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2017 Innovation Challenge – Made for Big Ideas™ Showcase!

2017 Innovation Challenge – Made for Big Ideas™ Showcase!

At Northwell Health we search for innovation in everything we do. At the beginning of October, we gave our employees an opportunity to compete and win for one of two funding awards of up to $500,000 during our 2017 Innovation Challenge to bring their innovations to life. One winner was selected for an innovative idea in clinical care and one was selected for large-scale margin improvement.

With 130 submissions from employees all over the health system, we had 40 semifinalists, and then 8 finalists who presented their innovative ideas in front of a panel of judges, while our executive leaders were gathered in a separate room to watch. A bit of nerves, a lot of amazement and even some laughter filled the rooms as the presentations carried on. Take a look at our finalist’s presentations at the Made for Big Ideas™ Showcase!

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Leading the way in STEM initiatives – Chief People Innovation Officer Elaine Page honored as 100 Corporate Women Leaders in STEM

STEM Careers

Leading the way in STEM initiatives – Chief People Innovation Officer Elaine Page honored as 100 Corporate Women Leaders in STEM

At Northwell Health, we aren’t satisfied with settling. We search for innovation in everything we do. That’s why we place such a high value on STEM education in achieving our goal of optimizing the health of our community.

Last week our Vice President of HR, Chief People Innovation Officer and leader of our Workforce Readiness Team, Elaine Page, was honored at the 2017 Million Women Mentors Summit & Awards as the 100 Corporate Women Leaders in STEM Honoree. Promoting innovation and growing our future workforce is one of Elaine’s passions and she understands that the future success depends upon growing and empowering tomorrow’s health care workforce to take an active interest in learning and innovation. With the changing healthcare landscape and a critical shortage of nurses and other skilled clinical professionals, educating our youth on the opportunities in health care and STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) take on a new and urgent priority.

“As I represent many women leaders receiving this honor, I’m reminded of that sage advice as I say thank you today and reflect on all those successful women who’ve helped me.  From my high school teacher who told me I could be anything I dreamed I could be, to my first horrible boss who taught me exactly what not to do when I became a leader…and to the countless women leaders I’ve known who have struggled to make a place in the world for their voice but yet have carried themselves with graceful patience, knowing their time would come. They were and are fierce and I’ve reveled in the lessons I’ve learned from these women and try to impart that wisdom to my own team every day.  So I thank you for recognizing the importance of women leaders in technology: for recognizing how we bring creativity and different thought to a traditionally male field. Thank you for highlighting the importance of women supporting other women, lifting each other up.  It feels good to know that our powerful voices are shaping our future.” Elaine Page, Vice President of Human Resources and Chief People Innovation Officer

Northwell Health collaborates with internal and external partners to host system-wide STEM career programs, providing teacher education opportunities and fostering transformational education through the creation and support of Career Academies – while our student programs promote the wide scope of STEM-focused career paths and opportunities available within health care. Take a look at some of our initiatives:

  • Medical Marvels – In partnership with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Medical Marvels hosts a competition for 9th & 10th grade students to engage educators and students in exploring, understanding and preparing students for the broad spectrum of STEM career paths.
  • The Spark! Challenge – This is a system wide STEM career awareness program for 11th and 12th grade students. The program highlights high growth and less known careers in healthcare. The Spark! Challenge has hosted over 1,300 students at more than 50 Northwell Health sites.
  • Top Minds Meet webinar series – This interactive webinar series introduces students to key Northwell Health leadership as it highlights various pathways to a successful career.
  • Medical Scholars Pipeline Program – The Hofstra School of Medicine and Northwell Health’s Center for Learning and Innovation are preparing high school students for health care careers through hands-on training, rigorous academic classes, and mentorship.
  • Annual Professional Development Day – In partnership with The Feinstein Institute, we’re engaging educators in the broad spectrum of career paths and the skills and education needed to work in tomorrow’s health care.
  • Long Island STEM Hub – Northwell Health and Brookhaven National Lab are Co-Stewards of this regional effort focused on engaging and aligning business and educational communities to engage and develop students for STEM careers.
  • International Internship Program – Northwell Health’s Center for Learning and Innovation and University College Cork in Ireland are opening exciting opportunities for undergraduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business information systems.

As we continue to push the boundaries we will focus on enhancing our STEM initiatives and try to understand how we can continue to build successful relationships with other companies who are driven by the same mission. For now, help us in congratulating Elaine Page on her prestigious award!

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Celebrating Chinese Culture and Traditions through Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid Autom festival

Photo (from left to right): Philip Dong is the fourth employee from the left gathered with the other members of our Asian BERG

Celebrating Chinese Culture and Traditions Through Mid-Autumn Festival

By: Philip Dong 

As a part of the BRIDGES Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) it’s a passion of mine to share the tradition, spiritual and ethical values of the Asian culture across the health system’s facilities and network.  The BERGs are made up of employees passionate about embracing relationships with diverse communities served by Northwell Health, and the BRIDGES Business Employee Resource Group is focused on fostering shared understanding of cultural, spiritual and ethical values in the context of healthcare delivery among employees and communities.

On October 4th, I had the privilege to be part of a Diversity and Health Equity Committee meeting and for the first time, introduced one of my most treasured holidays – Mid-Autumn Festival, to Northwell Health’s executive senior leadership. The festival was also celebrated at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research by the Chinese Association at the Feinstein Institute (CAFI) which was organized by Dan Li, President of CAFI and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Autoimmune and Cancer Research at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Celebrated throughout different Asian regions, this festival has a history of over 3,000 years and commemorates the end of the autumn harvest. It is the second most important festival after the Lunar New Year, where people celebrate through family reunions, akin to Thanksgiving in the United States.

In China, Mid-Autumn Festival was also a time for moon-worship and moon cakes are the must-eat food item during ancient times because the round shape symbolizes reunion and happiness. After worshipping the full moon, family members would savor the cakes together. And while moon-worshiping is no longer a practices ritual, moon cakes are still a traditional pastry to be enjoyed during the festival. The Americans have turkey, but we have delicious cakes with sweet fillings.

The modern day celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival shares much of the same principles as Thanksgiving; that of family gathering and giving thanks. Ever since I was a child, the festival instilled in me a strong sense of family bonds and love. To this day, the clinking of plates and clattering of shuffling mahjong tiles stir up warm, resonant feelings of my Chinese family heritage. To me, the Mid-Autumn festival is more than just a time to eat and be merry – it’s a precious moment when everyone takes a step out of their normal routine to gather as a family and appreciate each other.

To all who celebrate this holiday, I hope you enjoyed this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival!


8 FeinsteinMi Autumn Festival Celebration

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Giving to others is what our nurses are made for.


Giving to others is what our nurses are made for.

In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted upon the Houston area, the need for medical care rose to crisis levels for those impacted by the flooding and who rely on their healthcare providers to manage existing chronic conditions. In response, Northwell Health connected with its counterparts at the Houston–based MD Anderson Cancer Center to offer assistance to match the hospital‘s specific needs. Within 24 hours after requesting help from its clinicians, Northwell enrolled more than 600 employees interested in volunteering. Here is one of our volunteer’s stories.

Written by: Angela Daly

As nurses and healthcare workers, we are there for people at times when they are most vulnerable; we step up when we are needed without a moment of hesitation. I was in nursing school when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my hometown of the Rockaway’s in Queens in 2012. Thanks to the kindness and amazing gestures of so many who stepped up when we needed them the most, my neighborhood made a strong comeback, allowing me to graduate on-time and start my dream job as a float nurse for Northwell Health.

When I heard that Houston, Texas was expecting to be heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, I immediately stepped up to volunteer. The week that I spent in Houston was an amazing experience that allowed me to give back to the world the same gestures that were once given to me in a time of crisis. I was able to use my talents and training as a Northwell Health Nurse in a way which was valued and so appreciated by so many. I was so proud to be a part of Northwell’s nursing team during that week in Texas as I relieved the nurses and allowed them to get home to their families and to begin the recovery process. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had as a nurse, and the finest example of how Northwell Nurses and I are Made For This!


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The top 3 things you need to know about our new Wellness program


The top 3 things you need to know about our new Wellness program.

1. We have a new partner

Virgin Pulse purchased ShapeUp in 2016. As the new partner for myWellness, they have numerous enhanced functions compared to the previous platform and are the leading vendor in their class. Northwell Health is passionate about keeping our employees and the communities we serve, safe and well. The new myWellness program is an excellent tool to support total well-being based on upgrades to content and resource accessibility. The best part about registering for the new platform? A free personal activity tracker along with a robust mobile app for easy access to tracking on personal devices.

“We believe that caring for our patients begins with caring for our people. We strive to offer resources such as myWellness to support our vision of the healthiest workforce in healthcare.”

-Niha Malcomson, Manager, Employee Wellness

2. It provides so much more

The new myWellness platform is highly interactive. Each day, members earn rewards points daily for tracking healthy habits like hours slept, steps, drinking water and much more. The refreshed program incorporates three basic steps to support behavior change to help employees reach their wellness goals. Step 1: Get specific. Step 2: Make it easy. Step 3: Trigger the behavior. When we focus on building tiny habits, we increase the likelihood of making lasting change. All of our employees are encouraged to take the 100% confidential, voluntary Health Risk Assessment to receive feedback on their current well-being status and to drive the creation of personalized content in the myWellness program. Personal challenges – ranging from getting more steps to tracking sleep with friends on the platform – are easy to create and yield additional ways to earn reward points. The PROGRAMS page on myWellness is a valuable tool for employees to centrally access a wide range of health and well-being resources available to them throughout Northwell Health.

3. And our employees are pumped

Since the launch of the upgraded myWellness program on August 1, there are nearly 25,000 Northwell Health employees registered, and the number continues to grow each day. Approximately 45% of the registered users were registered in the previous platform, the remainder are new users of myWellness. The interactivity and gamification, customized content, individual and enterprise-wide challenges, will all play a role in keeping employees engaged with their health through this program. Our partner, Virgin Pulse, also provides content updates periodically throughout the year to keep the content fresh.

Keeping our employees happy and healthy is one of our top priorities. We understand that the balance between work, life, wellness, and everything else is a tricky one, and we want our employees to feel support within each area. That’s why our employee wellness team continues to enhance our programs and will be on the road visiting sites throughout September and October encouraging our employees to take the next step in their health and to join our newly refreshed platform.

Take a look at how we’ve helped our employees so far:

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Our candidates know best, and they told us we were.


Our candidates know best, and they told us we were.

We are honored to receive the Glassdoor Best Place to Interview Award. Ranked 19 out of 100 companies, we are proud to know that our candidates had a positive experience when they began their journey with our organization.

“Our candidate experience is of paramount importance to us.  We strive to ensure that all candidates begin to get to know Northwell, well before they set foot inside our doors.  So being acknowledged as a great place to interview means that we are giving folks an early positive experience with us, one that sets the stage for them to be highly engaged and successful once they join our amazing team.  Our employee promise states that we never settle, and always strive to be our best.  Earning this special recognition means that we are continuing to push boundaries, and make people’s lives better.”

-Elaine Page, Chief People Innovations Officer, People Innovation & Solutions Team

Want to know what our recruiters look for in candidates while they are interviewing? Take a look at their responses below!

What is your best advice for acing an interview?

Research. Research. Research.  Find out as much as possible about the company, the interviewer, and anyone else that may be involved in the hiring decision.  Doing your homework shows that you are prepared and actually care about the opportunity in front of you.  And you never know what you may discover.  Attending the same college as your potential new boss opens the door to great conversation! Always remember to be enthusiastic, engaged, inquisitive, and goal oriented.

When I am interviewing a candidate, I look for behavioral traits that stand out in a positive way.  Candidates who are personable, enthusiastic, and know what they want and why they want it, these are the type of candidates that I am confident sending on hiring manager interviews.

What is your favorite interview question?

It’s very easy to answer this question with, “What are your strengths?”.  But my favorite interview question is, “What are your weaknesses?”.  Knowing what you need to improve on as an individual or as a professional shows great self-awareness.  This also lets your prospective employer know what developmental opportunities may exist for you within the organization.

What do you look for in a candidate?

Someone that is overall passionate about what they do who are ready and eager to start a career with us and not just looking for a paycheck or job. We love candidates who can easily relate to others and who enjoy working with people on all levels. Don’t forget to mention the times you have gone above and beyond within your current and previous roles – we want to see you have heart and that you are willing to go the extra mile.

What do you wish candidates knew about Northwell Health?

Once hired there is so much room for growth and advancement. The managers and leadership are truly invested in your personal and professional growth.  This is an employee friendly environment and we are always trying to come up with different ways to enhance the employee experience. There are so many different volunteer opportunities and events to participate in such as wellness programs, make a wish, concerts, etc. When interviewing, the Talent Acquisition Specialist that conducts the interviews are really down to earth and just want to know about your skills, experience and if this right fit for you, the department and the institution as a whole – so don’t be nervous. Think of the interview as a conversation. (Hint: We love to hear about your accomplishments and future goals)

Think you’re made for this? Explore our unlimited career possibilities.

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More than coworkers – friends who were made for each other.

More than coworkers – friends who were made for each other.

You know how sometimes you meet a person for the first time and you just click? That’s how it was for Erin Alesi and Josephine Corcoran. They met through a mutual friend when Erin started as a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). And even though they’ve never worked on the same unit together, they’ve built an amazing friendship over the years.

“One of the unique things about this hospital is that it’s not just a bunch of people working nine to five and going home. We’re family.”

 –Erin Alesi, RN

Whether it’s scrubs or sweatpants, double-shift or day off, the best news of your life or the very worst, the people of SIUH are there for each other. They support and love one another through all the ups and downs of life. That’s why, when Josephine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they were devastated. This was their sister who was hurting and in trouble.

Josephine had a long, hard battle ahead of her. Everyone wanted to do something to keep her spirits up as she went through an incredibly challenging time in her life. Her good friend Erin, had an idea for a fun way to encourage Josephine that would simply tell her that she can beat this and that everyone was behind her all the way. No matter what…don’t stop believin’. The video above is the result of this labor of love.

With lots of inflatable guitars and microphones – literally “air guitars” – they all rocked out and acted silly as they tried to encourage, lift up and make Josephine smile. It was a blessing for her friends to be able to do this for her. And it was a joy to watch everyone be truly together to make it all happen.

“Sure, it was a bit corny and silly but we just wanted Josephine to be able to smile again, to laugh at us and know that we were thinking and praying for her.”

–Erin Alesi, RN

Josephine is doing well and continuing to fight. Because we know that every moment matters, we hope that in some small way, we were able to show Josephine the same kind of compassion she shows to all around her. If you’re looking for a place where you can truly be yourself, where your coworkers are your family and where even the smallest gestures can change a life, you were Made for this.

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Motivated to stay healthy – how our annual Wellness Challenges have benefited our employees


Motivated to stay healthy – how our annual Wellness Challenges have benefited our employees

A healthy employee is a happy employee. Did you know that each year we have Wellness Challenges for our employees to keep track of their personal health?  These challenges involve tracking your healthy and unhealthy habits, reducing stress, or simply encouraging you to move around more. Last year at our annual employee barbeque our President and CEO, Michael J. Dowling, awarded prizes to the challenge winners who were all secretly hoping to win the grand prize, a trip to any one of our seven destination options, ranging from Peru to China to Thailand.

Last year alone, Mr. Dowling handed out 14 prizes to employees who completed all 3 challenges. One winner, Imee Sarmiento, recently took her trip to Rome with her husband.  Wanting to get in on the fun, Imee’s sister Lulette (who also works for the health system) decided to plan a trip at the same time.

Throughout their trip, they got to visit many famous cities such as Florence and Siena, but one sight they didn’t expect to see under the Tuscan sun was former United States President Barak Obama and the Air Force One Leaving the Rome Airport.

“Winning this trip was an incredible experience! It was an enticing incentive for employees to promote health and wellness as well as encourage camaraderie amongst its employees,” said Imee. These sisters have been a part of our nursing family for 14 and 20 years respectively.

“We don’t really know any company that granted their employees any wellness challenges and incentives such as the experience we just had. It’s amazing and totally reinforced Northwell Health’s dedication to be a forefront in leading and promoting employee satisfaction,” said Lulette.

Here at Northwell Health, we are always looking out for the health of our employees. Our wellness initiatives not only allow our employees to maintain their health outside the workplace, but while working as well. Over the past few years, we have continued to put the health of our employees first by providing healthy food options at the cafeterias throughout our facilities and snack options in our vending machines. So far these challenges have helped hundreds of employees lose weight and change their lifestyle.


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We’re made for taking on challenges with innovative solutions.

Northwell Health

We’re made for taking on challenges with innovative solutions.

The health care industry is going through its most dramatic change in history. Because caring runs through everything we do, we strive to stay a step ahead in defining the way care is delivered in these constantly changing times. When you combine this changing industry landscape with a critical shortage of nurses and other skilled clinical professionals, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education takes on a new and urgent priority.

We’re excited to be able to do our part to make a difference. Led by Cheryl Davidson, our Senior Director of Workforce Readiness, we’ve put a number of innovative STEM-focused initiatives in place. And our efforts are being recognized: we were just named a 2017-2018 STEM-Approved Employer by STEM Jobs. Here’s how we earned it.

Engaging students through STEM education.

For our current employees looking to shift their career priorities into the STEM world, we offer fellowships that enable them to learn and grow the skills and knowledge they need for these critical roles. Employees currently in STEM-related careers are also able to promote the importance of STEM education through our SPARK! Challenge. This year, we had employees from 53 Northwell Health departments contribute their time and expertise to the Challenge. Working closely with 700 local high school students they helped immerse these students in key positions throughout Northwell Health. Students then prepare presentations to share what they learned. The benefits are twofold. Students gain a greater appreciation for the wide range of opportunities within STEM fields while igniting a passion for taking on the educational challenges that will propel them forward in this exciting area. At the same time, our employees learn more about different professional areas they may not have thought about before.

Connecting classrooms to careers.

We’re proud to partner with Brookhaven National Laboratory to lead the Long Island STEM Hub, part of a national network of hubs promoting STEM careers. We pair industry partners with colleges and high schools to create pipelines for these high-growth fields, particularly in health care. Activities include:

  • Hosting annual forums – We bring healthcare providers together to speak on key topics (nursing, informatics, etc.) with the goal of encouraging students to pursue STEM education and careers. This creates a pool of candidates to benefit the entire healthcare industry.
  • Health Care Industry Council – We have established this council as a way for industry and education to share their respective needs and current trends so that they can develop strategies for mutually satisfying these needs.
  • Teacher Professional Development Day – These special events connect teachers with businesses to help these educators better plan and develop curricula that will prepare students for tomorrow’s STEM careers.

Advancing the underrepresented through STEM excellence.

We focus on diversity and inclusion, working with veterans, people with disabilities and others who may face unique challenges within the workplace. Since STEM-related careers are the fastest growing and most in-demand area of our economy, STEM education can provide a hand up to those in need. Our work in this area includes:

  • Strive – This organization prepares students and those returning to the workforce with additional assistance as well as opportunities to join FlexStaff, our in-house temporary agency.
  • Medical Office Assisting Program – We provide learning, assistance with certification and temporary opportunities as a way for people to get a foot in the door of a great career in health care.
  • Career Academy – We work to foster excellence in the “three Rs”:
    • Rigor – Aligning high school standards to college and workplace expectations
    • Relevance and Learning – Advancing education through real-life industry examples
    • Relationships – Fostering interaction with lecturers, webinars, internships and more

If you’re passionate about advancing STEM education and think you’re made for an organization that is truly innovative and committed to going beyond the ordinary to advance health care, we’d love to hear from you.

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2017 President’s Awards Winner: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience

Shawna Vernisie, Creative Art Therapist

2017 President’s Awards Winner: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience

Shawna Vernisie, Creative Art Therapist

Here at Northwell Health we are continuously encouraging our employees to be their best, and this week at our 11th Annual Presidents Awards Gala we honored those who aren’t satisfied with settling and are always pushing boundaries.

The annual President’s Award Program honors and celebrates individuals and teams who represent the very best of the organization. These employees surpass Northwell Health’s expectations, standards of excellence, and drive innovative business outcomes through three distinctive categories: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience, Innovation and Teamwork. What makes this award special is that individuals or team are nominated by senior leadership for their contributions. Take a look at this year’s Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience award winner.

Shawna joined our Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in June 2013, but her story as a musician doesn’t start there. For Shawna, music began when she spent time in the NICU as a newborn and her parents sang to her. Shawna joined us in a part-time role, but as her talent became evident we worked to increase her to full-time status, which happened in 2015. She has blossomed, both as a healer and in her scope of work. In order to bring peace to those families whose children may be at the end of their journey, she creates songs for families using their child’s heartbeat – a beautiful tribute and lasting memory for parents whose time with their child was all too short. All within a year she has implemented a volunteer music program, implemented the use of heartbeat recordings, created a fieldwork placement for NYU’s music therapy students, and so much more.

The music Shawna creates and shares with our patients and families is the soundtrack to our Culture of C.A.R.E. We honor our President’s Awards winner for the difference she makes, the legacy she has helped to create, and for the way her talent sustains us all. Thank you for giving 100% of your heart to your work and the way you represent music therapy to us all.