Kathy Lanni’s daughter Erin received a pacemaker when she was 18. After Erin shared her story at a Go Red for Women Luncheon in 2008, Lanni, Chief Community Officer at SEFCU, became involved with the American Heart Association.
Dr. Mandeep Sidhu, FAHA, cardiologist and assistant dean for medical education and student research at Albany Medical Center, began volunteering with the American Heart Association in 2003, when he was at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and participated in the local Heart Walk.
Over the years, their work with the American Heart Association has grown, including serving on the local board. For the next two years, Lanni will serve as the chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, and Sidhu will be its president.
“This is a lifelong journey for Erin, and my husband Greg and I promised her we would be on the journey with her,” Lanni said. “I’m a personal beneficiary of the AHA – without it, Erin wouldn’t be here. Now, I can pay it forward so other families benefit. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to be of service to the American Heart Association, and to move the message forward about fighting heart disease in our community.”
“For me, it’s about the people, the science of the AHA, and the awareness,” Sidhu said. “As a clinician, continuing to fund the science is critical to me. Raising the awareness about heart disease and stroke is something that we do differently than other organizations. The American Heart Association ties the science to awareness.”
Lanni and Sidhu are looking forward to building upon the current success of the American Heart Association, whose mission is building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Sidhu, a fellow of the American Heart Association, and the fifth local board president to come from Albany Medical Center, regularly attends annual scientific conferences of the AHA, and looks forward to seeing that knowledge at work locally. In his coming term, he wants to highlight the work of local researchers funded by the American Heart Association. Currently, approximately $2 million in research funding comes to the Capital Region from the American Heart Association.
“I’d also like to work with other organizations that focus on health and wellness in our community,” Sidhu said.
Lanni pointed to the Go Red for Women movement as one of the Heart Association’s local successes.
“That movement has saved lives, and through the BetterU program that works with 12 women each year, changed lives,” Lanni said. “Many people are more health conscious, and we need to keep spreading the word. The AHA’s motto is ‘Life Is Why,’ and for many, good health really is a matter of life or death. This is an exciting time for the American Heart Association as we are on the cusp of bringing the organization to a whole new level.”
“We are honored to have Kathy and Mandeep lead the board,” said John Guastella, executive director of the American Heart Association in the Capital Region. “They both work for organizations with a strong philanthropic sense and commitment to heart and brain health. Their personal passion and commitment helps drive our mission. Kathy has chaired the Go Red for Women Luncheon, and continues to serve on the committee for that great event. Mandeep is one of the founders of the Swing’n for Stroke golf tournament that draws medical and business leaders together to support the American Heart Association. I know the whole Capital Region will benefit from their commitment to improving the cardiovascular health of the place where we all live and work.”
Lanni is a Troy native who worked as an R.N. at Albany Medical College Division of Oncology before owning and operating Regalo, A Gift Experience. She was the vice president of national sales for BroadBlast Communications and is now the chief community officer at SEFCU. She and her husband, Greg, have two daughters, Erin and Lauren, and a son-in-law, Federico Castellucci. She and her husband live in Menands.
Sidhu is from Massachusetts and a graduate of Tufts Medical School. His residency was at Tufts- New England Medical Center, and he did a fellowship in cardiology and electrophysiology at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire. He and his wife, Dr. Sona Bhullar, also of Albany Medical Center, have two sons and live in Slingerlands.
Sidhu and Lanni are joined on the board by new members Dr. Alan Boulos, chair, department of neurosurgery at Albany Medical Center, and Dr. Kimberly Young Wilkins, interim superintendent of the City School District of Albany; and current members:
- Paul Arciero, director, human nutrition and metabolism laboratory, Skidmore College
- Jennifer Corcoran Conway, partner, Tully Rinckey
- Andrew Dahlen, vice president, marketing, Beech Nut Foods
- Maria Decker, Maria’s Café
- Bob Elling, Albany Medical Center at HVCC
- Theresa Petrone, project development manager, CAP COM Federal Credit Union