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An Appointment With: Northwell Health Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto

An Appointment With: Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto

Welcome to “An Appointment With,” where we sit down one on one with leadership, doctors, nurses and more to bring you their stories. Today we’re meeting SVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto, who was the most recent winner of the AHHE Hospital Executive of the Year Award.

How did you know that coming to Northwell Health was the right career move for you?

I didn’t at first. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Patchogue. When I heard about the Chief Marketing Officer position at Northwell Health, then known as North Shore-LIJ Health System, I just remembered the small health care company from my childhood. After doing my research, hearing Michael Dowling speak, and learning about the advancements at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Hofstra School of Medicine, I fell in love. I saw the power of this organization and I knew there were stories waiting to be told. This is the best job I’ve ever had.

How has the rebranding process at Northwell Health impacted the organization?

Fundamentally, our hospitals used to run regionally and people associated themselves with the single hospital they worked for. Now people feel like they are all together, and there is a sense of community. This has helped improve our engagement scores. As separate entities,  people didn’t know who we were and how we were all connected and now they see all of our locations as one. There has been an undeniable unifying effect on the inside, and ability to shine as a destination health care system.

What is your perspective on leadership?

90% of leadership traits are trainable and there are things you can do throughout your career to be a good leader. My philosophy is: don’t just “dabble” in anything, take it on with all you’ve got. You should know your stuff and strive to be the subject matter experts.   When making a decision, you should bring everyone together to help. Leverage diversity of thought and unity in action. If you give people a voice, the execution is always better. If you can adapt your leadership style to fit the needs of your audience as well as the organization, you will be able to grow and flourish.

You recently earned the AHHE Hospital Executive of the Year Award. What have you learned from that experience and what did that mean to you?

The most important part of the awards evening was that my family was there and I was able to reflect on my heritage. This award made me think of my father. He came from Puerto Rico when he was 12 and he didn’t speak a word of English. He pulled himself up from poverty by going to school at night and working hard. He believed you always had a choice: work a job you enjoy or work a job as a chore. He also said to always stretch yourself, whenever you think you can’t do more, you can. His wisdom helped shape who I am today. I went back to get my MBA at 40 even though I had a successful career because of the drive he instilled in me.

Many people of diverse backgrounds have stories like this, and that’s why in terms of diversity in the workplace, it’s important to include individuals from all backgrounds based on their experience and what they’ve done. We need qualified candidates and we need to choose the best of the best. If we don’t include everyone in that pool of candidates, we’re missing out.

However, no institution should ever settle for people who aren’t the top or relax their standards to bring on talent that isn’t qualified.

What is an interesting fact that people should know about you?

I had a perm in high school!

We invite you to come back for the next moment in our Appointment With… blog!

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From EMT to Director of Patient Care Services

From EMT to Director of Patient Care Services

Meet Madalyn Frank-Cooper, Director of Patient Care Services at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills. We sat down with her to talk about her career progression and to simply understand why she loves her job. Here is what she has to say.

Why did you fall in love with Emergency Services?

I first fell in love with EMS when I was working as a medical assistant many years ago. One day, while I was working, we called for an emergent transfer for a patient to the hospital.  I was in awe of the EMT’s professionalism, their quick and thorough assessment skills, and the transfer of the patient to the hospital setting. I next joined EMS, and a short time later enrolled in nursing school to further my education and become an RN. I began my career at Lenox Hill Hospital in the ED. I was fascinated by the coordinated, quick decision making of the inter-professional team in this fast paced environment.  I was a clinical nurse for approximately 5 years and was afforded the opportunity to become a clinical liaison, and next found my path in leadership.

What is your role as Director of Patient Care Services?

My role as Director of Patient Care Services is to ensure the best possible care to our patients and to provide our employees with the knowledge and support to do so. This includes promoting an exceptional patient experience, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and a safe environment.  I feel this role is important because enables and promotes avenues for advocacy for patients, families, and staff.

How do you continue to push your employees to provide top quality of care for our patients?

Nursing is dynamic and can drive change.  Placing the patient at the forefront, eliciting feedback from the front line, and explaining the reasons why assist to drive quality of care. Structures we have in place to examine our quality of care include Collaborative Care Councils, Committee work, and focus groups.  These structures promote shared governance and provide insight for the care we are delivering.

What projects are you currently working on?

We have the Nurse Activated Stroke Code Project, where using specific criteria, the nurses are empowered to activate the Stroke Code at the patient point of entry. This has shown to be successful in decreasing our door to doctor, and door to imaging time. Early recognition and treatment yield better patient outcomes, increasing the likelihood of a full recovery. Next, we are looking to expand this concept to patients with sepsis and initiate a Nurse Activated Code Sepsis, with the goal of improved outcomes.

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My Radiology career at Northwell Health

My Radiology career at Northwell Health

Written by: Jennifer Lillibridge

Initially, it never occurred to me to consider Tech School.  I was going to school to become an accountant and during that time I worked in a small radiology facility.  I worked with John, the director of an Ultrasound program.  My desk faced the wall and our desks were caddy corner. One day, John approached me and said, “Consider Ultrasound school and forget accounting”.  In so many words, I told him to leave me alone. He responded, “OK, sit in the corner for the rest of your life”.  I will never forget how I felt in that moment.  I started to pay more attention to the Tech’s and each modality.  Ultrasound interested me because there is an art to it; the probe is your camera.  I was hooked and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Ultrasound.

I began my career at Huntington Hospital in 2008.  I worked with esteemed Radiologist Dr. Wank and he recruited me to go to Great South Bay Imaging in late 2010 when the practice wasn’t even open yet  (I literally wore a hard hat while I interviewed with Bill Brostek).  It may sound cliché, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason.  Just like with John, Bill saw something in me that day.   He hired me as a staff Technologist and then I was promoted to Ultrasound Supervisor and not long after that, I was promoted to Practice Manager of the facility.  Over the course of 7 years, I have seen many changes and growth within our facility.  From the earliest moments of my career, the team that I have worked with has solidified the reasons I was drawn to this field in the first place.  Technologists graduate with a foundation of knowledge in patient care.  It is not until this knowledge is put into practice that a Technologist begins to realize that patient care is the most important part of our job.  Even though a majority of my day is no longer spent scanning patients, patient care remains my utmost priority.

I often look ahead to the future. Just as I have evolved and grown within my career, the field of radiology will continue to evolve and grow. Northwell Health continuously provides opportunities that break down barriers so that there are no limitations to the level of success we can all achieve.  This fosters an environment in which patients can be part of a health system that is a step above the rest.  Northwell Health has afforded me opportunities in my career that I never deemed possible, especially when I look back at myself sitting in the corner all of those years ago.

Many people have not only believed in me but instilled a drive that I didn’t know existed within myself.  The moment I wake up each morning, I have a mantra I often repeat – I am part of something greater and I am going to make a difference today.  I often reiterate this mantra to my team so that we don’t lose sight of our common goal.  Simply put, we all entered this field to help people.  Patient care is our #1 priority.  No matter what an individual’s role is within the health system, that mantra, along with prioritizing patient care, will only enhance the overall success of our Health System.  I wear my Northwell Health hat proudly each and every day.

 Explore our opportunities today.

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

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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A career I’m proud of – why I decided to join Northwell Health’s team after the Military

Photo: Luis is the man on the right 

A career I’m proud of – why I decided to join Northwell Health’s team after the Military

Written by: Luis Phillips

My decision to enlist in the military emerged for numerous reasons.  I grew up admiring my father and his service in the military, saw how certain benefits supported my family and the different educational benefits.  I decided to join the U.S. Army right out of high school at age 17 through a waiver signed by my parents, and although the transition from military life to civilian life had the potential to be difficult, the military taught me how to keep calm in the face of chaos. Through my experience,  I have learned how to work well under pressure, improvise, adapt and overcome.

Towards the end of graduate school, I began searching for jobs related to my major in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and it was at this time that I learned about Northwell Health.  I noticed that they offered many opportunities within my major and I also wanted to join their team due to their recognition as a military friendly organization and their commitment to veterans. I had heard through peers about their reputation for being a great organization that encompasses diversity and professional growth. I discovered that they were hosting a veteran recruitment event for which I applied and later led to an interview.

Following the interview, I was hired and began my career at Northwell in 2014 as a Clinical Practice Plan Representative in the Central Business Office. While holding this position I was recognized as Employee of the Month and also nominated for Employee of the Quarter in 2015. After a little more than a year’s time, I transitioned to a Clinical Practice Plan Analyst on the Revenue Cycle Operations team. Within this role, I acquired a unique skill set, which allowed me to develop analytical acumen through SQL to write queries, as well as become the lead analyst and receive the myRecognition Execution award.  With this acquired skill set, a year and a half later I became an Operations Manager for the Clinical Informatics team at the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in 2017.

At the beginning of my career, I was fortunate enough to become a member of the VALOR  B.E.R.G (Business Employee Resource Group).  Since joining this group I’ve had the opportunity to attend some events and share my experiences and stories with other veterans. VALOR is a program that brings veterans together to give them a chance to appreciate one another while also learning from each other’s experiences in the military and in their current roles within the organization, assisting veterans in gainful employment while promoting well-being.

I take a lot of pride in working for Northwell Health and feel a sense of fulfillment in my role because of everything I mentioned above – they support Veterans through the hiring process. They support Veterans while they are a part of this organization. And they support Veterans throughout the communities. I am currently enrolled in the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Program, have been accepted into the MBA program for Strategic Business Management and will be attending Hofstra University in the fall of 2017 with the help of the organization’s tuition reimbursement program.  Being able to work within my field of study and the organization’s commitment to veterans is continuously gratifying. The health systems service to the community, as well as the abundance of genuine people, makes one take pride in being a part of such a rewarding organization.


Photo: Luis and his team after a successful drive for the Ronald McDonald House 

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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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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. 

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2017 President’s Awards Winner: Innovation


2017 President’s Awards Winner: Innovation

Huntington Hospital Oncology Unit 1 North

Here at Northwell Health we are continuously encouraging our employees to be their best, and last 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 Innovation award winner.

Pain can overwhelm our patients in ways we can’t imagine. Unmanaged pain can make other aspects of cancer more acute – fatigue, nausea, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and confusion all have an impact. Being Truly Compassionate and helping our patients manage pain is at the heart of our practice. The team at Huntington Hospital created and combined multiple innovative strategies to improve pain management for oncology patients, creating a bundle which implemented best practice reliably and consistently for patients.

This team decided to utilize technology to the best of their ability and added a speed dial button on the back of the patient phone which immediately connects patients straight to their nurse, added a simple multi-alarm timers to their medication carts resetting them every time they make a pain intervention to remind them when to check back. On average, after 60 minutes, patients’ assessed pain has reduced from 48.2% to 36.8%. This is dramatically reducing the pain of oncology patients through redefining pain assessment and response. Wanting to take away our patients’ pain is the first instinct of any care-giver. That we can still innovate in this field is a remarkable tribute to a team who continually push the boundaries to redefine health care.

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2017 President’s Awards Winner: Teamwork


2017 President’s Awards Winner: Teamwork

Monter-Vivo Concierge Pharmacy Service

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 Teamwork award winner.

The team at Monter Cancer Center knew they could do better. The system was failing patients, so the system had to be changed. As we fight to cure cancer, treatment becomes more complex every year. We all know chemotherapy is tough on our patients and we welcome the recent explosion in oral chemotherapy medicine. Oral chemo drugs can cost thousands of dollars every year, which can leave our patients in a tough financial situation or without the proper medication that they need for weeks or even months.

Our team at Monter got together with Vivo Pharmacy to re-imagine pharmacy services, creating a concierge service for specialty oral cancer drugs, to be located right inside the Monter Cancer Center waiting room. Since December 2015 they’ve saved our patients over $1.73 million, and 98% of prescriptions are approved within 48 hours.

Nothing is more rewarding than making sure our patients get the medication they need, without financial stress. We salute our President’s Awards winners for their teamwork, for the way they came together to make a change, for never accepting an unacceptable situation. Thank you for saving lives, improving the quality of patient care and pushing the boundaries of health care every day.

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A career of life-changing service.

A career of life-changing service.

“I feel like Northwell Health has given me so many opportunities to further my education and my skillset.”

–Desiree Gropp

A commitment to service, a spirit of compassion and a gift for leadership have always defined Desiree Gropp. Joining the Marines young, she matured during her military career while growing her sense of responsibility, dedication and determination. She would soon find how well these skills would transfer to her future health care leadership role at Northwell Health.

Desiree joined Northwell Health in 2014 as a staff nurse on the medical/surgical floor at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). A year later, an opportunity arose for an Assistant Nurse Manager on the unit. Even though she was only a year out of nursing school, she applied for the job – and got it. “I was so stoked and so excited,” Desiree remembers, “I couldn’t wait to start!”

A short time later, Desiree’s director met with her and asked Desiree what her five-year plan was. She responded, “I want to be sitting in your seat.”

As it happened, there was a need for a creative, open-minded and energetic Nurse Manager to drive important change in the Emergency Short Stay Unit while ensuring that care delivery and quality continued to meet our high quality of care standards.

Knowing all of the challenges ahead, Desiree jumped in headfirst. She developed strong partnerships with colleagues while ensuring that the needs of patients and their families were consistently met. With the opening of a new unit at LIJ, she has again demonstrated that she is a positive change agent as she moved her team from an overflow to an inpatient unit, taking on the challenges with pride, grace and dignity.

It’s a highly challenging position, but Desiree’s military background has prepared her well for it. “In the military, I learned to keep calm under pressure,” admits Desiree. “They instill that in you.” In recognition of her achievements, Desiree received the Northwell Health Leadership Award during the recent Nurse’s Week celebrations.

For Desiree and other veterans, Northwell Health maintains a steadfast commitment to supporting them in their return to civilian life. We have been named a Military Friendly® Employer three years in a row, are proud members of Nassau County’s Welcome Back Warriors Program and the Veterans Jobs Mission, are the premier NYServes partner and participate in other programs committed to serving those who’ve done so much to serve us all.

“I’ve always been a go-getter and I’m constantly thinking about what I can do next. I like to set the example and motivate other people.”


Veterans like Desiree have sacrificed so much in the service of our country. At Northwell Health, we’re proud that they choose to continue their life of service with us. If you’d like to learn more about our commitment to your career transition and growth, please visit jobs.northwell.edu/veterans. Connect with our Veteran Program Specialist and learn about our events tailored for veterans by joining our Veteran Talent Community.

 Interested in joining our team of nurses? Explore our unlimited career possibilities today.