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NEWARK, NJ – Congressman Donald M. Payne (NJ-10) today honored New Jersey Planned Parenthood staff Rebeca Lopez and Catherine Obando for their commitment to reproductive health care and to the State of New Jersey. Lopez is the health center manager at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey’s (PPMNJ) Ironbound location. Obando is a clinician with Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. Their recognition came as part of a Women’s History Month celebration held by Congressman Payne in the Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver Conference Room at the Leroy Smith Public Safety Building in Newark. Women’s History Month is held annually each March to celebrate the vital role of women in American history.

“Rebeca is one of our most dedicated health care providers,” says Roslyn Rogers Collins, president and CEO of PPMNJ. “She is admired by her colleagues, loved by her patients, and embodies Planned Parenthood's mission to provide care, no matter what." 

“Catherine is an exceptional clinician and treats every patient with kindness, compassion, and respect,” says Cory Neering, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey. “New Jersey is lucky to have such a skilled and passionate clinician serving the community every day.”

Lopez has served as the health center manager at PPMNJ for the last 26 years and been with the organization for 28 years. Throughout her career as a licensed practical nurse manager, Rebeca served in many roles, including in hospitals, correctional facilities, psych care, and labor and delivery, before dedicating herself full time to Planned Parenthood.

As an immigrant from Cuba who came to the United States in the mid-1960s, her passion has been to serve clients from the immigrant community, many of whom come from Central and South America and face multiple challenges when they arrive.

“It’s been my pleasure to be able to serve our clients, to help patients with special needs, educate others about preventing breast and cervical cancers, and just help those who need reproductive health care, no matter what language they speak or where they come from,” said Lopez.

Catherine Obando, MSN, NP-C, is a seasoned healthcare professional with over eight years of experience in both primary care and specialized sexual and reproductive health services. As an adult primary care nurse practitioner since 2016, they have worked diligently to manage a diverse range of chronic and acute conditions, from hypertension and diabetes to chronic pain and mental health disorders. Their commitment to comprehensive care extends to preventative screenings and wellness exams, ensuring proactive health management for all patients.

Currently, Obando specializes in diagnosing and treating STIs, providing contraception options, conducting pelvic exams, and offering both medical and procedural abortions. Obando takes immense pride in their identity as a queer, Latiné healthcare provider. Being bilingual and bicultural allows them to connect with a diverse range of patients, fostering an inclusive and culturally sensitive healthcare environment.

“I view healing not only as a profession but as a profound calling—one that I embrace with passion, integrity, and a relentless commitment to excellence. It's an honor to serve my community and guide individuals on their journey toward optimal health and wellbeing,” said Obando.

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