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Albany Med Today

Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon Receives Heart Hero Award at 'Heart Ball'

Neil Devejian, MD, seated second from left, joined the American Heart Association’s Cardiac Kids at an outing at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve on Feb.10.
Neil Devejian, MD, the area’s only pediatric cardiac surgeon, received the first Donald Led Duke Heart Hero award from the American Heart Association on March 2 at the 30th annual Capital Region Heart Ball in Saratoga Springs.

“Dr. Devejian’s work has helped Albany Medical Center achieve the best mortality rates for heart surgery of any pediatric heart center in New York State, and in doing so, Dr. Devejian has not only saved children, but also, in many ways, their entire families. Albany Med and our region are indeed fortunate to have a surgeon of his remarkable abilities and unique expertise,” said Albany Med President Jim Barba, chair of the Heart Ball.

According to Howard Carr, chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, “The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiac vascular disease and stroke. Dr. Devejian literally does this every day. When I see the gratitude of the families of his patients, I’m truly touched.”

Nearly 500 people gathered at the Hall of Springs for the Heart Ball, continuing the lifesaving tradition of funding the American Heart Association’s research. Also honored at the ball was R. Mark Sullivan, EdD, past president of The College of Saint Rose, who praised Albany Med for its care and expertise in returning him to health.

“Dr. Sullivan survived a stroke, largely because the skill of the medical staff at Albany Med and the scientific discoveries made in the past 30 years. Dr. Devejian uses the latest technology to save the youngest lives affected by heart disease and stroke. I am honored to chair the event that brings the community together to make certain those advances continue well beyond the next 30 years,” said Barba.

Currently there are $1.2 million in American Heart Association research grants in the Capital Region, including $540,000 for researchers at Albany Med. The Heart Association’s local chapter, which comprises 12 counties, raises about $1 million annually from a variety of events, like the Heart Ball and Heart Walk, this year chaired by John Nigro, Albany Med board member and chair of the Capital Campaign.