For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253


 (Rochester, New York) June 25, 2007   – As part of the Speaking of Women’s Health Conference (SWH), presented by WXXI and held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Friday, August 17, 2007, WXXI will present Dr. Gladys Velarde with the Pinny Cooke Community Service Award for her commitment to women’s cardiovascular health, which in 2005 led to the development and establishment of the Strong Women’s Heart Program (SWHP), a program dedicated to promoting women’s heart health and helping women lead healthy lives.

Pinny Cooke, who championed so many worthwhile causes in her lifetime, passed away on August 1, 2004.  WXXI presented Mrs. Cooke’s daughter, Bess Lewis, with the first Pinny Cooke Community Service Award in 2004. Ms. Rosa Wims received the award in 2005 and Bernice Skirboll was the recipient in 2006.

Dr. Velarde joined the cardiology division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 1998, and was one of the first female faculty in the division. In addition to her clinical work as Director of the Women’s Heart Program, she is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, a member of the echo cardiology laboratory and is involved in several clinical research projects in the cardiology division. Currently, she is the principal investigator of the PINK (Prothrombotic, INflammatory marKers) study – the first women-only study in female patients with metabolic syndrome. Dr. Velarde also spearheaded VIDASANA, an active community outreach screening program where volunteer fellows, residents and medical students work to raise awareness and provide early intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk in minority groups by offering free medical screenings and one-on-one counseling. Dr. Velarde has recently been honored with the distinguished Hispanic Health Leadership Award for her work towards improving the health of Hispanics and the underserved by the National Hispanic Medical Association, a very active national health organization who recognizes national leaders who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

Dr. Velarde received her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and fellowships in cardiology at Boston University and Mt. Sinai Hospital. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. She and her husband, of 28 years, have three children ages 18, 9 and 3.

The SWH Conference features national speakers, free health screenings, a continental breakfast, luncheon, and a luxurious gift bag valued at $150 for every attendee. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to talk with local healthcare professionals from Strong Health about their health, wellness and lifestyle. In addition, SWH will have more than 12 breakout sessions available on topics ranging from heart health, osteoporosis, diabetes, joint pain and breast health.

SWH is presented in Rochester by WXXI, and is sponsored locally by the University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Health and Senator Joseph Robach with media sponsors 13 WHAM-TV, WHAM-DT CW, WHAM 1180, The Drive 100.5 and Country 107.3. National sponsors include: Wal-Mart, Lifetime, American Greetings, Benadryl, Listerine Antiseptic, Purell, Kellogg's, L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline New York, Garnier, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, Gardasil [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recombinant Vaccine], All Small & Mighty, Dove Hand & Body, Promise, Slim-Fast, Kleenex, Huggies, Poise, Dove Chocolate and Meredith Corporation.


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