LIANNA LEVINE REISNER, Network Director & Manhattan Borough Organizer
Lianna launched Plant Powered Metro New York in early 2019 with her colleagues after a year of organizing the whole food, plant-based community and running educational events with Plant Powered Manhattan, a pod of PlantPure Communities. She continues to organize Manhattan-based events and projects, especially focusing on the Upper West Side and Harlem communities. To address her family's health challenges, Lianna had been searching for clear nutritional guidelines that were evidence-based and made sense for her husband and three children. The writings of T. Colin Campbell and his colleagues made a compelling case for whole-food, plant-based nutrition, helping her to lose 20% of her body weight, reverse endometriosis and hormonal imbalances, and heavily reduce her allergies and eczema, among many other benefits. Lianna holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and she is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. With a Master's from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhood School of Management, she has worked as an organization development and change consultant through her practice, Partner for Change, supporting leaders to bring about positive change. She lives in the Upper West Side. Contact Lianna.
MITCHELL CASTELL, Long Island Regional Organizer
Mitch is building the network for WFPB nutrition in Long Island. He has been on his plant-based journey since March of 2012 after his father recommended that he read The China Study. Mitch decided he wanted to help promote the benefits of eating WFPB and contacted Nelson Campbell to help with screening his documentary, Plant Pure Nation. After helping with the NYC launch, Mitch became the ambassador to bring the movie to Long Island. Soon after, he helped form the Long Island PlantPure Pod of PlantPure Communities in 2016 and is part of the founding team of PPMNY. Mitch has since earned his certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell and is passionate in helping people regain their health, putting life in their years. Contact Mitch.
STEPH CHESTNUT, Lifestyle Mentorship Coordinator
Steph organizes our Plant-Powered Lifestyle Mentorship program, matching people who need support in lifestyle change with those who have already made a substantial dietary transition. Steph is a student of life, motivated by opportunities that are challenging and lead to long term growth and personal evolution. This driving force motivates Steph's love for partnering with others in ways that help them along their personal journey. In Steph's personal journey, Steph has overcome significant health issues and understands first-hand the power of a healthy physical and mental lifestyle. Steph works as an administrative professional in the non-profit sector and is a Life Coach. Steph has an MA in Human Services Counseling. Contact Steph.
LYNN DIAMOND, Network Empowerment Coordinator
Lynn recruits and supports WFPB organizers across the metro area, connects people to opportunities, and develops or curates tools for our projects. She read Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book Eat to Live in 2012, went whole-food plant-based "cold turkey," and within weeks reversed her high blood pressure. The WFPB lifestyle enabled her to easily lose 25 pounds and maintain a healthier weight. She teamed up with Lianna in 2018 to bring the message to the wider community that a whole-food, plant-based diet leads to better health. Lynn served as a leader of Plant Powered Manhattan and is part of the founding team of PPMNY. Lynn is working toward her certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. She is an attorney in private practice and previously had a career in marketing and journalism. Contact Lynn.
SARAH HOFMANN, Lower Manhattan Organizer
Sarah is building the network for WFPB nutrition in Lower Manhattan. After failing to alleviate her chronic migraines and other health issues with traditional medicine-based approaches, she was determined to find an alternative solution. In 2014, after watching the plant-based documentaries Forks Over Knives and Vegucated and seeing the health-improving effects of a plant-based diet, she started her plant-based journey, first cutting out just dairy, and then animal products altogether. When her migraines disappeared and her overall health improved dramatically, she became passionate about plant-based living, learning everything she could about the positive impacts of a plant-based lifestyle on human health, animal welfare, and the environment. She began searching for ways to incorporate plant-based advocacy into her everyday life. In 2018, she completed the certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell and made the leap to WFPB living, cutting out all added oils. She works for Rochester-area plant-based food company Kitchen Verde and lives in the Hudson Yards area. Contact Sarah.
VIVIAN LEE, Network Communications Manager & Morris Park Organizer (Bronx)
Vivian is building the network for WFPB nutrition in the Bronx neighborhood of Morris Park. She hopes that more Bronxites will "boogie down" with a WFPB lifestyle. Her health path started off rocky with severe calorie restrictions and excessive physical activity. She chose to eat vegetarian for the next 13 years but had no clue about eating healthfully. After hitting the proverbial wall and in a desperate search for sustainable health, she came upon a vegan diet and became intrigued. The difference she felt in mood and energy was night and day. She became enthralled with The China Study and The World Peace Diet. Her initial interest in diet and health expanded to animals and the environment. Vivian holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studiesand eCornell, and is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. She is also a certified yoga teacher and a vegan bodybuilder. She lives in the Bronx and intends to infuse WFPB in her community as a PPMNY organizer and health coach. Contact Vivian.
CAROLE LEVY, Culinary Educator
Carole has loved art and food since she was a young girl cooking with her grandmother. Her first professional culinary experience was in a vegetarian restaurant where she built a foundation for eating healthfully. After many years of working with top chefs in restaurants and bakeries, she opened a café in San Francisco and incorporated a culinary job training program as part of its mission. While her career shifted away from food to creative advertising for the film industry, she never lost her passion for cooking. In early 2019 she participated in PPMNY’s 21-Day Jumpstart Program and shifted her 23 years of vegetarian eating to a whole-food, plant-based, SOS-free lifestyle—eliminating dairy, salt, oil, and sugar. Since then she’s been developing recipes and collaborating with the plant-based community in New York, while working toward a certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. Inspiring people to take chances in the kitchen by teaching individuals to cook without fear, be open to creativity, and embrace more health-minded, nutrient-dense food combinations is among her greatest ambitions.
SHERRISSE-LEE LEWIS, Network Operations Manager
Sherrisse manages PPMNY's internal business operations and supports staff and organizers across the network. She comes to PPMNY with over eight years in the field and holds a Master's from The City College of New York. After many years of experiencing painful migraines and occasional anxiety, Sherrisse made a change to incorporate more plant-based foods into her diet. As a result, she now experiences few and infrequent migraines and has rid herself of the anxiety. As a personal goal, she is working to move into a complete whole food, plant-based way of eating to improve other areas of her well being. Sherrisse is passionate about PPMNY mission's because she believes that others can benefit from this positive, evidence-based lifestyle change. Sherrisse was raised in the Bronx and currently resides in North Salem, NY, with her dog and son. Contact Sherrisse.
EVAN QUELER, MD, FACLM, Lifestyle Medicine Medical Partner
Dr. Queler serves as PPMNY's medical partner for community-based jumpstart programs, demonstrating the power of whole food, plant-based nutrition through these 10-21 day health immersions. He runs a telemedicine practice called Timshel Lifestyle Medicine, and he is one of the first physicians to be board-certified in Lifestyle Medicine through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Queler is also board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; fellowship-trained in non-surgical orthopaedic spine pain management, licensed in Medical Acupuncture, certified in Power Yoga, and a practitioner of Foundation Training. Based in New Jersey, Dr. Queler has served as medical staff for Whole Foods Market’s Total Health Immersion since 2016.
LIAT RAZ, NYC Family Empowerment Organizer
Liat is creating a supportive environment for the city’s plant-based families, with events that provide the inspiration, knowledge and solutions for their daily challenges. Fascinated with nutrition and how different foods affect the body, Liat built up an extensive home library of diet and nutrition books over the years. At first her interest revolved around weight-loss, but as she got older and was faced with chronic health issues like migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcers, candida, chronic inflammation and more, her focus shifted to healing her body and reducing pain. Having been a steak, eggs and bacon lover and a chocoholic, the decision to become plant-based was gradual. It was watching the Forks Over Knives documentary and reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, that provided the final push she needed. Now, almost symptom-free, Liat enjoys making her own nut milks and plant-full dishes , as well as alternatives to some of her beloved traditional Jewish foods. Being a mother of two growing boys, she understands the daily challenges of raising plant-based children, when surrounded by a mostly “SAD” (Standard American Diet) world. Contact Liat.
AIFRA RUIZ, Latino Community Organizer
Aifra is building the network for WFPB nutrition within the NYC Latino community. Aifra’s journey started in 2012 after watching the documentary Forks over Knives. She made some changes in her diet and saw the results immediately: no more constipation, more energy, lower cholesterol, better skin, and improved digestion. In 2017, she became a WFPB advocate and began to incorporate more physical activity into her life. Aifra is a certified Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach and is working toward her certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. Inspired by her personal experience, she created @healthycitymom to promote and empower women to improve their health by changing their eating habits and cooking delicious plant-based food for their families. Previously, Aifra had a career in finance. She enjoys outdoor activities, exercise, and yoga. Aifra is from the Dominican Republic and lives in the Upper West Side with her husband and son. Contact Aifra.
ENRICA SACCA, Queens Borough Organizer
Enrica is building the network for WFPB nutrition in Queens. As a first generation Italian-American, Enrica was extremely driven. Her family came to the United States to make it. Within ten years, they were all sick from the standard American diet. Today, Enrica has cured herself of colitis and is dedicating her life to support individuals who are just as driven as she was -- but would love to be successful and healthy. To create balance and stability in her communities through individual and planetary health and wellness, she started the PlantPure Communities pod, Plant Powered Queens, in 2018 and is part of the founding team of PPMNY. A resident of Astoria, Enrica previously ran a specialty travel company for 20 years before moving into real estate management. She holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and a business degree from Pace University.Contact Enrica.
DIANA SANZ, Queens Health Educator
Diana educates about WFPB nutrition in the Queens community and via her work as a patient advocate at Mount Sinai Queens in Astoria. She sees patients with debilitating conditions who find hope in the message of prevention and disease reversal through plant foods. Her health journey began after watching plant-based and vegan documentaries. Through these films and related books, Diana learned about the diet responsible for the disease epidemic afflicting our population for decades, and the great animal suffering behind the standard American diet. Through her work with Plant Powered Metro New York, she spreads the message of sustainable health, healing, compassion, and love. Diana holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and a business degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
DAN SPADARO, Hudson County Organizer
Dan is building the network for WFBP nutrition in Hudson County, NJ. He was born in Brooklyn to a large Italian family, and food was always a big part of his life. He started his whole foods journey after completing an Intensive Culinary Arts Training Program and cooking professionally in the mid 90’s. While cooking didn’t remain a career, it became a serious hobby along with a growing interest in the environment and organic agriculture. It was after after seeing the documentary Eating You Alive and reading The China Study in early 2017 when he began to connect the dots and realized that a WFPB diet is not only the best diet for human health but also the health of the planet. Dan holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell, and is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. He has a degree in Engineering as well as a Masters in Environmental Science, and he currently works as a systems infrastructure technologist in the financial industry. Dan lives in Jersey City with his wife and enjoys cooking every day. Contact Dan.
Chenel is building the network for WFPB nutrition in Queens. A Registered Nurse with over 20 years of experience caring for patients with chronic health concerns, Chenel specializes in Wound Ostomy Continence nursing. Her nursing career and experience within the WOC specialty has forced her to painstakingly witness disease patterns and trends in the patients she cared for, recognizing the link between her patients' dietary consumption patterns and their digestion, elimination, and inflammatory disease problems. In 2017, Chenel began to notice worrisome problems in her own health: constipation, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, skin rashes, and anxiety. A friend & fellow RN recommended that she read The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell. Later, she watched the documentary “What the Health?” after which she went “cold turkey,” vowing to never consume another animal product or by-product. Chenel holds a Certificate in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She continues to practice as an RN and CWOCN in the Metro NY area, and she is the owner and lead consultant at Patient Safety Solutions, LLC, located in Bayside, Queens. Chenel spends her free time studying WFPB nutrition, practicing yoga and mixed martial arts, and traveling with her husband. They are blessed with three adult children, a grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Contact Chenel.
ELOISA TRINIDAD, Community Organizer
Eloísa is building the WFPB network as a general organizer and marketing specialist. Her path towards veganism and whole food, plant-based nutrition started early in life. Being raised by centennials who grew their own food and passed down much ancestral knowledge to her, Eloísa believes in the healing power of plants and empathy towards all beings and the Earth. She is a Total Liberation activist who has organized and volunteered for over 20 years, seeking to understand and combat all forms of inequality and oppression. Eloísa is an artist and has a background in marketing & business development. She lives in Harlem and her favorite food is fruit. Contact Eloisa.
ROGIER F. VAN VLISSINGEN, Parkchester Organizer
Rogier is building the network for WFPB nutrition in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx. He was raised vegetarian since age 4, and from his late teens became increasingly omnivore, but found himself slowly drifting back to more vegetarian habits. He read Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.'s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, when it first came out and found himself making a half-hearted attempt at following it, but gave it up, because he considered himself "healthy." Eventually, Rogier had the motivation to get off blood pressure medication and made a rigorous switch to a WFPB-lifestyle in 2015. Rogier runs a business in the area of energy retrofitting, and he is CEO of EB-Cert(tm) Trading Exchange, which finances energy retrofit projects. He holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. Rogier continues to voraciously read and learn about WFPB nutrition and healthcare reform, and he maintains a website focusing on nutrition and healthcare , as well as a blog covering plant-based activities in his Bronx neighborhood, along Starling Avenue, where he is building a support system for a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. Rogier holds a BA in Economics from Fairfield University in Connecticut. He is also an author, most recently, of Closing the Circle: Pursah's Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. Contact Rogier.
Medical Advisory Board
Judith Dattaro, MD, FACEP, FACLM, Weill Cornell Medicine
Stacy De-Lin, MD, Planned Parenthood of New York City
David Dunaief, MD, Medical Compass MD
Robert Graham, MD, MPH, ABOIM, FACP, FRESH Med
Caroline Hartridge, DO
Ronnie Hershman, MD, NYU Langone
Allen Hsu, DO, Visiting Nurse Service of New York
Robyn Kenul, RD
Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, FAAD, FACLM
Michelle McMacken, MD, New York City Health & Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program
Louise Merriman, RD, CDN, New York-Presbyterian
Diego Ponieman, MD, MPH, SOMOS Community Care
Evan Queler, MD, FACLM, [timshel] Lifestyle Medicine
Shilpa Ravella, MD, Columbia University Medical Center
Urvi Shah, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Eugenia Soliterman, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, Clarement Family Health Center, Acacia Network
Hooman Yaghoobzadeh, MD, FACC, Weill Cornell Medicine & New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Community Advisory Board
Karin Gibson, Grazing Greens
Caryn Hartglass, Responsible Eating and Living
Elizabeth Helzner, PhD, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, School of Public Health
Krisann Polito-Moller, New York Health & Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program
Wendy Sax, Moving Stories
Plant Powered Metro New York is catalyzing the local movement for vibrant health through whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) nutrition. We are an independent member organization of the PlantPure Communities Pod Network.