Dedication and patient advocacy lead to the success of one social worker’s career journey at Northwell
Meet Christina Cheripuram, director of social work services at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Christina’s dedication to providing patients and their families with the best care has led to her successful career journey at Northwell.
Christina’s career history is deeply rooted at Northwell Health. She began as a social worker in 2005, and was promoted to a senior social worker in 2011. She then joined Northwell’s telepsychiatry team in 2016 as a behavioral telehealth care manager, and in 2017, she joined the transplant team as a living donor social worker and living donor advocate. With Christina’s experience and dedication, she advanced to a senior manager at North Shore University Hospital in 2020, and in 2022, to her current role as director of social work services at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). We connected with Christina to hear more about her story in her own words.
When did your career journey start at Northwell?
I joined Northwell 17 years ago, after completing a year as a social work student intern. After graduation, I gained first-hand knowledge and experience on what it meant to be a hospital social worker. I worked with ICU patients on telemetry/medicine units, offering much needed support and collaborating with the interdisciplinary teams to ensure safe discharges and patient/family satisfaction. I enjoyed working in the hospital, facilitating complex discharge plans and being present for patients and families.
Tell us what attracted you to Northwell.
I was drawn to Northwell because of the collaborative work environment and continued education, training and professional development the organization provides that helps you succeed in any role. I enjoy working with patients and being a part of a multidisciplinary team. Working as a social worker, I felt appreciated by my colleagues and I recognized that it was a privilege to witness and offer support and guidance to patients and families during some of the most challenging and precious moments in their lives.
How has your growth and development been supported by Northwell?
Northwell provides a very wide array of career opportunities and pursuing those opportunities has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. This has given me the opportunity to do what I love, think outside the box, and hold myself to a high standard.
What do you love most about working as director of social work services at Northwell?
As the director of social work at Northwell’s LIJMC, I love having the opportunity to hear from my team and utilize their feedback and suggestions to create positive change and process improvement within the department that can also lead to enhanced patient care. As a social worker at Northwell, you’re able to provide ongoing patient advocacy, supporting positive patient experiences, providing safe discharge plans, and ensuring a seamless transition for our patients across the continuum of care.
What advice do you have for those starting their career?
I would encourage all social workers to make the most of every day, and to seek the opportunities to be recognized. Northwell offers multiple resource tools and mentorship programs to help guide you in your career growth.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud that my career journey over the years has stayed within the Northwell organization. I have been impacted by so many people along the way, some who have become mentors to me, and all of them have played a part in teaching me and shaping who I am now. In addition, I’m proud of building leadership skills and working side by side with the social workers to support their efforts working with patients and families, as well as supporting the business goals of the organization. I don’t believe another organization could have offered the same level of career growth and support that Northwell has.
Social Services Careers at Northwell Health, Raise Your Career Expectations
Careers in Social Services at Northwell Health provide opportunities to learn, grow and raise your career expectations in a field where you can truly impact the community. Whether your career journey is just starting out, moving into a more senior position, or you’ve begun to explore a new direction, Northwell has the resources to support and guide you on your path. Below, you will find information on the many areas of specialization for the social services profession at Northwell. For the complete job profiles of each role, we invite you to visit NorthwellCareers.com or click on the link below to discover a career well cared for with our team.
Check out our open social services positions here.
Our Transitional Care Management Team Delivers Compassionate Patient Care—After A Hospital Stay
When you consider a career in health care, you’ll likely picture patients being treated by nurses and doctors at a hospital or doctor’s office. But what about the care provided afterward? At Northwell, ensuring a patient continues on the road to good health following discharge is just as important as treating them during their stay — and that’s when the Transitional Care Management (TCM) team steps in.
As a TCM senior program manager, Chris Choi knows that “it takes a multifaceted team, which even includes the patient and family, to help guide those in need to step ‘north’ along the path of wellness.” That passage north is charted with the careful teamwork of roles ranging from nurses and doctors to social workers and care management coordinators.
TCM teams follow up with patients after they leave the hospital to ensure they stay the course toward wellbeing and rejoin their communities. The work of TCM also impacts organizational goals such as reducing patient readmission, which is critical for a health system caring for more than 2 million people annually within 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient sites. “I coordinate the implementation of organization-wide strategies designed to meet operational objectives,” says Chris, “as well as provide hospitals with data and analytics to support their process-improvement efforts.”
Chris began his Northwell career journey as an intern in 2017, and it was then that he realized the direct impact his work would have on patients. His internship project was to develop a self-management workbook for patients recovering from a cardiothoracic procedure. According to Chris, “At the end of my internship, I was able to visit the patient recovering at home. It was amazing to know I had made even a small impact on the life of this patient!”
From his days as an intern to his current role, Chris always loves working directly with the teams treating our patients. “Although I am not involved in direct clinical care, I love that I am still able to contribute toward the health care of thousands of patients though our transitional care programs.”
Throughout the growth of his Northwell career, Chris was encouraged by leadership to expand his knowledge of what it means to work in health care by receiving opportunities and resources to be creative. He believes the care the organization shows not only to patients but also to employees is just one part of what makes Northwell Health a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Chris continues to see opportunities ahead of him, and he feels confident about forging ahead on his career path: “I know that in every position, within every portfolio of work, the organization will help me excel and guide me to always be patient-centered. My managers and leadership support me by the way they communicate, teach and lead by example.”
Chris recommends a career in health care –whether in clinical or non-clinical roles–to anyone who understands “it’s important to stay humble. We learn from both our own experiences and from our team members. It’s a process of constant discovery that offers ways to support patients.”
Redefine what you think it means to work in health care and discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health.
A Career in Care Management at Northwell Means a Fulfilling Role with Endless Room for Growth
A career in health care is often pursued by people who are passionate about caring for others. Health care is a broad industry with so many touchpoints for improving the health of our communities, but some of those communities need extra help reaching their health goals. Northwell Health Solutions programs provide care coordination to those needing assistance with accessing medical care as well as mental health, substance abuse, social, and family support services.
Impacting community health requires a combination of compassionate employees dedicated to helping people and a health system committed to keeping the “care” in healthcare—and that’s the case with the Northwell Health Solutions team. “I love helping others,” says Jessica Torres, supervisor, HARP Care Management at New York Health Home. “Something like scheduling an appointment and advocating for your own health can seem simple, but it can be difficult for a lot of the patients we work with.” Fellow care management supervisor Alexis Bustillo adds, “The organization is constantly innovating to ensure that they deliver the best care possible.”
This commitment from a health system alone may be what some candidates expect when seeking a career in health care, but as Jessica and Alexis quickly learned, at Northwell you’ll also raise your career expectations. They both joined New York Health Home in 2018 and rapidly grew in their roles. “The reputation about Northwell is true,” says Alexis. “Its friendly work environment, the flexibility, and advancement opportunities are real.”
A positive workplace and knowing your career is well cared for fuels the success Alexis and Jessica have achieved, which includes working with their teams and the Medicaid community to get patients to their providers, assist them with housing and connect them with counseling support services. ““From the moment I interviewed with Northwell, I knew this is where I wanted to be. Knowing that I have been able to make patients’ lives more manageable is everything,” says Jessica.
When asked what makes Northwell a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Jessica and Alexis couldn’t call-out just one reason. They noted the culture, the room for growth, the support from leadership, incredible benefits like tuition reimbursement, and the investment in training and developing all employees — regardless of role or title.
Both Alexis and Jessica believe that joining Northwell Health was one of the best decisions they’ve made and would recommend it to anyone seeking a meaningful career where real differences are made in the communities we live in.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
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