The Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP) is proud to announce the election of new officers and board members for the 2022-2024 Board of Directors. Congratulations to the newly elected Board members below who will be formally inducted to the Board on Sunday, September 4, at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts during The Future of Pediatric Practice 2022 annual conference. Thank you also to all members who voted.
“On behalf of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, welcome to our new board members and current board members who are assuming new roles,” said current FCAAP President Lisa Gwynn, DO, MBA, MSPH, FAAP. “This is an exciting time to serve on FCAAP’s board, and the good work our organization does has never been more important.”
President — Thresia B. Gambon, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Thresia B. Gambon has been a practicing pediatrician in Miami for more than 20 years. She works at Citrus Health Network. Citrus Health Network, Inc. was founded in 1979 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) community mental health center dedicated to serving mentally ill individuals and their families. Citrus continues to provide services to adults and children across the spectrum of mental and behavioral health needs and is one of the largest mental and behavioral health providers in South Florida. In 2004, Citrus became a Federally Qualified Health Center, expanding its services to include care for primary health in addition to behavioral health.
Citrus takes a total wellness approach with each client, treating the body and mind. This approach to health care addresses the whole person by integrating behavioral health services and primary care and coordinating care across a broad range of health services and community-based programs. Dr. Gambon provides pediatric care for teenagers admitted to the long-term residential psychiatric program. She is also voluntary faculty for Florida International University and teaches with the Psychiatric Residency program.
Dr. Gambon has a long history of providing care to underserved and marginalized populations in Miami-Dade County. She is actively engaged in the community and has served on the Children’s Trust. She also has served in various roles on committees and councils for national AAP. Throughout her career, she has been involved in local task forces and collaborations to improve care in a county that carries a high burden of uninsured and undocumented patients, including working closely with the health department to increase vaccination rates and dental services.
Vice President — Juan Felipe Rico, MD, FAAP
Dr. Juan Felipe Rico is a Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist at the University of South Florida (USF) where he serves as the Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. In this role, he provides exceptional care to all children with blood and cancer disorders by delivering up-to-date and evidence-based care while seeking to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and treatments that burden patients and their families. In addition, he is the Medical Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Tampa General Hospital (TGH).
Dr. Rico attended medical school at The State University of New York Downstate Health Science Center in New York City and completed his residency at Miami Children’s Hospital (now Nicklaus Children’s Hospital). He returned to New York for his fellowship training at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of The Florida Pediatrician, FCAAP’s quarterly medical journal.
Secretary — Rana Alissa, MD, FAAP
Dr. Rana Alissa received her medical degree from the University of Damascus in Syria and completed her residency at the University of Florida in Jacksonville (UF-JAX). Since completing her residency, Dr. Alissa has served as a pediatric hospitalist at UF JAX focusing on newborn population. She is active in research and has numerous publications to her credit. She was recently promoted to Associate Professor at UF JAX.
Dr. Alissa is the preceptor for UF Medical students working in the newborn nursery, UF physician assistant students, Mayo Clinic medical students, family medicine residents of the Naval hospital in Jacksonville, and family medicine residents of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, in addition to the pediatric residents of her own program at UF JAX. As a teacher, she has earned numerous awards including the Excellent Student Teacher Award and Most Outstanding Pediatric Attending Award in addition to yearly Exemplary Teacher Awards. She currently serves as co-chair of the FCAAP Membership Committee.
Treasurer — Mark L. Hudak, MD
Dr. Mark L. Hudak started his career as a neonatologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has served for more than 10 years as the Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine — Jacksonville. As chair, he acquired expertise in financial management, which he applied as Treasurer of the non-profit St. Johns Riverkeeper organization. He has also acquired a broad understanding of the entire pediatric care continuum and the needs of all children and families.
Dr. Hudak served seven-year terms on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Drugs and the Committee on Child Health Financing (COCHF), the final four years as chair. He continues to work with members of COCHF to finalize key policy statements on Scope of Benefits, Medicaid, and Alternative Payment Models. He also served as chair of the FDA Pediatric Advisory Committee from 2015-2018. Dr. Hudak has published extensively in the areas of clinical interventions and outcomes and has worked with AAP to advocate for responsible changes in child health care financing and health care policy.
Region 2 Representative — Sanjeev Tuli, MD, M.Ed., FAAP
Dr. Sanjeev Tuli is the current Vice President of the Florida Association of Children Hospitals (FATCH). He graduated from Grant Medical College and completed his pediatric residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan. Dr. Tuli joined the department of Pediatrics at the University of Florida in Gainesville in 2001 and currently serves as a Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Chair and Chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics.
Dr. Tuli has been involved with FCAAP for many years and has served on the Managed Care and Pediatric Councils, and the Practice Management Committee. He also served FCAAP and the children of Florida as an alternate representative for Region 3 and currently serves on the editorial board of The Florida Pediatrician. At the national level he has served on AAP’s National Committee on Coding and Nomenclature (COCN) for six years and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for all of AAP’s Coding Publications. He also has served as the AAP CPT Alternate Advisor to the American Medical Association, helping to review other national organizations’ CPT code change proposals for potential pediatric impacts.
Region 4 Representative — Debora Duro, MD, MS
Dr. Debora Duro is currently the Program Director of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Medical Director at FIRST for Children (Florida Intestinal Rehabilitation Support and Treatment) Program at Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. She received her MD from the Pontificia University Catholic of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and completed her pediatric residency training at Miami Children Hospital. She did her clinical fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Boston Children’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School, where she also served clinical faculty for four years.
Dr. Duro holds an MS degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University and is also certified on plant based nutrition by Cornell University and chef coaching by the School of Public Health at Harvard. She is an Associate Professor in Clinical Pediatrics at Florida International and Nova Southeastern Universities. Dr. Duro was appointed vice chair of the Nutrition Committee of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in 2021.
General Pediatrician at Large Representative — Betty Cheney Kelly, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Cheney Kelly is an active member of the FCAAP Pediatric Council. She graduated from Wright State University’s Physician Leadership Development Program with MD and MPH degrees. She completed residency training at Arnold Palmer Medical Center where she remained for chief residency. After completing chief residency, Dr. Cheney Kelly moved closer to the coast to join Pediatrics in Brevard, a physician-owned pediatric practice in Brevard County.
Dr. Cheney Kelly has been a member of AAP since starting residency. She was able to serve as a resident liaison to the AAP Section on Pediatrics Trainees (SOPT) and share the benefits of membership with her co-residents as well as the SOPT annual advocacy campaign. Dr. Cheney Kelly has been a participant at the AAP Advocacy Conference and joined the FCAAP Pediatric Council during winter 2020-2021 to advocate for appropriate reimbursement for pediatric practices across the state of Florida.
Medical School Pediatric Chair Delegate — Patricia J. Emmanuel, MD
Patricia J. Emmanuel, MD earned a BS from University of Notre Dame and a medical degree from the University of Florida. She performed her pediatric internship and residency at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she was chief resident. She completed a fellowship in pediatric and adult infectious diseases at the same institution. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Disease and practices HIV medicine and infectious disease medicine in Tampa. Since 2012, Dr. Emmanuel has served as the Lewis A. Barness Professor of Pediatrics and Chair in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.
Dr. Emmanuel has been involved with FCAAP for many years and previously served in the role of Medical School Pediatric Chair Delegate in 2018. She will work collaboratively with pediatric chairs of the state of Florida to address education, workforce, and advocacy issues and to promote additional research and training.
A very special thanks to Dr. Lisa Gwynn for her outstanding service as FCAAP President. We are grateful for her dedication and look forward to working with her further as she assumes the role of Immediate Past President.
Through its more than 2,600 members, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the health and welfare of Florida’s children and supports pediatricians and pediatric specialists as the best qualified providers of their healthcare.