Celebrating One Family, Many Cultures with the LatinX Bridges BERG at Northwell
At Northwell, we express our culture authentically and we believe that our culture – and our organization – is ours to shape. Northwell’s Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) unite our team members and the communities we serve to help us continue creating a workplace where our employees feel welcome, united, respected, celebrated and included. As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we honor the accomplishments and beautifully diverse cultures of our Hispanic and LatinX team members. We met with three members of our LatinX Bridges BERG, Christina Giordano, senior product services and management analyst; Lisa Velasco, principal of Digital IT&S strategic planning; and Luz A. Bove, MS, OTR/L, program manager for the division of infectious disease; to ask them about the importance of these programs and how the LatinX Bridges BERG has helped support their career at Northwell.
How has becoming a BERG member impacted your career journey at Northwell?
CG: Becoming an active member of the LatinX BERG has played a large part in my career growth. I have gained confidence in various skill sets, built my professional network and participated in mentorship programs that focus on accelerated career growth for members of our African American/Caribbean Bridges, LatinX Bridges and Asian Bridges BERGs.
LV: Being part of the LatinX BERG and other BERGs provides me with a different sense of community that I didn’t even realize I was missing in my professional life before I came here. My LatinX BERG family has provided me with such incredible support. They push me beyond my comfort zone(s) but also remain absolutely by my side, ready to jump in and help if I need anything.
LB: Upon joining the BERGs, I immediately found a space where I had the opportunity to use my skillset toward projects and initiatives that I am most passionate about. This has allowed me to work alongside our senior leadership team in representing Northwell within the communities we serve.
Tell us more about activities you participate in during Hispanic Heritage Month.
CG: Hispanic Heritage Month events include awareness sessions, to salsa dancing classes, to virtual fireside chats with successful leaders within and outside of Northwell.
LV: The LatinX BERG puts together extra-special programming during the month which I highly recommend to everyone. Throughout the month I pay attention to offerings outside of work, such as showing support for LatinX artists, businesses, etc. – and seeking out more Hispanic restaurants to visit during the month.
LB: During Hispanic Heritage Month, I enjoy all of the above but also find new books written by Latino/a authors to share with my children, opening up more opportunities for us to learn about our heritage together. I encourage everyone to take one of their existing interests this month and expand their experience to try something new because you might not know how you may have been influenced by Latino culture.
What is the theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month and what does it mean to you?
CG: This year’s theme is Una Familia, Muchas Culturas (One Family, Many Cultures). This theme speaks not only to the BERGs, but it also speaks to Northwell as a whole. It encompasses the hope and dream for peace in this world where we truly are one family built from many cultures. It sends the important message to be kind to everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from.
LV: Una Familia, Muchas Culturas (One Family, Many Cultures) encourages belonging. Love and representation know no boundaries. All are worthy and all are welcome!
LB: To me, this year’s theme encompasses the rich diversity of our culture and how it is a testament to how each of us are one part of a much larger puzzle.
When a mission to serve sparks curiosity that soars to new heights in nursing at Northwell
Renne Rodriguez, nurse practitioner (NP) at Syosset Hospital, reflects on the moments that made the greatest impact on his career journey. “Since I started here 20 years ago, Northwell has helped me grow professionally and academically. I’ve grown through–tuition reimbursement, mentorship programs, leadership and nursing courses at the Center for Learning & Innovation (CLI). Plus, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some of the best healthcare professionals and mentors I’ve ever known,” shared Renne.
Before he began his career in healthcare, Renne knew little about nursing other than what he encountered in a hospital when he was young. His start in healthcare happened when he was offered the surgical technologist field position upon recruitment into the U.S. Air Force. He knew nothing about the position but was eager to learn. Renne served for four years as a senior airman training as a surgical technologist at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX and then at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. In this role, he assisted in the care of setting up the operating room before surgery and passing/counting instruments, sponges, dressings, etc. during surgery. His training and experience included procedures such as ears, nose and throat (ENT), plastic, general, trauma, orthopedics and neurosurgery. One day Renne scrubbed in on an open-heart procedure and noticed the person who was harvesting the vessels from the patient’s lower extremity. Renne recalled, “I thought he was a doctor and was amazed to learn he was a registered nurse first assistant (RNFA).” In that moment, he had a new appreciation for nursing which sparked a curiosity and passion that would lead him to discover the many different fields nurses can pursue.
Renne joined Northwell in 2004 as a surgical technologist, leveraging the skills and training he received in the military to jumpstart his civilian career. Through encouragement and support from his managers, he applied for Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program to first obtain his
Renne joined Northwell in 2004 as a surgical technologist, leveraging the skills and training he received in the military to jumpstart his civilian career. Through encouragement and support from his managers, he applied for Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program to first obtain his associate’s degree in nursing (ASN), then again to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). After working at Plainview Hospital for over a decade, Renne had built such a positive and trusting relationship with his managers, that he was presented with an opportunity to join the perioperative leadership team at Plainview Hospital as the orthopedic nurse manager in 2013. After four years in this role, this led him to pursue another nurse manager role within several perioperative units at Syosset Hospital in 2017. In the years that followed, Renne was able to continue leveraging tuition assistance from Northwell to earn his master’s degree in nursing to become a nursing first assistant and family nurse practitioner.
Today, as an NP within the surgical oncology service line at Syosset Hospital, Renne directs daily operations for a two-room operating suite within the ophthalmology surgical unit. His responsibilities include developing and implementing operational policies and procedures to ensure compliance with all regulatory and professional standards of care. Renne also partners with physicians, nurse managers and clinical staff to design strategic plans to meet patient care needs. Other responsibilities include securing all necessary equipment, implants, and instruments for upcoming surgical procedures, conducting surgical room inspections prior to surgery, and coordinating all phases of post-operative patient care to ensure all patient needs are met.
The U.S. Air Force’s core values are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. “My time in the service gave me the opportunity to appreciate team building. Now working alongside a group of dedicated, proud team members at Northwell who also believe in these core values means so much to me,” shared Renne.
“Whatever the job function you served as in the military, I can guarantee that Northwell has a place for you. There is opportunity to grow within Northwell and be exposed to great people, technology, services and communities.” – Renne Rodriguez
Northwell Health celebrates Pride Month with our Expressions BERG
We at Northwell Health believe we’re made stronger by embracing the individual backgrounds and experiences of all our team members. Our Expressions BERG (business employee resource group) is a group of Northwell team members who are dedicated to a culture of inclusion and advocacy throughout Northwell to support the LGBTQIA+ community. In celebration of Pride Month, we’ve excitedly hosted programs and participated in events for our LGBTQIA+ team members to promote an inclusive and supportive environment.
Teri Manno is a co-chair of the Expressions BERG and provides support to LGBTQIA+ team members just as she received support to grow her career from administrative manager to her current role as vice president of talent acquisition in her 16 years at Northwell. “The Expressions BERG has helped me remain true to who I am and given me a space to feel genuinely accepted,” says Teri. Teri collaborates with her fellow co-chairs: Jared Olivera (community relations program manager), Edward Fraser (vice president, community relations), Kevin Beiner (senior vice president, regional executive director at Syosset Hospital), Allison Asante (supervisor of gynecologic oncology, advanced clinical providers at Lenox Hill Hospital) and Gio Giampietro (IT&S project manager, digital monitoring & telehealth services). Together they help provide a forum where our Health Raisers who identify as LGBTQIA+ can freely be themselves, meet and network with others who share similar life experiences, and provide the support needed both to celebrate pride or coming out.
“For some LGBTQIA+ individuals, it is a struggle to feel a part of a community of their peers. It can be very isolating. The Expressions BERG provides our members with that sense of community and belonging that is so critically important for those who might feel alone, especially for those who are not fully out to those around them,” says Teri.
Northwell’s Expressions BERG participated in several events throughout the month of June to celebrate Pride Month in our community. From Babylon Village Pride and Westchester Pride to NYC Pride and more, we are honored to be a part of these celebrations each year so we can continue raising health for all.
Celebrating a shared experience for Jewish American Heritage Month with our Jewish Bridges BERG
At Northwell Health, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, where all our team members are supported. The Northwell Health Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) connect our team members to create a unified and respectful workplace.
This month, we connected with Jewish Bridges BERG co-chair and founder Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox; director of spiritual services, and co-chair Michelle Teitelbaum, nurse practitioner (NP), to reflect on the month and the impact the Business Employee Resource Groups had on their career journey.
Tell us about your career journey at Northwell.
Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox (HF): In 2017, I was offered a per-diem position as an associate chaplain at North Shore University Hospital. Two months later, I became the full-time staff chaplain and started taking advantage of leadership training programs, mentorship opportunities and online courses to grow both professionally and personally in my role. In 2019, I was promoted to the director of spiritual services, where I am thankful every day to be blessed with this exceptional opportunity and to advance the highest standards of patient-centered spiritual care.
Michelle Teitelbaum (MT): I started working as a nursing attendant at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream (LIJVS) in 2017 while finishing nursing school. Upon graduation, I joined the emergency department nurse fellowship program at LIJVS and continued to work there for almost five years as a registered nurse. During this time, I became a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and became active in various committees within the hospital. Through the Northwell tuition reimbursement program, I graduated from Hofstra’s Northwell School of Nursing in 2022 as an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, before I moved to Long Island Jewish Medical Center as a nurse practitioner on the medicine ACP team.
Why do you think it is so important for Northwell to have Bridges BERGs, like the Jewish Bridges BERG?
HF: An essential purpose of the Bridges BERGs is to create a network of team members who are proud of their individual identities and are passionate about cultural, racial, and religious diversity, as well as relationship-building through understanding. The BERGs have given me a voice to drive strategies that can impact our organization and foster a greater awareness of Jewish beliefs and practices, holiday observances, kosher dietary requirements and cultural sensitivities, I worked with the Center for Equity of Care to help start the Jewish Bridges BERG and have been serving as one of its co-chairs ever since.
MT: The Northwell Health Bridges BERGs are part of a truly amazing organization that supports, treasures and honors diversity among its team members. We all have so much to learn from one another. As a BERG member and co-chair, I have become more educated on the various cultures of my colleagues, as well as our patients. It has given me the opportunity to relate to patients and their families on a deeper level, which is extremely beneficial in providing patient-centered care.
What was the theme of this year’s Jewish American Heritage Month? What does that theme mean to you?
HF: We chose the central theme of “Shared Experience” to celebrate this year’s Jewish American Heritage Month. During the month of May, the Jewish Bridges BERG has hosted a variety of meaningful and impactful events to highlight the experiences of our ancestors, including how they helped build America to the shared experiences minority groups face in America. We held a meaningful Yom HaShoah Holocaust Memorial program, interviewing Northwell team members who shared their family’s tragic Holocaust experiences, produced a touching Northwell BERG Holocaust solidarity video, where every BERG participated in uniting against antisemitism and provided information that counters prejudice and hatred. Finding opportunity to educate Northwell team members regarding the diversity of our colleagues and of the patient populations we care for is what drives this thematic year-round for us.
MT: The Jewish Bridges BERG hosts events throughout the year, mostly surrounding the Jewish holidays, to celebrate both religion and culture. In celebration of both Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month and Jewish American Heritage month, the Jewish and Asian Bridges BERGs co-hosted a culinary celebration event. We will be ending the month with a webinar where we focus on hearing from our BERG members about their career journeys at Northwell and will be participating in the Celebrate Israel Parade.
At Northwell, we stand together to embrace the understanding and support of the cultural and spiritual values and beliefs of our fellow team members and the communities we serve. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Recognizing Autism Acceptance Month through inclusive conversations at Northwell Health
At Northwell Health, we strive to create a work environment that celebrates all of our team members and allows for a more inclusive conversation where everyone feels valued and respected.
In recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, Northwell’s N-Able BERG members (Business Employee Resource Groups) are working to host and spread awareness about a number of programs, courses and events being offered across the health system from ally ship and neurodiversity in the workplace, to working parent community support group sessions that provide a safe place for learning, healing and wellness.
“We wanted to take an opportunity during Autism Acceptance Month to spread awareness and support for our Northwell team members with autism, as well our team members with loved ones who have autism and understanding our community,” says Ines Vanboom, assistant vice president, Workforce Readiness and co-chair of the N-Able BERG. “This month not only allows our team members to educate themselves on this complex neurological disorder, but also provides more opportunities to connect with each other across the organization.”
The N-Able BERG was formed to advocate, educate and support a diverse workforce, while providing a safe environment for individuals with disabilities and for our team members with disabilities, so they can thrive within the organization. “The N-Able BERG has helped me gain a greater understanding, compassion and appreciation for individuals with a disability and in particular individuals who are neurodiverse. I had to step out of my comfort zone and be part of discussions where I am not a subject matter expert but that experience and learning about the community makes me a more well-rounded individual and ultimately a better Northwell team member.”
Northwell Health celebrates Women’s History Month with Ciara Bagnall-Moreau, PhD
Empowering woman to improve their health, while providing opportunities to thrive in healthcare, are some of the many reasons why Northwell is excited to celebrate Women’s History Month and team members like Ciara Bagnall-Moreau. We recently spoke with Dr. Bagnall-Moreau, one of our postdoctoral research scientists from The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research (FIMR). Dr. Bagnall-Moreau conducts her research at the Institute of Molecular Medicine where she investigates the role of the maternal immune system in brain development and behavior outcomes of offspring.
Read what Dr. Bagnall-Moreau has to say about what this month means to her and why it’s an exciting time to conduct scientific research at Northwell Health.
Can you tell us more about what research you are currently working on at Northwell?
As a member of the Brimberg laboratory team, I utilize a behavioral model along with cutting-edge neuroscience methodology, to understand whether the exposure to specific maternal antibodies (present in some women during pregnancy), might increase risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASDs).
How has your research and professional development been supported by Northwell?
My scientific journey at Northwell started about four years ago. I knew I wanted to continue my postgraduate training after my PhD, but I had trepidations about starting a new job after giving birth to my daughter. Looking back, now I know I had nothing to fear. I have wonderful, supportive mentors at Northwell who encourage me to pursue my career path. I work alongside other scientists within my department who have contributed to my ability to exchange scientific ideas and think more critically
I also am privileged to have received additional support from Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM), a Northwell organization that has offered professional development workshops and grants to support my attendance at training courses and research conferences. These opportunities have a positive impact on my professional development. Because of the support I receive, I’m able to serve as a site coordinator at FIMR for Northwell’s Spark Challenge, and I have also been able to mentor several students in our summer research internship program.
What do you think about most during Women’s History Month? What does it mean to you?
I reflect on this month to recognize and honor the trailblazers and the little known, often overlooked women in history, who have made significant contributions to science and medicine. There is so much work still needed to be done to help inspire our next generation of female scientists and to create the infrastructure to support women in STEM at all stages of their career.
What do you love most about your job at Northwell?
I especially enjoy the collaborative and supportive team environment. Many ideas and techniques are shared among scientists in my department and often within teams of individuals from different disciplines and expertise. These opportunities to freely discuss research and brainstorm in an open environment contributes to scientific progress and innovation.
Reflecting on Black History Month with our African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG
At Northwell, we strive to cultivate a diverse and inclusive work environment where our team members feel respected and are celebrated.
We spoke with Caitlynn C. Dufort, career and performance development program manager, and Christian Jocelyn, vice president of digital enterprise operations, co-chairs of the African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG (Business Employee Resource Group). Read below as they reflect on the importance of Black History Month, what this year’s theme of black resistance means for them, and the impact our Bridges BERG has made on their career journey at Northwell.
Tell us about your journey toward a career in healthcare at Northwell.
Caitlynn Dufort (CD): I started my career at Northwell as a human resource talent acquisition team member where I focused on internal career mobility and supported our recruitment project strategies. I later pursued a graduate degree in public health and worked in program management before I transitioned to the career and performance development team. In my current role, I have an opportunity to collaborate with our different partners on projects and programs that support team member development.
Christian Jocelyn (CJ): I started my career at Northwell as a paramedic. After being promoted to paramedic supervisor, I obtained my master’s degree in healthcare administration and embarked on my administrative journey, starting as a manager for finance and operations and working my way to vice president of enterprise digital operations. As the vice president, I now oversee the development, integration and administration of operations for the health system’s Digital Centers of Excellence.
What do you think about most during Black History Month?
CD: I think about the month’s origin and the importance of highlighting our ancestors’ contributions. It is important for everyone to be educated on the impact of African Americans on society healthcare. There are many contributions that African Americans have made throughout history that are not widely known.
CJ: I reflect on all there is to learn from the past and am reminded that black history is a shared history. It highlights our unfinished work and struggles that are described in the history textbooks that we still find ourselves grappling with. We have to overcome the challenges of the present to build a better future. We have black history as the blueprint.
What was the theme of this year’s Black History Month? What does that theme mean to you?
CD: The 2023 theme for the month is black resistance. The theme of black resistance focuses on the acknowledgement and history of black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected, and how also black resistance strategies have served as a model for social movements in our country. Change has not been easy, and resisting the status quo to create safer spaces, laws, and equitable rights was needed and should be celebrated. Therefore, our BERGs wanted to celebrate black excellence and the individuals who have made history as they created change and rose to the occasion even if it meant being resistant.
CJ: Black resistance is a significant thread in the fabric that is American life. The ultimate story of black resistance is the Civil Rights Movement. This social movement ensured that African Americans and other minorities had the basic rights given to them under the constitution protected. We still fight inequality every day, but black resistance has helped us see that we do have the power to overcome even the most insurmountable odds and gives hope for a continued pursuit of a more equal and just society.
What impact has becoming a BERG Member made for you in your career journey at Northwell?
CD: Through collaboration with other team members and the opportunities to grow my network, I have benefited from my experience as a BERG member. My experience inspired me to take advantage of opportunities and to continue the legacy that the co-chairs of the BERGs have established.
CJ: I have been introduced to team members from all over the organization who have made a positive impact on my career. I hope to give back to the BERG a fraction of what it has given me and look forward to future opportunities.
Why do you think it is so important for Northwell to have Bridges BERGs, like the African American/Caribbean Bridges BERG?
CD: In an organization as large as Northwell, the BERGs create an opportunity to connect with all team members across different levels of their career and from different corners of the organization with similar experiences and cultures to network and give back.
CJ: BERGS are key for fostering connection and authenticity and allow team members to bring their full selves into work. They create an environment of trust where ideas can be shared and can lead to better patient care outcomes from creative solutions.
At Northwell, we are one team, raising health for all. We embrace relationship building through understanding and supporting the cultural, spiritual, and ethical values of the communities we serve. Join us and discover a career well cared for today.
Discover how Northwell’s physician assistants are empowered to grow in their career
Discover a career well cared for as a physician assistant at Northwell Health. Our physician assistants make a positive impact on the lives of our patients and our communities through their autonomy to practice to the fullest extent of their licensure.
We have opportunities across our health system with flexible hours available for full-time, part-time, and per-diem positions. As a physician assistant, you will have the option to take advantage of professional development programs at our Center for Learning and Innovation, access to advanced clinical training through our Bioskills Training Center and mentorship programs. In our continuing commitment to on-going education and career advancement, Northwell also offers an ACP fellowship program for individuals interested in specializing and furthering their career as an advanced clinical provider.
Below, you will find information about one of the many ways to grow your career as a physician assistant.
Meet Jennifer, Physical Therapist, Goal Setter and Health Raiser
Jennifer Langenberg knew she wanted to work for Northwell after completing her clinical rotation at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) Manhasset in 2018. A year later, on her birthday, that goal was achieved when she began her journey as a full-time Health Raiser in September of 2019.
As a physical therapist (PT), Jennifer specializes in helping patients with injuries and chronic health conditions to help them regain their range of motion, manage pain and improve their quality of life. She is not only involved in restorative care, but also in educating patients on general wellness, staying active and preventing future injuries. She works closely with colleagues to discuss treatment ideas, best practices and ways to help accommodate patients with challenging schedules to smoothly coordinate their care. “Even as a student, I knew the quality of care at Northwell surpassed any place I had ever worked before,” says Jennifer, “I was so impressed by not only the structure of the STARS clinics, but by how happy both the patients and staff seemed to be.”
During her student internship at STARS, Jennifer saw the opportunity for success at Northwell. “Northwell as an organization is always expanding and changing, offering all team members countless opportunities to develop and grow,” shared Jennifer. “My leaders take a genuine interest in each employee by supporting continuing education at the Center for Learning and Innovation, mentorship programs and more.”
A major part of Jennifer’s role as a PT is getting to know her patients, finding out what is most important to them and designing a plan to reach their mutual goals. “I feel so fortunate to not only work with such wonderful patients, but also colleagues who make the day brighter because we have the same genuine interest in providing the best care for our patients.”
In 2022, Jennifer was awarded “Employee of the Quarter,” where she was ranked as the highest performing team member for all of Northwell’s STARS Rehabilitation sites, from July 2022 to September 2022. With over 20 locations system-wide and recognized as a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Clinical Quality Exceptional Performer, STARS Rehabilitation operates in a collaborative team environment across all rehab disciplines with our physician partners at Northwell Health. Jennifer attributes her successful three years at Northwell to being patient with herself as she hones her skills, setting achievable goals, and allowing herself to learn and grow at her own pace. “I am proud of not only the work I do, but the behavior and lifestyle modification this field elicits in others. It is so important to help people understand, they are in control of their outcomes and success.”
Take your first step toward a clinical care career at Northwell Health
Want to learn more about how you can jumpstart a career in clinical care? Northwell has a variety of clinical care opportunities available across our health system to help you get your foot in the door.
At Northwell, we are committed to ensuring our team members have the best career experience possible and feel empowered to develop and grow within our organization to reach their full potential. As part of this commitment, we offer a career framework with jobs structured into clear career paths, and a GROW model that enables managers and team members to discuss career aspirations openly.
Below, you will find a snapshot for some of the clinical care career opportunities Northwell offers that only require a high school to vocational school or equivalent level diploma, with either a certification and/or training program experience.
Take the first step toward a rewarding career at Northwell Health. Check out our available clinical care positions across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Westchester.
Meet Edie, a U.S. Marine and now a full-time administration support assistant at Northwell Health
Edie Argueta is an administration support assistant (ASA) at Nassau Queens Pulmonary Associates in New Hyde Park, NY, who helps facilitate a smooth check-in of all patients and guests entering the facility. Not only is Edie responsible for making sure everyone is processed correctly, and their insurances are active, but he is also tasked in posting payments and acting as an agent for the call center.
When Edie joined the U.S. Marines right after he graduated high school, he held the title of motor transport operator and was in charge of driving the military truck on missions. Over the course of his military career, he was deployed twice to Iraq where he was a part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. He was assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion of the 2nd Marine Division, based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. This experience taught Edie the importance of teamwork and persistence, in which he accredits his successful transition to a civilian career at Northwell.
At Northwell, Edie expressed that what he loves most about his job is, “there are always new challenges to overcome and new things to learn. I find my role very satisfying because every day I have the chance to help someone,” says Edie. One thing that motivates Edie is when patients express their gratitude and he’s able to see the impact he’s made on their lives. He attributes his work ethic to his time spent in the military, “My military experience has made a huge impact on setting me up for success in my career at Northwell. It has provided me with the discipline I need to stay focused.”
Our administrative teams are involved with every aspect of a patient’s visit. Being detail orientated and excellent at multitasking are two critical traits we look for in potential candidates for this role. Serving in the U.S. Marines taught Edie these skills among many other disciplines plus a sense of teamwork that has shaped him into the Health Raiser he is today.
“Veterans should not be discouraged if their experience does not match exactly with the role they are seeking. Be your best advocate by attending a hiring event and recognizing that you have more to offer in a civilian career than you realize.” – Edie Argueta, Administration Support Assistant
Project manager careers at Northwell Health, raise your career expectations
Looking to start the new year with a new project management career? Our project managers play a crucial role across our entire health system. We have opportunities available within many of our departments, including business services, information technology and services, talent acquisition, quality management, facility and support services, clinical support and more. In this role, project managers have infinite possibilities for room to grow as they collaborate with our team members across the healthcare system.
Below, you will find information about one of the many ways to grow your career as a project manager for business services.
From administrative support to operations leader and Health Raiser – Meet Elizabeth Austin
Elizabeth Austin began her career journey at Northwell Health a little over 11 years ago as an administrative support associate at an ambulatory site. What attracted her most to Northwell was her interest in the healthcare field from a young age. “Growing up, I often went to work with my mother who was a registered nurse director, so I got to see the fast-paced environment of a healthcare facility and knew I wanted to be a part of it someday.”
Elizabeth gained valuable experience as an administrative support associate in managing office operations, working directly with senior leadership, and coordinating projects. After two and a half years in that position, Elizabeth made the move within the organization to join Northwell’s joint venture operations team. Joint ventures leads and executes strategies and activities managed in partnership with other organizations to advance Northwell’s strategy. As a project coordinator, she was responsible for managing the vice president’s calendar and day-to-day activities. From there, Elizabeth grew from a project coordinator to project manager, then senior project manager to director over the course of seven years. “Northwell has given me multiple opportunities to learn and grow with the joint venture operations team to get me where I am today.”
In her current role, Elizabeth is the senior director of operations for the joint venture team where she has day-to-day oversight for five ambulatory surgery centers in Suffolk County, New York. Not only does she work closely with site leadership at each surgery center to ensure smooth and effective operations, Elizabeth also collaborates with physicians and various teams within Northwell to develop and implement strategic initiatives.
Elizabeth credits her success to the support she’s received from her senior management team and being in the room with the right people over the course of her career. “Growing your network is critical. Every interaction with your colleagues, no matter how big or small — or title – is equally important. Starting as an administrative support associate, I recognize how imperative each role is within the organization.” When asked what aspect of her job at Northwell she loved most, Elizabeth replied. “Understanding the perioperative space and how that translates to patient care and surgery experience is impactful. Every day is different, and I am always ready to tackle the next hurdle of the day.”
Jeffrey Pick’s career journey from patient care associate to senior director of triage clinical call center
Jeffrey Pick is not someone who turns down a new challenge. He sees it as an opportunity to grow your skills. It’s this determination and willingness to take his nursing career in new directions that has led to his successful career journey at Northwell Health — beginning as a patient care associate to where he is today, as the senior director of triage at the Clinical Call Center.
Jeff began his career journey at Northwell Health in 2005, when he learned about an opportunity to work as a patient care associate at Glen Cove Hospital. While at Glen Cove Hospital, he received his AAS and BSN nursing degrees through tuition support provided by Northwell. Following, Jeff was offered a registered nurse position by his nursing manager. “I am grateful that as a nursing student I was able to work as a patient care associate, which started my wonderful career,” says Jeff. “Not only does Northwell provide excellent growth opportunities, but they also provide classes, leadership programs and the support to become successful.” Jeff started as a registered nurse on the medical/surgical unit until he transferred to acute rehab in 2013.
In 2014, Jeff started his journey at the Clinical Call Center at Northwell Health as a registered nurse. Jeff’s inspiration to join the call center team came from previous experience. “I used to own a non-clinical call center in my first career before I was a nurse so when I saw the opportunity to work as a clinician in a call center, I was excited.” That’s why Jeff jumped at the opportunity to use his nursing skills in a call center setting. “I am so appreciative that Northwell has so many opportunities in so many different areas so anyone can do what they love.”
Today, Jeff is responsible for the triage team at the Clinical Call Center at Northwell Health. The triage registered nursing team assists patients by evaluating their health over the phone to provide medical guidance and helps find the appropriate immediate medical care. After evaluations, patients may be requested to seek medical attention pending the severity of their ailment.
Jeff oversees a team of managers, supervisors and staff that handle everything from call quality, speed to answer and call outcomes. He is also involved in the growth of new programs and contracts. Jeff shared, “I love being able to instill my ideas to make my department a better place to work for the team which in turn helps the patients we serve.”
Jeff is most proud that the Call Center is accredited as a Center of Excellence for providing outstanding triage services. According to Jeff, “The path to accreditation was a huge undertaking and challenge, but most rewarding when we were successful. This really shows we are meeting and exceeding the standards from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, demonstrating we are really taking great care of the patients we serve using evidence-based practice.”
When asked what advice he would give anyone looking to take the first step in their career, Jeff replied, “My advice is to be open minded and always keep learning. Take on new challenges and do not let fear hold you back. We all learn as we go so take the leap of faith and believe in yourself. You might fall along the way, but as long as you get up and learn, you will continue to grow in your role and be better off for it.”
Whether your career journey is just starting out or you’ve begun to take your nursing career in a new direction, Northwell has the resources to support and guide you along the way. Check out our registered nursing positions across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Westchester here.
Are you prepared to gift yourself a new career at Northwell Health? Below are 4 important tips to help you succeed in your next interview. Use these tips and have a reason to celebrate a new beginning. Find available opportunities to become a Health Raiser at NorthwellCareers.com
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The mission for Yovica Valentin: providing the best infant care at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
They say when you do something you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all. That feeling is something that holds true for Yovica Valentin, infant care technician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). Yovica has always had a passion for working with children and infants. With her role at Northwell, she’s able to fulfill that passion while working hard to fulfill another dream of hers; becoming a registered nurse (RN).
Yovica started her time at Northwell in 2018, working at Flexstaff as a Certified Nursing Assistant, caring for adults. She always wanted to work with children so in July 2021 she was thrilled to start a new position at CCMC as a pediatric nursing assistant. In February 2022, she transitioned to an infant care technician in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at CCMC.
As an infant care technician, she takes vitals, changes diapers, consoles and cuddles, feeds and baths the infants who are under her care. While overseeing and reporting any abnormalities during care to the nurses, Yovica also monitors and assists with discharges. Other responsibilities include taking inventory of supplies in patient rooms, infant cribs, and the circumcision room. She also helps to send labs reports and picks up orders from the blood bank. Yovica is dedicated to her work with all the newborns and finds meaning as she helps them grow so they can go home healthy as they begin life with their families.
Before she began her healthcare career, Yovica enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January 2020 and completed basic training in July 2020 before returning home to begin serving at the Air National Guard base in Westhampton, New York. Currently as an active member of the U.S. Air Force, Yovica is an airman first class (E3) and will soon be promoted to a senior airman.
The U.S. Air Force’s core values are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Yovica carries and displays those values not just while serving in the military but also while working at CCMC and in her everyday life outside of work. “I have learned the importance of stepping up to the plate and helping my fellow airmen in order to accomplish the mission at hand,” says Yovica. Yovica also appreciates the support she has received throughout her Northwell career from her hiring leaders, team members and the Office of Military and Veterans’ Liaison Services.
Yovica’s next step on her career journey is to become a registered nurse so she can continue to make a difference and impact people’s lives by providing the next level of care as a nurse. She recently passed her board exams and is now officially a licensed RN. Yovica’s leaders supported her throughout her time in school by offering her a more flexible schedule to accommodate her studying. She feels encouraged by her leaders and colleagues, who are constantly pushing her to follow her dreams. She plans to continue to be active in the military to commission to an officer position and work with the medical group on base as a registered. Yovica also plans on moving up to a registered nurse position and continuing her career journey with Northwell.
“Northwell Health is a great company to work for. If you enjoy helping and leaving a positive impact on others, then you belong here!” – Yovica Valentin
Reflecting on Hispanic Heritage Month and a Truly Inclusive Culture
At Northwell, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, where our team members are celebrated and respected. National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 to October 15–it’s a time when we commemorate the accomplishments, contributions and culture of our Hispanic and LatinX team members.
The Northwell Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) connect our team members and the communities we serve to create a unified workplace where our employees feel welcome and included. We interviewed BERG Co-chair Dora SantaMaria-Yao, senior director of organizational change management, and BERG Executive Coordinator Lucy Lemus, associate product services and management analyst, to ask them about the upcoming month, the importance of the LatinX BERG, and how their career at Northwell has been supported by the BERG.
Tell us about your career journey in healthcare.
Dora SantaMaria-Yao: I was a 17-year-old high school graduate who had just immigrated from Guatemala. I was looking for a job and found one that required a Spanish speaker. I quickly realized I had a passion for helping patients. I continued that journey for a few years. Later, I continued my college education and got a job at a surgical practice where I grew from a clerk to a multiple practice administrator. I was attracted to Northwell because I wanted to be part of something bigger. As senior director of organizational change management, I oversee change management activities for revenue cycle. The main objective of my team is to focus on the people side of change to ensure success. We also work closely with the project management team for a comprehensive and consolidated delivery of high quality projects.
Lucy Lemus: I came to Northwell two years ago from a career in change management, re-engineering processes, procurement, and urban geospatial analysis across an array of industries. Everywhere I went I would see Northwell facilities, and I took it as a sign. When a friend of mine who works at Northwell told me how grateful she is to be a part of such an amazing organization, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to become a team member too. My role is non-clinical, but I have learned so much about this field and the different aspects of it. As an associate product services and management analyst, my role is to work with my team on the implementation of new solutions and processes for identified business needs, while supporting our end users to adapt to change.
How has becoming a BERG member impacted your career journey at Northwell?
DS: I think it’s important for team members to find a place of cultural belonging, where shared passions can be fueled between our community and colleagues. The LatinX BERG has become my extended family and I’m so grateful to be part of it. I am currently one of the co-chairs for the BERG. The relationships and friendships I have made through the BERGs are precious to me. It has given me a deeper perspective about the organization and our mission and I’m extremely proud of the work we have done together.
LL: It is important to have BERGs that stay true to Northwell’s value of Truly Inclusive and celebrate diversity while fostering a sense of belonging for all team members. Joining a BERG as a new team member at Northwell has provided me with the opportunity to get to know what the organization is about, meet amazing people, and advance my professional development. I am now the executive coordinator of the LatinX BERG, and I can see the positive impact of the BERGs in the organization.
What do you think about when you hear “Hispanic Heritage Month?”
DS: As an immigrant many years ago, Hispanic Heritage Month was a foreign concept to me. I grew up celebrating “Día de la Hispanidad” which is celebrated in the United States as Columbus Day. As my horizons broadened, I started to appreciate the incredible contribution that Hispanics and LatinX have made to this country. I think of the sacrifices and examples from those who have set a path for us today. I think about their struggles and I’m so grateful to get to celebrate it.
LL: I am so proud of my heritage. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on our rich and vibrant culture, traditions and contributions. I know the holiday is only a month, but we should celebrate who we are every day.
What is the theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month and what does it mean to you?
DS: The theme for 2022 is: “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” As Hispanics, we come from so many different countries with our own culture, food, music and dialects, which can sometimes separate us. We are UNIDOS; we are all Hispanic and together we make for a stronger nation.
LL: The theme for Hispanic Heritage this year is Unity. The theme speaks to our core values, strength, resilience and remembering there is nothing we cannot accomplish together.
The LatinX BERG has a month-long agenda for Hispanic Heritage Month packed with relevant and timely content. Starting with a Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event on September 15 with guest speaker Dr. Nicolas Hernandez, associate program director, this month-long celebration includes a fireside chat, a LatinX Salsa hour and more. Northwell Health will be holding local celebrations at select facilities during Hispanic Heritage Month.
At Northwell, we are one team, raising health for all. Join us and discover a career well cared for here.
Northwell provides the right tools and support system for all veterans to succeed
Melonie Pernice has been focused on service and care for others since working as a radiology specialist as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Now, as the associate executive director of hospital operations at Glen Cove Hospital, she has utilized her military skills to enable her team to be more efficient in their daily tasks. We connected with Melonie to hear more of her story in her own words.
Tell us about your military experience and how it impacted your career at Northwell.
While I was in the Army, I was the noncommissioned officer who oversaw my platoon and the radiology department. That experience taught me resilience, loyalty, and adaptability as I gained leadership skills that I still carry with me in my current role at Northwell today.
What excites you about working in your role at Northwell Health?
Northwell is a wonderful place to work, and I have been afforded so much opportunity here. I’ve been able to take advantage of numerous professional development courses and I have great mentors that push me to learn as much as I can. I enjoy working in a hospital setting because I have oversight of many different departments and I appreciate that everyone’s goal is centered around our patients and the communities that we serve.
What skills did you learn in the military that helped you transition into your civilian career here at Northwell?
While facing extremely stressful situations with my team in Iraq and Kuwait, as the radiology specialist, I was given the opportunity to attend Warrior Leadership College and complete the Advanced Noncommissioned Officer’s Course. During my time there, I acted as the unit drug and alcohol use prevention leader, physical training sergeant, and Radiology Department head for my platoon. I believe this training along with those experiences made me a well-rounded leader who is extremely adaptable to change, ultimately making my transition into a civilian career seamless.
How does Northwell support you as a veteran personally and professionally?
Northwell has a commitment to hiring veterans and they also have many programs to support veterans and their families. I am lucky enough to have been appointed as a co-chair to Northwell Health’s VALOR BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) to enhance engagement, innovation, talent development and promote an inclusive culture that aligns with our organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. My time in the VALOR BERG has given me the opportunity to meet other veterans and to be a mentor. We do a great deal of community service including our most recent collaboration with the Green BERG, to cleaning up memorials around the local community. We also participate in networking events to assist with recruiting and hiring veterans and their family members here at Northwell.
In what other ways has Northwell supported your career growth?
I’m a mentor for the Diversity Mentorship program and was able to utilize Northwell’s tuition reimbursement support to help pay for my MBA and my current path for my doctorate degree in professional studies with an area of concentration in management. I was also fortunate enough to serve as a veteran mentor to students who may want to join the health system after they graduate.
How attending a veteran recruiting event changed Luis Phillips’ career journey, for the better.
In 2014, Luis Phillips attended one of our veteran recruiting events, where he learned how his military experience could play a valuable part in a future at Northwell Health. Eight years later, Luis is now a senior information technology & services (IT&S) process management administrator at Northwell, where he utilizes his technical skills obtained in the military, to do what he loves every day.
Luis provides operational support to our Clinical Informatics team at Northwell in planning, organizing, evaluating, implementing, and identifying areas for process improvement on various nursing initiatives, related to Electronic Medical Records (EMR). This allows for enhanced clinical quality, patient safety, workflow efficiency, clinician satisfaction, and patient experience. What excites Luis most about his role, is working to solve complex challenges in healthcare around information technology and understanding that those efforts will help transform the way healthcare is delivered to our patients.
During his time in the U.S. Army, Luis held the title of Motor Transport Operator, where his responsibilities ensured the safety of senior ranking personnel as well as the secure distribution of critical equipment and resources to support various missions. During his eight-year career, he developed strategic agility skills to adapt to an ever-changing environment in order to overcome challenges quickly. This skill was vital during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when Northwell had to rework quickly to an ever-changing environment. Luis shared, “What’s truly been rewarding is that my past experience helped me develop operational skills to help improve patient outcomes and staff satisfaction across our hospitals today.”
As a member of Northwell’s VALOR BERG (Business Employee Resource Group), Luis is able to hold onto his other passion of participating in veteran-focused initiatives that impact our organization and our community. He enjoys being a member of the VALOR BERG because it has helped create awareness about different programs, such as our Side-by-Side concert event, and initiatives within Northwell that support veterans in the workforce. “I strongly encourage anyone to look into opportunities with Northwell Health, where you will have access to resources and career growth options at every turn.”
Northwell recognizes two of our extraordinary team members in honor of Autism Acceptance Month
April is National Autism Acceptance Month, and here at Northwell Health, we are dedicated to supporting individuals on the autism spectrum, whether they are members of our staff or the family of our employees.
Our commitment to a diverse workforce that provides a safe and welcoming environment for people with disabilities led to the creation of our N-ABLE BERG (Business Employee Resource Group). The N-ABLE BERG was designed to advocate, educate, and support our employees of all abilities and their families, ensuring everyone has the resources they need and the respect they deserve.
Here, we recognize two of N-ABLE BERG’s members as they share what working at such an inclusive, affirming, and respectful workplace means to them.
Patricia Troiano, Senior Pharmacist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Juggling a clinical career while raising a family can be challenging for anyone, but when you are the mother of twin boys on the autism spectrum, finding a supportive work environment is crucial. For 35 years, Patricia Troiano has found that place here at Northwell. As a registered senior pharmacist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) specializing in sterile compounding and dispensing, Patricia’s role allows her to fulfill prescription orders and provide IV medication to our patients.
A passionate advocate for the autistic population, Patricia says that being part of the N-ABLE BERG this past year and being given the title of Neurodiversity Project Leader in March has given her companionship, comfort, and an opportunity to spread awareness about autism—all crucial to her fulfillment at work and home.
Patricia has also taken advantage of Northwell’s many continuing education offerings, which have enabled her to develop new skills and flourish in her career. Plus, the culture at Northwell has fostered a real family atmosphere—what Patricia says her co-workers call the “pharmily.”
“We really care about each other and are supportive of each other’s lives outside of work,” she says. “My department has been very empathetic during my family’s autism journey by providing support to me as well as the organizations I volunteer for.”
In fact, her department is raising money to purchase a laptop for her son Christopher’s program, The Nicholas Center, which provides vocational and community programs for those with developmental disabilities.
Through good times and bad, her co-workers “kept me going with encouragement and love,” Patricia says. And she’s proud to note that one of her sons on the spectrum is a Northwell employee, making her career well cared for a true family affair.
Tina Chuck, Advisor with Fair Employment Practices
Tina Chuck joined Northwell in 2011, and just three years later, she formed the Office of Research Policy and Training at the Feinstein Institutes, which evaluates and manages centralized policies, research training, and professional development. Shortly thereafter, her young son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It was a very stressful time, as she was managing her new job responsibilities as the director, while trying to find the right work-life balance.
“Thankfully, I had supportive colleagues and reported directly to someone who proactively checked-in on my well-being and taught me how to self-advocate,” says Tina. “I am thankful to have the flexibility in my schedule to care for my son and have access to fabulous professional development resources.”
Now Tina will continue her journey this month as Advisor with Fair Employment Practices in which she is excited to get more involved with Northwell’s workforce equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy and focusing on a broad range of initiatives, including helping support and continue to evolve our BERGs and other social belonging and inclusion initiatives. Recently, she became the co-chair of the N-ABLE BERG and through N-ABLE, Tina has been able to apply her skills and work on programming and events focused on enhancing employee and patient experience for those who are neurodiverse. Her professional network grew as each new N-ABLE BERG initiative connected her with people across the organization and within the community and expanded her knowledge and dedication to diversity and inclusion.
“The opportunities are endless at Northwell,” says Tina, citing everything from team-building activities such as cooking at the Ronald McDonald House to making birthday boxes and duffle bags through Together We Rise for children in foster care.
“I love the passion and grit I see in my colleagues, and their selflessness in rolling up their sleeves to step out of their immediate job title to help others.”
Learn more about Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Become part of our team by exploring our wide range of career opportunities here.
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A career journey that began with the United States Marine Corps, and transitioned to a rewarding civilian IT career at Northwell
When Robert Shimonski started his career with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1992, he never could have imagined his path would lead him to where he is today. During his eight years of service in the USMC, he made significant advancements in his roles from serving four years on active duty as an aircraft mechanic and ultimately being promoted to Sergeant. Then he spent another four years in the active reserves and was transferred to a unit responsible for satellite communications and logistics, in which he promoted to Staff Sergeant as a senior leader of Marines. Today, Robert is now our Director of Infrastructure Services and Management, and he attributes his personal experiences from active military to his successful career here at Northwell.
As the Director of two large teams, Robert is most passionate about his responsibility to the care, wellbeing, and growth of his fellow team members. As one of the strategic leaders of the IS Operations Center (ISOC), Robert and his team ensure that if an IT matter arises that requires resolution that it is handled as swiftly as possible. The systems management solutions team Robert is responsible for handles building, deploying, configuring, and administering the enterprise tools required to monitor our health system, which is comprised of thousands of devices, systems, applications, and important clinical infrastructure. Both teams together provide a critical layer of protection to ensure ongoing operations of the Northwell Health system.
When asked about how his military experience translates into a career at Northwell, Robert says: “Most skills you learn about in military leadership translate very well into a civilian career. Whatever role you perform in the military, there is a component of leadership applied at every level, so you are always developing leadership skills. That experience has helped me to become a better leader in my current role within a healthcare environment.”
Robert has been a member of our VALOR BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) since its inception. He has watched it grow to a very large group of team members helping to support various veteran organizations. Robert shares that the VALOR BERG gives its members the opportunity to work together, to learn, and support each other. It’s that ability to make a difference that helps him fuel his passion to help with the BERG’s mission and also assist Military Liaison Services (MLS), Northwell’s veteran support department. These two groups are aimed at making a difference for veterans and the community.
“If you enjoy doing work that impacts lives, builds community, and helps provide benefits and services to those in need, then Northwell is the place to be. Veterans are encouraged to apply and join the ranks here at Northwell and from one veteran to another, it’s been an amazing journey that I appreciate being a part of,” says Robert.
Celebrating National Women’s History Month with Sandra Lindsay, first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
After making history as the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, more than one year later, Sandra Lindsay reflects on her experience and shares career advice for anyone looking toward the next chapter of their career journey.
Tell us about your career journey and why you wanted to become a nurse.
I always knew I wanted to become a nurse. I was raised by my grandparents and took great pleasure in caring for my grandmother who suffered from chronic illnesses. Despite her health history, she was a fierce educator, church organist, community leader, and provider for our family. This fueled my passion for wanting to care for more people.
My journey at Northwell began at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH). I started as a nurse extern in the emergency department, after which I was hired as a staff nurse in oncology. After three and half years in oncology, I moved on to critical care where I held clinical nursing roles in the medical intensive care unit and critical care unit, before being promoted into leadership roles. Prior to my promotion as director and subsequent transfer to Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), I served as the nurse manager for the medical intensive care unit at LHH.
Today, I currently serve as the director of Patient Care Services for critical care at LIJMC, a position which I’ve held for the past six years. In this role, I have responsibilities for four intensive care units, as well as the respiratory care unit. I oversee the clinical practice of more than 200 employees in the and manage daily and strategic operations for the units.
What helped you grow along your career journey? Can you provide a few areas where you received the support you needed to grow as a nurse and as a leader?
I had a great experience in the emergency department, soaking up every bit of information that I could and thankfully the nurses were patient and kind. They took me under their wings. My first preceptor in oncology was stern but also very patient, and kind. She really helped me get a good foundation as a clinical nurse as did all my preceptors in the various critical care units that I worked in. I will also never forget the day I met the AED of quality management at LHH, who offered to mentor me. We shared a love of gardening, and over the years she shared many pearls of leadership wisdom with me, that still support my practice today. There have been other mentors who helped me to grow tremendously.
What is something you wish someone would have told you before you graduated nursing school?
At the time that I graduated, I wish someone would have told me that in addition to building my nursing skills, building relationship skills with patients, families, and a multidisciplinary team is also paramount to a successful career.
If you could offer career advice to anyone, what would it be and why?
I think it is important to follow your dreams and seek out mentors who will provide you with honest feedback. After landing that dream job, the work does not end. Staying engaged and passionate about whatever that role is, requires continuous learning. Treat it as a journey, not a destination.
Going into our third year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandra hopes that we can all get some much-needed relief and healing. She states, “We are closer to the end than the beginning and we should not give up now.”
Treat your career as a journey, just like Sandra Lindsay. Become a Health Raiser at Northwell Health and see available nursing opportunities here.
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Reflecting on Black History Month and the impact on career journeys at Northwell.
As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take an opportunity to partner with the Center for Equity of Care and sit down with three of our team members to reflect on the impact our African American/Caribbean Bridges BERGs (Business Employee Resource Group) has made on them, throughout their career journey at Northwell. Chid Iloabachie, MD, associate chairperson, Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream (LIJVS); Olushola Latus-Olaifa, program manager for Community and Population Health; and Myia Williams, PhD, research industrial and organizational psychologist, shared their experience and feelings on what the African American/Caribbean Bridges BERGs and Black History Month means to them.
The African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG’s theme for Black History Month this year was “Reigniting the Human Connection: The pathway to community health equity.” What does that theme mean to you?
Olushola: I believe this theme directly relates to the work being done in the Community and Population Health division and brings me back to something we learned during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic: that building, expanding, and maintaining our relationships as a health system (and a team) with community leaders in our region, directly impacts our ability to impact the areas we serve. “Reigniting the human connection” for our team has been establishing the Long Island Health Equity Task Force to collaborate with more than 100 diverse community and faith-based leaders, along with county and state representation to ensure equitable vaccine distribution, while creating a pathway to community health equity.
Dr. Iloabachie: Our relationship with one another is the most important driver of any equitable healthcare system. We should all be invested in the health of our community. This can look like a lot of things; from running a health system as large as Northwell, or simply picking up a piece of litter so that we can live in a cleaner environment. I invite anyone reading this to take time today to be inspired to take action that will positively impact the health of everyone around us.
Dr. Williams: To me, this theme means representation. In May of 2020, myself and Dr. Alyson Myers launched COVID-19 Conversations, a one-hour informational Facebook Live/Zoom program to provide Black and Brown communities with up-to-date information on COVID-19 and access to resources. Through this program we were able to deliver interactive discussions on topics ranging from health education on COVID-19 and mental health, to resources for unmet social needs. Access to culturally relevant community education resources and outreach is important to achieving community health equity.
Why do you think it is so important for Northwell to have Bridges BERGs, like the African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG?
Olushola: The African American and Caribbean BERG, as well as all our BERG’s, are essential to such a large organization like Northwell. Having a sense of community and commonality are one of the many reasons Northwell is a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Through networking and the events hosted by the African American and Caribbean BERG, we are exposed to more opportunities within the system and even more chances to collaborate on similar goals and ideals.
Dr. Iloabachie: The African American and Caribbean Bridges BERGs fill me with hope. As a clinician, I spend most of my efforts stabilizing medical conditions and I’m seldom left with enough time to address their root causes. The African American and Caribbean BERGs create a space for us to do just that, collaborating with like-minded colleagues from every discipline and department at Northwell. It is said that there is strength in numbers; I see the truth of that adage whenever I consider the phenomenal work of the BERGs and the amazing Northwell employees that comprise them.
Dr. Williams: The BERGs provide employees with shared interests and backgrounds, as well as an opportunity to have their voice heard in a safe space, and opportunities for professional development. Northwell’s Bridges BERGS help with the diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) strategy to foster an inclusive workplace, enhance employee experience, increase employee engagement, and promote cultural awareness – all of which contribute to Northwell Health being one of the top companies in healthcare for diversity.
Tell us about your career journey in healthcare and what impact has becoming a member of the BERGs made for you in your career here.
Olushola: I truly didn’t know I wanted to be a program manager until I worked on the Community Health team within the Community and Population Health division at Northwell. I am constantly inspired by the initiatives we work on, with a focus on supporting historically underserved communities within our region. Our goal is to always ensure we build and maintain relationships with community leaders from diverse backgrounds.
Our connection to the BERGs has enabled the Community and Population Health Division to ensure that our initiatives are reflective of the communities we serve. We often look to the BERGs and the BERG chairs to review and recommend diverse community members or leaders from every walk of life, to benefit from Northwell resources and services.
Dr. Iloabachie: I grew up in Queens so after I finished my residency in Maryland in 2016, I knew I wanted to come home to New York. A colleague of mine told me about Northwell Health and what an amazing organization it was, so I decided to apply. After I accepted the Attending Physician position at LIJVS, not only was I incredibly attracted to the community that the hospital supports, but I have now spent the past six years connecting to the surrounding community through our BERGs in more ways than I ever could have imagined. In 2020, I accepted the position of Associate Chairperson and have really felt that this location has truly become my home.
Dr. Williams: I knew I wanted to be an industrial/organizational psychologist right around when I left high school, but I did not know yet that I wanted it to be in health care. That realization came when I joined Northwell in 2016. I saw the impact of the work that we were doing to develop culturally tailored interventions for historically minoritized racial and ethnic minority groups, to provide individuals with access to care and change policies – that’s when I knew I wanted to be in healthcare. My experience throughout life and my career have shaped my research interests and the work that I do. Being in health care and in my role affords me the opportunity to explore my passions through my research, while making a difference for people who look, and sound like me.
Not only do I feel a stronger sense of community as a BERG member but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet amazing people with similar cultural backgrounds as myself that I would not otherwise meet. Being in the AA/AC BERGS had a positive ripple effect on my professional development. Since joining, I have been able to take part in numerous opportunities specifically for Black employees that I would not have otherwise known about and for more individuals to know about the work that I do as a researcher to help our community. Most recently because of my membership in AA/AC BERGS I was selected to participate in Northwell’s inaugural cohort for the McKinsey Black Management Accelerator Program. McKinsey’s Connected Leaders Academy provides organizations the opportunity to improve their talent pipeline and unlock their organization’s full potential.
Northwell continues to commit to valuing and reflecting on diversity in healthcare and aspires to promote the positive impact and achievements of the members of our organization. Learn more about Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here.
Bringing the importance of collaborative leadership from the Navy to Northwell Health
Meet Juli Schmidt, Northwell Health’s newest senior manager of Career Performance and Development. Juli comes to Northwell following a successful 21-year naval career that saw her achieve the rank of commander. Her goal in this new role is to help evolve the career experience for our team members across the organization, through the inclusion of leadership development, career advisement and mentorship programs.
Juli is part of the Career Performance and Development team in Human Resources that is responsible for advancing our performance management program, which includes individual development plans, succession planning, links to business goals, and competency assessments. She looks forward to applying the leadership skills she honed as a naval officer, to a new mission that directly impacts the lives and well-being of Northwell’s team members. Juli says, “My core values will continue to guide me to achieve the mission, and whether that’s in healthcare or commanding a warship – you have goals and you reach them through teamwork, trust and consistent communication.”
A Long Island native, Juli began her career in the Navy more than two decades ago and, after graduating from the United States Naval Academy, served as a Surface Warfare Officer and completed deployments in the Middle East, participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Juli then transferred to the Navy’s Human Resources community, where she was able to apply her operational background to Navy-wide HR initiatives. She served as a senior human resources officer, specializing in strategic workforce planning, talent management, succession planning, and resource allocation.
Although Juli is new to Northwell, she is eager to join the VALOR BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) to reconnect with fellow veterans who share the same commitment to serving others. Those shared experiences are unique, and that connection allows the veteran community to collaborate and apply their skills to new ideas and initiatives at Northwell.
“Northwell is committed to creating an inclusive culture that supports your continued professional and personal growth,” says Juli. “As a veteran, you can apply your military experiences and skillsets to seamlessly integrate into Northwell’s culture and continue to excel post-military. An organization’s strength comes from its diverse workforce, and here in the greater NY/NJ metro area, Northwell Health represents diversity of thought, culture, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences.”
Reflecting on ways to advance equity with our African American and Caribbean Bridges BERG (Business Employee Resource Group)
Black History Month gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the contributions and achievements of African Americans today and throughout history. It is also a moment to observe strides made and strides needed, to achieve social justice and equity in all areas of life. At Northwell Health, the strive for equity is two-fold: equity in healthcare and equity in the workplace. To help meet the needs of our communities and those of our team members, we established our Bridges BERGs. Our cultural ambassador groups help educate and provide a platform for more inclusivity and help further a positive work environment for everyone regardless of background, religion, abilities, or race.
“The African American and Caribbean BERG provided a community for team members to be themselves while educating others on cultural differences,” says Ralph Thomas, senior operations manager of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream. As co-chair for the African American and Caribbean BERG, Ralph is gratified in knowing that the BERG makes a difference for all at Northwell. “In addition to always keeping advocacy for the communities we serve as a top priority, our members engage in various community service projects such as operating COVID testing sites, holding educational program panels, offering leadership development seminars, and putting together learning opportunities to increase mental health/self-care awareness.”
In honor of Black History Month, the African American and Caribbean BERG and Northwell are proud to launch the first African American cohort of the Management Accelerator Program (a six-month mentorship that concentrates on advancing the career development of diverse leaders within the organization). In addition, our African American and Caribbean BERG will host several virtual events aimed at reigniting humanism. In a presentation by Joey Hubbard, chief training officer of Thrive Global, participants will acquire science-backed micro steps that reframe thoughts of doubt or weakness in oneself into conscious awareness of belonging and collective resilience. In a similar tone of self-care and personal development, team members will also hear from Dr. Myia S. Williams, research psychologist at Northwell, on valuable tips and information that can help manage stressors and promote mental well-being in the black community. These events, and others planned throughout the month, are focused on making an impact toward the goal of achieving equity and fostering a healthy environment that inspires all to succeed.
Marking observations of progress in equity is one of the many ways we at Northwell keep an open dialogue on diversity, inclusion, and equity. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion here. You can read more about our Management Accelerator Program by reading our blog here.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
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