Chief Medical Officer | Pediatrics
CACS Program Director, Therapist
Director of Behavioral Health Integrated Counseling Services
QMHP CHAT Navigator
We proudly partner with Lurie Children’s to provide
speech and occupational therapies for our pediatric
patients here at IWS.
As our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Portela is a Board Certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Science and a minor in Sociology. After college, she worked as a case manager at Casa Central in Humboldt Park. Soon after she graduated with honors from Ross University School of Medicine and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from National Louis University.
Dr. Portela completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Her special interests are in areas of high-risk pediatric patients: newborns, obesity, nutrition, and asthma/allergy illnesses.
Dr. Portela was born in Colombia, South America and raised in Logan Square. She is bilingual and understands the multicultural facets of society to medicine.
Sandra Frank has been with the IWS team since January of 2009.
Sandy Frank received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rush University. She has practiced as a family nurse practitioner in the Chicago area since 1994. Frank has also worked as a Health Educator in Phanat Nikhom, Thailand and as a Public Health Liaison TB Program Coordinator in Sudan, Africa. She is passionate about fitness and healthy nutrition. Her hobbies include running, swimming and biking and regularly competes in triathlons.
Susely is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Her nursing career began as a graduate of Truman College. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University. Her career involved fulfilling years in Transplant, Same-day surgery, and outpatient OB/GYNE. In her early years, she participated in the orientation of incoming RN grads, as well as chairing the Transplant Quality Committee. She then obtained a Master of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University and holds her certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Susely grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and is dedicated to being an active participant in the community’s healthcare needs. She has a special interest in Women’s Health, and Family Medicine. In order to meet each patient’s special needs, Susely believes in developing strong relationships with patients, that will assist in providing personalized care.
She enjoys spending time with her family, going on road trips, and weekend getaways in the summer and fall.
Jennifer Morrison is a pediaric provider; she joined our team in April of 2014.
Jennifer received her Master of Science in Nursing and Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. In her spare time, Jennifer likes to play volleyball and ride her bike (with a helmet!).
CNPN Morrison speaks English and Spanish.
As our Lead Physician, James Pecard is a certified Physician Assistant for the past 15 years working in Chicago. He completed his Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and Master in Medical Science degree from Midwestern University. Currently, James is clinically practicing at the Infant Welfare Society and educating PA students at Northwestern University.
James has been a member of the American Association of Physician Assistants, Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistants for Latino Health, and Society of Physician Assistants in Pediatrics.
James is active in providing international aid in partnership with Sociedad Amigos de Los Ninos in Honduras. He has made numerous trips through the past 10 years to provide free medical care to local communities. Locally, James is an active volunteer for Chicago Urban Ministries and Life interventions, providing food and necessities to the homeless who live in the streets of Chicago.
James is a bilingual Spanish speaker. In his free time, James likes to spend time with his family, walk the dog, ride his bike, and watch the Packers win.
JoAnn is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner who recently joined our IWS team of providers. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Purdue University and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Resurrection University. She has many years of experience working with all age groups from pediatrics to the elderly population. Her background ranges from Emergency Medicine, Urgent Care, Outpatient Care such as Same Day Surgery and Gastroenterology, Pediatrics and Hospice and Palliative Care. She also worked recently as a COVID hotline public health nurse for the Illinois Department of Public Health. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society. She is credentialed by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Board.
As a provider, JoAnn strives to provide exceptional and individualized care to her patients as she believes that every patient is unique. She believes in supporting and partnering with her patients in reaching an optimal level of health and wellness, focusing on holistic care where the patient is empowered to be an active participant of their overall health.
During her free time, JoAnn enjoys hanging out with her family, friends and her 2 dogs. She enjoys girl time with her daughters and date nights with her husband. She also loves to travel and learn about different cultures.
Dr. Emeline Ramos joined the IWS Family Health Pediatrics team in 2022 with over 12 years of experience delivering high-quality pediatric care. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, she moved on to graduate from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in 2008 with an M.D., Doctor of Medicine.
Dr. Ramos is highly skilled in communicating effectively with youth and caregivers to clearly diagnose symptoms and understand their health history. She comes to us eager to apply her extensive expertise in diagnosing pediatric conditions and formulating effective care plans to foster wellness, child development, and pediatric care knowledge at IWS Family Health.
Dr. Ramos is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Dr. Quiñones has been a member of the IWS team since July of 2007.
Dr. Quiñones completed her Bachelor Degree magna cum laude in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico. She completed her Doctorate Degree at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She completed her residency in General Pediatrics at Tulane University Medical Center and Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Dr. Quinones speaks English and Spanish fluently.
Dr. Tara Ioffe is a dedicated and compassionate Board-Certified Family Medicine physician with a strong commitment to providing excellent care to her patients. She obtained her medical degree from Avalon University in Curacao and went on to complete her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Oklahoma. She has worked at the University of Chicago and most recently NorthShore University. She has since returned to Chicago and is thrilled to join the IWS Family Health team in 2023, where she will continue to provide excellent care to her patients.
Throughout her career, Dr. Ioffe has gained experience in diverse medical fields, such as immediate and urgent care medicine while working at NorthShore Immediate Care. She did clinical research at the University of Chicago. Dr. Ioffe strives to foster a secure and inclusive environment for all her patients. She believes in an integrated approach to medicine, dedicating her time to understand each patient’s unique needs.
During her leisure time, Dr. Ioffe indulges in reading a variety of books for pleasure, plays boardgames, and loves to explore Chicago with her spouse and young child.
Dr. “Bernie” Pawlowski has been a member of the IWS team since 1991.
Dr. Pawlowski received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Loyola University School of Dentistry in Maywood, where he also continued to complete a post-graduate residency program in Orthodontics. Dr. Pawlowski works part-time at IWS.
Dr. Horvath has been a member of the IWS team since 2006.
Dr. Horvath received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The University of Illinois School of Dental Medicine through the International Dentist Program. She obtained a Doctorate of Dental Science from the Medical Academy, College of Dentistry in Poland. Dr. Horvath is fluent in Polish and English and speaks some Russian, German, and Spanish. Dr. Horvath works part-time at IWS.
Dr. Mir Khan has been a member of the IWS team since 2013
Dr. Khan received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The University of Illinois School of Dental Medicine through the International Dentist Program. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Surgery from Al-Badar Dental College in Gulbarga, India.
Dr. Khan has extensive experience in pediatric dentistry, working with young patients, as well as those with special needs. Dr. Khan is an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois School of Dental Medicine, mentoring and instructing senior dental students in treating pediatric dental patients at IWS.
Denise “Dee” Vidal Gonzalez is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Illinois and has worked in social services for 15 years. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work—attending Northeastern Illinois University for undergrad and Loyola University Chicago for her graduate studies.
Denise has a lengthy work history providing care for patients, from birth to elderly, within low-income communities who face many challenging risk factors. Her experience also includes educating and supporting parents/caregivers who have children with special needs. Denise has facilitated individual and group therapy in both inpatient and outpatient settings for those experiencing difficulty in mental health. In fact, she has been involved in many mental health boards, collaboration groups, advisory committees, and community outreaches to further her reach in caring for patient needs. Denise’s focus is on an integrative, strength-based, patient-centered model in which all components of a person’s wellbeing is reviewed. She is dedicated to educating not only her patients directly, but also member of the community and other mental health professionals within her network.
Denise is an adjunct professor at Concordia University Chicago teaching Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors as well as Micro Interventions within Social Work. She is also in the process of partnering with Erikson Institute to teach for their summer sessions. Additionally, she provides workshops on specific challenging topics for parents through the Collaboration of Early Childhood. Denise has also completed the First Aid Mental Health training through NAMI, a program that has influenced change in her career opportunities today.
In her spare time, Denise enjoys snowboarding, dancing ‘Bomba,’ and running.
Madeline joined the IWS family in 2016. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University under a generalist model. Madeline speaks fluent English and Spanish. She enjoys baking, reading, and learning new skills in her free time.
Hector received his MA in Social Work from the Jane Addams School at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Hector is fluent in English and Spanish. Currently, he is enjoying fatherhood for the first time!
Cynthia is a dynamic and compassionate bilingual professional with a background in child development and mental health. Cynthia joined the IWS family in 2016. As a CHAT Navigator/Therapist, Cynthia leads and coordinates the operations of our Child-Centered Health and Advanced Therapies program (CHAT). In addition to her administrative role, Cynthia provides direct service to children and families including assessment, treatment planning, case management, and facilitating support groups.
Cynthia was born and raised in Mexico where she received her Bachelor of Sciences in Developmental Psychology from the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes in 2005. Cynthia’s degree provided her with vast knowledge and practical experience in mental health and human development which made her very passionate about appreciating mental health from a developmental perspective. She also developed a high interest in early childhood and infant mental health which led her to Erikson Institute where she completed her MS in Child Development with an Infancy specialization in 2015. Moreover, she completed significant coursework in Social Work and hopes to finish her MSW degree in the near future. Additionally, she is a DIR®Floortime Basic Certified Provider.
Cynthia enjoys learning and sharing knowledge with others. She has been a presenter at local early childhood conferences and has provided training to childcare providers. Some of her areas of expertise include working with children with disabilities, child development, early childhood education, child welfare, domestic violence, special education, community work, among others. Cynthia’s passion for social justice, her strong family-centered/strength-based approach, along with her background in human development bring great value to her work with children and families.