More than 700 people attend Staten Island health event; FDNY department head receives surprise honor

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STATEN ISLAND, NY — Diabetes, heart health, drug abuse and youth mental health were among the topics explored by more than 750 attendees at this year’s Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo, which took place held Thursday at the Grand Oaks Country Club.

The annual event, hosted by the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) returned for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are taking control of our health as a community,” said Diane Arneth of Community Health Action of Staten Island, who is the SIEDC event ambassador. “The Expo is a platform to discover the latest resources available to meet the most pressing healthcare needs and to engage with each other. It also offers invaluable free medical screenings to those in need.

According to an SIEDC press release, more than 400 medical screenings ranging from hearing exams to lung capacity tests and vaccines for COVID-19 and flu have been offered.

NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

Attendees also heard comments from NYC Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, who opened the event with a focus on public health issues including polio and COVID-19.

The breakout sessions were related to topical health issues, ranging from trainings in life-saving “bleed control” tactics and the administration of Narcan, to a deep dive into health care careers.

THE ISLANDS OF STATEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

Dr. Carolyn Taverner, Program Director and Senior Clinician at Emma’s Place, and FDNY Department Head, John Hodgens, at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

John Hodgens, Staten Island resident and FDNY Department Head, presented the Community Health Hero Award to Dr. Carolyn Taverner, Program Director and Senior Clinician at Emma’s Place – Staten Island Grief and Loss Center for Children and Families.

Hodgens was then surprised by the Philip Matteo Public Service Award.

Three Staten Islanders also received “Health Hero” awards: Heather Butts, co-founder and executive director of HEALTH for Youths; Anthony Ferreri, former regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Johnathon LeBaron, director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC).

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

Students prepare for CPR training at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

Over 200 students learned to perform CPR and participated in a “Healthcare Careers Panel” and eight other sessions offered by experts in the fields of health, wellness and addiction.

Free medical exams for the event were provided by RUMC, Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health (SIUH), Audiology Island, Super Health Pharmacy, Community Health Center of Richmond and Community Health Action of Staten Island.

Fitness and yoga demonstrations were organized by the YMCA and JCC of Staten Island.

The SIEDC Health & Wellness Expo is presented by Mid-Island Councilman David Carr, RUMC and SIUH. Other sponsors include: AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, National Grid, NYC Department of Youth & Community Development, Puddin’ Kids First – The Vincent Gruppuso Foundation, Signature Bank and Super Health Pharmacy.

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

A flu vaccine in progress at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

Dr. Anthony Ferreri (left) and Councilman David Carr at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

Diane Arneth speaks at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

Dr. Johnathon LeBaron and RUMC President and CEO Dr. Daniel Messina at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

SIEDC Staten Island Health and Wellness Expo

FDNY Department Chief John Hodgens with SIEDC President Gina Gutman at the SIEDC Staten Island Health & Wellness Expo. (Courtesy of SIEDC)

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