John Leech cares about the heart.

The manager of cardiac rehabilitation at Lexington Medical Center recently was named a Fellow of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The organization recognizes excellence, professional achievement and outstanding service in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be recognized for my contributions to cardiac rehabilitation at the state and national level,” Leach said. “Becoming a Fellow in AACVPR has strengthened my commitment to provide our patients with the best possible care.”

To become a Fellow, applicants must submit a resume with a record of distinguished service in the field of cardiac rehabilitation, peer recommendations and evidence of a high degree of professional development and commitment. A committee reviews each application when selecting fellowship candidates.

Leech’s primary role as Lexington Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation manager is to create a program that helps patients recover from cardiac incidents and teach them necessary lifestyle skills to prevent future incidents. Those skills include exercise, healthy nutrition, smoking cessation, stress management and relaxation training.

Leech has worked in cardiac rehabilitation since 1984 in Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina. He chose his career path after his father passed away from a heart attack. Several other members of his family also have suffered from cardiovascular disease.

“Your service to AACVPR, to your profession and to your affiliate organization . . . set you apart as a leader and outstanding professional in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation,” the AACVPR wrote in a letter to Leech announcing his acceptance as a Fellow.

March of Dime grants

The March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter is accepting applications for 2015 community grants.

The chapter will award more than $300,000 in community grant funds to organizations in South Carolina to address unmet maternal and child health needs.

“These grants are one way the March of Dimes pursues its mission of preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality,” said Breana Lipscomb, director of program services for the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter.

To be considered for grant funding, projects must be evidence-based, and may focus on health care consumers or providers.

Funding priorities for 2015 include smoking cessation education, reducing disparities in preterm birth, and improving maternal health between pregnancies.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health and works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

“The South Carolina Chapter believes that we can improve the health of mothers and babies through partnerships with organizations whose services directly align with the March of Dimes mission,” said Charles Rittenberg, volunteer Program Services Committee chair.

Organizations interested in applying for a grant can request an application by emailing Applications are due by 3 p.m. Sept. 5.

For more information, contact the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter at (803) 403-8522.

About Bertram Rantin

Bertram Rantin


Bertram Rantin is The State's metro columnist with a current focus on the inspirational people and community helpers in Columbia, SC, and the Midlands. Rantin has covered a variety of areas during his tenure at the newspaper including local government, schools, sports, features, transportation, volunteerism and non profits. Email Bertram at or call him at (803) 771-8306.

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