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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Six Westchester Medical Center Health Network Staff Members to Go the Distance to Make a Difference at TCS New York City Marathon


CONTACT:   Andy LaGuardia
(914) 493-6532


Donations are Being Accepted for Team Members Running on November 6 in Support of Patients at 10 Hospital Affiliates Across the Hudson Valley

VALHALLA, N.Y. (September 1, 2016)  - Six Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) employees from network facilities across the Hudson Valley will channel the fighting spirit demonstrated by so many of their patients when they team up to Go the Distance to Make a Difference in the TCS New York City Marathon November 6.

The team’s six members – two doctors, two registered nurses, a physician’s assistant and a hospital administrator – all of whom are motivated by their own special stories – will compete in support of the life-changing and lifesaving care provided by WMCHealth’s 10 Hudson Valley hospitals. Each competitor is dedicating his or her efforts to the patients they care for each day.

“This collective effort is yet another example of WMCHealth’s dedication to the hundreds of thousands of Hudson Valley residents who entrust our organization to provide the very best care for them and their loved ones,” said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO, Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “Running a marathon is not unlike some of the medical challenges faced by our patients as both require internal strength and perseverance. Participating in the TCS New York City Marathon in order to raise funds that will stay right here in the region and help our neighbors during their greatest time of need is in the true spirit of WMCHealth’s mission."

Donations collected for each runner’s efforts will support essential programs and services in the local and regional hospitals the runners represent. Contributions can be made by visiting https://www.crowdrise.com/westchestermedicalcenterhealthnetwork.

Here’s a closer look at the runners who will Go the Distance to Make a Difference for the Hudson Valley.

Adele Rushneck, RN, Valhalla – Running for Westchester Medical Center, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

Adele Rushneck knows a thing or two about trauma. A member of the WMCHealth team for 37 years, she is the Assistant Nurse Manager in Westchester Medical Center’s Trauma Intensive Care Unit. Despite her background, nothing could have prepared Rushneck for the sudden, unexpected loss of her son in 2013, when she was training to run her first marathon. Devastated, Rushneck stopped running for several weeks. Eventually, believing her son would have wanted her to finish what she had started, she rededicated herself to training. And in what she deemed a “healing experience,” Rushneck went on to complete the New York City Marathon. “Life is a marathon, and no matter what you may be facing, I believe it is important to set your sights on a goal or a path, dig deep and stay focused,” she said. This year’s event will mark Rushneck’s third TCS New York City Marathon. She’ll be running in honor of all Westchester Medical Center patients, as well as the staff that is so committed to their care. “It might not be easy, but you will get to that finish line or you will get on the right path,” she said.

Stephen Ferrando, MD, West Harrison – Running for the Behavioral Health Center, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

As Stephen Ferrando, MD, paces himself through his third TCS New York City Marathon – he’s run in more than 40 marathons total – he’ll have the minds of others in mind. Dr. Ferrando is Director of Psychiatry for WMCHealth’s Behavioral Health Center, which has offered a full spectrum of inpatient, outpatient, community and emergency mental health care for individuals and families since 1929. He recognizes that, much like a marathon, his work and that of others to gain acceptance and understanding of mental health challenges has been long and arduous. But he will continue to pound the pavement, and he hopes his latest 26.2-mile journey can be an impactful step in the right direction. “Behavioral health and mental health are key aspects of who we all are, but the issue is often accompanied by a stigma,” Dr. Ferrando said. “By running the TCS NYC Marathon in support of our patients, I hope to help raise awareness and minimize that stigma.”

Jean Lavin, RN, Somers – Running for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

When discussing her 29-year career with the organization, Jean Lavin, RN, likes to say, “I grew up here.” As a Pediatric Cardiology Nurse Clinician at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, she’s seen many patients grow up – as well as many who were robbed of that chance. Lavin, running in her second straight TCS New York City Marathon, is dedicating her race to all of her past and present patients, as well as to the dedicated staff she feels privileged to work with daily. “I’ve had the opportunity to see and be inspired by the wonderful, lifesaving work of our physicians and nurses, and to help patients and families understand and navigate complex and difficult cardiac diagnoses,” she said.

George Prisco, Highland – Running for MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

George Prisco is no stranger to rugged competitions. Executive Director of Mid-Hudson Valley StaffCo at Poughkeepsie’s MidHudson Regional Hospital, he’s finished seven Ironman triathlons, most recently in 2013, when he completed the Ironman’s grueling trifecta – a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon – in one day. Prisco thought his marathon days were done. But when the opportunity arose to run in support of MidHudson Regional Hospital and the thousands of area residents who rely on its services each year, he wasn’t about to turn it down. “Anytime someone can turn their passion into a benefit for something else they are passionate about, it is a perfect scenario,” Prisco said. “I can’t think of anything better than to do what I love outside of work to benefit what I love at work.”

Ramon Rivera, MD, New City – Running for Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

Ramon Rivera, MD, has an affinity for the New York City Marathon. He grew up in Manhattan and embraced the excitement surrounding the event each year. He’s been an avid runner since childhood. As Bariatric Director at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Weight Loss Surgical Institute – he also sees patients at WMCHealth’s Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick – Dr. Rivera is eager to raise awareness and encourage people to embrace a physically active, healthy lifestyle. On Marathon Day, he’ll be thinking of his patients’ best interests in the long run as he endures his own long run. “Preparing for a marathon is hard work, but in the end, the satisfaction and the benefit are tremendous,” said Dr. Rivera. “I hope to raise awareness and encourage people in our communities to embrace a physically active and healthy lifestyle.”

Marie-Michele Mugnos, PA, Rhinebeck – Running for HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network

Marie-Michele Mugnos, PA, has always been a giver. Thanks to the benefits she’s received from running, this Physician’s Assistant at HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus in Kingston has become even more willing – and able – to give. “I find great motivation in running for my well-being, to stay healthy and to get the most out of my own life so I have more to give in all arenas,” she said. A friend encouraged Mugnos to try running a couple years ago, and she’s been on the move ever since. On November 6, she will embark on her first marathon, running to support HealthAlliance’s Broadway and Mary’s Avenue campuses, as well as Margaretville Hospital. “Every run is a tiny life challenge conquered for me,” she said. “It is both a privilege and an honor to run in support of our organization for the betterment of our patients.”

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org.