“I enjoy patient contact and a deep connection with those under my care,” said Khazeni, who has been fellowship-trained in minimally invasive surgery. “I’m usually available in-person, on the phone, or through Memorial’s MyChart app/website. This intimate approach was reinforced throughout my training and I like to keep close tabs on those who trust me with their health.”
Dr. Khazeni joined Memorial Healthcare System in 2020 and focuses her practice on intra-abdominal pathologies that include the spleen, adrenal gland, gallstones, hernias, reflux disease, and disorders of the small intestine and colon. Her specialty training includes laparoscopic and robotic surgeries, skills she brings to a surgical group based on the campus of Memorial Hospital West.
Memorial Hospital Miramar
Ramon Ramirez Melendez, MD
In more than 30 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Ramon Ramirez Melendez, an infectious disease specialist, never imagined he’d see what he’s seen in the past year. Intensive care units constantly filled with critically-ill, COVID-19 patients, some of whom ultimately passed away despite the best efforts of the care team.
While it can be hard to find a bright spot amid all the suffering, Ramirez Melendez cites his growth as a leader as one positive that helped colleagues struggling with the reality of the situation. “I became a sort of head coach for the team, a guide that could provide information about what we were facing while there were so many unknowns.”
Ramirez Melendez sees some light at the end of the tunnel, although he cautions that the coronavirus will remain a significant problem in the time to come. He is buoyed, however, by the fact that some of the sickest are recovering quicker with medication and that vaccinations will keep others safe from infection.
Alvaro Visbal, MD
Memorial Hospital Miramar had its first COVID-19 patient a year ago and while there aren’t as many people hospitalized compared to peak levels in 2020, the current patients are just as sick. “It hasn’t stopped,” said Dr. Alvaro Visbal, associate medical director for critical care medicine at Memorial Healthcare System. “We’re still caring for some patients for months at a time.”
While taking care of the pandemic’s most seriously ill has taken its toll on all frontline workers, one positive for Visbal is that it solidified his belief that critical care medicine was his true calling. “I’m passionate about helping people, especially those whose lives hang in the balance. The victories we have over COVID are very satisfying and motivate all of us to continue doing what we do.
I’m driven to understand why things happen within the body and leading the effort to fix those problems for the patients and families we serve.”
Memorial Regional Hospital South
Andrew Chang, MD
Dr. Andrew Chang, a physiatrist and interventional pain specialist in the Memorial Healthcare System, treats individuals that range from ‘weekend warriors’ that have gotten injured exercising to those that have suffered back or neck injuries in accidents. In all cases, patients want functional outcomes that preserve their quality of life.
“Our focus is on relieving pain without the use of opioids,” said Chang, a musculoskeletal specialist that also performs minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedures. “If we can address the problem before the pain becomes chronic, that leads to better outcomes.”
Chang joined the MHS family in August 2020 and says he most enjoys the patient interactions and the opportunity to have immediate impact, with the goal being to get those under his care feeling better and back to doing what they love.
Jeremy Jacobs, DO
The increased reliance on telehealth during the time of COVID-19 has been a boon to the type of patients served by Dr. Jeremy Jacobs, many of whom have lost limbs and wear prosthetic devices.
“There aren’t a lot of doctors who specialize in this area of the outpatient experience,” said Jacobs, who is program director for physical medicine and rehabilitation within Memorial’s Graduate Medical Education program. “Primary care physicians and vascular surgeons often don’t have the time or resources to provide a high level of care to amputees with prosthetics.
I’ve been able to physically evaluate patients throughout the state through video apps and either provide orders for necessary procedures or, in some cases, to get them a replacement prosthesis.”
The doctor says he has been able to assist nearly 100 patients through telehealth, with the goal of increasing functionality and improving the quality of life for each.
Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Brett Cohen, MD
Dr. Brett Cohen sees bariatric patients and views the weight loss surgeries he performs as tools for patients to utilize on their weight-loss journey.
“Many of those we see have adapted their lives to accommodate their weight,” said Dr. Cohen, Chief of the Bariatric and General Surgery programs for Memorial Healthcare System. “After the surgery and recovery process, it’s a whole new world for them. They gain confidence and see themselves in a way that they have not been able to in the past.”
Dr. Cohen started the Memorial Weight-Loss Surgery Program nearly two decades ago, after completing a fellowship in advance laparoscopy and bariatric surgery at the University of Southern California. Since that time, he’s impacted countless lives, including patients that loose in excess of 150-200 pounds. “Patients look to us for help and are so grateful we can help them change their lives. I’ve seen people go from having difficulty tying their shoes to chasing their kids around Disney World without any trouble. It’s an extremely rewarding process for both us and our patients.”
Michael Estreicher, MD
A self-described “run-to-the-fire kind of guy,” Dr. Michael Estreicher is a specialist in emergency medicine. In cases where information is limited and a patient’s life hangs in the balance, the doctor and his emergency department team are at their best. “It may look chaotic, but we’re experts at managing the situation. It’s important we keep calm, cool, and do what’s necessary to get that patient on the road to recovery,” said Estreicher, a married father of three children.
The graduate of New York’s Sackler School of Medicine has always been drawn to helping people in their greatest time of need, and the COVID-19 pandemic feels like Estreicher’s “natural territory.” He says the teamwork required to care for coronavirus patients while also attending to those in the emergency room requires a staff that operates like a finely-tuned orchestra. It’s what he likes best about working within the Memorial Healthcare System.
“Ours is a team environment, where each person respects the others and works well together.”
Memorial Regional Hospital
Jeremy Song, MD
While it couldn’t have been pleasant at the time, a common skin disorder is what Dr. Jeremy Song credits for his interest in medicine.
“I had psoriasis as a child and wasn’t allowed to play with other kids because my family thought it was contagious,” said Song, now a cardiac surgeon. “My life changed when I was diagnosed and educated about the condition by our family physician.”
Nearly 30 years later, Song aims to have the same impact for patients with considerably more complex problems, operating on those with a variety of cardiac issues. “It’s instantaneous gratification when during a bypass procedure, for example, you literally see the heart wake up as a result of what we’ve done.”
The opportunity to improve lives, as his once was, is the reward for Song as he watches patients grateful for a second chance make healthy lifestyle choices and pursue hobbies that would have previously not been possible for them to do.
Simon Buttrick, MD
While he had been interested in medicine as a child, it wasn’t until he read “Saturday” that Dr. Simon Buttrick’s career path became clear. The Ian McEwan novel features a neurosurgeon as its main character and it gave the future physician his first glimpse into the technical and human complexity of the field that would become his passion.
“I’ve done thousands of craniotomies, but continue to learn each time I see the brain up close,” said Buttrick, whose fellowship training came in surgical neuro oncology. “I’m fascinated by how it makes us who we are.”
Buttrick specializes in treating a variety of brain tumors, using minimally-invasive techniques, whenever possible. Those include trans-nasal approaches for pituitary tumors, tubular retractors for deep-seated lessons, and laser interstitial thermal therapy for inaccessible tumors. He also performs spine and open vascular neurosurgery, also using a minimally-invasive approach, to ensure less pain, time in the hospital, and incision scarring.
Memorial Cancer Institute
Constanza (Connie) Guaqueta, MD
Dr. Connie Guaqueta, a hematologist/oncologist at Memorial Healthcare System, believes one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to treating breast cancer.
“The research being done in clinical trials is enabling us to tailor treatments that are specific to each cancer,” said Guaqueta. “We can now better match medications to an individual’s cancer profile and improve survival rates based on what we we’ve learned about the differences within the disease.”
Dr. Guaqueta has been part of the Memorial Cancer Institute (MCI) for nearly two years and appreciates the multi-disciplinary approach that involves not just clinicians but also therapists, social workers, integrative medicine, and financial professionals. Recently named a “Florida Center of Excellence” by the Florida Department of Health, MCI and its doctors, including Dr. Guaqueta, will soon be training physicians in a hematology/oncology fellowship that is part of Memorial’s Graduate Medical Education program.
Pablo Ferraro, MD
Dr. Pablo Ferraro has been part of Memorial Healthcare System for more than 15 years and has seen some significant changes. “We’ve gone from a community health facility to one that is now an academic medical center offering fellowship training in hematology/oncology,” said Ferraro, one of the program instructors.
Memorial’s Graduate Medical Education program will train five physicians each year, something Ferraro says will keep his skills sharp. The teaching position completes a training circle for Ferraro, who was inspired by a mentor during his own fellowship to specialize in cancers of gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) systems.
Ferraro is also active in cancer research as the principal investigator for primarily phase 2 clinical trials conducted in collaboration with other institutions and industry partners. His leadership in the studies provides his patients access to experimental drugs and allows the doctor to focus his efforts on solid tumor oncology, gastrointestinal malignancies, and general hematology.
Moffitt Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy at Memorial Hospital West
Jose Sandoval-Sus, MD, FACP
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, which involves genetically altering white blood cells and transfusing them into patients with certain types of tumors to recognize and kill cells harboring specific cancer-related proteins, will soon be available in Broward County to treat advanced B-cell lymphomas and leukemias.
“This will provide new hope for patients that did not respond to standard treatments and, in some cases, had been given just months to live,” said Dr. Jose Sandoval-Sus. “The advancements in immunotherapy, made possible by all those who have participated in clinical trials, are extending the lives of patients and potentially contributing to the cure of their disease.”
Sandoval-Sus, a native of Colombia that completed an oncology and hematology fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in 2017, was the primary investigator for a Phase 1 CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial for multiple myeloma last year. He encourages all those who are eligible to participate in research to do so, especially Hispanics, African and Caribbean-Americans, ethnic groups that are susceptible to some types of blood cancers and traditionally underrepresented in clinical studies.
Memorial Primary Care
Lori Frisard, DO
Dr. Lori Frisard has a standard prescription for the patients she sees suffering with diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. ‘Prevention’ isn’t found at the pharmacy but is something the family medicine physician preaches to the adults she cares for. “A healthy diet, regular exercise, consistent sleep, and mind/body balance go a long way toward improving health and overcoming chronic illnesses.”
The educational component is a large part of the long-term relationships she fosters with her patients, whether she sees them in-person or, increasingly in the age of COVID-19, through telemedicine. The video connection has been well received by both doctor and patients, and it’s an aspect of primary care Dr. Frisard believes is here to stay. “I can see a time where there might be a face-to-face visit once a year, with telehealth used the rest of the time.”
Dr. Frisard is tri-lingual (English, Spanish, and German) and was in private practice for a decade before joining Memorial Healthcare System in 2020.
Mark Rabiner, MD
Dr. Mark Rabiner feels it’s his role as an internal medicine specialist and primary care physician to knock down the barriers to healthcare that keep patients from moving forward. This is especially important when working with marginalized populations.
“I’ve been in places where people with no safety net are discharged from the hospital with a prescription for medicine, but with no money to pay or transportation to get to a pharmacy, they inevitably end up hospitalized again,” said Rabiner. “Some see that as a social worker’s issue and not a doctor’s problem, but I’m not one of them.”
That’s why Rabiner was so excited to join Memorial Healthcare System in 2018 after a lengthy career in New York that included work at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, and NYU. “Memorial is, hands down, better than them all. The resources doctors and patients have access to here impress me every day.”
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Syndi Seinfeld, DO
Dr. Syndi Seinfeld joined Memorial Healthcare System late in 2019 to build a pediatric epilepsy program that included a surgical component. Despite the onset of the pandemic shortly after her arrival, the medical director at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Neuroscience Center says the program is already a success.
“Our first surgery for a patient with intractable epilepsy took place in June of last year and, to date, the individual is still seizure-free,” said Seinfeld, who is board certified in Child Neurology and Epilepsy, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (FAAN). “We’re also active in research for non-surgical candidates and have established support groups for both English and Spanish-speaking parents.”
Despite being relatively common, one in 26 will have an epileptic seizure in their lifetime, the disorder is still widely misunderstood. Meanwhile, Dr. Seinfeld and her multi-disciplinary team continue to look for answers for those with recurring seizures, with renewed hope for surgical, medication, and dietary options.
Olveen Carrasquillo, MD, MPH
Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo is the chief of internal medicine at UHealth-the University of Miami Health System and a tenured professor of medicine and public health sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. He is a nationally recognized population health expert. From the start of the pandemic Dr. Carrasquillo has served as a co-investigator for the Janssen vaccine clinical trial and several other studies to test new treatments for COVID-19. He currently leads a statewide collaborative outreach program to engage ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Carrasquillo oversees a clinical, teaching and research enterprise of 42 full-time faculty members across several faculty practices in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. He has served as principal investigator on over twenty government and foundation sponsored research and training grants totaling over $60 million in the areas of minority health, health disparities, community based participatory research and access to care.
Susan Doblecki-Lewis, MD
Dr. Susan Doblecki-Lewis is a leading infectious disease physician and associate professor with UHealth—the University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine. A prolific researcher, she has been on the frontlines of vaccination efforts. Dr. Doblecki-Lewis spearheaded the University’s Moderna vaccine trial for COVID-19, which is part of a large-scale study established by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Doblecki-Lewis has continued to contribute to the Miller School’s decades-long commitment to HIV and AIDS research, as well as outreach to at-risk community populations. She has led the Miller School’s community outreach for PrEP and established a clinic and the PrEP Mobile Clinic in 2020. With both PrEP clinics, Dr. Doblecki-Lewis has made strides in helping diverse, populations at-risk for HIV circumvent the often complex and confusing web of access to PrEP, as well as the stigma surrounding HIV.
Jupiter Medical Center
Jeffrey Ingeman, MD
Jeffrey Ingeman, M.D., serves as Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Jupiter Medical Center. With more than 25 years as a practicing emergency room physician, he has served as the physician leader for the development and implementation of both hospital-based and freestanding emergency departments.
Emergency medicine is a challenging and rewarding profession, requiring all-encompassing medical proficiency in emergency diagnosis and treatment. During this national healthcare crisis, he has served as the leader of an exceptional emergency department team, working diligently to keep our community, patients, and team members safe.
Dr. Ingeman earned his Doctorate at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and completed his emergency medicine residency at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.
Harry J. Romero, MD, FACEP
Harry J. Romero, M.D., FACEP, is the Medical Director of Jupiter Medical Center Urgent Care.
With over 40 years of experience, Dr. Romero responsibilities included emergency medicine, urgent and primary care, and occupational health as well as serving a Director of Emergency Department Quality Assurance.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Romero brings with him the vast expertise acquired by practicing emergency medicine for over 40 years. Now specializing in urgent care services, Dr. Romero’s clinical expertise helps provide the safest, highest quality urgent care possible. Under his leadership, the urgent care team has continued to deliver care during the Covid 19 pandemic.
He has a distinguished career with experience throughout South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean; speaks fluent Spanish; and is a diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners.
Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital
Hector Rodriguez-Cortes, MD
Hector Rodriguez-Cortes, M.D., is the medical director of the pediatric hematology-oncology program at Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital. He is board certified in both pediatric hematology and oncology and pediatric palliative care and was the 2020 recipient of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation’s Leaders for a Cure Award.
Dr. Rodriguez-Cortes has been practicing medicine since 1997 and has been with Broward Health for 19 years. He is a principal investigator of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a clinical trial group dedicated to understanding the causes of pediatric cancer and finding more effective treatments.
“Ever since my first day in rotation on the pediatric hematology oncology unit, I have had an immediate connection with my pediatric patients,” Dr. Rodriguez-Cortes said. “I have learned so much from their resilience and wanting to just play and enjoy life. Their parents are my heroes because they have such strength amid their lives being turned completely upside down.”
Dr. Rodriguez-Cortes received his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University Children’s Hospital in Puerto Rico and his fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas in Texas. Dr. Rodriguez-Cortes is a professional member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation in Medical Education
Barry Issenberg, MD
Dr. Barry Issenberg is the Professor of Medicine and Director of the Gordon Center for Simulation and Innovation in Medical Education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. For over 45 years, the Center has saved lives through broad-scale simulation-based healthcare training.
Recently, under Issenberg’s leadership, the Center turned the challenges from Covid-19 into opportunities, by making training programs more accessible to learners worldwide: from 1,200 first responders from Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Department, to front line personnel, including nurses and medical students in the US, to medical educators in Australia. The Center also implemented telemedicine capabilities in fire rescue vehicles, giving paramedics direct access to physicians when patients shows signs of COVID-19 or other conditions.
The state-of-the-art Gordon Center is home to Harvey®, the cardiopulmonary patient simulator and longest-established simulator medical education, and the division of Pre-Hospital and Emergency Training serving first responders and front line personnel.
Catholic Hospice
Todd R. Jacobs, MD
Todd Jacobs, M.D., is a hospitalist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He attended and graduated from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in 2000, having over 21 years of diverse experience, especially in Family Practice. Dr. Jacobs joined Catholic Hospice in April 2013 as a Team Physician and later became a hospice rotating physician at our Catholic Hospice Inpatient Care Center located at Holy Cross Health. Since then Dr. Jacobs has been a leader in hospice medicine utilizing his expertise and skills to provide exceptional care to patients, families, and partners. Dr. Jacobs is Board Certified in Family Medicine. He is affiliated with Holy Cross Hospital having previously been awarded there as Physician of the Quarter.
“Dr. Jacobs is always willing to go the extra mile in service of others. Being a hospice physician is more than a role or a title, it is a calling and a privilege that Dr. Jacobs has answered to with great humbleness, perseverance, and dedication – we are very fortunate to have him on our team!”, says Dr.
Tracy Romanello, Medical Director.
Juan Antonio Bereao, MD
Juan Bereao, M.D., specializes in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine in Miami-Dade, Florida. He attended and graduated from School of Medicine of Villa Clara in Cuba, having over 40 years of diverse experience, including in Hospice and Palliative Care. Dr. Bereao joined Catholic Hospice in December 2007 as a Team Physician and has since then been an intricate part of our team of physicians. Dr. Bereao has a certificate in Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and is part of the American Medical Association as well as the Cuban Society of Surgery Association. He was recognized as one of the Hospice Heroes in 2018 and 2019 at the Annual Physician Recognition Ceremony for caring for patients in the St. Catherine’s and St. Anne’s Inpatient Care Centers.
“Providing outstanding care to our hospice patients and their families is so important, and Dr. Bereao and all of our incredible physicians deserve special recognition for their wholehearted commitment to our hospice mission”, said Dian Backoff, Executive Director. “We are proud of and salute Dr. Bereao for his many years of tremendous service and excellence.”
Holy Cross Health
Margaret J. Gorensek, MD, FACP, FAAP
Dr. Margaret Gorensek, infectious disease specialist and Chairman of Infection Control at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale, was named 2020 Physician of the Year for the non-profit hospital. She is a specialist in both adult and pediatric infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS (pediatric and adult), infections in organ transplant patients and immuno-compromised hosts. Among her many recognitions, she was named a Top Doctor by U.S. News & World Report, leading in the top 1% of her specialty in the nation. Published in numerous medical research publications, Dr. Gorensek is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics, American Board of Internal Medicine – Adult Infectious Diseases, American Board of Pediatrics – Pediatric Infectious Diseases, American Academy of HIV Medicine. She completed her Infectious Disease fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH, during which time she also trained in pediatric infectious diseases at Southwestern Medical Center/Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
Sam G. Kosseifi, MD, DABSM
Dr. Sam Kosseifi is the lead pulmonologist at Holy Cross Health where he focuses on lung cancer, interventional pulmonary medicine, sleep medicine and critical care medicine. He was recently named Physician Educator of the Year for the non-profit hospital and has specialized training in bedside critical care ultrasound (FATE/RUSH exam). Dr. Kosseifi is certified by the American Board of Pulmonary Medicine, American Board of Critical Care Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Kosseifi attended medical school at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Beirut, Lebanon and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at East Tennessee State University. He is fluent in Arabic, English in French.
Palm Beach Neuroscience Institute
Arif Dalvi, MD, MBA
Dr. Arif Dalvi is a board-certified neurologist and the Director of Movement Disorders Program at Palm Beach Neuroscience Institute (PBNI). He received his fellowship in Movement Disorders from Columbia University in New York. His program is one of a select group of international sites involved in cutting-edge research on focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s disease. He speaks regularly at national and international forums on Parkinson’s disease and DBS surgery. Dr. Dalvi treats a range of disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dystonia. His procedural expertise includes DBS programming and Botox injections. He aims to be a partner in his patient’s care to tailor a plan that is a best fit. Dr. Dalvi is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and serves on the International Essential Tremor Foundation’s advisory board. He was awarded Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor Award and the Palm Beach County Heroes in Medicine Award. Dr. Dalvi’s PBNI offices are located in Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach and he’s on-staff at Delray Medical Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center.
KIDZ Medical Services
Chad Sanborn, MD
Dr. Chad Sanborn is a pediatric infectious disease specialist who treats patients with a broad range of illnesses such as MRSA, recurrent fevers and viral infections, skin and bone infections, parasitic infections, HIV, and travel medicine. Following spikes in COVID-19, Dr. Sanborn has taken a leadership role in educating the public through dozens of media interviews. He is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases, attended Brown University for his undergraduate studies in biology, and received his medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark. He subsequently completed a three-year pediatric infectious disease fellowship at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he received extensive training with immunosuppressed and HIV-infected patients. Dr. Sanborn practices at Palms Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Bethesda Hospital East, Palms West, West Boca Medical Center and Broward Health Coral Springs. He teaches at FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine and the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine.
Albert R. Taño, MD
Dr. Alberto Taño, a co-founder and medical director of KIDZ Medical Services and Emergency Pediatric Services, is director of multiple neonatal units in South Florida. He has been working, teaching, and volunteering in the neonatology field since 1989 and is the Past President of the Medical Staff at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. Board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in neonatology and pediatric medicine, Dr. Taño serves on the FIU Foundation Board of Directors and is an active supporter of many hospitals. After medical school, Dr. Taño interned at New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center before going to Children’s Hospital of Buffalo for his pediatric residency. His fellowship training in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine was at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He and his wife led the creation of The Albert and Debbie Taño Simulation Center at FIU’s Wertheim College of Medicine. This world-class training and research facility creates new curricula in simulation medicine, improves patient safety, and advances the use of technology in medical training.
VITAS® Healthcare – Broward County
Sabiha Khan, MD
Dr. Sabiha Khan’s medical career shifted dramatically when a dear friend asked her to oversee her end-of-life care as she was dying.
“It was an amazing and challenging experience that taught me so much, and it still has a special place in my heart,” says Dr. Khan, a trained internist who joined VITAS in 2011.
Caring for her friend taught her the importance of being able to educate and advocate for the dignity and benefits of hospice care, both to patients and family members who embrace it, and to those who are resistant to it or do not fully understand the philosophy and practice of comfort-focused end-of-life care.
“I absolutely love what I do,” says Dr. Khan, who still maintains a private practice in Broward County. “Meeting patients and families and developing a relationship with them allows us to understand their goals of care near the end of life, an approach that I find more rewarding than my previous role as a hospitalist, which required aggressive treatment of patients who would not necessarily benefit from such care.”
Dr. Khan earned her medical degree from The Santiago University of Technology School of Medicine.
VITAS® Healthcare – Dade & Monroe Counties
Carmen Cabeza-Romero, MD
What began as a part-time role as a float pool physician has evolved into a 20-year career as a full-time hospice physician for Dr. Carmen Cabeza-Romero.
A graduate in internal medicine from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Cabeza-Romero transitioned to the hospice specialty after realizing “how much I enjoyed sitting with patients in their homes, getting to know them in a more complete way, and chatting with their families in one-on-one time. In an office or hospital setting, as much as we’d like to develop that type of true relationship with our patients, we’re often very busy and don’t have the time.”
Formerly an internist with Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Cabeza-Romero manages two teams that provide end-of-life care to VITAS patients and their families in their homes and nursing homes.
She found at VITAS “heightened excellence of care because we use a multi-disciplinary team approach to medical and psychosocial care. We get to know our patients and families in a more complete way, in their homes, and we gain a deeper understanding of what they really need.”
VITAS® Healthcare – Broward County
Dillobar Gelfond, MD
When Dr. Dillobar Gelfond was growing up in Russia, she had no doubts about her career path. Both her parents were physicians, the “perfect role models” for a compassionate young person: “I never questioned which field to choose,” she says.
Dr. Gelfond fully realized her passion for care while studying at Second Tashkent State Medical Institute in Uzbekistan. She discovered the hospice specialty during her residency at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago. After a residency at Meharry Medical College and continued hospice and palliative training at Alvin York Veteran Affair Medical Center, she understood that she had found her calling.
At VITAS, Dr. Gelfond feels “support at every step as we work,” and appreciates the many ways the company enables her to provide care.
“In the moment that you take a patient’s hand, you feel like you’re in the world for something,” Dr. Gelfond says. “I think I’m designed for this world; I’m designed to talk to people, to ease their pain.”
Broward Health North
Mrinal Garg, MD
Mrinal Garg, M.D., is a board certified in gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician at Broward Health North. He has an expansive research portfolio with multiple publications, awards and oral presentations from national meetings. Most notably, he was the first author for a publication in the esteemed American Journal of Gastroenterology entitled, “Ocular Radiation Threshold Projection Based on Fluoroscopy Time during ERCP.”
Dr. Garg was raised in South Florida and attended Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, FL. He received his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Miami, subsequently attended New York Medical College and completed his internal medicine residency at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, and the University Medical Center at Princeton. There, he received the Robert S. Pinals MD Humanism and Professionalism Award, which recognizes one graduating resident per class. Dr. Garg also completed a research fellowship in gastroenterology at the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA.
Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology
Rodrigo Arrangoiz, MD, MS, FACS
Dr. Rodrigo Arrangoiz took inspiration to become a surgical oncologist from his first introduction to seeing someone with cancer when his father was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 40. Today, Dr. Arrangoiz’s father is cancer free. From this experience, Dr. Arrangoiz focuses on treating patients like they’re a member of his family. As a surgical oncologist specializing in head, neck and breast surgery as well as thyroid and parathyroid care, Dr. Arrangoiz practices evidence based medicine and offers patients advanced cancer treatment options. Dr. Arrangoiz’s professional experience includes specialization in benign and malignant thyroid diseases including thyroid cancer, parathyroid diseases such as hyperparathyroidism, benign and malignant breast diseases, breast cancer, head and neck surgery with a special interest in squamous cell carcinomas, salivary gland malignancies and skin cancers. He is certified by the American Board of General Surgery and graduated from a surgical oncology fellowship accredited by the Society of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Arrangoiz is bilingual in English and Spanish, his office is located at the Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology and he’s and on-staff at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, and additionally at Coral Gables Hospital.
Vanitha Vasudevan, MD, FACS
As a surgical oncologist, Dr. Vanitha Vasudevan focuses on providing compassionate and great quality care to cancer patients undergoing surgery. She finds motivation and enjoyment in the daily challenge of developing a treatment plan for the most challenging cancer cases. Dr. Vasudevan actively participates in multidisciplinary tumor board meetings for providing comprehensive care for cancer patients. As a specialist in oncological surgery and general surgery, Dr. Vasudevan provides minimally-invasive surgery and robotic surgery care including gastrointestinal and gallbladder surgery, gastrointestinal endoscopy, breast cancer surgery, skin and soft tissue tumors, colorectal surgery, thyroid surgery, liver and pancreas surgery. One of the technologies Dr. Vasudevan has a special interest in is robotic surgery for various abdominal procedures like colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and also Inguinal and abdominal hernias, which she believes has as a huge advantage in terms of operating with more precision compared to open surgical approach and can offer benefits of less pain and shorter recovery time for patients. Dr. Vasudevan is trilingual in English, Hindi and Tamil, her office is located at the Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology and she is on staff at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah.