At first glance, health and aviation — our theme and subtheme for September — would not seem to have much in common, other than you should be healthy to fly. But as aviation was perfected, airplanes became involved in life-saving missions around the world with health care workers. Two of our features deal intimately with that vital relationship.

Stamford-based Americares — our cover subject, which we first explored in our December 2018 profile of its ambassador, actor Tony Goldwyn — flies more than $500 million in medical supplies and services to hotspots at home and abroad annually, including to earthquake-ravaged Haiti even as we write this. 

As Jeremy notes in his story, Americares has provided more than $19 billion in aid to 164 countries since its founding more than 40 years ago. Indeed, its fundraiser is famous for winging guests afterward to some of these places so that they can see for themselves how their dollars are being used. 

Phil meanwhile considers the connection between the physical therapy program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and the United States Air Force, along with other branches of our military.

“The curriculum is a three-year doctoral program that includes 38 weeks of full-time clinical experiences that occur at clinical facilities all over the country, which is how we work with the Air Force,” says Beverly Fein, associate professor and director of clinical education at the university.

Our aviation section also takes a look at the role women have played and continue to play, with  profiles of Greenwich resident and private pilot Michelle Judice — executive director of Westchester Aviation Association (WAA) and president of the new Westchester County chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI); and of Tarrytown’s Regina Berryman, who when she’s not gardening or riding horses at home is a first officer with United Airlines, flying its wide-body 787 Dreamliner on the airline’s intercontinental routes. 

For women, piloting may be something of a frontier. Nursing, on the other hand, is a profession with which they have long been associated. In this issue, we salute Mary McDermott, senior vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer at Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow, and her staffers, who have been honored by the Emergency Nurses Association with a 2021 Lantern Award and by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with a Magnet Designation, considered the gold standard for nursing excellence.

Our health section continues to soar with articles on three Hudson Valley medical firsts. TransMedics’ “Heart-in-a-Box” ultimately allows for a greater pool of viable hearts for transplant patients. Gamma Tile is an implanted, time-release form of radiation that can mitigate the stress of postoperative therapy for those with brain cancer. In the Hudson Valley, both can be found only at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Our third first occurs in White Plains Hospital’s sleek new Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery (CAMS), home to, among other things, the PET/MRI scanner, a piece of technology unique not only in the Hudson Valley but in Fairfield County in the fight against cancer and certain neurological conditions.

Kevin Zimmerman of our sister publication the Fairfield County Business Journal joins us for an exploration of St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, whose many kudos include being named one of Connecticut’s best for 2021-’22 by U.S. News & World Report, which cited its heart failure, stroke and kidney failure treatments.

The backbone of these hospitals are doctors like Gary Rogg, M.D., an attending physician in the department of internal medicine at WMC and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College, both in Valhalla, whom Jena talked with. Meanwhile, Laura spoke with Tonya Cremin, M.D., who — after practicing in a variety of settings, from hospitals to community health centers — opened her own office (first in Trumbull and then in Monroe) 13 years ago, combining standard primary medical care with complementary, alternative methods of healing. 

Whether they’re on a hospital staff or in a private, holistic practice, these doctors remind us that they’re number one job is to care for their patients, instilling in them two qualities that have become critical in the age of Covid — serenity and hope.

As always, our Waggers are on board with our theme in serious and playful ways. We warm up our muscles and tap into our inner tranquility at the new Yoga Love NY studio in Irvington, where the poses flow in a heated room overlooking the Hudson River. Gio plumbs the agony of the feet — and the ecstasy you can bring to them and the whole body with a little self-care. Cami tells us how to turn our homes into healthy havens. Doug’s and Katie’s columns reminds us that wine and spirits have had a long history of “medicinal purposes.” Debbi speaks with Harrison-Greenwich nutritionist Ilyse Schapiro for tips on healthy traveling.

Staying with travel, we’d also like to call attention to Jeremy’s piece on hip, happening hotels in the Hudson Valley and beyond. It’s not a health story per se, but it does suggest that sometimes maybe the best, healthiest thing you can do for yourself — particularly as beloved, lamented summer burnishes into autumn — is relish a little leaf-peeping R & R.

So go head and give yourself a mental health break.

A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes. 

Her short story “The Glass Door,” recently published by JMS, was part of the “Together apART: Creating During COVID” exhibit at ArtsWestchester.  Her new story, “After Hopper,” is available from JMS Books. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.

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