18th Annual Day of Caring Event

Speaker Bios


Gladys Giron, M.D.

Gladys Giron, M.D. is a board-certified, breast surgery fellowship-trained surgeon, the cancer liaison physician for the MCI American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and co- chair of the Breast Disease Management Team at the Miami Cancer Institute (MCI) of Baptist Health South Florida. She earned her medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and completed her surgical residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Giron completed a clinical research breast surgery fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a breast surgery fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt and Beth Israel Medical Centers. She has published several research articles in medical journals and is an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.


Maria-Amelia Rodrigues, M.D.

Maria-Amelia Rodrigues, M.D. is a graduate of the School of Medicine at the University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She completed a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology in Brazil and a residency in Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Rodrigues has been a radiation oncologist at South Miami Hospital since 2003, and has been the chair of the Radiology/Oncology sub committee for the cancer committee at the Baptist-South Miami Cancer Program since 1998. She is also a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Day of Caring.


Harry Salinas, M.D. 

Harry Salinas, M.D. is a Miami Cancer Institute plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in breast reconstructive surgery. He utilizes advanced surgical techniques to extend the ability of other surgeons and radiation oncologists to more effectively treat cancer, thus offering patients the best opportunity for a cure. He also performs surgical procedures that restore physical function and improve a patient’s appearance and quality of life after the surgical treatment of cancer. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles about plastic and reconstructive surgery techniques and has presented his clinical research results at various professional symposiums throughout the United States. He is an experienced clinical educator, serving as a clinical fellow of surgery and an anatomy instructor at Harvard Medical School and as an anatomy and physiology teaching assistant at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


Silvia Rotemberg, M.D.

Silvia Rotemberg, M.D. is a Board Certified Plastic surgeon, member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. She moved to Miami after having a well established practice at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio for seven years. She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she received her medical degree. She completed her general surgery and plastic surgery training at the Cleveland Clinic. She specializes in breast reconstruction and cosmetic plastic surgery. She volunteers with the Rotary Club in Chile every year for one week to perform Breast reconstruction in patients who do not have access to plastic surgeons.


Karla P. Otero

Karla P. Otero is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition, and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has over 20 years experience in the field of dietetics and nutrition. She graduated from Florida International University and has been working for Baptist Health South Florida for the past 20 years. She is the Clinical Nutrition Supervisor at Miami Cancer Institute. Karla has participated in multiple community programs to promote healthy eating and disease prevention.


Julie Jeffries

Julie Jeffries is the founder of “Not Your Mama’s Vegetables, an organization whose mission is to break the stereotypes of a Whole Foods, Plant Based lifestyle, to help people begin their journey to health, and to work with other community organizations to improve the service offerings for those choosing to lead a clean, healthy, Whole Foods, Plant Based lifestyle. Julie holds a degree in Political Science and Management from Marietta College, Ohio, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University, New York.


Carla Araya, MPH, RDN, LDN

Carla Araya, MPH, RDN, LDN is a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 20 years of experience working with both adults and children.  Carla’s areas of expertise includes outpatient, research, and clinical. She graduated from Florida International University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and a Master’s Degree in Public of Public Health Degree with a specialty in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.  She is a food and nutrition expert who believes in the healing power of food and is passionate about helping people make healthy lifestyle changes. Currently, Carla specializes in all areas of oncology nutrition, including prevention, treatment and survivorship.  She is currently employed at the Miami Cancer Institute as a Senior Clinical Dietitian.


Evan Piper

Evan Piper resides in Miami, Florida and holds a degree in Business Administration.  Evan holds professional certifications in Aviation, Construction and Mechanics. His Conglomerate, The Piper Companies are comprised of several entities in the fields of Construction, Automotive/Marine, Real Estate, Medical and Speaking/Training.  In addition, Evan volunteers as a leader/board member in local politics as well as in several South Florida charities and business groups. Evan is a thriving survivor of a 2001 Airplane Crash and is currently in a wheelchair.  He has learned many life and business lessons through his experiences and continues to share those lessons through his speaking engagements and training programs.


Suleyki Medina, M.D.

Suleyki Medina, M.D., is a palliative medicine specialist who serves as an attending physician on the Symptom Management and Palliative Medicine Service at Miami Cancer Institute. She received her medical degree from St. Georges University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she was honored with the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Award for Excellence. She also completed two fellowships in Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she was honored with the Fellow of the Year award in the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program. Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine, Dr. Medina has published on Geriatric and Palliative Medicine topics.


Dina Dumercy, Pharm.D.

Dina Dumercy, Pharm.D. is a Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator at the Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Cancer Institute. She received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Florida A & M University and completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency with a focus in Oncology at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She later became a board certified oncology pharmacist after working several years in this area of specialty. Dr. Dumercy has a passion for educating patients and caregivers about cancer, patient safety, and increasing cancer awareness. She has been collaborating for the past several years with researchers at the University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center providing enhanced education on breast cancer for Project CARE, a study for African American women with the disease.


Arelis Martir-Negron. M.D.

Arelis Martir-Negron. M.D. is a medical geneticist and medical director of the Division of Clinical Genetics at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. She is Board-certified in medical genetics and internal medicine. Dr. Martir-Negron received her medical training at Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine, in Guadalajara, Mexico. She completed a residency in internal medicine at the Ponce School of Medicine, Ramon E. Betances Hospital-Mayaguez Medical Center, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, followed by a residency in medical genetics and genomics at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. Prior to joining the Miami Cancer Institute, Dr. Martir-Negron was an attending medical geneticist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens.


John Diaz. M.D.

John Diaz. M.D. is a board certified gynecologic oncologist who completed his fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He specializes in minimally invasive robotic and open complex surgery for both cancer and benign gynecologic conditions. His research interests include novel therapeutic agents and surgical innovations.


Yulien Gonzalez

Yulien Gonzalez was born in Cuba and immigrated to the USA in 2001. Since then he has been working in the business portion of The Healthcare Industry from medical insurance verifications, authorizations, collections, and finally patient financial counseling. He has been an Oncology Patient Financial Counselor for more that eleven years, which have given him purpose in life, and has enabled spiritual rewards that he never thought he could reach in this line of work. At this moment he supervises a team of 13 Patient Financial Counselors at the Miami Cancer Institute with the goal to help patients navigate the complex world of medical insurance and the increasing cost of healthcare, especially oncology drugs.  


Scott Barkow

Scott Barkow has been with Raymond James for over 30 years. He earned his certification as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner in 1987 and now leads the Barkow Wealth Management Group of Raymond James. His areas of specialty include portfolio management, retirement income planning, estate planning, insurance, and risk management.


Beatriz Currier, M.D.

Beatriz Currier, M.D. is the Miami Cancer Institute’s Medical Director of Cancer Patient Support Services. In this role, Dr. Currier leads a multi-specialty cancer support services team dedicated to treating the whole patient.  The support services program is comprised of physicians who specialize in psychiatry, integrative medicine, cancer rehabilitation and pain management, as well as a comprehensive team of interdisciplinary clinicians who will address the psychosocial and physical well-being of cancer patients through conventional medical practice and integrative mind-body therapies. Dr. Currier earned her medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. She completed a general psychiatry residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center and a clinical fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital.


Maxine Weinstein, PhD.

Maxine Weinstein, PhD. graduated from the University of Miami in 1978 with a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Her specialty is oncology psychology and she is in private practice in South Miami. She has presented at several conferences, for professionals as well a lay people. She was awarded a grant from Susan G. Komen, which allowed her to counsel women with breast cancer who are uninsured or underinsured for individual counseling. She also consults with Lauren’s Light to counsel parents who have cancer along with their children.


Christie Grays

Christie Grays is President of I Am CHIC (Christie Has It Covered), a full service lifestyle consulting business founded in 2016. I Am CHIC helps people and organizations cover priorities. The main focus is wardrobe and image consulting which instills confidence and develops an effective visual image for busy professionals. Prior to following her entrepreneurial passion, Christie served as the director of government & community relations for Baptist Health South Florida for seven years. In that role, she ensured that Baptist Health maintained positive relationships in the business, government and civic communities of South Florida and managed the department’s multi-million dollar budget. Christie is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and has her Global M.B.A. from Alliance Manchester Business School in Manchester, England having studied abroad in Hong Kong and Manchester.


Sara Garrido, M.D.

Sara Garrido, M.D. graduated from Universidad del Valle in Colombia. She then came to the United States and trained at the University of Miami in Internal Medicine and was a Chief Medical Resident at UM in 1995-1996. After which she moved to Seattle, and did her Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow transplantation training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is a breast medical oncologist and part of the Baptist Hospital Medical Group. Dr. Garrido’s main career interest is in breast cancer development and treatment.


Elisa Krill-Jackson, M.D.

Elisa Krill-Jackson, M.D. is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, and she completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as a Fellowship at New England Medical Center and the University of Miami. 


Alvaro Gomez, M.D.

Alvaro Gomez, M.D. is an interventional cardiologist who has more than 25 years of experience in his field. He specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of cardiovascular diseases as well as congenital and structural heart conditions through catheter-based procedures, such as angioplasty and stenting. Dr. Gomez also specializes in cardio-oncology. His clinical interests include nuclear cardiac stress testing and the prevention and management of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and valvular heart disease. Dr. Gomez has conducted numerous clinical research trials on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and published articles in various peer-reviewed medical journals.


Paula Montana De La Cadena, M.D.

Paula Montana De La Cadena, M.D. is a cardiologist at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. She specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. She treats such conditions as heart attacks, heart murmurs, coronary artery disease and hypertension. She has a special interest in women’s cardiovascular health. Dr. Montana De La Cadena has extensive teaching experience, serving as an assistant clinical professor of medicine as well as teacher and mentor to medical students. She is a member of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians and American Heart Association.


Kate Lampen-Sachar, M.D.

Kate Lampen-Sachar, M.D. specializes in all facets of breast imaging. Additionally, she interprets chest and body CT and ultrasound. She graduated from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY and completed a radiology residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell in New York. She completed a fellowship in breast and oncologic body imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Lampen-Sachar is board certified in Radiology.


Nilza Kallos, M.D.

Nilza Kallos, M.D. is a radiologist who is board certified in nuclear medicine. She joined Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables in 2016, after being in private practice for over 25 years. Dr. Kallos graduated from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She did her residencies in internal medicine at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania, and nuclear medicine in the Radiology Department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She has been a pioneer in all aspects of breast imaging and women’s ultrasound, including pelvic, abdominal, and thyroid procedures and diagnosis. Dr. Kallos opened the first multimodality breast center in Florida and continues to be a leader in the breast-imaging community.


Sara Fernandez, M.D.

Sara Fernandez, M.D. is a Diagnostic Radiology specialist at the Diagnostic Center for Women. She received her degree from the University Of Florida College Of Medicine in 2010. She completed her residency in radiology and her fellowship in breast imaging and intervention at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.


Grace Wang, M.D.

Grace Wang, M.D. graduated from the University of Miami Medical School after attending Northwestern University. She did her internal medicine residency, and hematology oncology fellowship at the University of Miami. She is a medical oncologist at the Miami Cancer Institute of Baptist Health Systems and specializes in breast cancer, and performs clinical trials. She is Vice Chair of the Volunteer Leadership Board of the American Cancer Society and sponsor chair of the Day of Caring.


Joann Santiago-Charles

Joann Santiago-Charles received a B.S. in Exercise Science in 2003 from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. She will complete her M.S. in in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with a specialization in Rehabilitation Science from California University of Pennsylvania. She holds several certifications including: Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Cancer Society, Level 3 Exercise is Medicine through the American College of Sports Medicine.


Rosa Salom

Rosa Salom is the leader of the South Florida Branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society. Rosa is a retired Industrial Engineer and is now a 10 year breast cancer survivor.  She has been practicing Taoist Tai Chi for 10 years and believes her fast recovery and good health are due to the regular practice of this art.  


Erika Pruss-Schmitz

Erika Pruss-Schmitz is a South Florida artist, business owner, and registered nurse.  She holds a Baccalaureate of Arts in Psychology, with a Minor in Fine Arts and Art History, as well as a Master’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Business Administration from Florida International University, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from Miami-Dade Medical College.  After working at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital as a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse for thirteen years, she decided to start her own business, helping and inspiring children and adults alike through her passion for art.  She is the founder of Bash of Paint, a Miami-based creative venture in which she teaches painting and provides private art-as-entertainment events in our community. 


Jeffrey Ritter, M.D.

Jeffrey Ritter, M.D. is Co-Director of the Center for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases in South Miami.  He attended Yale University and George Washington Medical School where he graduated with honors.  He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and a rheumatology fellowship at Georgetown.  He practiced rheumatology in Washington D.C. until he came to Florida to join the Center for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases.


Adrian Cristian, M.D.

Adrian Cristian, M.D. is double Board-Certified in pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation. He specializes in patient rehabilitation following cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and concussion, enhancing and restoring the functional ability of patients with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Dr. Cristian earned his medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, N.Y. He completed an internship in internal medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, N.Y., and a three-year residency in rehabilitation medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he served as chief resident. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management at Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston, Mass., and received extensive training in acupuncture.


Chef Natita

Chef Natita has been certified in the United States for VEGAN COOKING for the past 12 years. She’s an inspiring chef with expertise in nutrition that’s free of processed sugars. She frequently travels throughout Latin America responding to invitations for her workshops and conferences.Chef Natita is constantly giving back to the community.  She was invited by the Public Library of Miami-Dade County, to create a program and live demonstration about the Healthy Kitchen.  Here she helped educate the public on healthy eating habits, nutrition, recipes and how to read the food labels. Chef Natita is always ready to share a message of love and her passion about healthy eating without processed sugar with the world.

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