Chief’s Challenge Now in Sixth Year Helping First Responders to Get Fit

Along with members of the Club Fit staff, Dr. Zimmerman and Club Fit President Bill Beck present this year’s Chief’s Challenge award to members of Yorktown PD and Briarcliff FD.
Pictured (L–R): James Stroppoli, Laura Crowe, Ted Gilsinger, Joe DaRonco, Robert Rohr,
Sgt. Sam Sansone, Dr. Zimmerman, Bill Beck, Commissioner Margaret Olsen, Albert Yost,
Mike Baker, Tiffany Black, David Morrison, and Hakan Ayanoglu

The Yorktown Heights Police Department and Archville Fire Department in Briarcliff Manor were each awarded $1,000 from Phelps Hospital as the winners of the 2019 Chief’s Challenge. Designed by Dr. Franklin Zimmerman, a cardiologist at Phelps, the program seeks to improve the fitness of active police and fire personnel by encouraging them to adapt an active and healthy lifestyle.

Working in collaboration with Club Fit in Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley, and Phelps Hospital, the Chief’s Challenge was established and funded by the Heart and Health Education Foundation, directed by Dr. Franklin Zimmerman, Dr. Arthur Fass and Dr. Dina Katz – all members of the Northwell Health Physician Partners Cardiology Practice in Briarcliff Manor.

Now in its sixth year, the program included participants from 16 police departments and 16 fire departments throughout Westchester, plus others, including FBI and corrections officers as well as EMTs. Over 400 individuals overall participated.

The program was inspired by research conducted by Zimmerman, Senior Attending Cardiologist at Phelps Hospital, and Director, Center for Occupational Medicine and Public Safety Services (COMPASS), who is a nationally recognized researcher in the field of the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease in public safety personnel. His findings have been presented at the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and were included in the book, Dying for the Job, edited by former New York State Trooper, John Violante, Ph.D.

“My research shows that law enforcement personnel have a high risk of heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity and metabolic syndrome,” said Zimmerman. “In addition there are occupation-specific risk factors unique to first responders, including shift work and psychological stress. Police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel need to be particularly vigilant in controlling cardiovascular risk factors, beginning with a regular exercise program such as the one offered at Club Fit.”

The 2020 Chief’s Challenge is underway, with high hopes for an even bigger turnout of public safety personnel this year. Club Fit offers a half-price membership to active police and fire department personnel. As Club Fit President Bill Beck explains, “We are committed to our neighborhood and embrace those who serve in this manner. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you!’”

For more information about Chief’s Challenge, call Ron Koss, Club Experience Director at Club Fit Jefferson Valley at 914-250-7723 or Laura Crowe, Assistant General Manager at Club Fit Briarcliff at 914-762-4654.

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