Shaping the future of cancer care through Academic Affairs
Kerry Wallace’s Northwell Health journey started right after college graduation and has grown with her through each stage of her 35 years here. Today she’s director of Academic Affairs at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, where she is responsible for their educational activities including fellowship program accreditation and continuing medical education programs.
Throughout her long career here, Kerry always felt supported by an organization she feels is preparing a workforce for the future era of healthcare. And as an individual with spina bifida, she’s felt supported as a team member with a disability as well. “Being disabled can definitely be a challenge in many situations. However, I’ve always felt supported during my career with Northwell and the door for opportunity has always been open for me. I also enjoy the work I do with the N-ABLE BERG to help individuals with disabilities advance their careers like I have done.”
Kerry’s Career Journey
After interning for two summers with the heath system, Kerry joined the Northwell team full-time as a cancer registrar at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). It was while working here doing cancer data management and state reporting that Kerry earned her master’s degree, receiving assistance from Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program. “I knew continuing my education was important to future career goals,” says Kerry. “In addition to tuition reimbursement, the leadership at NSUH also allowed me the opportunity to do an administrative internship after hours and still work at the hospital.”
From there, Kerry’s career journey included working as an administrative coordinator with the Cancer Program at NSUH, a manager in Research and Education and later in Educational Initiatives at the Monter Cancer Center.
The diverse programs she experienced throughout her career were ones she valued. “I was a science major in college and always liked to learn more scientific information on cancer and potential treatments,” says Kerry. It also helped prepare her for her current role of working in Academic Affairs. “Now I am able to assist in bringing new knowledge to our clinicians and in my own way help advance care of cancer patients in the future.”
While impressive already, Kerry’s career journey isn’t finished yet. She wants to continue to grow and develop while doing her part to advance the treatment and survival of cancer. “Northwell has been a large part of my life, from college summer jobs, to various stages of my career, to the birth place of my daughter. Throughout my career, my career moves often had to do with not only need, but the desire to learn new areas of the field. I have stayed for so many years because of the new opportunities I have been given along the way.”
Creating an inclusive environment for all at Northwell Health
Northwell Health is committed to creating a work environment that celebrates the diversity of our team members while ensuring everyone is included and respected. We’re proud to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEAM) Month this October with a number of events, resources and celebrations of our team and community members with disabilities alongside our N-Able Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). This year is a commemorative year, marking the 75th observance of NDEAM and 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The N-Able BERG was formed to advocate, educate and support a diverse workforce and provide a safe environment for people with disabilities. The work of our N-Able BERG along with Northwell’s Workforce Readiness team and Zucker Hillside Department of Vocational Rehabilitation placed people with disabilities back into the workforce.
Their commitment to an inclusive workforce led to Northwell Health receiving a region-wide National Disability Employment Awareness Month Award. This award recognizes businesses that have demonstrated exemplary hiring practices, employment hiring and advancement opportunities for skilled and qualified people with disabilities. The N-Able BERG will be honored on October 16. “It has been a pleasure and privilege to help people with disabilities find career opportunities,” says Cheryl Davidson, senior director, Workforce Readiness and co-chair of the N-Able BERG. “This is an untapped pool of motivated and qualified individuals which fosters diversity of ideas and experiences while representing the population Northwell Health serves.”
Here are some of the events and resources our N-Able BERG is launching during this year’s October National Disability Employment Awareness Month:
Path to Inclusion Seminar
This virtual seminar was created to help people with disabilities during their career search. Candidates have the opportunity to discover how Northwell’s Inclusion Specialist can support them on their career journeys while receiving important resume writing and networking tips.
Disability Pride Conference
The first Disability Pride Conference on October 14 will celebrate the contributions and unique talents of individuals with disabilities while providing education and resources to team members who are also care providers for people with disabilities.
The Inclusive Awards celebrate the work of our team members who have been committed to the N-Able BERG who ensure people with disabilities have access to our community, healthcare, education, training and employment.
Neurodiversity Virtual Mentorship Program
The launch of a new semester-long neurodiverse mentoring program provides neurodiverse college students with the chance to work one-on-one with a Northwell leader while they gain firsthand insight and invaluable healthcare career information and guidance.
National Business Disability Council Emerging Leaders
Northwell will be hosting a virtual shadow day to ensure that students with disabilities will have the opportunity to learn about careers at Northwell Health directly from our team members.
Disability Etiquette Seminar
This seminar will breakdown myths and offer guidelines on how to have respectful interactions and communications with people with disabilities to better foster an inclusive environment.
N-Able has created a special resource for team members who are parents of special needs children. This blog will allow them to share information, resources and support.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Northwell Health
September 15th through October 15th marks Hispanic Heritage Month throughout the United States and Northwell Health is proud to celebrate our Hispanic team members alongside our LatinX Bridges Business Resource Employee Group (BERG). At Northwell, we know the power of our team members being Truly Ourselves and the importance of recognizing their contributions to history, our communities and our organization not just during one month but throughout the year.
Our LatinX Bridges BERG has started their celebrations by focusing on gratitude, asking all of their BERG members to send “thank you” cards to team members they are grateful for within the organization. It’s a nice way to share thanks within the health system, especially during these difficult times where small moments can make a difference. At the end of the month, there will be a virtual panel discussion held highlighting some of Northwell’s Latino leaders titled, “It Can Be Done.” Panelists will be speaking about how they accomplished their career and life goals, despite challenges they may have experienced along the way. Beyond inspiring our Latino team members, the panel also provides an opportunity for them to connect and feel together throughout their own journeys.
“We are a proud people,” says Josephine Guzman, senior director, Physician Relations and co-chair of the LatinX Bridges BERG. “Most of us as individuals or our parents have come to this country in search of a better life, understanding the value of hard work in order to reach our goals. We should celebrate and salute our own diversity and color that exists within the “ Latino” culture, as well as the beauty, compassion and passion that we bring to our colleagues, patients and community!”
Hear from some of our LatinX Bridges BERG team members on how the BERG connects them to their culture year round:
“Being a BERG member brings a sense of community and fellowship with my Northwell teammates. It is important to build both professional and personal connections with people and celebrating our diversity is key to driving the organization in a direction that promotes all backgrounds.”
Ernest D’AmbroseProgram Manager, Clinical Transformation
“As a member of the BERGs I am able to collaborate with a group of intelligent and diverse change makers that challenge me to a higher degree of excellence. Together we are able to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of the Hispanic community locally, regionally, and nationally.”
Dorean J. FloresSenior Manager, Human Research Protection Program
“The LatinX BERG has given me the opportunity to collaborate on meaningful projects and events that serve our Latino Communities alongside talented people outside of my department. This has helped me not only in developing professionally but also in learning new skills and being exposed to different facet of our organization. It is important to recognize the contributions made and large presence of the Latinos within our organization.”
Jenny LinoClaims Representative, Risk Management
“As a BERG member, I am able to have a voice and share ideas in an inclusive and diverse environment that allows me to partake in activities to help improve the health disparities in our communities. We celebrate the efforts and contributions that our Hispanic workforce have made to their teams, departments, and the organization to deliver culturally appropriate quality care and enhance the patient experience.”
Lesidet Salce, MHAAdministrative Manager, Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention
“I am proud to be part of an organization that values and honors diversity and the contribution that our background differences bring to the workplace. Here, we can be Truly Ourselves and join the organization in fulfilling its mission to deliver the best care possible to our patients and to our communities. My experience here at Northwell has been enriched by the colleagues I have met through the BERGs.”
Dora Santa MariaDirector, Organizational Change Management, Revenue Cycle
Join the next generation of leadership at Northwell Health
Meet Ralph Thomas, a program manager for Clinical Transformation who is responsible for implementing strategic initiatives focused on process improvement, operations and performance across our organization.
First starting at Northwell as an intern with our IT Project Management Office in 2015, Ralph collaborated closely with cross-functional teams and received a great introduction to tech project management in healthcare – an introduction that would make a lasting impression on him. After gaining experience elsewhere, Ralph knew he wanted to return to Northwell and to the work that we are doing here every day to make a difference in our communities.
Accepting a position as a project manager on the Clinical Transformation team in 2017, Ralph had the opportunity to successfully advance clinical programs such as his work on the Sepsis Taskforce which works to reduce sepsis mortality within the organization. Ralph also plans and coordinates two internal learning sessions a year to gather all task force members to discuss and report out on breakthroughs. Since the inception in 2008, the task force has successfully decreased Northwell’s sepsis mortality rate by 64%. It’s an important project that Ralph still works on in his role as program manager.
And as program manager, Ralph is continually creating and implementing new clinical programs that help increase the skills of our team members and the efficiency of our facilities in innovative ways. Recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ralph developed and taught the first virtual improvement science program for the Behavioral Health service line that included educational sessions, interactive activities and coaching.
Building leadership skills at Northwell
Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) also played a major role in teaching him new skills and developing the leadership qualities his own manager saw within him. CLI provides development courses for all our team members, including project management classes and programs Ralph enrolled in such as LEAN, Six Sigma, Intro to Project Management and the Change Acceleration Program. He credits these programs for teaching him processes that help him identify opportunities and barriers in a project and effectively brainstorm to create new solutions.
Along with providing Ralph important tools and methods for project management, CLI’s programs gave him the opportunity to work on projects within the organization. As part of the Six Sigma program, Ralph was assigned to co-lead a project at Glen Cove Hospital that created a standardized discharge process for patients from inpatient to subacute rehabilitation facilities. Ralph and his team used the tools he had learned in the Six Sigma course to work on this project which successfully led to a decrease in unnecessary transfers to the ED and readmissions while improving patient satisfaction.
According to Ralph, in order to succeed we must always be continuously learning. “Northwell has a wonderful resource for employees to develop their skills in the Center for Learning and Innovation. These classes were beneficial to building my professional skillsets along with learning the organizational structure.”
Connecting Northwell to our communities
Beyond leading projects, Ralph is co-chair of Northwell’s African American/Caribbean Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). Open for all team members, the role of our BERGs is to provide resources to ensure we have an inclusive environment where all feel accepted and respected. For Ralph, one of the most exciting parts of being a co-chair is being able to cultivate a trusting and safe work environment for all.
Beyond supporting diversity and inclusion within our organization, Ralph is passionate about the work our BERGs do to organize and drive events for the individuals we serve within our regions. “Being a co-chair of a BERG allows me to be a part of a bigger initiative that directly impacts our communities in and out of the workplace,” says Ralph. “I suggest all team members join a BERG to engage with others across the organization while making an impact on disparities in our communities.”
The experience Ralph has gained at Northwell has expanded what he does outside of our organization as well. Ralph not only serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Chair for Healthcare Leaders of New York but is an active member of the National Association of Health Services Executives, a prominent non-profit association of Black health care executives. Last summer, he participated in the Greater New York Hospital Association Summer Enrichment Program where he mentored a graduate student through a 10-week program to discuss professional development, work/life balance in the healthcare industry, and future planning.
“Healthcare and our world are changing every day, and I am part of the next generation of leaders that will elevate the delivery of quality healthcare services,” says Ralph. “I’m proud to work for a truly patient centered organization where we think about the communities near our hospitals and the NYC metro region as a whole.”
Embracing diversity and inclusion to drive effective change
When Andrea De Loney began her career at Northwell Health, she started in a role that would help her gain insight into the variety of roles and opportunities across the organization. Starting as a talent acquisition specialist in 2015, she met countless individuals in different specialties throughout the system and learned about the many ways people were making a difference in the communities we serve.
Andrea transitioned to the HR team at LIJ Forest Hills Hospital where she worked as the strategic alliance and development coordinator. There she managed over 20 Collaborative Care Councils and served as an engagement survey ambassador to help promote employee engagement within the hospital. Andrea also led the hospital’s communication strategy workgroup as they implemented new “Rounding Town Halls” which increased attendance and visibility of executive leadership.
It was her passion for ensuring that the voices of our team members were heard that led Andrea to her next role as a project manager with the Center for Equity of Care in 2018. As project manager, Andrea had a primary focus of relaunching Northwell’s Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) Program. BERGs, and Employee Networks are an essential part of our values, as they were established to enhance engagement, innovation, talent development, and promote an inclusive culture for our workforce and patients alike. Since the program’s relaunch in October 2018, Andrea and her team successfully increased membership by over 85 percent.
“With over 70,000 team members, it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed when seeking opportunities for personal and professional development at Northwell,” says Andrea. “Our BERGs and Employee Networks are designed to bring these experiences to the members, keeping cultural humility and the unique experiences of our workforce in mind.”
With the successful relaunch of the BERGs, Andrea’s responsibilities have expanded to include co-leading various workforce diversity and inclusion projects in partnership with Human Resources, and managing Northwell’s DiversityInc Award application process. Always striving to enhance her skills, she also became a certified Cook Ross Unconscious Bias trainer for the health system, and co-leads the Social Belonging and Inclusion subgroup that strives to even further celebrate Northwell’s Truly Together ideology.
Andrea’s hand in crafting internal and external initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion has helped build a feeling of belonging throughout the organization. She says, “Celebrating diversity and providing spaces for team members’ voices to be heard is so essential because it creates an authentic culture of belonging within any organization and community. How do we maximize the richness of our workforce? Through listening, and being open and receptive, and celebrating each and every contributor.”
With many accomplishments, Andrea continues to find more ways to support the advancement and development of our team members at Northwell. “One of the most powerful things that Northwell has done is acknowledge racism as a public health issue,” says Andrea. “When the reports of the recent deaths due to police brutality and misconduct hit the news, so many of us could not remain silent. We chose vulnerability and shared the raw emotions that exist within the Black community; senior leadership received that and knew, in that moment, something had to be done.”
In response, President and CEO Michael J. Dowling was joined by members of our senior leadership team for a live, organization-wide town hall and Q&A that focused on racial injustice and what we can do individually and as an organization to help fight racism and discrimination“My hope is that all of these efforts reach 100% of our workforce, and that we all play an active role in driving policy changes that will move our communities and society forward.”
Being involved in fighting for systematic change, Andrea is able to help foster an environment that is not only diverse and respectful but encourages its members to bring their best selves to work every day. Andrea says, “What makes me proud to work here is seeing how action-oriented and results-driven we are as an organization, specifically around topics that are generally deemed ‘uncomfortable.’” She continues, “In my almost five and a half years here, I can truly say that I’ve not only been invited to the table, but also given opportunities for my voice to be heard.”
Take a moment with us to celebrate this champion and the incredible, meaningful work she has done and continues to do to elevate Northwell on a local and national level. The example that she sets is appreciated and with confidence, we can say her career is truly well cared for at Northwell Health.
To join Andrea and other healthcare professionals making a difference in New York State’s largest private employer and healthcare provider, view our opportunities here.
Recognizing our Asian American and Pacific Islander team members on the front lines
Last month was Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and now is an important time to celebrate our AAPI team members who are working tirelessly as healthcare heroes on the front lines. Heritage months are vital in celebrating our backgrounds, diversity, and history. As America’s top health system for diversity on DiversityInc‘s ranking of Top Hospitals and Health Systems, Northwell Health is committed to not only recognizing our diverse team members but celebrating their cultures, history, experiences, and their contributions within our organization.
“AAPI Heritage Month means taking a few moments to embrace different elements of our population and using them to serve our community and health system,” says Chandini Daswani, Practice Nurse Practitioner at Lenox Hill Hospital. “Although we have a big family here at Northwell, everyone brings their unique and individual backgrounds, which we can use to enhance what we can offer to our colleagues and patients.”
Hear from our team:To celebrate, we asked some of our AAPI team members about the importance of celebrating AAPI Heritage Month and the work that they’ve been doing on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have been working remotely since mid-March, and my workload has increased substantially due to the influx of COVID-19 related research ideas. I have also been working as a Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician in the NYC 911 EMS system since mid-March during my evenings and weekends.”
Timmy LiDirector of Clinical Research for Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital
“Recognizing and acknowledging that the AAPIs are part of the foundation of this great nation. I am a proud first-generation Filipino-American in this country. My role is to make sure that we promote patient safety while providing optimal dialysis treatments to our patients daily. During the pandemic, our team remains in full force, engaged and focused while we combat COVID-19 on our battlefield.”
Ryan GudaNurse Manager, Northwell Health Physician Partners
“COVID–19 has not changed my role and responsibilities as a front line worker, and yet it brings the best out of people. It is nice to celebrate the AAPI Heritage Month during this pandemic with kindness, hope and lots of love.”
“During this pandemic, I took care of sick patients on COVID-19 medical floors and in intensive care units. It has been challenging to treat a disease that is new to us while sorting through a myriad of the latest discoveries on a daily basis. It has been extremely gratifying to watch patients recover and be reunited with their loved ones. As a physician, this is my ultimate reward.”
Eric CuiPGY III Resident, Staten Island University Hospital
“I am honored to be part of the AAPI community because my background is what makes me a better physician. As an AAPI, I take pride in being a mentor to all of my residents and students and instilling in them the values that I developed and have been taught throughout my career.”
Razia Jayman-AristideHospitalist at Southside Hospital & Assistant Director for Ambulatory Clerkships at the Zucker School of Medicine
“I was given a huge opportunity to work in a team for the COVID-19 Remdesivir clinical trials as a research coordinator, mainly overseeing the Electronic Data Capture part. Sometimes it was difficult and upsetting to see patients going through a hard time, but I was happy to see them getting better. Working non-stop since March was physically tiring, but I believe it was worth it. I am happy to help fight the virus and be involved in improving healthcare.”
Hye Jeong JangResearch Coordinator, North Shore University Hospital
“Being a Filipino means we have a tight knit family and it broke my heart to see patients during COVID-19 without their families by their side. Thank God for the support of the hospital system where we were given the tools we needed to take care of our patients and our well being. We were able to take care of them the best way we could, and from the help of all the people around us we can overcome this pandemic.”
Zenaida OrfanelRegistered Nurse, Lenox Hill Hospital
“The heritage month is about being able to incorporate our culture and heritage into a multi-diverse society. It makes me feel proud because our contributions, achievements and successes are being recognized to help better our community, society and nation as a whole. Therefore, it is an honor and privilege to be a part of this organization.”
Norma BalceRegistered Nurse, Lenox Hill Hospital
“We recognized the contributions and influence of AAPIs to the United States. It is a celebration and also a great opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of AAPIs. I am proud that I am an Asian American.”
Zhao (Jalie) HuDirector of Financial Analysis, Orlin & Cohen Medical Specialists Group
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been an intense experience for me due to the numerous, urgent needs with COVID-19 related to clinical research and navigating regulatory pathways to use unapproved drugs and device products for COVID-19 patients. I feel that I have grown from these new challenges and developed new relationships with various team members throughout the organization.”
Ji-Eun KimDirector, Research Regulatory Affairs, The Office of Research Compliance/Corporate Compliance
#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.
Black History Month: Celebrating our differences in healthcare
At Northwell, we stand united together, celebrating our differences and respecting each other being Truly Ourselves. February is Black History Month, and we sat down with Kaye-Lani Brissett, Project Manager at the Katz Institute for Women’s Health and Bernard Robinson, MHA, Regional Director at the Center for Emergency Medical Services to learn about their background, leadership journey, inspirations and the importance of reigniting humanism in healthcare.
What is your ethnic background and family origin?
BERNARD: I am African American. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. My family can be traced to Harlem, Mississippi and Virginia. KAYE-LANI: I was born in Jamaica, Montego Bay and came to America when I was six years old to live with my father. Both parents were born and raised in Jamaica, Montego Bay.
When did you know wanted to work in healthcare?
BERNARD: I have always been drawn to the medical field. My father is a retired FDNY EMS Lieutenant. I remember him telling me stories of operating at the emergency scene. I knew then that I wanted to do the same. KAYE-LANI: Growing up I was surrounded by family members working in the healthcare field. Through their influence I knew I wanted to be in healthcare as well. Although I thought nursing was my route, I still have a passion to help and care for others. I soon discovered the option of obtaining my Masters in Health Administration and having the option to help and care for people.
What’s the best part of your job?
BERNARD: For me, the best part is being able to affect change that impacts the entire organization. When I was a paramedic, my decisions would impact one patient at a time. As a director, I’m able to develop polices, and make decisions that will impact every one of our EMTs, paramedics and the patients. KAYE-LANI: The best part of my job is that I have the pleasure of being a part of a faith-based initiative called Bridging Communities of Faith and Health. This enables me to practice my passion for helping clergy. leaders by coordinating educational programs, lectures and training for their congregations and surrounding community.
What do you think about when you hear “Black History Month”?
BERNARD: It makes me reflect on the contributions that black people have made to this country. It’s a chance for all Americans to celebrate and remember what black people have been able to accomplish and contribute, in spite of the circumstances we’ve faced. KAYE-LANI: When I think about “Black History Month” I think about the triumphs, resiliency and people putting their life on the line to enable change for their community and country. I think about change makers and like-minded people coming together and hearing the stories of people who have paved the way for the people.
Is there a specific leader from history and/or present day that inspires you?
BERNARD: Rev. Jesse Jackson is an inspiration to me. I was a teenager when he ran for President and I remember how he would encourage everyone, young and old, when he spoke. He inspired me to believe, “I am somebody.” My current day inspiration is Robert F. Smith. For a black man to return to a historically black college/university and wipe out the debt of the graduating class stands as a reminder of how far we’ve come. KAYE-LANI: There are quite a few inspiring and fearless leaders that I look up to, especially Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker and Maya Angelou.
Why, more than ever, do we need to reignite humanism in healthcare?
BERNARD: It is important that we not only conduct business but that we are an active part of the communities we serve. My department has been establishing relationships in many communities through various projects. We have been operating as an Explorers Post in Hempstead Village for eight years, helping to introduce high school students to the world of EMS through training and mentoring by our EMTs and paramedics. We just started a second program at Lenox Hill Hospital and a third will be starting in Queens. We also hold food and clothing drives and other great community-based projects, such as our Packages of Hope initiative where our staff hands out care packages to homeless men and women who they encounter while working. We have great relationships with the communities we serve, and that’s what healthcare should be about. KAYE-LANI: Reigniting humanism in healthcare is essential because human beings are at the core of everything healthcare related. It is imperative that the people we care for and employ are protected. As Ella Baker said “Give light and people will find the way.” At the Katz Institute for Women’s Health I do this by coordinating educational lectures and trainings for houses of worships to educate and empower them to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Northwell Health celebrates Lunar New Year and welcomes the Year of the Rat
Written by: Bridges Asian BERG Co-Chairs
Lunar New Year Traditions
Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is one of the most important traditional festivals in certain Asian cultures such as Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. It is also a time for families to be together and celebrate a year of hard work and wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year.
Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be a “lucky” color. Red lanterns are also displayed in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with pictures and writings representing prosperity.
In Chinese culture, New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner” and is believed to be the most important meal of the year, where families sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together. Certain foods are eaten during the New Year’s Eve dinner, because of their symbolic meanings, based on their names or appearances, like fish, sticky rice cake, oranges, dumplings, noodles, as they symbolize abundance, fortune and longevity.
To wish someone Happy New Year in Mandarin, say “xīn nián kuài lè” (新年快乐) and in Cantonese, “Gong Hey Fat Choi” (恭喜发财).
In Korean culture, Lunar New Year is referred to as Seollal or Gujeong. During Seollal, it is customary to visit family to show respect to the elders by taking a deep bow to those senior to them as a form of greeting; this is called sebae. The celebration lasts for three days, starting the day before and ending the day after the Lunar New Year.
Seollal comes bearing many gifts for the family which can vary from money to hangwa (traditional sweets and cookies), shampoo, soap, and toothpaste, or gift sets of meat or fruits. It is also a time for the entire family to gather and play traditional games like yunnori. It is played by throwing four sticks and moving your game markers around the board depending on the number of up-facing sticks. Each team has four markers and the first team to get all four of their markers around the board wins.
During the celebration, a traditional clear soup, called tteokguk is served. It is made with sliced rice cakes, beef, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients. The clear broth is believed to symbolize starting out the year with a clean mind and body.
To wish Happy New Year in Korean, say “sae hae bok manhi bah doo seh yo” (새해 복 많이 받으세요), which means hope you have much good luck in the new year.
Northwell Celebrates Lunar New Year Traditions
On January 25th, for the tenth consecutive year, contingents from Northwell Health, members of the Bridges Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) and Community Relations marched in the Lunar New Year Parade in downtown Flushing, New York. The parade is the highlight of Lunar New Year celebrations in Flushing, including dragon dancers, kettle drummers and fireworks. The march draws a considerable number of spectators each year.
Spanning a total of 15 days, the Lunar New Year is a joyous time of renewal marked by gatherings with family and friends, elaborate feasts, parades, fireworks and gift giving. 2020 is the year of the Year of the Rat (or Mouse) and it marks the return of spring and reunion of family.
Northwell’s Bridges Asian BERG leads, Suki To and Lulu Liu, collaborated with Lenox Hill Hospital’s Human Resources department, Northwell’s Diversity and Health Equity (D&HE) Site Council, and team members from Lenox Hill’s cafeteria to provide a taste of traditional foods served during the Lunar New Year. This included Chinese, Japanese and Korean rice cakes, traditional New Year candies, dry fruits and tea tastings.
Members of the Chinese Association of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research (CAFI), led by President Dr. Dan Li, and the Feinstein’s Diversity Committee, celebrated the Lunar New Year with a luncheon for members who also sang traditional New Year songs. The Feinstein workforce were invited to share a special New Year cake and learn more about the holiday.
We also hosted a packing event, to prepare giveaways to be distributed during the parade in Flushing. Team members assisted by helping to pack bags and red envelopes filled with a special chocolate gold coin. Red envelopes are usually gifts presented at social and family gatherings such as weddings or holidays. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is a symbol to ward off evil spirits. The envelopes are usually given to children by the elder of the household.
During the packing event, Northwell Health’s Lunar New Year mascot made a surprise appearance!
Northwell Health and members of its Bridges Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG), wish you good health, good luck and an abundance of happiness throughout the year.
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.”
At Northwell Health, we’re excited to have the privilege of working in some of the most culturally diverse communities. By creating a space that is welcoming to all, no matter race, religion, or creed, we’re fostering an inclusive workplace where we can accomplish amazing things being truly together.
For two years in a row, our organization has been recognized for our commitment to diversity and inclusion by Great Place to Work for demonstrating excellence throughout our diversity initiatives. Here are 10 reasons why we’ve been named to the Best Workplaces for Diversity’s list for 2020:
Here are 10 reasons why we’ve been named to the Best Workplaces for Diversity’s list for 2020:
We’ve been named one of the nation’s top health systems for diversity according to DiversityInc’s Top Hospitals & Health Systems for Diversity for the seventh year in a row, ranking us second nationally and first in New York State.
We have a commitment to veterans and have been named A Military Friendly® Employer for six consecutive years, and a top 10 employer for the past two.
Team members have the opportunity to join one of our many Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) which enhance engagement, innovation and talent development while promoting an inclusive culture by celebrating our differences and commonalities.
Our Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) and Center for Equity of Care (CEC) partner together to create training and education programs that foster cultural humility, critical thinking and self-awareness. These trainings contribute to a more inclusive environment in which team members from every background can feel comfortable.
We have been a recipient of the National Association of Colleges & Employers Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award.
Our Emerging Leaders Diversity & Inclusion Council champions voices within our organization to ensure we are effectively prioritizing and focusing our efforts in the right ways.
We partnered with NYC Pride to showcase our support of the LGBTQ communities and ensure each member, regardless of sexuality feels comfortable within our family.
Our Path to Inclusion program offers an integrated and comprehensive approach to training, hiring and supporting individuals with disabilities by driving mutual understanding.
We believe in advancing women in their careers within the health community. Our Women’s Mentorship Program has seen participants receive promotions while creating strong professional bonds between mentees and leadership.
When it comes to being Truly Ourselves, our spirit of caring and celebration is there for every holiday. From legal holidays to meaningful religious observances to national days, our team members make a point to make each holiday special.
Northwell named a Fortune Best Workplace for Diversity
For the third straight year, Northwell Health has been named one of America’s most diverse companies by Fortune magazine and the lone New York health care organization to make the 2019 list.
Northwell ranks 69th on Fortune’s annual100 Best Workplaces for Diversity, a partnership between Fortune and Great Place to Work that measures how well organizations create inclusive cultures for women, different cultural and ethnic communities, the LGBTQIA+ community, older employees and workers with disabilities.
Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health system with 70,000 employees, operates about 750 outpatient facilities, including over 200 primary care practices and 23 hospitals. The health system moved up 11 spots from Fortune’s 2018 rankings based, in part, because 82 percent of surveyed employees called Northwell a great place to work.
“We are honored to be included again this year in Fortune as a Best Workplace for Diversity,” said Jennifer Mieres, MD, senior vice president of Northwell’s Center for Equity of Care and the health system’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “At Northwell, we are committed to fostering and maintaining an inclusive work place culture, advancing the integration of diversity and health equity into our health care delivery model.”
91 percent of employees feel good about Northwell’s contributions to the community
Dr. Mieres’ cited a diverse workforce which informs and improves Northwell’s understanding of the health care needs of the communities it serves. Half of Northwell’s workforce is made up of the historically underrepresented and 72 percent are women, according to Fortune’s diversity survey.
“This recognition validates the journey we are on and the manner in which we accomplish it. It lives and breathes in the values of Northwell and the 70,000 strong who personify it,” said Joseph Moscola, senior vice president and chief people officer.
Fortune relied on employee surveys as part of its criteria. Among the employee-based findings:
91 percent felt good about the ways Northwell contributed to the community;
90 percent were proud to tell others they work at Northwell;
89 percent had a sense of pride in work accomplishments
89 percent said they felt welcomed when they joined Northwell;
87 percent believe people were given ample responsibility.
The Best Places to Work certification qualifies Northwell for several workplace-quality lists, including the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work and other credentialed lists for millennials, women, and other industry-specific lists.
Are you Made for working at one of Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity? Apply today!
Celebrating diversity, culture and traditions through the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration in Asian culture of hard work, harvest and family. This year, Northwell Health’s Bridges Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) led celebrations throughout the health system for our team members to connect with each other and our patients.
We talked to two of the BERG leaders to learn a more about the Mid-Autumn Festival and the importance of creating a workplace where all holidays are celebrated.
Hoi-Sze (Suki) To, practice administrative manager, Colorectal Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital and co-lead, Bridges Asian BERG, Western Region
What is the Bridges Asian BERG?
The BERG was created to enhance engagement, innovation, talent development, and promote an inclusive culture ensuring the delivery of culturally and linguistically sensitive, quality patient care. The Asian BERG nurtures a diverse, inclusive workforce that aligns with Northwell’s mission, values, business practices, and objectives.
What are the benefits of becoming a member of the Bridges Asian BERG?
It provides the opportunity for professional development and networking, a collective voice, a role in fostering community support, and most importantly, broadening cultural awareness throughout Northwell and the communities we serve. I joined the group because there is a need to address the importance of cultural diversity when providing patient care.
There are many Chinese American patients from the Asian communities Northwell serves and it is critical for us to create a comfortable and culturally-sensitive environment. For example, one of Lenox Hill Hospital’s prominent colorectal surgeons, Dr. Joseph Martz, would proactively translated the medical consent forms into the Chinese language and also recruited bilingual support staff in order to communicate effectively with his patients. Our BERG now helps with these needs.
How do you celebrate the festival?
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a chance for families to spend time together, just like Thanksgiving. One of the most common ways to celebrate is by eating moon cakes. Moon cakes are a dense, sweet pastry that’s baked or steamed and typically enjoyed with tea. You can also find moon cakes in other flavors such as green tea and chocolate. Many communities also celebrate by lighting paper lanterns because the lanterns serve a practical purpose of lighting the way as friends and family stay up to appreciate the full moon late into the night.
Yue (Lulu) Liu, senior administrative manager, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital and co-lead of the Bridges Asian BERG, Western Region
Why is the Mid-Autumn Festival important to Northwell?
The Mid-Autumn festival is important to Northwell because this is a holiday that is celebrated throughout Asia and by many of our employees. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated at Lenox Hill Hospital. The celebration was a collaboration with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Lenox Hill Hospital’s Human Resources, and the Lenox Hill Department of Food and Nutrition Services. The event was very well received and brought patients, hospital staff and leadership together.
Why did you become a member of the Bridges Asian BERG?
Prior to becoming a member of Bridges Asian BERG, I noticed there was a shortage of culturally and linguistically sensitive patient materials. My team and I would spend hours translating the pre-procedure and post-op care instructions over the phone with our Asian patients. After joining the Bridges Asian BERG, I started to collaborate with the Chinese Language Advisory Board (LAB), where we would help procure this information for the Northwell Health Physician Partner practices when they were providing care to the Asian American population.
How do you celebrate the festival?
During the moon festival my family and I always enjoy a meal that ends with sampling a of moon cakes and a special tea my mom selects to pair with the moon cakes. For me, the most important part of the moon festival is spending time with my family, being appreciative of our loved ones, creating new memories, and maintaining the bonds that we have.
Women’s Equality Day, observed on August 26th, is an annual event that celebrates the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, marking American women’s advancement towards equality with men. This year we celebrate the 99th year of the passage of the amendment which granted full woman suffrage. In honor of this important day, we are featuring some of our Women in Healthcare BERG leaders, members and supporters.
Northwell’s Women in Healthcare BERG is empowering women across all levels of Northwell as well as in our communities. The Women in Healthcare BERG aims to not only promote growth for women and foster greater employee engagement, but it is also a key part of our mission of transforming the future of healthcare.
Please join us as we celebrate this important day!
Stacey Rosen, MD – SVP, Women’s Health; Women in Healthcare BERG co-chair:
“Women’s Equality Day celebrates the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Activists such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul were leaders in the women’s rights movement. Their focus was to ensure that women were given a fair and equal right to vote. These women have inspired me to carry their message in my current role. While we have made a lot of progress for women’s equality, women are still underrepresented in business leadership positions. It is known that organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, especially at the leadership level, perform better. This is one of many reasons why I decided to become a co-chair or the Women in Healthcare BERG. Our BERG gives our members exposure to leadership and development opportunities that they may not otherwise have in their current role. Our mission is to create a pipeline of women leaders at all levels in our health system.”
Maxine Carrington, JD – Deputy Chief HR Officer; Women in Healthcare BERG co-chair:
“We can never ignore our history and the impact of the past on our present-day thoughts, actions, policies, and systems. Women’s Equality Day and other such recognition days enable us to pause and remember, acknowledge how far we’ve come, and contemplate what still needs to be achieved to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect – as they deserve to be – and that their voices, contributions, and human rights are valued. The tremendous enrollment in and support for our new Women in Healthcare BERG is evidence that there is still much work to be done, but also that our Northwell citizens are committed to the work. Given our mission, values, and the collective power that we have, it’s our obligation.”
Joseph Moscola, PA – SVP & Chief People Officer, Northwell Health:
“Women’s Equality Day is such an important day to pause, reflect and evaluate where we are on the journey to equality for women. It gives us the opportunity to rejoice in the successes while together transparently discussing the opportunities and working hard to put words into action. Together we can accomplish anything, advancing the culture of Northwell and thereby the culture of the communities we serve.”
Kerri Anne Scanlon, RN – System Deputy Chief Nurse Executive, CNO North Shore University Hospital; Women in Healthcare BERG co-chair:
“In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to celebrate a day that reminds us not only of how far we’ve come but also how much further we have to go within professional environments to ensure true equality. We are fortunate to be part of an organization that is fiercely dedicated to the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and to the elimination of inequities for all. The newly-formed Women in Healthcare BERG is a prime example of Northwell Health’s commitment to the promotion of career progression and advancement, mentoring, and succession planning for women across clinical, administrative, and academic settings. This BERG will serve as a catalyst for change within our organization and create a positive ripple effect, allowing for amplification of our voice across the industry and the communities we serve. On behalf of the Women in Healthcare BERG, I’m proud to celebrate a day of such historical significance, and to stand together to build a future that engages and empowers all members of our diverse workforce.”
Stevania Williams – Credentialing Specialist; Women in Healthcare BERG member:
“Women’s equality is important in today’s society because 1) Women make up more than half of the population in the United States and 2) Women in fact make up the majority of voters in the United States. Women’s equality has come a long way but there is still a lot more that needs to be accomplished. When women’s equality is fully established to its highest potential, we as women can have a better legislation to help push for equal rights and opportunities, which includes economic participation and decision making. “A society cannot operate to its full potential when half of its members do not have an equal voice.”
I joined the Women in Healthcare BERG because the gap that is associated with women leadership in healthcare is addressed. This program helps women like myself lean into their careers through mentorship which in return develops a pipeline of women leaders within Northwell Health.”
Elizabeth Alexander – Admin Support Associate; Women in Healthcare BERG member:
“Generally speaking, women in healthcare tend to forget to advocate for themselves because we are focused on treating patients and taking care of their own families as primary care-givers. It is important for us to get involved in professional organizations, continue learning, volunteer and cultivate a professional network. I joined the Women in Healthcare BERG because it’s a great forum for team building, networking and professional development that promotes diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved and support fellow colleagues, so that together we can advocate, thrive and inspire!”
Patricia Farrell – VP, Katz Institute for Women’s Health; Women in Healthcare BERG member:
“Women do not want power over men, they want power over themselves” – Mary Wollstonecraft
“The Women in Healthcare BERG empowers women through both educational and networking opportunities encouraging them not to accept the status quo but to be that voice and equal seat at the table, to drive change that impacts not only our organization but policy change and change in the communities we live in.”
Against the odds: A nurse’s journey to working at LIJ Medical Center after beating cancer
When Nicole Rivera, RN, was diagnosed with cancer at six years old, she was given only a 10% chance of living. Despite these odds, Nicole’s battle with cancer ended in triumph. “I kicked cancer’s butt and to this day, I remain in remission – 18 years and counting,” says Nicole. “Cancer took my right leg but not my life.”
It was her experience fighting cancer that inspired Nicole to become a nurse and ultimately lead her to her career at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “I wanted to become a nurse after having amazing nurses help care for me as I fought cancer in one of the hardest battles of my life,” says Nicole. Today Nicole works as a cardiothoracic/surgical oncology step-down nurse where she finds her experience gives her a special relationship with her patients.
“My history has made me a stronger and better nurse because I know how it feels to be on the other side of things,” says Nicole. “I know what it feels like being that patient in bed feeling despaired. My story has allowed me to connect with patients on a deeper level.”
Overcoming the challenges she has had to face, including wearing an above-knee prosthetic, has reminded Nicole of the importance of remaining grounded in life and as a nurse. “It’s important to stay humble and never take health for granted. Every day we see people complain over the little things in life, while there are people out there fighting for their life.”
And it’s a fight that Nicole knows firsthand she can help patients through just by being there for them. “My favorite part of being a nurse is seeing the smile on a patients face knowing I helped make a difference,” she says. “Whether it be something as simple as filling up their water, helping escort them to the restroom or providing comfort after bad news. Their smile makes it all worth it.”
It was both Nicole’s passion and her inspirational story that led to her being nominated as a 2019 New York Mets Nurse Hero. She was recognized at the New York Mets Nurses Night game as one of ten nurse heroes for their dedication to providing exceptional care for patients. Nurses received customized scrubs and got to stand on the field during the first pitch.
Throughout it all, Nicole has always known she was made for nursing, “I put my heart into my patients every day and cannot imagine being in any other profession.”
The Northwell Health President’s Awards program honors and celebrates employees who truly represent the very best of Northwell. Each year, these awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes throughout five distinctive categories Nurse of the Year, Leader of the Year, Teamwork and Exceptional Patient/ Customer Experience and Physician of the Year. Get to know this year’s winners and their incredible stories.
Leader of the Year
Ryan J. Guda, RNNurse Manager, Dialysis Services, Ambulatory
Building on his array of experiences in different fields, Ryan Guda has rebuilt a workplace that adapts to change and established a culture of respect with dramatic effects on the quality of care.
Shortly after joining Northwell in 2015, Ryan met with each team member to hear their opinions about their work environment. By listening and acknowledging his team’s feelings, he was able to re-direct negative behavior in a nonjudgmental manner and win their trust. Even his adept computer skills helped during a transition to electronic record-keeping.
Ryan quickly became an agent of change that has improved the work environment and directly affected the quality of services delivered to patients living with end-stage renal failure. He was successful in turning the team members’ fear of change into hope.
Watch Ryan’s Made for this story.
Nurse of the Year
Jeffrey Rosa, RNSurgical Intensive Care Unit, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Passion for his patients and awareness of the complexities of navigating the emotions and needs of those in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit drive the care provided by Jeffrey Rosa. He witnessed the excellent care provided to his grandmother, and, later, as a paramedic, responded to the horrors of the Sept. 11 attack at the World Trade Center, which solidified his determination to become a nurse.
At Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), Jeffrey is known as “the go-to player,” someone who has made it his business to know everything he needs to know about every patient in a unit where extra compassion, understanding and respect for what patients and families are going through are crucial. He is completely dedicated to inspiring and teaching new nurses to share his passion and expertise. He coaches, mentors and serves as a role model for his peers. Jeffrey lectures the hemodynamics portion of the nursing fellowship curriculum and shares his passion for work he does daily.
Jeffrey participates in countless committees, including the Magnet task force, and as co-chair of the Surgical ICU’s Collaborative Care Council, he facilitates the agenda and pushes LIJMC nursing units to share innovative solutions and champion new ideas and processes.
Watch Jeffrey’s Made for this story.
Nurse of the Year
Alexa Damone, RN Medical Surgical Unit, Glen Cove Hospital
Alexa Damone’s passion for her work is evident to her patients and colleagues by constantly learning new skills to improve medical care.
Alexa has the ability to relate to patients and their families through her caring manner and attentive demeanor. Her deep commitment is evident to her patients and her colleagues and was recognized by the hospital when she was honored in the hospital’s first “Breakfast with the Stars.” She is empathic, compassionate, an excellent communicator, possesses solid clinical and problem-solving skills and serves as an advocate for her patients.
Her commitment to helping peers is inspirational. Upon returning from a sepsis conference, Alexa shared her newly developed knowledge with her peers to improve the identification and prompt treatment of sepsis. She was a part of a project on infection control that led to better hand hygiene and infection control practices on the unit. Alexa is involved in another project aimed at improving the patient experience. With diabetes becoming increasingly prevalent, especially among the elderly, she attended a two-day workshop recognizing the importance of diabetes knowledge, management and education, enabling her to become a unit champion and valuable resource for her peers and patients.
Watch Alexa’s Made for this story.
ECMO-TO-GO Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Southside Hospital
Made up of a team of well-honed specialists, ECMO-TO-GO takes its life-saving skills wherever they are needed, elevating the level of care available to seriously ill patients. The team develops its successes with the cardiopulmonary bypass technique through continuity of communication and care delivered by all team members, commitment to continuous improvement and the depth of care provided by experts from across Northwell. The innovative approach of the team traveling to the patient rather than the other way around means a highly qualified, seasoned team is available to the sickest of patients. With a mortality rate of about 50 percent in these kinds of patients, the concept of such a team grew out of the establishment of an acute lung injury program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the launch of a heart transplant program. Northwell physicians recognized the need to provide stable, quality care as quickly as possible, leading to the ECMO-TO- GO program.
The strength of the group comes from their ability to harness their differences in expertise to meet the dire needs of a complicated patient population. They do so with seamless coordination, deep compassion, and deliberate communication ultimately forging something stronger than any individual person.
Watch ECMO-TO-GO’s Made for this story!
Exceptional Patient Customer Experience
Adrian MazurChaplain, Cohen Children’s Medical Center
Chaplain Adrian Mazur has chosen to work in the midst of medical crisis, supporting the smallest patients and their families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as they try to cope with life threatening illnesses. It is his empathy that others quickly notice as he helps fearful, weary and distressed parents who are trying to cope with some of the worst days of their lives.
Adrian, who came to the ministry from a career in finance and volunteer work with an orphanage in Ukraine, works with adolescents in pediatric hematology/oncology. There he helps to establish a connection and genuine trust as the young patients face their own mortality, changes in their appearance and an overall loss of health and stamina.
Often, Adrian plays a significant role in the lives of families that ultimately lose their child to illness. In one instance, he later drove through a snowstorm to be with one such couple at the birth of another child. It is through his presence, compassion, dedication, prayers and listening ear that he helps patients and parents redefine their hopes and maintain their dreams. Adrian’s presence brings a vitality to the hospital and all those he touches.
Watch Adrian’s Made for this story!
Physician of the Year
Carmen Rodriguez, MD, FACOG Voluntary Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
An excellent bedside manner and the care she provides to her patients distinguishes the work of Dr. Carmen Rodriguez and moves many people to say, “She’s the best.” Regarded as reliable, dependable and talented, she is also humble and unpretentious. Dr. Rodriguez leads by example for all clinicians and team members. And her contributions go beyond kindness and compassion. She is known to take on some of the most difficult gynecological challenges via laparotomy, laparoscopic and robotic modalities. Dr. Rodriguez will always fight to defend the reproductive rights of her patients.
Dr. Rodriguez also plays an active role in the affairs and governance of the hospital. She is the associate chair of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center – Performance ImprovementCoordinating Group (LIJMC PICG). She is also a member of the OBGYN department PICG. Dr. Rodriguez finds the time to participate in performance improvement initiatives because she believes that everyone benefits when better care is rendered, mainly for the patient and the community at large, but also for the clinical and administrative team member. She is the president-elect of the LIJ Medical Team member Society, making her the first woman to hold this distinguished position in the history of LIJMC.
Northwell launches Women in Healthcare Business Employee Resource Group
Northwell Health is excited to announce the recent launch of our Women in Healthcare Business Employee Resource Group (BERG)! Our newest BERG focuses on empowering women across all levels of Northwell as well as in our communities.
To do this, the Women in Healthcare members are committed to mentoring and developing women leaders at all levels within Northwell, including the executive level. Members will serve as both mentors and advocates for other Northwell team members, to help them develop professionally and to educate on the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
The Women in Healthcare BERG aims to not only promote growth for women and foster greater employee engagement, but it is also a key part of our mission of transforming the future of healthcare.
Co-executive sponsors include Mark Solazzo, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Deborah Schiff, executive vice president, Ambulatory Strategy and Business Development, and Kathy Gallo, RN, PhD, executive vice president and chief learning officer while Dr. Stacey Rosen, vice president, Women’s Health, Katz Institute for Women s Health, Maxine Carrington, deputy chief HR officer, and Kerri Scanlon, RN, deputy chief nursing officer and AED, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at North Shore University Hospital serve as co-chairs. Membership is open to anyone within the health system, including team members like Paola Benitez.
Using your career history to support other women in healthcare
Paola is a manager in the Government Rates and Reporting Group within Corporate Finance. Having grown her own career since she was initially hired as an analyst, Paola knows the importance of giving women the resources they need to develop professionally. “I joined this BERG because I wanted to be actively involved in the health system’s effort towards equality and inclusion,” says Paola. ‘I wanted to be part of encouraging more women to aspire to leadership.”
This isn’t the only BERG Paola has joined – she’s an active member of the Bridges LatinX BERG and has participated in community events that helped educate diverse minorities on the importance of access to health care, fitness and nutrition. She is confident that the Women in Healthcare BERG will be as successful within Northwell and its community.
“It is important to create BERG like this because it allows employees to build networks, share challenges and growth, and work together towards professional goals,” says Paola.
And for women looking to start out in their healthcare careers? Paola has the following advice, “Work hard, take risks and fail early. Do not feel that you must check all boxes in a job description – you will learn along the way!”
An Appointment With: Edward Fraser, VP, Community Relations
Since joining the health system in 2006, Edward’s career has evolved from his role at Southside Hospital within the Human Resources department to Nursing Education, and then to the department of Community Relations. He has grown from director of community relations at Southside Hospital to, vice president of Community Relations for the entire organization.
In addition to his role as VP, Edward is Co-Chair of Northwell’s EXPRESSIONS Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). Beyond Northwell, he’s also an active member of many community organizations and is currently enrolled in the Energeia Partnership Program at Molloy College. Throughout every step of his career, Edward has been known for his deep and abiding commitment to his family and to the many communities he serves.
We sat down with Edward to talk about the work of Community Relations and Northwell’s EXPRESSIONS BERG.
Tell us about the work of Northwell’s Community Relations team.
The Community Relations team handles community outreach, corporate sponsorships and promotes employee engagement initiatives for the health system. I’ve worked to build a dedicated team that connects with the communities surrounding our hospitals to bring education and build partnerships with local businesses, faith-based organizations, school districts and charitable organizations. We also manage two immediate care centers on Fire Island, acting as their premier health care provider.
Another big initiative we oversee along with finance is Community Benefit. Community benefits are programs or activities that provide treatment and/or promote health and healing as a response to identified community needs. They increase access to health care and improve community health. Community Benefit tracking is required for all not-for-profit hospitals seeking to maintain their tax-exempt status, as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Tell us more about the impact your team is making on the communities we serve.
With team members being active members of many community organizations including many Chambers of Commerce, Splashes of Hope, as well as Islip Food for Hope. Inc., we’re able to keep an eye on how trends are impacting our community.
How has the EXPRESSIONS Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) evolved?
Northwell’s EXPRESSIONS BERG is an LGBTQ Employee Diversity group. EXPRESSIONS has grown to be comprised of more than 400 Northwell team members who identify as members, or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. EXPRESSIONS was created to ensure our employees have a voice and the opportunity to be heard. It’s initiatives like this that led to Northwell being named among the 50 employers recognized for fostering an inclusive workplace for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and ranking second nationally and No. 1 in New York State as a top health systems for diversity on DiversityInc’s top Hospitals & Health Systems for Diversity list.
Additionally, we oversee is the annual system-wide survey with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) which is the national benchmarking tool evaluating healthcare practices and policies as related to the equity and inclusion of our LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. Northwell just scored 100% on all 25 surveys that were submitted for this year.
What activities does Northwell Health have planned to celebrate Pride Month?
The EXPRESSIONS BERG is participating in many exciting festivals and marches throughout the month of June to celebrate Pride month. As part of Northwell’s commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, the health system has partnered with NYC Pride to serve as a principal sponsor of events tied to WorldPride 2019 and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Northwell’s platinum sponsorship with the nonprofit Heritage of Pride, Inc., the organization that produces New York City’s official LGBTQIA+ Pride events, the March, PrideFest and Family Movie Night. We’ll also have a presence at Westchester Loft Pride, Rockland County Pride, Queens Pride, Long Island Pride and Cherry Grove Pride. If you are in the area, join us!
Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at Northwell Health
Written by: Bridges Asian BERG co-chairs
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions that generations of Asian Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture.
In honor of the heritage month this May, we are featuring the stories and work of a few of our Bridges Asian Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) members at Northwell Health.
Also featured, is an Asian Pacific American physician leader at Northwell Health, who is partnering with Bridges Asian BERG, to make broader connections and develop new ideas to help transform some of the amazing work spearheaded by this leader.
Please join us, as we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May!
I’ve been working at Northwell for about 2.5 years as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Manager within the Human Research Protection Program at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. My job is to support, facilitate and promote the ethical and safe conduct of clinical research at Northwell Health. We oversee IRB review for all 23 hospitals and facilities throughout Northwell Health that serves to protect research participants’ rights, safety and welfare.
Why did you join the Asian BERG?
I joined the Northwell Bridges Asian BERG in 2017. I have a passion to be a part of that bridge between our health system and local communities, and one of the ways that I serve in that capacity is being the Chair of the BERG Chinese Language Advisory Board (LAB). Our LAB is made up of other dedicated BERG members who are fluent, native speakers who provide consultation to service lines, departments and facilities on optimal methods of communication for the Chinese communities. We also provide feedback on the quality of translated materials by certified vendors to ensure that the messaging is appropriate and clear. By providing advisory services and partnering with Language Access Services from the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity we are working to enhance patient experience, customer service and better connect with our diverse communities.
What do you like about working for Northwell?
I feel so lucky to be recognized for my efforts and it encourages me to continue working harder and to be more innovative. I am proud to use my language capabilities and skillsets as a Chinese American to further the causes of our organization and the diverse communities that we serve.
What advice would you give about mentorship?
Mentorship is always important. However, within this organization of 68,000+ employees, mentorship from successful higher-level leaders is not only critical, but it will help individuals advance in their careers quickly. By encouraging mentorship, we are building our leaders of tomorrow.
In 1995 I started at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) as a registered nurse and in 2005 I became a nurse practitioner in Cardiology.
Why did you join the Asian BERG?
I wanted to actively support my community. Many Asian community members want to come to Northwell Health for its great reputation, but due to the cultural and language barriers it may be difficult for them to navigate our facilities. My contribution to close this cultural gap was to be a part of the committee that introduced the Korean seaweed soup (miyuk gook) for mothers who just gave birth at NSUH. In 2008 I started a free monthly health clinic for the Korean community and have continued my efforts to keep the clinic going since then.
Can you tell us more about the Korean health clinic?
Through my years at NSUH, I observed numerous Korean patients being admitted to the hospital due to the lack of healthcare either because they couldn’t afford it or because they didn’t know how to obtain it. Patients would have very serious conditions but did not have a primary doctor, medical or prescription insurance to recuperate and maintain their health. Various professionals such as physicians, nurses, social workers, physical therapists and acupuncturists, volunteered to provide preventive medical services monthly and our team was formed. Since the start of this program, 2,000 patients have been cared for with various conditions, some critical such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, breast cancer, unstable angina, laryngeal cancer, hypertensive emergencies and others. The social workers assisted patients in signing up for Medicare/Medicaid and our team helped coordinate care for further medical treatment and follow up.
What is your advice for others?
We need to care for our families and neighbors. No one can live alone. We need to volunteer our time, support each other’s ideas and use our professional skillsets to help the community become healthier. Many Asian Americans want to help their families and community and can do so in this way. Furthermore, many employees may not know about the BERG, which helps us internally network and externally bridge with communities.
Santhosh Paulus, MD
Santhosh Paulus, MD, site director of Huntington Hospital’s family medicine residency program, is also Northwell Health Human Trafficking Response Program System Taskforce Leader. In 2014, he founded Cycling For Change, a not-for-profit organization, with a mission to cycle, raise awareness and fundraise to support organizations on the front lines of battling human trafficking.
What began as a personal action to raise awareness about human trafficking, “it is a public health issue where individuals are abducted or deceived into servitude and exploited for profit, it is a modern-day form of slavery and the social justice issue of our generation”, said Dr. Paulus.
Dr. Paulus has been appointed as Northwell Health’s Human Trafficking taskforce leader, where he spearheads a human trafficking response program at Huntington Hospital, which currently includes more than a dozen staff members who have been trained by Restore NYC, an anti-trafficking organization, to identify victims and assist human trafficking victims and provide care to survivors. Dr. Paulus is working collaboratively with the Bridges Asian BERG on furthering the mission of the taskforce.
Northwell Health has been named one of the nation’s top health systems for diversity, ranking second nationally and No. 1 in New York State, according to DiversityInc’s top Hospitals & Health Systems for Diversity list.
This achievement marks Northwell’s seventh straight year making the list, jumping up the rankings from last year’s No. 5 placement. DiversityInc’s extensive annual survey yields an empirically driven ranking based on talent results in the workforce and management, senior leadership accountability, talent programs, workplace practices, philanthropy and supplier diversity.
“America has gained strength from the generations of immigrants who have assimilated their cultural beliefs and unique skills into the fabric our country,” said Michael J. Dowling, Northwell Health’s president and CEO. “At Northwell, we also believe that our strength as an organization comes from the diversity of our employees and the communities we serve. This recognition is testament to our commitment.”
This is the second such honor in recent months for Northwell, which was named a FortuneBest Workplace for Diversity. Northwell ranks 80th on the annual 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity list, a partnership between Fortune and Great Place to Work that measures how well organizations create inclusive cultures for women, different cultural and ethnic communities, the LGBTQ community, older employees and workers with disabilities.
DiversityInc’s recognition reaffirms our approach to be representative and inclusive of all the communities the health system and its 68,000 employees serves.
“Receiving this recognition validates Northwell Health’s commitment to integrating the tenets of diversity, inclusion and health equity into our health care delivery model and essential to customizing care to improve health outcomes,” said Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, chief diversity and inclusion officer and senior vice president of the health system’s Center for Equity of Care. “Providing culturally-sensitive healthcare and fostering an inclusive workplace is integral to the partnership with our patients on the journey to improved health and wellness.”
The latest DiversityInc rankings reflect new metrics tied to questions that connect talent programs and workplace practices to desired talent results. The analysis also addressed the intersectionality of race by analyzing women and men representation of each race/ethnicity separately, rather than combined. Northwell also was ranked in the top 50 employers recognized for fostering an inclusive work place for members of the LGBT community.
“As a health care organization, we at Northwell health live our values – we are truly ourselves, and in doing so, seek to build trusted partnerships with our diverse patients and communities,” said Michael Wright, Northwell’s vice president of diversity and health equity.
#BalanceforBetter: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2019
March 8th marks International Women’s Day to celebrate women everywhere. At Northwell Health, we’re committed to fostering a diverse work environment that champions its team members regardless of gender or gender identity and where everyone can be Truly Ourselves.
In celebration, hear from some of Northwell’s amazing women and the women that inspire them daily.
Black History Month: My role in helping reignite humanism
At Northwell, we stand united together, celebrating our differences and respecting them. February is Black History Month, and we sat down with Helen White, manager, community relations, Long Island Jewish Valley Stream and Ralph Thomas, project manager, administration, clinical transformation, Northwell Health to learn about their background, journey to becoming a leader, who inspires them and the importance of reigniting humanism through inclusion, dignity and respect.
What is your ethnic background and family origin?
RALPH: I am Haitian American. Both of my parents were born in Haiti and I was born in Brooklyn, NY. My family moved here to seek better economic opportunities.
HELEN: I am an African American woman whose parents proudly originated from Harlem, NY and Pittsburgh, PA.
When did you know that you wanted to be a healthcare leader?
RALPH:I always had an interest in helping others as a child. Growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn I personally experienced the challenges of accessing health care and the negative effects it had on the community as a whole. In high school, I decided one day that I would become a change agent in the healthcare industry. I began my journey in research and community health and eventually became an administrator.
HELEN:I have always been an outgoing and passionate person with the desire to organize and lead. While I did not plan on a career in health care, I grew to see how my values and my desire to help build bridges throughout our communities could be a powerful force in providing education and access to care to those who need it.
What’s the best part of your job?
RALPH:The best part is collaborating with clinical leaders, front line staff and administrative personnel to overcome barriers and find solutions in clinical transformation and organizational-wide projects. The outcome of our work has an impact on our patients, team members and the communities we serve. I am enthusiastic to be a co-chair for Northwell’s Bridges Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) representing African American and Caribbean employees. Being a BERG leader has allowed me to work in partnership with senior leadership on how to enhance recruitment and retention of culturally diverse talent and increase community outreach.
HELEN:The most rewarding aspect of my current position is how it enables me to partner with other community organizations and provide outreach projects for the underserved.
What thoughts and emotions does Black History Month evoke for you?
RALPH: Black History Month shares our history and contributions to the world with a wider audience. Similar to the Adinkra symbol Sankofa, Black History Month expresses the importance of reaching back to wisdom gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress. During this time and every day, I think of celebrating our rich past, present and work toward a better future.
HELEN:When I hear the term Black History Month, I fondly think of my childhood years. Every Saturday morning, the neighborhood children attended a Black History Reading Circle, hosted by a trailblazing woman in our community. We learned about black history on a weekly basis throughout the year and I can vividly remember the impact those sessions had on me to this day.
Is there a leader from history that inspires you? What about a figure from today?
RALPH:Nelson Mandela. He set an example of dedication, courage, and sacrifice for all. Also Angela Rye, an influential politico, lawyer, and advocate that has an unwavering commitment to ensuring positive change in the political process.
HELEN: I have always been inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His strength and stamina to follow his dream while facing constant adversity and life threatening challenges made him larger than life in my eyes. He exemplified what a true leader should be by teaching all of us about inclusion, dignity and respect. Most recently, I have been inspired by former President Barack Obama. I admire how throughout his public life he faced many challenges, but was able to maintain a respectful and dignified character.
Why, more than ever, do we need to reignite humanism through inclusion, dignity and respect?
RALPH:As humans, we are all capable of doing good to create a better society. While embracing our uniqueness, we have the opportunity to change the narrative on inclusion. Our patients and team members all have distinctive stories, challenges and successes in life that can benefit one another. Embracing our uniqueness, relying on each other, and creating new narratives will evolve our organization and surrounding communities.
HELEN:There are many issues dividing people today, all of which make it essential for healthcare providers to incorporate humanism in their care plan. All people need to feel respected, valued and cared for. I believe a purpose-driven life is a life of service and therefore, what better industry is there than health care to fulfill that purpose.