Syracuse leaders recognized nationally for impacting heart health of Central New York

Local volunteers have been honored by the American Heart Association for their work to advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality in Syracuse. The 20 members of the American Heart Association, Syracuse board were recognized as a “Gold Standard Board” for helping the Association make strides toward its mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives during their 2021-2022 term.

Board members during the award period were:

  • Diane Benedetto, National Grid
  • Aida Byrne, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central Region
  • Pavi Chigateri, KPHN Healthcare
  • Todd Cross, Mass Mutual
  • Grahame Gould, MD, Upstate Medical University
  • Amy Grover, MS, ATC, Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
  • Josh Harrison, MD, Crouse Health
  • Kenneth Hills, Syracuse Community Connections
  • Brian Howard, Tompkins Financial Advisors
  • LaToya M. Jones, Healthcare Education Project
  • Nelly Kazzaz, MD, SJH Cardiology Associates
  • Alan Marzullo, IBEW Local 43
  • Derrick Murry, Retina-Vitreous Surgeons of Central New York,
  • Lynne Shopiro, Crouse Health
  • Rita Reicher
  • Peggy Thomas
  • Randy Tuthill, C&S Companies
  • Deborah Welch
  • Duane Wiedor
  • Monique Wright-Williams, Syracuse City School District

Boards designated as Gold Standard must meet a high number of criteria, which includes engaging community members and local employers to participate in health initiatives such as CPR education, high blood pressure management, advocating for policies aimed at increasing access to healthy food, decreasing tobacco use and championing equitable health and well-being.

“We are relentless in our pursuit of improving the health of our community. The challenges are great, but together we are making a difference. I hope that our efforts inspire other people, organizations and communities to become more involved with the American Heart Association,” said Duane Wiedor, board chairman. “I am confident that with every step, we are closer to our mission of achieving equitable health for all in Syracuse.”

Here in Syracuse, the American Heart Association is focused on several priority initiatives, including addressing hypertension, nutrition security, and vaping and tobacco use.

The board of the American Heart Association, Syracuse is one of only 31 of the Association’s boards nationwide to be recognized with this distinction.