Shawnee Isaac Smith, LCSW
Co-Founder, The Heart Touch Project

Seeing the needs of isolated AIDS patients with a compelling need to be touched by the hands and hearts of others, Shawnee Isaac Smith founded The The Heart Touch Project in 1994.

Rene Russo
Co-Founder, The Heart Touch Project, Actress, Model

In addition to being a successful model and actress, Rene Russo is well known for her philanthropic endeavors and as an advocate for many children’s causes. René is the media spokesperson for The Heart Touch Project.

Mario Milch
Board Chair, The Heart Touch Project

Mario Milch joined the Heart Touch Board in 2018 after retiring from 50 years of medical practice.  Dr. Milch attended UCLA as an undergraduate and received his MD degree from University of Southern California. 

Karen Kesselman
Secretary, The Heart Touch Project

Karen Kesselman joined the Board of the Heart Touch Project in 2018.  A former marketing and communications executive who is currently an active community volunteer, Karen focuses her efforts on organizations with a social justice and social services focus.

Keri Frankenstein, MA

Keri Frankenstein is a massage therapist focusing on neuro muscular therapy, sports massage and pain relief.

Joal Polachek

Joel Polachek joined the Heart Touch board of directors in the summer of 2019.  Joel is currently in private practice as a psychotherapist. 

Vince Newman

Vince graduated and began a career in PT helping others feel cared for and confident that their recovery would be successful.

Lisa Perry, MBA
Head of Marketing & Media, The Heart Touch Project

Lisa is the head of marketing and media at The Heart Touch Project.  Lisa is also a successful global marketer growing world class brands for Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurial start ups across multiple product categories, channels and platforms for over 20 years.

Eric Daar, MD

Dr. Daar is Medical Director, Division of HIV Medicine, at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine

at UCLA. Dr. Daar was an early advocate of massage therapy to relieve the discomfort of his AIDS patients, and in his advisory and educational role with The Heart Touch Project he brings current knowledge on AIDS research and patient practices.

Margarita Loeza, MD

Since 2001 Dr. Loeza has been the Chief Medical Information Officer at Venice Family Clinic. She also serves as the physician for the school-based clinic at Santa Monica High School and volunteers at Homeboy Industries in their Tattoo Removal Clinic.


Georgia Noble, Ed.D

Georgia Noble is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in counseling. She specializes in family systems and their impact on the individual. Using her experience in a range of group settings, Georgia helped to design The Heart Touch Project curriculum and training programs to prepare future volunteers to address the emotional issues that arise in their work.

Nirbhika Parsani-Moojani, MBA

Nirbhika completed her MBA at the Stern Business School at New York University. In her native India, she carved out a niche leading Kimaya Fashions Pvt. Ltd. from a start-up to a marquee operating business. She has launched retail

stores in India, the United Arab Emirates and, most recently, in the United States. Today Kimaya is India’s largest multi-designer luxury and fashion house.