Health Hero Challenge 2013: Meet Our 16 Semi-Finalists!

Drumroll, please! It is my great pleasure to officially introduce the 16 semi-finalists for our second annual Health Hero Challenge, brought to you by UnitedHealthcare. Starting next week and throughout September, we’ll be opening it up to reader voting on our Facebook page, so that you can select a winner. (Note: You’ll need to Like our page to vote, so go ahead and do that now.)

Here’s how the contest works: Editors at Philadelphia magazine read over 500 entries and narrowed the field to the 16 semi-finalists below. Throughout September, we’ll be asking you, our readers, to vote for your favorite Health Hero on our Facebook page. Four semi-finalists will be up for voting each week as outlined below, and the winner of each week will go on to the finals in October. You’ll be able to vote once a day, every day, throughout the contest, so set your calendar reminders now. The winner of the Health Hero Challenge will be featured in an upcoming issue of Philadelphia magazine, and will receive a donation in his or her name to a charity of choice.

To help get you hyped for the contest, we’ll be rolling out Q&As with each of the semi-finalists this week, so you can learn more about what makes them champions of health and wellness in Philly.

Congrats to all our deserving challengers!

Round 1: September 3-9

Desiree Gaunt
Coordinator of Physical Health at Melmark

Nurit Shein
Executive Director of the Mazzoni Center

Alberto Esquenazi, MD
Chief Medical Officer, MossRehab

Nicky Uy
Senior Associate at the Food Trust

Round 2: September 10-16

Bruce Hopper Jr., MD
Physician for the Restaurant Worker Referral Program, Philadelphia Chapter

Kiera Smalls
Personal Trainer and Founder/Blogger at City Fit Girls

Phyllis Sudman
Co-founder of Simon’s Fund

Sue Daugherty
Executive Director of Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA)

Round 3: September 17-23

Leslie Marant
Co-ambassador for Black Girls RUN! Philadelphia and Owner of Temple Building Fitness

Mark Spann
Tennis Coach and Owner of Upper Dublin Sports Center

Ryan Oelkers
Co-founder and Senior Director of Operations for Cadence Cycling Foundation

Marisa Weiss, MD
Breast Oncologist at Lankenau Medical Center and President and Founder of

Round 4: September 24-30

Jeffrey Brous
Personal Trainer at Horsham Athletic Club

Robert Bulgarelli, DO
Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine at Main Line Health and Cardiologist at Riddle Hospital

Marci Schankweiler
President and Founder of For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation

Joann Fegley
Coach of the Schuylkill Dragons Women’s Dragon Boat Team