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American Heart Association names 6 new advisory-board members

By Journal Staff (


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The American Heart Association (AHA) recently announced that six new, local volunteer leaders have joined its advisory board.

Here is a brief description of the new board members.

Aida Byrne — director of corporate communications for the eastern markets at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. She also volunteers with the Crouse Auxiliary Board, Arc Onondaga Foundation Board, and Utica College Business College Advisory Committee. Byrne comes from a family of seven children, five of whom — including herself — have heart disease, as do both her parents.

Amy Grover — sport-medicine coordinator and employee wellness-program coordinator at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists. She has been a practicing athletic trainer since 2007. Before joining the board, Grover served on the American Heart Association’s Wellness Summit planning committee and serves as the chairwoman of the Community Action Committee.

Kenneth Hills — chief operating officer at Syracuse Model Neighborhoods (Southwest Community Center). He joined Syracuse Model Neighborhoods in October 2020, taking on the duties of all operations of the Southwest Community Center and its programs. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Syracuse Water Department for seven years.

LaToya M. Jones — a nurse who currently serves as a regional health-care advocate in Syracuse and Central New York with the Healthcare Education Project. Jones served as the First VP of the Syracuse Onondaga NAACP, is the founder of The Joe Family Foundation for Disability Advocacy Inc., serves on the boards of Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance (SOFSA) and David’s Refuge, and is past president & founder of Black Nurses Rock Syracuse Chapter Inc.

Derrick L. Murry — chief operating officer of the Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc. In this role, which he has held since 2015, he oversees health-care access to more than 30,000 residents, many of whom are impacted by social determinants that impede care. In 2012, Murry served as the chairman of the Syracuse Heart Walk.

Randy Tuthill — chief financial officer at C&S Companies. He is interested in giving back to the community as an AHA board member, as well as in his role with the Camp Talooli’s board of directors. Tuthill joined the Cycling Challenge at the 2021 Syracuse Heart Challenge and cycled for two hours to help fundraise for his team.

“The American Heart Association has a mission to save lives, but we can’t do that without volunteers,” Franklin Fry, executive director of the American Heart Association in Syracuse, said in a release. “The Syracuse advisory board is a group of dedicated local leaders that is truly making a difference in the health of our community.”

The new members join an award-winning advisory board. The Syracuse area advisory board has been honored with the national Gold Standard Board designation from the American Heart Association for nine consecutive years. The board was recently recognized again at the silver level, per the release.

The AHA also thanked the following board members who have stepped down from the board: Dr. Luis Castro, St. Joseph’s Health; Mara Charlamb, United Radio; Angela Franco, Fust Charles Chambers, LLP; Troy Hogue, AMR; Jerry Jean-Louis, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Randy Sabourin, Metro Fitness Clubs; Samuel Stamps, C&S Companies; and Larry Williams, Syracuse Community Connections.       

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