Photo (from left to right): Emmelyn is the third women in the front of the photo

From Assistant Clinical Analyst to AVP of the Office of Research Compliance – my career journey

Since joining our team in 2005, Emmelyn has taken every challenge and turned it into an opportunity. Learn how her career progressed over the years and how we supported her along her journey.

Why did you want to become a part of Northwell Health?

My passion has always been in research and public health and because of this, I ended up moving to the New York area to attend a graduate program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. In 2005, Northwell Health offered an opportunity for me to continue working in research as an Assistant Clinical Analyst, focused on regulatory compliance. It sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about the complex regulatory environment of research and work for a very large health care system. This was an exciting new challenge and I was eager to get my feet wet since I was had only had experience working in smaller medical academic centers in Chicago and Boston.

How has your career progressed over the years?

In 2007 I was promoted to a Manager in the Research Compliance department where I continued to work on developing the audit and compliance program and regulatory education and training for researchers throughout the organization. After a few years, I was promoted to Direct the Research Compliance Department and most recently, became the AVP, Research Compliance and Privacy Officer.

What are the biggest projects you are working on right now?

In Research Compliance we regularly perform audits of research throughout the organization and capture metrics. We’re developing ways to more effectively capture data from our reviews and develop analytical tools that can help us better pinpoint areas that may represent operational gaps or challenges leading to compliance issues or areas in need of further education and training. This data can then be presented to leadership and groups for further discussion or actions. At the end of the day, we want to be able to gauge the level of quality and integrity of the research that’s conducted at our organization. Continually evaluating quality and making improvements allows Northwell Health to continue to be a leading organization in research.

The other area I’m involved in is the Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). I’m one of the co-chairs of the Bridges Asian BERG that launched in October of 2016 and we’ve been working closely with the Center for Equity of Care (CEC) and various Service Lines across the organization on a variety of initiatives that seek to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services and build trust within the communities that we serve. We are working to create a larger impact across the workforce, expand the marketplace and better connect with our communities. This is critical as Northwell Health expands its footprint throughout very diverse neighborhoods and we need to work cross collaboratively to make a substantial impact. I’ve worked in minority health initiatives and research and this has always been another passion of mine. Northwell Health offers an amazing opportunity for its workforce to get involved in organization level projects through BERGs, which is fully supported and encouraged by leadership.

Within your different roles, how did you leverage them to be successful?

I always find value working from the ground up and learning a lot along the way from experience, good and bad. Working my way from an Assistant Clinical Analyst to where I am today took many years with a fair share of challenges, failures, and successes. Over time I’ve learned that it pays to take risks sometimes, be proactive and a  self-starter, seek out a mentor and most importantly, to seek and listen to feedback. I was fortunate enough to participate in certain programs within the organization such as the High Potentials Program that exposed me to various management and problem-solving strategies and Corporate leadership. That definitely gave me a different perspective on how our large organization worked and the potential that everyone has within, that could be realized to its full potential with dedication to collaboration, putting in 100% effort, actively networking and seeking mentorship.

In my current role, I’ve found value in communication and being a mentor to others. This includes ensuring a good level of communication with my team, colleagues and with individuals throughout our vast organization. I remember reading an article about how leaders shouldn’t only seek to climb the ladder, but they make sure that they look back and help others up along the way. This rings true as a woman and minority in a leadership position as we definitely have our fair share of challenges in the work place. I always remember the people who have extended their hand to help me along the way to get me to where I am today, and I’d like to do that for others who show the same amount of dedication and enthusiasm working for our organization. I think that truly makes you a successful leader.

Were there any roadblocks you overcame? If so, what are you most proud of?

The hardest thing about career progression is when you advance to the next level. When I was promoted to a Director and had to supervise other employees it was completely new to me and I went through my fair share of trial and error. Fortunately, I had mentors and supervisors who helped me to overcome challenges every step of the way and who serve as role models. Over these years I have worked hard to build the Research Compliance program and expanded the department to where it is today. I am most proud of seeing my staff develop personally and professionally, overcome challenges, and work with me to make the program even better each year.

I have learned so much, met so many people and have grown professionally. Northwell Health has been a terrific place to work and provides so many unique opportunities for the workforce. I’d like to encourage others to seize the opportunities offered at our organization, network and meet with people outside of your department to expand your horizons. Lastly, be engaged and make your career what you want it to be – you are made for this!

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