My primary care philosophy is SPIRITUAL. Although I am a highly trained and advanced specialist, I continue to believe that my responsibility lies in delivering the best medical solutions to my patients to help them get the most out of their lives. I always keep the patient first. I believe that we are all equals and we all have souls (whatever that might mean to each one of us.) I recognize that patients want honest, clear and understandable explanations of what they have and what we can do together to empower them to get better. I enjoy sharing life's ups and downs with my patients and cherish each patient's unique concerns. I try my best to speak in basic terms and answer all questions. I encourage all my patients to write down their questions between evaluations, to make sure that they don't forget any when they are seeing me. Even though many chronic conditions are troublesome, I always find a positive way to help each patient. I believe that we are all equals.
I immigrated to the USA at the age of 1 from Cuba with my parents and my older brother in 1960. My parents were attorneys in Cuba but we left everything behind, fleeing communism, and started from scratch. My dad was hired by J&J and worked as an accountant while my mom stayed at home and raised my brother, my sister (born here), and me. We had a very calm childhood in a quiet little town, watching many changes happening in the US during the turbulent '60s. I was the quiet, shy child (back then.) I decided to become a medical doctor when I was 14. I wanted to combine my love for life, my love of science, and my love of the wonder which is the spirit in some way that I could give back to society while I enjoyed being with people. I use to attend church regularly and even sang in the choir. I achieved the Eagle Scout award in the Boy Scouts. I enjoyed gardening, camping, fishing, carpentry, archery, knitting, and discussing the meaning of life with my high school friends. I was the first recipient of the Gannet News (aka USA Today) scholarship for excellence in delivering newspapers door to door (in all kinds of weather.) I volunteered during Hurricane Doria in my home town of Bound Brook, NJ. I really enjoyed helping the less fortunate, especially knowing what it felt like to be in need early in my life. When I first got the Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, I was overwhelmed by the big city. After a few months, however, I fell in love with Philly. I took as many courses as I could including biochemistry, biophysics, relativity, advanced mathematics, political sciences, psychology, languages, history, and even public speaking. I enjoyed playing intra-mural football and co-founding Urban Youth Counseling Program as well as leading the Student Committee of Undergraduate Education. I turned from shy to outgoing without looking back! In my second year at Penn, I took a job drawing bloods at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania at the 5:00 am shift. This was a great learning experience. In my third year, I was honored to be selected to perform marine biological research at the Wood's Hole Marine Biological research center and fell in love with molecular biological research. Over the summers I worked in factories as well as laboratories, learning about life in assembly lines, loading docks, QA, and laboratory operations - quite a spectrum. At Penn Medical School I enjoyed most the professors who spoke to patients as regular people - even though my professors were accomplished researchers and professors. I saw that one could be both a regular person and an excellent physician - exactly what I had dreamed of many years earlier. I enjoyed surgery and, although I was offered an opportunity to enter a fellowship in heart transplant and vascular surgery by a Penn professor, chose a different path - where I could sleep better hours. When I discovered Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation I knew that it was my calling. In PM&R, patients are taken after other physicians have done what they could medically and surgically, and we start to help patients return to a life worth living. As I love sports and activity and as I understand what it is like to lose everything to start all over again, I felt that I could really help patients in this field. I learned quite a lot in my residency and applied my time to be quite efficient in diagnosing and treating. Upon completion of my residency at Penn, I was offered the job of Assistant Chief of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Philadelphia VAMC. I was also accepted to the staff at HUP and Presbyterian Hospital. I began performing consults, admitting patients, and running an inpatient rehabilitation service within my first three years. As my practice grew, I saw a need for quality services in the Injury Medicine field so I applied my knowledge there. Over the years, I have continued to learn and serve patients applying my knowledge and positive attitude in SERVICE.