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Meet Susan Papalia: UMass Heart Nurse and Marathon Volunteer

Susan Papalia grew up on Long Island, NY and went on to study nursing at SUNY at Plattsburgh, graduating with a BS in Nursing and now has an extensive background in cardiac research and care with decades of experience.Susan Papalia

In addition to her interest in cardiovascular research, Susan has become involved in sports medicine as well. About a decade ago, she began volunteering at the Boston Marathon and quickly began to assume leadership positions within the Boston Athletic Association medical team. This year she served as Co-Captain for the finish line medical operations responsible for overseeing 300 medical volunteers. In addition to the Boston Marathon, Susan volunteers her time in leadership roles both inside and out of the medical tent at 10 other races throughout the year from Maine to Maryland. Susan is also a Red Cross Disaster volunteer and a member of the Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corp.

She is an avid animal advocate and a lifelong vegetarian.  She and her husband Tom spend time on their free weekends transporting animals from high risk kill shelters to rescue organizations, fosters, and adoptive families within in New England. She is an active member of PETA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Humane Society and Defenders of Wildlife. She enjoys hiking, scuba diving and any time she can spend outdoors or with her four legged daughters.

Join us on Thursday, September 22, 2016; 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Mechanics Hall.  Susan will share her life experiences from the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, where she and other volunteers stationed near the “Marathon” finish line, helped runners strive to reach the finish line but were now experiencing medical trouble.

“It basically went from this relaxed felling, to a mass casualty event in seconds, Papalia said.  “You train for it and you hope it never happens.”

Today you can find Susan as a cardiovascular research nurse manager at UMass Medical School.  She is also a committed volunteer with multiple organizations for humans and animals in Massachusetts and around New England.

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