Advisory Board

Ava's Heart / Advisory Board

Advisory Board

We are fortunate and grateful to have these amazing mentors on our team.

Juan C Alejos M.D.

Director, Pediatric Heart Transplant Cardiomyopathy Service, Professor in Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA,
Los Angeles, CA

Juan C Alejos M.D. graduated from the University of Michigan
Medical School in 1987. He came to UCLA where he did his pediatric
residency as well as his pediatric cardiology fellowship. He continued
on at UCLA and became part of the clinical faculty in 1995. He is currently
a Clinical Professor in Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplant/
Heart Failure program. He also initiated and is currently the director of
the pediatric pulmonary hypertension program.

He is dedicated to his patients and is active in clinical research seeking to
improve their outcomes. He is also active in a national and international
level in lecturing.

Dr. Alejos is also the founder and president of Hearts with Hope Foundation.
He has led multiple missions to Peru, El Salvador, and the Philippines.
Hearts with Hope Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to
provide medical , dental and humanitarian assistance to children with congenital
heart disease in the underserved global community. To date HWH
has travelled to multiple locations in Peru, El Salvador, and the Philippines.
Upcoming missions include Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador as well as return to
The previous locations.

During HWH 20 previous missions, we have cared for thousands of children.
Our medical, dental and humanitarian teams are composed of volunteers
from around the globe who give their vacation time, energy and talents to

Dr. Francisco A. Arabía, M.D.

Physician Executive of Advanced Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Banner Health – University Medical Center, Phoenix

Dr. Arabia recently assumed the newly created role as physician executive of Advanced Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Support and will be responsible for creating a systemwide Advanced Heart Failure and Circulatory Support program at Banner Health – University Medical Center Phoenix, with additional responsibilities in Tucson and throughout the Banner system. He will also serve as Professor of Surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, with a joint appointment at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Most recently, Dr. Arabia was director of the Center for Surgical Device Management of Advanced Heart Disease at Cedars Sinsi Medical Cetner in Los Angeles, and surgical director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support program. He previously served at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where he helped to start the first heart transplant program in metro Phoenix in 2005. Dr. Arabia has more than two decades experience in the fields of thoracic, cardiothoracic vascular and transplant surgery, and often is called upon for his expertise by national and international medical centers. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and served residencies in general surgery at Tulane University Affiliated Hospitals in New Orleans and in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Arizona in Tucson. His undergraduate work was done at Tulane University, where he graduated magna cum laude in the field of biomedical engineering. Among Dr. Arabia’s professional honors and awards are the Training Award of Excellence by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs.

Mario C. Deng, M.D., FACC, FESC

Professor of Medicine and Medical Director,
Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Support, Heart Transplant, David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA,
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center,
 Los Angeles, CA

Mario C. Deng, M.D., was working the nightshift in the resuscitation
center, when his team sought to transfer a dying 45- year-old heartfailure
patient more than 5,500 miles to Stanford University, one of only three
centers in the world performing heart transplants at the time. The man died
before he could receive a new heart, but the experience had a lasting impact
on Dr. Deng, who went on to become an internationally recognized leader in
the field.

Born and raised in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Deng spent his senior
year of high school in Southern California as part of an international-student exchange program. He returned to Germany for medical school and trained in internal medicine and cardiology. In 1992, he came back to California to complete
a postdoctoral fellowship in heart transplantation/molecular cardiology
at Stanford University. He then served as medical director of the Interdisciplinary
Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Program at Muenster University in Germany
before moving to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City in 2000,
where he was director of cardiac-transplantation research for more than a decade
prior to coming to UCLA.

In Germany, and then at Columbia, Dr. Deng conceived of and pioneered one
of the seminal recent advances in heart transplantation, in close collaboration
with UCLA and other leading academic U.S. heart-transplant centers: the first
FDA-cleared blood test to rule out cardiac rejection, known as the Allomap
test. The genomics-based test has greatly reduced the number of invasive cardiac
biopsies required by heart-transplant recipients.

Dr. Deng is a pioneer in translating advances in basic science research into
treatments for advanced heart failure, particularly addressing the interactions
between the cardiovascular and immune systems. Dr Mario Deng and Frederica
Rais have just released their book, Relational Medicine: Personalizing

Dr. Deng also aims to further explore the interaction between the Relational
Medicine and Relational Act concepts through growth of the Relational Medicine

Dr. Roxanne Franklin Lorio

Strategic Equity & Research Consultant in both the US and the United Kingdom

Dr. Roxanne Franklin Lorio is a strategic equity & research consultant in both the US and the United Kingdom. Recently, Roxanne completed the Leadership in Government Fellowship at the Open Society Foundations where she worked to promote greater collaboration between municipal government and communities through increased civic engagement, participation, and resident leadership development.

Roxanne served as the Director of Equity Strategy for the City of New Orleans in the Office of Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, leading the design and implementation of the City’s first strategy for equitable city government. Previously, Franklin Lorio served as the Senior Project Manager on the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, focused on the development and implementation of citywide initiatives for two mayoral priority areas: NOLA FOR LIFE, the City’s comprehensive murder reduction strategy and the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy; established to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to the City’s economic growth through public-private partnerships.

Roxanne has experience in both the non-profit and government sectors, with a focus on project management, evaluation, program design and administration, and strategic planning.

Roxanne holds a BA in World Arts and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles; a JD from Western New England University; and both a MSW and DSW from Tulane University, School of Social Work. From 2014 to 2017, she served as a Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network.

Ada Sands

Attorney at Law Chairman, Sands and Associates Beverly Hills, CA

Ada Sands is an expert in family law, probate trust and estate planning, related litigation and has conducted numerous trials, from financial matters to paternity, custody and allegations of abuse. Highly regarded and experienced in conservatorship issues, Ms. Sands is frequently appointed by the Los Angeles Superior Court to represent conservatees and wards.

Born in Europe and raised in the West Indies during WWII, Ms. Sands has achieved a triumphant, pioneering career starting when many professions were closed to women. She graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University, where she became the U.S. National Womens Debating and Oratory Champion, the Western States Mens Debating Champion and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Offered law school scholarships to Harvard, Stanford and University of California (UCLA), Ms. Sands worked as clerk to the Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Courts Probate Department before attending law school at UCLA and South Western University. Graduating first in her class, she earned American Jurisprudence Awards in Estate Planing and Taxation, Constitutional and Criminal Law and Procedure, as well as West Publishing Co.s Corpus Juris Secundum Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement. Ms. Sands has also served as a lecturer at University of Southern California (USC).

An active volunteer and community leader, Ms. Sands has served as Chair of the business and Professional Womens Division of State of Israel Bonds; director and legal adviser to John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary; director and legal counsel to Educational Resources and Services Center, Inc. (ERAS); director and legal counsel to Associates for Breast Cancer Studies; president of the Municipal Auditorium Commission, City of Los Angeles (Convention Center) 1983, 1989; member of several Blue-Ribbon Commissions for the City of Los Angeles; and Judge pro tempore, Los Angeles Municipal Court.

She received the Los Angeles Mayors Certificate of Appreciation in 1989. Ms. Sands is a member of the American Bar Association and the ABAs Taxation Section; the State Bar of California; the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Family Law Section; and the Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Volunteer Panel. Ms. Sands holds an AV Rating with Martindale Hubbell, the highest available rating for an individual Lawyer.

Ms. Sands was the former President of the auxiliary of HavenHouse, a shelter for battered women and Vice Chairman of the Board of iPalpiti Artists International, Inc.


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