This year, AL DÍA is honoring 10 of the Mid-Atlantic’s best Latino doctors, an emerging leader in the field, and one career that’s paved the way for others.
By Nigel Thompson
January 04, 2021
In a virtual event on Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m., AL DÍA aims to take its annual Top Doctors Forum to new levels in what will hopefully be a better new year for all.
In the past, AL DÍA, with the help of a selection committee, chose a handful of Latino doctors in the Philadelphia area to be honored as leaders in their fields and role models for the next generation of Latinos in medicine.
2021’s criteria is no different, but expands the field of honorees to 12, recognizing 10 Latino doctors from across the Mid-Atlantic region at the top of their industry, one young, emerging leader in the field, and one doctor whose career accomplishments paved the way for others.
In short, AL DÍA is excited to announce its 2021 Top Doctors and celebrate another year of Latino leaders in medicine.
The 2021 Top Doctors
Dr. Rita Guevara
Dr. Guevara is the assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at Drexel University’s College of Medicine, which she graduated from in 2012 via its “Pathway to Medical School” program. She is also an assistant professor in the school’s pediatrics department.
Prior to Drexel, Guevara completed a one-year program at John’s Hopkins University, where she got a first-hand look at the healthcare disparities present in Baltimore’s Latino community.
It’s something she also experienced growing up as the daughter of undocumented Peruvian immigrants in the U.S. that needed help translating letters from doctors.
Dr. Hector Colon Rivera
Dr. Rivera Colon is the medical director of Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), where he guides the community organization’s behavioral and substance abuse counseling services.
His medical specialties include adolescent care and addiction psychiatry.
Rivera Colon is also an attending telemedicine physician for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where he is part of a community program to increase medical access to rural communities in Pennsylvania facing substance abuse.
In government, he is also a clinical advisor on Pennsylvania’s Advisory Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs.
His path in medicine was heavily influenced by his mother, who was a special-ed teacher in Puerto Rico that worked with families struggling with poverty and mental illness.
Dr. Jesus Eduardo Rame
Dr. Rame has been in cardiology for more than 20 years and is the chief of advanced cardiac and pulmonary vascular disease programs at Jefferson University Hospitals.
His current research is based on discovering novel intersections between heart failure and metabolism.
Before Jefferson, Rame was the medical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support program at the University of Pennsylvania for 10 years, where he oversaw the implementation of treatments for patients suffering from advanced heart failure.
Dr. Iris Reyes
Dr. Reyes is a physician and professor of clinical emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
As a professor, Reyes has 31 years of experience at UPenn.
Her other areas of expertise address cultural competency of treatment and expanding diversity in medical education and training for aspiring medical professionals.
Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan
Dr. Vidal-Phelan is the senior medical director of pediatrics at UPMC. She is also a pediatrician with 15 years of experience treating children, and a leading healthcare administrator.
Beyond UPMC, Vidal-Phelan is a part-time general pediatrician at Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg, PA, and a member of the board of the nonprofit, Child Proof Advice. The organization educates parents of toddlers and preschool-age children about creating a safe home environment to prevent unintentional injuries.
In the past, she has also held a number of administrative and physician positions at organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the PA Clinical Network, and Capital BlueCross to name a few.
In 2020, Vidal-Phelan was also on the selection committee for AL DÍA’s Top Doctors Forum.
She is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Dr. Christian Pizarro
Dr. Pizarro is the director of cardiac CT in the division of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery as part of the Nemours Children’s Health System. He is based out of Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.
He has been a surgeon in cardiac and thoracic procedures for more than 21 years, specializing treating children with heart and chest problems.
Dr. Juan Diaz Quiñones
Dr. Diaz Quiñones is an associate professor of clinical obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine and the director of general obstetrics and gynecology at Temple University Hospital.
His research and clinical interests surround gynecological disease and surgery, including minimally-invasive and robotic procedures.
Hailing from the Dominican Republic, he is a graduate of the School of Medicine at the Instituto Tecnologíco de Santo Domingo.
Between 2017 and 2020, Philadelphia Magazine has recognized Diaz Quiñones as one of the top doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.
Dr. Fermin Garcia
Dr. Garcia is the director of the electrophysiology laboratory at Pennsylvania Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Clinically, he is also involved in the cardiac arrhythmia program at Penn Medicine, dedicated to developing and advancing leading therapies for those with abnormal heart beats.
Garcia has also been named either a regional or national top doctor in five of the last six years.
He is a native of Venezuela and graduate of the Jose Maria Vargas School of Medicine at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Dr. Generosa Grana
Dr. Grana is a hematologist, oncologist and the director of the MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden New Jersey.
Her research delves into both genetic predispositions for cancer and women’s breast cancer.
Academically, Grana is also a professor of medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
A child of immigrant parents, in a past profile interview, she said she came to the U.S. at 10 years old “not speaking a word of English.”
“Learning the language and the culture was quite challenging for me but it was tremendously harder for my parents who were in their mid-30s,” said Grana. “As an immigrant, I often feel torn between the old and new.”
Her journey to becoming a cancer specialist sparked from a residency she completed in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital. Grana also later completed a postdoctoral fellowship in preventive oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Dr. Sadia Benzaquen
Dr. Benzaquen is the chair of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine of the Einstein Health Network.
Clinically, Benzaquen is an interventional pulmonologist, which deals mainly with lung cancer and other benign diseases affecting human airways. Most of the procedures are in advanced diagnostics and are minimally invasive.
He grew up in Venezuela as the child of parents that immigrated to the country in the 1960s from Morocco. In medical school, he completed a six-and-a-half year program at the Universidad Central in Caracas.
In 2003, Benzaquen immigrated to the U.S. and completed a fellowship in pulmonary critical care at Einstein before going west for a year of interventional pulmonology training at the Chicago Chest Center.
He came back east in September 2019 to Einstein from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Dr. Bryan J. Romero
Dr. Romero is an internal medicine specialist at Reading Hospital under Tower Health.
He achieved his current position following the completion of both an internship and residency program at Reading Hospital. Romero completed his studies at Penn State College of Medicine.
Lifetime Achievement Winner
Dr. Jose A. Bossbaly
Dr. Bossbaly is an internal medicine specialist at Mercado Medical Practice, the foremost Spanish-speaking geriatric care center in Philadelphia.
Before Mercado, Bossbaly held medical director positions at Temple University’s Wound Treatment Center and of ambulatory services at the Neumann Medical Center. He also has experience as an attending physician in emergency medicine.
To this day, Bossbaly is a mentor to aspiring medical students at Temple University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. For his efforts, he received the “Preceptor of the Year” award, and has been named one of the “50 most positive doctors in America.
As a student himself, Bossbaly received an undergraduate degree in biology from Fordham University in his hometown of New York City, and a medical degree from Centro de Estudios Tecnologicos in Mexico.
Fireside chat with an icon
In addition to honoring the 12 doctors and massive contributions to medicine, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine will take part in a fireside chat as part of the ceremony.
For her efforts leading the state against the coronavirus pandemic, Levine has shot to national stardom and is now one of the most visible transgender public officials in the country.
Tickets are on sale now for AL DÍA’s 2021 Top Doctors Forum on Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m.