Risa Procton, Esq., RN, BSN
President and Executive Director

Risa earned a B.S. in nursing in 1981 and worked in a variety of hospital units.  Since 1992 she has been a Legal Aid Society criminal defense attorney where she is now a supervising attorney.  Fluent in Spanish, Risa spent several months volunteering in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua in the 80’s.  During law school she interviewed Central American refugees and wrote political asylum petitions.   In 2010 she renewed her Central American volunteer work as a member of a medical service trip to El Salvador, which served as the catalyst for founding Izote.  Risa's brings to Izote her experience working with the people of El Salvador and her unflagging capacity to find ways to develop and implement Izote’s projects.

Louise Cooper, RN, BSN
Vice President

 In 2010 Louise co-founded Izote with Risa Procton.  She is a registered nurse specializing in pediatrics with a strong background creating and leading charitable endeavors. At her synagogue Louise served as Executive VP and chaired the charity committee for over 15 years.  In this capacity, she established a volunteer program for students and families at the synagogue to provide meals for home-bound and needy individuals in Nassau County, NY.  Louise brings practical capability and decisiveness to chairing Izote’s major annual fundraising events and steering Izote's goals.

Leigh Latimer, Esq.

Leigh has been a Legal Aid Society criminal defense attorney since 1987.  She is the Supervising Attorney of the Exploitation Intervention Project, advocating for victims of sex trafficking who became emmeshed in the criminal justice system.  Leigh was quoted in the New York Times in 2014 on victims of sex trafficking, and was interviewed in the documentary Blowin Up about sex trafficking victims in the USA .  Leigh's civic activities include being co-director of her church's international charity committee and serving as treasurer for local community groups. Leigh brings to the board a track record of fighting for social justice and experience in financial accounting for non-profit community organizations.

Robert Appel, MD

Dr. Robert Appel is an ophthalmologist with over 40 years of surgical and consultation experience.  He has extensive international experience in treating cataracts.  Robert is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in Hempstead, NY.  He has served as president of the Long Island Ophthalmological Society.  Robert’s expertise has been at the core of Izote’s ability to establish a successful ophthalmology surgery unit in El Salvador. 

Barbara Dubin, MA

Barbara started her teaching career in 1969 and then received a master's degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. For most of her career Barbara taught in Glen Cove, NY in a school district with many first-generation students including many children from El Salvador.  She now teaches English to adults. Barbara and her husband are instrumental in raising funds for SAGE, which supports the Glen Cove Senior Center.  Barbara serves as co-chair of the annual Izote fundraisers and brings a wealth of experience in fundraising and education to the Izote board. 

Edgar Flores-Castillo, MD

Dr. Edgar Flores-Castillo is a pediatrician in Elmhurst, NY.  He has been practicing there since 2001 with his wife who is also a pediatrician. The practice has received numerous awards for the high level of care provided, including annual recognition from the private, non-profit organization National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). In addition to his medical work, Edgar has developed expertise in website design and computer skills and is in charge of Izote’s communication and outreach tools.

Giulia Hamacher, PhD

Giulia is a business strategy and market research consultant, working with entrepreneurs and non-profits to help them fulfill their goals. She developed her analytical approach to problem solving first in the realm of Chemistry, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Then, she switched careers, finding the interactions between people more fascinating than chemical reactions. Giulia has served on numerous community committees including the Baldwin Educational Assembly, Baldwin Board of Education Budget committee, and Rockville Centre Sponsors of the Arts. She brings her strategy and marketing experience to Izote to help maintain an engaged relationship with our donors and look for new sources of funding.

Nino Luciano, Esq.

Nino, an attorney specializing in financial and insurance consulting, is a founding partner of the Enfield Financial Group (1992) on Long Island. In 1998 he co-founded a non-profit rock n’ roll band whose concerts raised funds for local community projects as well as college scholarships. Nino is on the board of the Sea Cliff Glen Head Lions, which raises thousands of dollars annually for worthy local causes, including Izote's eye project. Nino has been invaluable in coordinating fundraising efforts and fostering community support for Izote. 

Lauren P. Meyer, PSYD

Lauren is a licensed psychologist working with individuals and couples in private practice in New Jersey. Before becoming a psychologist Lauren worked for many years as an editor and writer. She has also served as President of her synagogue where she established a program in introductory Jewish studies. Lauren chaired a fundraiser in New Jersey to benefit Izote's literary project. She brings her communication, teaching and clinical skills to Izote's board as new ways to grow and increase our visibility are developed. 

Juan Jose Urias

A native of Usulutan, El Salvador Juan Jose has lived in Queens, NY since the early 80's. For over 30 years he has been involved with improving access to medical care for the indigent population of rural El Salvador by successfully arranging for the donation and transport of equipment, supplies and medicine. He has extensive experience coordinating the efforts of fellow Salvadorans and other volunteers in the United States with grassroots groups on the ground in El Salvador. Juan Jose’s contacts, communication skills and ceaseless efforts have been essential to the establishment, coordination and implementation of Izote’s core projects.