We just hosted The PlantEmpowered Summer Benefit

Event Beneficiaries

"The Cardiac Wellness Program was created and is directed by Robert Ostfeld, MD, MSc. Together with Lauren Graf, MS, RD, the nutritionist for the program, they bring a unique, nutrition-centered approach to the management of cardiovascular disease. The program aims to prevent and reverse heart disease with a whole food/plant-based diet. Dr. Ostfeld and Ms. Graf work with patients to embrace a diet that includes no animal products and consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, a small amount of nuts and avocado, as well as dairy alternatives."

"Mercy For Animals works to create a society where all animals are treated with the compassion and respect they so rightfully deserve. We serve as a voice for animals through proactive consumer education initiatives, cruelty investigations, corporate outreach, and legal advocacy. Click here to learn more about MFA's many investigations."

Hosted By

Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-Mitchell is the editor of JaneUnChained.com, a social media news outlet that produces widely shared videos for the voiceless, particularly on animals, animal rights, the environment and compassionate living/eating/shopping. Jane's reporting on animal issues has won 4 Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. She is a New York Times bestselling author. Her books include her memoir, iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life and Addict Nation: An Intervention for America. Jane hosted her own national cable TV show for 6 years and before that was a correspondent on the nationally syndicated TV show Celebrity Justice. She's worked coast to coast as a TV journalist for decades. 



Robert J. Ostfeld, MD, MSc, FACC

Dr. Ostfeld is the Founder and Director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center, which aims to prevent and reverse disease through a whole food, plant-based diet.  A practicing cardiologist, Dr. Ostfeld also serves as an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Associate Director of Cardiology Fellowships at Montefiore.

Dr. Ostfeld earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; his MD from Yale University School of Medicine; and his Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Ostfeld completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and his cardiology fellowship and research fellowship in Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital - both teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School.

His professional interests include cardiovascular disease prevention, medical education and clinical research in preventive cardiology. He earned the Outstanding Full Time Attending of the Year award at Montefiore for excellence in teaching; the Program Director’s Award for dedicated service on behalf of the Montefiore Einstein Cardiology Fellowship; and was elected to the Leo M. Davidoff Society at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which honors teachers who have made significant contributions to the education of medical students.


Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart

Leanne, founder of VAUTE, has been called the "Rebel of Fashion Week" and "breaking runway history" by CNN, “the Most Influential Designer” (PETA), and 1 of 40 Redefining Green (Grist.org). She spent her life savings and quit a Ford modeling contract & full ride MBA (DePaul University) to start VAUTE, to create the future of fashion: high tech, high ethics, and high design, this means working with high tech mills to innovate new textiles and creating innovative apparel construction to set a new standard in outerwear. She's the Fashion Expert at Alicia Silverstone's theKindLife.com, and was named Conde Nast & Mazda 6's female Gamechanger in 2013, opposite Bre Pettis (Makerbot). U.S. News & World Report said, “Hilgart is paving the way for future compassionate designers” and Leanne speaks worldwide on textile innovation, conscious capitalism, and social entrepreneurship.

Animal Rights:

Cody Carlson

Cody is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Animal Welfare Trust and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), where he focuses on legal efforts to promote transparency and the humane treatment of animals in agriculture. Before becoming an attorney, Cody spent two years as an investigator for The HSUS and Mercy for Animals. The disturbing footage he took while inside large-scale egg, pig, dairy, and dog-breeding operations has been featured in countless media outlets and has helped spur criminal and civil litigation as well as legislative and corporate policy advancements for abused animals. Cody retired from undercover work to attend Brooklyn Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude before clerking for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky of the Eastern District of New York. An outspoken critic of “ag gag” laws, Cody has written for The Atlantic and others on the subject, and also covers Supreme Court jurisprudence for the UK journal Public Law.

Vegan Activism:

Jasmin Singer

Jasmin is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Our Hen House (www.ourhenhouse.org), a NYC-based nonprofit creating independent media to change the world for animals. She is the co-host – with her wife, Mariann Sullivan – of the Our Hen House podcast, now in its sixth year, and of the Our Hen House TV show, a co-production with Brooklyn Independent Media. Jasmin has written for numerous publications, and has chapters in the anthologies Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat [Lantern, 2013], Running, Eating, Thinking [Lantern, 2014], and Circles of Compassion [Vegan Publishers, 2014]. Her own personal memoir about food will be published by Berkley in February, 2016. Jasmin has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, HuffPo Live, and can be seen in the award-winning documentaries Vegucated and The Ghosts in Our Machine. She is the former campaigns manager for Farm Sanctuary, and a former writer for VegNews Magazine, a publication that named her one of twenty standout stars of the animal rights movement. Her workshops have been presented at conferences around the globe, and she has been featured in media outlets such as CNN and The Atlantic. Prior to her animal activist career, Jasmin was an actor-educator with an AIDS-awareness theatre company.