Meet Our Doctors
Dr. Kaitlin Rodriguez
Dr. Kaitlin Benchimol Rodriguez is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist whose goal is to help all of her young patients develop a positive lifelong relationship with the dentist. Dr. Rodriguez was born and raised in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida (UF) with a degree in Integrative Biology. Ready for a new adventure, she moved across the country to San Francisco, where she received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (DDS) from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Realizing her passion for working with children, she went on to attend the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for her Pediatric Dental Residency program. While there she also received her Master’s degree in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences (MS). During her residency, she served as Sedation Chief and was selected as a Santos Cortez Graduate Student Legislative Intern for the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. As legislative intern, Dr. Rodriguez traveled to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to lobby both state and federal legislators about the needs of pediatric oral health care.
Through her training, Dr. Rodriguez has extensive experience in hospital and sedation dentistry, as well treatment of special needs patients. She is Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certified, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Prior to joining American Pediatric Dental Group, she was working in private practice in both San Francisco and Marin County, California.
Dr. Rodriguez and her husband Chris, who is also a dentist and native Floridian, are overjoyed to have relocated back to Florida to be closer to family. In her spare time, Dr. Rodriguez enjoys spending time on the water and at the beach, and cheering on the Florida Gator football team!
Dr. Lizette Valiente
Dr. Valiente is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist with a passion for instilling a positive experience in her patients. Dr. Valiente received her undergraduate degree at Florida International University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She completed her dental degree (DMD) at Nova Southeastern University and upon completion, worked for two years as a general dentist before deciding to return to Nova Southeastern University to earn her specialty degree in Pediatric Dentistry. During her extensive postdoctoral training, Dr. Valiente worked at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as well as Broward General Hospital treating children with extensive dental needs. In addition, she received rigorous training in the use of oral sedatives for children with dental fear and is devoted to working with patients with special needs, providing a warm, friendly atmosphere for their dental care. She is trained in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and currently practices out of our Doral office.
Dr. Valiente believes in community service; she has participated in mission trips to Jamaica and has been part of community events such as Give Kids a Smile. She is originally from Cartagena, Colombia and the proud mother of two children. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends and is an avid dog lover.
Dr. Sara Aza-Berardinelli
Dr. Aza is a Pediatric Dentist who truly believes that the opportunity to give a child a smile is the greatest treasure in the world. Dr. Aza was born in Lakeland, Florida and moved back to Barranquilla, Colombia in 1999 where she completed a five-year Dental Training Program at Universidad Metropolitana. In 2000, she decided to come back to the States, looking for better job opportunities and quality of life. By 2004 she had become a dedicated and energetic Registered Dental Hygienist, and in 2007, she attended the University of Florida where she earned her degree in Dental Surgery. Upon graduating with honors from UF, Dr. Aza moved to Puerto Rico to complete a two-ear Pediatric Dental Residency at the University of Puerto Rico. During her residency, Dr. Aza provided comprehensive oral health care for the children who were well, medically compromised and with special health care needs. She gained experience in complete oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia and oral sedation as well as child and infant life support (BLS). She is also a member of the American Dental Association and the Academy of Pediatric Dentists.
Dr. Aza feels strongly about community service and participates in mission trips to Colombia and Puerto Rico. She has been part of community events such as Give Kids a Smile, and is an active volunteer with nonprofit organizations like Fundacion Colombo-Americanos Unidos and Doral Prohealth. In her spare time, Dr. Aza enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Shasan William Liou
Dr. Will Liou is a Pediatric Dentist who strives to provide the best possible experience for his patients. He believes that the enjoyable visits the children have will facilitate a positive attitude toward seeing the dentist, motivating them to improve their oral hygiene at home. Dr. Liou is a native of Florida, born in Gainesville where he later moved to Orlando. He received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and later returned to his birthplace to receive his dental degree (DMD) at the University of Florida. He realized that his passion was working with children and completed a three-year pediatric dental program at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Liou received a Certificate of Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry and a Master’s degree in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at UCSF. During his three years at UCSF, he received extensive training in hospital dentistry, oral conscious sedation and working with special needs patients. Dr. Liou currently practices out of our Coral Springs and Pembroke Pines locations.
During dental school and residency, he participated in mission trips to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, Special Olympics, and Give Kids a Smile. He is a big believer in community service and helping the underserved. He hopes to organize a trip one day back to Taiwan (his nationality) to provide dental services to the children there. He is PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified and is also affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry.
In his spare time, Dr. Liou enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, Bailey. He also enjoys playing and watching sports, especially the Florida Gators and Orlando Magic.
Dr. Tamara McCallum
Dr. McCallum is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist who continues to develop her love and passion for treating children. Originally from Guyana, South America, Dr. McCallum has called home to various countries and cities, including the Turks and Caicos Islands and Washington, D.C. before settling in Miami, Florida. She is happy to call South Florida her home for the past 14 years. Dr. McCallum received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Florida International University and her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree from the Howard University College of Dentistry in Washington, D.C. She then completed a two-year residency program in pediatric dentistry at Howard University. Her pediatric dental training included management and treatment of special needs patients, conscious sedation, pediatric dental rehabilitation, hospital dentistry with children under general anesthesia, and interceptive orthodontics. She currently practices out of our Coral Springs and Pembroke Pines locations.
Dr. McCallum is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Delta Phi Sigma Dental Sorority. She is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
During her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dining on Caribbean inspired cuisine, which is a connection to her heritage. She is also an avid reader.
Dr. William Peña
Dr. Peña is a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist who has extensive experience in the dental care of children, adolescents and special needs patients. He received a dual-degree, Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), from Nova Southeastern University and graduated with top honors. He completed his residency at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he received a Certificate of Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry and a Master’s degree in Oral and Craniofacial Sciences.
Dr. Peña is also the recipient of the honorary Eric B. Bystrom, DDS Memorial Pediatric Dentistry Award for Excellence in the Treatment of Special Needs Patients. His research on the treatment and management of special needs patients has been published in nationally recognized dental journals. He is also trained in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and holds a sedation permit for the administration of oral medicine for patients. Dr. Peña is currently a clinical professor at Nova Southeastern University Department of Pediatric Dentistry and has professional affiliations with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and the Florida Dental Association.
On a personal note, Dr. Peña and his wife are the proud parents of three beautiful children, Adrian, Leia and Annabelle. He has been a South Florida native for the past 30 years and is actively involved in giving back to the community, both at home and abroad. He has participated in community events such as Give Kids a Smile for the past five years and has attended medical missions to Jamaica and Guatemala. Dr. Peña’s personal philosophy is that every child should receive dental care in a warm, compassionate manner, and our office is geared toward fulfilling this goal.
Dr. Yamila Garber
Dr. Yamila Garber was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up in South Florida. She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Florida (GO GATORS!) where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology. She went on to complete a Masters in Biomedical Science at Barry University. Dr. Garber earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. After Dental School, she completed her pediatric dental residency at NYU Langone Hospital in Tampa, FL.
Dr. Garber is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), and Florida Dental Association. Dr. Garber enjoys having one of the best jobs in the world and considers herself an advocate for children’s oral health. Her practice philosophy includes taking the extra time to get to know each and every one of her patients and making each experience a fun and positive one.
In her free time she enjoys staying active by dancing tango, spending time with her family, and traveling with her husband. Dr. Garber is excited to return to South Florida where she plans on making a positive impact in her community and in the field of dentistry. Dr. Garber truly believes she has the best job in the world!
Dr. Ana Maria Mejia
Dr. Mejia is a dedicated and passionate dentist who loves interacting and helping people. She is committed to providing the best comprehensive and personalized dental treatment, putting patient care as her number one priority.
Originally from Colombia, Dr. Mejia received her DDS degree from CES University in Medellin, in 2000. It has always been clear to her that she wanted to spend her life working with and helping patients. Therefore, after finishing an intense social service as a general dentist in a Community Hospital, she completed her pediatric dentistry residency in Colombia. During her final year of training, she did an academic rotation at Nova Southeastern University Dental School in Davie, Florida. At Nova, she attended all available academic conferences and worked closely with the pediatric dentistry students with whom she had the opportunity to improve her knowledge and experience in the dental field.
After moving to the United States, Dr. Mejia completed two years of postgraduate education and received a Certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry, at Florida Institute for Advanced Dental Education in 2015. Dr. Mejia is trained in Adult, Child, and Infant Life Support (BLS) and is a member of the American Dental Association, and the Florida Dental Association. Dr. Mejia currently practices out of our Doral location.
Dr. Mejia is the proud mother of two kids and has been married for 12 years. She loves to spend time with her family and friends.
Dr. Azin Haghighi
Dr. Haghighi fulfilled her dream of becoming a dentist at Nova Southeastern University. She then completed an orthodontics internship at the University of Florida where she learned about orthodontic treatment modalities and collaborated on several research projects. Currently she practices as a general dentist with a focus on meeting the dental needs of young adults and pediatric dental patients.
As a kid, she had an incredibly positive experience going to the dentist, and she wants to ensure that same experience for every single one of her patients. Dr. Haghigi’s primary goal is to make each visit to the dentist a rewarding and informative experience. She always listens to the needs and feelings of her patients by incorporating empathy and care in every visit. She is an advocate for incorporating oral health into her patients’ daily lives by educating both parents and children as well.
Dr. Haghighi is also a strong believer in giving back to the community. She has volunteered for several community projects to help the underserved. “Give Kids a Smile” and the “Special Olympics” are two of her favorite events to help give back to children in her community. She enhances her skills and learns the latest techniques with continuing educational sessions. This ensures her patients are offered the latest diagnostic, preventive, and treatment methods in the industry. She is an active member of American Dental Association and Florida Dental Association. She is also certified in adult, child, and infant life support (BLS).
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going on long walks with her dog, yoga, traveling the world and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.
Dr. Gabriela Vegas
Dr. Vegas is a passionate advocate of her dental profession. She loves helping her patients overcome the fear of going to the dentist. The opportunity to restore her patient’s health and smile is very fulfilling. Dr. Vegas enjoys the challenge that presents itself with diagnosing and performing treatment successfully on kids. This is what fills her spirit and drives her to continue to have passion every day.
She was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She is the youngest child of three and the only girl in her family. Her positive energy and love for life comes from her happy childhood that was always filled with love and laughter. Dr. Vegas knew she wanted to become a dentist at an early age.
Dr. Vegas received her dental degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2009, Dr. Vegas moved to the United States. She completed her postgraduate education and received a Certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the University of Florida. She is an active member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Latin American Academy of Osseointegrated Dental Implants, and Academy of General Dentistry.
During her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places. She has a passion for dancing and loves spending time with her friends and family.
Dr. Joel Frand
Dr. Frand is a Board-Certified Dentist with extensive experience in the dental care and treatment of children and adolescents. Dr. Frand provides personalized, top-quality care. His calm approach and communication skills ensure that the patient experience is understood and as stress-free as possible.
Born in South Florida, Dr. Frand grew up in North Miami Beach. He attended undergraduate school in New York City. Dr. Frand received his dental degree from the elite University of Maryland School of Dentistry and completed his residency at Peninsula Hospital.
Dr. Frand moved to Washington, D.C. and built a successful private practice where he developed expertise in a wide range of procedures. Dr. Frand received rigorous training in the use of oral sedatives for children with dental fear or a need for pain management. In 2010, Dr. Frand returned to Florida and served as a faculty member of Nova Southeastern University, supervising pediatric dental students and demonstrating proper procedures at a university-run dental clinic.
In addition to his private practice and academic experience, Dr. Frand spent several years providing care at various military bases around the United States. He is a strong supporter of those that serve our country and protect our freedom.
Dr. Frand is very pleased to be part of American Pediatric Dental Group where he can provide a positive experience that encourages children toward a lifetime of good dental habits.
During his free time, he loves working on home renovations, yard work, and saving cats caught up in trees! He loves being with his family and caring for dogs.
Dr. Roula Yazaji
Dr. Yazaji is a Board-Certified Dentist with extensive experience in the dental care and treatment of children and adolescents. Her father is a physician which played a major role in her decision to become a dentist.
Originally from Syria, Dr. Yazaji received her DDS degree from Damascus University in Syria, in 1999. She enjoyed working with kids and providing them with the best dental experience. The passion she developed while working with kids led her to complete her pediatric dentistry residency in 2001 in Syria. During her residency, she received extensive training in hospital dentistry, oral conscious sedation, and working with special needs patients. Dr. Yazaji owned and operated her private dental office for 12 years prior to moving to the United States.
After moving to the United States in 2013, Dr. Yazaji attended Nova Southeastern University to continue her postgraduate education. She received a Certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry and Special Needs. During her training at Nova Southeastern University, she had the opportunity to work with special needs children in the Mailman Segal Center. This opportunity broadened her experience in providing compassionate care to children with special needs, with an emphasis on autism. She developed a strong relationship and understanding with children that had sensory issues, ranging from children with mild hypersensitivities to children with severe autism.
Dr. Yazaji is certified in adult, child, and infant life support (BLS). She is also a member of the American Dental Association and the Florida Dental Association.
During Dr. Yazaji’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is a proud mother of two kids.
Dr. Rebecca Shippee
Dr. Shippee is a caring and dedicated General Dentist, who loves treating patients of all ages. She enjoys giving patients smiles they are proud to wear. As a South Florida native, she is happy to live and give back to her supportive community.
In 2017, Dr. Shippee completed her Doctorate in Dental Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. She also completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) at the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. Her AEGD program focused on special needs patients, pediatric patients and patients with medical compromises. Dr. Shippee focuses on providing a comfortable and positive experience to all her patients. She is a promoter of oral habits being a collaborative effort amongst the child, parent and provider. Dr. Shippee is excited to provide a positive experience to all patients at American Pediatric Dental Group.
Dr. Shippee is a proud mother of one and has been happily married for 6 years. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, cycling and being with friends and family.