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.


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