Deborah’s innovative program “Love Your Heart,” which screens teenagers from 12-19 years of age for potential cardiac problems, was recently recognized as a Runner-Up Winner in the New Jersey State Department of Health’s Population Health Hero Awards. Deborah was honored in the Health Care Provider category.
For the last three years, Deborah’s physicians and highly skilled specialists have gone “on the road.” bringing a full cardiology screening program – including the ECG, echocardiogram, heart auscultation, and body mass index, along with intake of a complete medical history – to various high schools throughout the state. Held on Saturday mornings, students are screened for Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which when undiagnosed and undetected is the single biggest threat to young lives in the United States.
“We have all heard stories of teenagers collapsing on the football field and dying from an undiagnosed cardiac condition,” said Program Organizer Cyndy Kornfeld, Deborah’s Director of Volunteer Services. “Sudden cardiac arrest however does not discriminate between an athlete, a chess player or a member of the marching band. It is our goal to reach as many high school students as possible and identify any who might have a potential cardiac condition.”
“Shifting the healthcare system’s focus to wellness and collaborating with communities to build healthier environments that promote wellness are cornerstones of the Department’s work,” said Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett. “Inspiring initiatives to promote Population Health are ongoing in every region of our state, and it’s important that we shine a spotlight on this incredible work, not only to honor our awardees but to encourage others.”
“While it is gratifying to be recognized by the State Health Department for our community initiative,” added Kornfeld, “it is of far more meaningful when we identify a young student who has a potential cardiac problem. Being able to alert them and steer them to appropriate medical care is probably among the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Every child’s life we save is a significant victory for us.”