Ambassadors

 
 

AMBASSADORS

The St. Luke Ambassador Program is our way of spreading the word about the work going on in Haiti. Our ambassadors are trusted friends who have a real knowledge of the programs, our on-the-ground leadership and our mission. These ambassadors have been given the blessing of the St. Luke Administration to talk to other potential supporters, friends and donors. To this end, St. Luke has managed to do an enormous amount of work with no paid foreign or development staff. We want your donation to go directly to the Haitian people and to our Haitian programs, not to overhead, office space or development staff. For this reason, we rely on word of mouth, goodwill and friendship. The St. Luke Ambassadors Program is our effort to embrace what has always been a grassroots approach.

OUR AMBASSADORS

Jamie Pianka
JAMIE PIANKA
Jamie has been working with St. Luke for several years and brings his experience in healthcare from state and local government and experience in emergency medical services. Jamie works with St. Luke and St. Mary’s hospitals to provide education, training resources and the necessary supporting infrastructure. Recently, he assisted the development of a partnership with a Boston based organization that works to satisfy requests from physicians at St. Luke’s to provide advancements in medical training, clinical sophistication and the provision of healthcare clinicians.
Veronica Santini
VERONICA SANTINI
Veronica is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and management of movement disorders. She is passionate about global health and education and started an initiative to bring multidisciplinary teams of attendings, trainees, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists to travel to Haiti and provide much needed neurologic care. She hopes to continue working nationally with other neurologists, in conjunction with the inspirational Haitian healthcare workers at the St. Luke Foundation to bring more continuous neurologic care to Port au Prince.
Mark and Rick
MARK WALSH and RICK SKUPSKI
Mark Walsh and Rick Skupski first came to Haiti shortly following the earthquake of 2010 as part of a disaster relief team to help care for earthquake victims. Shortly thereafter they met the team at St Luke’s, and began helping to develop the intensive care and surgery program. Mark and Rick say they’ve been humbled to be involved with Dr. Augustin and his extraordinary team and have made a life long commitment to Haiti. Mark is an E.R. doc and Rick is an anesthesiologist. Both work at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
Ally Heim
ALLY HEIM
“On my trips to Haiti I focus on nursing education and write and present a variety of lectures to the nursing staff based on their specific needs. I also really enjoy providing patient care in the ER and ICU. My nursing background is emergency and critical care. When I’m not in Haiti, I am constantly collecting medical supplies and donations throughout the year. It is a great honor and pleasure to be a part of the ambassador program.”
Corey Fehnel
COREY FEHNEL
Corey is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island. He completed his neurology training in Boston at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and neurocritical care fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 2011, Corey has been partnering with physicians at St. Luke where he consults on a broad range of neurological diseases. He is grateful for the opportunity to work with the inspiring patients and staff of St. Luke and remains committed to serving the people of Haiti.
Susanne Cerha
SUSANNE CERHA
Susanne is the art director at Silo Design Inc in Brooklyn and is proud to volunteer with St. Luke helping to create content, visuals, and messaging. Susanne has won numerous international awards for her work and St. Luke is grateful to have her on the team! Susanne is proud to work for a Haitian organization with local roots, and believes firmly in the mission and philosophy of St. Luke. She hasn’t been to Haiti yet, but hopes to visit soon.
Bruce and Gwen
BRUCE HELMING AND GWEN VALENTINE
Bruce, Fr. Rick’s nephew, and his wife Gwen have spent the last couple of years promoting the work of St. Luke and volunteering in any way they can. As family, Bruce jokes that he was “born into volunteering”. They visited Haiti together, for the first time, in December of 2013, after Bruce made a trip down there and fell in love with the country.
Madge
MADGE THOMBS
Madge Thombs graduated from Assumption College with Father Rick and is now a Professor of Education at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. She has worked with students to start a club, Hawks for Haiti, which raises funds to support St. Luke Foundation projects.
Chris Parent
CHRIS PARENT
Chris lives in West Seattle, Washington with his wife, Melissa, and their two children. He is Senior Intellectual Property Counsel at Nintendo of America. Chris has taken multiple short-term service trips to Haiti. He has been passionate about Haiti since visiting there after the 2010 Earthquake. Chris is inspired by St. Luke’s humble approach and emphasis on serving through action rather than words. He wishes to organize trips to Haiti with friends and family who he hopes will also become inspired by the Haitian people’s resiliency.
Linda Robeson
LINDA ROBESON
Having heard Fr. Rick speak, Linda was filled with desire to travel to Haiti. She was inspired by Fr. Rick’s love and devotion to the people he serves. On her first trip to St. Luke’s she was moved by the Haitians joy and generosity in the face of the destruction and misery they faced. She was able to raise funds to purchase an ambulance for St. Luke and continues to help with fundraising efforts and taking trips to Haiti.
Mary Jo
MARY JO LOBODA
MJ Loboda is a mother of 11 (10 of whom were adopted internationally) and has been a faithful fundraiser and friend of Fr. Rick and St. Luke Haiti for the past 8 years. She is a graphic artist and book designer/eBook developer by trade. She traveled to Haiti and was part of the first burial initiative of Fr. Rick, which became a significant life event for her. She was also struck by the joy and hope of the Haitian people and has made a personal commitment to help with fundraising to further St. Luke’s missions.
Rebecca Arnold
REBECCA ARNOLD
Rebecca is an international nature, travel, and nonprofit photographer. She is also a successful creative principal in photo editorial and production, running her own company in New York City since 2000. Lastly, she is a speaker, mentor, and life coach. She has coached over 25 nationalities on 5 continents, and mentors inner city youth and young change-makers through international leadership programs. Annually, she spends a month abroad volunteering her time photographing nonprofits in developing countries, which she did with St. Luke in 2012. Impressed, inspired, and humbled by the character and quality of the staff, their work, and mission, Rebecca supports St. Luke with photos, presentations, photo exhibits, and sharing her creative network.
Beth and Rob
BETH AND ROB LINCOLN
Beth is Fr. Rick’s cousin, who became more involved with St. Luke along with her husband Rob. They have been most active in collecting donations from Connecticut, with help from their children, family, friends and coworkers. They describe their trips to Haiti as “life altering” and firmly believe that “we are all here to serve others!” Rob is self employed, and Beth works as a Radiologic Technologist in interventional pain management. They both consider it a privilege to help in any small way they can and view everyday life with greater clarity due to the hard work and devotion of Fr. Rick and his entire team!
Alyssa Baliad Chapital
ALYSSA BALIAD CHAPITAL
Alyssa Baliad Chapital is a general surgeon and critical care physician who currently serves as the Section Head of Acute Care Surgery at Mayo Clinic, Phoenix. Through the Mayo Clinic’s Program in Underserved Global Health she was introduced to Haiti and Fr. Rick and has been committed to developing strategies to advance the health care training on-site at St. Luke’s. She has traveled to Haiti many times and is passionate about providing avenues for developing St. Luke’s into a premier education center for Port Au Prince!
Linda Kincel
LINDA KINCEL
Linda works as an IT specialist at a Catholic University. She was introduced to Haiti, Fr. Rick, and the St. Luke Foundation through the Passionist community. During her first trip to Haiti she felt such a deep sense of connectedness with those she encountered and traveled with, that since returning home she has made a commitment to create opportunities to share her experiences in Haiti, support the Foundation by communicating the St. Luke’s mission and vision, and help raise awareness through fundraising efforts.
Nikki Christian
NIKKI CHRISTIAN
Nikki Christian is from a small town called Sacramento in Kentucky. She was asked to come along with Dr. Hurley and his orthopedic team to Haiti several years ago and fell in love with everyone she met in Haiti. She feels blessed to be called one of St. Luke for Haiti’s ambassadors.
Tish Tweedie
TISH TWEEDIE
Tish was a classmate of Fr. Rick’s in medical school. She first traveled to Haiti during one of her summer breaks from school and is now a Family Practice Physician in Fall River, MA. She visits Haiti as often as she can (saying “the weather is so much nicer there than at home!). She also loves those little plantain chips they sell for 10 cents on the side of the road.
Michael Mazowiecki
MICHAEL MAZOWIECKI
Michael Mazowiecki is a neurologist from western Pennsylvania. He has been to Haiti and the St. Luke programs on several trips. He is interested is spreading the message of St. Luke’s to friends, family and anyone who will listen. To this end, he has brought fellow doctors, nurses, physician assistants and his son to Haiti. He continues to be inspired by the Haitian people.
Cecilia Elias
CECILIA ELIAS
Cecilia grew up in Peru, following her passion for Art at the Universidad La Católica and later becoming an American citizen. She first heard about St. Luke through her friend, Jim Corcoran. “I was touched by the constant struggle of the people of Haiti to emerge from the misery and calamities caused by the 2010 earthquake. I was also moved by the courage, strength and leadership of Fr. Rick and volunteers to help Haitians in their efforts to succeed.”
David Saunders
DAVID “MUDCAT” SAUNDERS
David “Mudcat” Saunders has been to Haiti on several occasions and is a great and loyal friend to the St. Luke Programs. He is a political strategist and writer.
Jim Simcoke
JIM SIMCOKE
Florida native Jim Simcoke has been an enormous support to our St. Luke Programs, working on various fundraising initiatives as well as helping to manage media requests.
Mary Wehde
MARY WEHDE
Mary Wehde is a physical therapist and supervisor of therapy services in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. She has been to Haiti numerous times as a representative of Mayo Clinic’s Program in Underserved Global Health. She is driven to provide organized and sustainable education to her Haitian colleagues. She continues to be amazed by the spirit, drive and determination of the people of Haiti; she hopes that she can one day learn to have the hope and passion that she sees in so many of her Haitian friends.
Donald Zimmer
DONALD ZIMMER
Donny Zimmer is an Emergency Physician at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, IN. He lived in Leogane, Haiti in 2004-2005 and has been committed to improving health care in Haiti ever since. Along with his wife Crystal, Donny believes that the path toward a more peaceful and dignified future in Haiti and the US must include economic development, along with improvements in healthcare and education; and that these improvements cannot be achieved but through solidarity of action and humility of service.
Holly Rousseau
HOLLY ROUSSEAU
Holly Rousseau is a scientist from upstate New York working in the field of drug discovery and development. After her first visit to Haiti and the St. Luke programs, she was touched by the Haitian people and their spirit. She strives to spread her enthusiasm of St. Luke’s to family, friends and the community, and works on fundraising initiatives with her running group to support the St. Luke programs.
Janice Marco
JANICE MARCO
Janice was drawn to volunteer in Haiti after hearing Fr. Rick speak at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in Pittsburgh, PA. The absolute joy of the children, spirit of the Haitian people, and the gifts and talents of the medical teams and volunteers she experienced on her first visit touched her profoundly. She is deeply committed to increasing the awareness of St. Luke’s Foundation programs, fundraising opportunities, and future trips to Haiti.
Nicole Shirilla
NICOLE SHIRILLA
Nicole first met Fr. Rick in Haiti in 2008, during her first year of medical school. She was inspired by him and the programs of St. Luke within moments and considers it a blessing and honor to be a witness to the mission. She visits Haiti frequently, as well as spreads the word of the programs in the United States and is excited to serve as an ambassador to help the programs grow for many years to come.
Kim Beck
KIM BECK
Kim Beck says, “I have always had the desire to work in Haiti and help care for the Haitian people. In 2013 I had the opportunity to work at St. Luke’s with Neurologist Dr. Mazowiecki. During that week I also was privileged to work with a surgical team from Mayo Clinic. Our group was able to provide over 50 much needed surgeries to the Haitian people. I have been blessed to return to St. Luke’s this past summer and I plan to continue to work in Haiti twice a year. My focus is on providing training and education to the nurses at St. Luke and St. Mary’s hospital, focusing on wound care and management as well as post-operative management.” Kim is shown here with her husband Jason, whose memory she honors with her fundraising efforts and service in Haiti.
Ed and Denise
ED AND DENISE WALENT
Ed and Denise Walent made their first trip to Haiti in 2010 and have been back several times since. They have hosted many events for St. Luke, and have helped as volunteers in numerous ways. They are proud to spread the word and support the mission in any way that they can!
John Benson
JOHN BENSON
John Benson is a radiology resident at the University of Minnesota. He first became involved with St. Luke’s during a trip to Haiti during his intern year. Since then, John has stayed committed to the St. Luke’s Foundation. He encourages fellow residents to travel to Haiti, and has worked to bring additional radiology technology to the hospital in order to further develop its diagnostic capabilities.
Michael McCurdy
MICHAEL McCURDY
Mike has been actively involved with St. Luke’s since his first visit in early 2012. Inspired by the work of Fr. Rick and his committed team, he has dedicated himself to enhancing physician education there. Being the critical care medicine fellowship program director at The University of Maryland, Mike established a weekly critical care educational conference that is broadcasted to St. Luke’s physicians and is available for their online viewing (http://marylandccproject.org). He continues to send many of his fellows to St. Luke’s to further assist, teach, and especially learn from the medical staff there.