Board of directors
Medhat Allam, MD, FACS, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Medhat Allam is a board certified general and bariatric surgeon at Southampton, NY. He is the Chairman and a co-founder of Operation International. Dr. Allam has traveled to numerous countries in Africa, Asia and South and Central America and operated on hundreds of patients worldwide. He was born in Egypt where he obtained his medical degree before immigrating to the United States. Dr. Allam has published extensively in the field of general and advanced laparoscopic surgery.
Ravi Kothuru, MD, FACS
Ravi Kothuru is the President and a co-founder of Operation International. He is a Fellow of American College of Surgeons and Board Certified in General and Cardiothoracic Surgery. He graduated from Guntur Medical College, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1992. He completed his General Surgery residency from Brookdale Hospital, Brooklyn, NY in 2000 and his Cardio-thoracic Surgery fellowship from SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, NY in 2002. He is currently Chief of Division of Thoracic Surgery and General Surgery Residency Program Director at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY and an attending physician in Thoracic surgery at Jamaica Hospital, Queens and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery including Laparoscopic Foregut surgery.
Robert Mineo, CRNA
Robert Mineo is a co-founder and a Vice President of Operation International. He received his BS from SUNY Stony Brook and his MS from NY Medical College in 1986, and has been a Nurse Anesthetist at Southampton Hospital in New York since 1996. He enjoys living on Eastern Long Island with his wife, two sons, and four Labrador retrievers. He enjoys outdoor activities and Martial Arts.
Joseph Geoghan, ESQ, Secretary
Joseph Geoghan retired from Union Carbide Corporation, where he served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary as well as a member of the Board of Directors. He currently serves on several not-for-profit and commercial business Boards and is Chairman of The Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens. He has been a Director of Operation International (formerly ISMS) since its formation.
Christopher Torres, CRNA
Christopher Torres is the president of Team NY. He has been a Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) since 2006. He received his RN at Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens in 1996. Over the next 10 years he worked in the ICU, PACU and Operating Room. In 2002 he joined ISMS and went on his first mission to Vietnam. He completed his training in 2006 as a CRNA and has worked in multiple specialties, including Cardiac, Neurosurgical, Obstetrics and Pediatric surgeries. He currently lives in Danville, Pennsylvania with his wife and three children.
Colleen Brennan, BSN
Colleen Brennan formerly known as Colleen Hekemian is the President of Operation Kids. Ms. Brennan is a graduate of Saint Peters College and Holy Name Hospital School of Nursing. Ms. Brennan practiced as a Pediatric Oncology and PICU nurse for many years at Hackensack University Medical Center. Ms. Brennan is currently pursuing her Masters in Public and Global Health at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY.
Ms. Brennan has served on various charitable boards, such as The Bergen Volunteer Center, The Tomorrows Children Fund and The Peter Ojiambo Foundation.
Ronald Gentile, MD, FACS, FASRS
Ronald Gentile is the president of the Operation Restore Vision Chapter. He is a professor of Ophthalmology, Director of the Ocular Trauma Service (posterior segment), and Coordinator of the Retina Service at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEEI) affiliated with Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. He is a retinal specialist and surgeon with expertise in diabetic eye disease, retinal vascular disorders, macular diseases, ultrasonography, UBM, retinal detachments and ocular trauma. He completed his internship at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City and his ophthalmology residency at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and completed his Retina Fellowship at the prestigious Kresge Eye Institute. He has authored over a hundred publications describing pathophysiological concepts, novel surgical techniques, and diagnostic tests for ocular diseases, and is a reviewer for ophthalmic journals. He is past President of the New York Academy of Medicine, Ophthalmology Section, and a member of the American Board of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, and the New York Ophthalmological Society.
Shawn Ciecko, MD, FACS
Dr. Shawn C. Ciecko is the President of the Team ENT. He graduated from the University of Rochester and attended the University at Buffalo School of Medicine. He completed his internship in General Surgery and residency in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Ciecko spent two years as the Duke Chief Resident in Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. He has received several honors during his career including Duke Hospital’s consultant of the year in 2006. He was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society and is currently a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Ciecko is Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and has a special interest in Thyroid Surgery. He performs Ultrasound guided biopsies for thyroid nodules in the office and was Co-director of the 2010 Long Island College Hospital’s Head and Neck Symposium on Thyroid disease. Dr. Ciecko’s interests are in adult and pediatric ear, nose & throat, advanced endoscopic sinus surgery, head and neck cancer surgery, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, obstructive sleep apnea, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery for trauma. He is currently a clinical instructor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and operates at Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island.
Rajesh Patel, MD
Born in India, grew up in Zambia, Africa before returning to India for education, Rajesh Patel attended Dr. BR Ambedkar Medical College in Bangalore, India in 1987.
He moved to the United States and completed his residency in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Fellowship at the Catholic Medical Center in New York followed by a Fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC.
He is currently in private practice in Riverhead and is the Associate Director of the ICU and Chairman of the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee at Peconic Bay Medical Center.
Rajesh is on the Board of Directors of Operation International, East End Hospice, the Rotary Club of Riverhead and the Indian Network of Eastern Long Island.
Mehul Mehta, MD
Dr. Mehul Mehta is the president of Team MI. Dr. Mehta was raised in Kenya. He went to school in London, England, and finished his residency in General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, and Hand Surgery in the United States. He is currently practicing Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery in the suburbs of Detroit and is on the faculty at Wayne State University and Oakland University. He has performed 20 missions around the world with various organizations but, since 2009, has been exclusively with Operation International's New York Team. In 2013, he started a new chapter of International Operation International, the Michigan Chapter, along with his wife, Claire. He now does two missions every year with Team New York and his Michigan Team. His interests include traveling, playing squash, skiing, and flying.
Nilesh Patel, DDS
Dr. Nilesh Patel is the President of our Dental Team. He is a General Dentist practicing in Portchester, NY in Westchester County. He graduated from New York University College of Dentistry in 1992 and has been in private practice since then.
He has gone on several voluntary trips to Haiti providing much needed dental care in some of the most underserved and under privileged areas of the world.
Vito Alamia, Jr, MD, FACOG
Vito Alamia went on his first trip with Operation International in 2003 to Brazil and has been an active member since. He did his medical training at SUNY Stony Brook as well as his Ob/Gyn residence. He is board certified in Ob/Gyn. He moved to Southampton in 2000 and joined Hamptons Gynecology & Obstetrics where he has practiced since. He is a Founding Partner and Board Member of Women’s Health Professional since 2005. He is currently Chairman of Ob/Gyn at Southampton Hospital and has an interest in high risk obstetrics, incontinence and minimally invasive surgery. He is married with four great children.
Robert Armando Casillas, MD
Dr. Casillas is the president of Team LA. He grew up in Southern CA and attended UCLA for both undergraduate and medical school. He completed General Surgery training at Kaiser Permanente, in Los Angeles followed by a fellowship in Minimally Invasive surgery at UC Davis in Sacramento. He has been practicing General and Bariatric surgery for over 10 years in Los Angeles. His volunteer work includes missions to the Philippines, Guatemala, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, cooking, wine tasting and traveling.