‘The Montefiore Mile’ kicks off Heart Month

(l-r) Mario Garcia, M.D., chief of Division of Cardiology at Montefiore and co-director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care, Carolyn Romero, research assistant in emergency medicine at Montefiore and Steven Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center gather after finishing the ‘Montefiore Mile’ .
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

February is American Heart Month, and a local hospital kicked the national month off right.

On Thursday, February 5, the Moses Campus of Montefiore Medical Center held a kick-off presentation promoting healthy lifestyles and a one-mile walk inside the hospital to reinforce the importance of Heart Month.

The presentation specifically discussed ways to stay healthy and decrease one’s risk of heart cancer, heart failure and other complications, such as eating healthy foods and exercising routinely.

Among those who spoke was Steven Safyer, M.D., president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, who began the presentation.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals to learn more information about heart month and to get involved in its activities,” said Safyer. “Being involved in Heart Month will result in a community that is further educated about particular risks and what they can do to avoid this risk – decreasing the chances of heart issues.”

“That is our goal – and quite frankly, our goal is to eventually put ourselves (Montefiore) out of business,” Safyer added, jokingly.

After the presentation, all in attendance embarked on a one-mile walk inside the Montefiore Medical Center, which was named the ‘Montefiore Mile’. Because it’s interior design, the hospital and its hallways promote walking for it’s staff and visitors, creating a loop within the hospital. Participants walked the quarter mile loop four times.

“The key to remaining healthy is to eat, exercise and sleep right,” said Carolyn Romero, research assistant in emergency medicine at Montefiore, who participated in the walk. “This was a terrific event, simply because it reminds people about the importance of Heart Month and the precautions that people can take to avoid the risks.”

Heart disease is the number one cause of death among Bronx, New York City and New York State residents, according to healt‌h.ny.gov. In 2012 alone, 2,730 of the 8,900 deaths that took place in the Bronx were the cause of heart disease.

It is apparent that Montefiore is very mindful of these statistics. At the same time, they are still approaching patient’s heart issues rationally, only taking drastic measures if there is no other option, such as heart transplants, which are performed on less than 1% of Montefiore’s patients annually.

“We encourage people to continue to eat healthy and exercise on a daily basis,” said Mario Garcia, M.D., chief of Division of Cardiology at Montefiore and co-director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care, claiming a healthy lifestyle is one’s best bet. “A heart transplant should be the last resort – for only the sickest of the sick who have had many heart attacks, viral infections and have previously tried medications and devices that haven’t worked.”

“Bronx residents need to understand that the best access to health care is in their own community. We will do anything necessary to keep our patients and our residents healthy, and we are very proud of that,” Garcia said.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgood‌stein‌@cngl‌ocal.com.

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