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Donna Montalto, Westchester, NY

Donna Montalto explains how her background in women’s health got her involved in the AHA.

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Donna Montalto, MPP, currently Chief of Staff at CareMount Medical, and formally the Executive Director for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, joined the American Heart Association’s Advocacy Committee this past year and has brought plenty of insight and passion to our policy initiatives. Some of her achievements include the development of high-level women’s health initiatives for New York State including a maternal mortality review program, writing the law that assures pregnant women and newborns are screened for HIV and the law guaranteeing pregnant women a 48 to 96 hour hospital stay after childbirth. Donna served as principal staff for the first bi-partisan conference committee on women’s health.

Here is Donna’s account of why she works so hard to support the AHA:

For decades, I worked in women's health care as both an advocate and a leader.  I realized early on that there was a tremendous need for primary care physicians to be aggressive in explaining the risks of heart disease to women. I wrote an abstract that later turned into a successful grant initiative looking at women's misperceptions about heart disease and utilized the relationship women had with their ob-gyns to enhance female heart health. A multi-disciplinary partnership between ob-gyn, medicine and subspecialists formed to spearhead action on education and counseling on female risk factors including coordination of services for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  This project had so many exceptional physician and organizational champions, but my involvement ended when I took my career to a new level at CareMount.   Hoping to stay involved in women's awareness of heart disease, I turned to AHA in Westchester and its statewide advocacy committee to offer my know-how in legislative and association work related to this most important subject.

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