The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration in Asian culture of hard work, harvest and family. This year, Northwell Health’s Bridges Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) led celebrations throughout the health system for our team members to connect with each other and our patients.
We talked to two of the BERG leaders to learn a more about the Mid-Autumn Festival and the importance of creating a workplace where all holidays are celebrated.
Hoi-Sze (Suki) To, practice administrative manager, Colorectal Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital and co-lead, Bridges Asian BERG, Western Region
What is the Bridges Asian BERG?
The BERG was created to enhance engagement, innovation, talent development, and promote an inclusive culture ensuring the delivery of culturally and linguistically sensitive, quality patient care. The Asian BERG nurtures a diverse, inclusive workforce that aligns with Northwell’s mission, values, business practices, and objectives.
What are the benefits of becoming a member of the Bridges Asian BERG?
It provides the opportunity for professional development and networking, a collective voice, a role in fostering community support, and most importantly, broadening cultural awareness throughout Northwell and the communities we serve. I joined the group because there is a need to address the importance of cultural diversity when providing patient care.
There are many Chinese American patients from the Asian communities Northwell serves and it is critical for us to create a comfortable and culturally-sensitive environment. For example, one of Lenox Hill Hospital’s prominent colorectal surgeons, Dr. Joseph Martz, would proactively translated the medical consent forms into the Chinese language and also recruited bilingual support staff in order to communicate effectively with his patients. Our BERG now helps with these needs.
How do you celebrate the festival?
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a chance for families to spend time together, just like Thanksgiving. One of the most common ways to celebrate is by eating moon cakes. Moon cakes are a dense, sweet pastry that’s baked or steamed and typically enjoyed with tea. You can also find moon cakes in other flavors such as green tea and chocolate. Many communities also celebrate by lighting paper lanterns because the lanterns serve a practical purpose of lighting the way as friends and family stay up to appreciate the full moon late into the night.
Yue (Lulu) Liu, senior administrative manager, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital and co-lead of the Bridges Asian BERG, Western Region
Why is the Mid-Autumn Festival important to Northwell?
The Mid-Autumn festival is important to Northwell because this is a holiday that is celebrated throughout Asia and by many of our employees. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated at Lenox Hill Hospital. The celebration was a collaboration with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Lenox Hill Hospital’s Human Resources, and the Lenox Hill Department of Food and Nutrition Services. The event was very well received and brought patients, hospital staff and leadership together.
Why did you become a member of the Bridges Asian BERG?
Prior to becoming a member of Bridges Asian BERG, I noticed there was a shortage of culturally and linguistically sensitive patient materials. My team and I would spend hours translating the pre-procedure and post-op care instructions over the phone with our Asian patients. After joining the Bridges Asian BERG, I started to collaborate with the Chinese Language Advisory Board (LAB), where we would help procure this information for the Northwell Health Physician Partner practices when they were providing care to the Asian American population.
How do you celebrate the festival?
During the moon festival my family and I always enjoy a meal that ends with sampling a of moon cakes and a special tea my mom selects to pair with the moon cakes. For me, the most important part of the moon festival is spending time with my family, being appreciative of our loved ones, creating new memories, and maintaining the bonds that we have.