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Sa l u t i n g Af r i ca n -A m e r i ca n s i n Hea l t h ca re




Big Apple Health News & Events LLC

Issue 3 | February 2020


Congratulations to Alan Lee

Cheif Operating Officer NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and

Chif Umejei

Vice President of Clinical Systems NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

and all African-American Healthcare Professionals We are proud to care for the African-American community and all of our patients.

February 2020

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EDITORIAL Healthcare Justice Many in the healthcare community across New York City will gather at the historic Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning (JCAL) in Queens, NY, on February 27 for our inaugural 2020 Black History Month Celebration of Excellence Award where we will pay tribute to Dr. James McCune Smith, the first African-American physician and many highly accomplished African-Americans whose amazing journey in healthcare you will discover in the pages ahead. We are so proud of our honorees who are to be admired and celebrated for their incredible contributions to the advancement of our healthcare system. While there is  much to be celebrated and the US has seen so many advancement in healthcare, African-Americans are still left far behind in the medical industry. It is great to see that Healthcare and Disparity in health care continues to stay at the forefront of public conversations and national debates in the US and especially so during the 2020 run for the White House. But it is hard to comprehend that this conversation is even taking place in this day and age and in one of the most advanced and richest nations in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses in their constitution that “attainment of the highest possible standard of health is a fundamental right of every human being, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The WHO also stresses the importance of healthcare in achieving health, noting that “the extension to all peoples of the benefits of medical, psychological and related knowledge is essential to the fullest attainment of health.” Yet in 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported “significant health and healthcare disparities in leading causes of death.” As if access to care, proper attention and quality of care is not enough to deal with, African-Americans have the other issue of not having enough doctors who look and speak like them to understand their issues. African-Americans account for 13% of our population yet only 4% of doctors are black and less than 7% of our medical students are black. We spend more money and energy trying to fix other nations’ problems, while our citizens are lacking basic human needs. We empathize and are compassionate in giving to thy neighbors, but I still believe in the Thomas Fueller quote my mother used to utter when I was a child, “Charity begins at home.” She was right then and she still is right today. The right of every human being to have both

access and quality healthcare is as important as obtaining a solid education. The question that has to be asked is why is the percentage of black doctors so shockingly low? And, what are we doing as a nation to fix this issue? Findings and statistics are all great, but where are we really in this fight; in ending disparity in healthcare, in ensuring that people of color are given equal opportunity in education, which is fundamental to the development and growth of an individual? There are many organizations that are talking the “disparity in healthcare” talk, many are given grants to help to eliminate disparity, but what is really troublesome is that the people whom they represent, is not reflected in any of these leadership positions at these organizations and institutions. If we are going to truly achieve success at eliminating disparity in healthcare, we need to really evaluate who sits on our organizations. Do they look like the people who are affected by disparity and who we say we are fighting for? If not, it is a waste of time and resources. Placing a person of color among our leadership body with the title, “Diversity and Inclusion” is not the solution. How can we fix what we do not know, do not understand and where trust is a key issue with those affected? There must be leaders, men and women of color who can make critical judgements, who can partake in the decisions that affect patients and professionals of color alike. Perhaps a council or a task force is needed where there is a balance, if not a higher percentage, of people of color who can come together, to discuss what is needed to bring more African Americans into the fold of American medicine, to add to the student body in medical schools some of the best and brightest of the black young men and women. Possibly a conference could be arranged, at the community level, at the state level and maybe at the national level, to end the disparity in health care for African- Americans, to level the playing field in medical treatment, and to see some of the dismal statistics flat line, or at the very least, start a new trend in evening out those statistics for African-Americans. While the needle moved somewhat with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the area of health coverage for people of color and low income individuals, it is not enough and we still have a long and arduous journey of achieving what the Department of Health says about its vision of “a nation free of disparities in health and health care.”

February 2020

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Big Apple Health News & Events LLC

Issue 3 February 2020

Publisher Shanie Persaud-Adeen Senior Reporter Judith Balfe

CONTACT Phone: 347-210-9832,

Distribution of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of information, products or services. Big Apple Health News and Events LLC reserves the right to reject any advertisement or listing that is not in keeping with the publication’s standards. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.



here are many reasons for the disparity in healthcare, economic factors, accessibility among them, but one reason that may come as a shock is the lack of diversity in the system. While African Americans account for 13% of our population, only 4% of doctors are black; less than 7% of our black medical students are black. In a recent study by The National Bureau of Economic Research - NBER, black men seeing black doctors allowed more preventative screenings, even those that are considered invasive, and communications were better, and trust was high. Better preventive care equals better outcomes for patients. This is also true of women patients. A case in point is that of Kimber

- By Judith Balfe

likely to experience poorer health outcomes out comes than white Americans every year.” Dr. Marcella Alsan of Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study in 2018 that provide support for the fact that black men do better with a black doctor. In a study of 1400 black men, recruited from flea markets and barber shops. Before they met with the doctors, they were asked what type of preventive services they would prefer to have, such as cardiovascular screenings and others. There were 14 male doctors in the clinic that was set up for the research. Following the consultations they ascertained that the patients who met with black doctors were more apt to accept more preventive services than those who met with non-black doctors. The researches felt it was because there was better communication between the black patients and the black healthcare providers. Preventive services rather than curative care treating illnesses being the focus, doctors spoke mostly the benefits of prevention, and then provided them. Black doctors were able to convince 56% of the men to agree to get flu shots, for instance, and it was found that 29% of the participants were more apt to discuss other aspects of their wellbeing with the black doctors, other health or personal issues, and the doctors took more detailed notes on the men than the nonblack doctors.

These 10 black men in University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s first year class at their “White Coat Ceremony” Colleen Kelly / Univer. of Cincinati. ly Williams, founder of HUED an app that allows one to connect with health and medical care provided by professionals of color. Wilson suffered from a severe case of uterine fibroids and she searched for a doctor who would be able to address her culture, her ethnicity and her mental health. Although this is a fairly common condition in black women, the severity of her condition sent her to the hospital emergency rooms many times during 2018, and she consulted with several doctors, mostly white, who advised a hysterectomy and would not allow her to have children in the future. When a friend referred her to a black obstetrician/gynecologist she met Dr. Khara Michelle Simpson at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr, Simpson recommended an abdominal myomectomy; the procedure was successfully done. But Williams was still frustrated by the fact that it had taken her so long to connect with a black doctor and that she had to travel all the way to Baltimore; she was determined to do something about it, using her own experience as a jumping off point. Thus was born HUED. In an interview, Wilson related, “My inspiration came from a place of frustration. Frustration with the lack of access and opportunities for black and brown people-specifically when it comes down to something as simple as taking care of our health. Nobody is going to take care of us, but us.” When asked why people of color are sometimes treated so unfairly by mainstream doctors. She responded, “The healthcare system is any other institution in this country when it comes to racial disparity unconscious bias and more. The proof of this is in the disparities, really: African Americans and Latinos are 30 to 40 percent more

In a society that promises equality, that often seems to be making great strides in health care, why are the odds still stacked against African Americans? The death rate for them decreased by 25% from 1999-2015, yet from ages 18-49 they are twice as likely to die from heart disease from heart disease as whites. African Americans are 50% more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than whites. So the statistics bear out the fact that disparity in health care does exist, and in caring for our health, in exposing this most important aspect of our lives to strangers, why does having a doctor who looks like you matter? As it has been stated, having a common racial and cultural bond helps to allay fears and creates an atmosphere of trust and an ease of communication. More equality in health care could go a long way in offering, and having accepted by black patients, preventive measures for forestalling or completely negating some prevalent diseases in the black community, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Getting early screenings, following doctors’ advice, taking proper medication might change some of those statistics that show early disease and premature death in African Americans. How can this be achieved? As mentioned, communication, trust, the ability to relate to our health care professionals are vital. More black doctors and other health care workers are needed, and the industry should be taking measures to see that this happens. Yet it is more than the hands-on workers, those who diagnose, who operate, who advise. Just as the patient needs to feel confident and trusting of his care giver, so must the health care industry feel confident in the decisions that are made for all patients, whites, black, Asians and others. But because the blacks are less represented than all the others, we must strive to bring equality to health care as well. To be able to treat, and prevent, and cure the black community equally, with respect to customs and preferences, to instill confidence and trust in all areas.

February 2020

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Inequality is a health care issue By Dr. Susan Rogers President-elect

Physicians for a National Health Program


While Medicare ended legal health segregation, we still have a very long way to go towards true health equity. African Americans fall behind in almost every measure of health such as life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, and preventable death from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Black and Hispanic Americans are much more likely to be uninsured and under-insured, so that even minor health issues can lead to significant medical debt or bankruptcy. In fact, nearly one-third of Black Americans aged 18 to 64 has past-due medical bills. Insured Black families spend nearly 20% of household income on premiums, plus thousands more in deductibles before coverage even kicks in. And too many stay in dead-end jobs, or decide not to open businesses or pursue educational opportunities for fear of losing coverage.

e may not think about the implementation of Medicare in 1965 as a milestone in Black History. But prior to Medicare, hospitals across America were segregated by race. And not surprisingly, Black patients received inferior care, or no care at all. With the Civil Rights Act signed just a year before, Medicare was banned from funding institutions that discriminated on the basis of race. The threat of losing Medicare dollars forced hospitals to transform their delivery of care. Within the span of months, thousands of hospitals took down their “Whites Only” and “Colored Only” signs. Black patients were able to access care, some for the first time in their lives. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The good news is that we have evidence for what works in closing racial health gaps: comprehensive, universal coverage without financial barriers like deductibles and copays. For example, Black men in the Veterans Health system are 37% less likely than white men to develop heart disease, and have a 24% lower death rate. And once Americans enroll in Medicare, racial health disparities begin to shrink or even disappear. How can we replicate the success of the VA and Medicare? As a physician, I prescribe single-payer Medicare for All — the only policy that will provide equal, lifelong coverage to everybody in America, without financial barriers like deductibles and copays, and with free choice of doctor and hospital. Only Medicare for All can provide equal funding for hospitals based on community needs, not profits, and direct re-

sources towards combating racism in the delivery of care. History tells us that real progress can only be achieved through bold and transformative action, not by nibbling around the edges of change. What are we waiting for? Dr. Rogers is a board member and president-elect of Physicians for a National Health Program. Dr. Rogers is a retired internist, and continues to volunteer as an attending hospitalist and internist at the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. Before retirement she was a hospitalist and Director of Medical Student programs for the Department of Medicine at Stroger Hospital. She is also an assistant professor of medicine at Rush University, where she remains active on the Committee of Admissions for the medical school. She has received numerous teaching awards from Stroger Hospital, Rush University, and Rosalind Franklin University.

We are Proud to Sponsor

Black History Month Awards Reception & Networking Remembering

Michael N. Rosenblut Chairman, Board of Managers Patricia Connelly, RN Executive Director

Dr. James McCune Smith

First African-American Physician April 18, 1813– November 17, 1865 & Saluting African-Americans in Healthcare

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February 2020

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Medicare for All: Healing Racial Health Inequities “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.” - Dr. Martin Luther King The U.S. health system is plagued with inequity: Compared to whites, people of color are more likely to be uninsured, face barriers to care, and suffer from preventable health conditions.

High Blood Presure Although African American adults are 40 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, they are less likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to have their blood pressure under control.

Costs and access to care • People of color account for over half of America’s uninsured. Hispanic and Black Americans have significantly higher uninsured rates (19% and 11%) than whites (8%). • Insured Black families spend nearly 20% of household income on premiums. • Nearly one-third of Black Americans aged 18 to 64 have past-due medical bills. • Majority Black communities are 67% more likely to have a shortage of primary care providers. Hospitals are more likely to close in communities with high levels of segregation and low-income residents.

Health outcomes • Among today’s 40-year-olds, whites will live nearly six years longer than Blacks. • Compared to white Americans, Blacks are twice as likely to die from diabetes, seven times more likely to die from HIV/AIDS, 22% more likely to die from heart disease, and 71% more likely to die from cervical cancer, with higher death rates for all cancers combined. • Black mothers are twice as likely as white mothers to lack prenatal care and 320% more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Black babies are more than twice as likely to die than white babies. Most of these deaths are preventable.

Universal comprehensive coverage is proven to reduce or even eliminate health disparities • In the Veteran’s Health system, Black men are 37% less likely than white men to develop heart disease, and have a 24% lower death rate — a significant improvement compared to the general population. • Patients with end-stage kidney disease qualify for Medicare coverage. And once on Medicare, Black patients with kidney disease survive longer than whites. • For women with breast cancer, high-quality health coverage has been proven to erase nearly half the racial disparities in detection, treatment, and survival. We have a long way to go to eliminate the racial inequities in health care. But a necessary first step is comprehensive coverage for everybody in the U.S., regardless of income, employment, or age. The only way to achieve that is with single-payer Medicare for All, which provides lifelong coverage for all medically necessary care, free choice of doctor and hospital, and funding of hospitals based on community needs, not profit. PNHP.ORG

African-Americans Stats in Key Medical Conditions

February 2020

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In 2017, African Americans were 20 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites. African American women are 60 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.

Mental and Behavioral Health Poverty level affects mental health status. African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report psychological distress. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15 to 24.1. The death rate from suicide for African American men was more than four times greater than for African American women, in 2017. However, the overall suicide rate for African Americans is 60 percent lower than that of the non-Hispanic white population. African American females, grades 9-12, were 70 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2017, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age. A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 - 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233 percent, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.


Most well-known for his leadership as an abolitionist, a member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in 1850 Smith was among those who organized the Committee of Thirteen in New York City which was designed to resist the Fugitive State Laws by helping escaping slaves via the Underground Railroad. He was a founding member of the Statistical Society, begun in 1852; with Frederick Douglass, he helped found the National Council of Colored People in 1853. Douglass always said that Smith was the single most important influence on his life. In 1854, Smith was invited to join the American Geographic Society. He and his wife, who was also of mixed race, lived in a neighborhood in Manhattan that was mostly white, but after a mob burned down the Colored Orphan Asylum in 1863 during the New York Draft Riots they moved their family to Brooklyn. Close to 100 blacks were killed during those riots.

Dr. James McCune Smith


America’s First Black Doctor

o celebration of African American heritage and its connection to the world of medicine would be complete without including the story of James McCune Smith. His is not a household name, and for a time it was largely forgotten. In the last century some historians rediscovered him, and more recently a descendent who had seen his name in a family bible once again resurrected him. But his name should be recognized, for although he died relatively young, aged 52, what he accomplished in his life time was amazing, for a black man in those times to become a physician, an apothecary and an author, was an astounding feat. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Glasgow, graduating at the top of his class and was the first African American to earn a medical degree. Smith was born a slave in 1813 in New York City. When he was 14, the passage of the Emancipation Act of New York set him free, on the significant date of July 4, 1827. His father, Samuel Smith, was a merchant who lived in South Carolina, and James was born to one of his slaves, Lavinia, whom Smith had brought to New York with him. Growing up in New York, Smith attended the African Free School #2 where it was soon discovered that he was a very intelligent student who studied hard and loved to learn. Many of the young men from that institution became gifted and successful men when they reached adulthood, and Smith would continue to be close to them as he later worked with them in the abolitionist cause. Young Smith applied to both Columbia Medical School and Geneva Medical School upon graduation, but was refused admittance due to his race. He then applied to the University of Glasgow, where he was admitted. Some of the abolitionists who were benefactors of the African Free School paid for the voyage and Smith’s education. They also helped him to connect to the London Agency Anti-Slavery Society, and while there, Smith expressed his sense of freedom in the far more tolerant nature of existence in Scotland and England. When Smith acquired his degree and returned to the States, he opened a pharmacy and practiced medicine at the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City for more than 20 years. He was an acknowledged intellectual, writing articles for medical journals, and essays, and in his writings and lectures he put to rest many of the misconceptions society entertained about race and intelligence.

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Smith died just two years later, in 1865. In the 1890 census, his widow and children were classified as white and his children went on to become a lawyer, teachers, and owned businesses, marrying white spouses. Thus, they avoided much of the discrimination and hardship that Smith himself faced during his lifetime, which is so evident in the fact that although he was the first African American to earn a medical degree, and the first to run an apothecary, with all of his accomplishments and the success he achieved, he was never allowed to become a member of the American Medical Association, not even in the local chapters of those institutions.


Bernard J. Tyson Former Chairman and CEO

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals


hen Bernard J. Tyson passed on November 10, 2019, we lost a giant in the field of health care. As CEO of Kaiser Permanente, an integrated manages health care concern, he was a highly respected leader, and a shining example for all who aspire to success and respect in the medical world, especially for the young people of color. Born in California, Tyson earned both his Bachelor’s degree in healthcare service management and his MBA in health service administration at Golden Gate University in his home state. In his long career with the Kaiser Permanente consortium, more than 34 years, Tyson held several positions. He was named CEO in 2013, the first African American to hold that prestigious position. Kaiser Permanente is the largest nonprofit managed care consortium in the United States, serving 12 million people and employing more than 218,000 people. When Tyson started as CEO the company was estimated to be worth 53 million dollars, but at the time of his death, that figure had risen to about 80 million. Under his stewardship, the company went from being the low-cost leader to the absolute leader, of the health care industry. Tyson was awarded numerous titles and awards; in 2015 he was named the third most influential person in healthcare by Modern Healthcare and in 2014, the second most influential in healthcare. Time named him as a leading authority on public health issues in America in 2017 and was among those named to the list as one of the top 50 most influential People in Health Care in 2018. He served on the board of the American Heart Association,Tyson advocated for affordability in healthcare, and believed in the power of prevention. One of his goals was to see the health care industry reflect the changing face of America, to meet the changing needs and concerns. At the age of 60, the passing of Bernard J. Tyson came as a shock

to his many friends and acquaintances, among them sports figures, politicians, authors and journalists. There are pictures of him with many important figures from all walks of life. At the time of his passing the National Union of Healthcare workers had planned a five-day strike, but out of respect for Tyson, they postponed it. Union President Sal Rosella said, “Our members dedicate their lives to helping people through tragedy and trauma, and they recognize that a strike would not be appropriate during this period of mourning and reflection.” Representative John Lewis, in a tribute written in honor of Tyson for TIME in 2017, said, “He is smart, gifted, thoughtful and a highly respected voice in the struggle to make high- quality health care affordable for every American.” And Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health in remembering Tyson said “Sad news about a fine man I knew for many years. My condolences to Bernie’s loved ones and colleagues.” Perhaps these words from close friend business man, blogger and writer Ben Horowitz describe him best, as “ordinary people.” Horowitz, in a tribute to his friend mentioned that Sly Stone, of Sly and the Family Stone, was a cousin of Tyson. Stone is also known for his authorship of the famous song, Everyday People. Describing an incident where Tyson and Horowitz visited a venue sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, he expected the staff and workers to treat Tyson as a CEO. Instead, he says, “They looked like they were seeing a loved family member for the first time in months.” Faces lit up, he reports. “I realized that they were looking at him this way because of the way he looked at them. The most powerful healthcare executive in the world was miraculously everyday people.”

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February 2020

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The African Americans Who Pioneered In American Medicine. Did you know that: … the very first black physician to be named as a director of a hospital in the U.S. was Alexander Augusta, who had gotten his medical degree in Toronto, Canada, had a successful practice there before moving to the U.S. in 1862. … Robert Boyd, in 1895, became the co-founder and first president of the National Medical Association when strict rules made it impossible for black physicians to join other associations such as the American Medical Association? Today the National Medical Association is the oldest and largest organization for black doctors and health care professionals. … the first woman to graduate with a medical degree in the U.S. was Rebecca Crumpler, graduating from the New England Medical College in Boston, MA. in 1864? …Mary Mahoney was the first black woman in America to earn a nursing degree when she graduated from New England Medical College in 1879? …Daniel Williams was one of the first doctors to perform open heart surgery, as well as founding the first interracial and first black-owned hospital? In 1893 he opened, in Chicago, Provident Hospital which was inter-racially staffed. …As early as 1897, Solomon Fuller was pioneering research in the area of Alzheimer’s disease? He was the first African American psychiatrist to be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association These early pioneers made it possible for those who followed to attain great success, many becoming “firsts” of their heritage to attain noteworthy successes. In times when it was almost impossible for people of color to be accepted into institutions of higher learning, where so many people who were qualified for positions that were not offered to them because of their color; some persevered and became doctors, inventors, pioneering nurses, lending their brilliance and expertise to America, and in many cases, to the world. Charles Drew, the first black examiner for the American Board of Surgery was also the first to use blood plasma for transfusions in the early 1940’s. The first black woman admitted to the American Board of Surgeons was Helen Dickens, receiving her certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She graduated from the University of Illinois/Chicago in 1934. Rosalyn Epps was the first black resident of the American Women’s Association, graduating from Howard University in 1974. In government as well, there are several “firsts” for African Americans, among them Jocelyn Elders, who was U.S. Surgeon General under President Clinton, 1993. Donna Christian-Christiansen was the first female physician elected to Congress, 1970. In 1964, Marilyn Gaston was the first black female head of the U.S. Public Health Service Bureau.

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There are many others deserving of being remembered for their services; Mae C. Jenson was the first black woman admitted to the U.S. astronaut training program, and the first in space when on Sept. 12, 1992 she was a member of the space shuttle Endeavor. She was one of 15 chosen from an application field of over 2000 for the training program. Some of the inventions given to the medical field by African Americans are: Patrice Bath, awarded a patent for the medical invention laser phaco and the laser phaco probe for removing cataracts. She was also the first female chair of ophthalmology at Columbia. She graduated from Howard University in 1968. Emmett Chappelle, a biochemist and inventor holds 14 patents in the U.S. In 2007 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his outstanding work in bioluminescence. Finally, did you know that Lonnie Bristow M.D., was the first black physician elected President of the American Medical Association? And Ben Carson was the first neurosurgeon to separate twins conjoined at the back of the head? He is a member of the Trump administration, head of Housing and Urban Development. Alexa Canady was the first female neurosurgeon, graduating from the University of Michigan in 1975. Kenneth Frazier, JD was the first black man to lead a major pharmaceutical company in the U.S, being named CEO of Merck & Company in 2013. William Hinton was the first African American to teach at Harvard, in 1909. In 1964 Jane wright was the first woman elected to the presidency of the American Cancer Society, and in 2003 Risa Lavizzo-Mourey became the first African American and woman to be named CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Today these pioneers are a vital part of not just black history but American history for the valued contributions they have made while fighting discrimination and overcoming great odds. In this month of February, it is only right to remember them, to call out their names and contributions, and to thank them for their services.

February 2020

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that it is indeed difficult to find teaching staff in comparison to the supply/volume of students. Often the teacher is expected to have a Master’s degree in nursing, with a Doctoral degree preferred but the compensation is not aligned with the educational requirements. Currently, 13% of those who teach have Masters Degrees, while only 1% have Doctorates. Finding qualified teaching staff can be challenging.

Launette Woolforde EdD, DNP, RN-BC Vice President Nursing Education & Professional Development,

Northwell Health


s Vice President of Nursing Education and Professional Development at Northwell Hospital, Dr. Launette Woolforde oversees the strategic efforts and the education programming which impacts over 70,000 employees, of which 7,000 plus are nurses. Northwell Health is the largest private employer in New York State and has in its network 23 hospitals and 750 outpatient centers. She is also an Assistant Professor at Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine. Dr. Woolforde has an impressive resume; having earned a BSN and post Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Case Western Reserve University. In addition, she received an Ed.D. Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She is the first nurse to have earned two doctoral degrees in the system.

Asked about prerequisite skills needed for nursing, Dr. Woolforde says science and math are core components, but adds, “Nurses are also informationists and technology specialists, entrepreneurs and business operations leaders. Nurses are at the frontlines exercising their nursing knowledge at the bedside, and it’s usually from there that we venture into other areas if we so choose.” Are there more people of color entering the nursing field today? Dr. Woolforde perceives that there are more people of color entering the medical field across the board and nursing would not be excluded. “Where the opportunity lies is in the growth within the profession in respect to race. For example, the distribution of people of color in leadership and decision making roles is sparse- and this is true of nursing.” She says, too, and this is key, “Entering the field is one thing and I am happy to see the movement even in small doses, toward a more equitable representation across different groups entering nursing, but there is much work to be done.” About her own work, she says, “To be a nursing professional development specialist you have to commit to lifelong learning-you’re own and that of those around you. That commitment is reflected in the caliber of nurses and nurse educators here at Northwell Health.” She admits it hasn’t been an easy road, coming from an immigrant family, parents who didn’t go to college and working from the age of 14. She worked two and three jobs to educate herself, and she hopes that people will remember that behind every glass ceiling that is shattered, there is a long journey that accompanies it “And it ain’t over!” she adds.

She has been presented with; 2019 American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Nurse of the Year; 2019 International Founders Award, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing, and was inducted into the Teacher’s College, Columbia University Hall of Fame. Dr. Woolforde co-authored the current Scope and Standards of Practice for Nursing Professional Development. She is a Board Member the National League for Nursing (NLN), and the Association for Nursing Professional Development and is Board Certified in Nursing Professional Development. Additionally, Dr. Woolforde is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Who better then to ask nursing in today’s world? It is known that it is easier to find people who want to be nurses than to find people to teach nursing, with economics being a factor. Nurses are usually paid more than the people who teach them. Dr. Woolforde agreed

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years, and was also an assistant professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in obstetrics and gynecology. During the 10 years she spent at Montefiore Dr. Wilcox became Chair of the OBGYN Quality Improvement Committee. She worked in the South Bronx Health Center and many other sites in the Bronx. She became interested in the public health system, enrolling in the Executive MPH program at Columbia University Mailman School of Healthcare Policy and Management and in 2005 he received her degree in Healthcare Policy and Management.

Dr. Wendy Wilcox

MBA, MPH, FACOG Chairman, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health and Hospitals,

Kings County, NY


native Brooklynite, Dr. Wendy Clarke Wilcox moved to Hastings-on-Hudson when she was just five years old. Although she completed her whole education in that school system, she was a frequent visitor to Brooklyn as her grandmother and aunts lived on Wilcox Street right near Kings County Hospital. She felt at home there spending many weekends and summers with the family. Her father immigrated at the age of six from Barbados and was raised in Brooklyn. He practiced law but worked for nonprofit organizations which helped minority students obtain educational opportunities. Her mother, a New York City school teacher and guidance counselor worked for the New York Board of Education for 32 year after coming from Tallahassee, Fla. to attend graduate school because Florida didn’t allow blacks entry into their graduate schools. Both of Wilcox’s parents were involved in the Civil Rights movement and proudly attended the March on Washington. Public service was ingrained into her DNA; she grew up wanting to help people, especially those in her community. While attending Brown University for her undergraduate degree she took cases in premed and worked as a woman’s peer counselor helping students who suffered from eating disorders, sexual trauma and other health issues. This exposure helped to define her future career path. Wilcox graduated with a B.A in Biomedical Ethics, obtaining a position a research lab at Cornell Medical Center in Neurology. She experimented with the reproductive organs of canary songbirds, in line with her interest in gynecology and obstetrics, and the following year found her enrolled in SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. She graduated with a degree in medicine and returned to Brooklyn to do her residency in obstetrics and gynecology. She attended Long Island College Hospital for her internship and residency in OB/GYN. Hired by Montefiore as an attending physician in the Bronx upon finishing her residency, she became a medical director after just a few

Dr. Wilcox joined NYC Health and Hospitals/Kings County in 2015 as Chairman, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health. She is Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology for SUNY Downstate Medical Center and St. George’s University, where she and her department teach learners from all disciplines including resident physicians, midwives and nurses. Always passionate about improving the quality of healthcare, working toward equity and reducing mother mortality and morbidity, Dr. Wilcox served as Co-chair of the New York State Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes. The task force recommended forming the NYS Maternal Mortality Review Committee on which she serves. In yet another role, Dr. Wilcox serves at NYC Health and Hospitals. As Clinical System Lead for maternal mortality and morbidity reduction and women’s health she is leading many programs including: the Maternal Medicine Home and the simulation program which trains maternity teams of OB Anesthesia doctors and nurses to respond quickly to obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension in pregnancy and OB life support. In 2017 she earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Wagner College. Dr. Wilcox has two college-aged children, Justin and Hayley Wilcox, and still finds time to serve as a Mentor for the Essential Women’s Leadership Academy which addresses hospital leadership disparities by America’s Essential Hospitals. She is a Trustee for St. Paul’ School in Concord, N.H., and is a former President of Jack and Jill of America, Bergen-Passaic branch. A deacon for her church, she resides in New Jersey with her family.

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ronment and policy under the Federal Title 7 legislation. A more comprehensive approach connected to poverty elimination. It involved providing comprehensive, coordinated and non-fragmented health care.


William John Gies Fellow


r. Arthur I. Hazelwood was elected President of the American Association of Hospital Dentists in 1994, the first African American to have been named to that post. He was also president of the National Academics of Practice 1210-1912, an important inter-professional organization which advises the Congress as well as the public. He has served as Chairman of the Board for Daytop Village, a well-respected program for the rehabilitation of addiction. Hazelwood established the Office for Dental Affairs of New York City and Hospital Corporation (HHC), operating 16 municipal hospitals of the city in the earlier years of his illustrious career. Appointed the first Director, he held the position of Director of Planning and Program Development, building two teaching hospitals. He also was responsible for creating the city-wide ambulatory care system and served as Medical Director of Morrisania Family Care Center. In a career as full and varied as that of Dr. Hazelwood, he found the time to actively engage his ongoing interest in international health, serving as a consultant to many countries, including Guyana, Canada Haiti, Barbados, Ghana and Senegal, all of whom appreciated the experience and compassion of Hazelwood. Having earned a degree from Howard University’s College of Dentistry, in Washington, D.C. the following three years were spent on postdoctoral specialty training in Oral and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics; he became board certified in that field, which served him well for the next forty years.

Hazelwood developed a Health Guides Program which trained community non-professional laypersons to provide health information to their communities, basic health education, promotion of health activities and preventive care. They developed the first neighborhood health center which offered comprehensive care outside the jurisdiction of New York City. After 18 months in the position of Assistant Commissioner he was given responsibilities commensurate with those of Deputy Commissioner and was promoted to Director of Bureau of Health Care Administration. Included among a multitude of duties were responsibility of inspections of nursing homes and hospitals for purposes of certification, and management of the Medicaid program. This also encompassed Hazelwood’s responsibility for the initial implementation of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. As his reputation grew, Hazelwood was asked to serve on several planning committees; he accepted an appointment to be a member of the founding faculty at Stony Brook Dental School, his entrance into the world of academia, in which he has served ever since. He has served as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Task Force for New York, Regional Vice President, American Association of Hospital Dentists and Co-Chair, Joint ADA and Health and Hospitals Corporation Task Force on Dentistry. Hazelwood has been the recipient of many awards over his long career, including outstanding Service Awards, American College of Dentists, Physician of the Year, Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, and Distinguished Alumna Award, Howard University, and many more. He is very proud of being awarded the 2014 William John Gies Award in 2014., for being “…a truly exceptional leadership and accomplishments in dentistry, dental public health, education, humanities, care to the underserved, dental advocacy and global outreach. We are proud to include Dr. Arthur Hazelwood among our outstanding honorees in celebrating 2020 National Black History Month.

He then entered into private practice, serving in that capacity for the next five years, but discovering that this did not satisfy his professional aspirations, Hazelwood then enrolled in the Master of Public Health degree at Columbia University. Upon graduation he was offered, and accepted, a position at Nassau County Health Department (NCHD) as Assistant Commissioner. In that role he had the opportunity to initiate and develop some innovative programs during a time when healthcare programs and policy were evolving in the United States, sparked by the anti-poverty envi-

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Northwell named to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” The only New York health system to be recognized, Northwell is lauded for job satisfaction, innovation and initiatives focused on community health and outreach. Northwell Health has been named to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” the only health care provider in New York State to be recognized. New York’s largest health system and private employer ranked 93rd on this prestigious annual list of the country’s best places to work, earning recognition by Fortune for the first time. Northwell was one of eight health systems nationwide to make the list and was one of only 10 New York-based organizations to be recognized.


Big Apple Health News And Events for 2020 BHM Awards Reception & Networking Congratulations To All Honorees Chif Umejei Dr. Launette Woolforde Beverly A. Sheppard Alan Lee

Wendy C. Wilcox, Arthur I. Hazlewood Dr. Tamara Moise Delburt Joiner

Fortune’s top 100 list is based on results from America’s largest ongoing annual workforce study, representing more than 4.1 million employees this year alone. Employees responded to more than 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a Great Place to Work For All™. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential within the organization, no matter who they are or what they do. Those experiences are analyzed relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. Other factors considered include an assessment of employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas and the effectiveness of their leaders. With a workforce of more than 72,000 based at 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, Northwell was selected from among thousands of companies nationwide. Ninety-one percent of Northwell’s 1,300 employees responding to the survey said they felt good about the ways the organization contributes to the community, while 87 percent felt they made a difference in their jobs. Eighty-six percent of respondents said their work had special meaning. Job satisfaction, innovation and investment in community health reach are among the areas where Northwell scored highly. For example, as part of the health system’s efforts to put underserved communities at the forefront of Northwell’s outreach efforts, Santhosh Paulus, MD, site director of Huntington Hospital’s family medicine residency program, started a Human Trafficking Response Program in 2017.

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Northwell was also praised for its focus on veterans’ assistance, employee development and tuition reimbursement programs.

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Big Apple Medical Walk-In Urgent Care


First Black-owned Urgent Care Center in Brooklyn.

he Mission and Vision for Big Apple Medical Walk-in Urgent Care is to provide the best possible healthcare to every patient, knowing a medical setting can be intimidating; we strive to ensure our patients are heard.

speaking of the ills of gun violence. She has participated in medical lectures at senior citizen centers, and was in a video segment with Public Advocate Humane Williams educating the public on the dangers and warning signs of stroke. She was honored at Brooklyn Salutes Award Ceremony for her contributions to the development and growth of Brooklyn.

It provides culturally sensitive healthcare, regardless of race, sex, nationality, lifestyle or religion and champion diversity within their team; a healthcare system works best when its providers reflect the community they serve. They envision a healthy, empowered community, offering a variety of educational workshops and community health resource programs outside of the clinic, not just fixing problems but preventing them.

Tamara Moise DO

W Tamara Moise DO Co-Founder


amara Moise is the lead physician at the clinic, born and raised in New York, the child of immigrants. She earned a degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia and her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her emergency medical residency at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, in 2009. She has worked as an attending emergency physician at Lutheran Medical Center (now NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn) and Brooklyn University Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn. In founding Big Apple she hoped to provide medical services tailored to diversity of New York, and is especially attuned to the immigrant population as the daughter of Haitian immigrants herself. She understands the special needs of these patients who are traditionally underserved and she is passionate in her service to these patient. She is also globally passionate, having served as a medical volunteer in Guatemala and Haiti. She is fluent in Haitian Creole, and can converse in medical Spanish. She serves the local community through public speaking, was keynote speaker at the 2018 Caribbean Health Summit in Brooklyn, and was on Sirius XM’s Signal Boost discussing black maternal and infant mortality. She appeared in Essence Magazine


adson Fils is a certified Physician’s Assistant (PA) and co-founder of Big Apple Walk in Urgent Care. He has worked as a PA in many city hospitals including Queens General Hospital, Lutheran Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, NY. He was born in Port- A-u Prince, Haiti. Immigrating to the United States when he was 16. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and received a Physician Assistant certificate at St. John’s University in 2010. Mr. Fils developed considerable experience and expertise working in the emergency rooms of very busy city hospitals. He brought his knowledge and experience to Big Apple Urgent Care and the patients have benefited greatly while in his care. He shares in Dr. Moise’s passion for working with the underserved population and wants to share his medical knowledge with the general community. He believes that in educating patients, they are better able to make informed decisions and become involved in their own health care. He feels that with education in preventive healthcare, and that information is not always readily available in the emergency room. Mr. Fils is Board Certified: National Commission on the Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA) and enjoys group memberships in the American Academy of Physicians Assistants (AAPA), Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA). He is fluent in Haitian Creole and English, and conversant in basic medical Spanish. Dr. Moise and PA Fils are to be commended for the work they do in the community, in bringing comfort, care and education to those in need in their community.

February 2020

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and fulfilling. She works with children of all ages, infants through teens, and functions as a primary care provider. She provides well-conceived planning for proper health care and works closely with parents/caregivers to ensure that each child is developing properly and receiving all that is needed for healthy growth.

Dr. Beverly Sheppard Chair of Pediatrics

Advantage Care Physicians


native New Yorker, raised in Harlem, Beverly Anita Sheppard grew up wanting to become a doctor. She graduated from Hunter College High School and attended Princeton University where she earned a degree in psychology. She went on to State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, acquiring her medical degree there. She then did her internship and residency at the New York Hospital Cornell University Medical Center. She joined the LaGuardia Medical Group of Queens in 1985 after completing service to the National Health Service. She was a general pediatrician. That organization later became Queens Long Island Medical Group (QLIMC). There she served as Center Medical Director for the Jamaica Estates Office, and served on the Board of Directors for the QLIMC.

She is the recipient of three awards: The Bridges to Excellence Physician Office Systems Recognition Program (2018), which recognizes the ability to enhance the patients care through the use of information systems: the Compassionate Doctor Recognition (2014 and 2018) certification for treating patients with utmost kindness; and the Patients Choice Award (2014, 2015) reflecting on the difference the doctor has made in the life of the patient. Dr. Sheppard has affiliations with Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Northshore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Long Island Jewish/Forest Hills. She also holds an academic position of assistant clinical professor in the department of pediatrics at Hofstra University School of Medicine, Long Island. She is a member of the American Pediatrics Association. Although a busy practice doesn’t leave much free time, when Dr. Sheppard can claim some private time, she enjoys being with her family, which includes husband Curtiss Jackson and her two daughters, Jessica and Anita, and friends. She also enjoys jazz and traveling. In celebrating Black History Month and the part played by Dr. Sheppard, we recognize her value to the community and the compassion and care she has provided to more children than we can ever count. Thank you, Dr. Sheppard.

When QLIMC merged with three other medical groups in 2013, becoming Advantage Care Physicians, Dr. Sheppard was named Chair of the pediatrics department. This came with a responsibility to oversee 40 pediatricians located in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island ACPNY department of pediatrics serves over 90,000 children providing comprehensive care. Dr. Sheppard is particularly interested in the prevention of disease, which she says led her to pediatrics. She is an advocate for disease prevention through the vaccination process recommendations called for by the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also makes it a priority to counsel families and children, believing that teaching children about healthy lifestyles at an early age can prevent the many medical problems that can arise otherwise, such as obesity, diabetes, disease related to smoking and sexually transmitted diseases. She believes if healthy living is taught early enough, many of these diseases can be prevented. As a pediatrician, she says, “I believe that the best outcomes are achieved when there is a collaborative effort between the family and the physician in caring for the patient.” She has been in practice for over twenty one years, finding her work rewarding

February 2020

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Congratulations Dr. Beverly A. Sheppard, MD, FAAP on being honored at the Black History Month Awards Reception for your exceptional achievement in Pediatric Care. Thank you for always demonstrating what we stand for to the rest of the health care community and the patients you serve.

Primary and specialty care with convenient locations throughout the New York metro area and Long Island.

Visit us at

February 2020

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Umejei is particularly proud of the work he has done at the Koch Center, as well as his work in pharmacology, LED Technology and engineering innovations. He is quick to note the importance of IT in the field of medicine; the ability to amass a patients records in a short amount of time, being able to work through medicine interactions, proper dosage, different aspects of the patient’s problems, and previous treatments and applications. All of this is part of the care and the critical information gathering that allows doctors and technicians to treat each patient with the expertise and care needed with the least expenditure of time and paper.

Chif Umejei

Vice President of Hospital Information Technology

New York Presbyterian Hospital


o one can argue that technology plays an integral part in toay’s society, and that among the most important roles is the one it plays in medicine. It takes a unique mind and skill set to meld the different aspects of health care, the Information Technology with the aspect of humane care we associate with the medical practice, but Chif Umejei manages to bring the two aspects together in a career that has been spent for the past 12 years at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

In his dual roles as information leader and educator, Umejei brings to his work the dedication and passion that he is noted for, and which has awarded him recognition and gratitude. He studied at City University of New York, Baruch College, Zickland School of Business, and earned a MS in Medical Information at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine. Umejei is to be commended for his skill, his expertise in Information Systems and Technology and for his passion and respect for the medical profession.

From his inception at NYPH in 2007 as Manager of Clinical Operations, Umejei has brought his expertise to the facility, in the Pharmacy and the Perioperative/OR teams. Among his numerous projects was the implementation of BMCA (Barcoding Medication Administration), the Perioperative Scheduling and the Work Flow systems. In January of 2016, Umejei became Director of technology Resilience, directly responsible for the development and maintenance activities of mission-critical systems. His unwaveringly professional handling of critical information and the mastery displayed in all aspects of his performance led to his appointment, in May of 2019 to his current position of Vice President, Information Technology. In this position, he is responsible for the technology of all of the NYPH groups, a responsibility that is vast, but ably handled by Umejei. He was the IT lead for the David H. Koch Ambulatory Center, a state-of-the-art facility highly regarded in the medical industry.

February 2020

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passing through, and seeing to the care and comfort of strangers. His first foray into the medical aspect of hospitality was as an administrative director at Hackensack University Medical Center. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, Lee continued his education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, receiving from there a Master of Administrative Science in Executive Leadership. Being questioned about the most difficult part of his job, Lee stated, “The most difficult reality of my role as COO at NYP/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital is not having enough time to meet every patient who has entrusted their care to us, to thank them and wish them well.” This statement, both humble and caring, says a lot of Alan Lee’s character and soul. It also bodes well for his early training in hospitality and serving the public.

Alan Lee

Chief Operating Officer

NewYork -Presbyterian BrooklynMethodist Hospital


eing the Chief Operating Officer of a large hospital can be a daunting task, but it is one that is handled expertly by Alan Lee, who has been with the hospital since 2009.He came on board as Vice President of Support Services for New York Presbyterian/ Weill Cornell Medical Center, and most recently served as Vice President of Operations at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. In that position he oversaw the daily operations of the campus, covering a wide variety of departments.

As anyone who knows Lee can attest to, he believe in paying it forward, and he does so in many ways, including being a guest lecturer at Cornell University, NYU. And his alma mater, Fairleigh Dickenson University. He also does some public speaking, and when asked what message he hopes to give his audiences, he said, “Whether I am speaking at a National Conference or in a university setting my message is intended to inspire hope, and a personal commitment to service. I want to help others to identify their unique talents and to nurture and develop their skills to do the work of higher purpose.

In his current position as CEO, his responsibilities are many, and include managing and directing the daily operations of the hospital, which is a voluntary acute care teaching hospital, noted for being among the nation’s best in providing patient care, medical education and research. It is known for having access to top physicians, and as a major teaching institution it boasts of nine graduate medical education residency programs. It is also known for its highly advanced medical equipment and technology. As CEO, managing

“The most difficult reality of my role as COO at NYP/Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, is not having enough time to meet every patient who has entrusted their care to us, to

thank them and wish them well.” and directing the daily operations of this 135 year old hospital is a huge undertaking that Lee handles with confidence and caring. Before entering the world of health care, Lee worked in the hospitality management field, in luxury and deluxe hotel properties in New York City, such as the Millennium Broadway, the Ritz Carlton, The Regent Broad Street and Hudson, all very different from city hospitals, and yet fine training for a person who needs to deal with emergencies, a wide contingent of personalities continuously




February 2020

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ery, reduce incidents of death and disability for the patient. The path to recovery includes educating the patient on managing their condition, and the importance of scheduling follow up appointments before discharge from the hospital. The goals associated with these awards are aimed at speeding the recovery processes, reducing the incidence of readmission, and preventing deaths that are preventable through education and care.

Delbert Joiner Vice President Chief Quality Officer

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital


ith more than 25 years of experience in urban and rural hospitals, Delbert Joiner took on this position at St. John’s in 2015 with a wide range of professional experience as well as the ability to provide leadership in dealing with the ever increasing need for computer and data entry performance in hospitals and the field of patient information. The need for pristine information entry is especially evident in a setting where patient’s lives may be at stake. It is also apparent that security is a major issue in a world where technology can be both a blessing and a curse, and especially in hospitals, where sensitive information abounds and must be kept safe and confidential. That St. John’s, located in Far Rockaway, more than meets the high standards demanded of them was evidenced on Sept. 19, 2019, when the hospital received the Get with the Guidelines Stroke-Gold Plus and Heart Failure Silver Plus Quality Achievement Awards., for the third consecutive time. The awards recognizes the ability to surpass standards for stroke diagnosis and treatment, as well as heart failure management. It also illuminates the hospitals commitment to making sure heart patients receive the best treatment based on nationally recognized guidelines, using the most recent research and scientific evidence of appropriate care. This is especially pertinent to the Rockaways because premature death from heart failure is the leading cause of death in that area. “We’ve managed to successfully integrate the Get with the Guidelines criteria and metrics for heart failure and stroke care into our clinical practice to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Joiner. As Chief Quality Officer, as well as a Vice President, this is particularly important to him. He went on to add, “Attaining these prestigious awards is reflective of the tireless efforts and commitment of St. John’s team members.” Much more than just awards, achieving them also underlines the importance of the evaluation of the proper use of medications after heart failure or strokes, along with other methods of treatment based on the most advanced and up-to-date techniques, designed to maximize recov-

In awarding Delbert Joiner an award for Excellence in Health Care, one must understand the extreme dedication that goes into creating and then maintaining a system that works in a hospital that is the only hospital which provides emergency and ambulatory care on a peninsula that is densely populated, very diverse both culturally and economically, and medically underserved in the Rockaways and five Towns area, and includes both Nassau and Queens Counties. His expertise comes from providing expert professional services to Quality Improvement Organizations and serving as a primary resources in the development and deployment of population management and care coordination software systems. Mr. Joiner has served in senior leadership positions in working with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), the research arm of the University of Chicago, supporting the CMS Office of Minority Health ‘s five year strategy to close the gap on health care coverage. He provided several presentations of national quality improvements campaigns including the Healthcare Improvement collaborative and a major role in the American College of Cardiology’s 1000-hospital national Door –to-Balloon (D2B) STEM quality and performance initiative. He previously served at Professional Services SME Delmarva Foundation’ as Leadership Development Consultant at Hemsley Fraser; Vice President, Quality and Risk Management, Maryland General Hospital, and Director. Quality Alliance, American College of Cardiology. Joiner was educated at Cambridge College earning Master’s degrees in Education Management and in Education. Business Administration and Management, General.


Unbought And Unbossed want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself. - Shirley


February 2020

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CORY, stroke survivor.

139 92

YOUR NUMBERS COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Lowering your high blood pressure could save you from a heart attack or stroke. If you’ve stopped your treatment plan, restart it or talk to your doctor about creating one that works better for you. Start taking the right steps at

February 2020

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National Medical Association (NMA) The National Medical Association (NMA) is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health. The National Medical Association (NMA) is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. The NMA is a 501(c) (3) national professional and scientific organization representing the interests of more than 50,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve. NMA is committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through its membership, professional development, community health education, advocacy, research and partnerships with federal and private agencies. Throughout its history the National Medical Association has focused primarily on health issues related to African Americans and medically underserved populations; however, its principles, goals, initiatives and philosophy encompass all ethnic groups. PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION The NMA is dedicated to keeping its members abreast of the many rapidly occurring advances across the various medical specialties and the changes affecting medical practice. The NMA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians. The NMA provides continuing medical education for physicians at the nation, state, and regional levels. The NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly has been recognized as one of the best national forums on African American health and medicine. SCIENCE AND SCHOLARLY EXCHANGE The NMA strives to advance scientific and clinical knowledge to promote new directions in medicine. The Journal of the National Medical Association is the vehicle in which the Association uses to get such information into the public arena. It has been published since 1909. PUBLIC HEALTH The NMA is steadfast in its commitment to the elimination of health disparities and the promotion of healthy lifestyles among African Americans and other underserved populations. The NMA conducts national consumer education programs on cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, HIV/AIDS, women’s health, asthma, smoking cessation, immunization, traffic safety, breastfeeding, clinical trails, as well as other issues that impact the lives of African Americans. HEALTH POLICY As the nation’s only organization devoted to the needs of African American physicians, health professionals and their patients, the NMA serves as the conscience of the medical profession in the ongoing fight to eliminate health disparities in the nation’s health care delivery system. The NMA has historically been an unwavering advocate for health policies that improve the quality and availability of health care of African Americans and other underserved populations. For instance, the National Medical Association was the force behind such landmark reforms as Medicare and Medicaid. Today, the NMA continues to provide leadership in shaping the national health policy agenda through continued involvement in a variety of critical policy matters.

MEDICAL EDUCATION The NMA is committed to increasing the number of African Americans and other underrepresented groups participating in the medical field. Annually, the NMA provides thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving medical students based on academic merit and financial need. These scholarships are supported by the generous contributions of NMA members, corporations, private philanthropic organizations, and proceeds from scholarship benefit efforts. RECOGNITION The National Medical Association honors outstanding members and other professionals who have made major contributions in medicine and toward the work of the NMA itself.

National Medical Association and Gilead Partner to Address HIV/AIDS Health Disparities The National Medical Association, the collective voice of African American physicians and leading voice for parity and justice in medicine, announced this month a national health partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. The goal of the partnership is to support the NMA’s efforts to reduce the number and prevalence of new HIV cases by developing and delivering customized clinical education sessions, policy development programs and HIV/AIDS prevention and education activities throughout the United States. For more than 30 years, Gilead has built a culture of excellence. They are committed, hardworking and passionate about improving the lives of the patients who use their products. Their values – integrity, inclusion, teamwork, accountability and excellence – are evident in their activities, and are complementary to the values and mission of the NMA. “Although African Americans represent 13% of the U.S. population, they account for 44% of HIV infection cases in 2016; thus, with the support of Gilead, the NMA will be able to make significant strides in 2020 to address and eliminate health disparities in the area of HIV/ AIDS educational awareness”, commented NMA President Dr. Oliver T. Brooks. “Gilead is pleased to support the National Medical Association’s work to address and eliminate health disparities, especially in the area of HIV educational awareness. We believe this is the time to bring all providers together, regardless of specialty, to align with the Administration’s End the Epidemic Plan in order to prevent new HIV infections in those at risk and improve the health and wellness of those living with HIV.” said Dr. David Piontkowsky, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Gilead Sciences.

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Congratulations! NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County congratulates Dr. Wendy Wilcox on receiving the 2020 Black History Month Award saluting Africans -Americans in Healthcare

February 2020

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Northwell advocates for healthier communities – a mission we’re proud to share with BIG APPLE HEALTH NEWS AND EVENTS LLC

We support its tribute to Black History Month 2020 with the publication of celebration and serious conversation on and around health care disparity: the scarcity of African-American doctors, the lack of and level of care African-Americans receive. It is a great honor to have our very own Launette Woolforde, Vice President for Nursing Education and Professional Development to be featured in this issue. Her unwavering passion for the healthcare system is an exemplary model for future generations to come.

Michael A. Epstein Chairman, Board of Trustees Michael J. Dowling President & CEO

February 2020

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Profile for bigapplehealthne

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020 Celebration of Excellence  

Proud to present our quarterly health publication celebrating African - Americans in Healthcare as well as highlight the issues in healthcar...

BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020 Celebration of Excellence  

Proud to present our quarterly health publication celebrating African - Americans in Healthcare as well as highlight the issues in healthcar...


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