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Walk With Us

An Invitation from the CVI's Executive Director

Svetlana Dembitskaya, Executive Director of the CVI

The Boston Heart Walk will take place Saturday, September 10, at the Hatch Shell in Boston. The CardioVascular Institute is a major participant and sponsor. In the following interview, Svetlana Dembitskaya, Executive Director of the CVI, talks about this important annual event, which raises research and education funds for the American Heart Association.

Why is the CVI so deeply involved in the Boston Heart Walk?

The CardioVascular Institute provides extraordinary clinical care and leading-edge cardiovascular research and teaching on regional, national and global levels. Supporting the Heart Walk allows us to carry this work beyond the walls of our own institution. It's another opportunity to contribute to the cardiovascular health of our patients, our families and in fact people all over the world. The American Heart Association (AHA) will use the funds we raise to advance the fight against cardiovascular disease, to take research to a different level, train the doctors of tomorrow and make tomorrow's techniques and technologies available to clinicians today.

The Heart Walk is also meaningful to me personally. I am dedicating my Heart Walk to my mother-in-law, Nina, who recently suffered a stroke and is still in the hospital in Estonia. She is a wonderful woman, only 71, who was an academic primary care physician for 40 years. The international impact of the cardiovascular research sponsored by the AHA is very real to me because, as a native of Russia now living in the United States, I come from an international family. I will be thinking of my mother-in-law on the other side of the Atlantic when I walk September 10.

Does the CVI allow patients and others who do not work at BIDMC to join its Heart Walk team?

Absolutely! We would be honored to have our patients, their families or any member of the general public to join our team. Funding and fighting cardiovascular research has to be a community activity. Together, we can make a difference.

What does being a walker involve?

First, you need to register online, and make your own donation. To join the BIDMC team, which is divided into many sub-teams, go to Then you can reach out to everyone you know - by letter, e-mail or social media - and ask them to support your walk. The walk itself starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 10, at the Hatch Shell in Boston.

What happens at the Heart Walk?

It's an enjoyable, festive morning with music, food, giveaways, health screenings, demos and kids' activities. Before the actual walk begins, we welcome people to the BIDMC tent, where Red Sox veteran Jim Rice will be greeting walkers and signing autographs. The walk is either one, two or six miles depending on the route you choose, but you can be a "virtual walker" as well. You're welcome to bring your kids and even your dog!

What does the AHA do with the money that is raised?

The money goes mostly to support cardiovascular research, and the funds raised locally are distributed to institutions in this region. In 2010, for example, 17 researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center received a total of $3.4 million. Some of the funds also support the AHA's education programs. If you are a service-oriented or caring person, you literally cannot find a better cause. It's an extraordinary opportunity in life - I cordially invite Heartmail readers to join us. I look forward to meeting you there.

Posted August 2011

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215