Needham Pediatrics: Doctors and Nurse Practitioner

Dr. Jane Brown / Dr. Katie Cecala / Dr. Chris Gibson / Dr. David Greenes / Dr. Patricia Helm / Dr. Mirela Popa / Dr. Ruth Sakakeeny / Dr. Alan Stern / Jessica Redon, NP


Dr. Brown did not decide to pursue medicine until after volunteering as a play therapist on the pediatric oncology floor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia during graduate school.  In retrospect, she should not have been so surprised she ultimately chose pediatrics and has become thoroughly engaged in the process of caring for and working with families at Needham Pediatrics.  She especially loves the philosophy of our practice, where the children and their parents identify their primary physician while knowing they have the security of a larger team.  The privilege of following so many from birth and many as parents themselves is incredible.

Graduation from Needham High School was followed by a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from M.I.T,  a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, and the M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Upon finishing residency training at Boston Children’s Hospital she joined Needham Pediatrics. 

Medical missions in Latin America and SE Asia, as well as volunteer work in United Nation clinics in the Middle East, motivated her to study for a Masters of Public Health. She is pursuing the degree part-time at the Harvard School of Public Health, so she can continue in her priority role with her patients.  She is looking forward to using her new skills to help children beyond the Needham area after she graduates in 2016 while continuing to care for children at Needham Pediatrics. 

Outside of the office and the studies she enjoys tennis, hiking, and spending time with her husband and four children.



Dr. Katie Cecala joins Needham Pediatrics in July, 2015. Dr. Cecala grew up in Chicago, Illinois, attended Williams College for her undergraduate studies, and completed her medical school training at Washington University in St. Louis. She came to Boston in 2011 to join the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. After completing her residency, she was selected to serve as a chief resident at Boston Medical Center, where she supervised and taught residents in pediatric care.

Dr. Cecala lives in Brookline with her husband, Sam.



Dr. Gibson is a “Massachusetts-lifer,” growing up not too far from Needham in Norfolk, Massachusetts. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester for his undergraduate degree before completing medical school and residency at UMASS School of Medicine in Worcester and Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston respectively. After working a couple years north of the city in primary care pediatrics, he and his wife Averi are looking to settle down back closer to home with their new baby girl. When he is not working or spending time with family, you might find Dr. Gibson playing co-ed softball, cross-country running, or hiking.

Dr. Gibson has a passion for resident education, as well as health care literacy advocacy for patients and families. He also has spent a considerable amount of time outside of the clinic working with children with chronic illnesses, including volunteering parts of six plus years in college, medical school, and residency with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT. Dr. Gibson can’t wait to join the Needham Pediatrics family starting in June 2018.



Dr. David Greenes grew up in Lynnfield, Massachusetts and pursued his education at Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Children's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Greenes joined Needham Pediatrics in July 2004. Prior to that, he worked at Children's Hospital for 13 years. For 7 years, he was an attending physician in the Children's Hospital Emergency Department. He also was the Associate Director of the pediatrics residency program at Children's Hospital. Dr. Greenes has authored 29 research publications in the medical literature and numerous textbook chapters and review articles.

Dr. Greenes lives in Needham with his wife Jackie and 4 sons.



Dr. Patricia Helm joined Needham Pediatrics in November 2013. Dr. Helm is a native of the Boston area and was educated at Williams College and the Boston University School of Medicine. She completed a pediatrics residency at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Dr. Helm was selected by her program director to be chief resident and served an additional year in this capacity, supervising the residents' care in inpatient and outpatient pediatric settings.

Dr. Helm lives in Wellesley with her husband and two children.



Dr. Mirela Popa has been a staff physician at Needham Pediatrics since September 2000. She pursued her medical school training at New York Medical College followed by residency training in pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to joining Needham Pediatrics, Dr. Popa directed the pediatric service at Community Health Services, Inc., in Hartford, CT.

Dr. Popa lives with her husband Joaquim and daughter in Chestnut Hill.



After completing medical school and a pediatric residency program at Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Sakakeeny worked at Franciscan Hospital for Children providing outpatient general pediatric care for children with special needs as well as children from the surrounding community.

Dr. Sakakeeny began providing weekend coverage for Needham Pediatrics in 2006 and became a regular member of our practice in 2010.

Dr. Sakakeeny lives in Newton with her husband and 2 children.



Dr. Alan Stern is a Needham native who was a patient at Needham Pediatrics as a child! After receiving his M.D. degree at the University of Vermont and training in pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston, Dr. Stern joined Needham Pediatrics in July 1994. Dr. Stern has served on the Needham Board of Health for 9 years and is the school physician for the Needham Public Schools. Dr. Stern also represents Needham Pediatrics in the Pediatric Physicians' Organization at Children's Hospital (PPOC).



Jessica is a licensed Family Nurse Practitioner with a Masters degree in Advanced Nursing Practice  from SiPractice from She graduated from Denison University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Athletic Training. In her free time, Jessica enjoys crafting, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Jessica lives with her husband on the south shore.