New York City, June 12, 2018— On Wednesday, June 6, 2018 the American Heart Association in New York City celebrated its annual Heart & Stroke Ball. The event brought together hundreds of the volunteers, survivors and other supporters who work year-round to bring the American Heart Association’s mission to life. This year’s event was unique because it’s theme of “Access and Health Inequity” highlighted the growing health disparities in New York City.
According to statistics from the NYC Department of Health (DOHMH) New Yorkers in low-income neighborhoods, such as the South Bronx, Harlem and Central Brooklyn have a life expectancy that is a decade shorter than fellow citizens in wealthy neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side. A trip on the 4/5 subway lines illustrates this disparity, as those who live near the East 180th Street stop in the Bronx are 28 percent more likely to die early than those who live near the 86th Street stop in Manhattan.
“We live in a city of abundant resources, but the truth is that not all New Yorkers have equal access to those resources,” said Kathy Kauffmann, Senior Vice President of the AHA in New York City and Long Island. “By focusing on access and health inequity, we want to produce the change needed to truly build a culture of health for every New Yorker, regardless of their background, income or zip code.”
Mike R. Rosella, partner of the law firm Paul Hastings LLP, served as Chair of the 2018 NYC Heart & Stroke Ball. As chairman, he helped the event raise more than $1 million toward the mission of the American Heart Association.
“Heart disease and stroke remain the number one and number five killers of Americans. As leaders in our community, it is our responsibility to ensure that every New Yorker has access to quality care, affordable nutritious foods, an active lifestyle and education that will help us all live longer, healthier lives,” Rosella said.
“It’s an honor for me to serve as chair of this event because I have been involved with the American Heart Association for more than 20 years. To see the enthusiasm for this organization increase every year is amazing. We hope to continue our pursuit of the life-saving mission of the Association together as a community.”
Dr. Annapoorna Kini, the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Mount Sinai, received the night’s highest recognition, the Heart of Gold Award, for her contribution to improving the health outcomes of all New Yorkers as a clinician, teacher and researcher.
“It is such an honor to be standing here today to receive the Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association. Thank you AHA and to Mount Sinai for recognizing my work and the contributions of numerous women leaders in various fields and departments, and for allowing us to rise to positions of leadership,” said Dr. Kini during her acceptance speech.
In a passionate speech, Dr. Kini thanked her family and shared a message for female medical professionals and young women interested in medicine.
“My advice to all women out there is to pursue your passion in whichever field it is. Remain focused, remain humble and maintain balance between family and work. There is no substitute for hard work and family is equally important,” she said. “To my family, friends and mentors thank you for continuously encouraging me to achieve my goals in life.”
Among the highlights of the evening was a video presentation and speech by Brooklyn resident and student at the College of Brockport – SUNY, Jermaine Meadows.
“Our city has come a long way in addressing health disparities, but the reality is that neighborhoods like mine remain at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke,” Meadows said. “Finding fresh affordable food is still a challenge for many of my neighbors, and with limited access to healthy food it becomes more difficult to tackle important health issues. By coming together to highlight the health disparities present in our city, we can take a step closer to closing these gaps.”
The 2018 Heart & Stroke Ball took place at Cipriani Wall Street at 55 Wall Street. American Heart Association’s Life Is Why NYC sponsor is Mount Sinai Heart; Sanofi is a NYC Heart & Stroke Ball Champion sponsor; Abiomed and Compass One are Legacy Sponsors.