American Heart Lifestyle Change Award Presented


The American Heart Association (AHA) and Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in Kingston presented the Lifestyle Change Award on Valentine’s Day to Deborah Garriga Stitt, from Rosendale. The AHA says that 80% of heart disease can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes, like the ones Deborah Stitt made.

Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the nation, but more than 80% of it is preventable. The American Heart Association established the Lifestyle Change Award to recognize individuals who have made significant and positive changes to improve their quality of life and overall health.

This award is presented annually to a deserving individual whether they have lost weight, started to eat better, improve their cholesterol through exercise and diet, or combination of these things and more, the recipient is chosen to inspire others to also improve their health.

“We hope that Deborah inspires others to make healthy lifestyle changes like she did, one step at a time,” said Danielle Schuka, AHA Regional Director, “She realized her health needed improving and took small but significant steps to improve her health. The results of her steadfast commitment are evident, and inspiring!”

Stitt said she decided privately to make lifestyle changes. She did what we all know we are supposed to do: eat lean meats, fresh veggies, get regular sleep, and exercise regularly. She not only lost 80 pounds in the process, but has become strong, fit and healthy.

 How did she do it? Stitt changed her eating habits completely. She cut out processed food and started eating lean meats and vegetables. When she started taking Zumba classes, progress was slow at first. Adding hiking several miles on the weekends with her husband gave her more stamina and strength. From there she increased her time at the gym, taking step classes, and high intensity training classes. She is now a regular at Kingston Athletics, challenging herself in Cross Fit.

“We were honored to present this award to Deborah and learn more about her story. She is doing exactly what we all need to do to make a diff erence in our health—making small but lasting changes for health, ourselves and our families,” said Michelle McCourt, VP Operations at Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union.

The American Heart Association helps people understand the link between health and risk for heart disease and stroke, and helps to empower people with the tools to become healthier. For more information, visit For women’s health resources to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease—visit

The AHA invites residents to attend the Heart Walk on March 24th at Marist College in Poughkeepsie to walk for their heart health while raising funds for AHA research and programs. Individuals and teams can register online at For sponsorship opportunities, contact or call 845-867-5379. Find inspiration to live a healthy life on Facebook with the hashtag #GoRedGetFit.

Have a Heart-Healthy Football Party

Family watching football game cheeringCan you keep it healthy at the tailgate party or football-watching bash? Yes!

Football season’s grand finale is here! And America’s most popular sport means enjoying many beloved traditions – including lots of fried and fatty meats washed down with calorie-laden drinks. Great fun, but not great for your heart-health! Your Big Game Party doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds and put your heart at risk. In fact, you can do a lot to keep your tailgating and other parties heart healthy – without giving up the fun or the flavor.

Check out these helpful tips:

The Meats

Do tailgates mean having a pile of meat sizzling on the grill? Well, if you’re eating meat, just be mindful of which ones you’re firing up. Choose lean or extra-lean beef burgers, and keep the patties to the size of a deck of cards. Or try turkey burgers or salmon burgers, which are tasty and give you the essential omega-3 fatty acids your body needs. If you crave the traditional fried wings, try replacing them with grilled chicken breast strips tossed in a small amount of your favorite sauce. Try this heart-healthy recipe for Tailgate Chili!

Picking the healthiest meat isn’t the only healthy choice you can make. Be careful about how you season it. Resist a heavy shaking of the salt shaker; instead, throw in some chopped onions or extra pepper to spice things up. Choose 100 percent whole-wheat buns or make a lettuce wrap. Or you can cut your burger in half and have just one side of the bun.

The Sides

At many football parties and stadium parking lots, there’s no shortage of chips or fries stacked high with chili, cheese and whatever else you can think of. However tempting they may be, you can fill up (and feel better later) by nibbling on vegetables throughout the game. “Load up on the veggies!” said Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., .a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a volunteer for the American Heart Association. “Have vegetables for dipping rather than chips. Serve plenty of salsa and bean-based dips rather than other high-calorie dips.”

Skewers are also a fun and flavorful way to snack. Load them up with onions and peppers, or throw some corn on the cob or zucchini on the grill.

The Drinks

Beer and full-calorie sodas are usually plentiful at football parties and games. If drinking alcohol at games, just remember to use moderation.“Try not to overindulge on alcoholic beverages,” Johnson said. “Too much beer, wine or liquor impairs judgment and can cause us to eat more.”If you do get a beer at the game, try one with the least amount of calories and carbohydrates.For those who choose to drink alcohol, the American Heart Association recommends limiting to an average of one to two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. (A drink is one 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.)As far as soda goes, you’ll usually find no-calorie options wherever the full-sugar kind is. Water is the best choice, though, especially at games early in the season where dehydration is a concern. If you want a little more excitement then just plain water, throw in some fresh fruit to give it a refreshing taste.

Tailgating Do’s and Don’ts

  • Choose your sides in moderation. Try to make sure your plate is colorful, with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink lots of water. You may be feeling hungry, but you may actually just be dehydrated. Stay hydrated.
  • Remind yourself to only eat if you are hungry – not just for something to do at the game. It may help to keep track of what you eat.
  • Placement counts! Put your healthiest items up front so choosing the healthy foods is easier for your guests!
  • Sweet Endings: Never underestimate the power of the fruit kebob for dessert, or cut fruit with a drizzle of dark chocolate! Now, that’s a crowd pleaser!
  • Burn those calories: Do go for a halftime walk or have a heart-healthy halftime game of touch football! Include the kids for a family fun time!

Learn more:

By |January 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Ferri Sisters to Co-Chair Go Red For Women Luncheon

 The American Heart Association announced the new co-chairs for the 15th Annual West chester-Fairfield Go Red For Women Luncheon set for Friday, June 1st at the Hilton Westchester. Two sisters, Terri Ferri and Grace Ferri, will lead the Go Red campaign efforts to help raise awareness and funds to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease.

The Ferri sisters will lead fund raising and outreach for the Go Red For Women Luncheon and year-round campaign, including National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 2nd. The Go Red Luncheon event includes a health and wellness expo, local health experts, and a PURSEonality auction featuring sophisticated handbags, wallets and more. Ticket and event information is online at

More than 80% of coronary events in women may be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, but prevention is hindered by the fact that many women don’t realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women—more than all cancers combined. For 15 years, the Go Red For Women movement has worked to close this knowledge gap and provide women with tools, resources and inspiration to build a healthier life. Women can access free resources at

Terri Ferri has been the Branch Manager of the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Purchase Headquarters Office since November 2013, and has been with Morgan Stanley and its predecessor firms since 1993.

Terri Ferri

Grace Ferri

She was Assistant Branch Manager at Smith Barney’s Third Avenue office in 2004, and in 2007, became Smith Barney Regional Sales Manager in for New York City. In 2008, she served as Branch Manager of the Smith Barney office at 53rd and Lexington Avenue.

She served in senior management positions at Citibank and was the Region Sales Manager for the Westchester, Connecticut and Bronx, Citi Personal Wealth Management Advisors until she joined Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management Unit.

Terri Ferri serves on the Board of Directors of the Italian American Forum in Westchester County. She is a native of the Bronx, NY and holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University. She currently lives in Eastchester with her husband, Seth Marcus and her two daughters, Arielle and Toni.

“Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. We know that managing stress and improving health measures will help women. That’s why I’ve made a commitment to support the mission of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement,” she said.

“It is my goal that our efforts with Go Red For Women will allow us the ability to raise awareness, not only to our clients, but to all women, the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how it can prevent heart disease,” Ferri added, “I am lucky to have my sister, Grace Ferri, as my partner in health. Together, we aspire to bring our financial and healthcare industries together along with the Go Red For Women campaign to raise awareness, educate and tell every woman that heart disease is our #1 killer. We want every woman to have a partner in health.”

Her sister, Grace Ferri, is Vice President of Development & Marketing for United Hebrew of New Rochelle. As an ambassador for United Hebrew’s campus of comprehensive care, Grace provides essential information and one-on-one counseling to help families and their loved ones navigate the complex pathways of health care and identify the level of care that’s right for them. She also oversees United Hebrew’s fundraising events and development plan.

Grace Ferri began her career at Calvary Hospital where she served as Director of Annual Giving and Special Events.  She was named the 2012 Professional Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Development Officers and was the past president of the board of directors.

She has over 20 years of experience in healthcare and graduated summa cum laude from IONA College with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration.

“Strong institutions and healthy communities go hand in hand. United Hebrew of New Rochelle’s mission of caring for residents and their families is deepened by collaborating with Go Red for Women and its supporters. It’s important that women, who are often the caretakers for the family, are more aware of their own health. We are proud to be part of a women’s health care initiative to educate and raise awareness of heart disease on our campus as well as outside the community,” said Grace Ferri.

Go Red For Women is sponsored Nationally by Macy’s and CVS. Greenwich Hospital is the Signature Sponsor. Local sponsors include White Plains Hospital; Morgan Stanley; United Hebrew of New Rochelle, Willow Towers Assisted Living; Fujifilm; Tompkins Mahopac Bank; and Dr. Icilma Fergus. Media sponsors include 100.7 WHUD, Westchester Magazine and Examiner Media.

French Toast Casserole with Honey-Glazed Fruit

Have you bought your snowstorm milk, bread and eggs? Great! You can try our healthy French Toast Casserole with Honey-Glazed Fruit recipe, from the American Heart Association and American Diabetic Association’s Cookbook! It gives you the satisfaction of that snowy day French toast but it’s healthier with whole wheat bread and low-fat milk. Fruit gives you a sweet but fiber and nutrient rich topping.

Type 2 diabetes is nothing to joke about, of course! Battling diabetes starts with a healthy diet and lots of exercise, and management of the disease with your doctor. An estimated 87.3 million Americans have pre-diabetes. If you are middle-aged and your A1-C numbers are drifting toward pre-diabetes, but the brakes on that trend by putting your feet in motion with 30-45 minutes of exercise daily, and a diet full of high fiber, low-sugar choices. The DASH diet is also recommended. The DASH diet can also help lower high blood pressure–which also creeps up in mid-life.

Research shared at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions showed that low sodium-DASH diet combination dramatically reduced systolic blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

Learn more at Start taking small steps today to become healthier tomorrow!


Cooking Spray
6 slices whole-wheat bread (lowest sodium available), halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups egg substitute
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (15 oz) can light fruit cocktail, drained
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp light tub margarine (make sure it is trans-fat-free)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place the bread halves with the cut sides (the crustless sides) touching the bottom of the pan and the crust sides resting on the slice beneath them. The slices should overlap slightly. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg substitute, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over the bread. Using a spoon, press down the bread to soak up the milk mixture. Spread the fruit cocktail over the bread. Drizzle with the honey. Using a teaspoon, dot with the margarine.
  4. Bake for 55 minutes-1 hour, or until the center of the casserole is set (doesn’t jiggle when the casserole is gently shaken.) Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Cook’s Tip: If you prepare this casserole ahead of time, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 10 hours. Uncover it, put the cold casserole in a cold oven, set the temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour 5 minutes – 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the center is set (doesn’t jiggle when the casserole is gently shaken). Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

(Try cooking it over low-medium heat in a nonstick pan if you’re in a hurry!)

Choices/Exchanges: 2 Carbohydrate, 1 Lean Meat

From Diabetes and Heart Healthy Cookbook by The American Diabetes Association

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

  • Calories180
  • Carbohydrate27 g
  • Protein12 g
  • Fat3.0 g
  • Saturated Fat0.5 g
  • Sugars18 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol<5 mg
  • Sodium150 mg
  • Potassium410 mg

This Recipe Serves 6

By |January 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Know the Signs of the Holiday Heart Attack and Get Help Fast

According to a study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), the winter holiday season is considered a risk factor for cardiac and noncardiac death. Knowing the signs and seeking emergency treatment quickly are key to saving lives from the “holiday heart attack.”

Common Heart Attack Warning Signs (click to enlarge)

While researchers don’t know exactly why heart attacks are more common around holidays, they note possible reasons, including changes in diet and alcohol consumption during the holidays; stress from family interactions, strained finances, travel and entertaining; respiratory problems from burning wood; not paying attention to the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and delaying emergency treatment when it’s a holiday.

An analysis in 2004 of 53 million death records over 26 years from across the United States pinpointed more specifically that more cardiac deaths occurred on December 25 than any other day throughout the year, followed by December 26 and January 1.

Consider the case of Julie Rickman, a super busy 41-year-old stay-at-home mom.

“I felt like we were running around, going everywhere, and I just couldn’t catch my breath,” Rickman said. “I remember, two days before Christmas, we thought I was allergic to my live Christmas tree, and we took it down and got an artificial tree.”

The day after Christmas, Rickman got winded while folding laundry. She thought it was exhaustion but decided to go to the emergency room, anyway. That trip saved her life. Along with two blockages in her heart, doctors also discovered she had suffered a heart attack.

“I have no idea when the heart attack happened. I was one of those women who attributed feeling bad to the holidays and thinking I was exhausted,” she said.

“The progression of heart disease doesn’t happen overnight, so an uptick in cardiac death during the holidays is actually more the acute manifestations of the disease,” said Jorge Plutzky, M.D., a volunteer with the American Heart Association. “Factors like cold weather, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart. A cardiac event might be triggered because the heart is working harder.”

Heart attack signs include uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. Delaying treatment can be the difference between life and death.

Rickman, an AHA Go Red For Women volunteer, has since changed her approach to the holidays and to life. She cut out processed foods and limits sugar. She also limits social engagements and time spent on social media during the holidays and makes a conscious effort to realize being a supermom might not be reality. Stress reduction is key.

“Stress sets off a cascade of events that can over time contribute to hypertension, irregular heart rhythms, higher cholesterol, weaken the immune system, and can contribute to the progression of coronary heart disease. The good news? Just like taking care of your body regularly helps you medically, taking care of your mind regularly helps you mentally and physically,” said Lubna Somjee, PhD, Clinical/Health Psychologist and Executive Coach in the Hudson Valley.

“Be careful who you spend time with as they can impact your medical health. Positive social interactions, mindfulness meditation, deep breathing and practicing gratitude are some great initial steps towards managing stress.

The AHA recommends positive self-talk to help you calm down and control stress. Try stress-stoppers like deep breathing and counting to ten before you speak. Find time for joy and gratitude every day, or take up a hobby you like. Exercise to relieve stress and start meditation practice.

Free American Heart Association resources for stress reduction are available at

If you’re a heart patient, you’re at higher risk for a heart attack. Remember to take medication as directed, have a follow-up doctor’s appointment, complete a cardiac rehabilitation program, manage risk factors and try to develop a strong support system.

To learn more, visit Get healthy information at


By |December 20th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Share Go Red For Women Messages Online

Be a Go Red Social Media Ambassador by sharing the Life-Saving Messages of Go Red For Women with your friends and family on social media to help save women’s lives!

You know heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women. You know it’s time to fight back. And now it’s time to share your knowledge with others! Together, we have the power to save lives.  Help us spread the word by sharing our suggested social media content and help educate the women in your life about the power of Go Red!  Please tag your messages with #GoRedHV and tag us! On Facebook: @AHANewYork and on Twitter @HVHeartAssoc


  • Go Red For Women encourages women and their families to take action and live a healthier life.  Let’s get started. Let’s unite. Together we are stronger and unstoppable. Join us at and Go Red. #GoRedHV
  • Every 80 seconds a woman will die of heart disease or stroke. Know your risk and know the signs and symptoms. Learn more at  #GoRedHV 
  • While you can’t change risk factors like age and family history, you can make changes to your diet and lifestyle that can improve your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. You can own your heart health. Learn how at #GoRedHV
  • Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Know the warning signs. It could save your life or the life of a woman you love. #GoRedHV
  • Women sure know a lot of numbers by heart, like phone numbers, birthdays, pins and passwords. But do you know the most critical numbers for your heart health? That knowledge could just save your life. Schedule a visit with your doctor to learn your personal health numbers including Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). #GoRedHV

Right-click to save one of the suggested images below. Then upload to your social media platforms!  Remember to tag your posts with #GoRedHV.

THANK YOU for helping to save women’s lives by sharing these life-saving messages from Go Red For Women!

Facebook Images:























Twitter Images:

By |December 4th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Register for Wear Red Day

Support Go Red For Women by participating in National Wear Red Day! Why Go Red? Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health.

Wear Red Day is a one-day nationwide awareness and fundraising campaign for women’s heart health. Join thousands of organizations in the fight against women’s number one killer–heart disease on National Wear Red Day! How does it work? Volunteer to be your organization’s Wear Red Day coordinator, register and then receive the kit to help you create a Wear Red Day to remember! On Friday, February 2, 2018, we ask employees all around the country to dress in red and donate $5 to the Go Red For Women campaign to support women’s heart health awareness, research and advocacy. Make it fun by organizing a heart-healthy pot-luck, lunchtime walk or lunch & learn.

If your company or organization will Go Red and Wear Red on Friday, February 2, 2018, please register online to receive your official Wear Red Day materials! Thank you for supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women National Wear Red Day!

Register here for Wear Red Day 2018

Learn more about women and heart disease at


By |November 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Dr. Patrick Thomas on the AHA’s New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Dr. Pat Thomas attended the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim.

Dr. Pat Thomas is a cardiologist at NYPMG Hudson Valley Cardiology in Cortland Manor, New York. He has served patients throughout Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties in New York since 2002. He is also the president of the American Heart Association’s Putnam County Board of Directors in New York. He and his wife, Johanna, are supporters of the Putnam County Heart Walk. Dr. Thomas has also served as chair of that event. We caught up with Dr. Thomas at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim this week. The big news of the week was the new high blood pressure guidelines.

Johanna and Patrick Thomas, MD at the AHA’s Founders Affiliate dinner at Scientific Sessions.

Why did you come to Scientific Sessions?

Number one, getting to network with many thousands of other cardiologists to share our expertise, our clinical experiences and come up with the best way to treat patients. Second, I enjoy getting to see the late-breaking clinical science, the most up to date clinical trials that are being released at Sessions. In today’s wireless world, we can find out a lot of this information in real time even if I’m sitting at home. But here we get to discuss it with the experts who did the trials one-on-one or sometimes in small or large groups. And that’s something you can’t get unless you’re here on site. And it allows for a small group format where we can sit down with 10-20 cardiologists and discuss particular problems, and come up with solutions.

Why do you support the American Heart Association?

I’m involved in the AHA for more reasons than I can count. The most important is simply this, as a practicing cardiologist, I couldn’t do what I do on a daily basis without the support, guidance, and education provided by the American Heart Association. In particular, the journal Circulation, which we consider to be the Bible in cardiology, is published once a week and gives us the latest and greatest in science as well as practice guidelines. In addition, I have a personal reason to be involved in the AHA. Heart disease is rampant in my family at an early age on both sides, both male and female. So, it’s a personal reason, not just professional.

What do you think about the updated blood pressure guidelines announced on Monday?

The big change is a decrease in the blood pressure targets for therapy. The definition of high blood pressure, or hypertension, has changed from 140/90 to 130/80. This is a substantial expansion of the potential number of people who have hypertension in this country.  So now roughly one of every two U.S. adults will have hypertension.

How does this change the way we approach talking about hypertension, diagnosing it, and treating it?

We used to think that medical therapy didn’t need to be given until 140/90, but the more recent clinical studies have shown that treating down to 120/80 yield additional benefits in terms of reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and death, even in patients who have never had a heart attack. The guidelines also focus on managing risk. They harmonize with guidelines for cholesterol. It’s focusing more on global risk for a patient.

Does it mean you go on medication if you have 132/82?

No, it depends on other risk factors, or 10-year estimate risk of developing heart problems of over 10 (as measured by the ASCVD Risk Estimator tool). In those cases, we might recommend starting medicines, but in the lower risk categories, we’ll most likely start with lifestyle recommendations which haven’t changed a lot over the years — and include sodium reduction, exercise, moderating alcohol consumption and increasing fruits, vegetable and fiber in the diet.

For more information on the new guidelines, visit

By |November 16th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Siblings Tackle Heart Disease from Hometowns to the Halls of Science

JoAnn Parker is Tri-County Heart Walk Director in New York’s lower-Hudson Valley. She spends her days organizing events,recruiting volunteers and sponsors, and she helps create community connections which can help save lives.

JoAnn Parker, AHA Heart Walk Director and her brother, Ray Ebert, PhD, National Institutes of Health

Parker leveraged her contacts to help make the case for Tobacco 21 legislation in two counties in her region. Both counties passed laws to change the purchase age to 21 this year.

While she is entrenched in the AHA’s local impact, her brother, Ray F. Ebert, PhD, works at the other end of the spectrum in cardiovascular care at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He is co-moderating one of the sessions in the Frontiers in Stem Cells symposium, which runs all day on Tuesday, November 14th.  He’s been attending Sessions since 2009 and this year his session is titled, “Clinical Studies of Cell Therapy I.”

We caught up with Ray at Sessions and here’s his take on the AHA’s impact:

“My first grant was an AHA grant-in-aid. It wasn’t big but it helped get me other grants down the road,” he said. AHA grants-in-aid support independent investigators with innovative and advanced projects related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. They are given to investigators early in their career and helps to keep great talent in the research pipeline.

“At Sessions, you get perspective on what’s going in various fields beyond the ones that you’re directly involved with. I get updates in the latest in my field as well, mainly regenerative medicine.”

“JoAnn’s a great fundraiser. AHA is a great facilitator for a lot of different areas and they’re always on top of what the community needs. Right now. the community needs more than just basic science and more than just clinical science. It needs outreach, information, incentives to change lifestyles because at the end of the day a lot of things like obesity and uncontrolled hypertension are at the root causes of a lot of things we’re dealing with. It’s a great service it performs for the community.”

By |November 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Hundreds Attend Go Red For Women Luncheon in Poughkeepsie


It was a sea of red at the Poughkeepsie Grandview on November 9th, as more than 350 Hudson Valley residents gathered for the American Heart Association’s 10th Anniversary Go Red For Women Luncheon. The AHA’s Go Red For Women campaign goal is to empower women with the tools and knowledge they need to fight their number one killer—heart disease. The event raised awareness but also funds for the AHA’s programs and research.

Denise George, President of the Northern Dutchess Hospital and Senior Vice President of Health Quest, served as chair of this 10th Anniversary Go Red For Women Luncheon. She welcomed the crowd, including many former event chairs, and shared Go Red’s life-saving mission.

New York City television medical journalist, Dr. Max Gomez, moderated the keynote health panel discussion with local health experts to help attendees capture ideas and the latest science information to help prevent the number one health threat, cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women—more than all cancers combined.

The local panel of health experts included cardiologist Sarah Levin, MD, FACC; nutritionist, Roufia Payman, DT, CDN; Certified Grief Therapist, Shelley Tatelbaum, M.S.; and personal trainer, Kelly Mills, CPT. The event included morning mini-breakout sessions from Dr. Padma Garvey, Dr. Jack Tighe from St. Luke’s Hospital, and Naomi Biviano from The Institute for Family Health.

The 12 participants in the BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, were celebrated at the event. The AHA states that more than 80% of coronary events in women may be prevented with simple lifestyle changes, like those encouraged through BetterU. Participants have been blogging about their healthy lifestyle challenge experience at

Past BetterU participant, Tina Vaitkus of Pawling, shared her story of survival from a heart attack this August. She had a family history of heart disease and after feeling chest pain, neck and arm pain, and profuse sweating, she called 9-1-1.

She credits the BetterU program for awareness of symptoms and getting emergency help quickly, and AHA-funded researchers who developed the drug-eluding stent she received to open her blocked artery. Her cardiac rehabilitation has been aided by the fact that she had already an exercise regimen in her life from BetterU.

“Two weeks prior to my heart attack I had these symptoms, but like other women I chalked it up to other things. Women doubt their symptoms. Don’t die of doubt. Call 9-1-1,” she said.

Learn about women’s heart attack symptoms on Go Red For Women

The “PURSEonality,” auction featured sophisticated handbags, wallets, and other exclusive items donated from local women “celebrities.” Each handbag contained items which reflect the personal styles and passions of the donor. Q92.1 Radio’s morning show personalities, Joe Daily and Michelle Taylor served as emcees for the event.

Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS, and locally by Signature Sponsors, The Heart Center, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, and Northern Dutchess Hospital. Additional sponsors include Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, The Grandview, Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and media sponsors, the Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Q92.


By |November 10th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments