The Westchester County Police Department and Mohegan Lake Fire Department were each recently awarded $1000 as winners in the 2014 Chief’s Challenge, a program designed to improve the health and fitness of first responders by encouraging them to take advantage of discounted memberships at local health clubs.
Of the nearly 200 participants from 35 police and fire departments throughout Westchester and Putnam Counties and New York City, the two winning departments tallied up the highest levels of participation by their members.
Working in collaboration with Club Fit in Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley, The Chief’s Challenge was established and funded by the Heart and Health Education Foundation, directed by Franklin Zimmerman, MD, Arthur Fass, MD, and Dina Katz, MD, all members of the Phelps Medical Associates cardiology practice in Briarcliff Manor.
The program was inspired by research conducted by Dr. Zimmerman, a nationally-recognized authority in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease in public safety personnel. His findings have been widely cited at national law enforcement meetings and in publications.
“My research shows that law enforcement personnel have a high risk of heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors. One only needs to listen to the nightly news to understand the high level of stress these men and women endure. Our program seeks to create an incentive for first responders to maintain cardiovascular health and fitness.” For Dr. Zimmerman, his passion for the subject is both professional and personal. His sister, Shelley Zimmerman, is Chief of Police of San Diego.
Thomas Eade, Lieutenant in the Lake Mohegan Fire Department, was enthusiastic about the program. “Fitness is a paramount consideration for firefighters, and adding some competition about fitness gives people a push, and makes them strive to be better at their occupation,” remarked Lt. Eade. The money awarded by Chief’s Challenge will help offset the cost of the fitness machines for their station.
“There are stresses associated with police work and the shifts they have to work,” said Stephen Smith of the Westchester County Police Department. “Staying in shape and eating a healthy diet helps officers address challenges they are confronted with every day. We consider health important and promote it in the department.” A Police Benevolent Association vice president, he will use the Chief’s Challenge award to purchase exercise equipment for the police academy, which will also enable other recruits and members of the department to benefit.
The 2015 Chief’s Challenge is under way, with high hopes for an even bigger turnout of public safety personnel this year. Club Fit is offering a highly discounted membership for all active police officers and firefighters. For information, call Joe DaRonco at Club Fit Briarcliff Manor at 914-250-2783 or Laura Crowe at Club Fit Jefferson Valley at 914-250-2722.
About Phelps Hospital
Phelps Hospital, part of Northwell Health, is a full-service 238-bed acute care community hospital located in Sleepy Hollow, NY. With more than 1,700 employees and 500 medical staff members representing 60 medical specialties, Phelps offers one of the broadest ranges of community hospital services in Westchester County. Patients benefit from distinguished physicians, many of whom are pioneers in their field, offering the most advanced procedures using the latest technology. www.phelpshospital.org. Phelps’ primary and specialty care medical group, Phelps Medical Associates, has nearly 20 practices located on the hospital campus and in the surrounding communities. www.phelpsmedicalassociates.org.
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, about 750 outpatient facilities and more than 13,600 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 68,000 employees – 16,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We’re training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu