Having a father in education and a mother in the health profession, it was natural that Gabriel Catalina, D.O., would pursue a career as a physician from a young age.
Catalina is the younger of the two sons of Joseph and Marlene Catalina. His father spent his entire educational career in the McKeesport Area School District, retiring as high school principal. His mother was a nurse at McKeesport Hospital. His older brother, Joseph, is a nurse anesthetist in Florida.
His career path was a challenge from the start as he had to learn how balances his studies with athletics and social life. In high school, he was his class vice president, a two-sport (football and baseball) athlete, a member of the National Honor Society and graduated in the top 10% of his class.
Catalina football experience with the Elizabeth Forward Athletic Association ran from age 8-14. He earned three letters playing wide receiver and defensive back for Coach Dick Fields and then coach George Lammay. The Warriors made the WPIAL playoffs his sophomore and senior years. A second baseman, he earned all-section honors his senior year playing for coach "Pops" Fleischauer.
At Washington and Jefferson College, Catalina continued this balancing act, knowing that each aspect would be important in life. He was involved in Greek life as a member of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity and played football while being a chemistry pre-med major. A four-year letter winner in college, he received all conference honorable mention his junior and senior years at the wide receiver position. All four years he played, W&J played in the NCAA Division 3 playoffs.
Catalina graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1996. He did four post-graduate years in an Internal Medicine residency AT Yale University Hospital. He twice traveled to Haiti to volunteer his medical services. He impressed the faculty staff with his patience, bedside manner, willingness to help, work ethics and knowledge.
Nominated to Chief Resident of the Yale Primary Care Residency program, Catalina declined in favor of going into private practice in the Atlantic City, NJ, area with his best friend from medical school, Eric Driscoll. They built a successful practice which they maintained for ten years.
He then transitioned to hospital-based medicine called perioperative which is a hybrid between inpatient and office medicine. He now is the co-director of the AtlaniCare Perioperative Medicine Department. In this capacity, he is responsible for the evaluation of patients prior to surgery to ensure that they are optimized for surgery and then for their medical management postoperatively. Under his leadership, his hospital is only one of two in the state of New Jersey with a five star rating from Health Grades in terms of the lowest perioperative complications in orthopedic patients. He also is the medical director of Bacharach Rehabilitation Seacrest Village Rehabilitation Center.
His medical school roommate collaborated with him in developing a perioperative app for Android phones. It is called perioperative medicine-screening patients appropriately for surgery to decrease postoperative complications.
Catalina understands that being a physician is not merely being knowledgeable. It is just as important to have compassion and the patience to listen and make the effort to connect and work with others. For these qualities, he was awarded Customer Service Physician of the Year in 2011 by his hospital.
Duk Hde, his wife of 20 years, is an internal medicine physician and maintains her own private practice. They have three daughters. Olivia, age 18, is following in his footsteps. She is a freshman biology/physical therapy major at Lafayette College and plays collegiate softball. Isabella, age 17, and Gabriella, age 15, are in their senior and freshman years at Cedar Creek High School.