Continue celebrating Pride Month with us by watching our latest Northwell Community series video. Learn how our Expressions BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) provides opportunities for our LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies to connect and promote inclusion in the workplace. Our BERGs are active resources that help to create an informed work environment where everyone feels welcomed, accepted, and respected. Northwell Health is made stronger by the differences in backgrounds and experiences of our employees.
How the culture at Northwell has provided opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees and allies to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community
Jared Oliveira has been with Northwell Health for more than five years and is a gay member of the LGBTQ+ community. Having the security of a safe workplace is important to him and is something that Northwell has always provided. “I believe that Northwell is determined to better the experience for the LGBTQ+ population,” he says.
Jared is a program manager in corporate community relations. He is also a proud member of the leadership team for the Expressions BERG (business employee resource group). He defines this BERG as, “an employee group that is dedicated to influencing a culture of inclusion and advocacy throughout Northwell to support the LGBTQ+ community.”
In his role as program manager, Jared is responsible for overseeing community-based programs, such as managing pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics and assisting with the organization of vaccine distributions during COVID. That passion for impacting communities excited Jared about taking on a lead role in this year’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) survey – a national LGBTQ+ benchmarking tool that evaluates the policies and practices related to equity and inclusion for patients, visitors and employees of healthcare facilities. The HEI survey is an important annual initiative for him and his fellow Expressions BERG team members, such as Kimberly Schwalb, manager of operations for the Cancer Center at Mather Hospital
Kimberly is a proud ally and the executive coordinator for the Expressions BERG. Like Jared, she wants to help in any way that she can to ensure that all employees feel heard and accepted. She believes advocacy is made easier because Northwell is an organization where everyone unites behind the commitment to diversity and inclusion. One of Kimberly’s fondest memories was marching along with a contingent of over 750 Northwell employees down 5th Ave. for World Pride. It was a moving and powerful moment that brought employees together. “Northwell celebrates the diversity of all our team members,” she says.
In her role at the Cancer Center at Mather Hospital, Kimberly is responsible for the management and coordination of all practices for the cancer program. She also supports the planning and implementation of programs and processes essential to two cancer accreditations. Kimberly combines her expertise in management and coordination with her passion for celebrating diversity in the work she does for the Expressions BERG: “I partner with team members from across the health system to implement activities that focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion and that follow through on Northwell’s commitment to diversity.”
Together with the rest of the Expressions BERG leadership team, Jared and Kimberly enjoy curating events that celebrate all LGBTQ+ national awareness days. The BERG also helps promote practices that respect gender identities and pronouns and they collaborate with the health system as a whole to help increase the clinical services available for the LGBTQ+ community at Northwell.
Jared says, “Northwell puts employees first. For me, I am able to be who I am comfortably, regardless of my identity, and I am respected across the health system by my colleagues.” Kimberly adds, “Northwell celebrates our differences and is committed to the communities we serve.”
Why Northwell Health was named DiversityInc’s top company for diversity in health care
2021 is the second consecutive year Northwell Health has been awarded “Best Health System for Diversity” in the nation by DiversityInc. It is the ninth consecutive year that the organization has been included on this list.
As New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, Northwell has 76,000 employees who are a reflection of the communities they serve: one of the nation’s most diverse populations. Building an organization and work environment where everyone feels valued and included is integral to Northwell’s journey toward the tenets of diversity, inclusion and health equity for its team members, patients and communities.
Here are just a few examples of how Northwell Health has prioritized diversity and inclusivity
• We’re proud of being one of the first health systems, in partnership with the Healthcare Anchor Network, to declare racism a public health crisis.
• We continue to address health and racial disparities for COVID-19. More than any other health system, Northwell treated more COVID-19 cases – more than 191,000 patients – over a 13-month span as it collaborated with state and local government to aggressively roll out diagnostic testing and then vaccination efforts to underserved communities across New York City, Long Island and Westchester.
• Our Emerging Leaders Diversity & Inclusion Council — whose members include women, minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans with a passion for leadership — is empowered to build a culture of diversity awareness and inclusion to attract, develop and retain enthusiastic and ambitious talent for all leadership levels.
• Our neurodiversity virtual mentorship program and summer internship program offer neurodiverse college students insights into a career in health care while cultivating a better understanding of how to support our neurodiverse population within the workplace.
• Team members can 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 BERGs range from our Expressions BERG, which includes team members who are passionate about promoting unity, health equity and awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community, to our Bridges BERGs, which focus on Asian, Black/African American, Jewish and Latinx communities, among others.
• As a Military Friendly Employer award winner, we support service members transitioning from active duty to civilian life with career training, veteran-friendly transition programs, health and wellness services, MOS code job search, a student veteran mentorship program, and other resources.
• Our spirit of caring and celebration infuses every holiday, from legal holidays to meaningful religious observances to national days. Our team members strive to make each holiday special.
In addition to the top hospitals ranking, Northwell was also included on several other DiversityInc specialty lists. Northwell ranked eighth among top companies for Veterans, sixth for Latino Executives, No. 10 for Asian American Executives and No. 11 for Talent Acquisition for Women of Color.
DiversityInc examined companies using a 200-question survey that focused on six key areas: Leadership accountability, human capital diversity metrics, talent programs, workforce practices, supplier diversity and philanthropy.
Click here to learn more about Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and discover a career well cared for.
Northwell Community: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
This month Northwell Health celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Watch our latest Northwell Community series video and learn how we recognized the month, as well as more about how our Asian American BERG (Business Employee Resources Group) empowers our Northwell team members.
Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month at Northwell Health
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, we are proud to highlight our Jewish team members alongside our Jewish Bridges Business Resource Employee Group (BERG). The Jewish Bridges BERG creates a network of team members who are proud of Jewish tradition and passionate about cultural diversity.
We spoke with Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox, director of spiritual services, chaplaincy care and education at North Shore University Hospital, and one of the Jewish Bridges BERG co-chairs, to learn more about this amazing BERG.
What is the Jewish Bridges BERG?
The Jewish Bridges BERG is committed to providing resources to promote Jewish education, health care, business collaboration, social action, professional growth and community partnerships at Northwell Health. The Jewish Bridges BERG started in December 2019 and we have conducted amazing events to bring awareness to this BERG.
What are some events that were held?
Because our BERG is new, most of our events—except our first menorah ceremony—are held virtually. The first menorah ceremony, held at North Shore University Hospital, celebrated and recognized the American Jewish people in our country and brought awareness to our community. The second menorah ceremony, held at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was broadcast over Zoom.
In September 2020 we held a virtual event called “New Beginnings: A Fireside Chat,” where we discussed COVID-19, the safety and security of the Jewish community and the difficulty of spending holidays in a hospital setting.
In April 2021, we presented a Holocaust Remembrance Day lecture. Dr. Hedy Wald—a clinical professor of family medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School Pediatrics Leadership Program—shared her observations as a medical educator and daughter of a Holocaust survivor. She also spoke about her recent experience teaching medical students at the Witten/Herdecke Faculty of Health in Germany about medical ethics and morally resilient professional identity formation by reflecting on the role of medicine during the Holocaust.
What are some of the initiatives your team has planned for 2021?
For the rest of 2021, we will continue to hold our quarterly meetings and produce our five-year calendar of holidays and events. We also will be producing a Holocaust memorial video commemorating this 75th year since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of World War II in May 1945.
On June 17, we will be hosting “Let’s Talk about Racism: Confronting Hate and Antisemitism with Courage,” where we will reflect on current events, discuss effective techniques to speak as a victim or ally, and how to persevere through adversity as we work together to strengthen our communities to eliminate racism.
How does the BERG contribute to professional development within the organization?
The BERG is an opportunity to be a part of a small community and explore different cultures, as well as to create social connections with peers from different backgrounds and professional areas within Northwell. It is a great way to build relationships, define communication skills and learn about Jewish traditions.
Why Northwell Health is once again a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®!
Northwell Health has been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for the second year in a row, ranking 19 on the prestigious annual list. We are also the only New York health system ranked, recognized for our commitment to employee health amid COVID-19 crisis.
With a workforce of more than 76,000 based at 23 hospitals and 830 outpatient facilities throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, Northwell was selected from among thousands of companies nationwide.
Ninety percent of Northwell’s respondents reported being “proud to tell others” where they work and 84 percent said that “taking everything into account, they would say it is a great place to work.” The responses given during the ongoing pandemic reflect that Northwell team members feel more supported psychologically and emotionally, believe that Northwell cares about creating a good working environment, and that executive leadership embodies the best of Northwell.
A commitment to employee health and safety!
Another major factor contributing to the ranking included our commitment to employee health, both emotional and financial. For example, recognizing that frontline employees were under immense pressure, the health system created tranquility spaces using tents outside hospitals during the surge. Behavioral health professionals were available free of charge, as well as chaplaincy services, well-being resources and more. This provided safe and calming environments for employees to reflect, meditate, or pray before or after a shift.
The tents have now been replaced with indoor spaces as a permanent feature at Northwell hospitals.
To mitigate the worry many employees had of bringing the coronavirus home to their families, Northwell established partnerships with IHG Hotels, Ronald McDonald House, and various universities to provide housing so employees could physically distance from loved ones. Those who found alternative accommodations outside of this program were reimbursed for their expenses. Northwell also partnered with a transportation company to provide dedicated shuttles, so no one had to worry about potentially infecting other public transit passengers or being infected themselves.
Supporting families through a crisis
To aid employees with young children the health system offered crisis care reimbursement and a subsidized in-person childcare program for the 2020-2021 school year to help offset financial strain on families.
Recognizing the need for additional help, the Northwell Heroes Caregiver Support Fund was created to provide resources to employees who were financially impacted by the pandemic, such as a spouse’s job loss or a family member’s death. To date, the fund has disbursed $1,056,208.
In addition, the health system set up the Northwell Heroes Memorial Fund to support the families of employees who died from COVID-19, including help with funeral expenses, memorials, and other related expenses. The fund has raised more than $323,000 to cover salary and benefits that affected families continue to receive.
Delivering the COVID vaccine
On December 14, 2020, Northwell was the first health system in the United States to immunize its frontline workers against COVID-19, and has continued to roll out its vaccination efforts to team members.
While Northwell is focused on protecting team members, it is also at the forefront of the vaccination effort throughout the communities it serves with partnerships with county agencies, other health care providers, and community and faith-based organizations the vaccine is reaching as many as possible.
Northwell’s Best Companies to Work For recognition comes on the heels of the health system being named to Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Health Care & Biopharma list, earning the No. 2 spot for the category of large health care organization.
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An Appointment With: Dr. Jennifer Mieres, Senior Vice President, Center for Equity of Care
Jennifer Mieres, MD, FACC, MASNC, FAHA, started her career as a physician at Northwell Health. After a short time away, she returned to the health system in 2010 to establish the office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Literacy. In 2012, she assumed oversight for the Katz Institute for Women’s Health before establishing and leading the Center for Equity of Care (CEC).
Today Dr. Mieres is the senior vice president of the Center for Equity of Care and the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Northwell Health. In addition to her Northwell responsibilities, she is also a professor of Cardiology and associate dean of Faculty Affairs at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell..
We spoke with Dr. Mieres to discuss Northwell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and the work of the Center for Equity of Care.
What does your role as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer entail?
As chief diversity and inclusion officer, my mission is to identify gaps resulting from disparities in healthcare and establish evidence-based strategies for eliminating them across our communities. For the past 10 years, I have spent most of my time on the design and implementation of programs dedicated to diversity, cultural and linguistic competency, health literacy, and the expanded model for women’s health with the Katz Institute for Women’s Health . Across the organization we have established several strategic partners to help advance our diversity , equity and inclusion agenda forward.
What role does the Center for Equity of Care play within Northwell Health?
Since being established in 2017, our mission has been to advance the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care in partnership with our communities with the goal of achieving health equity.
Northwell has taken a comprehensive approach to addressing healthcare disparities by making diversity, inclusion and health equity a priority in all areas. CEC serves as a resource for the health system and communities, focusing on diversity and inclusion, women’s health, health literacy, education, cultural and linguistic competency, community partnership and appropriate community-and gender-based research initiatives. The CEC defines diversity as the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the workplace. At Northwell, we believe that every team member deserves to feel welcomed, respected and supported, and that differences should be acknowledged and embraced.
You founded and oversee Northwell’s Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs). Why is this program so important?
The Center of Equity of Care founded BERGs in 2013 and they have been instrumental in advancing an inclusive culture at Northwell. The BERGs program was established to enhance employee engagement, innovation, talent development, and promote an inclusive culture ensuring the delivery of culturally sensitive, quality patient care. Our BERGs are integral to fulfilling our mission, serve an important role in building a diverse pipeline of talent at all levels and sustaining trusted partnerships with the communities we serve.
During the past year, how has the Center for Equity of Care team helped to foster an inclusive environment at Northwell and within our communities?
The foundation built by the CEC contributed to Northwell’s rapid response to addressing the health disparities unveiled by COVID-19. With the newly established Office of Community and Population Health lead by Dr. Debbie Salas – Lopez, a Health Equity task force was established with the faith-based organizations and community members in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island with a focus on testing and vaccinating members of underserved communities and vulnerable populations served by Northwell.
During this challenging year, our clinical leadership has also created initiatives in response to racial injustice. Recognizing the connections between racism and mental health, Northwell’s behavioral health services works to empower employees to become active participants in dismantling racist structures that contribute to inequity and injustice.
Other anti-racism efforts include roundtable discussions with team members, inclusive leadership training, a Grand Rounds series on health equity, diversity and inclusion, and a Psychology Diversity Training Council. The Department of Medicine also established a Racial Equity Task Force to bring awareness of structural racism within health care and develop anti-racism initiatives and strategies.
What are some of the initiatives your team has planned for 2021?
Overall, we are aiming to advance the link with quality and equity, address healthcare delivery disparities, expanding cultural competency education for the Northwell workforce and to amplify and expand our community partnerships. Working with the Health Equity Task Force, we will continue to invest and partner with our vulnerable and underserved communities.
Additionally, a priority is to foster a culturally responsive workforce to support the mission of the health system. We are evolving Northwell’s Inclusion Academy in alignment with our Center of Learning & Innovation to build team member skill, knowledge and abilities in diversity, inclusion and health equity. We are also developing and implementing programming to build awareness of racism as a public health crisis.
How Northwell is caring for our environment with the GreenBERG
April is Earth Month and we’d like to share how our team members are making a difference in our environment by being part of our Green Business Employee Resource group (BERG).
Each year we celebrate Earth Day we reaffirm our commitment to help protect our planet and work to address climate change. Many of our team members strive throughout the year to be environmentally conscious and make positive changes through our own actions of conservation, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint.
With the impacts of climate change becoming more and more urgent, there’s never been a better time to learn about Northwell’s GreenBERG, a group of Northwell team members who are motivated to improve the environmental impact of Northwell’s operations by advancing sustainable and socially responsible efforts across the organization. Our GreenBERG members are working together to advance positive environmental actions in our communities. Being part of our GreenBERG also keeps you connected with colleagues, helps you build your professional network and be part of meaningful changes made by our organization. Here are some of the top ways they are making an impact.
They take an active role in managing Northwell’s environmental impact in the workplace and in our communities.
Northwell’s GreenBERG is a group that focuses on the environmental impact of our operations and has a real voice in making decisions on how our organization prioritizes sustainable and socially responsive initiatives in the workplace and in our communities. The GreenBERG focuses on energy and emissions; waste; climate change impacts; recycling and a sustainable supply chain.
The GreenBERG helps us achieve important environmental goals that will help ensure our future.
Among the overall goals of Northwell’s GreenBERG, they aim to enhance recycling and waste optimization, improve transportation in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint—including establishing a fleet of “green” ambulances and charging stations—and improve energy efficiency within our workplace, marketplace and the communities we serve.
A priority for 2021 is to expand GreenBERG membership and awareness of the initiatives underway. The group is incredibly proud to be partnering with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group and committing to important goals including reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and our electricity usage by 10% by 2027; obtaining 15% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and increasing Northwell’s recycling volume to 25% of total waste volume by 2027. Other priorities include reducing regulated medical waste and incorporating sustainable and socially responsible products into our dietary menus.
One of the group’s most exciting plans for this year is a partnership with our Veterans and Allies: Liaisons of Reintegration (VALOR) BERG to clean and restore locations where military monuments are displayed. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative where two BERGs join together honoring our veterans with a clean environment.
Our members are proud to be part of a group that has a history of getting important work done.
Northwell has placed first in the annual Car Free Day Long Island event for the past eight years – including last year during the pandemic. And members were able to continue to honor Earth Day during the pandemic by providing team members with tips on how to reset their daily habits to be more environmentally conscious.
Northwell removes and recycles 200 tons of cardboard from our supply chain annually and has converted to using biodegradable K-Cups—we use 2.5 million a year!—across our footprint. We also have installed 44 electric vehicle charging stations across our sites and effectively preserved nearly 19,725 acres of forest land by installing high-efficiency equipment throughout our facilities.
Network with team members across Northwell.
Northwell’s GreenBERG has nearly 600 members. That means our members have the opportunity to work with hundreds of team members across the organization, develop new relationships and share the pride that comes with advancing our environmental goals.
Broaden your horizons by working toward a common goal.
Being part of the GreenBERG makes you part of a group of like-minded colleagues. You may all have different professional skill sets and responsibilities, but you are joined together to realize a common goal. The connections you make by being part of this group could lead to opportunities you may not have thought of before and help you make connections that will have benefits both personally and professionally. And it will definitely result in your own satisfaction in contributing to your organization and your community in a very positive way.
#ChooseToChallenge: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2021
March 8th marks International Women’s Day and this year Northwell Health team members are standing together to proudly celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality–emulating Northwell’s culture and values to be Truly Ourselves. Hear how they’re celebrating this year’s theme and why they #ChooseToChallenge to help create an inclusive world.
Photos (from left to right): Dr. Yves Duroseau; Kimorine Campbell; and Lorraine Chambers-Lewis, PA
Black History Month: Celebrating being Truly Ourselves
At Northwell, we stand united, celebrating our differences and respecting each other to be Truly Ourselves. Every February, in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate the culture, contributions and accomplishments made by people of color around the world and within our organization.
In partnership with the Center for Equity of Care, we spoke with with Dr. Yves Duroseau, Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital; Lorraine Chambers-Lewis, PA, Vice President, Employee Health Services; and Kimorine Campbell, Senior Manager, Operations, to learn about their background, leadership journey, and inspirations.
What is your ethnic background and family origin?
Yves: I am Haitian American and of Haitian descent.
Lorraine: My parents are from Jamaica and I am part of the first generation in the family who were born here in America. Years ago many of us in my generation used to affectionately call ourselves “Jamericans.” We adapted very well to living in two worlds. At home we were in our Jamaican culture and outside of the home we had our American culture.
Kimorine: I am Jamaican American. Both my parents were born in Jamaica and I was born and raised in Queens, NY.
Why is it important to support Black history?
Yves: As demonstrated in 2020, we still have societal racial inequities that need to be addressed. 2020 was also encouraging in terms of a more global recognition that significant changes still need to occur until true equity and equality can be achieved.
Lorraine: It allows us to honor those who changed the world, giving them their overdue praise. We also get inspired to push forward with excellence and grit despite the obstacles. However, I think it is most important to remind everyone that as a society, we must always give folks that don’t look like you or act like you a chance and the space to grow. They could be the next history maker who may need a bit of support from you as they evolve into greatness.
Kimorine: Black history is American history. Supporting Black history means recognizing the contributions African Americans have made to our culture and society. Recognition helps us to use the lessons of the past to create a better and brighter future. It also allows us to honor those who have opened doors and to draw inspiration for our own lives.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a healthcare career?
Yves: I knew I wanted to become a doctor at the age of five. I joke that I was influenced into becoming a doctor by my parents, but fortunately I have no regrets and feel privileged to practice medicine.
Lorraine: In seventh grade, I had my first real exposure to biology. It was the most fascinating subject and I thought, “why would anyone want to study anything else?” While in high school my mother told me about these medical professionals that she saw at her job in a nursing home called Physician Assistants (PA). I did a little research and my decision was made. I knew this profession would be the perfect fit for me.
Kimorine: I always had a desire to help people and initially thought that I wanted to be a clinician. After working a part-time job as a scribe in an Emergency Department, I had an opportunity to experience the administrative side of healthcare and it truly impacted me and shifted my perspective. I knew then that I wanted to become an administrator and it was a great decision. I never looked back.
Is there a specific leader from history that inspires you?
Yves: Toussaint Louverture was a revolutionary leader who was very instrumental in achieving Haiti’s Independence from the French in 1803.
Lorraine: I have to say that I really am stunned by the black women in science. What they must have gone through to acquire an education, seek mentors and find meaningful opportunities. When I graduated from the Harlem Hospital’s Physician Assistant Program in 1993, I invited the first woman formally educated as a Physician Assistant to be our keynote speaker at our graduation. Her name was Joyce Nichols. She happened to be a black woman and her story inspired countless PAs to persevere and lead. I was in awe of her.
Kimorine: Michelle Obama is a recent notable leader that inspires me. I resonate with her humble beginnings and her perseverance, despite the challenges she had to overcome. She never lost herself and continues to work on the issues that are important to her such as public health, all while being a supportive wife and mother.
Northwell launches new Neurodiversity Virtual Mentorship Program
At Northwell Health, we are committed to creating a workforce that is as diverse and inclusive as the communities we serve. As part of our continued advocation for individuals with disabilities, we are proud to launch a new Neurodiversity Virtual Mentorship Program for college students.
The Virtual Neurodiverse Mentoring Program, created by the Workforce Readiness Inclusion team in partnership with the Bridges to Adelphi program, provides neurodiverse college students with an opportunity to engage with Northwell leaders across the organization in different disciplines. As part of the semester-long program, the six student participants gained firsthand insight into a career within the healthcare industry as well as a better understanding of how to support our neurodiverse population within the workplace.
The knowledge and experience the students gained will be invaluable as they begin to start their career journeys after college graduation. Beyond just meeting virtually throughout the semester to gain career insight and ask advice, students were given projects to work on to develop their skills across different healthcare disciplines and areas of interest.
The program was a success with students taking full advantage of this unique opportunity to connect with Northwell leadership. “Thanks to my mentor, Patricia Ricciardi, I gained experience in a new field, met several people working in that field and learned a lot about the retirement process,” says Anitra Marley, a participant in the program. “The Northwell Mentorship Program was a valuable experience and I am honored to have been selected.”
“I found the mentorship program to be very informative and engaging in terms of helping us to prepare for a career,” agrees Laura Madtes, another student participant in the program. “My mentor, Ariel Hayes, was very helpful and kind, and she introduced me to a lot of people who offered great advice for advancing my writing and work skills. I also feel that Ms. Hayes has helped me to improve my communication skills and I’m very grateful.”
“I was able to build a personal connection to my mentor, Jon Frascati, and even had the opportunity to make news banners for the Northwell website. I never thought before I would get the chance to have something I made be put on a website,” says student participant Steven Caminero. “Overall the mentorship program is a great experience and allows both mentor and mentee to learn from each other and to work together.”
And it wasn’t just the mentees who benefitted from this program but the mentors as well. “Participating in the Neurodiversity Mentorship program was such an amazing experience and one which I will cherish for many years to come,” says Joseph Moscola, PA, senior vice president and Northwell’s chief people officer. “These students are so incredible that at times I was unsure who was who was getting more out of the conversations, the mentor or the mentee.”
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as a neurodiversity program mentor. These students are truly extraordinary,” says Joseph Schulman, senior vice president, Population Health Business Transformation. “Throughout the program they’ve shown how incredibly talented, hardworking and ambitious they are and I’m excited to hear about their many successes going forward as they begin their careers.”
At the end of the program, all mentors and mentees shared their experiences in a virtual meeting to highlight the projects they worked on throughout the mentorship program and to celebrate their work throughout the program.
Northwell Community Series: Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs)
We’re proud to introduce our new series, Northwell Community – Connections, Careers, and Conversations. This video series features the voices of healthcare professionals as they connect, find inspiration and engage in conversation about personal and professional career growth in the diverse communities where we live, love and belong. The first installment in the series focuses on our Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) and the members who are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Listen to these future leaders as they share how our BERGS have given them a voice so they feel empowered to be their best selves both personally and professionally. Whether they are networking, hosting meaningful discussions, or launching new mentorship programs, these dedicated team members are leveraging their skills and passion to help educate and instill a sense of equity and belonging for all—integral to the culture of Northwell Health as an organization.
The vital role of peer advocates at Zucker Hillside Hospital
For Danny Sosa, working as a peer advocate at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH) isn’t just a job, it’s a way for him to make a difference using his own life experience.
Danny started his Northwell Health journey as a volunteer in our Peer Training program that helps prepare individuals to work as peer advocates. Our peer advocates are vital Northwell team members who provide support and advice for individuals going through similar experiences or who have disabilities. Throughout the three-month program, Danny learned from current colleagues about what peer work entails, as well as volunteering to go to the inpatient wards as a peer-in-training to get hands-on experience leading groups. After completion, Danny was partnered with a job coach and maintains close bonds with his fellow peers-in-training to this day.
Now as a peer advocate, Danny works closely with OnTrackNY, a program that helps adolescents and young adults who may have behavioral health needs, and Strong365, a mental health support community. Meeting with these individuals in the Early Treatment program, Danny runs and participates in group sessions as well as other activities part of the program.
Having received support from OnTrackNY himself gives Danny the valuable opportunity to connect with the program participants. “Being a peer advocate is about bringing my personal life experience to a conversation,” says Danny. “I get to help people currently going through a hard point in their life the same way I was helped. Being able to share how I grew and continue to learn from it can help others. I strongly believe it’s small steps leading to big changes.”
Peer Advocacy at Zucker Hillside Hospital
At Northwell’s ZHH, Danny found an inclusive environment that welcomed him as an asset to the team, not only for his hard work and passion, but also for his ability to deliver unique support and understanding. “Since I started at ZHH, the whole team has been very welcoming. Hearing how much of a difference having me participate in groups can make from team members or having a participant speak to me after a program, allows me to appreciate what an amazing opportunity I have to help people here.”
Danny has flourished in his career at Northwell and has even recently been asked to participate in a statewide project. This 18-month research project with Strong365, OntrackNY and Northwell provides New York residents who have behavioral health needs with mental health resources. Danny will act as one of the contacts that individuals can reach out to in order to be connected to the right programs for their needs.
His commitment to helping others with behavioral health needs has set him up for a future within our organization. “Being part of Northwell has allowed me to forge my own path as a peer,” says Danny. “The support and training I received helped me to become comfortable with sharing my story and feeling that I was contributing in a positive way to someone’s first experience.” Believing in little moments, he helps deliver Truly Compassionate care and understanding to people in their time of need.
Use your life experience to build a career well cared for at Northwell Health. Apply today!
At Northwell Health, we’re committed to building an inclusive and safe environment for our team members where we can all be Truly Ourselves. Our Spoken Word event encouraged individuality as team members and their families engaged in powerful self-expression.
Hosted virtually by Northwell’s Social, Belonging & Inclusion Council, this unique night of verbal expression offered team members an opportunity to creatively share what’s on their mind. Employees from all roles and teams within our organization had the opportunity to join and perform artistic pieces that focused on a variety of topics including allyship, COVID-19, diversity and inclusion, recovery, resilience and social justice.
“When we envisioned the Spoken Word event, we were excited to highlight the talent and diversity of our Northwell Health family,” says Dorean J. Flores, senior manager, Human Research Protection Program and member of the council. “Showcasing and attending an event founded in unity and interwoven with artistry invoked a sense of pride in being a part of an organization that exemplifies camaraderie.”
As part of that unity, the event created a space to share a passion from their personal lives with team members – whether that be from the topic they chose or simply the act of performing itself. For Emily Kagan-Trenchard, vice president, Digital & Innovation Strategy, and one of the night’s performers and MC, that meant connecting an artform that has been a big part of her life for over two decades with her friends and colleagues.
“What I love about spoken word events is the way it bridges all divides. It insists that all truths are worthy of an audience but makes no other demands on the shape or form that truth must take,” says Emily. “Because here’s the thing: there is no spoken word without the audience. It requires a speaker and a listener and that makes it a profound tool for building community.”
Another performer, Jeremiah Mallari, a workforce intelligence analyst in HR Operations, was grateful for an outlet to express himself while connecting to Northwell’s community, going on to even share his performance from the night online. “The Spoken Word Event was a beautiful picture of Northwell’s Culture of C.A.R.E (Connectedness, Awareness, Respect & Empathy),” says Jeremiah. “We’re all unique and hearing the different thoughts and passions of our team members perfectly depicts that. Each of the artists that performed showed their true selves and they were each embraced and celebrated.”
The spirit and passion for expression was felt throughout all 12 of the performances, with the night ending in a group virtual dance party. Healing was a continual theme through the night with the pieces allowing team members to get support and feel heard – something especially important as our healthcare heroes recover from COVID-19 in these unprecedented times.
“This event created a moment of connection and vulnerability that felt so necessary, so affirming and so urgent for all of us. The gift of spoken word is not only in the poem or the song or the freestyle that is shared, it is as much in the gift of space to listen,” says Emily. “Because this is how we get better. We sit together with the beautiful and difficult truths about the work we do for our patients, for our communities, and for ourselves to heal.”
Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Celebrating Filipino American History Month at Northwell Health
Northwell Health is proud to recognize Filipino American History Month and this year’s theme: “The History of Filipino American Activism.” Every October since 1988, communities celebrate the role that Filipinos have played throughout American history. During World War II, Filipinos fought in the United States and in the Philippines alongside the United States to obtain world peace. By working in various fields such as technology, healthcare, construction, education, and more, Filipino Americans have contributed to the economic growth of this country. As of 2018, there are 4.1 million Filipino Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey (ACS) data. Filipino Americans are the country’s second largest self-reported Asian ancestry group.
We asked a few members of our Bridges Asian BERG what Filipino American History Month means to them and how they celebrate. We are proud to celebrate these individuals as well as all Filipino Americans who have brought creativity, passion and innovative ideas to life!
Meet some of our Bridges Asian BERG members below:
“I’m honoring this year’s theme by educating myself and engaging with others through watching documentaries, participating in a few of Northwell’s many diversity-focused activities, taking Northwell’s Introduction to Unconscious Bias course, reading about Larry Itliong, who organized Fil-Am farm laborers in California in the 1960s, and most important, I’m using my platform as a leader within Northwell to make space for important conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Angeli Mae LagascaManager, System Clinical Transformation, Office of the Chief Nurse Executive
“To me, Filipino American History Month serves as a reminder to take the time to reflect on our roots, remember our family and ancestors, and take the opportunity to incorporate our culture in our everyday lives. It’s a chance to share and educate others about our heritage and culture. It’s really an honor that we are given recognition.”
Jacqueline SantelicesAccount Representative, Business Development and Marketing, Northwell Health Labs
“Filipino American History Month is a time when I can reflect on the impact Filipinos have made in the fabric of our country, in all sectors and systems like finance, culinary and healthcare. We celebrate Filipino American History Month in our home by making our favorite Filipino dishes, like Sinigang, a tangy, tamarind-based soup. It’s a time to appreciate the things that make Filipino culture unique and also intertwined with the world.””
“For me, Filipino American History Month means a time to reflect on my Filipino heritage. As a Filipino/Japanese woman, I am excited to spend time learning more about my family’s Filipino traditions and history this month.”
Karina HiroshigeSenior Associate, Finance and Operations, LIJ Medical Center
“This month gives me an opportunity to learn more about the contributions that Filipino-Americans have made to this country. I look up to my mother who came here in the 1960s as a nurse. I look at how happy she is and I am grateful for what she sacrificed by coming here to give my brothers and me a better life.”
Michelle PinzonDirector, Corporate Compliance
“As a Filipino American, it is important for me to see myself and other co-workers of similar heritage develop professionally. Being part of the Asian BERG allows me to have a voice and share ideas in an inclusive and diverse environment to help improve the health outcomes in our communities. It serves as a platform for me to collaborate with talented people within and outside of our organization.”
Ryan EspineliSenior Administrative Manager, Pulmonary Medicine
“The Filipino American History Month is a recognition of all my fellow Filipino’s economic, historical and cultural contributions in the United States. We celebrate our heritage, not just this month, but every day through food, music and relationships with people.”
Suzette Escueta Optimization Specialist, Ambulatory EMR, Northwell Health Physician Partners
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.
Join an organization that celebrates a workforce that is Truly Ourselves. Learn more about Northwell Health’s commitment to inclusion.
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.