April is National Autism Acceptance Month, and here at Northwell Health, we are dedicated to supporting individuals on the autism spectrum, whether they are members of our staff or the family of our employees.
Our commitment to a diverse workforce that provides a safe and welcoming environment for people with disabilities led to the creation of our N-ABLE BERG (Business Employee Resource Group). The N-ABLE BERG was designed to advocate, educate, and support our employees of all abilities and their families, ensuring everyone has the resources they need and the respect they deserve.
Here, we recognize two of N-ABLE BERG’s members as they share what working at such an inclusive, affirming, and respectful workplace means to them.
Patricia Troiano, Senior Pharmacist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Juggling a clinical career while raising a family can be challenging for anyone, but when you are the mother of twin boys on the autism spectrum, finding a supportive work environment is crucial. For 35 years, Patricia Troiano has found that place here at Northwell. As a registered senior pharmacist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) specializing in sterile compounding and dispensing, Patricia’s role allows her to fulfill prescription orders and provide IV medication to our patients.
A passionate advocate for the autistic population, Patricia says that being part of the N-ABLE BERG this past year and being given the title of Neurodiversity Project Leader in March has given her companionship, comfort, and an opportunity to spread awareness about autism—all crucial to her fulfillment at work and home.
Patricia has also taken advantage of Northwell’s many continuing education offerings, which have enabled her to develop new skills and flourish in her career. Plus, the culture at Northwell has fostered a real family atmosphere—what Patricia says her co-workers call the “pharmily.”
“We really care about each other and are supportive of each other’s lives outside of work,” she says. “My department has been very empathetic during my family’s autism journey by providing support to me as well as the organizations I volunteer for.”
In fact, her department is raising money to purchase a laptop for her son Christopher’s program, The Nicholas Center, which provides vocational and community programs for those with developmental disabilities.
Through good times and bad, her co-workers “kept me going with encouragement and love,” Patricia says. And she’s proud to note that one of her sons on the spectrum is a Northwell employee, making her career well cared for a true family affair.
Tina Chuck, Advisor with Fair Employment Practices
Tina Chuck joined Northwell in 2011, and just three years later, she formed the Office of Research Policy and Training at the Feinstein Institutes, which evaluates and manages centralized policies, research training, and professional development. Shortly thereafter, her young son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It was a very stressful time, as she was managing her new job responsibilities as the director, while trying to find the right work-life balance.
“Thankfully, I had supportive colleagues and reported directly to someone who proactively checked-in on my well-being and taught me how to self-advocate,” says Tina. “I am thankful to have the flexibility in my schedule to care for my son and have access to fabulous professional development resources.”
Now Tina will continue her journey this month as Advisor with Fair Employment Practices in which she is excited to get more involved with Northwell’s workforce equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy and focusing on a broad range of initiatives, including helping support and continue to evolve our BERGs and other social belonging and inclusion initiatives. Recently, she became the co-chair of the N-ABLE BERG and through N-ABLE, Tina has been able to apply her skills and work on programming and events focused on enhancing employee and patient experience for those who are neurodiverse. Her professional network grew as each new N-ABLE BERG initiative connected her with people across the organization and within the community and expanded her knowledge and dedication to diversity and inclusion.
“The opportunities are endless at Northwell,” says Tina, citing everything from team-building activities such as cooking at the Ronald McDonald House to making birthday boxes and duffle bags through Together We Rise for children in foster care.
“I love the passion and grit I see in my colleagues, and their selflessness in rolling up their sleeves to step out of their immediate job title to help others.”
Learn more about Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Become part of our team by exploring our wide range of career opportunities here.