South Florida Leaders Of Impact Campaign Spearheads Health Equity

Photo Credit: Courtesy of afotostock/Shutterstock

In South Florida, where someone lives should not determine how long they live. A rallying cry for health equity is echoing across the region, with nine exceptional leaders stepping forward to champion the American Heart Association's South Florida Leaders of Impact Campaign. This mission is about tackling the stark health disparities that afflict the Greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale area. Behind the alarming statistics—9,000 lives claimed by heart disease and 3,600 lost to stroke each year—lie social determinants of health, structural racism, and limited access to quality healthcare.

The South Florida Leaders of Impact Campaign is at the forefront of change, engaging community leaders from 150 cities in a pivotal seven-week challenge. Their collective goal is to raise awareness and vital funds to support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association.

At the heart of this campaign are these nine outstanding individuals:

  • Angela Bivins, Executive Assistant, Jackson Memorial Hospital
  • Betty Marsan, Owner, A Love Story Winery & Bistro
  • Kenneth Hernandez, Project Manager, B&I Contractors
  • Lenny Chesal, Chief Evangelist, iM Critical
  • Manish Hirapara, CEO, Peak Activity
  • Milena Robison, Sales Execution, Northwestern Mutual
  • Naim Dahdah, M.D., Founder, DCLINIK
  • Ross Calvert, Vice President, CUNDY, Inc.
  • Venessa S. Goodnow, AVP & Chief Pharmacy Officer, Jackson Health System

Marisol Garcia, the Executive Director of the American Heart Association's Greater Miami & Fort Lauderdale Market, commends their commitment: "Cardiovascular disease remains a top killer in South Florida. That’s why it’s critical for us to engage volunteers who are passionate about making a lasting impact on their community”.

Their journey commenced on World Heart Day, September 29, as they embarked on a mission to raise essential funds. Their strategies include mobilizing their extensive networks, orchestrating a seven-week campaign entirely focused on achieving health equity, launching compelling social media initiatives to raise awareness and provide tools for better heart and brain health, and involving the community in the American Heart Association's life-saving efforts through a series of fundraising events and activities.

The funds they raise will contribute to the American Heart Association's 2024 Impact Goal, a commitment to advancing cardiovascular health for all while eliminating barriers to equitable healthcare access and quality. The organization is actively partnering with local stakeholders and community members to address issues such as nutrition security, blood pressure management, and community readiness.

The climax of their tireless efforts will arrive on National Philanthropy Day, November 15, when the Greater Miami & Fort Lauderdale Leaders of Impact winner will be unveiled and celebrated at the South Florida Heart Ball on April 13. These nine leaders are not just responding to a call—they are driving a movement. Their commitment to the cause is a testament to the power of individuals to make a profound impact on their community and pave the way for health equity. In their hands, we see the promise of a healthier, more equitable South Florida, thanks to the South Florida Leaders of Impact Campaign.

For more information on the Leaders of Impact Initiative or to support one of this year’s nominees visit this link.