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Date Updated: Monday, November 29, 2021

Amy Hess Running New York City Marathon In Support of Patients at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley

Hess is a member of a diverse, 12-person team from across the WMCHealth Network raising funds in support of patients across the Hudson Valley. Visit to support the cause

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To support Amy, visit

A special group of Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) employees representing multiple healthcare professions and celebrating the cultural diversity of our region will compete in the TCS New York City Marathon on November 5 in support of  WMCHealth facilities across the Hudson Valley.

The team’s 12 members – five registered nurses, a cardiac rehabilitation care manager, an oncology pharmacist, a physical therapist, an outpatient mental health counselor, two anesthesiologists and an OBGYN - all of whom are motivated by their own special stories – will compete in support of the life-changing and lifesaving care provided at each of WMCHealth’s 10 Hudson Valley hospitals. 

“What makes this team so unique and so representative of WMCHealth, New York City, and the nation, is their diversity,’’ said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO, Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “Whether they hail from Kenya or White Plains, live in Rockland or Dutchess County, care for children or adults, the members of Team WMCHealth are all motivated by the same thing - their dedication to the patients they serve at WMCHealth facilities.”

Donations collected for each runner’s efforts will support essential programs and services in the local and regional hospitals the runners represent. Contributions can be made by visiting

Here’s a closer look at the runners who will “Go the Distance to Make a Difference” for healthcare the Hudson Valley.

Amy Hess, Highland, NY - Running for HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, a member of WMCHealth 

Amy, a cardiac rehabilitation care manager for HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, is taking to heart her participation in the TCS New York City Marathon. “In cardiac rehabilitation, we are always promoting healthy lifestyle changes to maximize recovery from a cardiac event and establishing healthy habits that last a lifetime.” Amy, a physical therapist for 24 years, said representing HealthAlliance and WMCHealth in the Marathon “is a great way to demonstrate that we try to practice what we promote in healthcare, and our commitment to health and wellness for our community.” 

Leslie Guido, RN, New Windsor, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth 

Since joining the Westchester Medical Center in 1987, Leslie has held numerous positions including Assistant Associate Nursing Care Coordinator; staff nurse ICUD; Nurse Manager of Sub-Acute Rehab and Nursing Supervisor in Taylor Care. She is currently a clinical documentation specialist. Leslie was encouraged by one of the Orthopedic Physician’s Assistants to run WMC’s 2015 Healing Half/10K. “After that, I ran some 5K's, and by the time I ran the Healing Half/10K in 2016, I found I was really enjoying running,” she said. This past spring, she ran the NYC Half Marathon and completed it in 2:07:55. 

Ruth Johnson, RN, Poughkeepsie, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth 

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Ruth arrived at JFK Airport in July 2001 with three pairs of pants, $30 and a boatload of hope. She also brought along a life-long love for running. “Running is the major sport in Kenya and we ran a marathon every Friday evening from elementary to high school. I still love to run,” said Ruth who is a registered nurse in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU) at Westchester Medical Center. Ruth joined Westchester Medical Center in 2008 as a nurse in the kidney and liver pre- and post-transplant unit and later transferred to CTICU. “I am going the distance for our transplant patients and to help spread awareness on the importance of organ donation.”

Melissa Maura, PT, DPT, Monroe, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth 

Melissa, a physical therapist in the trauma intensive care unit at Westchester Medical Center, became interested in a career as a physical therapist after recovering from a car accident when she was 21. “I had physical therapy for over a year in order to get myself back into running,” she said. “The accident was the best thing to happen to me because it made me realize I wanted to be a physical therapist.” After graduating from New York Medical College with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, she joined Westchester Medical Center as a physical therapist in the TICU. “I am excited to go the distance for our patients just as they are pushing themselves in their own personal "recovery" marathon.” 

Jennifer Qualter, RN, Valley Cottage, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth

Jennifer, a registered nurse in the post anesthesia care unit at Westchester Medical Center, has been a runner on and off throughout her adulthood. “After I had my twins, I went to the Philadelphia Marathon to cheer on my husband. I planned to pace him the first few miles to get him started. I ended up running the whole half marathon without training. I have always wanted to do a full marathon myself,” she said. By running in the marathon she looks forward to “showing people outside the Westchester area that we are the premier provider of advanced medical care in New York’s Hudson Valley region.”

Henry Spence, RN, Mount Vernon, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth

Henry Spence’s interest in running started four years ago when a Biggest Loser weight loss competition was initiated at his unit at Westchester Medical Center. Since then, Henry, who is a registered Nurse in the trauma intensive care unit, has participated in five half marathons, including the Healing Half Marathon. “The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon has always seemed like the ultimate challenge that I didn’t think I would be able to handle until now,” he said adding, “I look forward to representing Westchester Medical Center and being a part of this spectacular event. I am tremendously humbled to represent Westchester Medical Center. I am going the distance for our patients.”  

Michael Thomas, PharmaD, White Plains, NY – Running for Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth 

For Michael Thomas, an oncology pharmacist at Westchester Medical Center, running in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon is an opportunity to “show people that our healthcare team has the same passion and determination as our patients,” he said. “It takes a level of courage and willpower to push yourself to the summit of a marathon. I see an instant parallel with the journey some of our patients are forced to embark on. I run for the patient who labors with every step, fights for every breath; and I run simply because I can, a gift that can’t be overlooked.”

Boeu Chon, DO, New York City – Running for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of WMCHealth 

Since joining the medical team at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital six years ago, Boeu, a pediatric anesthesiologist, has had the opportunity to care for many children, whether working on routine cases or more unique and challenging ones such as the first-ever separation of conjoined twins at the Children’s Hospital in January. “I find caring for pediatric patients and their families incredibly fulfilling,” he said. “When I run in this year’s TCS New York City Marathon, I will remember the meaningful work that I have the opportunity to do each day and think of the pediatric patients we care for at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital,” he said.

Fred Dombrowski, PhD, LMHC, Milford, CT – Running for the Behavioral Health Center, a member of WMCHealth 

In his role as an outpatient mental health counselor for the Behavioral Health Center at Westchester Medical Center, Fred works with many patients with varying struggles and with those who identify as LGBT. Part of his role is to connect patients with adjunct care in the community. “Considering the stigma that surrounds mental health, many patients – especially those who identify as LGBT - may avoid entering into treatment. By running the TCS New York City Marathon on behalf of our behavioral health patients, I hope to minimize the stigma and provide a reminder that anything is possible with hard work and determination,” he said.

Jennifer Mack, MD, Warwick, NY— Running for Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of WMCHealth

An anesthesiologist at Good Samaritan Hospital, Jennifer feels  very fortunate to take care of patients, often at a time of severe anxiety and stress. “It can certainly be stressful. Running has always been my way to decompress,” she said. Jennifer has first-hand experience with the quality of care. Her son suffered from hemolytic disease as a newborn, requiring admission to the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “I was so impressed with the wonderful care my son and family received. He is now a completely healthy, rambunctious two-year old. I am excited to represent Good Samaritan Hospital and the WMCHealth Network in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.”

Laura Santiago, RN, Hopewell Junction, NY – Running for MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of WMCHealth 

As a registered nurse in the emergency department of MidHudson Regional Hospital, Laura serves the hospital’s most critically ill and injured patients, providing lifesaving care and support to the hospital’s team of emergency physicians. Running in the TCS New York City Marathon is the realization of a dream for Laura, who began her running career in high school. She has challenged herself by running half-marathons, even completing three in the last year alone. “The TCS New York City Marathon is an elite event, and accomplishing my goal on one of the biggest stages in my sport while raising money for MidHudson Regional Hospital is a dream come true.”

Gabriel Tenembaum, MD, Monsey, NY – Running for Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of WMCHealth

Giving up is not part the vocabulary of Gabriel Tenembaum, an OBGYN affiliated with Good Samaritan Hospital. In addition to being a physician for more than 30 years, he is also an avid athlete, triathlete, and health and nutrition aficionado. “It is a great honor to be able to run the streets of the Big Apple as a representative of great health/healing organizations such as Good Samaritan Hospital and WMCHealth Network,” said Gabriel, who is approaching his 60th birthday. “I look forward to going the distance for WMCHealth and my patients at Good Samaritan Hospital.”