Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Health Initiative Shines as Spotlight on Population Health Honoree


Winning Team: Al Hammonds, CSSBB, Executive Director, Millennium Collaborative Care; Pastor Kinzer Pointer, Greater Buffalo United Ministries; Dr. Loralee Sessanna, DNS, RN, CNS, AHN-BC Clinical Associate Professor, University at Buffalo School of Nursing; Priti Bangia, Population Health Manager, Millennium; Dr. Susan Grinslade, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs; Clinical Professor, University at Buffalo School of Nursing; Dr. Ju Joh, Resident, Erie County Medical Center; Michele Mercer, RN, MSHSA, Chief Clinical Integration Officer, Millennium; Dr. Kenneth Gayles, Project Champion, Cardiovascular Disease/Million Hearts®; Vice President of the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network.

Million Hearts®, a community-based cardiovascular health initiative (project 3.b.i.) led by Millennium Collaborative Care, PPS in partnership with Greater Buffalo United Ministries (GRUM) and the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, was awarded a 2016 Spotlight on Population Health Initiatives (SOPHi) Award by P² Collaborative of Western New York at the 2nd annual SOPHi Awards held Fri., Oct. 14 at Buffalo Riverworks.

A celebration of population health-focused organizations across the eight counties of Western New York, the 2016 SOPHi Awards program – in addition to Chronic Disease Preventative Care and Management – named standouts in seven additional categories including, Healthy Women, Infants, and Children; HIV, STDs, and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases; Injuries; Mental Health; Reduce Obesity; Safe Environment; Substance Abuse and Tobacco Use.

Nominations were made by community members, with the P2 Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP) Steering Team selecting those projects that “best exemplify population health values of being: data-driven, inclusive, collaborative, having community impact, and transparent.”

Patterned after a national best practice program, Million Hearts® – selected in the “Chronic Disease Preventative Care and Management” category – was recognized for the initiative’s efforts to improve the health education and awareness of parishioners in high risk city zip codes where high blood pressure is prevalent.

To date, with the support of GRUM’s network of 56 churches, and UB’s School of Nursing, seven blood pressure screening events have been hosted, resulting in over 200 parishioners and members of the public receiving screening and health education about improving their cardiovascular health.

The project is also aimed at helping UB School of Nursing students deliver culturally competent care while improving their practical skills in educating the public. To date, 78 UB undergraduate Nursing School Students and 30 RN-BS Nursing School students have completed “Million Hearts®” training and been involved in the health screenings.


Pictured from left: Kimberli Cruell-Munn, Alana Chazen, Karl Shallowhorn, Lisa French, Kimberly Backey


Millennium-Supported ‘Mental Health First Aid Program’ Wins 2016 SOPHi Award for ‘Promoting Mental Health’

Congratulations to the “Mental Health First Aid Program”, winner of the P2 Collaborative/2016 SOPHi Award in the category of Promoting Mental Health.

The “Mental Health First Aid” program is one of the evidenced-based programs identified and supported by Millennium in project 4 a i. – Mental Emotional Behavior Well-Being.  It was nominated for 2016 SOPHi recognition by Kimberly Backey, Project Manager, Millennium Collaborative Care.

“This was truly a collaborative effort between Compeer, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, Jewish Family Service and Erie Community College,” said Karl Shallowhorn MS, CASAC, Director of Community Advocacy, Mental Health Association of Erie County and Compeer of Greater Buffalo, who accepted the award on behalf of the MHFA program.

MHFA is an eight-hour, evidence-based certification program that helps participants identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness; raises awareness about mental health; reduces stigma surrounding the ailment; and teaches a five-step action plan to know how to respond in a mental health crisis. Since its introduction in the U.S. in 2008, over 300,000 people have become certified in MHFA.

According to Karl, since the start of program delivery in April 2014, 87 trainings have been conducted for 1,383 Mental Health First Aiders.

Congratulations to MHFA Instructors: Michele Brown, Tina Caviness, Alana Chazen, Lisa French, Kimberli Cruell-Munn, Caitlin Neumann, Stephanie Rivera, Marlene Schillinger and Chris Warden.

Recognition also goes to key supporters including Karen Hall, Population Health Improvement Program Manager, P2 Collaborative; Kimberly Backey, Project Manager, Millennium; Cara Petrucci, DSRIP Project Administrator, Community Health Partners; and Heather Cruz, South Campus Dean of Students, Erie Community College and ECC Project AWARE. a three-year grant sponsored by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration focusing on offering MHFA to members of ECC’s City Campus community.

To learn more about MHFA go to

Additional 2016 SOPHi Award nominees and winners included:

  • Community Achievement Award – Ann Monroe. President of Health Foundation for Western and Central New York
  • Baby & Me Tobacco Free ™
  • Baby Café
  • Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Diabetes Education
  • Breastfeeding Friendly
  • Cavity Free Kids
  • Chautauqua County Tobacco 21
  • City of Jamestown Smoke-Free Parks
  • Coalition for a Tobacco Free America
  • Diabetes Education for Individuals with Mental Illness
  • Durham Central City Baby Café
  • ECMC Farmers Market at Grider
  • Gateway to a Dental Home Program
  • Good for the Neighborhood®
  • Growing Green Mobile Market
  • Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait (HBWW) Community Program
  • Healthy Baby Festivals
  • WINNER: Healthy Corner Store Program
  • HOPE Chautauqua Coalition
  • WINNER: HPV Project
  • Kids on the Move
  • WINNER: Mental Health First Aid – Compeer of Buffalo
  • WINNER: Million Hearts® Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Project
  • National Night Out – Orleans County Law Enforcement / Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition
  • Niagara County HPV Vaccine Coalition
  • Persell’s Produce Patch
  • Reach Out a Hand Suicide Prevention Campaign
  • Reddy Bikeshare
  • Save the Family
  • WINNER: Southern Tier Health Care System Cribs for Kids Program
  • Speak Your Mind – National Night Out
  • WINNER: Stay Well on Your Feet
  • Supporting K-12 Students with Behavioral Health Services in WNY Public Schools
  • The Buffalo Wellness Center Wellness
  • Trauma-Informed Care Transition
  • Village of Lakewood Complete Streets Initiative
  • Wellness Club
  • Women’s Health Education and Navigation (WHEN)

Event sponsors included Barclay Damon; BlueCross BlueShield WNY; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bond, Schoeneck, & King; Buffalo Bills; Independent Health; The Martin Group; Parish Nurse Ministries of New York; The Resource Center; Roswell Park Cancer Institute; University at Buffalo School of Public Health & Health Professions; Univera Healthcare; Western New York Healthcare Association; and YourCare Health Plan.

ZDoggMD Wows SOPHi Awards Audience With Entertaining, Insightful Keynote Remarks


Dr. Zubin Damania, MD, AKA ZDoggMD meets the Million Hearts® Team.

An overwhelming highlight of the 2016 SOPHi Awards was an entertaining and insightful keynote presentation and remarks by Dr. Zubin Damania, MD, AKA ZDoggMD.

When not creating Internet sensation videos under the pseudonym ZDoggMD aimed at educating patients and providers while – according to ZDogg “mercilessly satirizing our dysfunctional healthcare system,” Dr. Damania serves as an internist and the founder of Las Vegas-based Turntable Health, an innovative healthcare startup that’s part of an ambitious urban revitalization movement spearheaded by CEO Tony Hsieh.

“During a 10-year hospitalist career at Stanford, I somehow won clinical teaching awards while simultaneously maintaining a shadow career performing stand-up comedy for medical audiences worldwide,” states Dr. Damania on his web site

“In Las Vegas, we’re making the leap from satire to actionable change by implementing an innovative model of healthcare delivery that promotes wellness at both the individual and community level,” he continues.

“Turntable Health, a membership model team-based primary care ecosystem, is a ground-up effort to get healthcare right…for everyone. I travel extensively as a healthcare speaker and keynote performer for many types of groups, hoping to inspire change while making people laugh in an industry that desperately needs a little more humor and compassion!”

In addition to being featured as one of the top 100 graduation speeches of all time by NPR, Dr. Damania has been featured in Forbes, Time, USA Today, US News and Huffington Post. His videos can also be found on YouTube at

Tasha Moore

Tasha Moore CHW, Program Coordinator, Matt Urban Hope Center and a member of both the CHW Board of Directors and the Millennium Collaborative Care Board of Managers, with Al Dirschberger, PhD, Erie County Commissioner of Social Services.

Community Health Workers of Buffalo, Erie County Department of Social Services Partnering for Positive Change

Community Health Workers of Buffalo (CHW) is on the road to creating positive change for clients of the Erie County Department of Social Services (DSS) thanks to a new partnership with DSS to collaborate on education. Work Force Development, and “on the ground training” for Social Work Interns.

A key function of the Community Health Workers of Buffalo is to train frontline workers (i.e. community health workers, housing organizers, parent facilitators, patient advocates, street outreach workers, peer counselors, etc.) in “core competencies”- skills that promote effective and high-impact engagement with the populations they serve.

According to Tasha Moore, Program Coordinator for the Matt Urban Hope Center, and a member of both the CHW Board of Directors and the Millennium Collaborative Care Board of Managers, the collaboration with DSS will consist of the afore mentioned three primary areas focused on DSS consumers.
“Part 1 will be for us to construct a manual that will be passed out at DSS to show people how to get off the system and become self-sufficient,” explained Tasha.

“Part 2 will focus on Work Force Development for CHW’s; and Part 3 will involve partnering all Social Work interns with CHW’s on the ground to work with us as ‘foot soldiers.’

“This is the beginning of a great partnership,” Tasha concluded. “We are so excited about the positive change we can accomplish.”


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