Nicklaus Children's Health System Announces New Leaders and Promotions

Published on: 11/05/2019

Nicklaus Children's Health System announces new members of its executive leadership team as well as the promotion of several long-standing organizational leaders.

Aren Laljie, FHFMA, CPA, MBA, has been named Chief Operating Officer for Pediatric Specialists of America (PSA), the health system's physician enterprise. Mr. Laljie will oversee the areas of quality, service, and the financial and operational performance of the physician practices. Most recently, Mr. Laljie has served as Chief Financial Officer for Pediatric Associates and Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. He has a master's degree in business administration from Baruch College from The City University of New York (CUNY). Mr. Laljie is a Certified Public Accountant in New York and Florida.

Arianna Urquia, MBA, has been named Chief Financial Officer for Nicklaus Children's Hospital.  With over 12 years of healthcare accounting experience, Ms. Urquia has an extensive background in operations finance, revenue cycle management, budgeting/forecasting and capital management.  Most recently, she served as CFO for North Shore Medical Center, part of Tenet Healthcare, where she was responsible for the overall financial wellness of the institution including strategic planning, financial analysis and financial reporting.  She has a master's degree in business administration and a bachelor's degree in finance from Florida International University.

Saima Aftab, MD, FAAP, has been promoted to Vice President of Administration for Pediatric Specialists of America. Dr. Aftab also serves as PSA section chief of Neonatology and medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s. She is board certified in general pediatrics and neonatology, and has held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Elizabeth Menocal, CPMSM, CPCS, has been promoted to Vice President of Clinical Affairs for Nicklaus Children's. Ms. Menocal has been with Nicklaus Children's for more than 24 years and has served as a leader in the medical staff administration and medical education departments.

Jefry L. Biehler, MD, MPH, has been promoted to Senior Medical Director of Quality and Utilization Management. Dr. Biehler has been an essential member of the medical staff for more than 25 years. He has served on the hospital's Board of Directors and is the Chair of Pediatrics for Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Dr. Biehler is board certified in pediatric emergency services and medical quality.

Marcos Mestre, MD, has been promoted to Senior Medical Director of Pediatric Services for Pediatric Specialists of America. Dr. Mestre joined Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in 2005 as a pediatric hospitalist and most recently served as president of the Medical Staff and Chairman of the Medical Executive Committee. Dr. Mestre is a clinical assistant professor at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Chad Perlyn, MD, PHD, has been promoted to Senior Medical Director of Surgical Services for Pediatric Specialists of America.  Dr. Perlyn has been an attending plastic surgeon with the Division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Nicklaus Children's since 2009. He also serves as assistant professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery for Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
About Nicklaus Children's Hospital (2022)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 800 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. In the 2022-2023 U.S. News ranking, the hospital tied with two other hospitals as the number one children’s hospital in Florida. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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