ALBANY — Before he was president and CEO of CDPHP, Dr. John Bennett was a practicing cardiologist, which makes participating in American Heart Association events vitally important to him.

“I saw firsthand the devastating effects of heart disease, stroke, and other heart-related issues,” Dr. Bennett said. “I consider our members to be like my patients, and I feel I have a responsibility to educate and help them lead their heart-healthiest lives. Events like the Heart Walk are so important for raising awareness, and whatever I can do to help, I will.”

This year, Dr. Bennett is chairing the Heart Challenge for the American Heart Association, which includes the June 6 digital Capital Region Heart Walk and Run. People can register at CapitalRegionHeartWalk.org, form their teams, fundraise, then walk or run wherever they would like.

“CDPHP has been a proud supporter of the Heart Walk for many years, and since many of our employees have been affected by heart diseases, we have always had a strong showing at the Heart Walk,” Dr. Bennett said. “My goal is to get even more of our employees on board while also welcoming new faces to the event, particularly a younger audience. The truth is, heart-related illnesses can affect people of all ages, so the sooner we can begin educating, the better.”

This is the second year that the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run will be a digital event. Yet, Dr. Bennett said, the need to continue fighting heart disease and stroke remains critical.

“I recognize that we are captivated by COVID-19 and that it has been a horrible and life-altering time for so many, but we cannot lose hope and we cannot turn a blind eye to the other health threats around us,” Dr. Bennett said. “With many of us working from home we need to make sure we are getting up, moving around, and keeping our hearts and minds healthy and active. COVID-19 is a threat, but so are heart attacks and strokes. If something doesn’t feel right, do not delay care. Reach out to your provider via phone, schedule a telemedicine visit, or, if your situation is critical, head to the emergency room.”

Dr. Bennett is also heading an Executive Leadership Team for the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run who are helping meet the Heart Walk’s financial goal of $575,000, which the American Heart Association will invest in scientific research and education programs to fight the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in America, heart disease and stroke.

The Executive Leadership Team members are: Carm Basile, chief executive officer, CDTA; Dr. John Broderick, chief clinical officer, Landmark Health; Michael Castellana, president and CEO, SEFCU; Antonio Civitella, president and CEO, Transfinder; Joan Hayner, chief operating officer, Community Care Physicians; Kathy Lanni, chief community officer, SEFCU; Lee McElroy, associate vice president and director of athletics, RPI; Dr. Dennis McKenna, president and CEO, Albany Med; John Nigro, president, Nigro Companies; Lauren Poltynski, director of customer and community management, National Grid; Sara Rindenello, communications manager, Albany Med.

Dr. Bennett has been president and CEO of CDPHP since 2008. Before that, he served as founding member and CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PLLC. He earned his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a Bachelor of Science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bennett completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Bennett and his wife, Deborah, live in Loudonville. They have two children and four grandchildren.

“Dr. Bennett is a longtime, staunch supporter of the American Heart Association, and we appreciate his leadership in this time of COVID more than ever,” said Jennifer Corcoran Conway, partner at Tully Rinckey, chair of the Capital Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, and mother of the 2021 Heart Hero of the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run. “We are already seeing success with participation and fundraising for the Heart Walk, and know that under Dr. Bennett’s leadership, we will make a significant difference in the health of Capital Region residents.”

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