Three community members to be recognized at Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball

Three local community members will receive the American Heart Association’s “Heart of Gold” Award at the Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball scheduled for February 29, 2020 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The Ball is the “must attend” social event of the season, where people come to network with peers and socialize with some of the region’s most influential people.

“The Central Massachusetts community will come together to recognize and celebrate excellence in heart and stroke science, research, health care, treatment and community involvement,” said Daniel Carlucci, MD, FACC, Chair Medical Specialties at Reliant Medical Group. “As chair of the selection committee, I was honored to work with volunteers to review the award winners’ innovative and life-changing work which enables people from all walks of life to live longer, healthier lives.”

Colleen Ferguson of Worcester Public Schools will receive the award for the Community Leader category. She was chosen for being an advocate who has made exceptional contributions through volunteer service and commitment to the Association’s mission to create a culture of health.

Ferguson, a physical education teacher in the Worcester Public School for over 25 years, teaches inner-city elementary schools about the importance of heart health. For more than half of Ferguson’s career, she has conducted the Association’s former Jump Rope for Heart and current Kid’s Heart Challenge fundraisers to educate her students about heart health while raising more than $30,000. She consistently creates a culture of health knowledge and volunteerism with her students and peers. She works as an ambassador to the 50 PE teachers in the Worcester Public Schools, communicating this heart health information and share resources. She has also enjoyed being the Association’s mascot “Ticker” as an incentive for her students to learn at Elm Park Community School, Canterbury Magnet School, and McGrath Elementary.

Dr. Phyllis Pollack of MassGeneral Hospital for Children will receive the Cardiovascular Medical Professional category award. She was chosen for her work as an extraordinary cardiology professional who demonstrates energetic support and guidance to the Association. Dr. Pollack has lived in Worcester and provided world-class pediatric cardiology care to her patients since 1983. She began the pediatric cardiac imaging program at UMass and brought fetal echocardiography (imaging a baby’s heart in utero) to Worcester County – greatly expanding the care of children with heart disease in Central MA. She served as Division Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at UMass Medical School where she was Associate Professor of Pediatrics from 1995-2005 until she joined Children Heart Associates. Earlier this year, she transitioned to MassGeneral Hospital for Children. She attends the Association’s Heart Walks and Scientific Sessions and is very active in her community volunteering with the YWCA, Mass Audubon Society, Worcester Garden Club and Worcester Art Museum.

Dr. Jordan Eisenstock, Community Neuroscience Services, will receive the award for the Neurology Medical Professional category. Dr. Eisenstock is a consistent and tireless advocate for stroke patients and has served on the Association’s board for several years and is also a member of the Association’s Stroke Awareness Committee. He has raised significant funds for stroke research and education. His team has created patient and caregiver resources for those affected by stroke. He was chosen for his substantial contributions towards achieving the Association’s mission to reduce disability and death due to stroke.

The 2020 Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball is a celebration of the mission, passion, work, and life-changing and lifesaving achievements of the Association and its remarkable community of volunteer advocates, champions and leaders. The Ball is co-chaired by Ava Jo Collins, Chief Operating Officer at Saint Vincent Hospital, and David T. Przesiek, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at Fallon Health.

Collins and Przesiek have formed an Executive Leadership Team to help make this event a success. Members include Elizabeth L. B. Greene, partner with Mirick O’Connell; Sherri Pitcher, VP Business Development at Fidelity Bank; Anne Roper, CEO of Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital (an affiliate of Encompass Health); Paul Scully, President & CEO at Country Bank; and Lavon Winkler, President of FLEXcon.

Sponsors secured to date include Saint Vincent Hospital; Country Bank; Fallon Health; UMass Memorial Medical Center; Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital (an affiliate of Encompass Health); FLEXcon; The Meadows of Central MA; Commerce Bank, a division of Berkshire Bank; Reliant Medical Group and Vibra Hospital of Western Massachusetts – Central Campus.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please call 508.499.6266 or visit

Leave a Comment