Recipe for Success: Northwell’s teaching kitchens provide nutrition education for employees
At Northwell Health, we’re committed to the health and wellness of not only our patients and the communities we serve, but our team members as well.
Food is a foundation for maintaining good health, preventing sickness and maximizing clinical benefit. To help our staff learn the power of healthy food, Northwell has established free teaching kitchens across our healthcare system.
Making Nutrition Fun
Teaching kitchens combine culinary instruction with education to help participants learn which foods they should be eating more or less of and the best techniques for cooking them. Our nutrition education covers various topics including heart health, low refined sugar and high fiber. Team members are encouraged to use the same healthy and whole ingredients that Northwell chefs are using in our hospitals’ kitchens.
Employees who attend receive hands-on instruction from Northwell chefs and have the opportunity to sample a variety of nutritious food. These chefs partner closely with Northwell’s registered dietitians to host events that are not only informative but also fun. Samantha Gitlin, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital, says: “Northwell’s teaching kitchens provide the staff and community with exciting and interesting ways to include fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients and new cooking techniques into their daily lives.”
And these aren’t your typical meals! Recipes include everything from one pot Italian quinoa to Asian lettuce wraps with avocado cilantro slaw.
Bringing People Together
“We receive a lot of positive feedback,” says Katrina Hartog, MPH, RD, CDN, CHES, clinical nutrition manager, “but the most satisfying is when a participant says they’ve never tried the featured food or item, then walks away with the recipe to make it at home and sends their colleagues to participate!” The teaching kitchens have grown in popularity, and are also leveraged for for internal team building events as well as community outreach.
These lessons are just one of the education tools organized by the Food & Nutrition teams to expand cooking confidence and nutrition education for Northwell employees. Other initiatives include recruiting and developing chef and dietitians, implementing Northwell Healthy Choice nutrition criteria and staff education.
“My favorite thing is seeing how it brings everyone in the hospital together. We get participation from doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, dietitians, food service workers, and various ancillary staff,” says Bethany O’Dea, RD, CDN, CNSC, assistant clinical nutrition manager, “it is fun seeing everyone get excited about nutrition.”
#BalanceforBetter: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2019
March 8th marks International Women’s Day to celebrate women everywhere. At Northwell Health, we’re committed to fostering a diverse work environment that champions its team members regardless of gender or gender identity and where everyone can be Truly Ourselves.
In celebration, hear from some of Northwell’s amazing women and the women that inspire them daily.
At Northwell Health, we know how important the holidays are for our patients. We take pride in being able to help our patients, their families, and our employees celebrate all season long across the health system! By delivering holiday cheer, our team members help patients and employees alike get into the spirit of the season.
“The holiday events that we host here at Cohen Children’s Medical Center bring such joy to the children at our hospital,” says Danielle Young, special events and donations coordinator of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program at CCMC, “These are just a few small ways that we can put a smile on the faces of the patients and brighten their day.”
And it’s not just children who get excited to celebrate! “Creating a holiday light show not only impacts the patients we care for, but also impacts the staff caring for this special population,” says Melissa Anne D’Agostino BSN, RN, Child and Adolescent nurse manager at South Oaks Hospital, “It brought tears to our eyes when an adult patient told us she was so happy to see the light show as she was recently admitted and away from her child for the holiday. Another little boy was using the fake snow to make snow angels and walked around with the snow on his face, telling staff he was Santa. It was an amazing event for all!”
Check out a quick recap and pictures from just some of the amazing events Northwell hosted this holiday season!
Cohen Children’s Medical Center
Macy’s Santa Visit with AFLAC – December 5th
Macy’s Santa comes with AFLAC and visits with the children, delivering the gift of AFLAC toy ducks.
North Shore High School Holiday Performance – December 21st North Shore High School comes and does holiday songs in the atrium for patients and families.
Violin performance – December 6th
A group violin performance in the atrium for patients and families.
SISCO Santa Event – December 14th
CCCM turns an office into the North Pole and kids can skype with Santa to let them know what they want for Christmas. Santa also has gifts for each room.
South Oaks Hospital
Holiday Campus Tree Lighting – December 3rd Holiday campus tree lighting for employees and their families.
Winter Wonderland Light Show – December 19th The courtyard is decorated with lights and blow up decorations for the holidays. Holiday music is played and there is even a snow machine (that both the kids and adults love!) to create snow while patients are served hot cocoa and cookies.
Lenox Hill Hospital
Annual Employee Children’s Holiday Party – December 14th Lenox Hill employess are invited to bring their children to this festive event, which features face painting, kiddie rides, seasonal treats and decorations and, of course, a chance to meet Santa Claus.
Annual NICU Reunion Holiday Party – December 14th Each holiday season, children who spend time in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) are invited to come back to LHH and to spend time with the doctors and nurses as well as other patients who were here during the time they were.
North Shore University Hospital
Holiday Parade Around 4 Cohen
4 Cohen hosted a Holiday Parade where in collaboration with PT and OT, patients and family paraded around the unit to holiday music
Winter Wonderland Event The NSUH Winter Wonderland is a multi-session, appreciation event for employees and their children led by NSUH Administration, Human Resources and Engineering Department. The Engineering Department uses their incredible talent and skill to transform the entire Rust Auditorium into an amazing winter-themed display, complete with lighted trees, animated figurines, giant inflatables and fake snow for employees and their families to view the display, take their picture with Santa Claus and enjoy traditional winter treats. Additionally, fun entertainers include therapy dogs, Frosty the Snowman and face painters.
College students (including a NSUH volunteer) from local Acappella groups come in and sing to help deliver holiday cheer to the patients.
Visit from the Brotherhood from Temple Beth El For the past 46 years the Brotherhood from Temple Beth El in Great Neck has been coming in to spread cheer at North Shore University Hospital. About 45 members come in and are divided into 3 groups. 2 groups go up on the units and sing for patients, visitors and employees. They are equipped with guitars, bells and tambourines. The other group works with our Rabbi to create 800-1,000 Bikkur Cholim Boxes which are handed out to Jewish patients by volunteers every Friday.
Holiday Gifts from the Auxiliary of North Shore University Hospital The Auxiliary of North Shore University Hospital pays for holiday gifts to be handed out to every patient in house. The gift is a picture frame which is wrapped in ribbon and has a card attached. It is hand delivered by members of our Auxiliary and also other North Shore University Hospital Volunteers.
Northwell Health team members race to the finish line at the NYC Marathon
This year, more than 50,000 runners gathered to compete in the world’s largest marathon and Northwell team members were no exception! At Northwell, one of our values is being truly ambitious and taking on the challenge of running the 26.2 mile New York City Marathon is one our employees are up for conquering. We caught up with some of our Northwell employees on what it felt like to finish the race last month.
Among our dedicated racers, members of the official Team Northwell Health raised over $30,000 for Northwell initiatives. These passionate team members included Joseph Moscola, Kevin Bock, Pat Farrell, Matthew Moore, Rakijah Galloway-Haskins, Sven Gierlinger, Kevin Beiner and Anghielinne Schwarting.
Hear from members of Team Northwell Health along with other Northwell employees who have raced to the finish line both this year and years prior!
Janine Sullivan Sr. Secretary 2, Nursing Education and Professional Development, Cohen Children’s Medical Center
“The TCS NYC Marathon was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I still cannot believe that I ran 26.2 miles! It is truly NYC’s biggest party! All the people, all the music throughout all the boroughs who come out to cheer us on, as well as my family being in Queens and Manhattan, was amazing! I couldn’t stop smiling the entire run! It was such a beautiful day!”
Jennifer K. Svahn, MD, FACS Assistant Professor of Surgery, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine Director, Vein Surgery at Union Square Northwell Health Physician Partners
“Long distance running, and particularly marathon running, is an opportunity for my husband, Dr. Jeff Nicastro (VP, Clinical Services Surgery Service Line; Vice Chairman Surgery NS/LIJ; System Chief, Acute Care Surgery Northwell; Executive Director Northwell Health Trauma Institute), and I to share something we are both passionate about. It provides us with “together time” outside of the challenges of life as surgeons and the parents of two busy teenage boys. As physicians, optimizing and impacting the health of our patients in a way that allows them to enjoy their best lives is our entire focus. It’s important that we are just as committed to prioritizing our own health and fitness so that we can set an example not only for our patients , but for our colleagues as well. By ensuring our own good health and the mental calm that running provides, we are able to serve our patients better. The rigor, sacrifice and even occasional suffering that are all part of marathon training and running only serve to make the experience of crossing the finish line all the more exhilarating. Running and representing Northwell Health are a perfect partnership – setting lofty goals, taking the steps required to reach those goals, prioritizing health thru action (and not just thru words) are all ways that we can best embody and put into action the Northwell #madeforthis motto.”
Rakijah Galloway-Haskins Manager, Lab Quality Management
North Shore University Hospital
“Completing the run was surreal; I was exhausted, excited, but yet, empowered! All the pain, sweat and tears were gone and just like that, it was over and I did it! The many mantras for the NYC Marathon were : It will Inspire you, It will Empower you, It will Move you, It will Reward you…. I could not help but see Northwell’s intonations embedded in there as well; truly compassionate, truly ourselves, truly ambitions…and of course MADE FOR THIS!!! In the past I have felt conflicted on whether or not I am made for this. Now I know and truly believing that I am. I’ve had several employees come to me congratulating me on completing that 26.2 mile run and state that I have inspired them as well. In fact many want to join the next go around and that is what it is all about! Next year I want to do it again, and bring as many as possible along with me on the journey!”
Cohen Children’s Medical Center
“I’ve run the NYC marathon 2 times (once in 2016 and once in 2017). Ironically enough, the first time I ran it, it wasn’t for Northwell. It was for the YMCA. However, it was my work family at Northwell (specifically Cohen Children’s Medical center) that rallied around me, accounted for more than half of the fundraising donations I received and not to mention how site HR worked with Materials Management to don me in Northwell/Cohen’s swag, specifically a running T-shirt that read “26.2 mile dare. Challenge accepted, Cohen’s cares”. The race itself was amazing. There’s nothing like being on the Upper East Side and hearing a bunch of screaming New Yorkers yell “Go head Northwell. Go head Cohen’s Children. Keep going You can do it.” It’s just the push one needs when they’re exhausted from running the 59th street bridge and bracing themselves to take on The Bronx and central park. The second time I ran the marathon, I was officially on the Northwell Health team. I got to fund raise directly for the organization and it was a great experience. I’d love to do it again.”
And while the race is a time for Northwell team members to shine for their own accomplishments, they’re passion for care remains an ever present value in their lives. This was proven when this year an Northwell physician paused his own race to help provide care for another runner. Dr. Theodore Strange, vice chair of primary care of Northwell Health and the vice president of medical operations of Staten Island University Hospital,wasn’t thinking about his own finish time when he heard a woman cry for help, he was only thinking about how he could help. Dr. Strange stopped mid-race to perform CPR on the unconscious runner and worked together with emergency responders to deliver care. After assuring the woman was being safely treated and transported to a hospital, Dr. Strange continued running and went on to finish the marathon.
Congratulations to all the Northwell Health employees who have participated in the marathon!
At Northwell, we’re flexible and not afraid to push boundaries. So, the forecast and eventual onset of rain that showed up at the finale of this year’s employee Rally didn’t stop our team members from making unforgettable memories together and celebrating the “Story of us.” There was nothing but sunny and smiling faces at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater on Saturday, July 21 when thousands of Northwell team members gathered for this incredible event.
This year’s Rally was all about storytelling and started at the Wellgate, our healthy version of a tailgate. In the “Story of Us” zone, guests could visit “Did You Know?” tents to learn about different initiatives for Northwell team members– such as myWellness, the Gift of Life (Northwell’s organ donation partnership program) and the work of our Foundation (we are a non-profit after all).
It was in this zone that Northwell even beat a world record! Rally guests worked together to help Northwell break the Guinness World Record for the most color by number contributions. 829 participants colored in a giant mural depicting our health system, beating the previous record of 455 participants.
In the “Story of Life” zone, Rally guests experienced the power of connection. Here guests could taste healthy choice recipes crafted by 12 Northwell chefs from our hospitals. They also discovered the healing power of pet therapy, getting the opportunity to meet with Northwell’s furriest team members. Poetry was also part of the day, with poets writing a personalized haiku for guests based on their own stories.
Rally guests could then walk through the different features highlighting our “Stores of Curiosity”. Guests could participate in training in an ambulance simulator or support one of Northwell’s next innovations by signing the “What if” wall which gave an inside look into some of our health system’s next big ideas. The zone’s Hall of Innovation was another big hit at the Rally. From a telehealth bike that gives patients access to supervised pulmonary rehabilitation therapy remotely, to a Northwell Health skill for Amazon Alexa that delivers current wait times for our patients, Northwell’s team members are developing innovations that will help shape the future of health care.
Other featured initiatives included: the Fin (the first 3D-printed, amphibious, prosthetic leg that allows amputee swimmers to navigate in and out of the water), Bottle Cap (an app that provides patients with automated text messaging and online coaching to learn about and reduce their consumption of alcoholic beverages,) and Project Polaris (a multi-year journey to reimagine HR processes).
In our “Stories of Celebration” zone, we celebrated our diverse and growing team of more than 66,000, including the stories of our President’s Awards winners and finalists, service awards recipients, and those who volunteered for service in last year’s Hurricane Harvey and Maria relief efforts. Our employees are so much more than their scrubs and stethoscopes and Rally guests were able to look, listen, touch and feel the exceptional stories of their fellow team members in our immersive display celebrating Northwell’s every day heroes.
Finally, at the Activity Stage, employees moved to the beat at the Zumba class led by a Northwell team member, Daniel Manalo, and danced to the music of the Hot Seeds, our very own physician band.
After the Wellgate experience, attendees entered the amphitheater for the main show, an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. From a guest speaker to President’s Awards Winner tributes to the grand prize drawing of our employee walk challenge to special performances, team members danced and cheered all night long.
It of course wouldn’t be a Rally without Michael J. Dowling, Northwell’s President and CEO. It’s not often your CEO make their big entrance on a boat! His remarks, as always, inspired everyone in attendance and he reminded team members to continue to innovate for our patients and our community.
Advancing Northwell’s spirit of innovation was the Rally’s guest speaker, Mick Ebeling. Mick founded Not Impossible Labs and works hard to expand the possibilities of technology to provide solutions for fundamental human needs, causing waves in and out of the world of healthcare. His powerful speech inspired Northwell employees to continue to view the world differently and to challenge the idea of impossible.
Closing the 2018 Northwell Rally was a spectacular performance from Michael Elroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices and a moving display from The Silhouettes.
The excitement in the air was contagious, with team members feeling reinvigorated for what lies ahead. Of course, the excitement was never higher than when it came time to announce the big winners for the Walk to Dublin employee step challenge. The winning team was announced, with all ten members receiving a free trip to Dublin. But that wasn’t all – as a surprise, two more teams were awarded the grand prize for a total of thirty employees headed to Dublin!
As the event came to a close, there was one impassioned thought running through the crowd: we can’t wait to see what the Story of Us brings next year!
Vivian Buccino, BSN, Charge Nurse, South Oaks Hospital
Vivian is committed to taking care of patients on the behavioral health unit at South Oaks Hospital, caring for the female adolescent population. She begins each shift rounding, ensuring her patients are treated with respect, regardless of their illness. While she provides clinical care, she also builds trust with her patients and demonstrates that she personally cares. Sometimes when patients have no visitors for lengths at a time Vivian will come in on her day off with cupcakes.
Vivian’s caring demeanor manifests itself in every interaction with patients and their families – exceeding what is expected to ensure everyone feels safe and secure. She is a role model for the girls on her unit, as well as her peers. Vivian always says that South Oaks Hospital is where she needs to be because her patients need her. It’s as simple as that.
Many moments in Melonie’s life led her to her career in healthcare. From witnessing the tragic events of 9/11 to her service in the U.S. Army working in a Combat Action Support Hospital, Melonie knew helping others was her calling.
While serving our country Melonie was assisting a critically-injured soldier who had been hit by a bomb. She soothed the soldier during his last moments of life by holding his hand and talking. Devastated by the loss, she found a letter to his family in the pocket of his uniform, and made it her mission to personally ensure the soldier’s family received this letter.
During her nine-year military tenure and leadership experience, Melonie has served as a role model for her staff, developing a strong sense of admiration amongst her team members. Overseeing radiology and cardiology for Plainview and Syosset hospitals, her list of achievements is vast, and because of this, she directly contributes to the success of Northwell as a thriving environment. Her colleague shares, “From her time as a soldier stationed in Iraq to now, her spirit has remained constant, influential and inspiring. We are lucky to have her.”
Watch Melonie’s Made for this story.
Teamwork- Project Search, Southwest Region
Team lead: Anne Marie McDonough
Team members: Joy Barone, Jai Sada, Anthony Mantuano, Antoniette Arcamone, Laura Longo, Dir, Rory Bradley, Nora Goldberg, Ralph Grimaldi, Joann Compitello
Launched at Staten Island University Hospital, Project Search is an innovative national program used to diversify a hospital’s workforce while minimizing high turnover in entry level jobs. The transition training program is for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who have completed academic requirements and would benefit from internships and employability skills education. The program’s steering committee identified entry level positions, performed job task analysis and created a recognizable presence for program participants. Ten applicants were selected, and classes began at Staten Island in September 2017. Led by special educators and a job coach, students attended daily classroom academic sessions and spent the remainder of their day with their mentor in their internship.
By the end of the year, students rotated through three non-paid internships that provided real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills. Staff became role models for the students, and the transition program has had far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful. There is significant potential for rolling this program out within the entire organization.
Watch Project Search’s Made for this story!
Exceptional Patient Customer Experience
Urszula Monaco, Lobby Service Representative, Center for Advanced Medicine
Fighting cancer is frightening, stressful and challenging. Fortunately, patients at the Center for Advanced Medicine Department of Radiation Medicine have someone like Urszula on their side. As the department’s lobby service representative, Urszula is the first face patients see when they come to the department where they are welcomed with her warm greeting and smile. Seamlessly, Urszula maintains the patient flow, helping to keep patients informed and reassured if there are any delays. This is no easy task when you consider that she sees over 120 patients and their families daily.
Urszula literally wears out the tread of her shoes moving from waiting room to waiting room, all while attending to the needs of patients. In 2017, Urszula walked approximately 3,276,000 steps which translates to more than 1,400 miles. While that seems like a tremendous distance to travel, Urszula would gladly go twice as far it if meant that she could comfort another patient. If you ask her if she gets tired of walking so much, her response would be, “Not at all. I just need a new pair of shoes.”
In addition to supporting patients, Urszula helps the department by spearheading creative ideas for improvement. She was heavily involved in rolling out the “Gong Ceremony” to help patients celebrate the important milestone of finishing treatment. Urszula wants to make sure no patient no patient goes through their diagnosis alone.
Watch Urzula’s Made for this story!
Physician of the Year
Tarek Zetoune MD, Hospice Physician, Hospice Care Network
Dr. Zetoune holds a unique understanding of the true meaning of comprehensive care and is committed to delivering quality end of life care to both adult and pediatric patients. Driven by the belief that every day matters, he demonstrates his pledge to connectedness, awareness, respect and empathy to his patients, their families and his coworkers. His decision to work in end of life care was in part motivated by his belief that it is a facet of medicine that, as a society, we often choose to ignore. In his words, “When there is no longer an option for cure, there is even more work to be done.”
“Born in Syria, Dr. Zetoune is committed to working with refugees, as well as hospice patients. Following the end of his fellowship program, he traveled to Greece as a pediatric volunteer to help displaced refugees. “If you are in the presence of a man or woman who is talking about his or her loss, whether in a hospice setting or in a refugee camp, you don’t have to say anything. Just listen. Our presence with that patient is what is most important, not our words,” says Dr. Zetoune.”
Administrative Manager and Wellness Liaison Janet Schaetzle has been with Northwell Health for 12 years managing Northwell Health Physician Partners, Neurosurgery and Spine at Great Neck and Lynbrook. But don’t think she’s managing from afar as Janet’s on the floor with her staff and she doesn’t want to leave. In order to keep her staff in top shape, wellness is a major focus. For Janet, Northwell’s culture and wellness is connected to many aspects of her life — inside her office and outside in her community.
Inside the office, Janet’s staff members focus on wellness through healthy lunches and Zumba. Janet’s staff also participated in the Walk To Dublin. They embraced their love of competition and formed a team. “We monitored each other and we still do weekly step-offs and weekend rumbles. I’ve met people and made friends in other departments through the wellness challenges,” says Janet.
That emphasis on wellness and the impact of Northwell’s culture extends from her office doors out into her community. Janet is a part of the Northwell Life Facebook group that connects employees throughout Northwell Health. From Suffolk County, to Westchester, to New York City, employees are using social media to work together on community service projects in their spare time. For example, Janet’s office donates to Meals on Wheels with four other departments. In addition, the staff will take time on a weekend to serve families at the Ronald McDonald house and share a day creating a dinner for over 80 people every year for the past 3 years. “Northwell does so much with communities to raise money for brain aneurysms, breast cancer, and more problems that affect my patients. There’s a sense that you belong to an organization that really does care,” she adds.
Janet has personally benefited from Northwell Health’s focus on employee wellness. And that begins with leadership. “Northwell brings people in from the wellness department and the EAP works with us in dealing with stress, sleep, and staying energized,” says Janet. “The staff is so into it and I’ve joined a gym since this wellness program started.” That dedication to wellness includes providing resources to help employees grow professionally. “We have so many opportunities to advance. Through the Center for Learning Innovations (CLI), we can take classes, and Northwell Health will help pay for you to continue your education.” From Dealing with Stress Management to Emotional Intelligence for Leaders to Business Writing and Computer courses, Northwell Health provides employees with classes that help them advance and nurture their professional careers.
The emphasis of community has allowed Janet to see her staff at Northwell Health as family. Many of them have been working with her for 5-10 years, with one staff member who has been with her for 23! Now, Janet’s actual family has joined her Northwell Health family. Janet’s son Josef works for LIJ Hospital. “I am so proud of his contributions that he has given in only his first year with Northwell. At Northwell Health, you’re recognized for doing great things. There really is a culture of care here and shows that we are all Made for This.”
For years, she’s collected shoes and drawn sneaker designs that she posts on her wall at work. Last year, at Levitt Pediatric’s Christmas gift exchange, she received a sneaker coloring book from one of the nurse practitioners.
“I’ve always dreamed of designing them,” says Gabrielle Serrano, Northwell Health Administrative Supervisor, “I’ve drawn and colored them and posted pictures around my desk.”
Another one of her passions? New York City. It was the first city her grandmother ever traveled to and she never left. Gabrielle loves the people that make up New York City and the melting pot of diversity that comes with that. “Chinatown, Little Italy, Brooklyn, uptown, downtown,” explains Gabrielle, “You can literally travel all over the world without leaving New York.”
Gabrielle is also a street photographer, a homeless advocate, and an artist. She is Truly Innovative which is one of Northwell’s core values and loves finding, capturing and communicating the diversity and dynamic spirit of New York’s unique people.
Recently, all of her passions came together as she entered a contest to design a new sneaker for Nike. The Nike On Air Shoe Competition was the chance for Gabrielle to bring together her many interests so that she could communicate with the world who she really is. This is how the Air Max 98 “La Mezcla” was born.
Gabrielle’s goal was to bring all the diversity of New York City, the character of its people, its melting pot heritage and infuse it into her sneaker design. “I wanted to showcase all the different types of skin tones of different types of people,” says Gabrielle, “But I wanted to make sure I represented it the right way – not just to show my city, but to show myself.”
Gabrielle not only entered the contest… she was one of six winners representing countries from around the world!
As an Office Associate in one of Northwell Health’s Pediatric Practices, Gabrielle’s many talents and interests make her an even more valuable employee. That’s why Northwell Health is so proud to support Gabrielle’s interests away from work. Support that helped push Gabrielle closer to her dream, “Northwell sent an email to all employees and posted on social media and everyone shared. People I didn’t even know voted for me.”
Northwell truly believes that employees are much more than just their professional abilities. We are better together when we are Truly Ourselves. “It’s awesome to work for a company that is so supportive of me,” says Gabrielle, “both at work and in my personal passions.”
If you’d like to be part of an organization that values diversity and empowers and inspires people to express their individuality to the fullest, take a look at Northwell Health careers.
At Northwell Health, we already stand out as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma. Now we’re aiming to be the healthiest. Our leadership is focused on food and nutrition as well as fitness and mental wellbeing initiatives to build a healthier workplace for all our employees.
“In the past few years, we’ve been able to do more in food and nutrition to create a better, more effective infrastructure for wellness at work and it’s because we’ve had a lot of great support from leadership.”
–Michelle Milgrim, Employee Wellness Manager
It all starts with the ingredients. Over the past two years, we’ve worked to ensure that our chicken, turkey and beef burgers are 100 percent antibiotic free. Our fish is sustainably sourced and harvested and we work, as much as possible, with local farms across Long Island, NJ and the Hudson Valley to source local produce. Through Community Supported Agriculture, employees are given the opportunity to get local produce – freshly harvested that morning — delivered weekly to their offices.
With great ingredients, we need great chefs. Northwell Health has four Michelin Star chefs that are driving chef talent development including our new AVP, system food services Bruno Tison. Our new partnership with the Culinary Institute of America’s fellowship program is going to bring culinary students into our pipeline of talent.
Now that we have put wellness on our plates and in our kitchens, we’re focusing on wellness in other areas. For starters? We want employees to be eating well at home. So, we’ve invested in teaching kitchens and work in close collaboration with chefs and registered dietitian teams to create hands-on demonstrations that have become a popular, accessible tool for staff. And we’re supporting these initiatives by providing healthier options throughout our facilities, not just the patient and cafeteria menu. We’re updating our coffee shops, gift shops, and vending machines so that the default options at our facilities will be healthy ones.
Though these changes are already making an impact to our employees’ wellness, they’re not the only lifestyle initiatives that we’re putting in place to support the wellbeing of our people. We’re putting our best foot forward through on-site stairwell and fitness campaigns and corporate walking challenges like our Walk to Dublin contest. As we pursue promoting wellness for our bodies, we also seek wellness for our mental health. We offer opportunities for stress management at our sites through guided meditation and reiki, and simply giving our employees time to unwind. We’re also making our facilities mom-friendly. By August, all of our sites will be equipped with dedicated lactation rooms to make pumping at work more accessible and comfortable for mothers.
At Northwell, every role matters, every person matters and every healthy moment matters. We’re invested in our employees’ health, inside and out and we continuously strive toward making our facilities a more nutritious, fit-friendly and welcoming place to work.
Be part of this transformation. See where you fit in here.
Going the extra mile: Why Northwell Health was just named one of the Best WorkplacesTM in Health Care and Biopharma
Fortune and Great Place to Work® have named Northwell Health as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma! In the newly released nationwide survey of healthcare employees, Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system, ranked 13th nationally. But, what does this actually mean for a potential employee?
At Northwell Health, you’ll find a close-knit work family. Based on a strong sense of mission and camaraderie among our 66,000 employees, we ranked second in the Northeast! This sense of purpose extends from inside our system out to the community. We’re making an impact and of our surveyed employees, 90 percent feel good about the ways we contribute to the community. These numbers only reinforce our ongoing commitment to community outreach.
So let’s get into our numbers: 83 percent of Northwell Health’s 700 respondents say their workplace is great. But what makes this place so great? When someone sets out to work in health care, they’re joining an industry unlike any other. Eighty-eight percent of our surveyed employees found that their work here has special meaning, that this is not “just a job” and 86 percent feel that they make a difference here.
“There is purpose in everything we do and the results are often life-saving,” said Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “That can be incredibly stressful at times. But it is always rewarding. Keep in mind that we are in the people business. We put our patients first, but to do that we need to take care of our employees and ensure a workplace that’s safe, life-affirming and team-oriented. Everyone at Northwell Health is connected by the common bond of service to our community.”
Along with this distinction as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma, Northwell Health ranked No. 55 on Fortune’s annual Best Workplaces for Diversity list in December and was recently highlighted as a leader in LGBTQ healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2018. We’re excited about all of these distinctions and they encourage us to keep making our health system a great place to work.
Learn about opportunities to join one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma.
When you’re Truly Ambitious, you don’t let anything stand in your way
What makes a great leader? To some, tenacity. To others, grit. To others, a vision. At Northwell Health, we believe that what makes a great leader isn’t necessarily one specific trait, it’s the culmination of all of these ideals with time, experience and determination. Which is why our recent panel highlighting some of our most ambitious female leaders, was so uniquely inspiring. It takes an exceptional level of leadership to redefine health care while creating tomorrow’s health system.
Despite adversity throughout their careers, these women have created real change in our health system, inspiring their peers and motivating their department teams to do the same.
Panelists discussed their career progressions, the challenges they’ve faced and the inspiring women who helped them along the way.
In particular, each participant drew from her own career to offer a piece of advice for overcoming adversity to those looking to be leaders themselves. Their answers, much like their careers, will inspire you:
“Seek to become a change agent. Do not fear adversity as it usually manifests itself in your life to challenge you, to build your resiliency, to help you evolve and achieve greater goals. Always seek to participate in something greater than yourself, something with a community or global impact. The effects will be powerful and meaningful. Don’t just wait for change to happen, lead the change and make it what you want it to be.”
— Emmelyn Kim, AVP, Research Compliance and Privacy Officer – Office of Research Compliance
“Stay grounded in who you are. Be confident and authentic. Those who approach the world with bias have a smaller world than those who approach the world through a lens of possibilities. Remember, the bias speaks about who they are, not who you are. You are the architect of your own destiny! Stay true to who you are and learn from the mistakes of those who are biased.”
— Mary Comerford-Hewitt, AVP, Talent Acquisition
“Women continue to make extraordinary contributions in healthcare leadership roles. To continue to do so, we need to believe that everything is possible – we are limited only by our imaginations. Seek out role models and mentors. I love the quote from the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, ‘We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that they may sprout.’’
–Penny Stern, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACOEM
“My advice will be the same advice my mother gave to me, which was why are you letting other people define you? If you know what you want to do, then do it”
–Tochi Iroku Malize, MD, MPH
We’re proud to call these Truly Ambitious women part of the Northwell Health Family. If you’re looking to make the most of your passion, vision and ambition, we have opportunities that offer the autonomy and support you need to reach your true potential. Watch the full diversity lunch and learn below and learn more here.
At Northwell Health, we’re always up for a challenge and our innovative 2018 employee step challenge, Walk to Dublin, is no small feat. Teams of 10 will compete in a virtual journey from New York City to Dublin (approx. 3.7 million steps!) by tracking their real physical activity and unlocking remarkable virtual destinations throughout Ireland all along the way. All teams to virtually reach Dublin together will qualify to win an ACTUAL trip to Ireland. The inspiration for our Walk to Dublin comes from our Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling, who has instilled a passion for wellness throughout our organization.
We asked the manager of Employee Wellness Niha Malcomson for her take on Northwell Health’s employee wellness goals: “This is something that our leadership emphasizes and we practice and share it: we want employees to say they’re healthy because they work here, and that they can improve their health because Northwell Health supports their goals.”
We’re so passionate about the health of our patients, but their success depends on the health and well-being of our people. That’s why we’re so excited to see 1100 teams as of today ready to focus on their own wellness while challenging themselves, working as a team, and having fun! AND there’s that grand prize…
Just as we rely on each other to do our best work for our patients, we are Truly Together in our goal to be a Healthiest Place to Work by 2022. Wellness is a team effort, and from our Walk to Dublin step challenge to creating healthier environments for all, we can only accomplish these goals together. Sure, some of us are focused on weight loss or running marathons, but as a team, we’re focused on engagement and fun for all employees!
We’re excited to take the first steps on our walk to Dublin! Stay tuned to meet our winners and see what we accomplish when we all work together to reach our wellness goals!
Photo: From left to right, Dr. Allen Toles, Dr. Janna Andrews, Zacharie Saintyl
Black History Month: My role as a leader at Northwell
At Northwell, we are Truly Ourselves and we stand united, proud and respectful, always celebrating our differences, together. February is Black History Month, and we sat down with some of our leaders to learn about their history, their dreams, and their career aspirations. With an ever-changing health care landscape, their leadership is critical to our organization’s success because of their unique backgrounds. Check it out.
1. Can you please describe your ethnic background and/or family origin?
Dr. Allen Toles: My ethnic background is African American.
Dr. Janna Andrews: I am African American and my family originates from Alabama and Georgia (and I am very proud of my southern roots). My family moved to Queens when my mother was a child but as many of them get older they all eventually return home to the south.
Zacharie Saintyl: I am originally from Haiti. My family came to this country in hopes for a better future. My parents always told us about the United States being the land of opportunity. They always have high hopes that my siblings and I would become important figures in society through a good education, and their hope was realized when my siblings and I became the first generation in our family to graduate high school and to graduate college. Thanks to my parents, today we each are able to live our dreams.
2. When did you know that you wanted to be a healthcare professional?
Dr. Allen Toles: I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to be in healthcare having been exposed to it, essentially, from birth, and because my mother is a pediatrician who trained at Harlem Hospital and serviced the Greater Jamaica Queens community for more than 40 years. So, it was a natural transition for me as I advanced through my undergraduate and ultimately Medical School years.
Dr. Janna Andrews: I knew I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was five. My goal was first to go to the Olympics in Gymnastics then spend the rest of my career as a physician. After I hit a serious growth spurt at 16 my Olympic aspirations were put aside. I wasn’t anywhere near Olympic quality but I do appreciate that gymnastics taught me how to compete. I should also say that I was fortunate to grow up watching the Cosby show where I got to see very positive images of black professionals that convinced me that becoming a physician was something I could achieve. After gymnastics I then began to focus on what I needed to do to go to medical school and I looked at the journey as just training for another competition. I always had a very deep interest in healing whether it was mentally or physically and what that entailed.
Zacharie Saintyl: It had always been my passion since I was a little boy growing up in Haiti to help others. I was always involved in community service at church and I would always visit the sick at hospitals, brought them food and prayed with them. When I came to the United States I was presented with an abundance of opportunities and education that helped my passion become a reality. As I grew older I became more passionate about working in the medical field as I watched my family members, especially my mother, struggle with sickness. I wanted to be in a position where I can provide professional health to them and that’s when I found my passion in Nursing. I started as a nursing assistant at Northwell Health and after finishing my studies, I continued to set higher goals for myself. I took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me and I am now a Nurse Manager at LIJ Valley Stream.
3. What’s the best part of being a leader here at Northwell Health?
Dr. Allen Toles: The best part of being a leader here at Northwell, is that I have the opportunity every day of breaking down barriers and stereotypes, and being a role model for other employees and my community.
Dr. Janna Andrews: The best part of being a leader at Northwell is having a platform to make a difference. I’ve been extremely fortunate to sit down with some great mentors that have really opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist at Northwell, but also to the impact that I can potentially have. I feel like it is my job to pass this information and these opportunities along. I’m currently serving as a co-chair for the BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) that focuses on employees of African American and Caribbean descent. We are just getting started, but collectively we are committed to ensuring that these employees are aware of opportunities that exist for themselves or their families at Northwell. We are also committed to hosting health initiatives that will have a positive and lasting impact on the communities of color in the surrounding areas.
Zacharie Saintyl: The best part of being a leader at Northwell Health is being able to contribute to the Northwell mission. I am grateful to be a member of a great health system that invests in its mission and vision to improve and promote healthcare across diverse communities. I am truly honored to have this platform to be inspired and I am fortunate to be surrounded by great leaders that I can learn from. I’m presently a member of one of our BERG’s serving as a co-chair. We work to enhance communication and patient experience while serving the diverse communities within our health system.
4. What do you think about when you hear “Black History Month?”
Dr. Janna Andrews: When I think about Black History Month, I very much think about those that came before me and created this space and opportunity for me. I am very aware that I stand on their shoulders and I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve and overcome. There is more work to be done and that is ok. I live my life through the affirmation- to whom much is given, much is expected, and I am happy to carry the baton until it is my turn to pass it. For now, I will roll up my sleeves and ask how I can be of service.
Zacharie Saintyl: When I think of Black History I think of the time that we celebrate all the accomplishments and the accolades of black people worldwide. The first black president of the United States was in my lifetime. That is an amazing feeling to experience. This accomplishment and others inspire me to also become a great role model, not only to my children, but also to those who look up to me. Knowing about the great achievements of black people through history motivates me to never give up. I become more confident in knowing that I too can accomplish great things such as the people who came before me and created this opportunity for me.
5. Is there a specific leader from history that inspires you? What about a figure from today?
Dr. Allen Toles: It may sound cliché, but Martin Luther King, continues to inspire me, because I was well aware of his presence and actions during my adolescence and was able to witness firsthand, the cataclysmic change that he brought about in American Society. In this 21st century, I have been inspired by many people, but I think for most people of color, Barack Obama has inspired a new generation of believers, that with hard work and determination, all things are possible.
Dr. Janna Andrews: Harry Belafonte inspires me. His legacy as a social activist and devotion to the ongoing fight for our civil rights is tremendous. Harry Belafonte has passed the baton from his mentor Paul Robeson and I have so much respect for someone that recognizes and uses their platform for social good. Mr. Belafonte has shown up, he has written checks, and he has stayed politically engaged his entire life. He has been passionate and outspoken as a humanitarian and I can only hope to accomplish a sliver of what he has but he certainly gave those of us that follow in his footsteps a foundation to stand on. I think ultimately Mr. Belafonte will pass the baton to the actor/social activist Jesse Williams. Already an established social activist in his right, I can’t wait to see what Williams is able to accomplish.
Zacharie Saintyl: Barack Obama is my inspiration. When faced with adversaries and tribulations, he was never shaken – he was a man of character. He has received unprecedented opposition and disrespect, yet he dealt with them peacefully and gracefully. As a father and a husband, he inspires me to be a great leader – to lead with positivity, and to never give up when facing adversary.
6. Why, more than ever, do we need to reignite humanism in healthcare?
Dr. Allen Toles: There is a tectonic shift that is happening ethnically and culturally in this world and right here within our own communities, and as health care providers we need to be exquisitely sensitive to this shift. We are no longer a homogenous population; we are a “melting pot” of such diversity now, with the breaking down of bias, stereotypes, and ignorance. People are in relation with one another, and as a result, families are now multicultural, multiracial, bringing forth more heterogeneity than ever. To this end “Humanism” has to be primary when delivering healthcare, so that one can understand the whole person – what makes them who they are, and therefore, have a better insight, into their health challenge, and develop the best approach to heal their body, mind, and spirit.
When our employees or their family members are sick and unsure of the next steps, it’s a comfort to know someone is there to help, someone who can answer questions and give important assistance, any time of the day or night. If you’re a Northwell Health employee covered by one of the United Healthcare benefit plans, the Clinical Call Center is a new benefit that will provide that assistance. And it’s just one of the benefits that we provide to help our employees feel their best.
“Our highly-trained nurses are available to help 24/7. They are dedicated and caring professionals who provide the highest quality telephonic nursing care when our callers need it most.”
–Karen Abrashkin, MD, Medical Director, Clinical Call Center
When a Northwell Health employee or their covered dependent calls the Clinical Call Center, they will be directly connected with an experienced Northwell Health RN who is certified in emergency care. The best part is our Clinical Call Center is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Be assured that all communications are confidential.
“The Clinical Call Center nurses utilize evidence-based protocols to determine a recommended level of care for our callers. Our call center is the second Accredited Center of Excellence for Emergency Communication Nursing in the world awarded by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.”
–Debra Tomassetti, Program Director, Clinical Call Center
What kinds of situations can the Clinical Call Center address?
Urgent health questions or concerns
Changes in health condition
Whether or not a trip to the emergency room is needed
Questions or concerns regarding medication
“At Northwell Health, we are continuously looking for opportunities to take better care of our employees and their families. The Clinical Call Center is a great example of that.”
–Greg Bennett, Senior Director, Strategic Planning & Business Development
In our complex and demanding environment of healthcare, it is incredibly important that we care for ourselves – so that we can in turn care for others. Healthcare professionals can be exceptional at providing empathetic quality care, however, we are also human – we grieve, mourn, hurt and feel very deeply – especially during the many challenging situations often faced when caring for complex patients and families.
At Northwell Health, we foster an environment that promotes wellness, self-care, self-reflection and emotional support for our dedicated caregivers.
Truly Compassionate: One of our unique programs, Team Lavender, provides staff an opportunity for timely emotional, spiritual and physical support, discuss feelings, explore coping mechanisms and extend additional resources for mental well-being if needed.
Truly Together: Team Lavender is comprised of interdisciplinary members, with disciplines and skill sets that complement one another when providing a holistic approach to emotional support for our dedicated staff. Members of Team Lavender may include social workers, physicians, nurses, chaplains, patient and family relations members, holistic and integrative therapy practitioners and employee assistance program team members.
Ultimately, we are dedicated to making sure our 66,000 Northwell caregivers feel supported and valued so that they can be better equipped to provide our patients, families, and customers with the exceptional experience they deserve. This is how we make every moment matter.
As we enter the new year, try to find time to catch up on your reading. Here are a few books to help you begin.
The Big Burn by Timothy Egan
This is an enjoyable and educational read about the biggest forest fire in the U.S. history (in 1910). It devastated large areas of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The book is also the history of the U.S. Forest Service and the conservation legacy of Teddy Roosevelt. Very worthwhile.
Americana: A 400-year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan
If you enjoy history, business and entrepreneurship this is the book for you. A large book but well organized into specific topical sections that provide relevant details in an enjoyable and readable fashion. You will learn a lot.
The Internationalists by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro
A great history about the 1928 Peace Treaty when world leaders got together in Paris to outlaw future war. It did not work, of course but it is a splendid backdrop to current events. If you like history this is a must read.
The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos
Interested in artificial intelligence (machine learning) this is the book to read. It outlines the background of AI and what we can expect to see in the next five to ten years – especially in the health care area. This will change how you think.
Conscience of a Conservativeby Jeff Flake
Senator Flake, as you may know, just resigned from office because of the current political environment. He has received a lot of press coverage as a result. This book is definitely worth reading. He outlines his view of the conservative agenda in a substantial, analytical way. You will find much you will probably agree with- even if you are a liberal. It is only 135 pages- but well written and puts much of current debate in perspective.
Irena’s Childrenby Tilar J. Mazzeo
The true story of Irena Sendler who saved thousands of children from death in Nazi occupied Poland in World War II- an extraordinary personal risk. After you read this great book you will ask- what have I done? A history and a story of courage.
Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the Worldby Ian Bremmer
Confused by the current debate, then read this. It will help clarify your thinking, give you historical perspective and be better informed overall. It is illuminating and well written.
Our employees are. If you’re up to date with what’s happening at Northwell, than you’d know that we recently updated our myWellness platform – and our wellness team hasn’t stopped there. They have been working hard to create new programs, challenges, and partnerships to make sure our employees have the best tools and stay motivated in their wellness journey. These tools are available to them at any time through our desktop platform, or if they’re on the go, on the Virgin Pulse mobile app. Here are the top resources our employees have access to support them throughout their journey:
1. SelfHelp WorksLIVINGLEAN – This video coaching program was designed to help our employees beat cravings and change their habits. We’re challenging them to open their minds to something new so they begin to feel control — over what, when, and how much they eat! Several Northwell employees who completed Living Lean report a shift in how they are eating as well as successful weight loss and maintenance. (And this comes at no cost to our employees!)
2. Virgin Pulse Nutrition Guide – If our employees create a nutrition profile using the Nutrition Guide, they’ll receive free health tips and a recipes enewsletter from Zipongo. Through the Nutrition Guide, our employees maximize features in myWellness that track calories, healthy habits and weight – plus, they will have access to hundreds of healthy recipes. (Another great tool that is free for our employees!)
3. Weight Watchers – Have you heard about the new Weight Watchers Freestyle Program? Looking for a Weight Watchers At-Work program? Our employees receive a discounted rate and 50% reimbursement for a covered Weight Watchers program when they meet the attendance requirements.
4. The Center for Weight Management – Northwell Health offers a multi-disciplinary approach involving medical, psychological and nutritional assessments followed by an individualized treatment plan. Our team consists of a physician, psychologist, and nutritionists who work with each patient to teach goal setting, medically-supervised weight/behavioral management, planning skills, and problem-solving. (Employee insurance plans are accepted.)
All of these resources are accessible to our employees through the new myWellness program, where they can also explore other tools and programs! Are you ready to crush your fitness goals this year?
Photo: Amelia is in the pink shirt, surrounded by her colleagues
Made for volunteering.
Written by: Amelia Zito
I first began volunteering at Staten Island University Hospital on March 26, 1993. I decided to volunteer at the hospital because I retired and wanted to give back to my community and to the place that provided my family care for many years. I also wanted to volunteer in order to keep my mind sharp and myself active, and I was very happy to be placed in the Human Resources Department because that was my previous field of work. I had retired from the position of Assistant Treasurer in the Personnel Department of Standard Charter Bank in New York City where I had responsibility for disability, pension, and all aspects of payroll.
When I first began volunteering, I assisted the recruiters with a variety of tasks and soon felt like part of the family. This is one of the reasons why I remained in HR all these years – I was never made to feel like a volunteer, but rather a valuable member of their team and family, which I still feel today, almost 24 years later. I still assist the recruiters and some of my tasks involve typing all the form letters and envelopes sent to internals informing them that they were not chosen for a transfer, making copies, filing, creating and labeling new binders at the beginning of each year for various recruitment forms, and boxing up previous year’s recruitment forms and files for storage. I also type up a report at the end of each year which lists the months, amounts, and total of internal form letters sent out. When needed, I volunteer in other areas such as HR training, where I help put together the folders for New Hire Orientation. My favorite volunteer memories are of the long-standing and close friendships I have developed with certain members of the HR staff and the special recognition I received for my Staten Island University Hospital Volunteer Service – namely the President’s Call To Service Award in 2008 and The Staten Island Inter-Agency Council on Aging Award in 2013. Both of these awards highlight my integrity, responsibility, and character of my personality.
My years here have been interesting and fruitful. I have learned much from the Human Resources Team and believe they learned much from me and my experiences. I encourage anyone who wishes to be a part of this amazing team to look up volunteer opportunities, because they will treat you like family.
Celebrating Hindu Culture and Traditions through Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Written by: Neva Harold
Guyana, a small third-world country in South America is made up of six main ethnic groups – Amerindian, Chinese, East Indian, African, Portuguese and Europeans. This is primarily due to the British-era colonialization of land and the use of laborers from different parts of the world to work on the sugar plantations. For a small country, Guyana is very diverse. Learning about culture, values and traditions of our people had been a great passion of mine growing up. It gives me great pleasure as a member of the BRIDGES Asian BERG and the Ambulatory Services Diversity and Health Equity Committee to share with everyone, the culture and traditions of one of the main religions in Guyana – Hinduism through its largest and festive holiday celebration of Diwali.
Diwali is a celebration enjoyed not only by Hindus but also Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. The significance of Diwali is different for each religion. For Hindus, Diwali is as important as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. Diwali is derived from the root word Deepavali which means “row of lights”. The festival is celebrated worldwide in October/November depending on the cycle of the moon (new moon). The common theme of the significance of Diwali is the triumph of good over evil or the destruction of all negative qualities – violence, anger, fear, jealousy, greed, etc, to embrace more positive ones. Diwali celebrates the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.
In Guyana, India and around the world, Diwali is celebrated by lighting clay lamps or diyas to signify light over darkness or good over evil. Hindus celebrate the return of the Hindu God Rama to his kingdom after 14 years in exile. They light diyas as a sign of welcome and tribute to Rama. Additionally, during Diwali, Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth is believed to enter one’s homes to give them good fortune and prosperity for the year.
The celebration of Diwali is always a festive one. Growing up, we had to always spring clean our home because if we didn’t, it is believed that the Goddess Lakshmi will not enter our home and bring good fortune. We bought new clothes to wear, lit hundreds of diyas and made lots of sweet and savory snacks. The best part of Diwali for me was visiting friends and family and sharing the holiday with them regardless of their religion. It always gave me this sense of warmth and togetherness to be with everyone – family and friends that did celebrate Diwali and the ones that didn’t. Today, Diwali celebrations at our home in the United States are the same like they were in Guyana. And my favorite part – we still invite our non-Hindu neighbors, friends and family to participate in the festivities and educate everyone about the significance of Diwali. This year, I gave each of my team members a diya to light in their homes for good fortune and prosperity and brought in an assortment of sweets for them to savor!
May the light of the diya bring you and your family happiness, joy, good fortune, prosperity and success always! Happy Diwali to all!
2017 Innovation Challenge – Made for Big Ideas Showcase!
At Northwell Health we search for innovation in everything we do. At the beginning of October, we gave our employees an opportunity to compete and win for one of two funding awards of up to $500,000 during our 2017 Innovation Challenge to bring their innovations to life. One winner was selected for an innovative idea in clinical care and one was selected for large-scale margin improvement.
With 130 submissions from employees all over the health system, we had 40 semifinalists, and then 8 finalists who presented their innovative ideas in front of a panel of judges, while our executive leaders were gathered in a separate room to watch. A bit of nerves, a lot of amazement and even some laughter filled the rooms as the presentations carried on. Take a look at our finalist’s presentations at the Made for Big ideas Showcase!
Photo (from left to right): Philip Dong is the fourth employee from the left gathered with the other members of our Asian BERG
Celebrating Chinese Culture and Traditions Through Mid-Autumn Festival
By: Philip Dong
As a part of the BRIDGES Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) it’s a passion of mine to share the tradition, spiritual and ethical values of the Asian culture across the health system’s facilities and network. The BERGs are made up of employees passionate about embracing relationships with diverse communities served by Northwell Health, and the BRIDGES Business Employee Resource Group is focused on fostering shared understanding of cultural, spiritual and ethical values in the context of healthcare delivery among employees and communities.
On October 4th, I had the privilege to be part of a Diversity and Health Equity Committee meeting and for the first time, introduced one of my most treasured holidays – Mid-Autumn Festival, to Northwell Health’s executive senior leadership. The festival was also celebrated at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research by the Chinese Association at the Feinstein Institute (CAFI) which was organized by Dan Li, President of CAFI and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Autoimmune and Cancer Research at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
Celebrated throughout different Asian regions, this festival has a history of over 3,000 years and commemorates the end of the autumn harvest. It is the second most important festival after the Lunar New Year, where people celebrate through family reunions, akin to Thanksgiving in the United States.
In China, Mid-Autumn Festival was also a time for moon-worship and moon cakes are the must-eat food item during ancient times because the round shape symbolizes reunion and happiness. After worshipping the full moon, family members would savor the cakes together. And while moon-worshiping is no longer a practices ritual, moon cakes are still a traditional pastry to be enjoyed during the festival. The Americans have turkey, but we have delicious cakes with sweet fillings.
The modern day celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival shares much of the same principles as Thanksgiving; that of family gathering and giving thanks. Ever since I was a child, the festival instilled in me a strong sense of family bonds and love. To this day, the clinking of plates and clattering of shuffling mahjong tiles stir up warm, resonant feelings of my Chinese family heritage. To me, the Mid-Autumn festival is more than just a time to eat and be merry – it’s a precious moment when everyone takes a step out of their normal routine to gather as a family and appreciate each other.
To all who celebrate this holiday, I hope you enjoyed this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival!
In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted upon the Houston area, the need for medical care rose to crisis levels for those impacted by the flooding and who rely on their healthcare providers to manage existing chronic conditions. In response, Northwell Health connected with its counterparts at the Houston–based MD Anderson Cancer Center to offer assistance to match the hospital‘s specific needs. Within 24 hours after requesting help from its clinicians, Northwell enrolled more than 600 employees interested in volunteering. Here is one of our volunteer’s stories.
Written by: Angela Daly
As nurses and healthcare workers, we are there for people at times when they are most vulnerable; we step up when we are needed without a moment of hesitation. I was in nursing school when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my hometown of the Rockaway’s in Queens in 2012. Thanks to the kindness and amazing gestures of so many who stepped up when we needed them the most, my neighborhood made a strong comeback, allowing me to graduate on-time and start my dream job as a float nurse for Northwell Health.
When I heard that Houston, Texas was expecting to be heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, I immediately stepped up to volunteer. The week that I spent in Houston was an amazing experience that allowed me to give back to the world the same gestures that were once given to me in a time of crisis. I was able to use my talents and training as a Northwell Health Nurse in a way which was valued and so appreciated by so many. I was so proud to be a part of Northwell’s nursing team during that week in Texas as I relieved the nurses and allowed them to get home to their families and to begin the recovery process. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had as a nurse, and the finest example of how Northwell Nurses and I are Made For This!
Our candidates know best, and they told us we were.
We are honored to receive the Glassdoor Best Place to Interview Award. Ranked 19 out of 100 companies, we are proud to know that our candidates had a positive experience when they began their journey with our organization.
“Our candidate experience is of paramount importance to us. We strive to ensure that all candidates begin to get to know Northwell, well before they set foot inside our doors. So being acknowledged as a great place to interview means that we are giving folks an early positive experience with us, one that sets the stage for them to be highly engaged and successful once they join our amazing team. Our employee promise states that we never settle, and always strive to be our best. Earning this special recognition means that we are continuing to push boundaries, and make people’s lives better.”
-Elaine Page, Chief People Innovations Officer, People Innovation & Solutions Team
Want to know what our recruiters look for in candidates while they are interviewing? Take a look at their responses below!
What is your best advice for acing an interview?
Research. Research. Research. Find out as much as possible about the company, the interviewer, and anyone else that may be involved in the hiring decision. Doing your homework shows that you are prepared and actually care about the opportunity in front of you. And you never know what you may discover. Attending the same college as your potential new boss opens the door to great conversation! Always remember to be enthusiastic, engaged, inquisitive, and goal oriented.
When I am interviewing a candidate, I look for behavioral traits that stand out in a positive way. Candidates who are personable, enthusiastic, and know what they want and why they want it, these are the type of candidates that I am confident sending on hiring manager interviews.
What is your favorite interview question?
It’s very easy to answer this question with, “What are your strengths?”. But my favorite interview question is, “What are your weaknesses?”. Knowing what you need to improve on as an individual or as a professional shows great self-awareness. This also lets your prospective employer know what developmental opportunities may exist for you within the organization.
What do you look for in a candidate?
Someone that is overall passionate about what they do who are ready and eager to start a career with us and not just looking for a paycheck or job. We love candidates who can easily relate to others and who enjoy working with people on all levels. Don’t forget to mention the times you have gone above and beyond within your current and previous roles – we want to see you have heart and that you are willing to go the extra mile.
What do you wish candidates knew about Northwell Health?
Once hired there is so much room for growth and advancement. The managers and leadership are truly invested in your personal and professional growth. This is an employee friendly environment and we are always trying to come up with different ways to enhance the employee experience. There are so many different volunteer opportunities and events to participate in such as wellness programs, make a wish, concerts, etc. When interviewing, the Talent Acquisition Specialist that conducts the interviews are really down to earth and just want to know about your skills, experience and if this right fit for you, the department and the institution as a whole – so don’t be nervous. Think of the interview as a conversation. (Hint: We love to hear about your accomplishments and future goals)
More than coworkers – friends who were made for each other.
You know how sometimes you meet a person for the first time and you just click? That’s how it was for Erin Alesi and Josephine Corcoran. They met through a mutual friend when Erin started as a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). And even though they’ve never worked on the same unit together, they’ve built an amazing friendship over the years.
“One of the unique things about this hospital is that it’s not just a bunch of people working nine to five and going home. We’re family.”
–Erin Alesi, RN
Whether it’s scrubs or sweatpants, double-shift or day off, the best news of your life or the very worst, the people of SIUH are there for each other. They support and love one another through all the ups and downs of life. That’s why, when Josephine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they were devastated. This was their sister who was hurting and in trouble.
Josephine had a long, hard battle ahead of her. Everyone wanted to do something to keep her spirits up as she went through an incredibly challenging time in her life. Her good friend Erin, had an idea for a fun way to encourage Josephine that would simply tell her that she can beat this and that everyone was behind her all the way. No matter what…don’t stop believin’. The video above is the result of this labor of love.
With lots of inflatable guitars and microphones – literally “air guitars” – they all rocked out and acted silly as they tried to encourage, lift up and make Josephine smile. It was a blessing for her friends to be able to do this for her. And it was a joy to watch everyone be truly together to make it all happen.
“Sure, it was a bit corny and silly but we just wanted Josephine to be able to smile again, to laugh at us and know that we were thinking and praying for her.”
–Erin Alesi, RN
Josephine is doing well and continuing to fight. Because we know that every moment matters, we hope that in some small way, we were able to show Josephine the same kind of compassion she shows to all around her. If you’re looking for a place where you can truly be yourself, where your coworkers are your family and where even the smallest gestures can change a life, you were Made for this.
Motivated to stay healthy – how our annual Wellness Challenges have benefited our employees
A healthy employee is a happy employee. Did you know that each year we have Wellness Challenges for our employees to keep track of their personal health? These challenges involve tracking your healthy and unhealthy habits, reducing stress, or simply encouraging you to move around more. Last year at our annual employee barbeque our President and CEO, Michael J. Dowling, awarded prizes to the challenge winners who were all secretly hoping to win the grand prize, a trip to any one of our seven destination options, ranging from Peru to China to Thailand.
Last year alone, Mr. Dowling handed out 14 prizes to employees who completed all 3 challenges. One winner, Imee Sarmiento, recently took her trip to Rome with her husband. Wanting to get in on the fun, Imee’s sister Lulette (who also works for the health system) decided to plan a trip at the same time.
Throughout their trip, they got to visit many famous cities such as Florence and Siena, but one sight they didn’t expect to see under the Tuscan sun was former United States President Barak Obama and the Air Force One Leaving the Rome Airport.
“Winning this trip was an incredible experience! It was an enticing incentive for employees to promote health and wellness as well as encourage camaraderie amongst its employees,” said Imee. These sisters have been a part of our nursing family for 14 and 20 years respectively.
“We don’t really know any company that granted their employees any wellness challenges and incentives such as the experience we just had. It’s amazing and totally reinforced Northwell Health’s dedication to be a forefront in leading and promoting employee satisfaction,” said Lulette.
Here at Northwell Health, we are always looking out for the health of our employees. Our wellness initiatives not only allow our employees to maintain their health outside the workplace, but while working as well. Over the past few years, we have continued to put the health of our employees first by providing healthy food options at the cafeterias throughout our facilities and snack options in our vending machines. So far these challenges have helped hundreds of employees lose weight and change their lifestyle.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.