MEET THE TEAM
We are dedicated to providing dental care to those in need
Dr. Izchak Barzilay
CEO & Founder
Dr. Izchak Barzilay is the founder and CEO of the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation. He is a world-renowned prosthodontist, lecturer, and dental researcher. His research and teaching activities have brought with it accolades and awards from multiple national and international bodies.
In addition to his leadership roles over the years, he is the past president of the American Prosthodontic Society and will be president of the Academy of Prosthodontics in 2024. He has always had a passion for volunteerism and most recently has spent time providing services to the underserved populations at home and abroad.
Education and advancing others in the dental field is very important to Dr. Barzilay, and he has mentored countless people throughout his career. His experiences in Uganda with Bridge to Health Medical and Dental as well as his organizational experiences at home have helped develop his passion for the work that is to come with the Foundation.
When not actively working at home or at one of his multiple teaching assignments, he enjoys skiing and traveling to some of the most extreme locations on the planet.
Dr. Parvaneh Bahrami
Director of Clinical Operations, Middle Easr & Africa
Dr. Bahrami practices as a periodontist and implant surgeon. She obtained her DDS in Iran and continued her dental education in Canada. As such, she is uniquely positioned to understand the varying cultural requirements of international communities.
Dr. Bahrami initially joined our team as a volunteer, and very quickly knew that she wanted to contribute on a more consistent basis. Her leadership skills and take-charge attitude made her the perfect person to be the general on the ground, organizing daily operations on our international outreach trips.
Not only is she an accomplished dentist and dedicated to giving back, but she is also an accomplished academic and is a clinical instructor at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and International Congress of Implantology.
Dr. Carolina Vera
Director of Build Your Smile Dental Foundation: Latin America
Dr. Carolina Vera joins our team bringing with her The Mexico Project, which she has been running in partnership with the University of North Carolina for the past decade. Dr. Vera graduated from the Faculty of Dentistry of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and has completed fellowships in Prosthetics and Aesthetic Restorative Dentistry. Her studies brought her to the United States where she obtained her Masters of Science in Prosthodontics at the University of North Carolina, and shortly thereafter obtained her DDS in the USA and began her academic career in prosthodontics.
As the program lead for The Mexico Project, she has seen the project grow into what it is today. To learn more about The Mexico Project, click here.
Dr. Vera is currently working towards her second Masters degree in Sleep Medicine at the Catholic University of Murcia in Spain. She is an advocate for other philanthropic programs developed by the Government of Mexico and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs in both North and South Carolina. Dr. Vera's goal is to continue creating and expanding international programs that provide aid to marginalized communities so that she can reach more people in need.
Marketing and Creative Director
Elyte joins the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation team with a background in marketing, digital media, and nutrition science. She received her MBA from the University of Toronto and has translated her academic achievements into various entrepreneurial endeavors.
She is passionate about helping those less fortunate, especially those overlooked at home, and is excited to grow the domestic arm of the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation. She volunteers her time with our furry, four-legged friends, is passionate about travel, skiing, and cooking healthy food.
Elyte is responsible for developing and implementing marketing outreach initiatives and events.
Dr. Evangelos Rossopoulos
Director of Global Development
Dr. Evangelos Rossopoulos received his dental degree from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (his hometown), Greece, in 1980. He completed his graduate studies in general dentistry and prosthodontics at the Eastman Institute of Oral Health in Rochester, New York. He is an assistant professor at the Department of Prosthodontics at Eastman Institute of Oral Health, and is a Community-Based Clinical Educator at UCLA.
Dr. Ross is a member of the American and International Colleges of Prosthodontists, President of the American Prosthodontic Society, the American and International College of Dentists, and both the California and American Dental Associations. He is a past President of the Tri-County Dental Society, serves as a Vice President at the Council of the American Prosthodontic Society and a is a member of the California Dental Association Board of managers for Scientific Sessions. Dr. Ross has been involved with dental missions in California as one of the prosthodontic leads for the CDA Cares events and has served and organized several international outreach programs in Sri Lanka and Zambia.
Dr. Ross enjoys watching and playing basketball, listening to music, and singing Greek songs with his guitar. He is passionate about traveling abroad and experiencing different cultures. Dr. Ross will help grow our international outreach capabilities by scouting prospective new locations that are in need of our services.
Dr. Elahe Behrooz
Director of Clinical Operations, North America
Dr. Elahe Behrooz joins the team bringing with her a wealth and breadth of knowledge and experience that is unparalleled. Having trained as a dentist in Iran, and having obtained her MBA from Carleton University when she immigrated to Canada.
Her drive to be a dentist was so strong that she attended the University of Toronto to once again become a licensed dentist and furthered her training to become a prosthodontist. She is a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Dental Association, the American College of Prosthodontists, the American Prosthodontic Society, and the OKU honorary dental society. She has received numerous awards and has authored multiple academic papers.
She enjoys traveling to explore our world, playing guitar, and spending time with family and friends. Dr. Behrooz will be directing our clinical missions and overlooking the operations of the clinical teams.
Mariela’s passions are unparalleled. She loves working with people and helping them foster their development to become the best version of themselves. She has over 30 years of experience in the dental field and has developed herself into an indispensable team member.
Mariela has studied Sales and Marketing at Humber College, is an advisor at George Brown College, and has received her Dental Practice Management Certificate from the University of Toronto. She has received her Human Resources Management certification and is working towards her designation as a Certified Human Resources Professional.
On her personal time she loves spending time with her family and exploring different cultures around the world. Mariela has also volunteered with Bridge To Health – Medical and Dental, North York Harvest Food Bank and provides aid to Toronto’s homeless community. Mariela is responsible for overseeing fundraising and ensuring that the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation’s finances are in order, allowing us to maximize our efforts and help as many people as possible.
Student Outreach Coordinator & Operations Director
Claudia is a recent graduate from York University with an Honours Degree in Biology. Throughout her experience at York, she has been involved with numerous leadership and mentorship roles, as she has a genuine passion for helping students grow and reach their full potential.
Her experience with humanitarian work first started at the age of 19, where she began working with CIMRO, a medical charity that provides medical aid and education to disaster zones globally. She is joining the Build Your Smile Dental Foundation team as a Student Volunteer Coordinator and Operations Director.
She aims to integrate her passion for helping others and her ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds into growing the foundations student outreach program across Canada and internationally.
Claudia is very excited for this new chapter in the Foundation and hopes to continue her work with us in the future when she graduates from dental school.
Board of Directors
Moshe Ronen is a Toronto-based lawyer, international business advisor and prominent community leader. Mr. Ronen is Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress. He obtained a degree in political science and economics from York University and a law degree from the University of Windsor.
Moshe has worked closely on public advocacy for Israel with a number of the country’s prime ministers, cabinet ministers and opposition leaders. He also has organized and led missions to Israel with Canadian government (federal, provincial and municipal), business, and labour and ethnocultural community leaders. Mr. Ronen has also collaborated directly with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, in the latter’s ‘Friends of Israel Initiative’ and was a member of that initiative’s ‘London Forum’.
Mr. Ronen is a charismatic public speaker, noted debater and media commentator on Middle East issues and public affairs. In 1996 Moshe was recognized by the Jewish National Fund with its prestigious Jerusalem of Gold Award for his outstanding communal service. Two years later, the Government of Ontario recognized him with a Volunteer Service Award, presented to that province’s most outstanding community leaders. In 2012, Moshe was awarded with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by Canada’s Governor General.
In early 1999, as President of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Mr. Ronen, a child of Holocaust survivors, together with his father, Mordechai, accompanied Canada’s Prime Minister on an official visit to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Later, under Mr. Ronen’s leadership, Holocaust memorialization in Canada achieved a major success when each Canadian province officially legislated and recognized Yom Hashoah as the day to remember and educate about the Holocaust.
Moshe has been a member of the Board of Directors of several major charities including schools and North York General Hospital. He served as a director of First Capital Realty Corporation, a growth-oriented publicly traded Canadian real estate developer and holding company with a growing shopping centre portfolio. He is a senior consultant & counsel to the Green family- Greenwin Property Management and Verdiroc Holdings.
Moshe has served as a member of the Advisory Board of Skylink Aviation Group of Companies Inc., which specializes in emergency relief operations for the United Nations and many governments.
Moshe advises several leading Canadian businesspersons and philanthropists including previously Gerald Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of Onex Inc., and Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books and Music Inc. and Issy Asper, the late founder of CanWest Global and subsequently, his son Leonard Asper. He is currently a senior advisor to Mr. Ronald S. Lauder in New York, & special advisor to Leonard Asper in Toronto.
David Diamond is the founder of Diamond and Diamond Law Offices, a firm that specializes in Personal Injury litigation. Under his leadership, Diamond and Diamond expanded to 18 offices across Canada and became a leader in their field with an unmatched reputation.
David is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, the Insurance Management Institute, and the Ontario Brain Injuries Association. He is an active member is his community and is involved with many philanthropic causes. He is currently the president of Chai Lifeline Canada, an organization that provides programs to children who have serious and terminal illnesses. David serves on the board of United Chesed of Toronto, which provides community services to the impoverished. He also is a support and fundraising volunteer to children with learning disabilities.
Lars A. Janson
Lars Janson is a medical and dental device executive with proven subject matter expertise in the commercialization of new technologies across the globe. He has spent the bulk of his over 30 year career in commercial leadership roles with two large multinational medical companies: Johnson & Johnson and Biomet. He started his career in 1989 after completing an MBA at the University of Miami specializing in international commercialization.
Over the last 5 years Mr. Janson has leveraged the experience gained with J&J and Biomet to advise multiple emerging medical/dental device companies on commercial strategies and go to market plans that maximize the organization’s unique value proposition as Managing Director at Delta G Ventures, LLC (DGV). DGV is an early stage medical device consulting firm based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Mr. Janson also serves on the Board of Directors for Southern Implants, Dentures Today, and Build Your Smile Foundation. He also participates in several charitable organizations.
Lars and his wife Karen reside in Stuart, FL. They have one daughter, Chloe, attending the University of Southern California and studying cinematic arts
Ettore Palmeri, MBA, AGDM, B.Ed., BA, is the President of Palmeri Media Group, the largest dental media provider in Canada. PMG offers expertise in print, digital and event solutions to the dental industry, not only in Canada but also in Europe.
Ettore was born in Italy and taught at a high school in Mississauga. He then went on to teach at the English Language Institute at York University, where he was Head-Master for five years before embracing the publishing world on a full-time basis.
Ettore is also an enthusiastic motivational speaker.