Founding Members


Minerva Romero Arenas, MD, MPH

Minerva A. Romero Arenas is an Endocrine & General Surgeon  at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is Certified by the American Board of Surgery. She completed a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Endocrinology at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. She completed her General Surgery Residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. She received her MD and MPH from The University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Zuckerman College of Public Health in 2009. She studied Cell Biology and French at Arizona State University as an undergraduate.

Her interests include surgical improvement, and genomics. She has been part of the blog team since its initiation in 2013. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Romero Arenas is passionate about recruiting the next generation of surgeons and is involved in mentoring through various organizations. She enjoys fine arts, films, gastronomy, and sports. She enjoys jogging, swimming, boxing and kickboxing. Most importantly, Dr. Romero Arenas treasures spending time with her family and loved ones. You can find her on Twitter as @minervies.


Joseph S. Fernandez-Moure, MD, MS

Dr. Fernandez-Moure was born in Miami, Florida, to Cuban and Venezuelan parents and was later raised in West Orange, New Jersey. He received his Bachelors of Arts from Middlebury College where he was a Howard Hughes Scholar. He later went on to complete his Masters in Science from Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences focusing on molecular and stem cell biology. While finishing his Masters thesis he completed medical school at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School where he was a National Cancer Institute Summer Research Scholar. Dr. Fernandez-Moure went onto surgical residency at Houston Methodist Hospital-Cornell Weill Medical College. While in residency he began his research programs in traumatic surgical wound healing and nanomedicine as Research Associate and later as Instructor in the Houston Methodist Research Institute-Cornell Weill Medical College. Following this, he entered the American Board of Surgery’s flexible education curriculum as the first to undertake a Surgeon Scientist pathway. As an Instructor in Nanomedicine in the Houston Methodist Research Institute he was independently funded for 5 yrs prior to fellowship. As a surgeon-scientist Dr. Fernandez-Moure has over 40 peer reviewed publications and has presented both nationally and internationally. While is residency he was named a Texas Surgical Scholar and received multiple teaching awards. He continues to be focused on translational research in trauma and abdominal wall reconstruction.

Dr. Fernandez-Moure’s clinical interests are focused on trauma surgical wound healing and shock. The translational focus of his lab is the application of materials science and nanomedicine to trauma and wound healing. Dr. Fernandez-Moure is passionate about mentoring and teaching. He hopes to positively impact the next generation of young surgeons by contributing to their increased diversity and appreciation for the basic sciences. His interests include playing guitar, live music, modern art, and hockey. Most of all his cherishes his time with his wife Leslie and his two sons Joey and Christopher. You can find him on twitter as @JFernandezMDMS or his lab @ TraumaSTATLab.


Joseph Lopez, MD, MBA

Joseph Lopez is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Resident at the combined Johns Hopkins Hospital & University of Maryland/R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center residency program in Baltimore, MD. While in residency, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in stem cell biology and vascularized composite allotransplantation. After completing residency, he plans to pursue fellowships in both Pediatric Craniomaxillofacial Surgery and Head & Neck Surgical Oncology. He received his MD and MBA from Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School in 2013. He studied Human Biology at Stanford University and completed an honors thesis in Transplant Immunology.

His interests include craniofacial congenital reconstruction, craniofacial trauma, head & neck surgical oncology and reconstruction, vascularized composite allotransplantation, stem cell biology, global health, and healthcare management. As a first-generation college student and a native of Sacramento, California, Dr. Lopez is passionate about improving healthcare delivery in under-resourced settings and recruiting a diverse future generation of surgeons. He enjoys playing soccer and supporting his favorite European club soccer teams. But most of all, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Elisabeth, and son, Daniel.



Gezzer Ortega, MD, MPH is junior faculty at the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital/ Harvard Medical School overseeing the PACTS clinical trial and surgical disparities research. He recently served as the Senior Research Associate within the the Clive O. Callender Howard-Harvard Health Sciences Outcomes Research Center at Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM). Previously, he completed a Surgical Research Fellowship with dual appointments in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Division of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at HUCM. He obtained his medical degree from HUCM, a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Syracuse University. As an undergraduate student, Dr. Ortega was named a Gates Millennium Scholar, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) ARISE Scholar, and Ronald E. McNair Scholar. As a medical student, he served the Latino Medical Student Association as the National Co-Chair. Research, mentoring, and service are at the core of Dr. Ortega’s endeavors. His passion for research and mentoring has led to his role as faculty member of the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians initiative (BNGAP), focused on diversifying the academic medical workforce. Dr. Ortega is committed to serving the local and global community and has conducted and planned surgical education missions to the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Liberia.

He has also served as the Planning Committee Co-Coordinator for the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Initiative for Emergency & Essential Surgical Care Biennial Meetings and the G4 Alliance Regional Launch and Board Meetings in Geneva, Switzerland and Blantyre, Malawi. Dr. Ortega is also locally and nationally engaged in mentoring students, facilitating workshops on academic medicine, medical school matriculation, and conducting research through Tour for Diversity, CSTEP, and BNGAP. Dr. Ortega has collaborated with research groups focused on health disparities research and as a result, has published over 40 original articles and presented at several national meetings. As a physician-scientist his focus is to contribute to the field of surgery and eliminate health disparities through research and humanitarian efforts.