American Heart Association welcomes new advisory board members in Syracuse

Five local leaders are joining the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. These volunteers started their term on the 2022-2023 fiscal year advisory board this month.

New board members include:

Nakeia Chambers

Nakeia Chambers, MS Ed – Nakeia Chambers is the director of Multicultural, Disability, and Veteran’s Affairs at Upstate Medical University. She is a native of Syracuse and a proud graduate of the Syracuse City School District and St. Bonaventure University. Chambers has spent close to 20 years as a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner.

Michael Cominolli

Michael Cominolli – Michael Cominolli is the executive director of Salt City Senior Care Advantage, a partnership between agilon health and Familycare Medical Group. He grew up in Syracuse, attended Le Moyne College and earned his MBA degree from Syracuse University. Cominolli has worked in clinical and non-clinical settings for three of Syracuse’s hospitals, as well as working in the pharmaceutical industry.

Jim McKenney

Jim McKenney – Jim McKenney is a principal in The Bonadio Group’s Professional Excellence Division and is a Certified Public Accountant. McKenney earned an MBA in International Management from Union College and a BS degree in Finance and Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management from Clarkson University. He also taught auditing theory at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Dara Penny

Dara Penny – Dara Penny is the vice president, director of marketing at Community Bank and is a Certified Financial Marketing Professional. Penny also serves as a volunteer for the Friends of Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s fundraising committee and is active in planning drives at the bank, including for CNY Diaper Bank, Food Bank of Central NY and others.

Kelly Springer

Kelly Springer, MS, RD, CDN – Kelly Springer is the owner and founder of Kelly’s Choice, a nutrition and health company. She is a graduate of West Virginia University with a BS degree in Nutrition and earned her Master’s degree in Health Education from SUNY Cortland. Springer has been practicing in the field of dietetics for almost two decades.

“The American Heart Association has a mission to save lives, but we can’t do that without volunteers,” said Franklin Fry, executive director of the American Heart Association in Syracuse, “The Syracuse advisory board is a group of dedicated local leaders that is truly making a difference in the health of our community.”

The new members join an award-winning advisory board. The Syracuse area advisory board has been honored with the national Gold Standard Board designation from the American Heart Association for nine consecutive years.

The American Heart Association wants to thank the following board members who have stepped off the board:

  • President Peggy Thomas, MSN, RN, Upstate Medical University
  • Rita L. Reicher, Ph.D.

Board members for the 2022-2023 fiscal year are:

  • Chairman Duane E. Wiedor
  • President Lynne Shopiro, RN, Crouse Health
  • Diane Benedetto, CPA, National Grid
  • Aida Byrne, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Pavi Chigateri, Kinney Drugs/KPH Healthcare
  • Todd Cross, Mass Mutual
  • Grahame Gould, MD, Upstate Medical University
  • Amy Grover, MS, ATC, Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
  • Joshua Harrison, MD, Crouse Health
  • Kenneth Hills, Syracuse Model Neighborhoods
  • Brian A. Howard, Tompkins Financial Advisors
  • LaToya M. Jones, BS, HAS LPN, Healthcare Education Project
  • Nelly Kazzaz, MD, FACC, SJH Cardiology Associates
  • Al Marzullo, IBEW Local 43
  • Derrick L. Murry, MPH, CHES, Retina-Vitreous Surgeons of CNY, PC
  • Randy Tuthill, C&S Companies
  • Deborah Welch
  • Monique Wright-Williams, Syracuse City School District

The advisory board works towards fundraising, advocacy and promoting better health in support of the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, reducing barriers to health care access and quality.