Vivian Buccino, BSN, Charge Nurse, South Oaks Hospital
Vivian is committed to taking care of patients on the behavioral health unit at South Oaks Hospital, caring for the female adolescent population. She begins each shift rounding, ensuring her patients are treated with respect, regardless of their illness. While she provides clinical care, she also builds trust with her patients and demonstrates that she personally cares. Sometimes when patients have no visitors for lengths at a time Vivian will come in on her day off with cupcakes.
Vivian’s caring demeanor manifests itself in every interaction with patients and their families – exceeding what is expected to ensure everyone feels safe and secure. She is a role model for the girls on her unit, as well as her peers. Vivian always says that South Oaks Hospital is where she needs to be because her patients need her. It’s as simple as that.
Many moments in Melonie’s life led her to her career in healthcare. From witnessing the tragic events of 9/11 to her service in the U.S. Army working in a Combat Action Support Hospital, Melonie knew helping others was her calling.
While serving our country Melonie was assisting a critically-injured soldier who had been hit by a bomb. She soothed the soldier during his last moments of life by holding his hand and talking. Devastated by the loss, she found a letter to his family in the pocket of his uniform, and made it her mission to personally ensure the soldier’s family received this letter.
During her nine-year military tenure and leadership experience, Melonie has served as a role model for her staff, developing a strong sense of admiration amongst her team members. Overseeing radiology and cardiology for Plainview and Syosset hospitals, her list of achievements is vast, and because of this, she directly contributes to the success of Northwell as a thriving environment. Her colleague shares, “From her time as a soldier stationed in Iraq to now, her spirit has remained constant, influential and inspiring. We are lucky to have her.”
Watch Melonie’s Made for this story.
Teamwork- Project Search, Southwest Region
Team lead: Anne Marie McDonough
Team members: Joy Barone, Jai Sada, Anthony Mantuano, Antoniette Arcamone, Laura Longo, Dir, Rory Bradley, Nora Goldberg, Ralph Grimaldi, Joann Compitello
Launched at Staten Island University Hospital, Project Search is an innovative national program used to diversify a hospital’s workforce while minimizing high turnover in entry level jobs. The transition training program is for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who have completed academic requirements and would benefit from internships and employability skills education. The program’s steering committee identified entry level positions, performed job task analysis and created a recognizable presence for program participants. Ten applicants were selected, and classes began at Staten Island in September 2017. Led by special educators and a job coach, students attended daily classroom academic sessions and spent the remainder of their day with their mentor in their internship.
By the end of the year, students rotated through three non-paid internships that provided real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills. Staff became role models for the students, and the transition program has had far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful. There is significant potential for rolling this program out within the entire organization.
Watch Project Search’s Made for this story!
Exceptional Patient Customer Experience
Urszula Monaco, Lobby Service Representative, Center for Advanced Medicine
Fighting cancer is frightening, stressful and challenging. Fortunately, patients at the Center for Advanced Medicine Department of Radiation Medicine have someone like Urszula on their side. As the department’s lobby service representative, Urszula is the first face patients see when they come to the department where they are welcomed with her warm greeting and smile. Seamlessly, Urszula maintains the patient flow, helping to keep patients informed and reassured if there are any delays. This is no easy task when you consider that she sees over 120 patients and their families daily.
Urszula literally wears out the tread of her shoes moving from waiting room to waiting room, all while attending to the needs of patients. In 2017, Urszula walked approximately 3,276,000 steps which translates to more than 1,400 miles. While that seems like a tremendous distance to travel, Urszula would gladly go twice as far it if meant that she could comfort another patient. If you ask her if she gets tired of walking so much, her response would be, “Not at all. I just need a new pair of shoes.”
In addition to supporting patients, Urszula helps the department by spearheading creative ideas for improvement. She was heavily involved in rolling out the “Gong Ceremony” to help patients celebrate the important milestone of finishing treatment. Urszula wants to make sure no patient no patient goes through their diagnosis alone.
Watch Urzula’s Made for this story!
Physician of the Year
Tarek Zetoune MD, Hospice Physician, Hospice Care Network
Dr. Zetoune holds a unique understanding of the true meaning of comprehensive care and is committed to delivering quality end of life care to both adult and pediatric patients. Driven by the belief that every day matters, he demonstrates his pledge to connectedness, awareness, respect and empathy to his patients, their families and his coworkers. His decision to work in end of life care was in part motivated by his belief that it is a facet of medicine that, as a society, we often choose to ignore. In his words, “When there is no longer an option for cure, there is even more work to be done.”
“Born in Syria, Dr. Zetoune is committed to working with refugees, as well as hospice patients. Following the end of his fellowship program, he traveled to Greece as a pediatric volunteer to help displaced refugees. “If you are in the presence of a man or woman who is talking about his or her loss, whether in a hospice setting or in a refugee camp, you don’t have to say anything. Just listen. Our presence with that patient is what is most important, not our words,” says Dr. Zetoune.”
Director Cindy Ryan and Project C.A.R.E. Bring Wellness to New Heights!
Director Cindy Ryan started at South Oaks Hospital 25 years ago, and says there has always been a focus and emphasis on wellness for its staff and the surrounding community. Now as part of Northwell Health, Cindy has found amazing opportunities for her team at South Oaks to bring Northwell Health’s dedication to wellness to the great outdoors through Project C.A.R.E. (Cooperative Activities Ropes Experience) and to South Oaks employees as a Wellness Liaison.
Since 1994, Project C.A.R.E. has been offering adventure-based workshops, facilitating groups to work, think, and learn together! These programs involve a variety of activities including group cooperative challenge problems, outdoor adventure low and high ropes course elements, and other physical elements. The level of participation is, at all times, up to the individual. “We refer to this as Challenge by Choice,’” Cindy explains. “Project C.A.R.E. offers a non-traditional experiential opportunity for participants to problem solve, learn to trust themselves and each other, understand strengths and weaknesses they possess within a group and how to succeed by working as a team.”
So how does Project C.A.R.E. do it? Let’s say a Northwell Health team is struggling with effective leadership or communication and is looking to schedule a program day at Project C.A.R.E. A Project C.A.R.E. team member begins the process by completing an assessment of their needs. Some questions we ask include – What is the familiarity amongst the participants with each other? Do they work directly together? What are the goals the client hopes to achieve? What are the strengths of the team? What are the opportunities for growth and development? The information we get from this assessment allows our C.A.R.E. team to create a customized experience. This experience includes selected initiatives/activities that foster opportunities for tools and strategies of effective teamwork to present themselves. The learning occurs through group briefings, metaphors and evaluative reflection to make concrete connections between the participants’ experience and the application to other aspects of their lives. “Aha” moments can present themselves for the individuals and the team as a whole.
The wellness initiatives don’t stop with Northwell Health employees. Project C.A.R.E. extends its outreach to other corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, youth programs, church groups, and camps. “Northwell Health’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of the individuals within the communities we serve,” Cindy added. Northwell Health has made wellness a priority for the entire health system, and that emphasis starts at the top. “Whether it be the Virgin Pulse platform that we’re using to help staff establish a level of sustainability for wellness goals, to the connection and support from corporate wellness,” Cindy said. “I really do feel, especially recently, our current internal infrastructure has been very proactive and supportive of promoting opportunity for employees to work on their personal wellness. They are 100 percent behind those initiatives. I feel I have a significant amount of support from executive leadership.”
Though there’s tremendous institutional support, Cindy believes that it’s up to individuals to utilize the resources at their fingertips and contact their onsite liaison — each Northwell Health site has one — with their wellness needs. “There is great opportunity for someone coming into the system from a wellness perspective. The Northwell Health system makes a number of resources available whether you need to focus on wellness in spirituality, fitness, nutrition, and even finance. Northwell Health has afforded its employees many opportunities and resources to make effective change.”
How Assistant Director Jim Wescott is Bringing Northwell Health’s ED to Innovative Heights
Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line Jim Wescott has built his career in the ED and now he’s bringing his lively, passionate, and innovative leadership to the entire Emergency Service Line at Northwell Health. We sat down with Jim to see the ED through his eyes:
How did you get your start at Northwell Health?
I started at Southside Hospital ED in 2004 as a Staff Nurse where I stayed for 14 years. Shortly after that, Southside Hospital became a part of Northwell Health. From there, I progressed with the health system from Staff Nurse, to Charge Nurse, to Preceptor, and in 2012, I became an Assistant Nurse Manager. In 2015, I became a Nurse Manager and was integral in the expansion of the emergency department. Under my leadership, the ED progressed from an 11,000 capacity ED to 30,000. After construction, that number reached 60,000! Now, I’m Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line.
How did you know that coming to Northwell Health was the right career move for you?
I knew immediately that Southside ED was for me on my first walk through in 2004. There was a buzz and energy that was occurring in this small ED. I hadn’t even had an official interview and I was ready to jump in and start working! When Southside Hospital integrated with Northwell Health, the system did an amazing job of committing to projects and improving processes. It’s such an innovative health system! There’s just this incredible commitment to moving forward at Northwell Health and I believe it’s because the senior executive level has a passionate vision that they’ve implemented in the mid-level leadership team and disseminated throughout the entire system.
Tell us about your current role:
The Emergency Medicine service line works collaboratively with hospital executive leadership to oversee clinical operations, quality, patient experience, finance, employee investment, community benefit, teaching and research, and market growth in the system’s emergency departments. The service line drives the sharing of best practices, standardized measurement and analysis of efficiency and quality metrics, and streamlined administrative practices by partnering with site ED leadership. Additionally, the EMSL assists our sites with redesign ED workflows, coordinates with system emergency preparedness departments, and is growing the Northwell footprint through a joint venture with GoHealth Urgent Care.
We also work with sites on career development and the (this is a mouthful, sorry!) ED Service Line Clinical Leadership Development Program. It’s a terrific opportunity for our ED clinicians, ACPs, and RNs! Created in conjunction with other leaders at the service line level, program participants attend an expert-led class every month. One month might focus on emotional intelligence, another on finance, and another on business strategies. This is a unique program that’s geared toward Emergency Medicine and it’s an exciting program because you don’t traditionally get these courses in healthcare work. Our SVP and executive director, Dr. John Deangelo recognized the enormous benefit of this investment in our clinical leadership teams along the service line and through his trailblazing vision, brought it to life. The program will be kicking off its fourth class this July. As a proud alumnus of this program, I can share with you firsthand how the content of this program augmented my own career development.
How does Northwell Health encourage employees to move around within the organization?
Moving within the organization is very well received and encouraged. I was at Southside Hospital for a long time and had successful upward career mobility. There are definitely pros to progressing and growing at one site. You know the culture, you know the players, you know what to expect day-to-day- even in an ED where the landscape is unpredictable! There are also cons to staying at one site. When you take on a new role, there’s a lot to learn and I think it’s beneficial to start that new role at a different location. Each culture is different. You’ll augment your own growth by being exposed to different processes and different patterns of thinking with new leaders. Northwell Health does a great job of offering these opportunities for upward mobility throughout the system.
Have you had a great mentor at Northwell Health? What did you learn from them?
Narrowing down my mentors at Northwell Health is difficult! Senior Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line Kate O’Neill is a dynamic person. When I was a Nurse Manager, I was expanding the department to three times its size. It was a very stressful time, I could share my experiences and challenges with Kate and she was the reassuring voice I needed. Even if I knew what to do, receiving validation from her level was integral to my growth. She always had a calming presence to her and you knew she was really listening, a trait that’s a hallmark of any great leader.
There’s also Paula Fessler who has championed my career and been a mentor for years. When you look at someone like Paula, her personality and the presence she has- it’s very inspiring. She reminds you of how inclusive Northwell Health is as an organization and how they build a real culture of care from top to bottom.
Finally, there’s Jason Philip, the Administrative Director of the emergency department at Southside Hospital. I’m very passionate about leadership, coaching and mentoring. I want to teach others the lessons that I’ve learned, especially emotional intelligence- a skill that’s vital for innovative leadership. I can’t think of anyone that I’ve ever worked with who has a stronger emotional intelligence than Jason. He is ridiculously engaged in all of the many moving parts of the emergency department. You wouldn’t expect someone who’s on the MBA executive route to really get down into the weeds of clinical operations. But from his first day, Jason has fully integrated himself. He’s also the Administrative Director of the ED at Peconic Bay Hospital and he does the same thing there! I’m just amazed by his ability to listen- that’s an art that I’ve tried to perfect in my career.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in their careers?
Don’t be afraid to fail! I’ve learned so much more from trying and failing than anything I have succeeded at immediately. So to all of you starting your careers, I say this: Northwell Health is the greatest health system in the world to work for and I would go toe-to-toe with anyone who would challenge that. Shoot for the moon and don’t worry about failing while trying. In a just culture like Northwell Health, if your intentions are good and you tried your best, you won’t be berated or beaten down for it. You’ll learn from it!
Any innovative changes or growth happening in the future we should know about?
One of the numerous innovative projects our team has developed and continues to augment are real-time dashboards. Historically in health care, measuring your performance was a manual, rigorous, work exhaustive endeavor. If you were able to obtain any information it was seldom actionable as it was always a retrospective review of things you could have done better, say a few weeks, months, or even a year ago, and rarely could you benchmark these results to others. Today, our service line team utilizes real-time data with a laser focus on throughput efficacy, quality metrics, and patient experience to name a few.
By leveraging this technology our clinical leadership teams along the service line can drill down to the granular level on such things as length of stay in the ED by the hour, day, mode (walk-in or ambulance) of arrival, and truly drive sustained performance improvement by understanding the challenges and opportunities this powerful information provides our teams.
Jim Wescott is just one great example of the innovation, passion and creative thinking that is making our emergency department a trailblazer in health care. Interested in joining our incredible team in Northwell Health’s ED? RSVP here for our hiring event on August 7th!
A passionate commitment to her patients and team has followed registered nurse and Reservist Kelly Mahaffy throughout her career at Northwell Health that spans 30 years. It’s this passion for service that helped Kelly flourish in the OR, whether it be in a Northwell hospital or during her active duty.
Kelly’s career started in Manhasset Hospital as an OR nurse in 1988, following a successful clinical there in nursing school. Here she worked for 17 years on the evening shift, enjoying the diversity the evening shift brought and focusing primarily in neurology. Her desire for travel led her to California in 2005, where she later joined the Army Reserves.
When it came time to come home, Kelly returned to Northwell, accepting a position at Glen Cove Hospital in 2009. “At Glen Cove, we’re very proud of our hospital,” says Kelly, who is still an OR nurse there today, “We know when new surgeons come in, we have one chance to get it right and we do.” We’re proud to be able to have helped Kelly grow in her career with us while she continues to serve in the reserves.
From 2017 to 2018, Kelly worked with other reservists at Womack Army Medical Center in North Carolina. Here she was part of the active duty service, taking care of active duty soldiers. During her shifts, Kelly saw firsthand the sacrifices of those in the military and their families. Working with these soldiers continually inspired Kelly. “It reminds you to be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy daily,” she shares.
While at Womack Army Medical Center, Kelly noticed the inherent loyalty and teamwork of the soldiers with pride. “You have to look out for your soldiers,” says Kelly, “you have to look out for the people you serve with.” And she’s proud to see this value reflected in Northwell’s Truly Together employees as well, “The team really pulled together and took care of my job when I went away for a whole year. I knew when I came back, they’ll have kept things running smoothly.”
Veterans like Kelly and the soldiers they serviced have sacrificed so much to serve our country. At Northwell, we’re proud that Kelly chooses to continue this spirit of service with us as a nurse. “I’m proud to serve at Northwell,” says Kelly, “I am proud to have served in North Carolina, and I am proud to still be in the Army Reserves.”
And we’re proud to have been named a Military Friendly® Employer for three years in a row, supporting veterans like Kelly and providing veteran services throughout their time with us, such as pay differentials and flexible scheduling for reservists. We’re committed to our veterans, their career transition, and their growth.
Administrative Manager and Wellness Liaison Janet Schaetzle has been with Northwell Health for 12 years managing Northwell Health Physician Partners, Neurosurgery and Spine at Great Neck and Lynbrook. But don’t think she’s managing from afar as Janet’s on the floor with her staff and she doesn’t want to leave. In order to keep her staff in top shape, wellness is a major focus. For Janet, Northwell’s culture and wellness is connected to many aspects of her life — inside her office and outside in her community.
Inside the office, Janet’s staff members focus on wellness through healthy lunches and Zumba. Janet’s staff also participated in the Walk To Dublin. They embraced their love of competition and formed a team. “We monitored each other and we still do weekly step-offs and weekend rumbles. I’ve met people and made friends in other departments through the wellness challenges,” says Janet.
That emphasis on wellness and the impact of Northwell’s culture extends from her office doors out into her community. Janet is a part of the Northwell Life Facebook group that connects employees throughout Northwell Health. From Suffolk County, to Westchester, to New York City, employees are using social media to work together on community service projects in their spare time. For example, Janet’s office donates to Meals on Wheels with four other departments. In addition, the staff will take time on a weekend to serve families at the Ronald McDonald house and share a day creating a dinner for over 80 people every year for the past 3 years. “Northwell does so much with communities to raise money for brain aneurysms, breast cancer, and more problems that affect my patients. There’s a sense that you belong to an organization that really does care,” she adds.
Janet has personally benefited from Northwell Health’s focus on employee wellness. And that begins with leadership. “Northwell brings people in from the wellness department and the EAP works with us in dealing with stress, sleep, and staying energized,” says Janet. “The staff is so into it and I’ve joined a gym since this wellness program started.” That dedication to wellness includes providing resources to help employees grow professionally. “We have so many opportunities to advance. Through the Center for Learning Innovations (CLI), we can take classes, and Northwell Health will help pay for you to continue your education.” From Dealing with Stress Management to Emotional Intelligence for Leaders to Business Writing and Computer courses, Northwell Health provides employees with classes that help them advance and nurture their professional careers.
The emphasis of community has allowed Janet to see her staff at Northwell Health as family. Many of them have been working with her for 5-10 years, with one staff member who has been with her for 23! Now, Janet’s actual family has joined her Northwell Health family. Janet’s son Josef works for LIJ Hospital. “I am so proud of his contributions that he has given in only his first year with Northwell. At Northwell Health, you’re recognized for doing great things. There really is a culture of care here and shows that we are all Made for This.”
Bringing families together through the power of compassion
Sometimes, the most heartbreaking situations grant the greatest opportunity for us to provide genuine compassionate care. This was the case recently at North Shore University Hospital where care providers across several units and two hospitals worked together to help a father and daughter reunite as a family for one last time.
A fifteen-year-old girl came into the Emergency Department at North Shore with asthma exacerbation. Due to the circumstances that surrounded her condition, she needed to be transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center. However, while she was still in the ED, her care providers learned that her father was a patient at that same hospital with a terminal condition.
Not knowing how much time he had left, the patient wanted to be able to visit her father before her transfer. It took teamwork from staff at both hospitals to act quickly in order to make one girl’s wish a reality.
At Northwell Health, being Truly Compassionate is more than just a figure of speech or a slogan on a wall. It is an everyday commitment. The ED Attending, RN staff and leaders at North Shore and an RN from Cohen Children’s work together to escort the girl – with telemetry monitoring and oxygen in place – to her father’s room. There the staff remained with them to maintain her care so the patient could visit her father for two hours.
Nurses proved Northwell’s values with their dedicated care, going above and beyond by remaining well past the end of their shifts to ensure a daughter shared precious time with her father. The hospital teams worked as one to bring their patients comfort and assurance during life’s most difficult times.
It was an emotional scene, and one that reminded care providers why they went into their fields in the first place. “This is an event that will stick with many of us for a long time to come,” said Marissa E. Tang, BSN, RN at North Shore University Hospital, “I personally know I will be remembering and speaking of this event myself.”
Following her time with her father, the patient was transferred to Cohen Children’s to receive the care she needed. The patient and her family showed immense gratitude that thanks to the teamwork and compassion from both staffs, a girl was able to spend time with her father who passed away the next day.
Her nurses consider it a privilege to have been able to contribute to their important final visit. Jessica Jardin, RN, BSN, CEN, and Assistant Nurse Manager at the Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital will never forget that day, “I know this situation resonated with my colleagues and myself, and in such a case there is no way we would have denied these two the opportunity to have such precious little time together. The collaborative team effort worked because we all wanted to see the best possible outcome of a painful situation for our patient and her family.”
What’s one way to shatter the glass ceiling? Ask Susan Browning.
Executive Director of Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills, Susan Browning, hasn’t just cracked a glass ceiling in the healthcare industry, she’s shattered it. And she has the award to prove it: Susan was among eight leaders to receive the Glass Ceiling Award, which honors women who rose through the ranks in their respective industries. Though there are still plenty of glass ceilings that need breaking, these women have paved the way for many others! We talked to Susan about mentorship, one of her biggest career decisions, and what’s next for her at Northwell Health:
Tell us about your career journey at Northwell Health!
I joined Northwell Health eight months after the merge of what was then North Shore Health System and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. When I was recruited, I initially had responsibility for ambulatory care operations. However, due to the evolution of the health system, I moved into a role within system operations about a year and a half after joining. From that role, I transitioned back into hospital leadership positions, first at LIJ Forest Hills and then at Staten Island University Hospital. Subsequently, I provided administrative leadership within four of our clinical service lines. And, about three years ago, I was asked to return to LIJ Forest Hills as executive director.
What was it like to make the decision about healthcare administration vs. practicing medicine?
I always knew that I wanted a career in health care, and early on I thought that would be as a physician. However, during my undergraduate studies, I met several healthcare executives through various professional experiences. It was through those experiences that I reoriented my interests towards administration, where I was focused on the health of the community and development of services to meet community needs.
What does it take to earn a Glass Ceiling Award?
I view this award as a great recognition of Northwell Health’s focus on building services in the Queens community, which meet the needs of the community. This is an award that is reserved for individuals that have achieved professional recognition, but most importantly, community recognition for their leadership within the community.
Have you had any mentors along the way who made a big difference in your career?
Absolutely. The mentors that I have had (and continue to have), provide extraordinary support, guidance, and objective insights as my career has developed. Having strong, trusted mentors is one of the most important positive factors in one’s career development.
What should women know about working at Northwell Health?
Northwell Health is an extremely innovative health system, with visionary leadership. There is a focus on building diverse talent across the organization, as having diverse voices contribute to organizational decision-making enhances the sophistication of those decisions. The culture is very supportive.
What’s next for you in shaping careers for women in STEM?
I prefer to focus on shaping careers of any young professional interested in STEM, not solely women. There is a great opportunity for talented leaders, and it is up to my generation to mentor these leaders and prepare them for the evolving industry and opportunities that will present.
Photo: From left to right, Dr. Allen Toles, Dr. Janna Andrews, Zacharie Saintyl
Black History Month: My role as a leader at Northwell
At Northwell, we are Truly Ourselves and we stand united, proud and respectful, always celebrating our differences, together. February is Black History Month, and we sat down with some of our leaders to learn about their history, their dreams, and their career aspirations. With an ever-changing health care landscape, their leadership is critical to our organization’s success because of their unique backgrounds. Check it out.
1. Can you please describe your ethnic background and/or family origin?
Dr. Allen Toles: My ethnic background is African American.
Dr. Janna Andrews: I am African American and my family originates from Alabama and Georgia (and I am very proud of my southern roots). My family moved to Queens when my mother was a child but as many of them get older they all eventually return home to the south.
Zacharie Saintyl: I am originally from Haiti. My family came to this country in hopes for a better future. My parents always told us about the United States being the land of opportunity. They always have high hopes that my siblings and I would become important figures in society through a good education, and their hope was realized when my siblings and I became the first generation in our family to graduate high school and to graduate college. Thanks to my parents, today we each are able to live our dreams.
2. When did you know that you wanted to be a healthcare professional?
Dr. Allen Toles: I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to be in healthcare having been exposed to it, essentially, from birth, and because my mother is a pediatrician who trained at Harlem Hospital and serviced the Greater Jamaica Queens community for more than 40 years. So, it was a natural transition for me as I advanced through my undergraduate and ultimately Medical School years.
Dr. Janna Andrews: I knew I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was five. My goal was first to go to the Olympics in Gymnastics then spend the rest of my career as a physician. After I hit a serious growth spurt at 16 my Olympic aspirations were put aside. I wasn’t anywhere near Olympic quality but I do appreciate that gymnastics taught me how to compete. I should also say that I was fortunate to grow up watching the Cosby show where I got to see very positive images of black professionals that convinced me that becoming a physician was something I could achieve. After gymnastics I then began to focus on what I needed to do to go to medical school and I looked at the journey as just training for another competition. I always had a very deep interest in healing whether it was mentally or physically and what that entailed.
Zacharie Saintyl: It had always been my passion since I was a little boy growing up in Haiti to help others. I was always involved in community service at church and I would always visit the sick at hospitals, brought them food and prayed with them. When I came to the United States I was presented with an abundance of opportunities and education that helped my passion become a reality. As I grew older I became more passionate about working in the medical field as I watched my family members, especially my mother, struggle with sickness. I wanted to be in a position where I can provide professional health to them and that’s when I found my passion in Nursing. I started as a nursing assistant at Northwell Health and after finishing my studies, I continued to set higher goals for myself. I took advantage of every opportunity that was presented to me and I am now a Nurse Manager at LIJ Valley Stream.
3. What’s the best part of being a leader here at Northwell Health?
Dr. Allen Toles: The best part of being a leader here at Northwell, is that I have the opportunity every day of breaking down barriers and stereotypes, and being a role model for other employees and my community.
Dr. Janna Andrews: The best part of being a leader at Northwell is having a platform to make a difference. I’ve been extremely fortunate to sit down with some great mentors that have really opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist at Northwell, but also to the impact that I can potentially have. I feel like it is my job to pass this information and these opportunities along. I’m currently serving as a co-chair for the BERG (Business Employee Resource Group) that focuses on employees of African American and Caribbean descent. We are just getting started, but collectively we are committed to ensuring that these employees are aware of opportunities that exist for themselves or their families at Northwell. We are also committed to hosting health initiatives that will have a positive and lasting impact on the communities of color in the surrounding areas.
Zacharie Saintyl: The best part of being a leader at Northwell Health is being able to contribute to the Northwell mission. I am grateful to be a member of a great health system that invests in its mission and vision to improve and promote healthcare across diverse communities. I am truly honored to have this platform to be inspired and I am fortunate to be surrounded by great leaders that I can learn from. I’m presently a member of one of our BERG’s serving as a co-chair. We work to enhance communication and patient experience while serving the diverse communities within our health system.
4. What do you think about when you hear “Black History Month?”
Dr. Janna Andrews: When I think about Black History Month, I very much think about those that came before me and created this space and opportunity for me. I am very aware that I stand on their shoulders and I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve and overcome. There is more work to be done and that is ok. I live my life through the affirmation- to whom much is given, much is expected, and I am happy to carry the baton until it is my turn to pass it. For now, I will roll up my sleeves and ask how I can be of service.
Zacharie Saintyl: When I think of Black History I think of the time that we celebrate all the accomplishments and the accolades of black people worldwide. The first black president of the United States was in my lifetime. That is an amazing feeling to experience. This accomplishment and others inspire me to also become a great role model, not only to my children, but also to those who look up to me. Knowing about the great achievements of black people through history motivates me to never give up. I become more confident in knowing that I too can accomplish great things such as the people who came before me and created this opportunity for me.
5. Is there a specific leader from history that inspires you? What about a figure from today?
Dr. Allen Toles: It may sound cliché, but Martin Luther King, continues to inspire me, because I was well aware of his presence and actions during my adolescence and was able to witness firsthand, the cataclysmic change that he brought about in American Society. In this 21st century, I have been inspired by many people, but I think for most people of color, Barack Obama has inspired a new generation of believers, that with hard work and determination, all things are possible.
Dr. Janna Andrews: Harry Belafonte inspires me. His legacy as a social activist and devotion to the ongoing fight for our civil rights is tremendous. Harry Belafonte has passed the baton from his mentor Paul Robeson and I have so much respect for someone that recognizes and uses their platform for social good. Mr. Belafonte has shown up, he has written checks, and he has stayed politically engaged his entire life. He has been passionate and outspoken as a humanitarian and I can only hope to accomplish a sliver of what he has but he certainly gave those of us that follow in his footsteps a foundation to stand on. I think ultimately Mr. Belafonte will pass the baton to the actor/social activist Jesse Williams. Already an established social activist in his right, I can’t wait to see what Williams is able to accomplish.
Zacharie Saintyl: Barack Obama is my inspiration. When faced with adversaries and tribulations, he was never shaken – he was a man of character. He has received unprecedented opposition and disrespect, yet he dealt with them peacefully and gracefully. As a father and a husband, he inspires me to be a great leader – to lead with positivity, and to never give up when facing adversary.
6. Why, more than ever, do we need to reignite humanism in healthcare?
Dr. Allen Toles: There is a tectonic shift that is happening ethnically and culturally in this world and right here within our own communities, and as health care providers we need to be exquisitely sensitive to this shift. We are no longer a homogenous population; we are a “melting pot” of such diversity now, with the breaking down of bias, stereotypes, and ignorance. People are in relation with one another, and as a result, families are now multicultural, multiracial, bringing forth more heterogeneity than ever. To this end “Humanism” has to be primary when delivering healthcare, so that one can understand the whole person – what makes them who they are, and therefore, have a better insight, into their health challenge, and develop the best approach to heal their body, mind, and spirit.
“I knew that coming to Northwell presented an opportunity for growth and it’s one of best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel appreciated, I feel acknowledged, and I feel my talents are recognized.”
– Edlyn Fernandez, Administrative Director of Radiology, Long Island Jewish, Valley Stream Hospital
Edlyn Fernandez has come full-circle. When she began her career at Northwell Health as a Front Desk Clerk, she used her position to build up her terminology while she went through Radiology school. After graduating from her radiology program with honors, she moved to an X-Ray Technician position and eventually came back to Long Island Jewish, Valley Stream Hospital as a Per Diem Cat Scan Technologist, where she worked for five years while she received her advanced certification in Cat Scan.
Edlyn still had places to go! After four years as a Per Diem Cat Scan Technologist, she was promoted to Cat Scan and MRI Supervisor where she oversaw both modalities in which the department acquired ACR accreditation. She eventually moved into the role of Radiology Manager where she assisted the director in departmental needs such as patient safety and staff scheduling, the ACR accreditation of multiple modalities, IT troubleshooting with PACS and Ris system, the implementation of Sunrise Clinical Manager, and obtaining data for quality metrics such as turnaround time.
Edlyn is putting all of this experience to good use now as Administrative Director of Radiology, the same department she started her career in. Her new role gives her the ability to collaborate with administration, nursing, and the rest of the hospital for timely discharges and lengths of stays, all while performing daily briefs to set expectations and goals for the staff.
“The work you put in at Northwell Health is repaid with opportunities to grow. I’ve always been dedicated and it’s been an honor to be here starting off as a Front Desk Clerk and growing into my current role,” she says.
The Northwell Health values of never settling, relying on each other, and utilizing her ambitious spark make Edlyn an outstanding teammate. Her dedication and career progress make us proud to call her a valued team member. She’s an amazing example of how at Northwell Health, you never know what heights your career will take you.
“When I came here to this very office and interviewed as a Front Desk Clerk, I never thought I’d be where I’m sitting. Now, I look around my office and I’m sitting on the other side of the desk, and I did it.”
At Northwell Health, we love giving our employees the opportunity to grow. Explore how your career can thrive by looking at openings here.
Photo: Lesly is the 2nd man from the left in the front with the trophy
Northwell Health’s Pathway to Inclusion
Written by: Lesly St. Louis
I have been advocating for individuals with disabilities – a group of which I am a proud member – for most of my life. The biggest challenges we have to overcome are not the disabilities, but the stigma surrounding them. As an Inclusion Specialist at Northwell Health, I now facilitate employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. My role provides me with the resources to replace fear with mutual understanding, allowing persons with disabilities to become productive members of society.
My job is especially meaningful to me as I know how it feels to encounter barriers from employers. I was born with a congenital malformation called Spina Bifida, which is a defect of the spine and spinal cord. As a result, my primary way of mobilizing is by use of a wheelchair. But I haven’t let that stop me. Through the support and dedication of my parents, as a child, I began participating in adaptive sports designed specifically for individuals with disabilities just like me. I was embraced by the community and it was empowering. The athletes I met over the years guided me through challenges on and off the court. Because of this experience, I learned that I too had a responsibility to support other individuals with disabilities. I took on a leadership position in my wheelchair basketball team to inspire others to overcome and live better with their disabilities.Northwell Health became the biggest supporter of my wheelchair basketball team.
Northwell Health became the biggest supporter of my wheelchair basketball team. I was fortunate to meet Chief People Officer Joe Moscola, who introduced me to the different employment opportunities Northwell offered.
I will be working to communicate our inclusive workforce vision by connecting with schools, vocational services, and other public forums. Community outreach is key to ensuring people with disabilities are aware of the multiple employment opportunities that exist within Northwell Health. Educating everyone in our organization to work collaboratively on creating dynamic opportunities well suited to both the needs of the individual and those of the organization can result in a successful outcome. Connecting our recruiters and hiring managers to individuals with disabilities through specialized events such as workshops will also foster direct communication, furthering our shared goals of creating an inclusive workforce.
I personally know the difficulties that disabled individuals face when finding a job. I had countless conversations with prospective employers and found a few common themes: they would find multiple reasons why they could not hire this person, or if they were willing to give them an opportunity, why they were not able to promote them within the company. I know that I can play a vital role in helping other disabled individuals find a role here at Northwell Health and can honestly say that the organization is focused on this initiative. It is both my job and my vocation to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. My hope is that through creating opportunities for employment, we can work together to increase confidence within these individuals and inspire them to conquer more challenges and achieve even higher levels of success.
It is both my job and my vocation to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. My hope is that through creating opportunities for employment, we can work together to increase confidence within these individuals and inspire them to conquer more challenges and achieve even higher levels of success.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.