The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is proud to announce Damara Gutnick, MD, FACP, Senior Director in the Montefiore Health System’s Office of Community and Population Health, and an Associate Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the departments of Epidemiology and Population Health, Family and Social Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has been chosen as the new President of the American Heart Association’s Westchester Board of Directors. Dr. Gutnick’s term began on July 1, 2021.
Dr. Gutnick is a change agent who is passionate about providing culturally competent, high-quality, patient-centered care delivered in a way that addresses what matters most to each patient. She has championed the international spread of “What Matters to You?” (WMTY) and is currently the WMTY faculty member for the Healthcare Association of New York’s (HANYS) Age Friendly Collaborative.
An internist by training. Dr. Gutnick is ardent about using co-design processes to incorporate the patient voice into health care delivery redesign and is a certified ProsciTM Change Management Practitioner. Dr. Gutnick also manages a diverse portfolio of innovative projects focused on improving health equity and collaborates with multiple diverse medical and social care partners to improve the quality-of-care delivery, expand access to care, reduce costs and health disparities, address the social determinant of health needs of the population, integrate behavioral health into primary care, and improve patient and staff experience. Dr. Gutnick also leads and researches diverse community engagement efforts to address structural racism and health disparities.
“I welcome the opportunity of being named President of the Westchester Board,” Dr. Gutnick said. “The people that need us most are heart disease and stroke patients and those with risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes and disproportionately, they are Black, Latino and those living in under-resourced communities. We have much work to do to improve health outcomes of those communities and I look forward to finding solutions to better their lives.”
“We are excited to have Damara’s leadership and expertise as we work together to advance our organization’s mission,” said Jennifer Miller, Executive Director of the American Heart Association in Westchester. “We look forward to working with our new President and the rest of our board to create a healthier Westchester County through research, awareness, diversity and advocacy.”
The work of local volunteers and staff will focus on five priority areas with an emphasis on scale and driving sustainable and equitable change: controlling blood pressure, increasing food security, eliminating tobacco use and vaping, community response and reducing risk for women.