Employees Show AHA the Money

service hero awards
Sally Szumlas, RN, (left) clinical director of general medicine and cardiology nursing stands proud with Tedi Cohen, (right) coordinator for occupational medicine. Both women received Service Hero Awards from the Medical Center.
photo by David Christopher

By Ankur Thakkar

Two years ago, Tedi Cohen crouched in the Goldblatt Lobby of Bernard A Mitchell Hospital pasting bright green feet on the wall as employees walked by, some throwing her amused glances.


Cohen, coordinator for occupational medicine, was creating a path of footprints that stretched one-third of a mile to spread the word about the Medical Center’s participation in the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Walk. That year they raised $1,700, and the following year in 2008 they collected close to $8,200.


Because of the leap in donations, they thought they could go “a little bigger,” Cohen said. 


They pledged to raise $40,000 dollars for this year, but cash donations and employee payroll deductions came pouring in, totaling up to $58,000. That was, in part, because Sally Szumlas, RN, clinical director of general medicine and cardiology nursing rallied support from Medical Center leadership.


The Heart Walk on September 25 had the largest ever Medical Center presence with more than 270 walkers and earning the AHA’s 2009 Best Growth Award.


The Medical Center’s Leadership Forum honored both Cohen and Szumlas with a Service Hero Award for their efforts. “I was totally blown away,” Cohen said. “We do so many things at the Medical Center, and it was nice to be recognized.”


Szumlas gives credit to the team captains who, she said, “dug deep with fundraising ideas like t-shirts for a donation fee and bake sales. Some even gave yoga classes.”