Cassia Portugal, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Portugal graduated from the School of Medicine and Public Health in Salvador, Brazil, in 1985. She completed two pediatric residency programs: one at the Fundacao Hospitalar do Distrito Federal in Brasilia, Brazil, and another at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Portugal is Board-Certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is the founder of First Choice Pediatrics, Inc. Areas of particular interest to Dr. Portugal include childhood asthma, headaches, and infectious diseases. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Rosemarie Sison, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Sison grew up in the province of Pampanga in the Philippines. She graduated from the Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation in Manila, where she began her professional training as a pediatric resident. Later she pursued a Pulmonary Fellowship at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. After moving to the United States, Dr. Sison completed pediatric residency training at the Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, an affiliate with Texas A & M University. She is certified with the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Sison demonstrates a genuine love for children. She is married and has a daughter.
Helen Young, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Young is a Board-Certified Pediatrician. She received her medical degree at the University of the Philippines and later completed pediatric residency training at SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Young has over ten years of private practice experience, and she is certified with the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to English, she also speaks Mandarin and Tagalog.
Francisco Chang, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Chang was born in Taiwan and raised in the Dominican Republic. He found his calling for medicine through his missionary godparents. Dr. Chang graduated from Iberoamerican University Medical School in Santo Domingo, and completed his pediatric residency at the Woodhull Medical Center at NYU in New York. He is a passionate physician with a tremendous love for children and a devotion for medicine. Dr. Chang speaks English and Spanish fluently.
Orlando Mota-Aquino, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Mota is from the Dominican Republic. Inspired by his mother who is also a pediatrician, he finished medical school at the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) in his native country. To pursue his dream of becoming a pediatrician, Dr. Mota moved to New York, where he completed his pediatric residency training at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Weill Cornell Medical College in the Bronx, NY. He has special interests in preventive medicine and development. Dr. Mota is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Amra Gavric, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Gavric is a Board-Certified Pediatrician through the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Medicine, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and completed her residency in general medicine at Clinical Center Kosevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After relocating to the United States, Dr. Gavric received specialty training in pediatrics at the Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York Medical College in New York. She has been working as a pediatrician in private practice in the Orlando area since 2007. She has a special interest in infectious diseases and skin diseases, as well as in ADHD/ADD. In 2011, Dr. Gavric was recognized as one of America’s Top Pediatricians by a nationwide peer survey. She is fluent in English, Serbo-Croat, and Bosnian.
Danielle Hernandez, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Danielle Hernandez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana Medical School in Santo Domingo. After earning her medical degree, Dr. Hernandez continued with her pediatric residency at Woodhull Medical Center NYU, Brooklyn, NY. Her special interests include emergency pediatrics and genetics. She and her husband Javier have one child. Dr. Hernandez is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Anca Tomsa, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Anca Tomsa was born and raised in Romania. She obtained her medical degree from Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. Her passion for linguistics and curiosity for foreign cultures brought Dr. Tomsa to the United States, where she turned a childhood dream into reality. After completing pediatric residency training at Woodhull Medical Center, NYU School of Medicine in Brooklyn, NY, she became a Board-Certified Pediatrician. During her residency, Dr. Tomsa developed a passion for improving the health of children with obesity-related endocrinopathies who live in communities with a high-risk population. In 2016, Dr. Tomsa graduated from the Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. During her fellowship she further expanded her skills and medical knowledge, preparing her to provide excellent medical care to the patients in our community. She is fluent in Romanian, English, Spanish, and proficient in French.
Grace Kim-Lu, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Kim came to First Choice Pediatrics from Long Island, New York, where she practiced pediatrics for over 10 years. She received her medical degree from New York Medical College, and completed her residency at North Shore University Hospital. Dr. Kim is a devoted wife and mother of identical twin girls. In her free time, she enjoys playing the guitar, playing tennis, and getting lost in a great book. Because of her love for children and fascination with the sciences, Dr. Kim feels that being a pediatrician fulfills a lifelong dream: “Every child is created and gifted in many ways. I find great joy in interacting and discovering the uniqueness of each child. My hope is that as a pediatrician, I can be a small part of enabling each child be the best they can be.”
Nicole Armstrong, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Armstrong was born in New Port News, Virginia, and grew up in Reno, Nevada, before moving to Winter Garden, FL as a teenager. She attended the University of Florida, earning her bachelor’s degree in health science; then she went on to medical school at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine as a member of the founding class. Dr. Armstrong completed her pediatric residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Her interests in the field of pediatrics include mental and behavioral health, adolescent health, and watching families grow up! When she is not working, Dr. Armstrong loves spending time with her husband and their two young children. She is excited to return to her home town and join the First Choice Pediatrics Family!
Josue H. Cortes, M.D. FAAP
Josue H. Cortes graduated from medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine in southern California. He completed his residency at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. He then moved to Florida in 2004, where he has been practicing as a Board-Certified Pediatrician. Dr. Cortes is bilingual, speaking English and Spanish. He truly enjoys the time he spends with his patients and their families, and he loves practicing every aspect of pediatric medicine.
Janet Imp, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Imp grew up in New Jersey and attended college and medical school at Duke University in Durham, NC. She trained in pediatrics at Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN. After working in Indiana and then Wisconsin, Dr. Imp moved to Florida to get away from the cold. She enjoys taking care of children and has a special interest in asthma and allergies. When she is not working, Dr. Imp enjoys swimming, going to Disney, and spending time with her 2 boys.
Chirlyn Urena, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Urena was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She grew up helping take care of her sick grandmother, which nurtured her love for helping others. She graduated from medical school at the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) in the Dominican Republic. She completed her pediatric residency training at St. Barnabas Hospital, Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Bronx, NY. After medical school she also earned a master of science degree in clinical nutrition. Dr. Urena has special interests in cross-cultural care, the impact of immigration on children and families, and adolescent parents. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Lilly Dao, D.O., M.P.H., FAAP
Dr. Dao was born in Boise, Idaho, but grew up in Orlando. She completed her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences at The University of Florida, then moved to California where she earned her master’s degree in public health at Touro University. Dr. Dao subsequently completed medical school at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and finished her pediatric residency at The Children’s Hospital at Palms West in West Palm Beach, FL. Dr. Dao truly enjoys guiding families as they welcome their little ones into the world. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, sight-seeing, going to the beach, and spending time with her husband and family.
Euripides Roques, MD, FAAP
Dr. Roques was born and raised in the Dominican Republic where he attended Medical school at Universidad Iberoamericana UNIBE. He moved to New York City to complete his pediatric residency training at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Weill Cornell Medical College in the Bronx, NY. He has a special interest in preventive medicine and research. Dr. Roques completed a research fellowship under the ECRIP program at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Sorangel Diaz Arias, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Diaz was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. During her childhood and adolescent years, she had the opportunity to work in the family business: a pharmacy, where her interest in medicine began to grow. She graduated from medical school at Universidad Iberoamericana in the Dominican Republic. After medical school, while working in the pediatric unit of IDEV, she realized pediatrics was the field she wanted to pursue. Dr. Diaz completed her pediatric residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. She is interested in preventive pediatrics and helping communities in need and enjoys spending time with family, reading, and sightseeing. Dr. Diaz is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Joanne Dela Pena Arce, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Joanne Dela Pena Arce was born and raised in Cebu, Philippines. She earned her medical degree from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland. She then completed her pediatric residency at the University of Tennessee, College of Medicine Chattanooga. She has a special interest in providing preventive and anticipatory guidance during well visits, and loves spending time with her husband and family. Dr. Dela Pena is board-certified and is fluent in English and Tagalog.
Maria Owsik, MD, FAAP
Dr. Owsik grew up in Venezuela, where she graduated Cum Laude as a surgeon from medical school at La Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She moved to the United States in 2013, to continue her medical journey. During her time in New York, Dr. Owsik developed a passion for working with kids, which led her to a pediatric residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, cooking, and going to the beach. Dr. Owsik is fluent in English and Spanish.
Ruben G. Guadalupe Aponte, M.D.
Dr. Guadalupe is a native of Puerto Rico. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Syracuse University in New York and received his medical degree from Universidad Central del Caribe in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He completed a residency in Pediatrics from Hospital Episcopal San Lucas in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Dr. Guadalupe’s interests include pediatric cardiology, cooking, video games, and volunteering. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Allison Klimis, M.D.
Dr. Allison Klimis joins the FCP family with over 12 years of experience in general pediatrics. She received a full-ride scholarship for volleyball to the University of Alabama, where she graduated with a degree in biology and a minor in Spanish. Later, she did her medical schooling at the Medical College of Wisconsin, near where she grew up in Wauwatosa, WI. With special training and emphasis in pediatric genetics, Dr. Klimis completed her residency at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. This busy pastor’s wife and mother of six loves Jesus, spending time with her family, watching her kids play sports, going to church, working out at the gym, traveling, crafting, and drinking great coffee. She is fluent in Spanish and has a special place in her heart for her Hispanic patients. Dr. Klimis is excited to care for your children with a mother’s touch and is happy to see and accommodate large families.
From Dr. Klimis: “God bless you, and I look forward to meeting you.”
Dhabia Al-Najjar, M.D. FAAP
Dr. Dhabia Al-Najjar is a Board Certified Pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2006, she earned her degree in medicine from the University of Baghdad.
After completing her residency at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York, in 2014, Dr. Al-Najjar began practicing medicine at Fort Madison Community Hospital in Madison, Iowa. Later she settled in Winter Park, Florida, where she established her own practice.
During her free time, Dr. Al-Najjar enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. She is fluent in both English and Arabic.
Joanne Decade, M.D., FAAP
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Decade moved with her parents to the United States, where they settled in the warm, sunny state of Florida. She attended the University of Florida, earning her bachelor’s degree in health science. After that, she made the long trip to cold and snowy New York where she received her doctorate in medicine from University of Rochester School of Medicine. Ready to return to the warmth, Dr. Decade completed her pediatric residency at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.
Her interests in the field of pediatrics include preventive medicine and health disparities. When she is not working, Dr. Decade loves spending time with her husband and their son, and her big extended family. She is excited to return to her hometown and to join the First Choice Pediatrics Family.
Kamela Daos, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Daos was born in Germany, but she moved frequently because her father was in the military. She considers Valdosta, GA her home since this is where her parents settled down after her father’s retirement. Dr. Daos graduated from Our Lady of Fatima University School of Medicine in Manila, Philippines and completed her pediatric residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NY. During residency, she developed a special interest for preventive medicine and obesity. She enjoys leading a healthy lifestyle and is passionate about encouraging children and families to do so as well. In her free time, she loves spending time with family and friends, traveling, and doing outdoor activities, such as snowboarding and paddle boarding. Dr. Daos is fluent in English and Tagalog.
Rachel Singer, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Rachel Singer was born and raised in Calgary, Canada, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Immunology & Infection at the University of Alberta. She obtained her medical degree from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Faculty of Medicine in Haifa, Israel. Dr. Singer completed her Pediatric Residency at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she also did her training as a Culinary Medicine Specialist. Dr. Singer’s special interests include preventative medicine, infectious diseases, developmental pediatrics, and nutrition. In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports, painting pottery, and watching the latest super-hero movies.
Anthonella Benitez Ojeda, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Benitez was born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela. She graduated from Universidad de Carabobo Medical School, and as her clerkships started, she developed her interest in Pediatrics. In 2013, Dr. Benitez and her husband, who is also a physician, moved to the United States to further their Pediatric career. She attended to the Pediatric Residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, NY. Dr. Benitez has particular interest in Prevention of Diseases, namely the Well-Child Care and Developmental Pediatrics. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, going to the beach, and spending time with her family and her dog Bruce. Dr. Benitez is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Mariella Cabrera Quijada, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Mariella Cabrera was born in Venezuela and graduated from medical school at La Universidad Central de Venezuela, in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2015, she moved to Texas. From there Dr. Cabrera moved to New York City and completed her residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, reading, and drawing. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Sussi Vivar, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Vivar, a board-certified pediatrician, was born in Peru and spent most of her life in the northeastern part of the U.S., where she volunteered and worked with migrant farm families. She received her medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, completing her residency at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
Dr. Vivar enjoys working with children and families from various cultures and backgrounds. She explains that “it feels there is always something to be learned and cherished from other human beings.” In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to other cities and countries, eating different cuisine, and when she is not traveling, relaxing with her husband and two cats. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Laura Diaz de Ortiz, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Diaz de Ortiz was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She earned her medical degree at the Universidad Central de Este in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic and completed her pediatric residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.
Prior to joining First Choice Pediatrics, Dr. Diaz de Ortiz spent two years working with the underserved population in the Bronx, New York. Dr. Diaz de Ortiz has special interests in development, asthma, and skin diseases. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two girls. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Michelle Toma, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Toma comes to First Choice Pediatrics with over 20 years of experience in the pediatric outpatient setting. She was born and raised in the Chicago area and recently relocated to Central Florida. Dr. Toma graduated with honors from Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and completed a combined pediatric and internal medicine residency program at Loyola University Medical Center in the Chicago area. In her free time, Dr. Toma enjoys cooking, photography, traveling, and spending quality time with her husband and daughter. She has a passion for caring for children of all ages and says her favorite part of being a pediatrician is watching kids develop and come into their own. Dr. Toma looks forward to establishing long-lasting relationships with families.
Jennifer Carbone, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Carbone, a native of upstate New York, lived in New York City for years and worked as an audiologist prior to attending medical school in 2000. Her passion for quality patient care led Dr. Carbone to pursue her medical degree at St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, while also pursuing an MBA. She returned to her home state and completed her pediatric residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn in New York. Dr. Carbone remains dedicated to all aspects of General Pediatrics but has special interests in children with complex conditions and at-risk youth. In her spare time, Dr. Carbone enjoys adventure travel, the beach, and relaxing at home with her loveable chocolate lab.
Scott Barron, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Barron, a Board-Certified Pediatrician by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has 30 years of experience in the medical field. In 1991, he earned his medical degree at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL. He then completed his Pediatric Residency in 1994 at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA. Dr. Barron has extensive experience in General Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and Academic Pediatrics. In addition, he is the Deputy Editor of Pediatrics for DynaMed, an evidence-based reference for providers caring for children. Dr. Barron is passionate about educating families and teaching them the latest information available to help them care for their children. Dr. Barron has been married for over 25 years and has three children in college.
Christian Restrepo, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Restrepo was born in Bogota, Colombia. He grew up in Jacksonville, Florida after moving to the United States at the age of nine. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and completed his residency at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Following his residency, Dr. Restrepo joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine at The Center for Children and Women. He is passionate about building strong relationships with families and working as a team to establish lifelong healthy living habits. An avid sports fan, Dr. Restrepo also enjoys camping and spending time at the beach with his wife and three children. Dr. Restrepo is fluent in English and Spanish.