Dr. Deon Vigilance has served as a champion for improved health policy in Philadelphia since joining the AHA’s Philadelphia Board. He has been a leading voice in public health on the need to address the social determinants of health that will improve the significant health disparities seen in Philadelphia; a city where residents who live less than two miles apart can have nearly a decade difference in life expectancy.
This past year, Dr. Vigilance has served as spokesperson to oppose efforts that would look to repeal the Philadelphia sweetened beverage tax locally and through state preemption. His efforts included a published op-ed in support of efforts to address minority health disparities in the city, along with his active participation on a local advisory committee to ensure that our advocacy tactics in support of the city’s beverage tax had equity and the greatest impact in communities most positively impacted by the programs funded by sweetened beverage tax.
Dr. Vigilance has also been an advocate for Pennsylvania becoming the 39th state to ensure that all high school students receive CPR training before graduation, ensuring a new generation of lifesavers in Pennsylvania. His efforts included an in-district meeting with Representative Roebuck.
In addition to his advocacy work, Dr. Vigilance's commitment to improving the health and well-being in under-resourced populations is evident through his work with AHA's Multicultural Leadership Committee, as well as engagement in the AHA’s Social Determinants of Health Conference. Dr. Vigilance’s efforts in advocacy and community impact led to him being awarded the Great Rivers Affiliate 2019 Multicultural Leadership Award.
Dr. Vigilance serves as a leader for the Together for West Philadelphia Coalition, an organization that looks to facilitate collaboration among community, public and private sector stakeholders to foster shared projects that maximize impact in the areas of health, education, food access and opportunity. Dr. Vigilance’s “day job" is serving patients in West Philadelphia as the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery for Mercy Health System, and he was awarded Top Doctor 2017 from Mainline Today Magazine.
We thank Dr. Vigilance for his unwavering dedication to improving health in his community!