South Central PA executives and companies make bold commitments to heart and brain health

On the ninety-eighth anniversary of the founding of the American Heart Association, leaders across South Central Pennsylvania are making bold commitments to stand with the Association as it drives toward its 2024 Impact Goal which is focused on improving cardiovascular health for all while identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.

“The American Heart Association is committed to the health of people across Pennsylvania and believes that everyone everywhere deserves the opportunity to live a full and healthy life” said Natalie Wech, co-chair of the American Heart Association South Central PA board of directors and senior vice president at M&T Bank. “Although we have made tremendous progress in fighting heart disease and stroke in our community, our work is far from complete. As the Association approaches its centennial anniversary, it’s a great reminder that we must continue the fight so every single person in our community has access to the resources they need to be healthy.”

The American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists, and  the distinguished achievements of the organization over nearly one hundred years are the result of the passion of more than 40 million volunteers, supporters and employees who together have raised – and funded — more than $4.8 billion in research

For nearly a century, the American Heart Association, has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy public policies in communities across the country. These bold moves have helped transform the nation’s overall health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates.

Reaching for bold goals is made possible because of like-minded organizations who share in the vision of better health in central Pennsylvania. Every year, many companies pledge their support of donations, time, talent and funds, including UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, which have pledged their support through 2024.

Another bold commitment made by local leaders is the commitment to serve as chair for signature events. These 10 chairpersons have demonstrated the leadership needed to catapult the American Heart Association into achieving their 2024 Impact Goal. The 2022-2024 chairpersons are:

  • Susan Hubley, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Capital Blue Cross, as 2022 Capital Region Heart Ball chair.
  • Wendy Oliver, regional vice president of operations at Weis Markets, and Rick Seipp, vice president of pharmacy at Weis Markets, as 2022 Capital Region Go Red for Women co-chairs.
  • Jodi Hoagland, vice president and assistant controller at TE Connectivity, as 2022 Capital Region Heart Walk chair.
  • Josh Smeltzer, senior vice president and financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management – The Sides Group, as 2022 York Heart Ball chair.
  • Michael Cogliano, president of WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, as 2022 York/Adams Heart Walk chair.
  • James Hoehn, regional president of the central Pennsylvania region at PNC Bank, as 2023 Capital Region Heart Ball chair.
  • Chris Lipp, vice president of the heart and vascular service line at WellSpan Health, and James Harvey, vice president and chief medical officer for the heart and vascular service line at WellSpan Health, as 2023 York Heart Ball co-chairs.
  • Lou Baverso, chief operating officer of UPMC Central PA and president of UPMC Harrisburg, West Shore and Community Osteopathic, as 2024 Capital Region Heart Ball chair.

”The American Heart Association has monumental goals, but the impact that they make is personal and touches the lives of nearly everyone in our community,” said Josh Smeltzer, co-chair of the American Heart Association South Central PA board of directors and senior vice president and financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management – The Sides Group. “We are just getting started on the next chapter of our relentless work to end heart disease and stroke and are grateful to the community for the passion and commitment they give to support the mission of the American Heart Association.”

Driving to achieve the 2024 Impact Goal, the American Heart Association will continue to lead breakthroughs in science and technology, improve health care and advocate for federal, state and local policies drive healthier lifestyles.

To learn more about the American Heart Association visit,