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’s 2021 Innovation Challenge Brings in Breakthrough Ideas From Employees
Northwell Health was proud to once again hold its annual Innovation Challenge after a one-year pause due to the pandemic. The competition encourages Northwell employees to be Truly Innovative by submitting ideas with the potential to change the future of medicine and patient care.
There were a variety of driving forces behind the decision to participate in this year’s challenge, but a few threads connected them all:
• The notion that there is always room for improvement
• The desire to improve treatments and experiences
• The knowledge that Northwell invests time and money into health care advancements
• The passion to do more for patients in need
There were two categories this year: Innovation in Science and Innovation in Care Delivery. Read about the top two ideas in each category and the inspiring Northwell team members who helped develop them.
Innovation in Science
The winning project for this category was “Treating Bleeding via Ultrasound Stimulation of the Spleen,” led by Jared M. Huston, MD, FACS, associate investigator at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. Asked about the medical impact of the project, Dr. Huston says, “We expect this innovation can decrease complications related to bleeding and improve outcomes for millions of patients.”
The category’s runner-up project was “Novel Stilbenes: Science against HPV,” led by Mario Castellanos, MD, associate chair of research in the Department of Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). Dr. Castellanos has been passionate about finding a therapeutic to treat cancer-causing HPV infections since his days as a medical resident at SIUH. “My passion for research and the patients I encountered in my medical practice drove me to want to do more for them.”
Innovation in Care Delivery
The winning idea in Care Delivery was “Infrared Thermography (IRT) for Early Detection of Tissue Pressure Injury,” led by Alina Segal, acute care physical therapist at SIUH, who says this project takes into consideration improved patient care and decreasing health care costs. According to Alina, “it may also be a valuable tool for managing surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, burns and amputations, among other uses.”
The runner-up project was “Let Sleeping Patients Lie,” led by Theodoros Zanos, PhD, head of the Neural and Data Science Lab at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, who explains that his team, “developed an AI algorithm based on a large volume of Northwell clinical data to safely and accurately determine for each patient whether it is safe to forgo overnight vitals.”
Dr. Zanos says, the project’s impact could lead to “uninterrupted sleep to more than 50 percent of patient nights and improved patient experience and outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and reductions in clinician workload.”
We asked the winners and runner ups how Northwell prepared them for this big moment
Alina Segal says, “Northwell Health provides great educational opportunities and encourages personal growth.”
Dr. Zanos credits his preparedness to the support and leadership at the Feinstein Institutes. In combination with “a uniquely large and diverse clinical dataset,” leadership helped the team pursue this innovation.
Dr. Huston says his team benefitted from “the invaluable mentorship from many of our Feinstein Institutes and Department of Surgery colleagues.”
Dr. Castellanos cites the long history of support at Northwell for researchers, whether junior or seasoned. The kind of work that goes into developing new ideas in medicine often takes a lot of collaboration. “Northwell’s support facilitated key connections both within Northwell and externally, including the NIH, industry and the biotech communities.”
The sharing of ideas is embedded as an important part of the culture at Northwell. According to Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, “Innovation and creativity are the essence of good organizations who strive to excel and move forward.”
How Northwell Health used medical research in the face of a global pandemic
Northwell Health implements innovation and technology to lead the industry. One of Northwell Health’s most valued resources is its home of medical research, The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. The Feinstein Institutes is comprised of more than 5,000 scientists and staff make groundbreaking discoveries in a number of areas such as, clinical trials, cancer, bioelectronic medicine and health outcomes. Researchers responsible for making key discoveries in autoimmune disease, sepsis, inflammation, and Parkinson’s disease, shifted their focus to help the fight against COVID-19.
As New York became the epicenter of the virus, the Feinstein Institutes went into action immediately. Within a month, Feinstein Institutes staff worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork to enroll more than 1,300 patients in seven clinical trials and programs. By collaborating with pharmaceutical leaders like Gilead, Sanofi and Regeneron, cutting-edge treatment was offered to Northwell Health patients hospitalized for COVID-19.
What’s worth noting here is not only the spirit of collaboration during a state of emergency, but the role medical research played in trying to find a reliable cure. As Dr. Kevin J. Tracey, CEO of the Feinstein Institutes notes, “Medical research will lead in our nation’s ability to reverse the fatal spread of viruses.” The Feinstein Institutes empowers its researchers and they are fully supported in their fields of practice where they are valued beyond measure. For Betsy Barnes, Feinstein Institutes investigator, the opportunities that have been available to her at Northwell have increased her industry knowledge and confidence in working around disease. So when it came to being called upon to help during a time of uncertainty around COVID-19, she was more than ready to begin research. When asked how it felt to know the impact of her work during a global pandemic, she explains, “It is a wonderful feeling to know I am able to apply my knowledge in a way that is beneficial to patients. We are doing everything we can to work quickly and collaboratively with hopes of producing knowledge that will cure COVID-19 and other health issues.”
The Feinstein Institutes partnered with the Mayo Clinic in joining a network that is working on novel, experimental therapy through the use of antibody testing for those who may have been identified with COVID-19, but are no longer asymptomatic. The incredible work wouldn’t be possible without the commitment its staff shares to delivering excellence. Excellence that inspires positive change for patients who trust Northwell every day. At the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Health Innovations & Outcomes Research, Professor Joseph Conigliaro, MD, gleams when speaking about his team. He says, “I am proud of the work my research team and I accomplished in such a short time for COVID-19 research – we are exhausted, but exhilarated and fulfilled in knowing conducting research is beneficial to patients in our health system, and to patients around the world.”
Working in the healthcare industry can be trying, especially when a global pandemic is added to the equation. However, with the leadership of Dr. Tracey and others who empower the imaginations of team members like Drs. Barnes and Conigliaro, the Feinstein Institutes will stand firm in their mission to produce knowledge to cure disease.
Faces of Oncology Care: Northwell Health Cancer Institute Research Nurses
As one of the largest cancer programs in the New York metropolitan area, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute treats more New Yorkers for cancer than any other health care provider. With the trust of so many, our oncology team members work passionately to help patients thrive.
Unique partnerships such as with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, help this goal as Northwell’s research nurses have the opportunity to work on innovative clinical trials that provide patients with the most promising treatments. And beyond just providing care, their compassion is changing the lives of our patients and their families.
Meet some of our inspiring research nurses below and hear what makes them passionate about oncology research.
Having worked at Northwell Health since 1987, Diane has been a registered nurse in various specialties including post-partum, nursery, medical/surgical, telemetry, and cardiovascular.
But Diane’s interest in clinical research was always in oncology research. “I lost my oldest sister to cancer when I was 12 years old. I witnessed firsthand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on an entire family. The respect and dignity that was shown to my sister and our family still resonates within me to this day,” says Diane. “That is what inspired me to become a nurse and Northwell Health enabled me to fulfill my dream including earning my bachelor’s degree in 2016.”
This passion for oncology care has only strengthened since she’s become a research nurse “I love working in oncology because each day I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I come to work knowing that inside this building we have the ability to change lives forever through clinical research. Clinical research is important because it works to find better ways to prevent, detect, or treat cancer and learn new approaches to therapy.”
Beyond just the clinical trials that Diane works on every day to help improve the lives of patients with cancer, she is also a leadership committee member for the Long Island chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Through her volunteering, Diane is very active in helping spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer with the hope to empower women to advocate for their own health.
Her commitment to research, care and education have not gone unnoticed. In 2017 she was recognized as an NOCC Nurse Honoree as well as being recognized as the Northwell Health Clinical Research Nurse of the Year in 2018. But for Diane, it’s very rewarding seeing the impact her work has on patients.
“I look forward to seeing my patients and their families share their life stories. Seeing them celebrate milestones in their lives and knowing it is because they are in a clinical trial is a gift to me.”
Julia started her Northwell nursing career at Monter Cancer Center where she worked as an oncology research nurse on the solid tumor team. In 2017, she transitioned into a new role as a phase 1 research nurse where she cares for patients that are being treated for the first time in their trials.
Julia started as a rehabilitation nurse caring for a large number of oncology patients, and thought her skills could transition into another area of nursing. “I felt that there was something larger out there to fulfill my curiosity and desire in healthcare. Oncology is continuously changing with respect to knowledge, learning, research, treatments and opportunities,” says Julia. “I felt that this field could feed my curiosity and at the same time satisfy my desire to help my patients.”
As an oncology research nurse, Julia is always looking for new and improved treatments with a commitment to helping enhance her patient’s quality of life. In her position, Julia is able to work with innovative treatment modalities and drug combinations that have not been tried yet. “It’s very exciting and rewarding knowing that I am part of creating history.”
And her passion extends beyond research – just a few short months after starting at Northwell, she was awarded with the Patient Recognition Star. “This recognition demonstrated that even the smallest thing we do for our patients means a lot to them,” says Julia.
After receiving her Master of Science in Nursing, Shirley started her clinical research career at Northwell in 2003 initially, as a clinical research nurse practitioner in pulmonary medicine.
In 2015 Shirley returned to research and today is a clinical research nurse for the Breast/GYN Research team at Monter Cancer Center (MCC). “My mother was a breast cancer survivor and I felt this position would allow me to add a very personal touch to the clinical aspect of my job when working with and caring for patients and families,” says Shirley. “Having the privilege to participate in another person’s healthcare journey motivates me to deliver the best patient care. My mother’s journey with breast cancer reminds me that my actions can have a powerful impact on the lives of a patient and their family during an emotionally stressful time.”
Her dedication, ability to establish deep therapeutic bonds and empathize with patients was recognized when Shirley was awarded the 2017 Northwell Care Award during MCC’s patient experience week. Shirley was also invited to be a mentor in the Northwell Health Clinical Research Professional Mentorship program.
Shirley enjoys working as a clinical research nurse and because of the role’s versatility, she is able to represent Northwell Health as a member of the Symptom Intervention Committee for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology national group and also conducts breast cancer awareness information sessions in the community.
When she first started in oncology, Shirley met a patient who changed her life: “When I met the patient and her husband, she shared her personal wish, which made me feel honored to be taking part in her care. She was determined to live long enough to see her son go to his prom.” This instant connection Shirley had with her patient strengthened her passion and with each study visit, Shirley and her patient became closer and developed a bond.
“The most memorable part of her treatment was when she came in and showed me the pictures of her son’s prom,” says Shirley. “She beamed with delight as she told me how she helped her son get ready for the big night. I was overcome with a sense of joy and satisfaction knowing I had been a part of helping her achieve this goal. My role in clinical trials research had given this patient hope. I will never forget her and can never thank her enough because this patient and my mother represent that even just one moment can matter.”
Shirley says “the possibilities are endless as a clinical research nurse” and looks forward to what the future has to offer at Northwell.
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Innovation award recognizes team members who were finalists in the Innovation Challenge. Northwell’s Innovation Challenge empowers team members to come up with the next big health care innovation in areas such as revenue through new or existing channels, improve patient experience, improve quality of care, positively impact health outcomes and so much more. As an organization, we understand that our people are the ones who bring our patient care to the next level, and this program gives them an opportunity to share their big ideas. Meet this year’s finalists.
AccuLABeler represents a proprietary middle-ware solution that interfaces with existing robotics machinery and a lab information system (LIS) to more efficiently relabel tubes referred to the lab for analysis from non-system sources. At Northwell, the current workflow requires 12 FTEs who perform accessioning and relabeling of these tubes. The total available market encompasses reference laboratories in the United States and abroad.
Bedside Voice Assistant
The Bedside Voice Assistant (BVA) involves the continued development of an existing prototype of a bed-side Alexa based voice assistant created by members of the Northwell Innovation Center. This innovation represents a developed software product which is cloud based, HIPAA compliant and will be agnostic to EMR system for integration and scalability.
EDCAP aza-Peptide Building Blocks for Preferred Drug Characteristics
Many pharmaceutical drugs are peptides, small fragments of proteins. When carefully chosen, peptides offer the advantage of selectivity toward a target coupled with minimal adverse side effects. However, peptides suffer from a very short half-life, and their effect can be very short lived because they are destroyed in seconds in the blood. The EDCAP technology offers a general solution to this stability issue through changing the labile peptide bond to an alternate bond that is resistant to peptidases (stable for hours in the blood).
LabFly: Mobile Phlebotomy App
The proposed innovation reflects the development of a mobile blood drawing solution for patients and caregivers. As developed, LabFly would serve as the patient facing application, and integrate with LabFly Phleb, a phlebotomist facing application. The applications have been reviewed by the Northwell OCIO, OCIO security review, penetration tests and a QM validation. Future development of the application could support on demand appointments for flu shots and strep testing, and/or integration with care delivery within emergency rooms.
Real-Time Actionable Data (RAD)
The RAD invention represents a data analysis and reporting tool which provides real time, actionable data related to ED utilization and the allocation of clinical resources. RAD addresses an unmet need in many if not all emergency rooms by supporting data driven, patient specific, decision making. This product builds upon the work conducted over the past several years within the Northwell Emergency Medicine service line.
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Teamwork award recognizes a team who is flexible, hardworking and made for unwavering support. They successfully collaborate to improve quality, financial performance and/or patient-centric care by leveraging and embracing diversity while creating a feeling of belonging. Meet this year’s finalists.
Deliver the Vote Lenox Hill Hospital
A pair of nurses with a strong commitment to upholding the right to vote, and an amazing determination not to take no for an answer enabled dozens of hospitalized patients to participate in the American electoral system.
Their efforts began two years ago when a patient inquired about voting but at that point, they were unable to help. Ahead of the 2018 election, Lisa Schavrien and Erin Smith decided to be pro-active, exploring ways to help their patients be heard at the ballot box. Their inquiries led them to a series of rejections by boards of elections, non-responses from political offices and a trip to a courtroom in Queens.
With the help from other volunteers, they canvassed their hospital for patients who wanted to vote. In one room, a patient facing brain surgery managed to cast her vote before surgery; in another, a patient’s partner was unable to get a ballot for the patient because they weren’t married, but Lisa obtained a ballot for him.
Voting may not seem like an issue clinical team members need to tackle, and they could find no other hospital making the same effort, but thanks to this team that went above and beyond, 75 Northwell patients were able to cast their ballots.
ECMO-TO-GO Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Southside Hospital
Made up of a team of well-honed specialists, ECMO-TO-GO takes its life-saving skills wherever they are needed, elevating the level of care available to seriously ill patients. The team develops its successes with the cardiopulmonary bypass technique through continuity of communication and care delivered by all team members, commitment to continuous improvement and the depth of care provided by experts from across Northwell. The innovative approach of the team traveling to the patient rather than the other way around means a highly qualified, seasoned team is available to the sickest of patients. With a mortality rate of about 50 percent in these kinds of patients, the concept of such a team grew out of the establishment of an acute lung injury program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the launch of a heart transplant program. Northwell physicians recognized the need to provide stable, quality care as quickly as possible, leading to the ECMOTO- GO program.
The strength of the group comes from their ability to harness their differences in expertise to meet the dire needs of a complicated patient population. They do so with seamless coordination, deep compassion, and deliberate communication ultimately forging something stronger than any individual person.
Food as Health Implementation Team Long Island Jewish Valley Stream
Team members have put reliable access to food at the center of a pioneering effort to improve the health of their patients. After people in multiple departments recognized that some patients had trouble finding affordable, nutritious food when they returned home, a team came together to brainstorm some solutions. Their conclusions: provide discharged patients with the resources to find affordable foods and to prepare meals that would help restore them to health.
The Food as Health (FAH) Program screens patients from the outpatient wound care center, and one inpatient unit for food insecurity. Patients in need with nutrition-related conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, unintentional weight loss) are referred to the appropriate FAH service arm for support. Patients who are mobile and able to cook for themselves are referred to the FAH hospital-based onsite resource center. The patient is provided two days’ worth of nutritious emergency food, nutrition education and counseling, and referrals to community resources.
The collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary workgroup to identify clinical partners, establish workflows, reports and outcomes is a significant reason for the successful implementation of the FAH program. The team continues to work together to identify the outcome measures and establish reporting to demonstrate improvement in patient outcomes and hospital data such as decreased readmissions.
Inpatient Charge Capture (IPCC) Corporate, Revenue Cycle Operations, Medical Group
When a small group of data-savvy professionals began examining the question of whether Northwell was billing and collecting for every professional service provided in hospitals, it quickly became clear that they needed more expertise.
The question of revenue capture is a long-standing one and quantifying it and executing a process across the health system was huge challenge. The team grew to involve several Information Services disciplines and data experts and as it grew, so did the project. Instead of finding a basic report on where to find the revenue opportunities, the team produced much more. They came up with a real-time, web-based tool that allows service lines and/ or individuals to know what the missing billing opportunities are daily/weekly/monthly. It allows the user to filter by service line, hospital, provider and unit. The tool is easy to navigate and provides a weekly “subscription” service for providers.
The deep dive in the collaborative effort also identified a $10 million revenue opportunity for Northwell, the result of experts collaborating and using their own areas of expertise to produce a positive outcome.
Northwell Transfusion Medicine Northwell Health Labs
A team of professionals collaborated to take on the challenge of ensuring Northwell hospitals maintained fresh and adequate supply of platelets to cope with both routine and emergency use. Maintaining a blood product supply is essential to optimal patient care, but daily usage can be difficult to forecast. Platelets, expensive to produce, test and store, have a short shelf life and frequently expire before they can be used.
This team’s bold solution to meeting the need and reducing costly waste was to develop a delivery system that moves blood products throughout the health system, with many ultimately winding up at the hospitals that routinely need them the most. Breaking away from the existing system, the team began with data, figuring out a system to outline a new distribution process. That birthed a “Round Robin” transportation system to reduce supplemental and emergency deliveries. The concept of rotating platelets from the community hospitals to the final destination of one of two tertiary hospitals is based on usage. Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital combined utilize as many as 50 units a day for Cardiac, Trauma, Surgical, Oncology and Transplant services. Through extensive monitoring and trending of patient platelet needs, a dramatic savings of more than $200,000 was realized in 2018 in expiration waste.
School-Based Vocational Services South Oaks Hospital
A committed group of professionals provides students challenged by intellectual and developmental disabilities with services that are tailored to individuals from 27 school districts across Long Island. Students receive coachin g, job readiness training and social skills development in both a classroom and professional setting with more than 100 participating companies with the goal of promoting independence and developing skills to prepare these young adults to enter the workforce after graduation.
The collaboration of these team members led to 64% of the graduating students finding employment post-graduation. On a daily basis, this team manages to touch the lives of more than 200 youths and parents, on Long Island. Nearly all of the team members work remotely and are required to travel throughout their day to meet the needs of the various sites they are working to serve.
The team has been able to create new approaches to learning in school settings by implementing in-school businesses where students can improve work readiness skills. Through personal dedication and putting creativity to work, they are making big differences in the lives of these students.
The Fin Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Experts with a diverse set of skills devised and conducted the first pilot clinical trial of the Fin, a novel 3D-printed swim prosthesis designed for use in a recreational pool setting. The dedicated group was seeking ways to improve recreational opportunities for people with lower-limb amputations, who, according to studies, are less likely to participate in physical activity than the general population.
Often working on their own time, they established protocols to ensure a thorough test that respected each individual’s dignity and needs while examining all aspects of the prosthesis. The most common design for a swim prosthesis has a fixed angle foot (“ankle foot”) that is at 90 degrees with the floor, which, while it is easy to use in the water, is not useful when walking over ground or transitioning into and out of the water. The 3-D printing also significantly lowers the typical cost of the prosthesis.
All participants in the test found the prosthesis easy to put on and take off. The majority (71%) of participants reported being extremely satisfied with the prosthesis.
Every member of the multidisciplinary team brought to the project their passion for wanting to improve the quality of life, participation and inclusion for individuals with lower limb amputations.
The need for students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers is greater than ever and for good reason. Between 2000 and 2010, STEM-related jobs grew three times as fast as non-STEM jobs – a rate projected to increase.
You may be left wondering what STEM jobs you can pursue. STEM careers go beyond just being a doctor or an engineer – the opportunities are endless! So what are some of the major STEM careers you should be exploring?
Imaging technologists are Allied Health professionals that complete a two or four year program from accredited college. Graduates are licensed by the NYS Department Of Health or registered or certified in a sub-specialty area to perform diagnostic imaging examinations. Using the most advanced imaging equipment, imaging professionals are trained to produce high-quality images that enable the Radiologist (physician) to make a critical diagnosis. Without their expertise, care teams wouldn’t be able to diagnose and treat patients effectively.
You can enjoy the flexibility to choose additional specializations such as computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, nuclear medicine, mammography and more. And as an imaging professional, you’d have the ability to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, diagnostic labs, and ambulatory centers.
Careers to consider:
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Special Procedures Technologist
2. Certified Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologists have the important task of prepping patients for surgery and ensuring the operating room’s equipment has been sterilized and properly stocked with supplies. Your job as a surgical technologist doesn’t end there – you’d remain in the OR to assist surgeons throughout the surgery and then help to dress wounds. At Northwell, Registered Nurses and the Certified Surgical Technologist function as a subunit within a team, interacting through a unique, dynamic relationship—one sterile role and one nonsterile role, working in collaboration.
Job opportunities for surgical technologists are on the rise as the growth in population and technology leads to an increase in the frequency of surgical procedures. Completing a surgical technologist certification program usually takes around two years, allowing you the unique chance to quickly scrub into your first surgery after school.
Becoming a doctor or nurse isn’t the only option for science majors to join the healthcare industry! Research careers enable professionals to work in programs and partnerships that help study, test and improve clinical breakthroughs. Medical research also includes working on some of the most exciting technology to treat disease and injury, such as bioelectronic medicine. Not all research careers are clinical either – as a medical researcher you can work in engineering, statistics, and more.
Join together research and technology as part of a team working on cutting-edge discoveries in areas such as health outcomes research, translational science, behavioral science and more. As a member of the research team, you’d also have the ability to work on breakthroughs in major diseases from cancer to lupus to sepsis. Your work could help discover new treatments, therapies and technologies for patients to live a healthier life.
Careers to consider:
Associate Research Statistician
Post Doc Research Trainees
4. Telemetry Technicians
Telemetry technicians, also called monitoring technicians or electrocardiograph technicians (EKG or ECG), are important allied health professionals. These technicians use non-invasive electrocardiographic equipment to monitor patients’ heart rhythms and alert nurses and physicians to changes in the patient’s rate, rhythm and the occurrence of dysrhythmias while on the Telemetry Unit.
Working as a telemetry technician allows you to work within a hospital using advanced technology. There are also increasing opportunities for you to deliver compassionate care to patients within a hospital or ambulatory setting. And training programs prepare you for entering the healthcare industry in just a few months!
5. Clinical Laboratory Scientist
To become a clinical laboratory scientist you must obtain your bachelor’s degree from an accredited clinical laboratory science program, pass your ASCP national certification exam and then become licensed by New York State Education Department (NYSED) to practice. As a clinical laboratory scientist, you can work in exciting fields such as:
Fun fact, Northwell has two brand new, state-of-the-art labs. Our Core Lab/Automated Lab is the largest health system-based lab in the region with the largest Roche automated line of its kind in North America, and one of the largest in the world. Our new Microbiology Lab that has the largest Kiestra Micro automated line in the U.S!
Northwell Ventures Presents: Neteera makes checking vital signs easier for patients and professionals
As a known industry leader and innovator, Northwell Ventures is always looking for unique and noteworthy ways to deliver better healthcare to our patients while making care easier for our staff. The most recent example of that kind of innovative thinking can be found in our latest collaboration with Neteera Technologies.
Neteera is a startup looking to revolutionize the way we obtain vital signs. Specifically, Neteera has pioneered a new sensing technology, a chip based on high-resolution, high-frequency radar which enable a previously unimaginable understanding of our environment in a reliable, efficient and safe manner. Think of it as a connection between the analog and digital ecosystems. This exciting technology has even been road tested in driverless cars and to aide NASA Astronauts.
The chip can be used almost anywhere and can be placed in a patient’s chair or bed to monitor their vital signs wirelessly without any sensors touching the body. This allows for consistent, reliable monitoring of patients so nurses won’t have to check on them as often. Even more exciting, patients won’t know that they are having their vital signs checked, so they can get more sleep which is an essential element in their healing process. This technology is currently being tested in a Northwell Health sleep study to prove its effectiveness in healthcare, led by Northwell Health clinician Dr. Greenberg.
Though this work is happening at Northwell Health, the impact will be global. Northwell Ventures’ interest in Neteera was sparked by our partnership with the Israeli Innovation Arm and with the State of Israel. After getting the information, “we had Northwell’s respective clinical and operations team vet and try out the products/technology to see if we will pilot or deploy them for the benefit of our patients,” said Todd Goldstein PhD, Director, 3D Printing & Innovation and Instructor in Orthopedic Research Lab at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Neteera’s global roots are further proof of Northwell Health’s Truly Innovative mission to gain and share innovative and disruptive technology to benefit our patients and patients all over the world.
Learn more about Northwell Ventures’ other initiatives here.
This post is part of a series focusing on the Truly Innovative concepts and technologies brought to life by Northwell Ventures. We invest in companies that will generate strategic returns- creating products that meet healthcare needs now and in the future. Northwell Ventures showcases our investment in unique and noteworthy innovations that will impact our work and the health of all.
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