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
The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Northwell Health
At Northwell Health, our mission is to serve and care for the entire community, which is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) — the idea that a business or organization should contribute to society at large — is very important to us. CSR can broaden our leadership role, activities and investments, and we understand that success and responsibility work in tandem to make the health system a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.
We spoke with Jordana Zangwill, assistant vice president of CSR, to learn more about Northwell’s CSR initiatives.
Why is CSR so important to Northwell?
At Northwell, we are committed to making a difference in the communities we serve – it’s who we are. CSR is about choosing to put people and the planet first – making sure that we operate in a way that is socially, environmentally and economically responsible. As the largest healthcare system in New York, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to make real impact. Providing the highest quality of care and transforming healthcare means broadening our role.
We have 77,000 team members with 77,000 different passions. Our CSR strategy puts us in a position to support these passions while also finding ways to focus, integrate and amplify our efforts.
What are the main pillars or areas of focus that make up Northwell’s CSR program — and why those areas?
At Northwell, our mission and understanding of what transforms health has led us to broaden our role, activities, and investments over the years — including, for example, taking on the challenges of food insecurity and gun violence. While CSR-related work was already happening throughout the health system, we envisioned evolving toward a fully integrated and optimized Northwell CSR strategy.
In an effort to centralize and manage the work being done into one comprehensive strategy and approach, we formed our CSR committee by bringing together a diverse group of individuals from throughout the health system, including representatives from Community and Population Health, Human Resources, Northwell Health Foundation, Finance, Procurement, Communications and more.
Throughout 2020 we worked together to assess our current state, gather input from key diverse internal and external stakeholders and take a systematic and holistic approach to developing our strategy and goals. Many of our leaders and team members played a key role in the development of our CSR strategy through their participation in our stakeholder interviews and survey.
Based on the data gathered, we developed key pillars and focus areas centered around community partnership and well-being, excellence and equity in care, environmental responsibility and team member wellbeing, equity, diversity and inclusion.
What are Northwell’s CSR plans and initiatives?
Examples of some current and past key CSR initiatives at Northwell Health include:
Our commitment to veterans — We’re working to improve mental and physical health and economic and social well-being through high-quality coordinated care, hiring veterans into the health system and pay differential programs for employees currently serving in the reserves and called to active duty.
Center for Gun Violence Prevention — Led by Dr. Chethan Sathya, this is an initiative calling for the critical need to implement evidence-based firearm injury and mortality prevention strategies in health care, especially within at-risk communities.
Tackling COVID-19 in the community — Led by Dr. Deb Salas-Lopez and the Community and Population Health team, Northwell began partnering with trusted community- and faith-based leaders to mobilize a massive campaign focused on delivering diagnostic and serology testing and vaccinations within devastatingly impacted communities, such as vulnerable, low-income communities largely comprising African-American and Latinx people.
Food insecurity — We continue to focus on food insecurity as a major issue impacting our community and team members. We donated more than 20,000 food items to Island Harvest, City Harvest and Eastchester Community Action Partnership food banks through our virtual food drive in 2020 and early 2021.
Green initiatives — We have many green initiatives in place centered on reducing energy and emissions, climate change and waste. We’re actively evaluating potential energy-efficiency projects for electric, gas, steam and oil reductions with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.
Discover why our OR nurses love working at Peconic Bay Medical Center
At Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) in Riverhead, NY, registered nurses won’t just find a rewarding career in the OR, they will find the opportunity to help serve their communities.
There has never been a better time to join the PBMC team. We are proud to be certified by the Joint Commission in Total Hip Replacement and Total Knee Replacement Surgery and are always seeking advancements that improve patient experience. As our health services grow, our nurses are able to work in a community setting within a department that is continually being updated and expanded to enhance the hospital stays.
Discover five reasons why our OR nurses love working at PBMC.
1. Career growth opportunities and resources are offered to all team members
PBMC registered nurses and team members benefit from receiving career resources provided by the largest private employer in New York State within a community setting. Some of these resources include our tuition reimbursement program, nurse certification program, and skills-based workshops at the Center for Learning and Innovation. These extensive resources have been put in place at Northwell so our team members can grow their careers while delivering compassionate and innovate care for our patients.
Salone Ayala, BSN, RN, is the perfect example of a career well cared for at PBMC. “I enjoy working at PBMC because there is room for professional growth, and it is encouraged. I started my career as an LPN and I have gone on to complete my RN, an OR fellowship, and this past year my BSN.”
2. Delivering care in new and renovated units
As PBMC grows, so does the ability to expand care to the community. In an effort to provide the best care for our patients and their families, we are building a seventh OR and purchasing a second Da Vinci Robot that will expand services in Advanced Thoracic, GYN and Colorectal procedures. Our remodeling efforts have also recently focused on our patient areas and waiting rooms, which is expected to be completed shortly.
3. The local community offers a unique setting for self-care
PBMC is located on the east end of Long Island and is neighbored by miles and miles of sandy ocean beaches, world-renowned campsites, and unique specialty shops. As part of a self-care regimen, you may find some staff taking in the views and exploring the local cuisine during their breaks and time off. Nestled near downtown Riverhead – a town known for ease of access to several cultural and recreational hot spots – Peconic Bay Medical Center offers plenty of options to relax before or after the work day.
4. Interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork
Our OR nurses work closely with the surgeons, anesthesiologists, and perioperative staff who provide care on a wide range of surgical procedures. Largely in part of the incredible synergy within our OR team, PBMC has received a Level III Trauma Center verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma.
5. The opportunity to support patients beyond the bedside
At PBMC, we know how important it is to educate our patients as they prepare to rejoin their communities and readjust to their lives post-surgery. That’s why we provide resources for our patients prior to the hospital experience to help ease their concerns and ensure smooth recoveries after they leave to minimize postoperative discomfort.
Health and Wellness Isn’t Just about Our Patients: It’s about Our Team Members, Too
We spoke with Michael H. Goldberg, executive director at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), about his dedication to making wellness a top priority for employees at LIJMC and all of Northwell Health. Michael’s healthy initiatives have had a real impact throughout the health system — and with tens of thousands of followers on social media, Michael has inspired people far beyond the walls of LIJMC with his passion for healthy living at home and at work.
Michael has been with Northwell for more than two decades, beginning as an intern in 2000. “I was inspired by the executive leadership’s commitment to improving the lives of the people in the communities we serve,” he says. “I knew Northwell had values that aligned with my own — and was a place where I could help make a difference.” Throughout his tenure, Michael has committed to living Northwell’s core values, whether it’s helping other Northwell team members achieve their health goals or driving clinical and operational initiatives at LIJMC that ensure safe, efficient and innovative care to all patients.
Northwell expects collaboration and contribution from all employees, regardless of role, considering its CEO is known for saying things like “Ability is in everyone” and for noting that innovation is stifled when employees are expected to just do their jobs and aren’t encouraged to share new ideas. So it’s no surprise that Michael continually goes above and beyond his operational responsibilities to champion initiatives promoting employee self-care.
These initiatives include the new LIJMC fitness center available to hospital employees 24/7, healthier meal options at campus cafés thanks to menu changes made by Northwell’s very own Michelin-star chef Bruno Tison, and health challenges like the Northwell Heroes Challenge. The annual Heroes Challenge, a testament to Northwell’s “team of one” culture with hundreds of employee participants, is a fitness event to raise money for the Caregiver Support Fund, which provides resources to team members in need, such as programs and services related to emotional and psychological well-being, as well as financial support for essential and crisis services.
Michael still marvels at how far Northwell leaders go to improve patient and employee well-being. “Wellness goes beyond physical and nutritional health at Northwell,” Michael says. “There are many offerings for mental wellness, too. From transcendental meditation to acupuncture to our employee assistance program, the support available to all our team members is unparalleled.”
That level of support inspired Michael to run in the 2019 New York City Marathon and upon announcing his commitment to running as part of the Northwell Health team, the accolades, tips, support and donations to the caregiver support cause on his behalf started pouring in.
That’s what you can expect from colleagues at Northwell. What you’d soon learn, as Michael knows so well, is that your coworkers aren’t just colleagues — they’re family.
If you’re looking for a workplace that does things differently — through a mission to create an environment where you can build relationships, thrive in positivity and make a difference in the community — then we invite you to discover a career well cared for at NorthwellCareers.com.
Kimouy Williams on Delivering Passionate Care as a PCA
As a patient care associate (PCA) at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Kimouy Williams spends each day with our patients putting all she has into helping make their time at Northwell Health a little more comfortable.
Even when her day consists of wearing multiple hats, Kimouy is eager to greet and attend to each patient, assisting them in getting up, bathed, dressed, and ensuring that they have all they need to be comfortable throughout the day. “I always make sure my clients have snacks and a clean bedside table. I know the effects that hunger can have on a patient’s mood and being attentive with cleanliness is an important part of being a successful PCA.”
A patient care associate is a fulfilling career that Kimouy truly cherishes. “My career at Northwell is something that I’m very proud of. I’m excited to continue my journey here and being given the opportunity to advance my education in nursing while working with incredibly dedicated healthcare professionals who are committed to providing the best care to every person who walks through our doors”, shared Kimouy when asked why she loves working at Northwell.
When Kimouy left Jamaica and came to the US almost five years ago, she knew she wanted to pursue her passion in caring for others like she did for her late grandmother, who taught her so much about hard work and perseverance. “These traits are very much a requirement for me to succeed in my role. Choosing a career at Northwell was an easy decision because they not only offer amazing benefits, they also support my dreams of furthering my career in healthcare.”
Join Kimouy and the incredible nursing support team in a career well cared for at Northwell. Apply today!
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Raise your career expectations on Staten Island – with more growth opportunities even closer to home
Did you know: the average person who commutes one hour to work (each way) spends approximately two years of their life sitting in traffic by the time they reach retirement? A shorter commute means greater work-life balance. At Northwell Health, we have numerous Staten Island ambulatory care locations, which means it’s even easier to choose a closer commute matched with a valuable and rewarding career—one with growth and opportunity.
To give you more insight, read below to hear from Northwell medical assistants and administrative support associates who shared their experience of what it is like to work at some of these Staten Island locations.
“Prior to working at Northwell, I had a very long commute which made my workdays feel longer,” says Caty Takemoto, lead patient account representative with Northwell Health Physician Partners — Cardiology in Dyker Heights. Caty is responsible for billing, collections, third-party reimbursements, computer data entry, and retrieval. “Coming from New Jersey, the commute to Staten Island is relatively easy for me now and I love listening to my favorite songs in my car as I make my way to work.”
Katie Burns, senior medical assistant for Cohen Children’s Northwell Health Physician Partners Pediatric Surgical Specialists in Staten Island, also appreciates working closer to home and describes her professional growth and development with Northwell as fulfilling and life changing. “I have grown professionally throughout my time here at Northwell by taking on new challenges whenever they arise. As a medical assistant, many of my scoliosis surgical and bracing patients are young adolescents. It’s here that I can reinforce positive body image and provide emotional support to help them feel more confident as they heal.”
Helen Ruiz is a practice lead administrative support coordinator at Staten Island University Hospital South, Cardiology Department. Her role encompasses making sure that the physician at her practice has everything he needs to provide the best experience and care for our patients. “Working at Northwell Health in Staten Island has been extremely rewarding for me. My day begins with an easy commute and continues at a job where I am constantly learning new things and meeting great people who are very dedicated to their work. There is an opportunity to grow here, and I am grateful to be a part of the Northwell Health family.”Helen not only coordinates clerical duties, but she also greets and directs visitors, answers phones, takes messages, schedules appointments, collects payments, and maintains inventory of all office supplies.
Learn more about Staten Island opportunities at our ambulatory care centers here.
Northwell Celebrates: A series of events and experiences celebrating and thanking our healthcare heroes and their families
It’s not often that we’re faced with taking on challenges on a global scale such as was the case with the pandemic. In moments such as those, it’s important to pull together to raise each other. That is exactly what employees at Northwell Health did. They raised health, raised communities, and through it all they raised each other.
A simple thank you wasn’t enough. Northwell wanted to celebrate and thank all employees for their courage, determination and dedication throughout the pandemic and every day. Northwell Celebrates was launched as a multi-faceted token of appreciation. It is a series of events, activities and experiences curated for the enjoyment of employees and their families throughout the year.
Included in these activities are pop-up gratitude stations at various Northwell facilities where executive leaders from across the health system participate to give their personal thanks and offer a well-being gift box to employees. David Gill, assistant vice president of Employee Experience, was among the leadership present at the Syosset Hospital gratitude pop-up. David says, “It’s a way for us to provide in-person recognition and appreciation for the work our team members continue to do every day to make Northwell a great place to work and receive care.”
Inside each gift box are essentials to self-care such as a candle, a weekly reflection journal, a mindfulness coloring book with colored pencils, among other items. Such a gift was not taken lightly by employees like Elise Yan, lead lab technologist at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, who took to Facebook: “Thank you Northwell LIJ Forest Hills! Love it, can’t wait to start using them!”
Other events are planned throughout the summer, like drive-in family movie nights, a family fun book, concerts and an invitation to have six free chef-prepared meals from Freshly delivered directly to employees’ homes. The Freshly deliveries were a huge hit, with employees like Audrey McCullough, assistant director of patient care services for the Division of Nursing, who hopped on social media to say, “Thanks, Northwell, you really have my heart. Just received my 6 free and healthy, chef-cooked meals delivered right to my doorstep by Freshly!!”
At Northwell, all employees are valued and their hard work never goes unnoticed.
Working as a Home Health Aide at Northwell Health, Where Compassion Meets a Rewarding Career
There is a trademark characteristic that ties our Northwell home health aides (HHA) together: a deeply ingrained passion in caring for others. Often inspired by personal experiences, home health aides step up to provide at-home care for patients who cannot care for themselves. In such an intimate setting, relationships are built with the patients and their families who rely on the compassion our HHAs always bring.
Jeanette Mazzilli, home health aide with Northwell Health, says that one of the factors behind her decision to become an HHA was her own desire for a compassionate aide to help out at home with her father a few years ago. “While caring for my dad when he was ill, I realized that being a home health aide was a great career path for me. I took the free training course with Northwell Health and now enjoy helping my patients get better.”
Fellow home health aide of 13 years Sandra Chin also touts her own family as her source for inspiration: “My aunt Daisy was an HHA and I watched her care for her patients like they were her own family. When she became ill herself, I stepped up to care for her and loved doing it so much that I turned it into a career.” Sandra joined Northwell in 2019 and has found it to be a company like no other, providing support and training every step of the way.
A career as a home health aide is multi-faceted. Never a dull moment as you coordinate patient care with a team of nurses. Each unique patient comes with their own care plan and needs, and Northwell provides the training to meet those needs and assist the patient on a path to better health. “The RN who taught the course was a great instructor who answered all of our questions. I learned about patient care, safety, HIPPA compliance, and received many other home care instructions that prepared me for my role,” Jeanette says. When asked about the training course, Sandra Chin added, “The course is three weeks long, but very informative, and one of the best things is that I met some wonderful people.”
A day in the life of a home health aide can involve going over the patient’s care plan with the patient and their family, taking note of the patient’s progress. Sometimes the patient’s care plan requires monitoring their intake of medication, preparing meals, taking patients for walks, and assisting them with daily tasks. It’s a gratifying career according to Sandra: “The fulfillment I feel at the end of every shift when someone says, ‘thank you for being here’, makes it all worthwhile.”
That rewarding feeling continues outside of the patients’ homes because our home health aides know that Northwell Health is full of opportunities to raise their career expectations. Jeanette views her HHA position as the start to a long-term career in healthcare. “I have plans to expand my career at Northwell Health. This position has enabled me to use my natural compassion and incorporate new skills learned on the job so that I can grow.” Sandra agrees, saying that benefits at Northwell Health like tuition reimbursement, free training, and leaders who mentor you along the way create, “an environment and atmosphere that fosters the growth and development of its employees’ both career-wise and personally.”
HHAs are hands on as they play point person between patients and nurses which makes this role one of the best in healthcare to have a direct impact in the community. Jeanette recalls one particular instant early on in her career that stays with her to this day: “My most memorable moment was when a family member told the nurse assigned to my patient that they were relieved to have me in their lives. One day, I had noticed that the patient’s blood pressure was low and he seemed disoriented so I contacted the RN for immediate medical assistance. The family was grateful for my ability to keep calm and keep the patient stable while medical services arrived.” Sandra likens the role to being “an anchor” for patients and families going through a challenging time. Whether she’s serving breakfast, arranging transportation, or joining her patient on medical appointments Sandra says, “It gives me a sense of satisfaction I wouldn’t give up for any other job.”
If you’re ready to raise your career expectations as a home health aide with Northwell Health, apply now. A career well cared for is waiting for you.
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.”
Why Northwell Health is once again a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®!
Northwell Health has been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the second year in a row, ranking 19 on the prestigious annual list. We are also the only New York health system ranked, recognized for our commitment to employee health amid COVID-19 crisis.
With a workforce of more than 76,000 based at 23 hospitals and 830 outpatient facilities throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, Northwell was selected from among thousands of companies nationwide.
Ninety percent of Northwell’s respondents reported being “proud to tell others” where they work and 84 percent said that “taking everything into account, they would say it is a great place to work.” The responses given during the ongoing pandemic reflect that Northwell team members feel more supported psychologically and emotionally, believe that Northwell cares about creating a good working environment, and that executive leadership embodies the best of Northwell.
A commitment to employee health and safety!
Another major factor contributing to the ranking included our commitment to employee health, both emotional and financial. For example, recognizing that frontline employees were under immense pressure, the health system created tranquility spaces using tents outside hospitals during the surge. Behavioral health professionals were available free of charge, as well as chaplaincy services, well-being resources and more. This provided safe and calming environments for employees to reflect, meditate, or pray before or after a shift.
The tents have now been replaced with indoor spaces as a permanent feature at Northwell hospitals.
To mitigate the worry many employees had of bringing the coronavirus home to their families, Northwell established partnerships with IHG Hotels, Ronald McDonald House, and various universities to provide housing so employees could physically distance from loved ones. Those who found alternative accommodations outside of this program were reimbursed for their expenses. Northwell also partnered with a transportation company to provide dedicated shuttles, so no one had to worry about potentially infecting other public transit passengers or being infected themselves.
Supporting families through a crisis
To aid employees with young children the health system offered crisis care reimbursement and a subsidized in-person childcare program for the 2020-2021 school year to help offset financial strain on families.
Recognizing the need for additional help, the Northwell Heroes Caregiver Support Fund was created to provide resources to employees who were financially impacted by the pandemic, such as a spouse’s job loss or a family member’s death. To date, the fund has disbursed $1,056,208.
In addition, the health system set up the Northwell Heroes Memorial Fund to support the families of employees who died from COVID-19, including help with funeral expenses, memorials, and other related expenses. The fund has raised more than $323,000 to cover salary and benefits that affected families continue to receive.
Delivering the COVID vaccine
On December 14, 2020, Northwell was the first health system in the United States to immunize its frontline workers against COVID-19, and has continued to roll out its vaccination efforts to team members.
While Northwell is focused on protecting team members, it is also at the forefront of the vaccination effort throughout the communities it serves with partnerships with county agencies, other health care providers, and community and faith-based organizations the vaccine is reaching as many as possible.
Northwell’s Best Companies to Work For recognition comes on the heels of the health system being named to Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma list, earning the No. 2 spot for the category of large health care organization.
Raise yourself and expect a career well cared for.
Become a Health Raiser at Northwell Health.
Helping our new hires get ready for their Northwell career journey
At Northwell Health, we strive to provide the best experience for our incoming team members to ensure they are fully prepared to start and experience a career well cared for.
Our pre-boarding and onboarding teams in the Talent Acquisition Department support our new hires from the moment they accept a job offer through their first day. They aim to provide a smooth transition from candidate to team member with guidance along the way.
Steps these teams help our future team members complete include:
Health and pre-hire appointments for medical clearance and required onboarding paperwork
A visit to security and human resources for certain requirements and an ID badge, as well as other verification processes
Preparing for our Beginnings orientation to help our newest team members be set up for success in their new career with us.
There is a great deal of coordination to ensure everyone is ready to begin in their new role at the right time.
Meet some of our amazing team members from our pre-boarding and onboarding teams :
Deziree Brandi, Supervisor, Talent Acquisition
Deziree has grown into her career at Northwell since starting as an admin support associate with FlexStaff in 2018. As a supervisor for talent acquisition in Human Resources, she supports the talent acquisition onboarding team by providing guidance for various projects and processes, ensuring that start dates are met, and helping to integrate new technology. “I always love working hand-in-hand with the candidates to provide them with the support and understanding of what is needed to start their new positions and future with Northwell,” says Deziree.
Deziree has also been able to grow her career at Northwell. “My previous and current managers have supported my growth by providing me with the tools and guidance to take on stretch assignments, develop professionally, and to build my confidence so I was ready to move into the next stage of my career,” says Deziree.
Aaron Weeks, Associate Talent Acquisition Program Manager
As a talent acquisition associate program manager for the Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) team, Aaron helps facilitate a smooth and efficient onboarding experience for new ACP hires by partnering with medical staff services, hiring managers, and organizational leadership. “Interacting with the new hires is my favorite part,” says Aaron “I’m passionate about the customer service I provide, and I love making a difference in someone’s life no matter how big or small.”
Aaron has also grown his career here at Northwell. “Northwell has been impactful to my growth and development in many ways,” says Aaron. “My colleagues and leaders played the biggest role in my growth and development because they challenge me to be my best daily.”
Jeniece Devita, Talent Acquisition Representative
As a talent acquisition representative, Jeniece’s role is ensuring new hires are prepared for their appointments and verifying work experience, education, and credentials. Once the new hires have completed all of their requirements, she ensures they are set up for Beginnings, which is our new hire orientation, site orientation and any additional trainings required for her new team member journey. “There are many things I enjoy about working in onboarding,” says Jeniece. “I’m someone who likes to understand how what I’m doing fits into the bigger picture. It’s one of the things I find rewarding in my role. I can see how the work we do as HR professionals enables employees and the overall organization to reach their objectives.”
How Northwell is caring for our environment with the GreenBERG
April is Earth Month and we’d like to share how our team members are making a difference in our environment by being part of our Green Business Employee Resource group (BERG).
Each year we celebrate Earth Day we reaffirm our commitment to help protect our planet and work to address climate change. Many of our team members strive throughout the year to be environmentally conscious and make positive changes through our own actions of conservation, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint.
With the impacts of climate change becoming more and more urgent, there’s never been a better time to learn about Northwell’s GreenBERG, a group of Northwell team members who are motivated to improve the environmental impact of Northwell’s operations by advancing sustainable and socially responsible efforts across the organization. Our GreenBERG members are working together to advance positive environmental actions in our communities. Being part of our GreenBERG also keeps you connected with colleagues, helps you build your professional network and be part of meaningful changes made by our organization. Here are some of the top ways they are making an impact.
They take an active role in managing Northwell’s environmental impact in the workplace and in our communities.
Northwell’s GreenBERG is a group that focuses on the environmental impact of our operations and has a real voice in making decisions on how our organization prioritizes sustainable and socially responsive initiatives in the workplace and in our communities. The GreenBERG focuses on energy and emissions; waste; climate change impacts; recycling and a sustainable supply chain.
The GreenBERG helps us achieve important environmental goals that will help ensure our future.
Among the overall goals of Northwell’s GreenBERG, they aim to enhance recycling and waste optimization, improve transportation in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint—including establishing a fleet of “green” ambulances and charging stations—and improve energy efficiency within our workplace, marketplace and the communities we serve.
A priority for 2021 is to expand GreenBERG membership and awareness of the initiatives underway. The group is incredibly proud to be partnering with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group and committing to important goals including reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and our electricity usage by 10% by 2027; obtaining 15% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and increasing Northwell’s recycling volume to 25% of total waste volume by 2027. Other priorities include reducing regulated medical waste and incorporating sustainable and socially responsible products into our dietary menus.
One of the group’s most exciting plans for this year is a partnership with our Veterans and Allies: Liaisons of Reintegration (VALOR) BERG to clean and restore locations where military monuments are displayed. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative where two BERGs join together honoring our veterans with a clean environment.
Our members are proud to be part of a group that has a history of getting important work done.
Northwell has placed first in the annual Car Free Day Long Island event for the past eight years – including last year during the pandemic. And members were able to continue to honor Earth Day during the pandemic by providing team members with tips on how to reset their daily habits to be more environmentally conscious.
Northwell removes and recycles 200 tons of cardboard from our supply chain annually and has converted to using biodegradable K-Cups—we use 2.5 million a year!—across our footprint. We also have installed 44 electric vehicle charging stations across our sites and effectively preserved nearly 19,725 acres of forest land by installing high-efficiency equipment throughout our facilities.
Network with team members across Northwell.
Northwell’s GreenBERG has nearly 600 members. That means our members have the opportunity to work with hundreds of team members across the organization, develop new relationships and share the pride that comes with advancing our environmental goals.
Broaden your horizons by working toward a common goal.
Being part of the GreenBERG makes you part of a group of like-minded colleagues. You may all have different professional skill sets and responsibilities, but you are joined together to realize a common goal. The connections you make by being part of this group could lead to opportunities you may not have thought of before and help you make connections that will have benefits both personally and professionally. And it will definitely result in your own satisfaction in contributing to your organization and your community in a very positive way.
Connecting COVID patients to their families with the support of the community
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maureen Hayes, an ICU registered nurse at South Shore University Hospital (SSUH), proposed a brilliant idea of knitting pairs of hearts for COVID patients and their families. One of the hearts would be given to a patient and the other to a family member, allowing them to feel connected although they are apart. She brought the idea to nursing leadership who thought her idea embodied Northwell’s value of being Truly Compassionate and was excited to see it come to life. This was the beginning of the Connected Hearts Project.
The support of our community and teamwork
Both Maureen and her assistant manager, Andrea Freudenberg, were excited about the Connected Hearts Project but needed help getting started. That’s when Andrea reached out to the community for help in creating as many “connected hearts” as possible. Andrea was already a member of the Facebook group ‘The Islip’s Feed Southside Hospital Employees’ and during the height of COVID, their members donated money and ordered from local restaurants to help feed the staff at South Shore University Hospital, formally known as Southside Hospital. She knew this group would be more than willing to lend a hand with this effort.
The response was overwhelming. The outpouring of love and a united community was incredible. Once the hearts began to pour in, the team members in the ICU were able to distribute them.
“Since its launch in April 2020, our Connected Hearts Project has taken on a life of its own,” says Andrea. The Connected Hearts Group at SSUH has monthly meetings with ICU nurses who continue to come up with ideas to support and comfort their patients. This group not only distributes hearts to COVID patients and families but also to other families who are unable to see their loved ones.
The Connected Hearts Project is still new, but it has created a positive impact on our community, patients, families, and our team members. Members of the Facebook group have commented: “It helped me to feel useful during tough times” and “I was happy to be a part of this project.” SSUH team members have also commented that they love having the ability to provide family with a connection to their loved ones.
At Northwell Health, we’re dedicated to supporting team members’ interests above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. It allows team members to be creative while delivering compassionate care to their patients and partnering with the community.
Raise Health in our communities where we live, love and work. Apply today!
Northwell Health remembers and spreads the light of our fallen heroes due to the COVID-19 pandemic
This March marked one year since Northwell treated the first case of COVID-19. While it has been a challenging year for all of us, the perseverance of our frontline heroes, the power of science, and the hope of ongoing vaccinations and innovative treatment plans brings us comfort for the path ahead.
The most difficult challenge has been coping with the grief associated with the loss of our colleagues, friends, family members and those in our communities. From March 9 to March 14, Northwell held remembrance activities to “spread the light” for our fallen team members and those who we have lost due to COVID-19. New York City – the epicenter of this pandemic – has also declared Sunday, March 14, as a Day of Remembrance to honor everyone we’ve lost.
To spread the light throughout our remembrance week, team members were encouraged to wear blue in memory of those who worked at Northwell and as a show of solidarity for our Northwell community. On site, our chaplains hosted moments of silence and remembrance circles to help our team members find meaning, hope, connection and comfort through togetherness regardless of religious affiliation. Spread the light activities were also available at our facilities, allowing team members to reflect by writing messages on remembrance boards, prayer cards, and lighting luminary bags to symbolize fallen team members.
Team members and their families also continued to spread the light in our communities over the past week as they organized light parades in their neighborhoods, created luminary bags and took a moment to pause to reflect with their loved ones.
During our remembrance week, Northwell also held an organization-wide Town Hall featuring our President and CEO, Michael Dowling, and other senior leaders, to connect our 75,000 team members and speak about the strength and sacrifice of our healthcare heroes. In addition to honoring those we have lost, it also recognized the efforts and unwavering dedication of our team members throughout the pandemic. From March 12 to March 14, our corporate headquarters in New Hyde Park, New York was illuminated in blue to honor our fallen team members and recognize the enduring courage and spirit of our Northwell community.
Throughout these challenging times, Northwell has also supported our team members by expanding benefits, offering prayer groups and providing well-being resources from our Team Lavender, a program at Northwell that provides staff with an opportunity for timely emotional, spiritual and physical support. These resources, such as Tranquility Tents, which offered areas of respite for our hospital workers during their shifts, and opportunities for 1:1 counseling through our Employee Assistance Program, have allowed for us to care for our team members as they delivered care to our communities. A 24/7, free and confidential, emotional support call center for all team members and their families also provided emotional well-being experts to answer their questions, provide additional resources, or just listen.
At Northwell Health, we will continue to battle this pandemic, look forward to brighter days, and support our team members.
We will always remember our brave fallen team members and their families. Join us as we spread the light.
Northwell Health named one of Glassdoor’s best 100 places to work
At Northwell Health, we’re committed to creating careers well cared for and fostering a culture that makes our 75,000+ team members love coming to work. That’s why we’re proud to announce we’ve been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, ranking among the 100 best companies in the nation to work for in 2021.
To determine winners of this award, Glassdoor looks not to nominations but instead directly to the people who work there. Winners are chosen based on the feedback offered voluntary and anonymously on their site, one of the largest job and recruiting sites in the world. Reviews range from topics such as leadership, the job itself, benefits, work environments and more.
We’re so grateful to our team members for sharing their valuable feedback that helped us receive this award. It is their commitment to the communities we serve that makes us a best place to work.
“This award is truly a significant achievement for Northwell Health and is a testament to our dedicated 75,000 employees,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “For nearly a year our entire workforce has banded together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, with our team making significant sacrifices of themselves and their families to treat the 128,000 coronavirus patients to date at our facilities throughout the region. It is remarkable that the health system and its employees would be recognized with a Best Place to Work award during these unprecedented times.”
In addition to the positive feedback that has led to our company rating of 4.3 out of 5, with 5 being the highest score, constructive comments help us to further grow and develop programs that our team members need. Northwell is committed to ensuring our benefits and culture grow alongside our organization. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve provided a special bank of time off to frontline workers and other staff members to use as needed.
Additionally, in support of their well-being, we created tranquil spaces at hospitals for team members to take a moment to rest and recharge outside of the clinical setting. Recognition of their tireless work was never more important and team members, first responders and community members alike organized grand clap outs to thank our team members and keep morale up.
Along with well-being support, development support was just as essential. In 2020, we launched a new human resources platform that created processes that will help team members to continue to grow and develop professionally through conversations with their management and increased internal mobility.
The Glassdoor recognition follows a series of accolades Northwell has received, each aimed at employee recognition, workplace safety and trust and leadership. Recently, Northwell was:
But don’t take our word for it! Read through some of the reviews left on our Glassdoor page:
“I’ve never worked for a company that cares so much about their employees. Management is always pushing you to do your best and never holds you back from growth opportunities like I’ve seen in other companies. They will always advocate for you if they feel it’s in YOUR best interest.”
“Strongly Recommend! Amazing place to work! Many Events and job opportunities, So many opportunities for growth and education. I am beyond proud and love to work for this company. I started as a staff nurse and have grown to this position. Through tuition reimbursement I have earned my bachelors and masters degrees! It’s an honor to work for this organization. Keep encouraging and pushing for internal growth for employees”
“Best place I’ve ever worked. Northwell Health has been a great place to work considering the work-life balance is perfect for my busy lifestyle. Driven by CEO Michael Dowling, the health system’s leadership has a proven direction the organization is heading in. Ongoing support and career advancement also make it a very attractive place to grow.”
“With 23 hospitals, 800 outpatient facilities and multiple corporate offices, Northwell Health has jobs and careers in nearly every profession it takes to run a modern, large and complex health system. Combined with a good benefits package and competitive salaries, opportunities for career growth and a corporate emphasis of excelling in whatever you do, it is a good choice for long term employment.”
“They really take time out to ensure patients and employees have a positive experience through Northwell. You can see changes from upper management with regards to concerns you may have and they are actively working on bettering the company and working experience. They are big on giving employees the opportunity to move up. Work life balance is great.”
“Northwell as a whole truly cares about their employees and makes this very clear. I enjoyed coming into work everyday. Always surrounded by brilliant minds that encouraged me to work harder.”
“So many opportunities at Northwell Heath. Leadership development programs and opportunities that enable you to reach for your greatest potential and goals, either as a clinical or non-clinical person.”
“Well structured organization. Looks out for the best interest of patients and therapists. Ability to grow within organization. Directors and supervisors are continually supportive of helping you grow in your career.”
“Northwell is a wonderful company and they really understand the way patient care is supposed to be delivered. Being able to be part of that experience is one of the best feelings.”
An Appointment With: David Gill, AVP, Experience Strategy
Since David Gill, PHD joined Northwell Health in 2012, he’s been committed to making Northwell a great place to work by listening to our team members and ensuring they feel supported both professionally and personally.
Roles he has held during his tenure at Northwell include manager of Workforce and Patient Engagement, director of Talent Management and Engagement, and most recently, AVP of Experience Strategy, which he became in 2017. In this role, he is responsible for informing, designing and shaping a holistic experience for everyone in our organization.
David and his team’s efforts have helped elevate Northwell’s employee engagement, and today the organization is a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.
We sat down with David to discuss the vital work of our Experience Strategy team.
What is the Experience Strategy team?
The Experience Strategy team is focused on creating the best team member experience from hire to retire. Our team’s goal is to deliver a world-renowned team member experience by driving a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and well-being to empower our team members to redefine the future of healthcare.
There are three interconnected groups within the Experience Strategy team that bring the vision to life.
Listening and Insights is the team solely focused on always listening to team members by obtaining their feedback whether it is through an annual workforce and physician engagement survey, targeted listening sessions or even social media.
Strategic design is the team that leverages the results from our listening methods to build tools and resources for our leaders and team members to help create an environment that fosters engagement. An example of their work is the development and implementation of our Employee Promise, Made for this™. This group had responsibility for rolling out the activities that exemplified what it is like to work at Northwell.
Awards and Recognition is the team that builds monumental experiences that reconnects team members to purpose while recognizing, and celebrating team members by telling their story. This group oversees our recognition programs like the President’s Award, the Innovation Challenge, the Truly awards, as well as Northwell’s myRecognition platform. They have the responsibility of infusing recognition within every stage of the team member’s career journey. Additionally this team manages our application process for Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for.
Why is employee experience vital to Northwell as an organization?
In 2013 Northwell established a goal of becoming a best place to work on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list as well as being at the 90th percentile for team member and physician engagement and patient experience based on third party measurement from Press Ganey. For us to achieve those goals, employee experience had to become a strategic imperative. We had to look at how we were understanding our team members’ needs and how we were providing them with the resources for them to be most successful in their career and then importantly, how we were recognizing them for all of the great work that they did on a day-to-day basis. It is essential to create an environment for employees/team members to feel that they contribute to something greater than themselves, have an opportunity to grow within their career, and feel like a valued member of the organization.
For Northwell, it is critically important to create an exceptional experience for our team members, because we want them to create exceptional experiences for our patients and customers.
In this critical time, what extra steps are your team and Northwell taking to make sure that our healthcare heroes on the front lines are feeling appreciated and recognized?
Amid COVID-19 at Northwell, we were hyper-focused on ensuring that our team members had what they needed. Specifically, we were focused on ensuring that our team members were aware of the bountiful resources available to them to support their holistic well-being. For example, the Emotional Resource Call Center, which was recently implemented by Total Rewards, provides one telephone number for team members to call to meet their well-being needs. If a team member would like to speak with a chaplain, a member of the wellness team, an employee and family assistance program counselor, or other behavioral health practitioners from the Stress Trauma centers, they can reach them through that call center. In partnership with many groups across the organization such as the Office for Patient and Customer Experience, Total Rewards, and Behavioral Health, we stood up Tranquility spaces at many of our facilities. These spaces were designed to build awareness, provide team members with an opportunity to receive a light refreshment, as well as a place of respite activities which are critical during this period.
Lastly, we cannot forget recognizing our team members for their bravery, for their compassion, and for the focus on making our communities well. The recognition efforts were done in strong partnership with the marketing and communications team, the Office and Patient and Customer Experience, the Employee Experience team and HR to provide collateral and support in the form of what we call clap in and clap outs—which are a show of appreciation for team members during shift changes.
What is on the horizon for employee experience at Northwell?
When I look to the future of employee experience and even specifically the work our team is doing, I look toward four focus areas, listening, growth and empowerment, well-being, and life-long affinity. By focusing on always listening to our team members and partnering to build a simple, transparent work environment, this creates trust in leaders and the organization. The employee experience team will capture feedback more frequently from team members, through other methods of listening, not just an annual survey. Genuine engagement can not occur without a focus on growth and empowering team members to be their best selves. The employee experience team will focus on education and hands-on experiences that provide leaders with the necessary skills to foster an environment where team members feel empowered to own their careers and feel psychologically safe to share their innovative ideas. Team members should feel that working at Northwell Health helps them be well. Well-being is the responsibility of all teams. The employee experience team will work on training leaders on how to engage their teams through recognition and appreciation. Lastly, the focus on lifelong affinity is building pride for Northwell, and the work that we do even after a team member’s career journey has ended. Specifically, the employee experience team will develop an alumni program that will keep former team members engaged and lifelong promoters of Northwell’s team member experience.
Beyond the PPE: Two nurses help patients and staff connect during COVID
Lulette Infante and Antonella Farrell, registered nurses at Northwell Health and lifelong friends, came together during the COVID pandemic to identify a solution for our clinical team members so they could maintain that personal connection during patient care. These two incredible nurses wanted to ensure that our patients would still be able to see the identities of our healthcare heroes, whose faces were covered by their personal protection equipment (PPE), so they created photo badges for our clinical staff to wear over their PPE.
The idea was prompted after reading a New York Times article featuring Cohen Children’s Medical Center’s Senior Vice President Dr. Schlein who acknowledged his gratitude to the frontline workers who saved his life from COVID, but he had no idea who they were because of their PPE. Thus, Project Unseen Heroes was formed so patients would be able to see the smiling, caring faces of our frontline workers.
A career journey that surpasses two decades
Both Lulette Infante, MSN, RN, CPON, and Antonella Farrell, BSN, RN, began their careers more than two decades ago as a student nurse intern from Adelphi University at CCMC in 1996. They advanced their careers at Northwell throughout their journey, holding a variety of roles and responsibilities along the way. Today, Lulette is an ambulatory nurse specialist and ambulatory administrator at Northwell where she focuses on quality and optimization for pediatric practices, and Antonella Farrellis is a pediatric Hematology/Oncology, pediatric sickle cell nurse coordinator at CCMC.
One small idea leads to big results
Lulette and Antonella first introduced the large photo badges at CCMC and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, receiving numerous positive responses from leadership, staff and patients. Lulette notes patients even commented, “so that’s what you look like!” Eventually they were able to guide other hospitals, including Northern Westchester, Lenox Hill, Huntington Hospital and even external hospitals such as Elmhurst Hospital, to develop photo badges for their team members.
“The staff is reporting back that they felt it is truly helping their patients now that they can see the smile behind the mask,” Antonella says. The staff has been sending Lulette and Antonella pictures of themselves in the PPE with their badges. Having the large picture badges enabled our frontline workers to maintain that personal connection while caring for their patients while being fully secured under their PPE at the same time.
“We could not even start without the incredible support we have received from our leadership and their commitment to continually enhance patient experience and promote compassionate care,” Lulette says.
Project Unseen Heroes was a success due to Lulette and Antonella’s teamwork. Patients feel more comfortable in the hospital seeing the badges on the nurses and doctors, knowing who is taking care of them.
Lulette and Antonella are true examples of Northwell Heroes. Are you ready to become a Northwell Hero? Join our team.
Delivering moments of peace on the front line with Tranquility Tents
As the rest of the nation stayed home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, our healthcare heroes at Northwell Health continued to come in each day, fighting against the outbreak on the front lines of our hospitals. Their unwavering dedication and commitment to keeping our communities healthy had them delivering compassionate care, no matter the circumstances.
Seeing firsthand the tireless work of our team members, Northwell leadership immediately understood the importance of reflecting that same compassion back to our team members to meet their mental, physical and emotional needs. Working in health care, so much of your day can be devoted to giving to others and forgetting to take time for yourself. Our Employee Engagement team partnered with Human Resources, Wellness, Chaplaincy and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) teams across our health system and created Tranquility Tents at all of our hospitals to give team members a place to press pause.
These Tranquility Tents are designated spaces for our team members to find moments of peace and reflection, to recharge as they continue to push through these days to care for patients who need it the most. Beyond offering respite, these centers provide access and information for all the resources Northwell has to support them through this unprecedented time. Whether it’s a tired nurse looking for a quick recipe to make dinner after a long shift or a team member in need of 1:1 counseling with a behavioral health representative after a loss of a patient, Northwell’s Tranquility Tents have what they need.
EAP members are on site to help team members talk through what emotional support they might need along with providing printouts of the diverse resources offered. Wellness posters provide new tips each week including meditation guides, recipes and stretching suggestions to ensure our team members are taking care of themselves physically as well as emotionally. The Chaplaincy team performed blessing of the hands, hosted prayer circles, and created prayers and messages to deliver words of encouragement and to connect with team members spiritually.
“The Tranquility Tent started as an idea and a vision from our corporate HR partners and has truly taken on a life of its own in terms of providing emotional, mental, physical and spiritual support for our healthcare heroes,” says Lisa Khavkin, VP of Human Resources at Huntington Hospital. “They have become a place our team can rely on to find a shoulder to cry on, a place to pray, to stretch, listen to music, or paint a stone to memorialize their feelings. While the journey is still ahead of us all, the tranquility tent has become a place of solace and healing.”
Along with support resources, our Tranquility Tents also offer opportunities for team members to take self-care moments. From hiring a barber to give haircuts to arranging for live music to be played, our Tranquility Tents are becoming safe havens for team members to feel good together.
Other activities at the tents may include:
Gratitude Rock Gardens: a therapeutic exercise for team members to reflect on what they’re thankful for during this time, memorializing their thoughts and gratitude while painting rocks to add to the site garden.
Nametag Making Stations: where team members can design their own nametags to help bring a human element back to their personal protective equipment (PPE).
Message of Hope Boards: a reflective exercise for team members to add inspirational messages while reading the heartfelt sentiments other team members have left behind.
Color by Number Art Installations: that are allowing our Northwell team to ‘leave their mark’ by coloring in this interactive art piece. This small moment of art therapy will also transition into a lasting legacy of the impact they’ve had as the art is displayed at each site upon completion.
As we move forward as an organization from fighting against COVID-19 to recovery, these spaces will transform to continue to provide the resources our team needs. “Tranquility spaces will become permanent places within our facilities to enhance the recovery and resilience of our team members. We must continue to adapt our offerings to meet the needs of our team members” says David Gill, AVP of the HR Employee Experience team. As part of this commitment to support, a well-being survey was sent to all our team members to gain insight on what they need not just today, but in the future. This feedback is being utilized by a well-being work group that will continue to evolve the resources available to ensure our organization feels engaged and together.
Though our team members are facing an unprecedented battle on the front lines, we know that we can heal and move forward to a brighter future Truly Together.
Emergency room nurse helps patients recovering from COVID-19 feel right at home
When you think of excellent patient care, endless opportunities, and extraordinary teamwork, Northwell comes to mind. Ashley Sells, a registered nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital in the Emergency Room, exemplifies all of these qualities. She continually practices outstanding patient care and teamwork and especially during the critical times of COVID-19. It is during this time where Ashley went above and beyond for our recovering patients to help them feel at home by starting a “Pick-Me-Up-Pillow” fundraiser.
Ashley’s career journey
Ashley started her nursing career with Northwell eight years ago at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) as a medical surgical nurse, where she served for one year before transferring into the Emergency Room fellowship. Ashley spent two years at LIJMC there before transferring to Lenox Hill. “It was always a dream of mine to live in New York City and work in an ER and Lenox Hill was my ultimate goal,” she says.
Throughout her years at Northwell, Ashley has made a positive impact on leaders and team members as her career has developed. “I am proud to work for an organization that promotes self-growth. Personal input and ideas are always welcome, and leadership continues to assist on any way that they can,” she says. Ashley’s favorite thing about working in emergency medicine is that there always is the ‘unknown’ factor and an element of surprise. She states that, “Every day is a new day, a new learning opportunity. As a nurse, I am challenged each day that I step into work.”
Putting patients first always
During COIVD-19, Ashley took the initiative to raise money selling pillows to help patients feel as comfortable as possible while on the road to recovery. She was inspired by an unfortunate situation when her colleague was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was then admitted into the hospital. She wanted her colleague to feel as much like home as possible while recovering, even down to the pillow she was using. That prompted Ashley to bring her two of her own pillows.
“A simple pillow made her day!” Ashley says. After her colleague was discharged, she donated the two pillows to another patient who was in need. “After recognizing that a pillow could put a smile on a patient’s face, I developed the “Pick-Me-Up-Pillow” fundraiser in hopes that every patient could have the same opportunity to have a comfortable pillow while fighting COVID-19,” she says.
“We often say that the little things make the biggest difference,” Ashley says. Ashley’s fundraiser has raised $5,000, enabling her to purchase 1,200+ pillows that were delivered to Lenox Hill Hospital patients. “This initiative has made me feel proud. This is something that I was personally able to accomplish because of the generosity of others,” Ashley says.
Ashley’s work embodies the Truly Compassionate care that Northwell values. “The outpouring of support our community has shown during this time has been so valued by the Northwell staff. The endless food donations, the letters of encouragement, the 7 PM clap has truly helped to motivate and inspire our team,” says Ashley.
Ashley is a healthcare hero, showcasing her willingness to go above and beyond for our patients. Are you Made for nursing careers? Join our team of heroes.
Celebrating acts of kindness among our family of Northwell heroes
Though we span across 23 hospitals and more than 750 ambulatory locations, our Northwell Health team is one big family. And as a family, our team members are committed to not only delivering the best patient care, but caring for each other and our communities.
Check out these stories of our clinical and non-clinical team members alike working to bring moments of positivity, hope and support amid COVID-19.
Finding Connections Hospital to Hospital, Unit to Unit
Kindness is connecting our teams across Northwell through video messages, photos, cards and other countless examples of ongoing support and humanity. For example, Krista Griffin, a patient access team member at Southside Hospital, raised money with her family to have catered food delivered to overnight workers in the ED. Also, the NICU team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center created and delivered care packages to other Northwell hospitals, and our nutrition and dining services teams baked fresh cookies for workers to bring home after a long day.
Bringing the Grocery Stores to our Team Members
Hospitals across Northwell realized the need to help support our healthcare heroes get the necessities they need at home. Hospital cafes have turned into temporary grocery stores, where our nurses, environmental services workers, physicians, therapists, transporters, techs and others can safely shop to stock their pantry or choose a freshly prepared meal to take home.
Stitching for our Heroes
Gloria Medina, a booking clerk at one of Northwell’s endoscopy practices, posted a call to action for all stitchers to help create artwork for our heroes. These custom portraits are being delivered to our healthcare heroes on the front lines as a way to say thank you and make them smile.
Finding Inspiration at Glen Cove Hospital
The 1 South Rehab team at Glen Cove Hospital created an Inspiration Tree within the hospital to leave small tokens of wisdom and motivation for team members and patients. These messages help them to find optimism and the importance of what matters most.
Chalk Art Acts of Kindness
Throughout the health system, chalk art has been popping up outside our hospitals. Messages from team members and our communities are being drawn to thank our workers and give them something bright and cheery to look at as they walk in and out of work.
Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays
The Employee Wellness team collaborated with myHealthBody to start a weekly series to encourage team members to take five minutes to care for themselves with “Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays”. The weekly videos and printouts include guided stretches and exercises to help relieve tension and grant wellness benefits that last all day.
We are all filled with gratitude for our wonderful Truly Together team. Their passion, dedication and kindness inspires us daily. To all healthcare heroes here and everywhere – THANK YOU!
#EachforEqual: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2020
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women while also reinforcing equality everywhere. At Northwell Health, we’re committed to championing our team members regardless of gender or gender identity by celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality.
In celebration, hear from some of Northwell’s amazing women on how they are helping empower women.
Northwell Health teams give back to their communities
As the largest healthcare provider and private employer in New York State, Northwell Health is committed to giving back to the communities it serves across the greater New York area. Throughout the year, different team members at Northwell Health will dedicate time to volunteer for the local communities we serve. From service projects and fundraising to soup kitchens and clothing drives, our Northwell family is giving back in a rewarding way.
Two recent teams who spent time giving back to our communities were our Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) team and our Talent Acquisition (TA) team.
CEMS team launches Packages of Hope initiative
The CEMS team, through the launch of Packages of Hope, created care packages for homeless men and women to help take care of them during winter months. The Packages of Hope are distributed throughout NYC, Nassau and Suffolk Counties by our CEMS crews. The team donated items and their time to put together the care packages which included feminine products, warm socks, blankets, water, hand warmers and snacks.
Members from all over the department including EMTs, paramedics, the medical director and even children of team members came together to help make over 100 packages for initial distribution. The first event was such a success that there is already another day scheduled.
Seeing the difference volunteering makes has strongly impacted the team members. “I had the opportunity to hand out one of the packages,” says one CEMS team member. “His response to a small token of items was tears in his eyes and thank you as he walked away. What an awesome idea!”
“Giving back is a part of who this department is,” says Bernard Robinson, MHA, regional director at CEMS. “Not only does teamwork increase every time we volunteer, we’ve also seen an increase in new ideas and suggestions from our staff and occurrences of them taking the initiative to go above and beyond to serve our communities.”
Talent Acquisition volunteers with Long Island Cares
TA’s leadership team also recently gave back to our community volunteering with Long Island Cares during a recent team building initiative. The TA team prepared bags of groceries for the senior population in the Long Beach area who Long Island Care serves. The groceries are then delivered to seniors who can’t drive, leave their homes, or can only drive limited distances.
Working together, the team was able to prepare over 300 bags of groceries in just one afternoon! It was such a rewarding experience to give back to our community that the team is already planning to make volunteering a routine event.
“Volunteering at Long Island Cares was an honor and it offered the leadership team an opportunity to fulfill the Northwell employee promise and contribute to something greater than ourselves,” says Patricia Brown, Assistant Vice President of TA. “It gave us a great sense of achievement to be able to play our part in contributing to the well-being of the community Northwell serves. The opportunity to give our time and to be in service of others does wonders for team bonding on an emotional level and helps us grow as a group on a personal level.”
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Meet the winners of Northwell’s Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. Regional Spirit Award
Northwell’s Center of Equity of Care awarded its first-ever Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Awards. This system-wide award recognizes team members who are making a difference in our communities, locally or abroad, through service.
Four winners were chosen from nominations that came in from all around Northwell telling stories of goodwill, humility and compassion. Nominators highlighted how each team member embodies Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “D.R.E.A.M:”
D – Dedicates time and talent to projects that fulfill the needs of underserved communities
R – Respects all people and advocates for diversity, inclusion and health equity
E – Embodies our Northwell values: Truly Compassionate, Truly Innovative, Truly Ambitious, Truly Together and Truly Ourselves
A – Attitude that displays kindness and compassion for others
M – Mentors and inspires others to pay it forward
The winners were recognized at a special reception and awarded $1,000 to be donated on their behalf to an organization of their choice!
Josephine “Josie” Guzman has volunteered her time as a co-chair of the Bridges LatinX BERG and member of the Diversity and Health Equity System-Site Council. She has developed and implemented programs at Lenox Hill Hospital, such as the “Vida SI, Diabetes NO!” (Life YES, Diabetes NO), a bi-lingual, long-term health program designed to address diabetes. In partnership with her BERG co-chair and members, Josie recently coordinated “Rise Against Hunger,” a global service initiative where team members across the organization gathered and packed over 20,000 meals to be served to various communities across the world.
Beyond Northwell, Josie spends her time volunteering, preparing 200+ meals a week to distribute to homeless individuals in Manhattan and coordinating a Christmas event to feed and provide gifts to over 1,500 individuals who are either homeless or living in shelters. She’s also a member of RAIN, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide services for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and physically challenged.
Bernard Robinson, Regional Director, Center for Emergency Services
Bernard Robinson dedicates most of his time with projects that fulfill the needs of underserved communities through charity and education. Every year, Bernard organizes annual food and winter clothing drives within Northwell’s Center for Emergency Services (CEMS) department to serve charities in Nassau County and Queens. During Thanksgiving, the entire CEMS team also partners with a church in Hempstead, NY to prepare and serve meals. His work experience also led him to starting an Explorer’s Post in Hempstead Village that allows students from the Village to train with, learn and be mentored by EMTs and Paramedics. It was also Bernard who presented the idea for Northwell’s Bridges African American/Caribbean Business Employee Resource Group to participate in the African American Heritage Parade in Harlem, NY.
Bernard embodies all of Northwell’s values on a daily basis. Through his innovation, his department’s leadership is able to communicate with their staff of over 800 EMTs and Paramedics through weekly meetings via a livestream platform. He has also established a “virtual suggestion box” which gives each team member a voice by allowing them to give feedback through a link which is then sent directly to leadership. In addition to his community outreach, he has also organized CEMS’ “Bring Your Child to Work Day.”. Bernard often says, “As an EMS agency, we should be a part of the communities we serve.” He works extremely hard at establishing relationships throughout his region and encourages his team members to do the same.
Nicholas Hernandez, MD, Northwell Plainview Hospital, Academic Hospitalist, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Dr. Hernandez is the true definition of a caring, compassionate and empathetic physician with a genuine passion for helping others. This passion is not limited to patients in the hospital, but extends to communities at large through his volunteering and community service. Though born and raised in New York, he has always maintained a strong connection with his ancestral home of Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria struck, Dr. Hernandez was dedicated to becoming a part of the Northwell team deployed to Puerto Rico to assist those devastated by this disaster. He spent two weeks selflessly providing patient care under dire circumstances at the Caguas Hospital in San Pablo, Puerto Rico. Dr. Hernandez participated in the Medical Scholars Pipeline Program sponsored by the Zucker Hofstra School of Medicine for underrepresented students interested in a career in health care. This program is designed to provide exposure to the numerous career paths available in the healthcare industry while enhancing the skills that will set up students for success. Dr. Hernandez was also invited to be the keynote speaker for the closing ceremony for the NERA-HCOP Program, designed to assist college minority students in becoming more competitive applicants for medical school by providing various enrichment courses.
Josie Ruiz, Executive Assistant, North Shore University Hospital Administration
Josie Ruiz has been a vital component to the success of Northwell Health’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program. In her role as co-chair, she has supported the Center for Equity of Care in coordinating program logistics, managing entertainment and guest speakers, and leading volunteer efforts throughout the program. Josie has been a huge advocate for all team members at North Shore University Hospital. Her annual efforts of organizing Adopt a Family, a holiday program designed to support families in need who have experienced a tragedy or crisis during the past year, have gained the support and participation of over 3,000 team members at her site. She has even been known to have donated her own time and money to assist families who were not selected through this program. Josie was selected by the Center for Equity of Care’s senior leadership team as this year’s recipient.
The winners of this year’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Awards not only embody the spirit of his dream but exemplify Northwell’s values. We thank them for their tireless commitment to our Northwell team and our communities.
Designing a life of advocacy and creativity at Northwell Health
Weaving together a life of creativity, dedication to community and entrepreneurship takes talent, focus and plenty of energy. Adrian Morel, an outreach worker at the Center for AIDS Research and Treatment (CART) in Manhasset, spends his time working for Northwell out in our local communities educating folks about HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and providing free and confidential rapid HIV testing while balancing a career as a clothing designer.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Adrian has long been committed to helping others, serving in a variety of volunteer positions prior to joining Northwell Health.
“I’ve always been involved in LGBTQIA+ volunteer work, especially on behalf of Latinos,” explains Adrian. “It was natural to move from volunteering to working at Northwell Health, where I continue to help the community. Being a proud Latino Gay man, I add a different perspective to the HIV advocacy work done at CART. Not only do I get the opportunity to educate people in my community about their sexual health, I am also taking part in the efforts to end the HIV epidemic.”
Adrian’s work spans beyond helping patients at Northwell. He also is a highly creative designer and artist who uses his talents to further his advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community. He first became interested in costume and fashion design while in high school. This led to obtaining degrees in design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and the California College of the Arts, prior to working in theater.
“Here at CART, my coworkers and managers have encouraged and supported the differences of all individuals on our team,” says Adrian. “I’ve always been celebrated for my cultural and creative background. Being able to use my strengths towards things I’m passionate about has been very rewarding. Northwell allows me as an employee to be personable and utilize my interests to encourage people. Being allowed to be myself opens the door for me to humbly appreciate the individual uniqueness of others.”
During his college years, Adrian honed his creative skills, designing many costumes for drag performers and other artists who appreciated his ability to create show-stopping costumes. This led to him launch his own costume design business called Adrian Morel which he continues to run today.
Adrian’s business makes custom looks focused on creative and innovative designs. His clients look forward to a design consultation with Adrian followed by several fittings from the conception of the look to the final product. His website and Instagram page give visitors a clear idea of his talent and creativity.
As both an outreach worker and a designer, Adrian is busy, but appreciates the opportunities he has found to support his community while being able to utilize his artistic talents. Recently, this included designing costumes for “Drag Me to Brunch,” an event sponsored by Northwell Health.
“I’m passionate about my work,” says Adrian. “It’s work by day, and costume design by night. It’s what I love.”