Reflecting on Black History Month with our African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG
At Northwell, we strive to cultivate a diverse and inclusive work environment where our team members feel respected and are celebrated.
We spoke with Caitlynn C. Dufort, career and performance development program manager, and Christian Jocelyn, vice president of digital enterprise operations, co-chairs of the African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG (Business Employee Resource Group). Read below as they reflect on the importance of Black History Month, what this year’s theme of black resistance means for them, and the impact our Bridges BERG has made on their career journey at Northwell.
Tell us about your journey toward a career in healthcare at Northwell.
Caitlynn Dufort (CD): I started my career at Northwell as a human resource talent acquisition team member where I focused on internal career mobility and supported our recruitment project strategies. I later pursued a graduate degree in public health and worked in program management before I transitioned to the career and performance development team. In my current role, I have an opportunity to collaborate with our different partners on projects and programs that support team member development.
Christian Jocelyn (CJ): I started my career at Northwell as a paramedic. After being promoted to paramedic supervisor, I obtained my master’s degree in healthcare administration and embarked on my administrative journey, starting as a manager for finance and operations and working my way to vice president of enterprise digital operations. As the vice president, I now oversee the development, integration and administration of operations for the health system’s Digital Centers of Excellence.
What do you think about most during Black History Month?
CD: I think about the month’s origin and the importance of highlighting our ancestors’ contributions. It is important for everyone to be educated on the impact of African Americans on society healthcare. There are many contributions that African Americans have made throughout history that are not widely known.
CJ: I reflect on all there is to learn from the past and am reminded that black history is a shared history. It highlights our unfinished work and struggles that are described in the history textbooks that we still find ourselves grappling with. We have to overcome the challenges of the present to build a better future. We have black history as the blueprint.
What was the theme of this year’s Black History Month? What does that theme mean to you?
CD: The 2023 theme for the month is black resistance. The theme of black resistance focuses on the acknowledgement and history of black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected, and how also black resistance strategies have served as a model for social movements in our country. Change has not been easy, and resisting the status quo to create safer spaces, laws, and equitable rights was needed and should be celebrated. Therefore, our BERGs wanted to celebrate black excellence and the individuals who have made history as they created change and rose to the occasion even if it meant being resistant.
CJ: Black resistance is a significant thread in the fabric that is American life. The ultimate story of black resistance is the Civil Rights Movement. This social movement ensured that African Americans and other minorities had the basic rights given to them under the constitution protected. We still fight inequality every day, but black resistance has helped us see that we do have the power to overcome even the most insurmountable odds and gives hope for a continued pursuit of a more equal and just society.
What impact has becoming a BERG Member made for you in your career journey at Northwell?
CD: Through collaboration with other team members and the opportunities to grow my network, I have benefited from my experience as a BERG member. My experience inspired me to take advantage of opportunities and to continue the legacy that the co-chairs of the BERGs have established.
CJ: I have been introduced to team members from all over the organization who have made a positive impact on my career. I hope to give back to the BERG a fraction of what it has given me and look forward to future opportunities.
Why do you think it is so important for Northwell to have Bridges BERGs, like the African American/Caribbean Bridges BERG?
CD: In an organization as large as Northwell, the BERGs create an opportunity to connect with all team members across different levels of their career and from different corners of the organization with similar experiences and cultures to network and give back.
CJ: BERGS are key for fostering connection and authenticity and allow team members to bring their full selves into work. They create an environment of trust where ideas can be shared and can lead to better patient care outcomes from creative solutions.
At Northwell, we are one team, raising health for all. We embrace relationship building through understanding and supporting the cultural, spiritual, and ethical values of the communities we serve. Join us and discover a career well cared for today.
Discover how Northwell’s physician assistants are empowered to grow in their career
Discover a career well cared for as a physician assistant at Northwell Health. Our physician assistants make a positive impact on the lives of our patients and our communities through their autonomy to practice to the fullest extent of their licensure.
We have opportunities across our health system with flexible hours available for full-time, part-time, and per-diem positions. As a physician assistant, you will have the option to take advantage of professional development programs at our Center for Learning and Innovation, access to advanced clinical training through our Bioskills Training Center and mentorship programs. In our continuing commitment to on-going education and career advancement, Northwell also offers an ACP fellowship program for individuals interested in specializing and furthering their career as an advanced clinical provider.
Below, you will find information about one of the many ways to grow your career as a physician assistant.
Meet Jennifer, Physical Therapist, Goal Setter and Health Raiser
Jennifer Langenberg knew she wanted to work for Northwell after completing her clinical rotation at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) Manhasset in 2018. A year later, on her birthday, that goal was achieved when she began her journey as a full-time Health Raiser in September of 2019.
As a physical therapist (PT), Jennifer specializes in helping patients with injuries and chronic health conditions to help them regain their range of motion, manage pain and improve their quality of life. She is not only involved in restorative care, but also in educating patients on general wellness, staying active and preventing future injuries. She works closely with colleagues to discuss treatment ideas, best practices and ways to help accommodate patients with challenging schedules to smoothly coordinate their care. “Even as a student, I knew the quality of care at Northwell surpassed any place I had ever worked before,” says Jennifer, “I was so impressed by not only the structure of the STARS clinics, but by how happy both the patients and staff seemed to be.”
During her student internship at STARS, Jennifer saw the opportunity for success at Northwell. “Northwell as an organization is always expanding and changing, offering all team members countless opportunities to develop and grow,” shared Jennifer. “My leaders take a genuine interest in each employee by supporting continuing education at the Center for Learning and Innovation, mentorship programs and more.”
A major part of Jennifer’s role as a PT is getting to know her patients, finding out what is most important to them and designing a plan to reach their mutual goals. “I feel so fortunate to not only work with such wonderful patients, but also colleagues who make the day brighter because we have the same genuine interest in providing the best care for our patients.”
In 2022, Jennifer was awarded “Employee of the Quarter,” where she was ranked as the highest performing team member for all of Northwell’s STARS Rehabilitation sites, from July 2022 to September 2022. With over 20 locations system-wide and recognized as a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Clinical Quality Exceptional Performer, STARS Rehabilitation operates in a collaborative team environment across all rehab disciplines with our physician partners at Northwell Health. Jennifer attributes her successful three years at Northwell to being patient with herself as she hones her skills, setting achievable goals, and allowing herself to learn and grow at her own pace. “I am proud of not only the work I do, but the behavior and lifestyle modification this field elicits in others. It is so important to help people understand, they are in control of their outcomes and success.”
Take your first step toward a clinical care career at Northwell Health
Want to learn more about how you can jumpstart a career in clinical care? Northwell has a variety of clinical care opportunities available across our health system to help you get your foot in the door.
At Northwell, we are committed to ensuring our team members have the best career experience possible and feel empowered to develop and grow within our organization to reach their full potential. As part of this commitment, we offer a career framework with jobs structured into clear career paths, and a GROW model that enables managers and team members to discuss career aspirations openly.
Below, you will find a snapshot for some of the clinical care career opportunities Northwell offers that only require a high school to vocational school or equivalent level diploma, with either a certification and/or training program experience.
Take the first step toward a rewarding career at Northwell Health. Check out our available clinical care positions across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Westchester.
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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