When You Think Westchester, Think Northwell Health
Westchester, known for outdoorsy fun and chic shopping hubs in the Hudson Valley, is also home to two award-winning hospitals, each recognized for the care they give and the positive work environment they provide Northwell Health employees: Phelps Hospital (Phelps) and Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH).
Located in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., Phelps holds firm to a credence of going above and beyond medicine, taking into account not only an unwavering commitment to the community’s health, but also the well-being and support the staff needs to minister quality health care. “I would recommend Phelps to any nurse looking for change. You will be supported throughout every aspect of your career,” says Cecil Bonitto, registered nurse at Phelps Hospital. Phelps is proud to be listed by U.S. News and World Report as a High Performing Hospital and is honored for their numerous awards in cancer screening and care, among other highly coveted endorsements, none of which is made possible without the passionate workforce behind the services.
Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH), in Mount Kisco, N.Y., likewise praises its staff for two recent achievements: the designation of its Institute for Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC); and Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence for the third time. NWH’s commitment to improving the health of the people in the community is recognized by U.S. News and World Report with a ranking of #15 on its Best Regional Hospitals list. “I am surrounded by so many amazing individuals who give it their all, day in and day out,” says NWH emergency room nurse Samantha Miness. “It is truly remarkable to be among some of the best in providing care and comfort to our community.”
Both facilities continuously seek ways to create and promote a workplace that inspires the good work they’re known for. Never was this a more pressing need than during the height of the pandemic, when each hospital created a wellness garden as an oasis for employee reflection. These sanctuaries bring the vibe of nature and local community into the hospital setting while providing sources of nourishment for patients and employees. They also serve as a place for personal growth through opportunities to learn about horticulture. “It’s a great and friendly work environment,” says Natalia Avendano, a NHW patient care associate. “It feels like family, and there is always room for growth.”
These two highly regarded, state-of-the-art hospitals factor into Northwell Health’s recognition as a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Northwell is also devoted to creating an environment that is open to all, where everyone feels like they belong, regardless of their background. In fact, Northwell welcomes the sharing of diverse ideas and voices, which sparks innovation in medicine and care. “I was encouraged to continue my education and I received financial assistance with the Nursing Promise Program offered by Phelps,” says Phelps registered nurse Karla Vallejo.
Both Phelps and NWH embody all that Northwell aims to be: pioneers in both medicine and employee experience. The hospitals strive to impact the quality of life of everyone in the community — whether they live, work or visit Westchester.
So when you think of quality healthcare in Westchester County, you should also think of Northwell Health.
Explore nursing opportunities and discover a career well cared for by taking a look at available Nursing and Nursing Support Roles at Phelps and NWH .
Celebrating Women in Medicine: Meet Dr. Chunyan Li, PhD (EE) and Dr. Christina Brennan, MD, MBA
The world of medical research — often a behind-the-scenes sector — houses some of the most brilliant minds: transformational thinkers who envision the bigger picture of improved health for all. At Northwell Health, where we champion diversity and inclusion across our workforce, we are proud of our many women scientists who are leading the way in research innovation.
In honor of Women in Medicine Month, we spoke with Chunyan Li, PhD (EE), and Christina Brennan, MD, MBA — two exceptional leaders at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research — about their experiences and their thoughts on encouraging women to pursue careers in science. The Feinstein Institutes is the home of research for Northwell Health. Teams of researchers work tirelessly to discover treatments and innovations that change the future of medicine not only for our patients but the world at large. Read below to learn about the incredible work of these two powerhouse women in medicine, and how innovations at Northwell are born out of a fervent belief that voices must be heard at every level and from every background.
What research have you been involved with at the Feinstein Institutes?
Chunyan Li: I helped develop an innovative laboratory research program focused on two major problems in clinical neurosurgery — traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured brain aneurysms. We have found that stimulation of the nerve that provides sensation to most of the face and tongue, increases blood supply to the brain due to its connections with cerebral vessels.
Christina Brennan: As the vice president of clinical research, I oversee the clinical research program for all of Northwell, which includes supporting our 300-plus research coordinators and 400-plus clinical investigators. My days include facilitating clinical research trials and studies, and on the management side I act as an anchor for our teams of researchers, sustaining their growth and the growth of our clinical research program.
What first drew you to the field of clinical research?
Chunyan Li: I grew up in China and was fascinated by engineering and scientific research from a young age. During my graduate studies I met Raj K. Narayan, MD, chairman emeritus of neurosurgery at Northwell and was introduced to the many research opportunities relating to the brain. Dr. Narayan recruited me to Northwell. Our work in applying electrical engineering and computer science techniques to brain monitoring received a Department of Defense grant. Throughout my time at Northwell, my work has evolved to focus more on patients, which is an exciting and fulfilling direction.
Christina Brennan: I was inspired by the juncture between patients and science. In our work, patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical research and together we have the ability to advance medicine and help the patients of tomorrow.
Why would you recommend the Feinstein Institutes to others interested in careers in science, particularly women?
Chunyan Li: The Feinstein Institutes is a very special place for research — small enough to build relationships, large enough to make an impact. There are different ways to have an influence in science at the Feinstein Institutes and I particularly like the focus on clinical translational work. Working bench-to-bedside gives me the chance to interact with physicians. What we do is aimed at finding new and better treatments for conditions for which there are currently not enough answers.
Christina Brennan: A career at the Feinstein Institutes provides the chance to change the trajectory of medicine and science because the areas in which you can put your hands and mind to work seem endless. Now more than ever, the world has its eyes on clinical research. It’s an exciting time in the field.
How has your work been supported by the Feinstein Institutes and Northwell?
Chunyan Li: I work in a very supportive environment. I have been able to learn research techniques through unique experiences I did not have while in graduate school. Here, you never feel alone because we always have access to mentors who are selfless in the sharing of their ideas and encouragement. Additionally, as a female faculty member, my lab received support from the Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) program, which has allowed us time to develop prospective treatment methods and obtain further funding from federal institutions.
Christina Brennan: Personally, I was able to pursue my MBA through Northwell’s support at Hofstra University. I continue training and getting educated through my work at the Feinstein Institutes and through the many organizations we partner with. I agree that a big aid in our ability to grow as women in medicine is the AWSM program initiated by our very own Dr. Betty Diamond, Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes. It gives me confidence to know that the advancement of career opportunities and career satisfaction for women are important missions here at the Feinstein Institutes and across Northwell Health.
How has Northwell and the Feinstein Institutes impacted both your personal and professional growth?
Chunyan Li: Research can feel like a competitive sport, but it’s reassuring to know that Northwell Health is a big proponent of supporting research through funding and programs. In my 11 years here, I have grown as a scientist and faculty member, and that is much in part because of the strong foundation holding us up at both the Feinstein Institutes and Northwell.
Christina Brennan: The health system has endorsed my participation in conferences, research boards, and other opportunities to present as a leader in clinical research. This has been both personally rewarding for me and has added to my professional development.
Why do you believe Northwell Health has been named a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®?
Chunyan Li: There is no single answer to this question. For me, Northwell has provided great opportunities to develop myself as a researcher and to find better answers for difficult-to-treat diseases of the nervous system.
Christina Brennan: “Impossible to narrow it down to one reason. It’s the opportunities, the stability and the culture of trust.”
Chunyan Li, PhD (EE), lab director, Translational Brain Research Laboratory, Institute for Bioelectronic Medicine, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and the Department of Neurosurgery Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwel
Christina Brennan, MD, MBA, vice president, clinical research, Feinstein Institutes
Northwell Health is focused on creating a welcoming environment where all employees have a sense of belonging. Innovation and progress are achieved when employees have a voice and share ideas across our health system. This is the goal of our Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs)— to give all employees a platform to connect and learn about the communities we serve as we stand together to foster a united and respectful workplace.
As part of our continuing Northwell Community video series, WPIX’s Mr. G interviewed team members Dora SantaMaria-Yao and Lesidet Salce about our Latinx BERG. Watch our latest video in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicked off on September 15th, to learn how this BERG positively impacts our employees and the patients they serve.
An Internship Today…Shaping the Health Care of Tomorrow
Each summer, Northwell Health hosts the Healthcare Management Program (HMP), an internship for college juniors interested in learning about the administrative side of health care. It’s an extensive and unique 10-week paid internship, offering a firsthand perspective on what it’s like to serve as an administrator for our many hospitals, service lines or departments. Samara Jefferson, one of this year’s participants, shared how this experience has shaped the direction of her studies and future career.
Samara learned about the internship through her school, Spelman College in Atlanta. She initially felt outside her comfort zone because of her minimal background in business and finance, but her mentor — Nora Brady, an administrative director at Katz Women’s Hospital — provided encouragement and boosted her confidence in understanding the many facets of hospital operations. There was constant guidance and no question was off-limits. “I’ve realized there’s no such thing as the perfect administrator,” Samara says. “We each have different ‘whys’ for entering health care and we bring varying skillsets to the job.”
Samara proudly notes that her knowledge in health care management now includes project management, building an infection control unit (such as those erected for COVID-19), data analysis, and more thanks to the projects she worked on during her time in the program. “I recommend HMP to other college juniors,” she says. “The skills I’ve learned during my internship at Northwell Health are invaluable and everyone I’ve interacted with is very invested in seeing you develop and grow.”
Her program complete, Samara’s career plans have evolved. “Prior to the mentorship, I was focused solely on becoming a physician. However, in this program I was afforded the opportunity to work alongside actual health care administrators like my mentor, Nora. I realized administrators can improve health care at a systemic level. I hope to now become both a clinician and a future administrator.” We are excited for all that Samara will offer to the future of medicine as she returns to her studies this fall as a senior with a whole new perspective of what it means to work in healthcare.
Interested in the HMP internship? Join our Student Talent Network to stay up-to-date on the latest student news and resources, including our future plans for the program in 2022.
The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Northwell Health
At Northwell Health, our mission is to serve and care for the entire community, which is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) — the idea that a business or organization should contribute to society at large — is very important to us. CSR can broaden our leadership role, activities and investments, and we understand that success and responsibility work in tandem to make the health system a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.
We spoke with Jordana Zangwill, assistant vice president of CSR, to learn more about Northwell’s CSR initiatives.
Why is CSR so important to Northwell?
At Northwell, we are committed to making a difference in the communities we serve – it’s who we are. CSR is about choosing to put people and the planet first – making sure that we operate in a way that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible. As the largest healthcare system in New York, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to make real impact. Providing the highest quality of care and transforming healthcare means broadening our role.
We have 77,000 team members with 77,000 different passions. Our CSR strategy puts us in a position to support these passions while also finding ways to focus, integrate and amplify our efforts.
What are the main pillars or areas of focus that make up Northwell’s CSR program — and why those areas?
At Northwell, our mission and understanding of what transforms health has led us to broaden our role, activities, and investments over the years — including, for example, taking on the challenges of food insecurity and gun violence. While CSR-related work was already happening throughout the health system, we envisioned evolving toward a fully integrated and optimized Northwell CSR strategy.
In an effort to centralize and manage the work being done into one comprehensive strategy and approach, we formed our CSR committee by bringing together a diverse group of individuals from throughout the health system, including representatives from Community and Population Health, Human Resources, Northwell Health Foundation, Finance, Procurement, Communications and more.
Throughout 2020 we worked together to assess our current state, gather input from key diverse internal and external stakeholders and take a systematic and holistic approach to developing our strategy and goals. Many of our leaders and team members played a key role in the development of our CSR strategy through their participation in our stakeholder interviews and survey.
Based on the data gathered, we developed key pillars and focus areas centered around community partnership and well-being, excellence and equity in care, environmental responsibility and team member wellbeing, equity, diversity and inclusion.
What are Northwell’s CSR plans and initiatives?
Examples of some current and past key CSR initiatives at Northwell Health include:
Our commitment to veterans — We’re working to improve mental and physical health and economic and social well-being through high-quality coordinated care, hiring veterans into the health system and pay differential programs for employees currently serving in the reserves and called to active duty.
Center for Gun Violence Prevention — Led by Dr. Chethan Sathya, this is an initiative calling for the critical need to implement evidence-based firearm injury and mortality prevention strategies in health care, especially within at-risk communities.
Tackling COVID-19 in the community — Led by Dr. Deb Salas-Lopez and the Community and Population Health team, Northwell began partnering with trusted community- and faith-based leaders to mobilize a massive campaign focused on delivering diagnostic and serology testing and vaccinations within devastatingly impacted communities, such as vulnerable, low-income communities largely comprising African-American and Latinx people.
Food insecurity — We continue to focus on food insecurity as a major issue impacting our community and team members. We donated more than 20,000 food items to Island Harvest, City Harvest and Eastchester Community Action Partnership food banks through our virtual food drive in 2020 and early 2021.
Green initiatives — We have many green initiatives in place centered on reducing energy and emissions, climate change and waste. We’re actively evaluating potential energy-efficiency projects for electric, gas, steam and oil reductions with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.
A Career in Care Management at Northwell Means a Fulfilling Role with Endless Room for Growth
A career in health care is often pursued by people who are passionate about caring for others. Health care is a broad industry with so many touchpoints for improving the health of our communities, but some of those communities need extra help reaching their health goals. Northwell Health Solutions programs provide care coordination to those needing assistance with accessing medical care as well as mental health, substance abuse, social, and family support services.
Impacting community health requires a combination of compassionate employees dedicated to helping people and a health system committed to keeping the “care” in healthcare—and that’s the case with the Northwell Health Solutions team. “I love helping others,” says Jessica Torres, supervisor, HARP Care Management at New York Health Home. “Something like scheduling an appointment and advocating for your own health can seem simple, but it can be difficult for a lot of the patients we work with.” Fellow care management supervisor Alexis Bustillo adds, “The organization is constantly innovating to ensure that they deliver the best care possible.”
This commitment from a health system alone may be what some candidates expect when seeking a career in health care, but as Jessica and Alexis quickly learned, at Northwell you’ll also raise your career expectations. They both joined New York Health Home in 2018 and rapidly grew in their roles. “The reputation about Northwell is true,” says Alexis. “Its friendly work environment, the flexibility, and advancement opportunities are real.”
A positive workplace and knowing your career is well cared for fuels the success Alexis and Jessica have achieved, which includes working with their teams and the Medicaid community to get patients to their providers, assist them with housing and connect them with counseling support services. ““From the moment I interviewed with Northwell, I knew this is where I wanted to be. Knowing that I have been able to make patients’ lives more manageable is everything,” says Jessica.
When asked what makes Northwell a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Jessica and Alexis couldn’t call-out just one reason. They noted the culture, the room for growth, the support from leadership, incredible benefits like tuition reimbursement, and the investment in training and developing all employees — regardless of role or title.
Both Alexis and Jessica believe that joining Northwell Health was one of the best decisions they’ve made and would recommend it to anyone seeking a meaningful career where real differences are made in the communities we live in.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status, or citizenship status, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, height, weight, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, their or their dependent’s sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
Northwell Health reserves the right to amend all terms of employment.