BUFFALO AND SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York is proud to welcome two new members to its Board of Trustees: Brenda W. McDuffie and Sucharita Paul, MD. They will join their fellow trustees in providing leadership, oversight, and strategic guidance in pursuit of the Health Foundation’s vision of a healthy central and western New York where racial and socioeconomic equity are prioritized and all people can reach their full potential and obtain equitable health outcomes.
Brenda W. McDuffie is an active community champion who advocates for systemic change and action to make life better for all people in the western New York region and beyond. She was the first woman President and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League, Inc. She retired from that position in September 2020. Under her leadership, the Buffalo Urban League grew to serve more than 20,000 individuals annually, achieving recognition throughout western New York for their advocacy and exemplary holistic work strengthening families, raising education outcomes, addressing health and economic inequities, and creating opportunities for individuals and businesses to prosper.
In addition to the Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees, McDuffie serves as the first woman Chair of the Erie County Industrial Agency (ECIDA). Her other board participation includes: Greater Buffalo Savings Bank Board (founding member); Independent Health Association; Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (Executive Committee); the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation; Buffalo State College Board of Trustees; University at Buffalo Council; Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Board (Vice Chair); New York State Re-Entry Council; New York State Farmer Labor Wage Board (Chair); Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective (Chair); and the National Urban League.
Sucharita Paul, MD is an emergency physician who has made community service, disease prevention, and public health education the center of her career and a focus of her volunteer work. She is currently leading efforts to identify and advocate for vulnerable older adult patients in emergency departments throughout western New York. She also trains emergency medicine residents in exploring areas of public health including global medicine, addiction and the opiate crisis, gun violence, health disparities, and social inequities in medicine. Her interest in serving disadvantaged and low-resource communities has led her to become involved in international emergency medicine work in both Vietnam and India.
Dr. Paul’s previous and current board service includes: COVID-19 Working Group of Western New York (medical expert), UBMD Emergency Medicine, UBMD Emergency Medicine Women Physicians Consortium (coordinator), Gates Vascular Institute/Buffalo General Hospital (co-coordinator, Adopt-A-Family Program), the Carole Fenton Memorial Fund (founding member), and the City of Buffalo Emergency Medical Services Board.
The Board of Trustees also announced that Cheryl Smith Fisher was re-elected Chair; Ann Sedore was re-elected Vice Chair; Marybeth McCall, MD, was re-elected Secretary; and Carrie Frank was re-elected Treasurer.
The terms of two long-time Health Foundation trustees also end this year: Denise Dunford, DNS, FNP, RN and David Milling, MD.
Denise Dunford became a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2012. She is an associate professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at D’Youville University and maintains an active clinical practice as a nurse practitioner in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Buffalo General Hospital.
Dr. David Milling also joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2012 and was elected to the executive committee in 2021. He is currently the Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“Ms. Dunford and Dr. Milling made a long-lasting impact on the work of the Health Foundation over their nine years of exemplary service. We are grateful that their efforts will be carried on by Ms. McDuffie and Dr. Paul—two outstanding leaders in community health,” said Cheryl Smith Fisher, Chair, Board of Trustees. “At a time when systemic racism and health inequities are more visible and urgent than ever, we are well-equipped in addressing and acting on these issues with the addition of these powerful voices to our board.”
“We are so pleased to have these two dynamic leaders join our Board of Trustees,” says Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, President of the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. “Both Dr. Paul and Ms. McDuffie bring deep, extensive experience in community service and innovative health initiatives, and their expertise will be invaluable to continuing the Health Foundation’s work to advance health equity and improve the health of all people in western and central New York.”