Sights on Health, Inc. is looking forward to another busy year.  We have three missions planned and our teams are in place!


Eye Care Mission: Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Our team is working with Raymond Dennis and Wendy Nasta – Black of the nonprofit Artist for World Peace on their Native Eyes Mission. We are returning to Sinte Gleska University, one of the few tribal universities in the nation. The group plan to examine patients at the University, as well as establish a mobile unit to reach those in the more rural areas of the 922,759 acres of the reservation. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, more properly known as Sicangu Lakota Oyate, or Burnt Thigh People, are descendants of the Sicangu Oyate of the Tetonwan Division of the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires. Last year, the team of 35 people from around the country examined 1,200 patients and 1,000 pairs of prescription glasses were dispensed.  We plan to do the same great work!

June 1-9
Team Members joining Artists for World Peace’s team:
Debra Messina, M.D. – team leader, administrative assistant
Cathy Roberts  – administrative assistant
William Epstein, M.D. – ophthalmologist, Oregon
Arnold Prywes, M.D. – ophthalmologist, New York
Alex Zaffaroni, M.D. – ophthalmologist, California
Michael Prywes – ophthalmic technician

George Coritsidis, M.D., Joseph Ng, M.D. and Noam Fast, M.D. have an exploratory meeting with tribal leaders for possible medical & psychiatric support for members on Rosebud Indian Reservation


John Shanley, M.D. M.P.H. Medical Mission: Eye and Medical Care, Sacred Valley, Peru

Our team is working with the nonprofit organizations FNE International, Mike Cipoletti and Asociacion Winaypaq, Francisco Morales, M.D.

Now that the team is in place, Dr. Victor Rozas, from the Peruvian American Medical Society is obtaining the temporary medical licenses and the letter of invitation from the ministry of health. Our pharmacist and physicians are ordering thousands of dollars’ worth of medications. We have secured a portable ultrasound to transport to Peru. This assists in diagnosing certain medical conditions.  Our eye care team has two optometrists who will examine patients’ eyes and dispense a thousand pairs of prescription reading and distance glasses as well as sunglasses.  Our longtime collaborator, ophthalmologist, Dr. Frilo Silva will receive referral patients for cataract surgeries at CEPRECE clinic, Cuzco.

June 29- July 7 - 
Team Members(20):
George Coritsidis, M.D. team leader, nephrologist, critical care
Darren Triller, Pharm D pharmacist
Tracey Weisberg, M.D. oncologist
Christina Rager, M.D. emergency medicine, pulmonary, critical care
Carolina Pombar, M.D. pediatrician
Jenny Steffens, P.A.
Damaris Raymondi, O.D. optometrist
Pauline Leong, O.D. optometrist
Ana Castaneda translator at pharmacy station
Julia Colmenares visual acuity tester, translator

8 Medical Students from Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, NY, 1 medical student from SUNY Upstate, Syracuse NY, 1 medical student from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine

1 Nursing Student, Pace University
1 High School Student, Maryland

June 2018 Medical Mission. Drs. George Coritsidis and Caroline Pombar and Mike Cipoletti received certificates of appreciation from the Mayor Farfan and other elected officials in Ollayatambo.


Cataract Surgical Mission in Memory of Mark S. Sablow: Riobamba, Ecuador*

Our team is working with the nonprofit organization Partners for Andean Health Community
Our goal will be to perform 100 cataract surgeries and to dispense reading glasses to people in rural communities.

September 21-29, 2019

Team Members:

Debra Messina, M.D. – team leader
Michael Sable, M.D. – surgical director
Cathy Roberts-administrator
Christina Rager, M.D. – critical care specialist
David Krebs, M.D. – ophthalmologist
Allison Angelilli, M.D.- ophthalmologist
Joseph Kristan, M.D.- ophthalmology resident, Montefiore Medical Center
Alexandra Thanasoulis, R.N.
Lorena Chinchilla, COT
Frank Garcia, COT
Julia Colmenares – nursing assistant
Ken Roberts – sterilization
Pallavi Tatapudi Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University
Andrew Maggiolo – community outreach program
Ginger Thanasoulis- translator
Michael Mc Donald – Alcon representative

*For more information on mission naming opportunities please email Dr. Debra Messina at

2018 Surgical Team in Riobamba, Ecuador


Please note, awards applications can be submitted ONLY after the participant has submitted all of their required registration forms to Cathy Roberts.



The award amount of $250, $500, $750, or $1,000 will depend on how many applications are received and the personnel needs of each mission.

Requirement: Applicant must meet all of the following criteria: a non-physician, a non-student and a previous Sights on Health mission participant.  Click here for application.

Due: March 30, 2019 Email application to sightsonhealth[at]

The annual John Shanley, M.D. M.P.H Award for Global Excellence has been established to honor Dr. Shanley who passed away in 2016. He was a Co-Founder and the Vice President of A Promise to Peru, Inc. The award enables previous mission participants who are not physicians or students to participate in subsequent missions. These individuals are passionate about their involvement in the mission and would otherwise likely be unable to participate with the frequency that they have been.   The non-profit organization owes its formation to Dr. Shanley, as he was the first of our group to visit Peru. He and several medical students from Stony Brook Medical School in New York joined Case Western Reserve University Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic ‘s mission in 2010.  The subsequent year he invited a group of physicians to join him and his medical students for their own medical mission.  George Coritsidis, M.D., Debra Messina, M.D. and Natalie DiGioia, M.D. were among those physicians that had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Shanley in 2011 and share his passion for providing care to a medically underserved population. They subsequently established A Promise to Peru, Inc. in 2012. On behalf of our board members and officers, we offer our heartfelt thanks to Linda Shanley for her financial support of the annual John Shanley, M.D. M.P.H Award for Global Excellence. 



Three $250 Global Health Faith Awards have been established by a generous anonymous donor.

Requirement: 500 word essay; all participants are eligible. Click here for application. Due: March 30, 2019

Email application to paula.digioia[AT] and include ”global health mission submission” in the subject line.



Two awards are available and awarded to one medical student matriculating at Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and one resident from the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University Ophthalmology program. Click here for application.

The annual Drs. Philip and Richard Messina Endowed Fund for Excellence in Global Initiatives Award was established by the Messina Family in 2014 to encourage participation in international medical and cataract surgical missions for Stony Brook medical students and Stony Brook ophthalmology residents as a way to commemorate the lives of these two physicians. A matching grant is awarded to the ophthalmology resident through the generosity of the Department of Ophthalmology. Background on the lives of Drs. Philip and Richard Messina: Philip came to the U.S.A. through Ellis Island, N.Y. in 1911 at 6 years old from Sicily, Italy. He lived in the lower east side of Manhattan and attended Indiana University for undergraduate school and medical school. He finished his studies in 1932 in the midst of the Depression. His older sister worked at Knickerbocker Toy Factory sewing stuffed animals to pay for his education. Residency training programs were not in existence at the time. Once a doctor graduated medical school, one would open an office and start your practice whether it was General Surgery or General Medicine. He chose the latter and his practice was in Brooklyn for over 50 years, he delivered 3,000 babies, performed tonsillectomies in the office and made house calls well past the time when other physicians has stopped. His compassion for his patients and his work ethic certainly inspired his son to become a physician and his daughter to become a nurse. Richard attended Marquette University in Wisconsin and graduated medical school from University of Bologna in Italy in 1965. Prior to his ophthalmology residency, he enlisted in the Public Health Service as a commissioned officer for two years. Stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico he worked as a General Practitioner on the surrounding Indian Reservations. He gained an appreciation for the Native American culture and the need for better health care in underserved areas. He established his ophthalmology practice in Brentwood and continued to be passionate about treating those that were underserved. He was a Clinical Instructor at Stony Brook School of Medicine until his untimely passing at the age of 48. His dedication to serve those in need, inspired the Messina family to establish a scholarship in his name that promotes global awareness of the need to provide health care to the underserved populations in the United States and worldwide. And he was the inspiration for Debra Messina, M.D. to co-found the nonprofit organizations A Promise to Peru. Three generations of Messina physicians… it is something to be celebrated and this Endowed Fund for Excellence in Global Initiatives was specifically established for the Stony Brook family where Debra is a proud alumna. It is a fitting way to remember these two lives. They would be very proud to know that their family was assisting medical students and ophthalmology residents in the opportunity to gain greater insight into the interpersonal relationships that are formed between physician and patient. Their legacy of service to those in need and their passion for medicine will live on and serve to provide an example to young physicians in training, now and for future generations.