Photo: Mike Eller, AVP, Laboratories is pictured on the far right.
An appointment with: Mike Eller, AVP, Laboratories
Northwell Health maintains the preeminent laboratory system in New York. With a state-of-the-art Central Lab and 15 hospital-based labs, we perform 27,000,000 tests per year. The lab system is also known for its innovative technology (including the first fully robotic lab systems in the country) and exceptional growth opportunities with the construction of a new 110,000 sq. ft. general laboratory and state-of-the-art, 40,000 sq. ft. microbiology laboratory. Mike Eller, AVP, Laboratories is driving much of this exciting growth. Get to know Mike and his vision for lab leadership!
How did you get into Laboratory Administration?
It was more of a career evolution. I started working in a lab, but as I learned about all the opportunities available, I decided to become more well rounded. I learned about sales by being a sales rep at Core Labs. I learned about finance and the business by working with Bob Stallone, our VP of Labs. I learned about how small, medium and large tertiary hospitals work by becoming administrative director of four of our hospital labs. I learned about project management by running projects and getting my Project Management Certification.
How did you know Northwell Health was the right career destination for you?
Northwell Health is the major player in the region. I wanted to be part of something big and I am amazed at how the system continues to grow. I can make a difference because I have been given that freedom to be innovative, take risks and move out of my comfort zone into new areas, new experiences and new ways to deliver care.
What would you tell someone who is just starting their career in this field?
Be the best at what you are doing, whether you’re a lab tech, accountant, environmental worker, nurse, client services, billing rep, etc. Be the best at whatever you do and this will lead to the next challenge. Then, be the best at that.
What characteristics make a great leader at Northwell Health?
A great leader creates and communicates the vision to the organization. Great leaders surround themselves with great people because they know they can’t be successful alone.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to move into leadership?
Get to know the leaders you admire and respect and let them know where you want to be. You must show interest or you will be overlooked! If you show interest and have the ability, you will get noticed and excel.
How does Northwell Health encourage its employees to progress in their fields?
It’s important to be able to follow a clear map so you know where to go and the steps it takes to get there. Northwell Health Labs has formal career ladders to guide staff and help them reach their goals.
What would you tell an employee who is interested in being a mentor?
If you’re a mentor, be a resource, a teacher and a guide. Do not try to change the person. Let them be who they are and put their own creativity and spin on it. The role of a mentor is to be a guide and resource and help make a better leader than you were. That’s the goal – I want to help someone be better than me.
What exciting developments are happening at Northwell Health’s labs?
For me, it’s the opening of our new Labs at the Center for Advanced Medicine and Little Neck. These two new state of the art labs will be a combined 140,000 square feet. It is a culmination of our growth over the last 20 years. It gives us the ability to perform 5-6 times our current volume.
What can someone expect working at one of the nation’s largest laboratory systems, that they won’t find anywhere else?
When you combine our size with our culture of innovation and excellence, you’ll find opportunity that you can’t find anywhere else. If you have talent, drive and the desire to succeed, you will be successful here.
What’s the single biggest reason to work at Northwell Health labs?
You will be part of the best, most forward thinking health system lab in the country. You will get out of the “basement” and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time to change behavior of patients and providers to improve care and reduce cost.
Celebrating Hindu Culture and Traditions through Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Written by: Neva Harold
Guyana, a small third-world country in South America is made up of six main ethnic groups – Amerindian, Chinese, East Indian, African, Portuguese and Europeans. This is primarily due to the British-era colonialization of land and the use of laborers from different parts of the world to work on the sugar plantations. For a small country, Guyana is very diverse. Learning about culture, values and traditions of our people had been a great passion of mine growing up. It gives me great pleasure as a member of the BRIDGES Asian BERG and the Ambulatory Services Diversity and Health Equity Committee to share with everyone, the culture and traditions of one of the main religions in Guyana – Hinduism through its largest and festive holiday celebration of Diwali.
Diwali is a celebration enjoyed not only by Hindus but also Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. The significance of Diwali is different for each religion. For Hindus, Diwali is as important as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. Diwali is derived from the root word Deepavali which means “row of lights”. The festival is celebrated worldwide in October/November depending on the cycle of the moon (new moon). The common theme of the significance of Diwali is the triumph of good over evil or the destruction of all negative qualities – violence, anger, fear, jealousy, greed, etc, to embrace more positive ones. Diwali celebrates the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.
In Guyana, India and around the world, Diwali is celebrated by lighting clay lamps or diyas to signify light over darkness or good over evil. Hindus celebrate the return of the Hindu God Rama to his kingdom after 14 years in exile. They light diyas as a sign of welcome and tribute to Rama. Additionally, during Diwali, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth is believed to enter one’s homes to give them good fortune and prosperity for the year.
The celebration of Diwali is always a festive one. Growing up, we had to always spring clean our home because if we didn’t, it is believed that the Goddess Lakshmi will not enter our home and bring good fortune. We bought new clothes to wear, lit hundreds of diyas and made lots of sweet and savory snacks. The best part of Diwali for me was visiting friends and family and sharing the holiday with them regardless of their religion. It always gave me this sense of warmth and togetherness to be with everyone – family and friends that did celebrate Diwali and the ones that didn’t. Today, Diwali celebrations at our home in the United States are the same like they were in Guyana. And my favorite part – we still invite our non-Hindu neighbors, friends and family to participate in the festivities and educate everyone about the significance of Diwali. This year, I gave each of my team members a diya to light in their homes for good fortune and prosperity and brought in an assortment of sweets for them to savor!
May the light of the diya bring you and your family happiness, joy, good fortune, prosperity and success always! Happy Diwali to all!
An Appointment With: Orthopedic Physician Assistant Rachel Zawodzinski
Welcome to An Appointment With, where we sit down one-on-one with our Northwell Health colleagues. Today we’re meeting Orthopedic Physician Assistant (PA) and marathoner, Rachel Zawodzinski.
Why did you choose a career at Northwell Health?
I’m from Buffalo and I wanted to move to the city. I had heard that Northwell Health was a great place to work and that they provide great education to the staff and PAs. Everybody’s happy here because Northwell Health really supports you. Being a Physician Assistant, you learn a lot on the job and since it’s a learning institution with residents and fellows, there’s always an opportunity to learn.
Tell us about your role as an Orthopedic Physician Assistant.
I work with Dr. Hepinstall in adult reconstruction. I started a year ago last April and it was my first job out of PA school! I alternate days between the office and the OR, and in the office I see patients alongside the doctor as well as my own patients. We have an elderly population, as our focus is in total hip and knee replacements. I assist in the OR, which I love. When you are in surgery, you get to see exactly what you’re doing so when patients ask you questions, you can answer them more clearly because you were there — you know what happened. It’s a great environment to experience and learn the best practices.
What should people know about working at Lenox Hill Hospital?
It’s a very close-knit team that we work with regularly which allows us to work together very well. We enjoy each other’s company which also means that we try to make the job as fun as it can be.
How does your job affect your ability to stay active and how does this translate into your work?
One of the hardest things in this field is time management, so it can be hard to maintain an active lifestyle outside of work. I am a runner, so I try to run or work out in the morning before work. When you’re in surgery, you never know how late the day will go. But exercise is something I enjoy and I feel better after doing it — I am a more productive person when I am active, so I prioritize it.
In our field, everyone always wants to achieve something and likes to train for something, whether it be a marathon or to be better in their career. Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves and likes to work toward a goal. We see the complications every day that people can have if they’re not healthy, and that makes you want to be healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle to your patients.
Are you training for a marathon right now?
I continue to run to stay active and plan to do a half marathon in the spring and hope to do another marathon next fall.
What kind of person would be great at being an Orthopedic PA?
Someone who is motivated. A lot of people in ortho are active people and they like the variety between the office and the OR. You have to be flexible and work with change because you can always uncover something unexpected in the OR!
Do you have any advice for people who are looking to become an Orthopedic PA?
It’s a great field to work in and I really love what I do. It’s a great career being a PA in general, so if you want to go down that path, then just work hard and have that goal in mind. When you have the opportunity to learn from the people around you – doctors, techs, nurses – take advantage of it.
We have exciting Orthopedic PA opportunities in new, state-of-the-art facilities in Greenwich Village and Long Island. Like achieving success in a marathon, it starts with one step. Take it here.
Photo: Our Advanced Practice Leadership Council being truly together at a holiday celebration last year
Our NP Leaders – Leading the way for Advanced Practice Nursing
Our Nurse Practitioner leaders are continuously pushing the boundaries to find unique ways to keep our Advanced Practice Nurses engaged. And with over 900 advanced practice nurses in over 17 specializations, they need to. As we rolled out our internal employee promise earlier this year, our leaders came together at the 4th annual Director’s Development Day where they focused on their accomplishments over the year, reflecting on the good and the not so good, as well as goal setting for the System Advanced Practice Leadership Council and workforce for 2018, making sure it’s aligned with our new promise.
Throughout the day they went through different exercises to connect our refreshed values to the work they do every day. As they reflected on how our employees are Truly Compassionate, Truly Ambitious, Truly Innovative, Truly Together and Truly Ourselves, they came up with different ways to recognize our employees who go the extra mile for their colleagues, patients and patient families.
“It is a system wide mission to get over 90% engagement scores by 2020 and we want to be leading the way. This day is just one example of how we are bringing our leaders together to think about how we can keep our employees engaged and happy by connecting them to our employee promise which embodies who we are as an organization and what we want to achieve.” Carol Patrick, Corporate Director of Advanced Practice Nurses
Our leaders focused on strengthening the communication and dissemination strategies within our organization and the groups dialogued about ways to recruit and retain our advanced practice workforce, becoming the employer of choice for Advanced Clinical Providers. Autonomy, team collaboration, value, and recognition were key areas that echoed the sentiments of the advanced practice members in creating action items for successful, and sustainable implementation. Embedding our culture of care and diversity into optimizing accessible, efficient, safe patient centered experiences were unanimously threaded throughout all groups in exploring how we as Advanced Practice Nurses at Northwell Health are truly Made for this.
From the Cancer Institute to a tertiary hospital – my internship experience
Written by: Alexa Bernardini, 2016 & 2017 HMP Intern
If it had not been for the Office of Undergraduate Biology at my university, I would have never been exposed to the opportunity to apply for Northwell Health’s Healthcare Management Program (HMP). After visiting the office to discuss career opportunities that would combine my passions for the biological sciences and business, a student advisor raved about her experience working for Northwell Health and mentioned I should look into the HMP program. As a sophomore, it was rare to find an internship opportunity that delved into the world of healthcare administration and enabled me to work with so many different departments throughout the health system.
I started my Northwell Health journey at Monter Cancer Center, where I was able to gather resources to build an internal website for Cancer Institute members across all sites. By leading this project, I interacted with many departments such as finance and operations, cancer research, and academic affairs among many others. One of my favorite parts about this project was being able to meet leaders throughout the facility who graciously welcomed me to the team and were happy to answer all of my questions to further my learning and engagement. Our goal was to develop the Cancer Institute as a unified and prominent entity for cancer treatment, research, and education. The first step to achieving this goal was having a place for all Cancer Institute employees to access to information regarding clinical trials, Continuing Medical Education events, cancer conferences, and community outreach initiatives. When my internship ended, I still followed up regarding the progress of my project, and loved knowing that I added value throughout my time at Monter Cancer Center.
Upon reaching my junior year of college, I was able to apply what I had learned at Northwell Health to my courses and campus organizations. As I reflected on what I had learned during my internship, I knew I wanted to return to Northwell Health the next summer at a different site to absorb even more information from a different perspective. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to once again join the HMP program, where I am currently spending my summer in the hospital operations department of Long Island Jewish Medical Center. I have learned that I enjoy working in both atmospheres, LIJ as a large tertiary hospital and Monter Cancer Center as a smaller, outpatient cancer treatment facility. Something I love about the HMP program is that there are so many different sites throughout the health system that participate in the program, and I can hear about other interns’ experiences who are placed at different locations. While at LIJ Medical Center, our team has been collaborating with the team at North Shore University Hospital to work on a hypothetical business case regarding the Pre-Surgical Testing (PST) care model. Our goal was to design an off-site location that combined two of the region’s existing centers. This theoretical project has been a great learning experience to identify what goals a project of this size would want to accomplish, such as the desire to maximize operational efficiencies, standardize procedures, and ultimately create a more positive patient experience. We took the time to plan, shadow their processes on-site, and combine the best practices of both PST locations to create a care model that features an ideal blueprint of the new space, taking into account estimated patient volume and length of stay.
After spending two consecutive summers as part of the Northwell team, I have learned that working in healthcare administration across sites has the common theme of integrating departments and unifying their workflow processes and workplace culture.
Update: Alexa has been offered and accepted a full-time position once she graduates from Cornell University in May.
Submit your resumeto become a Summer Associate in the 2018 Healthcare Management Program Internship.
26.2 miles. Twenty-six. Point two. And every step is a battle, a struggle between mind, will and body. Running a marathon demands an incredible personal commitment. Months – and sometimes, years – of road training and dietary preparation. Early mornings and long, lonely runs.
Just getting started requires tremendous motivation. But to finish the race, sometimes you need to exceed even your own expectations. As Northwell Health’s VP and Chief Experience Officer, Sven Gierlinger noted, “With the exception of getting married and seeing my first child born, running the NYC Marathon has been the most incredible and exhilarating experience of my life. I never in a million years would have thought that it is humanly possible for me to be able to do that.”
At Northwell Health, being Truly Ambitious is a core Value of ours, it’s no wonder we had several of our employees enter and finish the recent New York Marathon. Here are some of those were in it for the long run:
For these exceptionally dedicated individuals, it’s a matter of setting goals and going out and achieving them. “It’s about determination. Being ambitious, pushing the boundaries both physically and mentally,” says Patricia Farrell, RN, Nurse Executive. “When you hit that wall, you have to push through it to complete your goal.”
Health and wellness are two big themes Northwell Health has in common with the NYC Marathon. Competing in and completing a marathon will take you to a level of fitness few are able to achieve. But, you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to make positive changes in your life. You can even start by just walking more and see where that takes you. As our President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Dowling says, “There is no limit to your possibilities if you put your mind to it.”
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!
Photo: Members of our Radiology team at the 2016 Northwell Health Walk
Radiologic Technologists – the difference they make at Northwell Health
Since Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of the x-ray in 1895, the field of imaging technology has advanced from a chance scientific discovery during a lab experiment in Germany into an integral part of every patient’s management of care around the world, and across Northwell Health.
“Radiology technologists make a difference throughout our health system by providing physicians with images that enables them to treat or diagnose a disease. Over 230,000 studies are performed by imaging technologies in the department of radiology at LIJ alone. It is safe to say that radiology technologists are the eyes of medicine.” Andreas Nicou, Senior Administrative Director, Department of Radiology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
The Imaging Service Line at Northwell Health prides itself on being able to provide prompt and accurate subspecialty imaging and interpretations of images acquired on the most technologically advanced imaging equipment, in a safe and comfortable environment. We offer our patients convenience and easy access to our imaging facilities 7 days a week, throughout the Northwell catchment area. Our highly skilled, licensed, registered, and certified Imaging Technologists make all the difference when it comes to delivering the optimal patient imaging experience and obtaining the highest quality images possible, leading to prompt diagnosis and follow up care.
“Our imaging technologists are “Truly Ambitious” in their pursuit for continuous learning and advancement of both the field of imaging and their personal career development and growth. Our academic program affiliations offer an advanced teaching environment which allows our new recruits entry level opportunities at Northwell Health, as well as additional upward mobility opportunities and career ladders for existing team members.” Jim Henglein, Senior Director, Support Services, North Shore University Hospital
Imaging Technologists at Northwell Health have career opportunities in diverse modality areas which include X-ray, MRI, CT, Special Procedures, Cardiac Catheterization, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound and Peripheral Vascular, and Radiation Medicine technologists.
“Our technologists are truly ambitious because they never let the increasing demands of the field or the never ending advancement of radiology technology hold them back. They are resilient and always manage to adapt to the changes and thrive in order to provide our patients with the quality care they deserve.” Andreas Nicou, Senior Administrative Director, Department of Radiology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Our state of the art imaging environment includes an advanced and integrated Picture Archival Communication System, the most advanced clinical & research MR imaging magnets available, the lowest dose CT scanners available on the market, Ultrasound with 3D imaging capabilities, PET and SPECT CT, and the most advanced Imaging for Women’s Health and Breast Imaging including the most current digital platforms for Tomosynthesis.
“Our goal is to attract highly skilled imaging professionals in order to complement our existing imaging team, and offer them career growth opportunities in a very exciting and challenging environment. Each year during the first full week of November we celebrate National Radiology Technology Week by honoring and recognizing all Imaging Technologists for their commitment towards providing the highest level of diagnostic imaging and imaging guidance for our physicians to diagnose and treat diseases. We thank them for their support, teamwork, and dedication to their profession and to our patients they provided during the past year by holding week long activities including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and other social activities.” John J. Aloisio, Assistant Vice President, Imaging Service Line
Photo: Members of our genetic counseling team in the Northwell Division of Genetics & Genomics
What is a Genetic Counselor?
What it is.
According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors genetic counselors: “have advanced training in medical genetics and counseling to guide and support patients seeking more information about how inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families, and to interpret test results.”
How to become one.
Genetic counselors (GCs) have master’s degrees from one of 30 programs across the country. Applicants generally have a science or psychology background, but they can come from any field. Other valuable experiences include working with people with disabilities, crisis counseling, laboratory work, and shadowing genetic counselors. GCs are accredited through an examination offered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Genetic counseling programs are also becoming more common around the world.
Why our employees became one.
“My undergraduate degree and first 20 years of work experience were in theater lighting. Like many GCs, the field was a career change for me. Several personal experiences over the years had sent me to GCs, and I was always impressed at how much they seemed to love their work. Now I am proud to count myself among them.”Michele Disco, Senior Genetic Counselor
“I found out about the profession during high school and during my undergraduate degree, found myself more and more attracted to the science of genetics, but basic science lab work was not for me. When I got the chance to shadow within a genetic counseling clinic was the moment I made the commitment that that was what I wanted to do. I transitioned into a genetic counseling graduate program immediately after my undergraduate degree and now here I am!” Amber Gamma, Genetic Counselor
Why you’ll love it.
“I love supporting families in learning more about genetics and their health, listening to their stories, and guiding them in their decisions. Sometimes the scientific information can help dispel fears about conditions running in the family; other times I need strong counseling skills to compassionately convey difficult news. Constantly staying informed about the rapidly changing field of genetics means that I am always learning. I am also fortunate to teach genetic counseling students, and to give educational presentations, both ways to learn more myself.” Michele Disco, Senior Genetic Counselor
“My favorite part of this field is the blending of education, human connection and science. Genetics is becoming increasingly more important in the field of medicine and being on the forefront of that innovation is incredibly exciting, but being able to translate it to everyday patient care and how the information affects these people and their families is where the real reward lies for me. Through an emphasis on strong patient relationships via empathy and advocacy, I find that not only am I always on a journey of learning to stay abreast of new scientific developments within the field, but I’m also on a journey of learning about my patients, what’s most important to them and how we can use this information to empower them in their healthcare and reproductive choices.”Amber Gamma, Genetic Counselor
What your role will be.
At Northwell, genetic counselors see prenatal, pediatric, and adult patients. For example, prenatal genetic counselors work with expecting couples interested in knowing more about their baby’s health and pediatric counselors work with children. Cancer genetic counselors at the Northwell Cancer Institute and the recently launched, multidisciplinary Northwell Center for Cancer Prevention and Wellness work with patients and families concerned about a family history of cancer, or who have cancer themselves.
We are also integrated into many Northwell Health departments and programs, including cardiology, hemophilia and sickle cell disease, pediatric hematology/oncology, reproductive endocrinology/fertility, and the Craniofacial, Marfan’s, and Neurofibromatosis Clinics, among others. Our role is continually expanding. Part of our expansion within the health system means increasing our close collaboration with physicians, advanced care practitioners, nutritionists, social workers, and other health care professionals, and partnering with them to provide patients with the highest level of compassionate care. We also serve as mentors for prospective and current genetic counseling master’s students completing their clinical rotations at Northwell, and are involved in research initiatives through the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
Experiencing health care through the Healthcare Management Program Internship
Written by: Ketrah Mugambe
When I first started my summer internship at Northwell Health in the Healthcare Management Program, I thought I had a sound idea of what I wanted to do in my career. Being a science major, it made perfect sense to want to pursue healthcare from a clinical standpoint. I had no idea of what an administrative job in health care could offer. I figured – why not go against the grain a bit? Why not see what else is out there?
So I spent eight weeks with a little yellow notepad and a ballpoint pen, trying to absorb every aspect of health care management I would encounter. From finance to operations to data analytics, my learning curve was intense. My projects were new and overwhelming. And unfortunately for me, my pure science course load in undergrad proved to be absolutely zero help.
Every day in the office was different, and the variety of projects that I had was a true testament to that. To name only a couple, I was tasked to give suggestions of improvements to an oncology lab based on my observations, as well as to create an internal employee survey measuring employee satisfaction and engagement. I was working with real-time data, and important information that was of great use to my preceptors. It was a bit intimidating, determining the best way to utilize it all.
What motivated me, though, was the trust my preceptors had in me to get the job done, despite me being an intern with so much to learn. Throughout each of my projects, I was expected to know exactly what was expected of me, but to also know what my limits were and when to ask for help. I was called on to report back the results I found, making me feel like an integral part of the discussions that took place in that second-floor conference room. And most importantly, I was held accountable for ensuring that my output was my absolute best effort. Each day brought a different challenge, but I had the guidance and the support I needed to meet each one.
So while I came into my internship not really knowing what to expect, I can happily say that this summer turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I not only learned a lot about Northwell, and their commitment to their patients and employees, but I also learned a lot about myself, and about what my capabilities are. This summer I had the great opportunity to be a part of a team, a team that needed me just as much as I needed them.
For those of you wondering where I stand in terms of my career plans now, the administrative side of healthcare has definitely caught my eye. The hustle and bustle that occurs behind the scenes, and not on a care facility’s main floors is an experience like no other. But overall, I have come to learn that there is definitely a career for me in healthcare, regardless of what path I will ultimately decide to take.
Submit your resumeto become a Summer Associate in the 2018 Healthcare Management Program Internship.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.