In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey inflicted upon the Houston area, the need for medical care rose to crisis levels for those impacted by the flooding and who rely on their healthcare providers to manage existing chronic conditions. In response, Northwell Health connected with its counterparts at the Houston–based MD Anderson Cancer Center to offer assistance to match the hospital‘s specific needs. Within 24 hours after requesting help from its clinicians, Northwell enrolled more than 600 employees interested in volunteering. Here is one of our volunteer’s stories.
Written by: Angela Daly
As nurses and healthcare workers, we are there for people at times when they are most vulnerable; we step up when we are needed without a moment of hesitation. I was in nursing school when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my hometown of the Rockaway’s in Queens in 2012. Thanks to the kindness and amazing gestures of so many who stepped up when we needed them the most, my neighborhood made a strong comeback, allowing me to graduate on-time and start my dream job as a float nurse for Northwell Health.
When I heard that Houston, Texas was expecting to be heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, I immediately stepped up to volunteer. The week that I spent in Houston was an amazing experience that allowed me to give back to the world the same gestures that were once given to me in a time of crisis. I was able to use my talents and training as a Northwell Health Nurse in a way which was valued and so appreciated by so many. I was so proud to be a part of Northwell’s nursing team during that week in Texas as I relieved the nurses and allowed them to get home to their families and to begin the recovery process. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had as a nurse, and the finest example of how Northwell Nurses and I are Made For This!
Meet Madalyn Frank-Cooper, Director of Patient Care Services at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills. We sat down with her to talk about her career progression and to simply understand why she loves her job. Here is what she has to say.
Why did you fall in love with Emergency Services?
I first fell in love with EMS when I was working as a medical assistant many years ago. One day, while I was working, we called for an emergent transfer for a patient to the hospital. I was in awe of the EMT’s professionalism, their quick and thorough assessment skills, and the transfer of the patient to the hospital setting. I next joined EMS, and a short time later enrolled in nursing school to further my education and become an RN. I began my career at Lenox Hill Hospital in the ED. I was fascinated by the coordinated, quick decision making of the inter-professional team in this fast paced environment. I was a clinical nurse for approximately 5 years and was afforded the opportunity to become a clinical liaison, and next found my path in leadership.
What is your role as Director of Patient Care Services?
My role as Director of Patient Care Services is to ensure the best possible care to our patients and to provide our employees with the knowledge and support to do so. This includes promoting an exceptional patient experience, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and a safe environment. I feel this role is important because enables and promotes avenues for advocacy for patients, families, and staff.
How do you continue to push your employees to provide top quality of care for our patients?
Nursing is dynamic and can drive change. Placing the patient at the forefront, eliciting feedback from the front line, and explaining the reasons why assist to drive quality of care. Structures we have in place to examine our quality of care include Collaborative Care Councils, Committee work, and focus groups. These structures promote shared governance and provide insight for the care we are delivering.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have the Nurse Activated Stroke Code Project, where using specific criteria, the nurses are empowered to activate the Stroke Code at the patient point of entry. This has shown to be successful in decreasing our door to doctor, and door to imaging time. Early recognition and treatment yield better patient outcomes, increasing the likelihood of a full recovery. Next, we are looking to expand this concept to patients with sepsis and initiate a Nurse Activated Code Sepsis, with the goal of improved outcomes.
Initially, it never occurred to me to consider Tech School. I was going to school to become an accountant and during that time I worked in a small radiology facility. I worked with John, the director of an Ultrasound program. My desk faced the wall and our desks were caddy corner. One day, John approached me and said, “Consider Ultrasound school and forget accounting”. In so many words, I told him to leave me alone. He responded, “OK, sit in the corner for the rest of your life”. I will never forget how I felt in that moment. I started to pay more attention to the Tech’s and each modality. Ultrasound interested me because there is an art to it; the probe is your camera. I was hooked and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Ultrasound.
I began my career at Huntington Hospital in 2008. I worked with esteemed Radiologist Dr. Wank and he recruited me to go to Great South Bay Imaging in late 2010 when the practice wasn’t even open yet (I literally wore a hard hat while I interviewed with Bill Brostek). It may sound cliché, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Just like with John, Bill saw something in me that day. He hired me as a staff Technologist and then I was promoted to Ultrasound Supervisor and not long after that, I was promoted to Practice Manager of the facility. Over the course of 7 years, I have seen many changes and growth within our facility. From the earliest moments of my career, the team that I have worked with has solidified the reasons I was drawn to this field in the first place. Technologists graduate with a foundation of knowledge in patient care. It is not until this knowledge is put into practice that a Technologist begins to realize that patient care is the most important part of our job. Even though a majority of my day is no longer spent scanning patients, patient care remains my utmost priority.
I often look ahead to the future. Just as I have evolved and grown within my career, the field of radiology will continue to evolve and grow. Northwell Health continuously provides opportunities that break down barriers so that there are no limitations to the level of success we can all achieve. This fosters an environment in which patients can be part of a health system that is a step above the rest. Northwell Health has afforded me opportunities in my career that I never deemed possible, especially when I look back at myself sitting in the corner all of those years ago.
Many people have not only believed in me but instilled a drive that I didn’t know existed within myself. The moment I wake up each morning, I have a mantra I often repeat – I am part of something greater and I am going to make a difference today. I often reiterate this mantra to my team so that we don’t lose sight of our common goal. Simply put, we all entered this field to help people. Patient care is our #1 priority. No matter what an individual’s role is within the health system, that mantra, along with prioritizing patient care, will only enhance the overall success of our Health System. I wear my Northwell Health hat proudly each and every day.
Photo (from left to right): Emmelyn is the third women in the front of the photo
From Assistant Clinical Analyst to AVP of the Office of Research Compliance – my career journey
Since joining our team in 2005, Emmelyn has taken every challenge and turned it into an opportunity. Learn how her career progressed over the years and how we supported her along her journey.
Why did you want to become a part of Northwell Health?
My passion has always been in research and public health and because of this, I ended up moving to the New York area to attend a graduate program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. In 2005, Northwell Health offered an opportunity for me to continue working in research as an Assistant Clinical Analyst, focused on regulatory compliance. It sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about the complex regulatory environment of research and work for a very large health care system. This was an exciting new challenge and I was eager to get my feet wet since I was had only had experience working in smaller medical academic centers in Chicago and Boston.
How has your career progressed over the years?
In 2007 I was promoted to a Manager in the Research Compliance department where I continued to work on developing the audit and compliance program and regulatory education and training for researchers throughout the organization. After a few years, I was promoted to Direct the Research Compliance Department and most recently, became the AVP, Research Compliance and Privacy Officer.
What are the biggest projects you are working on right now?
In Research Compliance we regularly perform audits of research throughout the organization and capture metrics. We’re developing ways to more effectively capture data from our reviews and develop analytical tools that can help us better pinpoint areas that may represent operational gaps or challenges leading to compliance issues or areas in need of further education and training. This data can then be presented to leadership and groups for further discussion or actions. At the end of the day, we want to be able to gauge the level of quality and integrity of the research that’s conducted at our organization. Continually evaluating quality and making improvements allows Northwell Health to continue to be a leading organization in research.
The other area I’m involved in is the Business Employee Resource Group (BERG). I’m one of the co-chairs of the Bridges Asian BERG that launched in October of 2016 and we’ve been working closely with the Center for Equity of Care (CEC) and various Service Lines across the organization on a variety of initiatives that seek to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services and build trust within the communities that we serve. We are working to create a larger impact across the workforce, expand the marketplace and better connect with our communities. This is critical as Northwell Health expands its footprint throughout very diverse neighborhoods and we need to work cross collaboratively to make a substantial impact. I’ve worked in minority health initiatives and research and this has always been another passion of mine. Northwell Health offers an amazing opportunity for its workforce to get involved in organization level projects through BERGs, which is fully supported and encouraged by leadership.
Within your different roles, how did you leverage them to be successful?
I always find value working from the ground up and learning a lot along the way from experience, good and bad. Working my way from an Assistant Clinical Analyst to where I am today took many years with a fair share of challenges, failures, and successes. Over time I’ve learned that it pays to take risks sometimes, be proactive and a self-starter, seek out a mentor and most importantly, to seek and listen to feedback. I was fortunate enough to participate in certain programs within the organization such as the High Potentials Program that exposed me to various management and problem-solving strategies and Corporate leadership. That definitely gave me a different perspective on how our large organization worked and the potential that everyone has within, that could be realized to its full potential with dedication to collaboration, putting in 100% effort, actively networking and seeking mentorship.
In my current role, I’ve found value in communication and being a mentor to others. This includes ensuring a good level of communication with my team, colleagues and with individuals throughout our vast organization. I remember reading an article about how leaders shouldn’t only seek to climb the ladder, but they make sure that they look back and help others up along the way. This rings true as a woman and minority in a leadership position as we definitely have our fair share of challenges in the work place. I always remember the people who have extended their hand to help me along the way to get me to where I am today, and I’d like to do that for others who show the same amount of dedication and enthusiasm working for our organization. I think that truly makes you a successful leader.
Were there any roadblocks you overcame? If so, what are you most proud of?
The hardest thing about career progression is when you advance to the next level. When I was promoted to a Director and had to supervise other employees it was completely new to me and I went through my fair share of trial and error. Fortunately, I had mentors and supervisors who helped me to overcome challenges every step of the way and who serve as role models. Over these years I have worked hard to build the Research Compliance program and expanded the department to where it is today. I am most proud of seeing my staff develop personally and professionally, overcome challenges, and work with me to make the program even better each year.
I have learned so much, met so many people and have grown professionally. Northwell Health has been a terrific place to work and provides so many unique opportunities for the workforce. I’d like to encourage others to seize the opportunities offered at our organization, network and meet with people outside of your department to expand your horizons. Lastly, be engaged and make your career what you want it to be – you are made for this!
A career I’m proud of – why I decided to join Northwell Health’s team after the Military
Written by: Luis Phillips
My decision to enlist in the military emerged for numerous reasons. I grew up admiring my father and his service in the military, saw how certain benefits supported my family and the different educational benefits. I decided to join the U.S. Army right out of high school at age 17 through a waiver signed by my parents, and although the transition from military life to civilian life had the potential to be difficult, the military taught me how to keep calm in the face of chaos. Through my experience, I have learned how to work well under pressure, improvise, adapt and overcome.
Towards the end of graduate school, I began searching for jobs related to my major in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and it was at this time that I learned about Northwell Health. I noticed that they offered many opportunities within my major and I also wanted to join their team due to their recognition as a military friendly organization and their commitment to veterans. I had heard through peers about their reputation for being a great organization that encompasses diversity and professional growth. I discovered that they were hosting a veteran recruitment event for which I applied and later led to an interview.
Following the interview, I was hired and began my career at Northwell in 2014 as a Clinical Practice Plan Representative in the Central Business Office. While holding this position I was recognized as Employee of the Month and also nominated for Employee of the Quarter in 2015. After a little more than a year’s time, I transitioned to a Clinical Practice Plan Analyst on the Revenue Cycle Operations team. Within this role, I acquired a unique skill set, which allowed me to develop analytical acumen through SQL to write queries, as well as become the lead analyst and receive the myRecognition Execution award. With this acquired skill set, a year and a half later I became an Operations Manager for the Clinical Informatics team at the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in 2017.
At the beginning of my career, I was fortunate enough to become a member of the VALOR B.E.R.G (Business Employee Resource Group). Since joining this group I’ve had the opportunity to attend some events and share my experiences and stories with other veterans. VALOR is a program that brings veterans together to give them a chance to appreciate one another while also learning from each other’s experiences in the military and in their current roles within the organization, assisting veterans in gainful employment while promoting well-being.
I take a lot of pride in working for Northwell Health and feel a sense of fulfillment in my role because of everything I mentioned above – they support Veterans through the hiring process. They support Veterans while they are a part of this organization. And they support Veterans throughout the communities. I am currently enrolled in the Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Program, have been accepted into the MBA program for Strategic Business Management and will be attending Hofstra University in the fall of 2017 with the help of the organization’s tuition reimbursement program. Being able to work within my field of study and the organization’s commitment to veterans is continuously gratifying. The health systems service to the community, as well as the abundance of genuine people, makes one take pride in being a part of such a rewarding organization.
Photo: Luis and his team after a successful drive for the Ronald McDonald House
More than coworkers – friends who were made for each other.
You know how sometimes you meet a person for the first time and you just click? That’s how it was for Erin Alesi and Josephine Corcoran. They met through a mutual friend when Erin started as a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). And even though they’ve never worked on the same unit together, they’ve built an amazing friendship over the years.
“One of the unique things about this hospital is that it’s not just a bunch of people working nine to five and going home. We’re family.”
–Erin Alesi, RN
Whether it’s scrubs or sweatpants, double-shift or day off, the best news of your life or the very worst, the people of SIUH are there for each other. They support and love one another through all the ups and downs of life. That’s why, when Josephine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they were devastated. This was their sister who was hurting and in trouble.
Josephine had a long, hard battle ahead of her. Everyone wanted to do something to keep her spirits up as she went through an incredibly challenging time in her life. Her good friend Erin, had an idea for a fun way to encourage Josephine that would simply tell her that she can beat this and that everyone was behind her all the way. No matter what…don’t stop believin’. The video above is the result of this labor of love.
With lots of inflatable guitars and microphones – literally “air guitars” – they all rocked out and acted silly as they tried to encourage, lift up and make Josephine smile. It was a blessing for her friends to be able to do this for her. And it was a joy to watch everyone be truly together to make it all happen.
“Sure, it was a bit corny and silly but we just wanted Josephine to be able to smile again, to laugh at us and know that we were thinking and praying for her.”
–Erin Alesi, RN
Josephine is doing well and continuing to fight. Because we know that every moment matters, we hope that in some small way, we were able to show Josephine the same kind of compassion she shows to all around her. If you’re looking for a place where you can truly be yourself, where your coworkers are your family and where even the smallest gestures can change a life, you were Made for this.
Here at Northwell Health we are continuously encouraging our employees to be their best, and this week at our 11th Annual Presidents Awards Gala we honored those who aren’t satisfied with settling and are always pushing boundaries.
The annual President’s Award Program honors and celebrates individuals and teams who represent the very best of the organization. These employees surpass Northwell Health’s expectations, standards of excellence, and drive innovative business outcomes through three distinctive categories: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience, Innovation and Teamwork. What makes this award special is that individuals or team are nominated by senior leadership for their contributions. Take a look at this year’s Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience award winner.
Shawna joined our Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in June 2013, but her story as a musician doesn’t start there. For Shawna, music began when she spent time in the NICU as a newborn and her parents sang to her. Shawna joined us in a part-time role, but as her talent became evident we worked to increase her to full-time status, which happened in 2015. She has blossomed, both as a healer and in her scope of work. In order to bring peace to those families whose children may be at the end of their journey, she creates songs for families using their child’s heartbeat – a beautiful tribute and lasting memory for parents whose time with their child was all too short. All within a year she has implemented a volunteer music program, implemented the use of heartbeat recordings, created a fieldwork placement for NYU’s music therapy students, and so much more.
The music Shawna creates and shares with our patients and families is the soundtrack to our Culture of C.A.R.E. We honor our President’s Awards winner for the difference she makes, the legacy she has helped to create, and for the way her talent sustains us all. Thank you for giving 100% of your heart to your work and the way you represent music therapy to us all.
Here at Northwell Health we are continuously encouraging our employees to be their best, and last week at our 11th Annual Presidents Awards Gala we honored those who aren’t satisfied with settling and are always pushing boundaries.
The annual President’s Award Program honors and celebrates individuals and teams who represent the very best of the organization. These employees surpass Northwell Health’s expectations, standards of excellence, and drive innovative business outcomes through three distinctive categories: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience, Innovation and Teamwork. What makes this award special is that individuals or team are nominated by senior leadership for their contributions. Take a look at this year’s Innovation award winner.
Pain can overwhelm our patients in ways we can’t imagine. Unmanaged pain can make other aspects of cancer more acute – fatigue, nausea, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and confusion all have an impact. Being Truly Compassionate and helping our patients manage pain is at the heart of our practice. The team at Huntington Hospital created and combined multiple innovative strategies to improve pain management for oncology patients, creating a bundle which implemented best practice reliably and consistently for patients.
This team decided to utilize technology to the best of their ability and added a speed dial button on the back of the patient phone which immediately connects patients straight to their nurse, added a simple multi-alarm timers to their medication carts resetting them every time they make a pain intervention to remind them when to check back. On average, after 60 minutes, patients’ assessed pain has reduced from 48.2% to 36.8%. This is dramatically reducing the pain of oncology patients through redefining pain assessment and response. Wanting to take away our patients’ pain is the first instinct of any care-giver. That we can still innovate in this field is a remarkable tribute to a team who continually push the boundaries to redefine health care.
Here at Northwell Health we are continuously encouraging our employees to be their best, and this week at our 11th Annual Presidents Awards Gala we honored those who aren’t satisfied with settling and are always pushing boundaries.
The annual President’s Award Program honors and celebrates individuals and teams who represent the very best of the organization. These employees surpass Northwell Health’s expectations, standards of excellence, and drive innovative business outcomes through three distinctive categories: Exceptional Patient/Customer Experience, Innovation and Teamwork.What makes this award special is that individuals or team are nominated by senior leadership for their contributions. Take a look at this year’s Teamwork award winner.
The team at Monter Cancer Center knew they could do better. The system was failing patients, so the system had to be changed. As we fight to cure cancer, treatment becomes more complex every year. We all know chemotherapy is tough on our patients and we welcome the recent explosion in oral chemotherapy medicine. Oral chemo drugs can cost thousands of dollars every year, which can leave our patients in a tough financial situation or without the proper medication that they need for weeks or even months.
Our team at Monter got together with Vivo Pharmacy to re-imagine pharmacy services, creating a concierge service for specialty oral cancer drugs, to be located right inside the Monter Cancer Center waiting room. Since December 2015 they’ve saved our patients over $1.73 million, and 98% of prescriptions are approved within 48 hours.
Nothing is more rewarding than making sure our patients get the medication they need, without financial stress. We salute our President’s Awards winners for their teamwork, for the way they came together to make a change, for never accepting an unacceptable situation. Thank you for saving lives, improving the quality of patient care and pushing the boundaries of health care every day.
I knew I wanted to become a nurse because I have always had a passion and a drive to be a part of the healing process. I believe that nursing is simply to give tender loving care while applying it to the everyday concept of medical care. Now, I have been a Registered Nurse for eight years, and over these pasts few years I have had the pleasure to work with many talented and compassionate individuals who work in different departments, and within different capacities. Working with these individuals at Northwell Health, I have realized that as a team we can accomplish anything.
We are all part of our patient’s healthcare team. Whether it is the nurse, the physician, the nursing assistant, dietary, engineering, the security guard, administration, housekeeping, etc. We are part of a team whose goal is to provide the safest and finest care we can deliver. We are all unique individuals who bring ideas to the table.
I became a part of Southside Hospital’s nursing team as a Labor and Delivery nurse. Labor and Delivery is an extremely intense, high-stress level area where emergencies occur daily and I was privileged to work amongst the best team, and with them, we delivered the best care even throughout any emergency. Two years later an opportunity was presented to me to join the Cardiothoracic ICU Fellowship program Northwell Health has. Throughout this experience, I was able to learn some of my best skills from the astonishing cardiac surgeons and the most remarkable nurses that I worked with. After the fellowship, I realized that my true passion was working in the delivery room and I accepted a position as an Assistant Nurse Manager. Taking on this task was a huge endeavor for me. This role is not about being a manager it’s about being a leader for your team. Communicating effectively, listening to others, leading by example, and many other traits are all qualities of the type of leader that I am. The culture of this organization has taught me how to be this way. Empowering one another, supporting one another, and collaborating with one another are some of the characteristics of the culture we have here that help guide me. We are all different and unique in our own way but we treat each other equally and with respect, and our patients receive the best care because of who we are. We are all truly together and that’s one of the reasons why I’m proud to work here.
Over the years, the best opportunity that I have been given is the opportunity to change people’s lives. I’ve taken care of some of the sickest patients in the hospital, and within weeks I’ve seen these patients walk out of the hospital. That’s the opportunity that touches me most and reminds me why I love being a nurse. All of my other opportunities remind me why I love being a nurse at Northwell Health.
Victory Greens, Lenox Hill Hospital’s rooftop garden, has recently opened for its 4th growing season
Written by: Pamela Johnson
What is Victory Greens?
Victory Greens, supported by both Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH) Administration and the health system’s GreenBERG, is a rooftop garden created for everyone who works at LHH to enjoy. Last year, I was given the opportunity to manage the garden, which has been as great a pleasure for me as the success we’ve had for employees.
Over 18,000 visits were made to the garden by LHH employees last year, a significant increase over the prior year. Last year, we hosted 8 Snipping Events that were attended by over 600 employees. At the events, employees had the chance to take home fresh herbs and produce from the garden and learn how to use them in new recipes, drinks and more. One employee who had never cooked with fresh herbs was so inspired by the garden’s bounty that she changed her entire eating habits. She lost 30 pounds and was able to go off of her blood pressure medicine by the end of the snipping season.
This year we are expanding the Snipping Events to include an educational component. We’ll be hosting programs targeting Body, Mind, and Spirit as well as a program on Nutrition and Cooking and one on Exercise. We’ll also be having our first “Mobile Garden” this season, which will allow us to deliver “snippings” to our colleagues at off-site facilities so they may enjoy products from the garden.
Benefits of our rooftop garden- patients and employees
Recent scientific studies have shown that it is critical for a person’s mental and physical health and overall well-being to have at least one direct touch with nature/day. Victory Greens allows us to have a touch of nature, even on a rooftop in NYC.
After a hard shift or a long day, the garden offers employees a place of solace, rest and fresh air, which is important after working inside all day or night. The rooftop garden also presents a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow employees, many of whom would, otherwise, never come into contact with one another. Numerous friendships have been formed over lunch or catching sun rays in the garden. In fact, the garden affords the opportunity to touch everyone in the LHH community, including our patients. Herbs from the garden are used in patient meals as well as in the cafeteria and in the catered events we often host for guests.
Fun fact: There’s at least one species indigenous to every continent represented in the garden and nearly 100 varieties of plants, herbs, vegetables, and fruit are currently growing on the rooftop.
Giving back to our community
Victory Greens has also led to the development of a wonderful relationship with our Community Partner, Harlem Grown. Harlem Grown is an organization whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy, productive, fulfilling lives. Through mentorship and urban farming, Harlem Grown increases access to, and knowledge of, healthy food for Harlem residents and provides garden-based development programs to Harlem youth. Our relationship with Harlem Grown began last summer and our programs and connections continue to grow. We have held a number of highly successful outreach events with the Harlem Grown community, including hosting a Teaching Kitchen event which offered information about nutrition, healthy eating and growing herbs and our most recent event in recognition of Earth Day, where we helped children from PS 197 plant flowers around their school. A mix of employees from clinical to non-clinical volunteered to participate in these events and they all have said their experience was as rewarding for them as it was the kids.
How it’s impacted my life
Personally, Victory Greens has had a profound impact on my life. Through the garden, I’ve been able to connect with colleagues I never would have met. I’ve had the opportunity to make a deep commitment to the community around us as well as to make a sincere pledge to help preserve the environment. I’ve taken an active role in The GreenBERG, Northwell Health’s Business Employee Resource Group focused on environmentally conscientious initiatives. The mission of The GreenBERG is to improve the environmental impact of our facilities by advancing sustainable and socially responsible efforts across Northwell Health and in our communities.
From my involvement with Victory Greens and The GreenBERG, I’ve learned many things and have transformed my view of our planet. I now only wear clothing to work that is made out of sustainable materials, and I have developed a keen interest in trying to resolve recycling and other waste issues that plague hospitals. Who knows what solutions we may ultimately discover, but the magic of Victory Greens seems to be far reaching and highly impactful. Imagine…all that may, and all that has, come from an extraordinary rooftop garden at Lenox Hill Hospital.
My Northwell Health career began before I had even discovered the passion I had to help others. My mother, a Nurse, and my father, a Physician Assistant, both worked at hospitals that would one day become part of the Northwell Health family. Although I admired their work and saw them excel in their careers, I never pictured myself following in either of their footsteps. After high school and through the first few years of college, I worked at a number of jobs, but it was hard to see any of those jobs as a long-term career. It wasn’t until I took an EMT- Basic course that I immediately realized, “This is it. This is my passion.” I get to come to work, help people improve their lives, and even save lives on a daily basis.
At a young age, my grandfather told me to find a career that I loved, a role that would make me want to wake up in the morning and go to work every day. If you can do that, he said that I would never work a day in my life.
Joining Northwell Health
After I completed the EMT – Basic course, I started working at various EMS companies, but I had a desire for more. I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact on the lives of my patients and I wanted to work for a company that shared the same goals as me. I began working night shifts as an EMT and started attending Stony Brook University’s Paramedic Program during the day. One year later, I graduated at the top of my class and started to practice as a Paramedic.
I started looking and applying to Northwell Health’s careers website at every opportunity. I would apply for any position I was qualified for with the plan that once I got in the health system I could transfer into CEMS (Center for Emergency Medical Services). Then finally in January 2016, while waiting for the next emergency call at work, my phone rang and it was Northwell Health- the day had finally come. During the interview and on-boarding process, every individual I had the pleasure of dealing with made me realize that I could not have made a better choice than becoming part of this organization. Since my hiring as an EMT-Basic I was upgraded to Paramedic I in under a year.
“I was made for this”
Academic accomplishments aside, what I am most proud of is being able to do what I love for my patients. I can truly say I treat every one of my patients as if they were my own family and it has paid off. I have received numerous awards and stars on myRecognition, our internal employee recognition platform, and accomplishment pins from supervisors and fellow staff members. Numerous patients and their families write letters to thank me and my partner for going above and beyond to make a stressful, scary situation easier on them. When our CEMS EMTs and Paramedics show up, it’s usually due to an emergency situation. Knowing the community can trust the EMTs and Paramedics to take care of them or their family members and that CEMS is leading the way in its industry allows them to take a sigh of relief.
I know I was “made for this,” because of the letters I receive from a patient’s family thanking me for taking care of their loved one or another patient has called to say thank you. Every day I wear my recognition pins proudly. It reminds me to always uphold my organization’s values and it shows the pride I have for my job. They also ensure that I never forget how blessed I am to work as a Northwell Health Paramedic. My plan is to soon advance my career even further and become a Critical Care Paramedic.
Most importantly, every time I put on my uniform it reminds me that I have another chance to make a difference or save a life. After all, the simple act of caring creates an endless ripple that passes from person to person.
Photo: From left to right, Fritz is the fifth man on the right.
My year journey as a Healthcare Administrative Fellow
Written by: Fritz-Gerald Lochard
I originally learned about the administrative fellowship program through asking one of my professors, “What are my options after I obtain my MBA”? She directed me to look into administrative fellowships. Upon doing research I discovered many different hospitals and health systems within the region that offered this unique program. The one that caught my attention was Northwell Health because I was an employee at Syosset Hospital in the Community Relations department as a Patient Relations Representative and was exposed to the program. I then proceeded to collect the information necessary to apply and ultimately was chosen into the program.
I entered the Administrative Fellowship Program with the goal of absorbing and learning as much as possible. Northwell Health exceeded my expectations and exposed me to many different experiences. I gained a wide range of exposure to health care operations across a large health system. Throughout my rotations, I had regular exposure to strategic, operational and financial challenges throughout the health system. The lessons I learned go far beyond anything I could have possibly learned in the classroom. During my rotations I also received regular access to some of the health systems most influential leaders. The ability to network with countless amounts of leaders and individuals allowed me to build relationships that will continue throughout my career here. Throughout those interactions I learned many unique things about the Health System. The one common theme I received from those interactions is that you do not have to be defined by one passion or career path. We have the ability to be successful in many different paths and this organization has done an amazing job encouraging growth within individuals, helping them tackle new challenges, and supporting them in stepping out of their comfort zones.
Throughout the year I accumulated many memories. Through the fellowship program I was provided with a membership to American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and was able to attend the 2017 ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago, Illinois. The conference objectives were to develop “the long view” in context of uncertainty and disruption, gain a deeper understanding of the implications of insurance exchanges in particular and health reform in general and identify key components of population health program and the essential steps to build it. That was an amazing experience, but the one memory that really stands out to me is our annual fellowship trip to Washington D.C. Growing up I could have never imagined having the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill and have lunch with Congressmen and meet with White House Correspondents. The Administrative Fellowship at Northwell Health afforded me that opportunity and it was by far one of the greatest memories I was able to create throughout this year.
For many of us entering programs to obtain Master’s in Business Administration, we tend to not realize how broad that degree can be. The fellowship definitely guided me in narrowing down were my interest truly are. Through my rotations I was able to figure out that I have a strong interest within Finance and Human Resources. The next steps for me would be to find the best possible environment that will allow me to continue to grow, learn and sharpen my skillsets within one of those two disciplines. I can honestly say that Northwell Health has provided me with a strong foundation to continue to build my career and equipped me with the tools to become a leader for a very long time.
Our employee promise defines our experience as employees. We wanted to be able to truly articulate who we are and what we do. It’s what you get, for what you put in. In other words, it’s the deal. Made for this defines what our “best days” look like, so we can create more of them for everyone, every day.
We wanted to be able to differentiate our culture and describe what sets us apart – in health care and beyond. This is extremely important because every single person, regardless of their position or the facility that they work at – is truly a part of what makes us special.
Our employee promise will give us a competitive edge – not only will it help us develop, motivate and retain the great people we already have working in the organization, we’ll be able to use it to attract the best new people.
Our journey to create our employee promise
We created an employee promise that proudly and authentically expresses our culture. 2000 employees in 74 sessions— from across various roles and facilities — shared their experience of what it was really like to work here —and didn’t hold back. Their voices were powerful, meaningful and true and their conclusion was clear: being made for this is what sets us apart. Made for this is how we define the Northwell Health difference.
Thanks to their honesty, we now have an incredible employee promise to be proud of. Made by our people, for our people.
Our team members described what a great day looked like and what a challenging day looked like. They said that when they look at their overall experience of Northwell Health, the good times outweigh the tough times. The “best days” outweigh the worst. But, we all want more “best days.”
Made for this – for our people, by our people
We all own the culture of Northwell Health and our experience at work as employees and we believe the culture is ours to shape.
Our team members bring individuality to how we care for people – our patients, community, and each other. We’re not like everyone else….we’re unique and our promise celebrates that. Our reality is powerful, emotional, hard, funny and wonderful, all at the same time. And that’s OK. Because we are a part of something great – we’re made for this.
Are YOU made for Northwell Health?
By creating an employee promise we’re now able to hire the best industry talent that perfectly fit within our culture. We’re flexible, hardworking and not afraid to push boundaries. If you think you’re made for this, check out a role with us – we’d love to welcome you to our Northwell Health family.
At Northwell Health our laboratory professionals push boundaries to go that extra mile.
“Northwell Health has the best laboratory teams in the state of New York. They provide you with lots of opportunities to flourish and grow.”
–Munazza Naseem, Pathologist Assistant, Northwell Health Laboratories
Northwell Health leads with innovation and breaks with convention. We continually look to advance our laboratories. The greatest component of delivering exceptional laboratory services begins with our employees. We will provide you with the opportunity to spread your wings and define your healthcare career.
During Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, we honor those whose clinical expertise and compassionate commitment to excellence drive our exceptional care forward. Our people are inspired by the knowledge that behind every test and every procedure is a person who deserves our best at all times.
Throughout the week, we’re showing appreciation for our medical laboratory professionals with hot breakfast buffets, ice cream, games, and more. Our employees also celebrate by finding unique ways to give back to the community through events like a charity ZUMBA class and paint nights. To add an extra element of fun during this special week, employees wear their favorite team jerseys. These are just some ways that we are recognizing the contributions and impact that laboratory professionals have at Northwell Health.
Northwell Health is where the talent, expertise and knowledge of our laboratory professionals impacts our patients’ lives and contributes significantly to improving healthcare outcomes. Soon, we’ll make an even greater impact on our patient care. By 2018, our centralized laboratory we will be the largest hospital-based integrated laboratory in the country performing over 55 million lab tests annually. This translates into tremendous growth opportunities.
“When you work in a Northwell Health laboratory, you know you are connected with other lab professionals who are there to help one another.”
–Young Choi, Lead Medical Technologist, Lenox Hill Greenwich Village
“Northwell Health gives me endless opportunities to expand and improve upon my skills, abilities and knowledge that I can then use to benefit the patients and communities we serve.”
–John Shao, Medical Technologist, Northern Westchester Hospital
In 2016 Laura Iacono, the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (NSCU) Nurse Manager at North Shore University Hospital, helped the hospital obtain the prestigious Silver Beacon Award. Her passion for staff development, professionalism and empowerment has resulted in the NSCU’s achievement of 60% advanced certification by bedside nurses and 70% Clinical Ladder Nurses. The NSCU is a leader in quality metrics, with a 66% reduction in CAUTI, 100% reduction in CLABSI, 75% reduction in pressure ulcers and a 25% reduction in falls in 2015. Iacono was also the recipient of the Nurse Leader Excellence Award at North Shore University Hospital and the Nurse.com GEM Northeast Reginal Winner for Nursing Leadership.
“This is not an award for my accomplishments, but an award that tells the story of a team committed to excellence every day with every patient,” said Iacono when she received the GEM award. She pointed to North Shore University Hospital’s neurosurgical ICU unit winning the AACN Silver Beacon Award for Excellence and the process she and fellow nurses pursued as her proudest moments.
“Now they [the nurses] know the strength of the team is so much stronger than the individual,” Iacono said. She said the Beacon award confirmed her ability to encourage and empower her staff – and the staff in turn showed a positive attitude on the unit, even under difficult circumstances.
The decision to stick with what she knew best and what she enjoyed most—neuroscience nursing—has been instrumental in her practice. “It excites me, it drives me and inspires me every day,” she said.
Iacono offered some words of wisdom to new nurses: “Always ask questions of senior nurses, nurse leaders, physicians and NPs. You will not learn everything if you only rely on your bedside care to gain knowledge.”
With 30 years of neuroscience nursing behind her, Iacono recalled how strongly she felt about the specialty when she began her first position on a neuroscience unit, “I felt I was the luckiest nurse in the hospital.”
An early mentor, Beth Honan, was the educator who passed on to Iacono a depth of knowledge and later met with her and other nurses weekly in preparation for the neuroscience certification exam. “I would watch her talk to physicians about patients and see how the physicians respected her knowledge and judgment, and I knew I wanted to be just like her,” Iacono said of Honan.
Iacono offered some more practical advice: “If a manager, leader or mentor asks you to do something beyond your comfort zone or even outside of your area of interest, say ‘Thank you for the opportunity,’ then take that opportunity and work with it to the end. They may see something in you that you do not see in yourself. You will be surprised at what you can do.”
Why you should choose a Human Resources career in Healthcare
Over the years Human Resources professionals have looked at many different industries besides healthcare to grow their career, but with the constant advancement of HR strategies within health systems there isn’t a better time to become a part of New York State’s largest private employer’s team. Hear from Irene Faranda, Associate Executive Director at South Oaks Hospital, about why she chose to pursue an HR career within healthcare and what it means to her to be a part of Northwell Health.
Q: Please explain why you chose to pursue your career at Northwell Health.
A: I grew up in Queens and Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) was the hospital in our community. When I was in my early 20’s my mom got very sick and was a patient at LIJMC as well as Hospice Care Network, a proud member of Northwell Health. I remember the great care that both my mom and family received during our difficult time. Although my mom passed, I will never forget how supportive and caring the employees were.
When I was graduating college I saw an opportunity at Hospice Care Network for an HR Generalist position. I knew that I needed to be part of an organization that did such rewarding work so I explored the position. What better way to enter the field of Human Resources! I worked there for two years and really felt like I was giving back. I did eventually leave to work in a corporate HR Manager role but after eight years away, I realized that I needed to go back to healthcare and continue to support their great mission and staff.
A job posting found its way to me for a Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) Director role at LIJMC and I decided to pursue it. The opportunity appealed to me because it was a strategic business partner role working directly with the hospital leadership team as well as front line staff. That is how I found my way back to Northwell Health.
Q: Please explain your career progressions throughout the years.
A: When I returned to Northwell Health at LIJMC I assumed the Human Resources Business Partner role. During my first year I was embedded in the operation, focused on building relationships and led employee engagement and talent management efforts for my work groups of 1000+ employees. I was also able to build my competence in labor relations. I was part of a great campus HR team that was not only supportive but fun.
After my first year, the lead HRBP role opened at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH) with 1200+ employees. Supporting the field of behavioral health is a great experience and I found a calling working in a facility with this population of patients. In the lead Business partner role, I was a member of the Executive Leadership team and able to develop strategy and lead HR and Patient experience programs that contributed to the facility achieving its business goals. I was also able to work on corporate projects such as the myrecognition program and acted as a thought partner on various talent management initiatives. I worked in this role for two years.
An opportunity then presented itself that would expand my responsibilities and I moved to South Oaks Hospital to be the lead HRBP. South Oaks is also a behavioral health facility but has a three hundred bed nursing and rehabilitation center on the campus with a total of 1300+ employees. I have been in this role for a year now and it has been an amazing experience. Similar to ZHH I am a member of the executive leadership team working to develop and executive our strategy to build leadership capabilities, employee engagement and workforce planning to enhance our patient experience. I am also leading the HR and change management efforts to integrate this facility into Northwell Health’s HR programs and technology.
Q: What does it mean for you to be a part of Northwell Health’s Human Resources team?
A: Overall, Northwell Health has provided me the opportunity and development to become a strategic HRPB and a member of the facility leadership team. I truly feel valued by the organization for my contributions. Being part of an organization of 61,000+ great employees, working together to help people, and who are setting the trend in healthcare makes me proud to tell people that I work here (oh and it is pretty awesome to not have to travel to the city every day to go to work!)
The future of HR careers within Healthcare – Q&A with Chief People Officer, Joe Moscola
As we celebrate Healthcare Human Resources Week we spoke with Chief People Officer, Joe Moscola, about his own transition from Physician Assistant to a Human Resources professional, as well as the transformation of HR careers within healthcare and the amazing team he has throughout the many facilities within our organization.
Can you please tell me about your career progression and what led you into an HR role?
I started my career as a Cardiac Surgery Physician Assistant. Coming out of training there was nothing I wanted to do more and so I begged for my first job as a new graduate. After practicing for a number of years, I had this nagging feeling that would not go away that I had more to give. My career goal had always been to help change people’s lives which a clinical role certainly allowed me to do but I felt like I could make an even bigger impact.
Unsure of what to do next, a mentor of mine encouraged me to go back to school and “do something about it”. Upon receiving a Master in Business Administration I went on to become a project manager outside of the health system however quickly returned taking on a number of operational roles throughout the health system.
While having the privilege of holding the role of SVP of Ambulatory Operations our President and CEO Michael Dowling approached me about taking over as the head of Human Resources. This was during a time when the role and future of HR in organizations across all industries was being called to question. Michael’s offer immediately intrigued me because I felt like this type of a role would further allow me to advance my career goal.
Now having been in the role for some time I look back at the last number of years and consider myself very lucky to have been given this opportunity. The work we do and the value we provide to our most valuable asset, our people, is a privilege.
How have HR careers in healthcare changed over the years? How do you see them developing in the future?
Over the past decade, top healthcare executives have been relying more and more on HR for innovative and data driven business strategies. In the world of big data and more advanced technology, HR professionals have needed to be data and digitally savvy, focusing on measurable actions that move the business toward its goals. This has transformed traditionally transactional HR roles into more strategic ones.
Within the Health System, our HR team has embraced that change. We continue to move away from just the day-to-day management of HR operations and have focused on becoming true partners with the business. This has resulted in HR’s greater commitment to workforce planning, shaping culture and the employee experience, coaching and developing leaders, building talent pipelines and empowering managers by driving self-service. Given that we are a healthcare organization, we’ve also had the ability and support to drive more HR roles within the wellness space, focusing on the holistic well-being of our employees.
As technology continues to advance and we really focus on the overall experience our employees, new roles will develop within HR. These roles will require advanced skill sets. Our HR professionals will need to be more analytical and enablers of change, with a focus on supporting a diverse and inclusive environment.
How does HR within Northwell impact our organization?
We support business strategy and help to maximize the potential of our strongest asset, our people. We focus on the well-being of our employees within our culture of caring, innovation and safety, enabling them to be their best, so they can take care of others.
We affect the business from the hiring to retiring of our employees, ensuring that we have the right people in the right jobs at the right time in an environment that values diversity and fosters inclusion. We empower our current and future leaders by providing development opportunities and support along their journeys. We help ensure that our employees are rewarded appropriately and recognized for the great work that they do.
What would you like to say to our HR employees during their recognition week?
Thank you! I am so proud of this team and all that we have been able to accomplish together. Our people are the backbone of this organization and we affect them every day. The work that we do matters. By providing support to our employees we enable them to do their job of providing care to our patients effectively and compassionately. Every patient that chooses us to take care of them deserves exceptional customer experience and the highest quality of care possible. Because of you, our employees are able to provide that.
Picture: From left to right, Lyndon is the 5th person standing near the middle
From the United States Air Force to our Veteran Program Specialist
Each year at Northwell Health we set the goal to help as many Veterans as possible, and without the help of our Veteran Program Specialist, Lyndon Chichester, we wouldn’t have been able to hire over 500 veterans last year alone. It’s with great pleasure that I was able to sit down and speak with him the other day to learn about his transition home and what it means to him to help others who are going through the same process.
On April 24 2001 at Fort Hamilton Military Base in Brooklyn, NY, Lyndon Chichester, with right hand raised calmly uttered “I, Lyndon Chichester, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” With that statement Lyndon began an 8 year journey in the United States Air Force. During this time he was a Computer Network, Switching, and Cryptographic Systems Specialist, stationed in Arizona and Virginia, both during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Lyndon also completed various technical and military training in Texas and Mississippi. He later separated from the Air Force as a Staff Sargent at Langley AFB in October 2008, and received an honorable discharge. Subsequently, Lyndon moved to New York and attended New York University School of Professional Studies, where he earned a BS Degree in Leadership and Management Studies with a concentration in International Business and Global Management.
When Lyndon graduated in May of 2012 he started applying online to many openings at various well-known companies and was surprised when calls to interview weren’t coming in as frequently as he expected. “I felt like I was the toast of the town when I graduated. I thought that because I was a Veteran with a Bachelors Degree there was no way I would go the whole summer of 2012 without a job offer. However, that’s exactly what happened” Lyndon states. He also recalls, “I went from feeling high to feeling low real quick, and to add to that the financial pressure of maintaining a family was scary and daunting.”
As the season switched to Fall, Lyndon’s friend who was an IT contractor employed with another organization, gave him the business card of the IT recruiter that hired him. “When my friend gave me the business card I was very skeptical of my marketability as a candidate at the time and was expecting another failed attempt at employment. I didn’t know why I was calling this recruiter because my last IT related job was in the Air Force and 3 years had already passed.” The phone call was successful because Lyndon was invited in for a face to face interview at that organization’s Midtown office and was hired as an IT Account Executive, which in 3 months turned into an IT Recruiter role. “My two years at my previous organization was a great learning experience because it is where I learned what employers look for in candidates. I also learned the art of the resume, recruiting, and interviewing.” After four years of IT recruiting experience in the staffing world, Lyndon joined the Northwell Health family as a Talent Acquisition Specialist in June 2016. In December of 2016, Lyndon was promoted and is now the Veteran Program Specialist for Northwell Health. In this role he leverages his background as an experienced recruiter and a United States Air Force Veteran to work with the Veteran community, helping to drive Northwell Health’s Veteran recruitment goals and efforts.
Lyndon said “It is an honor and a privilege to work with our Veterans. My passion is to help all of our Veteran applicants gain successful employment with Northwell Health. Veterans bring an unmatched array of strengths and experiences to the workforce including leadership training, integrity, teamwork, working among diversified groups in high pressure environments which gives them a high level of sensitivity to diversity and inclusion beneficial to productive corporate work environments. Our Barracks to Business Workshop leverages and translates the skills Military members have to civilian resumes that our hiring managers can simply understand. It’s always exciting to learn that we’ve hired another Veteran. That’s the mission.”
Every current service member, transitioning service member, or veteran should know that Lyndon is here for you: your needs will be met, your questions will be answered and you will never be alone in this process. He is passionate and dedicated to assisting Veterans in their transition from Military service to a promising Northwell Health career.
I knew I wanted to join Northwell Health because the entire system strives to improve our communities through education, conduction of research and providing quality healthcare. I choseNorth Shore University Hospital primarily because it is a teaching hospital and offered the William Randolph Hearst Critical Care Fellowship. I already knew I wanted to be a critical care nurse when I graduated and this unique fellowship that was offered was just the beginning of my journey. When I began my fellowship 10 years ago, it was broken down into three phases which included patient simulation experiences, didactic learning sessions and direct patient care assignments. The various phases provided the required tools and prepared me to be an effective Neurosurgical ICU nurse. Now, I have the privilege of being a preceptor for the new fellows and thoroughly enjoy the experience.
After my fellowshipended, I received an RN position within the same department, Nerosurgical ICU (NSCU), and each day brings a new experience. Being at the bedside and advocating for my patients at a crucial time during their recovery is what drives me. The NSCU team is exceptional and I consider them my family. Over the years I have served in various capacities such as the co-chair for the Collaborative Care Council, Beacon committee member, peer interview panel member, and participate in various performance improvement projects such as Quiet time and serve as the CAUTI champion. I am currently enrolled in the first Manhasset cohort for a Masters in Leadership program, which is a great opportunity provided by the health system.
I knew I wanted to continue to do great things for this health system and when a Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI) problem arose in 2011 I was able to make a real difference in decreasing the percentage of patients that acquired an infection. The team that I was on developed an evidence-based CAUTI bundle that consisted of insertion and maintenance of indwelling urinary catheters (IUC), early catheter removal with development of a straight catheterization protocol and focused collaboration between nurses and physicians to review catheter necessity during patient rounds. Initially focus was on urine backflow prevention, creating criteria for when to obtain urine cultures and developing a protocol for straight catheterization based on bladder ultrasound results. Once we had our goals and a plan in place we began implementation from the years 2012 to 2014. In 2012 a 19% reduction in CAUTI was achieved. In September 2013, four NSCU nurses including myself were accepted into the AACN CSI Academy with CAUTI reduction as our leadership project and in 2014, the four CAUTI Champions hosted a week of CAUTI prevention. We created and distributed unit based t-shirts with the acronym NSCU (Nurses Stopping Catheter Usage), performed peer skills validation on perineal and IUC care and further revised the protocols for straight catheterization and bladder scanning. In 2014, CAUTIs were reduced by 24%, the number of device days were reduced by 31% and this outcome resulted in a, $112.000 saving. Various practices initiated on our unit were then presented at the hospital wide CAUTI carnival. This brought about a change in the culture of our unit and we have presented the results at various hospital sessions and conferences nationwide. We continue to focus on sustainability and have noticed a significant decrease in all other Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).
Working for this health system has provided me with all of the opportunities I could hope for in a nursing career – from fellowship training to becoming a mentor, complex cases, educational aid, and leadership opportunities – I wouldn’t want to have established my career anywhere else. All this was possible because of the commitment and dedication of the NSCU team. I would like to thank my manger, Laura Iacono, for her encouragement and guidance as well as, Tara Laumenede, our director. My gratitude to my AACN CSI mentors Marian Altman and Debbie Brinker who provided the necessary tools for the success of our project. A special thank you to my coach, Launette Woolforde, who was instrumental in the success of the CAUTI initiative and our CNO, Kerri Scanlon, who is an inspiration.
Picture: From left to right, Sherley is the second women on the left.
My Northwell Health story is really a culmination of a journey that started years ago. My family emigrated from a third world country where poverty and disease were pervasive. Traveling to my native land created this burden in me to help solve these issues. By 2007 I was riding the wave of believing in our own capabilities and I came to the realization that my efforts needed to be focused on a very specific mission. I then became determined to build hospitals and clinics in under privileged areas around the world.
In 2009 I decided to attend Stony Brook University where I enrolled as a pre-medical student. I believed my passion for medicine and my affinity for sciences would provide the means to fulfill my mission. During my sophomore year of college there was an opportunity to assist on a medical mission’s trip to Ethiopia. I traveled 6,994 miles away from all the comforts I had to help the people of this country in any way I could. The experience really exposed me to suffering once again, but something within me changed. The country and the people were beautiful, but the sheer neglect for life, health and opportunity were appalling. Images of children on their last hope were seared into my brain, and I knew I needed to take action.
After returning from the trip, I decided to study the science behind healthcare delivery. I was fascinated by the magnitude of complexity involved. I would spend all of my free time reading books on anyone remotely related to building healthcare systems from Otto Von Bismarck to Patch Adams. The irony of my fascination was that our country was dealing with healthcare reform at the time which only furthered my interest, and shifted my focus away from the clinical aspect of care. I decided then to leave the pre-med track and enter a healthcare management program.
After making this difficult decision I formed a club with like-minded individuals who had a passion for the underserved communities of the world called Free the Children. The purpose of our club was to build a school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. We found that education decreased disease prevalence within communities, and so for a country that had been torn by civil war for decades we focused our efforts in this particular area. After three years of giving lectures, motivational speeches, and fundraising we were able to give a significant portion to the school. The experience provided some relief for the burden I was carrying, but I still felt an overwhelming desire to do more.
During my final year of undergraduate studies I entered my concentration of healthcare management where I was exposed to the many different aspects of care delivery. Having a teaching hospital so connected to the university provided opportunities I would otherwise not have. I volunteered in one of the healthcare management departments at the hospital where I met key individuals who encouraged my dreams and gave me guidance on what I should do next.
Ultimately I was advised to apply to business schools in New York. Hofstra’s Zarb School of Business, and during my first year in graduate school I went to an alumni event where I would meet Dganit Raviv (Dee), the Director of HR Analytics at Northwell Health. Dee and I really hit it off, and she provided great advice on how I would be able to penetrate the healthcare job market.
Six months later I began applying to internships for the summer and eventually found an opportunity for an operations internship with CVS Health. I spent my time working on a project to implement Medication Therapy Management within the region, and met many great people, but ultimately I really wanted a role within healthcare.
I mentioned to Barbara, my manager at the Zarb Career Center, that I was having trouble finding a suitable internship. My manager then reached out to a friend at Northwell Health to see if there was any availability without my knowledge. A few days later I got a call from Dee, the woman I had met at the alumni event six months earlier. I came in for an interview and was offered a temporary full-time position as a strategy analyst. I was able to get my feet into health care while also completing my degree by joining Northwell Health’s internal temporary staffing agency, Flexstaff. A few weeks after I started Dee told me she would love to have me join her team permanently, and I have really enjoyed the experience. I’ve had so many opportunities to meet great people and attain valuable skills during my time here. I’ve worked on projects to increase revenue growth through people strategies concentrated on attaining and retaining talent through quality of hire initiatives, to implementing five year plans for merger and acquisition integration efforts. Perhaps my proudest accomplishment was creating a departmental Think Tank focused on capturing innovative ideas and driving the business forward. This started with three people and grew to over 40 dedicated individuals. I’ve been afforded many opportunities in my role, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop essential skills and tool kits for the future.
Northwell Health has provided me a great platform to learn new aspects of healthcare, and I hope to use these experiences to fulfill my dreams of building my own hospitals and clinics around the world.
Thank you to all of you who have played a role in shaping and guiding my future and special thanks to Northwell Health.
Aspiring Nurse to VP of Telehealth Services: My Career Journey
Written by: Iris Berman
From the time I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I can remember even as a 6 year old bringing my friends in to our home to tend to their battle wounds from climbing trees, falling off bicycles or roller-skates and the like. My mother kept a constant supply of antiseptic cream and brightly colored Band-Aids for my use. That was the beginning. At nine years old my father had suffered a heart attack. I had learned some basic first aid in the girl scout troop and recognized his symptoms . I’d visit him (children weren’t allowed in the Coronary care unit in those days) and observe through glass partitions all that the nurses were doing. I was sure then, that was what I wanted to do.
My very first job that would open the gate to involvement in the now Northwell Health system began over 30 years ago in Glen Cove Hospital even before it was ever part of the health system. Starting as a per diem nurse gave me the opportunity to work in a variety of environments, but it was Critical Care that called to me, and it has served me well.
I had already moved into a position in the coronary care unit when Glen Cove became one of the first acquisitions to (at that time) NSUH. Maybe it was my family history, but I became very interested in at risk populations and volunteered to work on joint programs with the hospital and the American Heart Association. The health system supported my interest and the program continued to grow. We began to develop a support program for patients with a variety of cardiac diseases. – all the while I continued to explore other options in my employment moving to the broader field of critical care. I knew I wanted to go back to school (I already had my BSN). Because of the great tuition reimbursement program, I was able to return to school to obtain my MSN in Nursing Administration. Opportunity knocks in our health system; you just have to answer the door!
While attending school I became the critical care educator for Glen Cove. The wonderful thing is that while hired for a specific site, this roll enabled me to work not only on site but to collaborate on system wide task forces for things like stroke, CV disease and other best practice programs. There were always opportunities to grow, and the leadership teams greatly encouraged, welcomed, and supported me. I wrote and successfully was awarded a grant to expand stroke education. Being an educator allowed me to use my years of nursing knowledge to help others both on the patient front and in nursing and beyond.
A few years after becoming an educator an opportunity for a management position became available and again I received the full support from the leadership team. I never would have imagined, even then, that I’d be where I am today. Because I have always been active in my professional organization of AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses) I had been increasingly aware of something called tele-ICUs (eICU®), part of an emerging field called telemedicine . When I saw that there was a director’s position for this program in our own health system, I jumped at the opportunity to apply. Low and behold I got the job. It seems that although I was based in a community hospital the work I had done over the years was recognized. I can’t think of many other organizations as large as ours, where there is such accessibility and visibility to senior leadership.
I could go on but suffice to say that I have moved from Director of the eICU program to AVP for Telehealth and now VP for Telehealth services. This highlights the opportunities and ability of our health system to be progressive, agile, and welcoming all at once. I am one of the fortunate who truly loves going to work every day. I am so proud to be part of this wonderful organization now known as Northwell. John Quincy Adams once said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, earn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. Because our Northwell Leaders are visionaries I have been allowed to dream, be and do more!
Turning a dream into a reality – the birth of 3D bioprinting
Written by: Todd Goldstein
You might be thinking, what in the world is bioprinting and why would a team spend years developing it? Well, 3D bioprinting is the use of 3D printing technology with materials that incorporate viable living cells. The end product produced is tissue for reconstructive surgery. This type of technology can transform the way medicine is practiced. Just think about a world where organ donors are no longer needed – if you need a transplant of some sort, it can be printed on demand from your own cells while you wait. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning…
My journey within Northwell Health started off 30 years ago when I was born at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. After a brief 20+ year hiatus, I returned in a very stereotypical way – I was a student who needed a side job with lots of shifts and flexible hours. After some investigation I applied to work per diem as a patient transporter at North Shore University Hospital, where I worked at night while I was completing my master’s degree. It was a perfect fit for me; I was able to converse with patients as I wheeled them around the hospital for their various tests and discharges.
As I was completing my degree, I applied and was accepted to the PhD program at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. I wasn’t sure what I specifically wanted to work on, but I knew I had a knack for technology and a new found appreciation for Orthopedics & Radiology. I worked 4 years at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research completing my degree in the Laboratory of Orthopedics Research under Dr. Daniel Grande PhD. We spent countless hours working on 3D bioprinting of cartilage, bone, and tracheal tissue. The environment I “stumbled into” was one of collaboration, innovation, and patience. It was challenging, but very rewarding. The lab provided an environment filled with students, residents, fellows, physicians, and research scientists all working to further medical knowledge and create new treatments for patients in need. Anyone in the lab was able to “grab the bull by the horns” so to speak, and take on a project they deemed interesting. You took ownership and were able to see it through to the end.
One day, in walked two chief surgeons with the idea of tissue engineering lab grown tracheas. Dr. Lee Smith MD and Dr. David Zeltsman MD were interested in our capabilities within the lab and if we were willing to work with them on a non-orthopedic project. Dr. Grande said “Todd if you want to spear head this project, go right ahead, just let me know what you need.” Over the next two years we worked to build up a protocol to 3D bioprint tracheal replacements in the lab. It was our hope of one day transplanting a replacement into a patient – to restore their breathing would become a reality.
Once I had the support I needed, we began right away. While we are not at a point to transplant lab grown organs, we are well on our way. To kick off this type of project we started to build our own 3D printer that could create our tissue since the commercially available printer options were extremely expensive. We took a desktop 3D printer, stripped it down to its guts, then using design software created new printer heads that could accept living cells within a jello like material. Many early mornings and late nights watching the 3D printer whirl around in circles placing layer after layer of cells, gel, biocompatible, and biodegradable scaffold materials were necessary to get this idea to become reality. After much trial and error we were able to print a living “breathing” lab-grown trachea.
In the beginning of 2016 the 3D bioprinter was submitted into Northwell Health’s Breakthrough contest where the winner received additional funds to further their research and make their scientific dream a reality. All of the 61,000 employees in our organization were able to vote on the breakthrough that they found the most significant in effecting patients care, and the printer happened to be the winner. Without Northwell’s support this project would still be just an idea. I have been able to take away important skills throughout this journey – whether it be about patient customer service, or a complicated statistical analysis of scientific data, without the Northwell Health family like environment I would still be wandering the halls looking for my niche. I have now graduated from the medical school and Northwell has created a unique roll for me as I share my time between the Orthopedics Lab and the Northwell Ventures Team serving as a technical analyst, as the hospital rolls out new innovative business ventures furthering our patient care capabilities. I now get to help shape the innovative future of healthcare, both in and out of the lab, as we take ideas from the bench top and translate them to the bedside.
Partnering with Make-A-Wish foundation – two companies whose missions are aligned
Written by: Michele Grossman
One of the main focuses of Northwell Health is providing patients and their families with the best experience possible in situations they didn’t necessarily choose to be in. Most of us chose to work for a healthcare organization because of the intrinsic good with the services we provide, yet working in a corporate office you don’t necessarily get to see the impact your work has on patient experience.
Corporate HR’s office culture committee was created to plan fun events and activities for employees at the 1111 Marcus Ave offices. After raising employee engagement in our office we wanted to take our committee to the next level and help the community. Luckily, we discovered that Make-A-Wish was our neighbors in the building. They hosted a lunch-and-learn for our staff and we realized that their mission and our mission were aligned, and that our employees were interested in giving back to this organization. We decided to partner with them and have our employees work together to raise money to sponsor wishes for children with life threatening illnesses. Make-A-Wish committed that the children we would sponsor would be children who are being treated at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) – this would allow us to take patient experience to the next level.
In May 2016 we kicked off the Make-A-Wish pilot with all of the Northwell Health corporate business areas. This would give us a chance to see if the program would be successful and give the corporate employees a chance to touch upon a level of patient experience they weren’t able to previously. When starting this program, our goal was to raise $10,000 (enough to sponsor one child’s wish) by the annual Walk for Wishes in September. Throughout the summer the corporate offices hosted a variety of fundraising events including the “Wall of Stars”, raffling off reserved parking spaces, wearing blue for Make-A-Wish, jeans days, raffling an Apple Watch, employee car washes, etc. All of these events led us to raise over $22,000, doubling our goal and allowing us to sponsor wishes for two children!
The two children we were picked to sponsor both were diagnosed with Leukemia and were being treated at CCMC. Seraphina, age 10, wished to travel to Paris and go to Disneyland while she was there. Alexander, age 18, wished to go on a tropical vacation so he was scheduled to travel to Hawaii. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the culture committee threw Seraphina and Alexander a send-off party before going on their trips and invited all of the corporate office liaisons to attend as a thank you for all of their hard work and fundraising efforts. It was a great day filled with beautiful decorations and all of Seraphina and Alexander’s favorite foods and desserts. Both families were so touched by what we did for them and it was so nice to be able to lift the spirits of these children. Since this pilot was so successful we were going to roll this program out to all of Northwell Health in 2017 so we can continue to raise the standard of care our patients receive, which goes far beyond the correct treatments, but helps them and their families mentally and emotionally. We look forward to helping more of our patients at CCMC throughout 2017 with the help of Make-A-Wish foundation.