The Cardiac Rehab Team

Click on the team members' smiling faces to see their names. Find their bios below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Claire L. Karwacki-Marugg, M.S., C.E.S.
Manager, Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation Program, Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute 

Rosanna Colangelo, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N.
Certified Nurse Educator 

Kara M. Cashman, M.S., R.D., C.D.-N.
 

Annette Wenker, B.S.N.
Cardiac Rehab Specialist 

Anne McCormack, R.N., B.S.N.
Staff Nurse level II  

Christina deMello, B.A.
 


Kara M. Cashman, M.S., R.D., C.D.-N.
Registered Dietitian

I earned my Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, as well as my undergraduate degree in dietetics and nutrition, from the University of New Haven. I conducted my dietetic internship program at Saint Joseph’s College in West Hartford. I also hold a certificate in pediatric and adolescent weight management and wellness coaching. I really enjoy motivating people to make healthy lifestyle changes so that they can decrease their risk factors for chronic disease. In Cardiac Rehab, I typically work with patients on setting small, realistic goals to help break bad habits and create new, healthy ones. I enjoy hiking, running, and staying active.

Rosanna Colangelo, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N.
Certified Nurse Educator

I received my B.S.N. from the University of Rochester, my M.S.N. from Boston College, and my certification as a Nurse Educator by the National League for Nurses in 2008.

My main role at Hoffman Heart is in helping clients to understand and embrace lifestyle changes that have a positive impact on their heart health and well-being. I am on the Women’s Heart team, the Lifestyle Management team, and the Silver AMI study group. I can also be found helping out in Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Echo Lab as needed.

Clients just starting out in Cardiac Rehabilitation often seem discouraged that they have experienced a cardiac event. As they become accustomed to the exercise routine, a wonderful thing happens; they get caught up in the positive attitude of other clients who have been making great progress! They in turn become an inspiration for others as they start the program. It’s a pay-it-forward kind of atmosphere!

Christina deMello, B.A.
Department Assistant, Hoffman Heart

I provide administrative support to the Cardiac Rehab and FitCare programs at Saint Francis. I am inspired daily by being a part of a team that delivers compassionate and comprehensive support to patients. The music and positive energy coming out of the Cardiac Rehab gym always puts a smile on my face!

Claire L. Karwacki-Marugg, M.S., C.E.S.
Manager, Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation Program, Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute

I have worked at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center for the past 25 years. I graduated from the University of Wyoming with my Masters in Exercise Physiology, and am certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Certified Exercise Specialist.

There is such a need to educate the public about cardiac wellness and prevention. The Hoffman Heart Cardiac Rehab program provides a unique opportunity to teach awareness and skills to people on how to live healthier lives.

Kathleen Marrero, R.N.
Lead RN, Non-Invasive Cardiology/Cardiac Rehabilitation, Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute

I have been a registered nurse and have worked at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center for 34 years. My clinical experience is step down cardiac surgical unit, and non-invasive cardiology testing. My cardiac rehabilitation experience includes patient education, phase 2 and 3 outpatient education, and exercise programs.

I enjoy working in Cardiac Rehab because I am able to work with a diversified team. Our team consists of cardiologists, exercise physiologists, exercise specialists, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, dietitians, and registered nurses. Our team offers different areas of expertise that allow us to implement new ideas to better care for our patients.

Anne McCormack, R.N., B.S.N.
Staff Nurse level II

I attended Harris College of Nursing, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas. In the Hoffman Heart Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, as a Cardiac Rehab nurse, I am responsible for daily management of the patients in our Phase II and Phase III programs. I also recruit inpatients for the Cardiac Rehab program. Our team collaborates to promote health and wellness for patients through monitoring medications, individualized exercise programs, nutrition, and by assisting patients toward their wellness goals. I educate patients about cardiovascular disease, and I coach practices that modify their risks. I also develop educational tools for patients.

Someone with a cardiac event that requires lifestyle modifications can be overwhelmed. It is a joy to aid patients, teaching about health matters and how each can improve their wellness opportunity through exercise, diet, and medications. Over a 3-month period our patients gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence in their ability to positively modify their physical and mental health, and are successful in doing so. It is humbling to witness this life-changing process. It is a privilege to aid in teaching them, to listen to them and discuss their concerns. It is a gift to develop these partnerships, and to see positive health benefits become real for our patients.

Annette Wenker, B.S.N.
Cardiac Rehab Specialist

I graduated from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY. I have worked at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center for 11 years. As one of the team members who recruits inpatients for cardiac rehab, I may be one of the faces you see after a cardiac procedure, just as you're beginning your journey in cardiac rehab.

I will also make sure you are educated and enrolled in a 12-week monitored cardiac rehab outpatient program (Phase II) before you are discharged, whether it's an exercise program in Connecticut, or anywhere in the country, so you can continue your journey.

I may see you before your surgery as well. It is a rarity and privilege in the health field to see a patient from admission to discharge. I also have the privilege of seeing you 2-4 weeks after your event, as you begin exercising 3 times a week for 12 weeks in a professional setting. To me, this experience is priceless. Truly, your health is a journey of a lifetime. Exercise it well.