Local health advocate to emcee Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball

Maria Fernandes-Dominique will emcee the Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball, which is returning to an in-person event for the first time since 2020.

This year’s ball will be held Saturday, April 2, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

Maria is the director of public affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, a racial justice facilitator and a consultant with deep ties and connections in Massachusetts.

Born in Cabo Verde and raised in Brockton, she brings to this work her experience as a Black immigrant raised by a single mother, a community organizer and grassroots leader with a passion for housing, education, health and wellness.

For tickets to the Heart and Stroke Ball, visit CentralMAHeartBall.heart.org.

Maria works with organizations and leaders who are ready to build anti-racist organizations in a collaborative and non-exploitative way that centers the marginalized, empowers stakeholders, and transforms organizations and outcomes, specifically for Brown and Black youth, staff, and families.

Her work includes delivering training, coaching leaders and teams, establishing affinity groups, and creating communication plans. As a movement builder, Maria works with her clients on engagements that ensure the creation of sustainable infrastructure for racial justice.

She is a graduate of Clark University and also earned an M.P.A from Suffolk University. Additionally, she has worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, NeighborWorks, Boston Children’s Hospital and the Mel King Institute and holds certificates in Coaching and DEI from Howard University and in Nonprofit Management from Tufts University.

The Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball is being led by chairperson Dr. Michelle Hadley, a cardiologist at St. Vincent Hospital.

The event is sponsored by Saint Vincent Hospital, UMass Memorial Health, Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital, Mirick O’Connell, Reliant Medical Group, Shields Health Care Group, UMass Chan Medical School, Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc., Community Neuroscience Services, Chris DiBello #32 Foundation and Fidelity Bank.