Dara P. Richardson-Heron, M.D.
Assistant Executive Director & Chief Medical Officer, United Cerebral Palsy of New York City Inc. • New York, N.Y.
Dr. Dara P. Richardson-Heron, chief medical officer and assistant executive director of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, is so focused on improving human lives that if she had the time and money, she would work to also “abolish societal and institutional racism.” She is inspired by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s treatise on success: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure,” and notes that her own preparation started with her parents, Jerri and William Richardson. “They have always had uncompromising standards regarding education and encouraged us to be loyal to each other, to be respectful human beings and to reach for the top in every endeavor,” she says.
Richardson-Heron holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Barnard College, part of Columbia University, a doctorate of medicine from New York University School of Medicine, medical review officer certification from the American College of Occupational Medicine and a human resources management certificate from the University of Michigan. During all these studies, she held increasingly important positions at Consolidated Edison Co. of New York: administrative physician in the occupational health department; medical director, with responsibility for a $4.5 million budget and a staff of 37-plus, two medical clinics and two medical vans that performed more than 25,000 medical evaluations annually; director of operations support, human resources services department; and finally special assistant to the chairman and chief executive officer. She joined United Cerebral Palsy in 2004.
Yet, her family is most important. “My sisters, Tori, Maria and Aisha, have been my mentors, role models and confidantes throughout the years,” as well as her biggest fans, she says. Her husband, Earl Heron, “provided loving care, support, kindness to me during the most difficult period of my life” and taught her “the true meaning of unconditional love.” Spending time with nieces and nephews Amari, Brandon, Andre, Toria and Naya brings her joy, as does “uplifting my family and friends and making people happy.”