Reflecting on Black History Month and the impact on career journeys at Northwell.
As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take an opportunity to partner with the Center for Equity of Care and sit down with three of our team members to reflect on the impact our African American/Caribbean Bridges BERGs (Business Employee Resource Group) has made on them, throughout their career journey at Northwell. Chid Iloabachie, MD, associate chairperson, Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream (LIJVS); Olushola Latus-Olaifa, program manager for Community and Population Health; and Myia Williams, PhD, research industrial and organizational psychologist, shared their experience and feelings on what the African American/Caribbean Bridges BERGs and Black History Month means to them.
The African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG’s theme for Black History Month this year was “Reigniting the Human Connection: The pathway to community health equity.” What does that theme mean to you?
Olushola: I believe this theme directly relates to the work being done in the Community and Population Health division and brings me back to something we learned during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic: that building, expanding, and maintaining our relationships as a health system (and a team) with community leaders in our region, directly impacts our ability to impact the areas we serve. “Reigniting the human connection” for our team has been establishing the Long Island Health Equity Task Force to collaborate with more than 100 diverse community and faith-based leaders, along with county and state representation to ensure equitable vaccine distribution, while creating a pathway to community health equity.
Dr. Iloabachie: Our relationship with one another is the most important driver of any equitable healthcare system. We should all be invested in the health of our community. This can look like a lot of things; from running a health system as large as Northwell, or simply picking up a piece of litter so that we can live in a cleaner environment. I invite anyone reading this to take time today to be inspired to take action that will positively impact the health of everyone around us.
Dr. Williams: To me, this theme means representation. In May of 2020, myself and Dr. Alyson Myers launched COVID-19 Conversations, a one-hour informational Facebook Live/Zoom program to provide Black and Brown communities with up-to-date information on COVID-19 and access to resources. Through this program we were able to deliver interactive discussions on topics ranging from health education on COVID-19 and mental health, to resources for unmet social needs. Access to culturally relevant community education resources and outreach is important to achieving community health equity.
Why do you think it is so important for Northwell to have Bridges BERGs, like the African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG?
Olushola: The African American and Caribbean BERG, as well as all our BERG’s, are essential to such a large organization like Northwell. Having a sense of community and commonality are one of the many reasons Northwell is a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Through networking and the events hosted by the African American and Caribbean BERG, we are exposed to more opportunities within the system and even more chances to collaborate on similar goals and ideals.
Dr. Iloabachie: The African American and Caribbean Bridges BERGs fill me with hope. As a clinician, I spend most of my efforts stabilizing medical conditions and I’m seldom left with enough time to address their root causes. The African American and Caribbean BERGs create a space for us to do just that, collaborating with like-minded colleagues from every discipline and department at Northwell. It is said that there is strength in numbers; I see the truth of that adage whenever I consider the phenomenal work of the BERGs and the amazing Northwell employees that comprise them.
Dr. Williams: The BERGs provide employees with shared interests and backgrounds, as well as an opportunity to have their voice heard in a safe space, and opportunities for professional development. Northwell’s Bridges BERGS help with the diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) strategy to foster an inclusive workplace, enhance employee experience, increase employee engagement, and promote cultural awareness – all of which contribute to Northwell Health being one of the top companies in healthcare for diversity.
Tell us about your career journey in healthcare and what impact has becoming a member of the BERGs made for you in your career here.
Olushola: I truly didn’t know I wanted to be a program manager until I worked on the Community Health team within the Community and Population Health division at Northwell. I am constantly inspired by the initiatives we work on, with a focus on supporting historically underserved communities within our region. Our goal is to always ensure we build and maintain relationships with community leaders from diverse backgrounds.
Our connection to the BERGs has enabled the Community and Population Health Division to ensure that our initiatives are reflective of the communities we serve. We often look to the BERGs and the BERG chairs to review and recommend diverse community members or leaders from every walk of life, to benefit from Northwell resources and services.
Dr. Iloabachie: I grew up in Queens so after I finished my residency in Maryland in 2016, I knew I wanted to come home to New York. A colleague of mine told me about Northwell Health and what an amazing organization it was, so I decided to apply. After I accepted the Attending Physician position at LIJVS, not only was I incredibly attracted to the community that the hospital supports, but I have now spent the past six years connecting to the surrounding community through our BERGs in more ways than I ever could have imagined. In 2020, I accepted the position of Associate Chairperson and have really felt that this location has truly become my home.
Dr. Williams: I knew I wanted to be an industrial/organizational psychologist right around when I left high school, but I did not know yet that I wanted it to be in health care. That realization came when I joined Northwell in 2016. I saw the impact of the work that we were doing to develop culturally tailored interventions for historically minoritized racial and ethnic minority groups, to provide individuals with access to care and change policies – that’s when I knew I wanted to be in healthcare. My experience throughout life and my career have shaped my research interests and the work that I do. Being in health care and in my role affords me the opportunity to explore my passions through my research, while making a difference for people who look, and sound like me.
Not only do I feel a stronger sense of community as a BERG member but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet amazing people with similar cultural backgrounds as myself that I would not otherwise meet. Being in the AA/AC BERGS had a positive ripple effect on my professional development. Since joining, I have been able to take part in numerous opportunities specifically for Black employees that I would not have otherwise known about and for more individuals to know about the work that I do as a researcher to help our community. Most recently because of my membership in AA/AC BERGS I was selected to participate in Northwell’s inaugural cohort for the McKinsey Black Management Accelerator Program. McKinsey’s Connected Leaders Academy provides organizations the opportunity to improve their talent pipeline and unlock their organization’s full potential.
Northwell continues to commit to valuing and reflecting on diversity in healthcare and aspires to promote the positive impact and achievements of the members of our organization. Learn more about Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here.
Bringing the importance of collaborative leadership from the Navy to Northwell Health
Meet Juli Schmidt, Northwell Health’s newest senior manager of Career Performance and Development. Juli comes to Northwell following a successful 21-year naval career that saw her achieve the rank of commander. Her goal in this new role is to help evolve the career experience for our team members across the organization, through the inclusion of leadership development, career advisement and mentorship programs.
Juli is part of the Career Performance and Development team in Human Resources that is responsible for advancing our performance management program, which includes individual development plans, succession planning, links to business goals, and competency assessments. She looks forward to applying the leadership skills she honed as a naval officer, to a new mission that directly impacts the lives and well-being of Northwell’s team members. Juli says, “My core values will continue to guide me to achieve the mission, and whether that’s in healthcare or commanding a warship – you have goals and you reach them through teamwork, trust and consistent communication.”
A Long Island native, Juli began her career in the Navy more than two decades ago and, after graduating from the United States Naval Academy, served as a Surface Warfare Officer and completed deployments in the Middle East, participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Juli then transferred to the Navy’s Human Resources community, where she was able to apply her operational background to Navy-wide HR initiatives. She served as a senior human resources officer, specializing in strategic workforce planning, talent management, succession planning, and resource allocation.
Although Juli is new to Northwell, she is eager to join the VALOR BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) to reconnect with fellow veterans who share the same commitment to serving others. Those shared experiences are unique, and that connection allows the veteran community to collaborate and apply their skills to new ideas and initiatives at Northwell.
“Northwell is committed to creating an inclusive culture that supports your continued professional and personal growth,” says Juli. “As a veteran, you can apply your military experiences and skillsets to seamlessly integrate into Northwell’s culture and continue to excel post-military. An organization’s strength comes from its diverse workforce, and here in the greater NY/NJ metro area, Northwell Health represents diversity of thought, culture, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences.”
CNO Corner: A Conversation with Tiffany Powell, Chief Nursing Officer at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills
Tiffany Powell, MSN, RN, NE-BC, and chief nursing officer (CNO) at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills (LIJFH), has experienced career growth and endless opportunities over nearly two decades at Northwell Health.
It all began in 2004 when Tiffany started at Northwell Health as a nurse extern. Passionate about learning, Tiffany sought every opportunity to gain experiences and grow her career. After completing the externship and achieving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Tiffany jumped at the chance to be part of the health system’s first-ever critical care fellowship in 2005.
During the next several years, Tiffany continued to gain experience working as a staff RN in telemetry and in a medical intensive care units (MICU). By 2014, she had transitioned to a leadership role as an assistant nurse manager, and was then promoted to nurse manager of a medical surgical unit in 2016. Her desire for exposure to more nursing specialties then brought her to North Shore University Hospital where she worked as a nurse manager on a palliative care unit and with a renal and liver transplant team.
All of her passion and experience took her career journey to Long Island Jewish Forest Hills (LIJFH) in 2019, as director of patient services responsible for the critical care, telemetry, and dialysis units and interventional radiology nursing practice. Now as chief nursing officer at LIJFH, Tiffany is looking to encourage and support others who strive for career growth and new opportunities.
Read our conversation with Tiffany below to learn what key advice she has for all nurses looking to develop their careers.
What attracted you to Northwell Health initially and is it still true today?
At the time I was looking for my first nursing job, I was offered two great positions at different healthcare providers and I chose Northwell Health. What attracted me to Northwell the most is their commitment to innovation.
I love working here, because at Northwell, your voice is heard and respected at all levels. Team members actively participate in the changes that take place in our organization, and they work in an environment that is exciting, never stagnant.
As a nursing executive, what would you say are the most important qualities a leader should have in order to positively engage their team in delivering exceptional patient care?
Throughout my career, I have always felt that the two most important qualities of any leader are authenticity and relatability. Strong, effective communication is also key but authentic leaders will naturally appeal to those around them, and develop a followership built on trust and respect. The foundation of a strong leader is their ability to build interpersonal connections with people, and to resonate with others you must be relatable.
We understand that you are passionate about encouraging personal well-being in the workplace. Can you share a few examples of how personal well-being is supported for team members at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital?
My team will tell you that my mantra is, “we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of our staff and patients.” I truly emulate this in all that I do because personal well-being is so important, and in the workplace, it starts at the top. At LIJFH, we have exercise classes in our memorial garden, and a meditation room where staff can go to relax. Sometimes it just takes small measures that result in big impacts. I have committed to starting all my nursing leadership meetings with a one-minute meditation for all the nurse leaders here and I have challenged my nurse managers to use this approach with their staff at their daily huddles and staff meetings.
What advice do you have for nurses who are looking to grow in their careers?
I recently heard someone ask, “What would the world be like if we were always working on ourselves or thinking of how we can help others.” For all nurses, my advice is simple, reflect after every day. What did I do well? What could I have done better? Always remember what motivates you, and act with humility. It is such a gift to be able to care for patients in their most vulnerable times.
For those looking to grow, networking is key. Meet new people and build relationships. Never burn any bridge. Get involved in hospital/organizational activities. Never stop being curious. Instead, always try to learn something new every day. And one especially helpful piece of advice that always works for me: once per year, set a professional goal that you can accomplish and when you do, it’s a feel-good moment, so celebrate it!
What would you say makes nursing at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital unique?
We are resilient, agile, and diverse. Our sense of community allows us to really get to know each other.
There is lots of positive energy pumping through the halls of LIJFH. Having achieved the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Pathway to Excellence designation in 2021, we are now beginning our Magnet Journey.
Among our goals is our continued focus on shaping our shared governance model and promoting professional development for our nurses. And we are incredibly excited about the roll out of new technology at our facility such as the myNora system pilot – a technology to assist with the efficiency of Interdisciplinary Rounds (IDR) – as well as telemetry monitors and zebra devices (healthcare mobile computers). All initiatives meant to inspire learning and growth.
If you’re inspired by Tiffany’s incredible career, explore nursing careers with many avenues to grow your skills at Northwell Health.
Taking Imaging Skills in New Directions: Meet CT Technologist, Carmen Arana
Meet Carmen Arana, CT technologist at Northwell Health Reichert Family Imaging in Huntington, NY. During her career journey as an imaging specialist, Carmen has had some unique opportunities to expand her skills in different ways.
She studied Radiologic Technology at Westchester Community College before joining Northwell Health in 2014, and with Northwell’s tuition reimbursement assistance, Carmen continued her education to achieve a Bachelor of Science in 2021 from the CUNY School of Professional Studies.
As a CT technologist, Carmen operates a computed tomography machine to create detailed images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels. She helps prepare patients for various exams and ensures that the radiologist has all of the clear information needed to make an informed diagnosis. Her responsibilities also include managing the patient flow and assisting the x-ray department, when needed.
Carmen knows her role as an imaging specialist at Northwell is meaningful. “I am able to provide a safe and complete diagnostic exam using state-of-the-art technology,” she says. “This encounter alone can have a huge impact on how a patient’s treatment progresses. I enjoy helping patients have the best experience possible and appreciate the thanks I am given in return.”
When a patient sees an imaging specialist, it is often at the start of addressing a health concern. A CT technologist like Carmen will guide a patient through what may feel like an intimidating examination. From collecting and entering health history to analyzing the number of scans required, a CT technologist aims to make the process as smooth as possible for every patient. Careful attention to detail results in reduced time under scanning equipment and more efficient outcomes.
When asked what makes working as a CT technologist at Northwell unique, Carmen says that it’s the different opportunities that team members are given to use and grow their skills. “I had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with The Nature Conservancy to scan samples of water from various marshes in our area. It was a project designed to help improve the quality of the water around Long Island. Having the ability to apply my knowledge in an area outside of my direct responsibilities gave me learning experiences I may not have otherwise been able to take advantage of.”
Carmen’s next step in expanding her knowledge is her intention to pursue a Master of Science in Health Informatics.
You too can discover a career well cared for with opportunities to expand in your role at Northwell Health. Apply to become an imaging specialist with us today.
Raise your Career Expectations with these Top Reasons to Work Night Shifts at Northwell Health
Working night shifts at Northwell Health comes along with several benefits that can make a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. As a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Northwell offers career growth opportunities that are easily attainable to night shift professionals in labs and nursing roles. Check out our top reasons below, and jump start your journey to a career well cared for.
Reflecting on ways to advance equity with our African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG (Business Employee Resource Group)
Black History Month gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the contributions and achievements of African Americans today and throughout history. It is also a moment to observe strides made and strides needed, to achieve social justice and equity in all areas of life. At Northwell Health, the strive for equity is two-fold: equity in healthcare and equity in the workplace. To help meet the needs of our communities and those of our team members, we established our Bridges BERGs. Our cultural ambassador groups help educate and provide a platform for more inclusivity and help further a positive work environment for everyone regardless of background, religion, abilities, or race.
“The African American and Caribbean BERG provided a community for team members to be themselves while educating others on cultural differences,” says Ralph Thomas, senior operations manager of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream. As co-chair for the African American and Caribbean BERG, Ralph is gratified in knowing that the BERG makes a difference for all at Northwell. “In addition to always keeping advocacy for the communities we serve as a top priority, our members engage in various community service projects such as operating COVID testing sites, holding educational program panels, offering leadership development seminars, and putting together learning opportunities to increase mental health/self-care awareness.”
In honor of Black History Month, the African American and Caribbean BERG and Northwell are proud to launch the first African American cohort of the Management Accelerator Program (a six-month mentorship that concentrates on advancing the career development of diverse leaders within the organization). In addition, our African American and Caribbean BERG will host several virtual events aimed at reigniting humanism. In a presentation by Joey Hubbard, chief training officer of Thrive Global, participants will acquire science-backed micro steps that reframe thoughts of doubt or weakness in oneself into conscious awareness of belonging and collective resilience. In a similar tone of self-care and personal development, team members will also hear from Dr. Myia S. Williams, research psychologist at Northwell, on valuable tips and information that can help manage stressors and promote mental well-being in the black community. These events, and others planned throughout the month, are focused on making an impact toward the goal of achieving equity and fostering a healthy environment that inspires all to succeed.
Marking observations of progress in equity is one of the many ways we at Northwell keep an open dialogue on diversity, inclusion, and equity. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. You can read more about our Management Accelerator Program by reading our blog here.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
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