L-R: Councilman James Oddo, Tony Books Avilez, Dr. Maureen Becker, CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales, and Anthony C. Ferreri, President and CEO, Staten Island University Hospital

Dr. Maureen Becker, Director of Clinical Education for the College of Staten Island’s Physical Therapy Doctoral Program, was named a Community Health Hero at the First Annual Awards Ceremony, which concluded the Third Annual Health and Wellness Expo presented by the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation.

Dr. Becker received the award for her commitment to the Staten Island community and for founding the Staten Island Slim Down. Slim Down co-founder Tony Books Avilez, a personal trainer who runs Staten Island Boot Camp, was also awarded.

“I can’t remember a program or an initiative that we were a part of that had such personal, and passionate, and real feedback like we have received for the Staten Island Slim Down,” said City Councilman James Oddo in presenting the awards to Dr. Becker and Mr. Avilez, adding “You have directly impacted the lives of Staten Islanders in such a positive way and God willing it is only the beginning. We thank you for your work.”

The ten-week Slim Down initiative, which helped more than 1,200 Islanders lose weight last year, provided participants with resources available online, group fitness classes at the CSI gymnasium, and thousands of dollars in prizes and incentives. The program begins again in January 2012.

The Third Annual Health and Wellness Expo was presented on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, NYC Councilman James S. Oddo, and Staten Island University Hospital. The first annual Staten Island Community Health Hero Awards Ceremony was created to recognize local community members and their efforts and accomplishments in improving Staten Island’s Community Quality of Life. In addition to Dr. Maureen Becker and Tony Books Avilez, recipients included: Sebastian Angelico, Theodore “Teddy” Atlas, Essie Danku, Carol Dunn, Christine Hollie, Donna Long, Josephine Marino, Boris Natenzon, Barbara O’Brien, Joseph Piccinnini, Fran Reali, and Gladys Schweiger.