“Pledging to deliver healthcare and restore vision.”  A Promise to Peru, Inc. is committed to providing quality, compassionate care for those whose geographical and/or social status limit their access to medical care. A dedicated group of physicians & health professionals from across the U.S.A., along with allied healthcare students volunteer their time to provide free medical care, eye care and eye surgery to those in need in the U.S.A. and abroad.

The Founders of A Promise to Peru, Inc.

The Founders of A Promise To Peru Inc. - Debra Messina M.D., John Shanley M.D. and Natalie DiGioia M.D.


Debra Messina, M.D.
President, A Promise to Peru Inc.
Board Member

Debra Messina, M.D. is Co Founder and President of the non-profit organization A Promise to Peru, Inc. She graduated from Stony Brook Medical School, Stony Brook, New York in 1988 and completed her Ophthalmology residency program at Nassau County Medical Center, East Meadow, New York in 1992. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology; Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Stony Brook Medical School; Faculty Advisor to medical students at Stony Brook School of Medicine for A Promise to Peru Cataract Surgical and Medical Mission; and a member of the Executive Board of Stony Brook Medical School Alumni Board of Directors. Her interest in International Ophthalmology began in 2011 by observing firsthand the large number of people with advanced cataracts, a treatable cause of blindness. It motivated her to initiate a cataract surgical mission. By working with Peruvian physicians, local community members and multiple non profit organizations she was able to accomplish her goal. A portable eye clinic and operating room are now ready to travel anywhere in the world. Her team of ophthalmologists and support staff are able to diagnose and treat common eye conditions and perform site restoring eye surgeries such as cataract removal. Her goal is to continue to focus the efforts of A Promise to Peru, Inc. on global outreach cataract surgical and medical programs in Peru, Ecuador and other communities worldwide that require assistance.


Cathy Roberts
Secretary, A Promise to Peru, Inc
Board Member

Cathy Roberts has 20 years experience directing volunteer based organizations.  She has won recognition and awards for her work. Her past board experiences include Girl Scouts of America, the graduate board at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and board positions with the diocese of Rockville Centre.  She brings an eclectic background to our board with degrees in education, fine arts, healthcare and theology. Her graduate degrees are in theology from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington NY and religious education from Felician College in Lodi NJ.  She is currently pursuing a post grad certificate in spiritual direction.
Cathy is an associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood and was recently elected to serve on their board. Her philosophy of love of God and dear neighbor without distinction fits the mission to serve the poorest among us through her work with A Promise to Peru.


Michael Sable, M.D.
Surgical Director, A Promise to Peru Inc.
Board Member

Dr. Michael Sable is a 1992 graduate of Stony Brook School of Medicine.  After completing his residency in Ophthalmology in 1996 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, he went on to train with the most respected eye surgeons in the country at the prestigious fellowship at the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He now specializes in complex cataract, anterior segment surgery and laser surgery of the eye at Long Island Eye Care in Nassau County where he a partner.  Dr. Sable is board certified and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  He is very passionate about helping those that have little or no access to health care and as such he has become a  board  member  for Promise to Peru, a non for profit organization.  Dr. Sable is also a clinical instructor for the North Shore/LIJ hospital residency program and has been teaching residents surgical techniques for 16 years.  He has published many articles and lectured on topics including perioperative and operative surgical treatment of the eye.  He is a consultant to some of the major eye pharmaceutical companies.  In his spare time, you will find him wearing number 26 on the baseball diamond pursuing his second favorite occupation…. The desire to make it to the major leagues.


George N. Coritsidis, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Medical Director, A Promise to Peru Inc.
Board Member

Dr. George N. Coritsidis is Professor of Medicine and Surgery Departments of Surgery and Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. Dr. Coritsidis, who is board certified in critical care medicine, nephrology and internal medicine attained his medical degree at SUNY Upstate Medical College in Syracuse, NY, where he also completed his internship at SUNY Upstate Medical Center followed by his residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Coritsidis subsequently completed his fellowship in nephrology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.

Currently, Dr. Coritsidis is the Director of the Intensive Care Units and Chief of Nephrology at the Elmhurst Hospital Center which is reputed to serve the most ethnically-diverse community in New York City.  As chief of nephrology, he heads one of a few programs that offer the opportunity to be boarded in both nephrology and critical care. In addition, he is the director of the Broadway Dialysis Center in Elmhurst, New York.  He has been involved with International outreach programs to Peru since the inception of A Promise to Peru, Inc.


James Rienzo
Board Member, A Promise to Peru, Inc.

Jim is the principle in a small, boutique eye care consulting company based out of Manasquan, NJ and Smithtown, NY and has over 26 years of ophthalmology practice management consulting experience. Mr. Rienzo advises medical practices, physician networks, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), teaching institutions, and health maintenance organizations throughout the Northeast. Areas of expertise include Strategic planning, practice development, practice efficiency, market analysis, operations and financial management. Mr. Rienzo has written numerous articles for various industry publications, including Ophthalmology ManagementOphthalmology TimesEye World,Review of Ophthalmology, and Administrative Eyecare. In addition, he was past chairman of the practice management program for the Wilmer Current Concepts meeting for 15 years as well as the Wills Eye and the New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology practice management sections. He has been the Director of Industry Relations for A Promise to Peru, Inc. since June of 2014 and now sits on the Board.

He is a 1983 graduate of The Catholic University of America and currently resides in Manasquan, NJ.

 Andrew Maggiolo
Treasurer, A Promise to Peru, Inc

Andrew J. Maggiolo, graduated from Pace University, Pleasantville, NY with a BBA, Accounting degree May 1983.  Worked for Touche Ross & Company upon graduation, moved on to other Financial Institutions such as Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, Searson Leahman Hutton Incorrporated and UBS Painewebber in managerial and executive positions focusing on corporate finance. He is involved with “The Home of Hope” non profit that supports a Tibetan Orphanage for 130 children as a financial advisor, fundraiser and volunteer at the actual orphanage for 3 weeks in China.Andy is excited to give back to a cause he believes in as treasurer.

Joseph Ng, M.D.
Board Member, A Promise to Peru, Inc.

Joseph Ng is a Critical Care Intensivist, Residency Director, and Chief Medical Information Officer at Mather Hospital/Northwell Health that has been involved with A Promise to Peru since 2013. Raised in Puerto Rico, he graduated from Ponce School of Medicine in 2003. He went on to finish his Internal Medicine residency at St. Vincents Hospital in Staten Island where he was also chief resident. He then went on to a Surgical ICU fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital in NY where he was also chief fellow in 2009. Dr. Ng currently practices Critical Care Medicine at Mather Hospital/Northwell Health in Port Jefferson, Long Island where has also been the CMIO since 2010. As the founding program director for the Transitional Year Residency, Dr. Ng has a faculty appointment at Stony Brook Medicine and Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Joseph has also had the honor of recruiting former Promise to Peru medical students to become his residents, giving him the unique opportunity to influence their education and growth across different stages of their career. It is this same passion for education and his dedication to help those less fortunate that has made Dr. Joseph Ng such a strong advocate and participant in our non-profit organization.


Michael Cipoletti
Operations in Peru Advisor,  A Promise to Peru, Inc.

Michael Cipoletti graduated from Northport High School in Northport, New York, in 1995. Michael was an active member of Students for 60,000, a service organization founded when 60,000 was the number of homeless living on the streets of Manhattan. In 1992 the high school began trips to Nicaragua and while he was involved in the planning of those trips he was not able to travel with the group due to other commitments.

Michael remained in contact with Peter White, an NHS social studies teacher and the Director of Students, and together they coordinated an alumni trip to Nicaragua in August of 1996. This trip proved to be a life-changing experience as the group built an elementary school in Chacraseca, Nicaragua. Several days after returning to the US he arrived to begin his sophomore year at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and a casual conversation on the back steps of one of Stonehill’s residence halls provided the impetus for Michael to present the idea of an “Alternative Spring Break” to the college. Stonehill embraced the idea, H.O.P.E was born and the foundation laid on the August trip was further reinforced.

FNE International was born out of a discussion between Michael and both current and founding FNE board members after Michael participated in a medical relief trip to Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. The trip inspired Michael to suggest a partnership between the other project participants which would link the work in Haiti to existing projects in Nicaragua.

Michael continues to work with students at Northport High School and Students for 60,000 that visit Chacraseca twice a year to construct houses and other community driven projects, work in schools, and gain exposure to the reality of 75% of the world. Individual students and their families also join other groups that come down throughout the year. The experiences that changed Michael’s life over 17 years ago continue to impact his life and the lives of so many others throughout the United States, Nicaragua, and Peru. Michael travels to Nicaragua every month to maintain projects, lead groups, and continue building community relationships.

Paula DiGioia
Website Designer & Technology Advisor,  A Promise to Peru, Inc.



“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Dr. Natalie DiGioia as she leaves our Board this spring.  Natalie is one of our co-founders and her intelligent and thoughtful guidance on the Board will be sorely missed.

Natalie M.DiGioia M.D.FACEP
Former Treasurer, A Promise to Peru, Inc.

Natalie M. DiGioia M.D. is a Co -Founder of A Promise To Peru INC.  and the Treasurer on the board of directors.  Dr. DiGioia is an emergency medicine physician who completed her medical school training in 2001 and residency in 2004 from Stony Brook University Medical center in Long Island New York.  She enjoys her role as a clinical assistant professor in emergency medicine and currently cares for patients at Stony Brook University Medical Center and LI Urgent Care.  Dr. DiGioia has also practiced emergency medicine in the community settings of Brookhaven Memorial Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center in the past.

Dr. DiGioia is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and and has attained Fellowship status in the American College of Emergency Physicians  based on her peer review roles, research and a community outreach program where she helped teach grammar school children the importance of health care and doctor visits. She is certified in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

Dr. DiGioia widened her scope of medical practice and interest when she began her involvement in a global medicine outreach mission with her first trip to the sacred valley of Peru in July 2011.  She was inspired by this trip where she helped to deliver needed medical care to the underserved  population in and around Urubamba, Peru. Since this experience, she now looks forward to her future serving both patients on the home front as well as embracing a long term commitment to A Promise To Peru.



Dr. John Shanley received his MD at UCLA in 1971. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at UCLA in 1976. During that time he spent two years as a Research Associate with the NIH, NIAID at the Pacific Research Section in Honolulu (1973-1975). He completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at UCLA in 1978.

He joined the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at the University of Iowa as Assistant Professor in 1978. In 1982, he then joined the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at the University of Connecticut in Farmington Connecticut as Associate Professor. In 1991 he became the director and the fellowship director of the Division of Infectious Diseases. He was also the chair of the Medical School Counsel (Faculty Senate)l.

In 1993 he was awarded the Connecticut State Chair inInfectious Disease which he held until his retirement in 2007. He continued as part time faculty and was appointed Professor Emeritus. He also completed a Masters in Public Health in 2007.

In February, 2008 he joined the department of Preventive Medicine at the Stony Brook school of Medicine, Stony Brook, N.Y. as a Clinical Professor of Medicine and became Associate Dean for International Programs in June, 2008. In January of 2009, he became Associate Director of the Graduate program in Public Health. He was a member of GHEC while at Stony Brook School of Medicine. He ran an outpatient program in Travel Medicine and Adult Vaccination through Preventive Medicine. After leaving Stony Brook to return to Connecticut in 2012, he has been active in the MPH program at the University of Connecticut Health Center teaching both Global Health and the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Shanley was an active member of a number of professional societies including the Infectious Disease Society of America, the International Society of Travel Medicine (board certified), the International Society for Infectious Disease and the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

International work included active involvement with the Autonomous National University of Nicaragua in Leon, Friend NE, Chispa which works in El Salvador and A Promise to Peru.   An annual  John Shanley, M.D. M.P.H Award for Global Initiatives has been established in his honor.  This award will be given to a mission participant who has participated on A Promise to Peru mission in the past to assist in offsetting the cost of their expenses. Anyone wishing to make a donation in Dr Shanley’s memory please visit apromisetoperu.com/donate/