Michelle Paige Paterson First Lady of New York

With a Masters in Health Services Management from Milano Graduate School in New York City and a Bachelors from Syracuse University, First Lady Paterson has made health and wellness the focus of her professional life. She currently serves as the Director of Integrative Wellness at Emblem Health, where she focuses on evidence-based programs that promote healthy living, with a concentration on childhood obesity and stress-related ailments.

This commitment also influences her official work as First Lady of New York State. Before becoming First Lady, she created a fitness program for middle school students in her home community of Harlem. “Healthy Steps to Albany: First Lady’s Challenge” encourages children to lead adopt healthy habits like exercise and nutritious eating. The kids convert those activities into ‘steps,’ and mark their progress on map that tours New York State. In spring 2009, the First Lady expanded the program to include students from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Yonkers. In March 2010, she will administer Healthy Steps in New York City, Long Island, Rockland and Westchester counties.

She balances her professional life with community service activities, like assisting victims of domestic violence. She spent three years as an on-call volunteer at the St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital where she counseled injured domestic violence victims in the emergency room about the services provided by hospitals and the state government.

First Lady Paterson met her husband in 1982 and the two were married 10 years later. The Governor and First Lady now live in Harlem, where they have raised their two children, Ashley and Alex.