Meet the Board of Directors


Risa Gold MD, DLFAPA is a board-certified Child & Adolescent  Psychiatrist in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. She graduated Cum Laude from Harvard, and earned her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Gold completed a residency in Psychiatry at Payne Whitney Clinic, New York Hospital, Cornell and a Fellowship in Child Adolescence Psychiatry at North Shore University Hospital.  After serving as the President of the Greater Long Island Psychiatric Society, Dr. Gold was awarded Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.  Dr. Gold has been in private practice since 1987. After her son returned from a medical service outreach trip in Sierra Leone, he alerted her to the pressing need for health care services in these remote and vulnerable villages. Dr. Gold started MOH USA, Inc to raise funds for a community-led project that would comprise a hospital complex and several small businesses to support it. She is married to Dr. Kenneth Gold & has raised four children.

Vice President

Patti Moss Vernam grew up in West Orange, NJ, and has a degree in dance from Bennington College. After being the sales manager of a wholesale natural foods company and dancing in NYC for several years, she worked for the FAA as an air traffic controller and Airspace and Procedures Specialist at the NY Terminal Radar Approach Facility for 32 years. She is married with two grown children, and lives on Long Island. She likes to organize information.


Nancy Lippman Israeli, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician and adolescent medicine doctor on Long Island. Nancy was raised in Buffalo, NY and attended Smith College. She then received her MD from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed a residency in Pediatrics at New York Hospital. Dr Lippman then went on to pursue a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr Lippman has been in private practice on Long Island for the past 24 years. She has been involved as a volunteer at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Planned Parenthood, and the Cold Spring Harbor School District over her years living on Long Island. She is married to Dr Ron Israeli and has brought up three grown children in Laurel Hollow. She is happy to be a part of Miracle of Help.


Richard Stein is a founding member of MOH. He is a well-known expert in  beauty & fashion and the creator of the shag haircut, who has developed his own line of organic beauty products, Fleuremedy. A bestselling author, he lives and works in NYC, and is developing a new line of hair care products using natural ingredients from Sierra Leone. You can find out more about him at

Corresponding Secretary

Stefanie Soichet has been the Director of the St. Vartan Preschool for 21 years. She attended Cornell University and graduated Cum Laude from Barnard College. Fluent in five languages, Stefanie has worked for the United Nations, and is also a co-founder of Upsilon Healthcare Technology. She had the honor of working with her father, Dr. Soichet, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation on the production of his historical IUD, and is now supporting her daughter to continue his legacy.

Antonella Sturniolo turned a four-year research project into a medical device company while studying at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. Upsilon HealthcareTechnology is perfecting a unique, non-copper, non-hormonal intrauterine device. This new device is one invented by her grandfather, an Ob/Gyn, and used globally by thousands of women until his death in 1982. In addition, she has worked for the United Nations’ Department of Global Communications, focusing on the impact of COVID-19, and solutions to issues such as proper sanitation, nutrition, education, and healthcare in nations heavily impacted by this pandemic. Antonella is an incoming Master of Public Health student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  

Barbara R. Kirwin, Ph.D. is one of the nation’s premier forensic psychologists & authors. She provides expert opinions involving mental illness and the law. She appears frequently on TV and in magazines, where she has been the subject of many profiles. She lives on Long Island, where she maintains a private psychotherapy practice in addition to her forensic work.

Geoff Bell has a fifteen-year history of building sustainable partnerships through GK Group Holding Ltd. This personal company maintains a diversified portfolio of investments and ownership in entertainment, technology, and environmentally focused companies. Geoff has decades of experience in startup, go-to-market strategy and execution, sales and marketing development, and serves on a number of boards. Geoff lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two sons.

Jon Hess is an award winning director, producer, and writer, having developed and co-produced the Academy Award nominated American History X, as well as directed films such as Watchers, Excessive Force and Legion. After taking a break from the film industry at the end of the 1990s, Jon has returned to feature filmmaking and corporate media production with GK Hess. Jon has an exceptional ability to integrate creativity and storytelling to produce captivating feature films and strategic media for his clients. Jon currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Joshua French has 20 years of experience in the construction industry. An as entrepreneur, he combines innovative and traditional masonry techniques. From his custom home construction business, he quickly expanded into commercial, industrial and agricultural projects. He acquired a masonry contracting business soon thereafter taking larger scale projects across Western Canada. As a board member for the Canadian Masonry Contractors Association, Josh oversees and advises the development and growth of the industry within Canada. Josh lives in Armstrong, BC with his wife and four children.

Jana Koerner-Safrata eagerly brings her 10 years of experience in charitable organizations to the Miracle of Help team. From working with marginalized populations in Canadian urban centers, to deploying emergency response in rural Peru, she has consistently been hands on and committed. Through this diverse exposure to organizations globally, Jana has developed a specific interest in creating sustainable support systems, using a synergistic approach involving global support and local leadership. A Sociology major from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Jana utilizes her vast understanding of social systems to best assist in the development of processes and procedures. Jana currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.

MOH Staff in Sierra Leone

Country Director
Musa Gangha, a Sierra Leonean, has extensive experience working in community-led development for
non-profit organizations. He holds a BS with Honors in Sociology from Njala University in Bo, Sierra
Leone. Currently living in Kenema, he is married with three children.

The rest of our staff is presently attending college, with the exception of Isata Juana. 

Having volunteered for us for a year, they are now paid staff with the following responsibilities:

Community Health Officer
Andrew Frank Samuels leads our efforts to develop data collection tools and weekly and monthly activity plans, as well as leading all community facilitations.

Finance and Administrative Officer
Lance Andrew-Ellie keeps the financial books and prepares reports and other required documents.

Construction Technical Engineer
Jusu Andrew-Ellie organizes and monitors all technical compliance for MOH construction projects,
ensuring consistency of design dimensions and developing risk mitigation strategies.

Business Officer
Isata Juana oversees the MOH businesses, including all aspects of the restaurant. She has a certificate in restaurant management.

Advisory Board

Johanna Halfon, MD – Medical
Mark Jacoby – Construction
Shalini Shetty – Fundraising
Lori Street-Ames – Logistics
Clare and Joseph Locicero – Fundraising
David Miller – Strategy



Alanna Schetty – Founder, MOH.
Elise Schetty
Madeline Scanlon
Maia Gomis
Nicholas Wernink
Sam LaGamba
Sophia Vardy