MVP CEO to chair Capital Region Heart Walk & Run

Denise Gonick
Denise Gonick

Fighting heart disease and stroke has added a new component in 2017: a 5-kilometer run as part of the American Heart Association’s largest fundraising event, the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run.

“I’m honored to chair the 2017 Capital Region Heart Run and Walk, and excited that, for the first time, the event will feature a 5K,” said Denise Gonick, president and CEO of MVP Health Care.

The Capital Region Heart Walk and Run will take place on Saturday, June 3 at the University at Albany. Activities and registration begin at 8:30 a.m., the Run begins at 10 a.m., and the Walk steps off at 10:05 a.m. 

“Supporting the American Heart Association’s mission to end cardiovascular disease and stroke is important to me as a health care leader, and to MVP Health Care, because the AHA reaches so many people with their critical message of education, empowerment, and prevention,” Gonick said. “We know that if people eat well, know their numbers – like blood pressure and cholesterol – and stay active, we can prevent heart disease and stroke. The Heart Walk helps the American Heart Association continue to fund research and reach people at the Walk and throughout the community.”

This is the second time that Gonick has served in a leadership role with the American Heart Association. In 2012, along with Lynn Oliker, she chaired the Go Red for Women Luncheon.

“I am chairing a second event and continuing my involvement in a leadership capacity with the AHA because this work aligns perfectly with MVP’s commitment to healthy communities,” Gonick said. “Heart disease and stroke, up to 80% of which are preventable by lifestyle modifications, are responsible for the deaths of about one in every three Americans. We simply cannot achieve our vision of healthy communities if heart disease and stroke deaths continue at their current rate.” 

Gonick is working with an executive leadership team to make the Capital Region Heart Walk a success. Its members are Ellen Sax, MVP; Barb Hess, SEFCU; Karen Magee, NYSUT; Dr. Suzie Mookherjee, Albany Medical Center; Lee McElroy, RPI; Paul Milton, Ellis Medicine; Daniella Bigalli, Homestead Funding; Harold Iselin and Jennifer Gomez of Greenberg, Traurig, LLP; Peter Connolly of Keeler Mercedes; and Rob Lamoureux.

Gonick has been president and CEO of MVP Health Care since 2012. In that position, she oversees a company with 700,000 members and 1500 employees. Before becoming president and CEO, she was executive vice president of administrative services and chief legal officer at MVP. 

Gonick is a native of Long Island and a graduate of Hofstra University and Albany Law School. She and her husband Steve live in Guilderland with their two daughters. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Business Council, The Capital Region Chamber, The Center for Economic Growth, and for Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. In January 2017, the Capital Region Chamber named her chair of its board.

“Whether or not you’ve been directly impacted by heart disease or stroke, I’ve encouraged everyone at MVP – and I encourage our whole community – to participate in or donate to this year’s Heart Walk,” Gonick said. “You never know, the life you save may be your own.” 

“Denise Gonick has been a leader in the health care field in the Capital Region for a long time,” said Kathy Lanni, chief community officer at SEFCU and chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association. “Her commitment to prevention matches the American Heart Association’s commitment to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Denise’s leadership of the Heart Walk means that we will be able to improve the health of our community members. We’re fortunate that she took on this critical role.”

The Capital Region Heart Walk and Run is set for Saturday, June 3, at the University at Albany. Activities and registration begin at 8:30 a.m. The 5K run will begin at 10 a.m. and the Walk will start at 10:05 a.m. Denise Gonick, president and CEO of MVP Health Care, is chairing the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run. Rosalyn Wallace is the Stroke Ambassador and Ryan Galvin is the Heart Hero. Cody Holyoke of CBS 6 and Sean McMaster of B95.5 will co-emcee the Heart Walk. There will be health screenings, a Kids Zone, a tribute to survivors, and a Memory Lane to honor lost loved ones. Subway is the national sponsor of the Capital Region Heart Walk. Local sponsors include MVP Healthcare, CSEA, Ellis Medicine, Homestead Funding Corp., St. Peter’s Health Partners and SEFCU. Albany Medical Center is the Life Is Why sponsor. Media sponsors are All Over Albany, B95.5, CBS 6 and the Times Union. For information, visit, or contact Kim Sheedy or Jessica Pettengill at, 518.626.8757, or or 518.626.8768.

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