Dr. Lester Martínez-López, M.D., M.P.H.
Chairman of PRCCI Board
Dr. Lester Martínez-López, M.D., M.P.H.
Lester Martínez-López, M.D., M.P.H., is the President of Martínez Medical Consulting, LLC, a firm that provides consulting services in the health care industry. Previously he was the Chief Medical Officer at Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, Florida. There he provided leadership in optimizing medical staff performance and participation in quality, efficiency, and patient safety initiatives for a 407 bed hospital. In 2006, he was the Senior Vice-President & Administrator of the Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital in Houston, Texas where he directed a 332 licensed-bed acute care teaching hospital.
In 2005, Dr. Martínez-López retired from the U.S. Army with the permanent rank of Major General as the first Hispanic to head the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland. His responsibilities included directing the Army’s worldwide medical research, acquisition, and logistics program. He oversaw a vast research portfolio that included cancer, trauma, infectious diseases, biodefense, chemical defense, nutrition, environmental health, aviation medicine, and telemedicine research. In addition, he directed the premier national biological and chemical defense laboratories and research program and led the development of the National Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick, MD.
Prior to duties described above, he was the Commanding General of the Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at Edgewood, Maryland. In this assignment he directed a worldwide public health organization, responsible for preventive medicine, health promotion and wellness, global medical surveillance, occupational and environmental health, and health risk communication. During his previous military career, he was the commander of three renowned hospitals, he oversaw the military health support during Hurricane Mitch in Central America, and served as the Chief Medical Officer of the United Nation’s Mission in Haiti.
Dr. Martínez-López was born in Puerto Rico. In 1978, he graduated from the School of Medicine in the University of Puerto Rico and later on completed his Master in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
His awards include the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Three Oak Clusters, The Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army’s Meritorious Service Medal with three oak clusters, the Senior Flight Surgeon Badge, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medal, and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he has a Doctor in Education (Honoris Causa) degree from the Caribbean University in Puerto Rico.
He is a member of multiple professional organizations as well as a member and former board member of multiple professional organization including the Army Science Board.
Kenneth S. Ramos, M.D., PhD, PharmB
Secretary of PRCCI Board
Kenneth S. Ramos, M.D., PhD, PharmB
Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD, PharmB, is associate vice president for precision health sciences at the University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS), where he is responsible for developing precision-health strategies and approaches to health outcomes and health-care delivery.
Dr. Ramos provides senior leadership in the development of personal diagnostics and therapeutics for complex diseases, including cancer, cardiopulmonary disorders and diabetes. He works in collaboration with the deans of the five UAHS colleges, clinical department heads, institute and center directors, Banner – University Medicine, and external stakeholders to develop and implement novel, high-impact programs and initiatives in precision health.
He is also a professor of medicine, at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, where he directs his highly competitive and innovative research program in translational and clinical genetics and genomics and collaborates with numerous research groups across the UA campus.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Ramos was with the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, where he served as distinguished scholar and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He was director of the Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology (a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences core center), and chief scientific adviser for the Clinical Trials Laboratory. He was affiliated with the J.G. Brown Cancer Center, Birth Defects Center, Gheens Center for the Study of Aging, Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, and Bioinformatics Initiative.
Dr. Ramos has also held faculty positions at Texas A&M University, where he held the Chester J. Reed Endowed Chair in Molecular Toxicology and oversaw the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Rural Health; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
He has received more than $50 million in research funding, including R01, P01 and P30 grants, and has made seminal contributions in the areas of molecular toxicology, environmental health sciences, toxicogenomic and molecular medicine. As a senior scientist, he has been responsible for leading diverse research teams, conducting independent and collaborative research
inbiochemistry; bioinformatics; cell, computational, developmental, in vitro, molecular and theoretical biology; chemistry; environmental health; epigenetics; experimental therapeutics; genomics; nephrology; neurobiology; nutrition; oncology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; public health and teratology. He has provided senior leadership in scientific and strategic research planning at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Dr. Ramos is recognized as a leading expert in the study of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and genomic medicine. His research program integrates diverse approaches, ranging from molecular genetics to population-based public health studies in efforts to understand the genetic and genomic basis of human disease and to advance the goals of precision medicine. Ongoing basic science studies in his laboratory focus on repetitive genetic elements in the mammalian genome and their role in genome plasticity and disease, while his clinical work focuses on the characterization of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for chronic disease and cancer.
Gualberto (Gil) Medina joined the United States Commercial Real Estate Services (CBRE) in June 2013 as an Executive Vice President. Gil provides and coordinates integrated real estate solutions for corporate, governmental, non-profit and academic organizations. He is responsible for local and global business development across all CBRE service lines including: Office, Industrial, and Retail Brokerage; Asset Services; Project Management; and Financial Consulting. As part of developing and expanding major account service offerings, Gil provides corporate occupiers with multi-disciplined, high level strategic advisory expertise. In addition, Gil is involved with multiple strategic initiatives focused on business development and industry advancements.
Former, New Jersey state commerce secretary, Gil was the point-person in the creation of incentive, finance and regulatory programs that constitute the state’s core economic growth policies. He remains a key voice in the New Jersey commercial real estate industry, the larger business community, and public-private sector efforts that are guiding the state’s future economic health. In his professional career in both the public and private sectors, Gil negotiated over $5 Billion in incentives. Gil is an attorney, CPA and licensed real estate broker who has extensive expertise in management, sales, business development, technology, and regulatory matters. He serves as an advisor on economic growth policy to government officials in various states and large metropolitan centers.
Executive Managing Director Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. (Managed firm’s New Jersey offices).
Secretary of Commerce for the State of New Jersey
President/General Counsel, start-up Biotechnology company (Arcanum Discovery, Inc.)
Vice President of International Marketing, VOIP Firm (Net2Phone, Inc.)
Manager at two Regional CPA Firms in Philadelphia
Sole law practitioner
Litigation Attorney – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Professional Recognition and Achievements:
The President of Brazil conferred the Rank of Commander in the Order of Cruzeiro do Sul. This is the highest honor bestowed on foreign nationals by the Republic of Brazil, in recognition of valuable services rendered to the Republic and its citizens
Informal Experts Group on IP Telephony of the International Telecommunication Union’s World Policy Forum on IP Telephony
Served as a resource person for the ITU, the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of State on telecommunications policy
New Jersey Biotechnology Industry Organization Distinguished Service Award
The US Biotechnology Industry Organization State Executive of the Year
National Association of Industrial and Commercial Properties Industry Service Award
City Councilman in the City of Camden, New Jersey
Inducted into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame
Boards, Organizations and Public Policy:
Chairman of the Board of Solix Corporation, a process outsourcing firm that employs 1000 people throughout the U.S.
New Jersey’s National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) – BoD. Served as VP Associate Affairs
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce – Executive Committee
Rutgers University School of Business – Advisory Board
Rutgers University School of Business Real Estate Center – Executive Committee
Rutgers University – Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy – Chairman of the Dean’s Leadership Council
Board of Trustees – Thomas Edison State College – Served a two year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees & Vice Chairman – Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust
Board of Trustees – Caucus Education Corporation, Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation
Donald H. Sebastian is the Senior Vice President for Research & Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is responsible for academic affairs across all six colleges as well the academic research enterprise, developing partnerships with industry and managing governmental affairs, intellectual property development, business incubation, commercialization, and contract projects across the technology spectrum. Under his leadership, the university’s sponsored research grew to over $90M in 2008, placing NJIT in the top 10 engineering universities in the nation, while Federal funding doubled over the last seven years. In 2006 he was inducted into the New Jersey High-Tech Hall of Fame.
Dr. Sebastian is the academic lead developing the Newark Institute for Regenerative Medicine that has been awarded a state grant of $50M to build and equip a 100,000 square foot facility connecting clinical practice using adult stem cell therapies back to basic research in close collaboration with industrial partners. The facility is a key element of the economic development plans for the University Heights district of Newark. The biotech focus complements economic development stemming from the Port Newark expansion – a project that benefits from NJIT-led assistance resulting in a $100M USDOT appropriation to the state of New Jersey (NJ) for Liberty Corridor development and designation as a corridor of national significance.
He has been the institutional lead in a State program to develop child-safe weapons technology that has drawn international media coverage, and attracted over $4M in state and federal support to develop the first biometric-based safety system for handguns. Dr. Sebastian was the principal academic organizer of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, bringing the resources of the Lucent Bell Labs Silicon Fabrication Research lab and e-Beam nano-facility to the statewide research community. He served as the first Chairman of the Board.
Currently, Dr. Sebastian is professor in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering. He joined NJIT in 1995 and was later appointed executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Systems. In 1996, Dr. Sebastian was the founder of the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc., New Jersey’s operation under the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)-sponsored, statewide assistance program for small to mid-sized manufacturers that has leveraged over $15M in federal funding. He continues as a member of the corporation’s Board of Directors.
Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1974, he received his Bachelor of Engineering at Stevens, followed by a Masters of Engineering in 1975, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1977.
Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH, FACP, FACE, was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus, and subsequently received her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at the University Hospital in San Juan. Following her residency, she moved to Texas to pursue subspecialty training in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
After completing her fellowship, Dr. Avilés-Santa joined the faculty of the Endocrine Division at UT Southwestern. As a faculty member, she worked in direct patient care, teaching and clinical research in diabetes. Her main clinical research interest focused on understanding the relationship between improvement in glycemic control and traditional and non-traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors in young Hispanics/Latinos with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. While working at UT Southwestern, she obtained her Master Degree in Public Health at the Dallas satellite campus of the University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health.
She joined the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in 2006. She is the Project Director of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), the largest and most comprehensive study on Hispanic/Latino health to date. In 2015, she created the NIH Hispanic Health Research Scientific Interest Group, the first NIH scientific group of this nature. In these roles she has had the unique opportunity to mentor early career investigators in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico interested in making contributions towards the improvement of the health of Hispanics/Latinos.
Dr. Avilés-Santa is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. She is a member of the American College of Physicians, the Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) with diverse experience working in Healthcare and global exposure in the Pharmaceutical Industry in the areas of Research, Medical Affairs, Global Product Safety/Pharmacovigilance, Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Silva holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Pharmacy, and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Proficient in multiple Therapeutic Areas, Academic partnerships, Compliance, GxPs, Auditing (FDA, EMEA, etc.) along with strong managerial and clinical experience.
Dr. Silva is recognized as a leader in Clinical Research by the Puerto Rico medical community, Academia, government institutions, and pharmaceutical industry. She is also recognized as a partner of excellence and has developed relationships of mutual trust and respect with many internal and external stakeholders in US and Puerto Rico. Dr. Silva is passionate about diversity and inclusion. She is focused on innovation to help improve patient outcomes.
Ricardo Garcia Toledo, CPA –Finance Lead at PRCCI- career began on public accounting transitioning then to the manufacturing industry (medical devices, pharmaceutical and contract manufacturing) acquiring extensive experience supporting multiple sites and organizations. Ricardo completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration-Accounting from the University of PR-Bayamón and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Former employers include; KPMG, Wyeth and Merck and also other organizations (construction, service, retail) as a consultant. Ricardo’s accomplishments include implementation of SAP, lean manufacturing processes, legal entity integrations, contracts re-negotiation, worldwide product cost standardization project, time and attendance systems and foreign trade zone implementation among others. Ricardo’s experience includes; financial planning (budgeting and forecasting), financial reporting, incremental costing analysis, financial analysis, inventory, compliance, taxes, payroll, collections, accounts payables and general accounting.
Jorge Martínez is the Research Operations Lead for PRCCI. Jorge has a Bachelor’s Degree in General Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Since college, he has always had a passion for science and health. After graduating from his Master’s Degree, he worked supporting the island’s Primary Health Centers in their educational programs. Jorge also took an introductory research program at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Caribbean Healthcare System in which he was coordinator for two studies in the area of Emergency Management. Martínez works directly with stakeholders, including Sponsors, Clinical Research Organizations, among others, to help the growth of clinical investigation in Puerto Rico.
Jarmary Torres, MPH Research Quality Lead and HIPAA Security and Compliance Officer
Jarmary Torres, MPH
Jarmary Torres obtained a Bachelor Degree in Health Sciences from the University Of South Florida and a Master Degree in Public Health from Walden University. She has more than 18 years in progressive clinical research settings, Ms. Torres has extensive experience in administration, management, regulatory guidelines, standard operating procedures, quality, monitoring, customer service, leadership, white glove service, planning and coordination. Her passion to clinical research propelled her to pursue a new role as Research Quality Lead with the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation (PRCCI) team. Ms. Torres is looking forward to enhance the quality outcome and research goals of all the research site members at PRCCI.
Obed Pérez is the Operations and Business Development Specialist for PRCCI. Obed obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management from the University of Puerto Rico. He completed an internship program in the pharmaceutical industry where he obtained hands on experience on project management, process improvements, cost reductions, operational excellence, GMP regulations, supply chain management on warehouse & logistics, sourcing & procurement and planning functions. His major focus was on plant capacity production planning and performance metrics.