UHF’s Excellence in Health Care Award honors extraordinary personal leadership to improve quality of care, patient safety, and patient experience. Honorees are selected by their hospital or long-term care organization for their vision and accomplishment. Following are the 2019 honorees, listed by organization. 


BronxCare Health System

John R. Colón, Assistant Secretary, Board of Trustees

For improving access to care for the West African community in the Bronx by creating a new diaspora practice to address the major health needs of this growing population and to help break down cultural and language barriers between clinicians and patients.

The Brookdale University Medical Center 

David Rose, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Medical and Academic Affairs

For prioritizing patient safety and advancing high-reliability principles—efforts that are resulting in better outcomes, patient satisfaction, and interdisciplinary staff engagement.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center 

Vasantha K. Kondamudi, MD, Executive Vice President, Network Physician Executive and Chief Medical Officer

For transforming the hospital center’s quality initiatives, working collaboratively with clinical and operational teams—leading to an “A” rating by the Leapfrog Group.

Catholic Health Services of Long Island 

Kimon Bekelis, MD, Chair of Neurointerventional Services

For enabling Good Samaritan Hospital to gain certification as a comprehensive stroke and aneurysm center in less than a year—and improving outcomes for patients with cerebrovascular disease.

Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center 

Christopher Moore, RN, Minimum Data Set Coordinator

For implementing a new alarm management system and creating an interactive dashboard designed to monitor alarms over time, reduce alarm fatigue, and provide easy access to data that supports clinical decision making for the Center's medically fragile children.

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Sherryann Rampersad-Lalchan, RN, Transition Nurse Educator

For leading a program to improve care for the center's short-term patients and extend support to these patients post discharge, resulting in better patient outcomes and satisfaction, and lower rehospitalization rates.

Hackensack Meridian Health 

Carol Leah Barsky, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Quality Officer

For creating a central quality command infrastructure for measuring, reporting, and ensuring quality for the 14 hospitals that are part of her health care system.  

Hospital for Special Surgery 

Steven K. Magid, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer

For leading the hospital’s quality initiatives—and for his key role implementing the electronic health record, which has accelerated the hospital’s ability to make quality improvements. 

Interfaith Medical Center 

Prissana L. Alston, EdD, Chief Nursing Officer/ Senior Vice President, Nursing

For launching a successful, multipronged strategy to prevent hospital-acquired pressure injuries. 

Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center 

Cynthia Wright, RN, Patient Care Director of the Emergency Department

For creating a system to decrease the time required to transfer patients from the hospital’s emergency department to critical care units, improving quality and patient satisfaction and reducing ED overcrowding.

Maimonides Medical Center 

Patrick I. Borgen, MD, Chair, Department of Surgery and Director, Maimonides Breast Center

For developing successful multimodal pain management strategies to prevent surgical patients from developing opioid dependence.

MediSys Health Network 

Luigi G. Tullo, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Ambulatory Care

For leading an initiative that reduced inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the outpatient setting—through a combination of patient and provider education as well as electronic health record physician support. 

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 

Louis P. Voigt, MD, Chair, Ethics Committee

For his leadership as chairman of the Ethics Committee and his work to expand the Committee’s role and influence to help guide clinicians in their care of critically ill and dying patients and their families.

Montefiore Health System  

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital 

Carolin Dohle, MD, Assistant Chief Medical Officer and Co-Director, Performance Improvement

For reducing the rate of transfers to acute care hospitals through a new sepsis recognition and treatment protocol and new ultrasound capability. 

Children's Hospital at Montefiore 

Alan Shapiro, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor in Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Senior Medical Director for Community Pediatric Programs

For leading an award-winning program serving homeless families and street youth in the South Bronx—and creating a community center to improve health outcomes for this medically and socially complex, vulnerable population.

Montefiore Hospital (Moses Campus)

Ulrich P. Jorde, MD, Section Head, Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support 

For introducing a new and successful multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with end-stage heart failure who need heart replacement therapy. 

Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital   

Alison Vail, RN, Director of Nursing

For leading quality improvement projects, including initiatives to decrease the patient transfer time from the ED to inpatient unit, reduce readmissions, and decrease infections and pressure ulcers.  

Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital 

Michael Rubertone, MPA, Director, Quality and Regulatory Affairs

For better identification and treatment of ED patients with sepsis and septic shock—and for working with the hospital’s skilled nursing facility to ensure that residents with sepsis are identified and treated quickly.

Montefiore School Health Program 

Rosy Chhabra, PsyD, Community Health Director

For launching a program to improve sexual and reproductive health services, and reduce teen pregnancy, in 12 high school clinics serving 59 schools in the Bronx.

Montefiore Wakefield Hospital (Wakefield Campus) 

Joan O’Brien, RN, Director of Nursing

For implementing a falls prevention program in four medical units and one acute rehabilitation unit, which decreased the incidence of falls with injury.

Montefiore Nyack Hospital  

Anthony V. Matejicka, II, DO, Chief Medical Officer

For dramatically reducing medication errors by launching a new barcode medication administration program involving the medical, nursing, pharmacy, and IT departments.

Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall

Gina Del Savio, MD, Chief Medical Officer

For engaging the medical staff in a new approach to medical/surgical product evaluation and procurement, which is evidence-based and optimizes cost, quality, and patient outcomes.

Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall

Mary V. Kelley, MBA, Vice President, Quality Management

For championing patient safety at all levels of the organization—including reducing hospital-acquired conditions, improving workflow processes, and encouraging event reporting.

White Plains Hospital 

Susan O’Boyle, RN, Vice President of Quality

For launching a program to reduce harm events throughout the hospital, resulting in decreases in hospital-acquired infections, as well as deep vein thromboses, pulmonary emboli, and pressure ulcers.

Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Michael R. Berman, MD, Chief Quality Officer

For implementing a successful program to encourage medical residents and attending physicians to report occurrences that could lead to adverse events as well as adverse events themselves. 

Mount Sinai Brooklyn 

Kinta A. Alexander, DrPH, Infection Control Manager

For reducing hospital-acquired infection rates—and particularly for work to tackle the multi-drug resistant, hard to identify, and often deadly threat of Candida auris.

The Mount Sinai Hospital 

Gopi Patel, MD, Hospital Epidemiologist

For leading efforts in antimicrobial stewardship and hospital-acquired infections—and achieving significant reductions in Clostridium difficile infections and catheter-related urinary tract infections.

Mount Sinai St. Luke's 

Natalia Cineas, DNP, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer*

For launching a successful nurse-led interdisciplinary approach to pressure injury prevention, which in turn led to both a decrease in patient length of stay and treatment costs.

* Dr. Cineas is now Senior Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals

Mount Sinai Queens 

Allison Dempsey, MPH, Assistant Director of Quality

For launching a new program that pairs clinical and administrative leaders in each unit—resulting in increased patient satisfaction, as well as quicker operating room turnaround times and emergency department throughput times. 

Mount Sinai West 

Jennifer Jaromahum, RN, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer

For promoting continuous improvement strategies on the orthopedic unit, securing advanced certification from the Joint Commission for total hip and knee replacement surgery, and helping spread best practices on that unit to other clinical areas.

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai 

Sangyoon Jason Shin, DO, Medical Director of Pre-Surgical Testing

For instituting a culturally competent medical and surgical recovery model specific to the needs of transgender surgical patients.

South Nassau Communities Hospital 

Shivani Young, RN, Assistant Director, Quality Management

For leading a multidisciplinary project to facilitate early intervention and treatment of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock—leading to a decrease in patient mortality. 

The New Jewish Home 

Sonya Choudhury, MSN, NP, Long-Term Care Nurse Practitioner


Mila Lasker, RPh, Associate Director of Pharmacy

For leading a successful interdisciplinary project to decrease the use of antipsychotic medication on a dementia care unit—and implement new methods to understand each resident’s history and treat challenging behavioral symptoms with non-pharmacologic methods.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens 

Sorana Segal-Maurer, MD, Director, The Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Diseases

For leading projects to reduce several dangerous hospital-acquired infections, develop an outpatient antibiotic stewardship program, and mitigate risks related to waterborne legionella. 

Northwell Health 

South Oaks Hospital and Zucker Hillside Hospital

Carolyn Sweetapple, PhD, RN, Executive Director

For leading an effort to deliver consistent high-quality care to vulnerable patients in two behavioral health hospitals within the health system.

Cohen Children’s Medical Center 

Peter Silver, MD, Medical Director 

For shepherding his children’s hospital through a new process to improve quality and patient safety—and for sharing lessons learned with pediatric units across the whole Northwell system. 

Northwell Health Corporate Quality 

Karen Nelson, RN, MBA, Deputy Chief Quality Officer

For leading corporate quality efforts in multiple areas to ensure a system-wide approach—work that played an integral part in the system receiving a recent award from the American Hospital Association.

Northwell Health Eastern Region and Southside Hospital

Jay Enden, MD, Regional Medical Director

For leading the system’s task force on tackling the opioid epidemic, which has helped to reduce opioid prescriptions, engage the community, and increase screening for substance abuse.

Forest Hills Hospital 

Mitchel C. Jacobs, MD, Medical Director 

For dramatically improving quality metrics at the hospital, which serves a culturally diverse community.

Northwell Health Solutions 

Zenobia Brown, MD, Vice President and Medical Director

For leading population-based medicine for the health system, improving quality, reducing readmissions, and increasing patient satisfaction.

Lenox Hill Hospital 

Jill Kalman, MD, Executive Director

For leading a physician-patient communication project across the entire health system, training hundreds of physicians on how to communicate more effectively with patients—and resulting in improved patient and physician satisfaction and reduced physician burnout.

North Shore University Hospital 

Andrea Restifo, RN, Associate Executive Director

For overseeing quality and safety at the hospital and its affiliated outpatient facilities—and for establishing a heart transplant program.

Northern Westchester Hospital 

Marla Koroly, MD, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs, Chief Medical Officer

For incorporating the best clinical practices to ensure the highest-quality care and an exemplary patient care experience.

Peconic Bay Medical Center 

Jean Marie Cacciabaudo, MD, Medical Director 

For transforming the quality and safety structure at the hospital—and her key role implementing a cardiac catheterization program and a task force on heart failure, reducing readmissions and mortality.

NuHealth/Nassau University Medical Center 

George J. Tsunis, Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer

For serving as a catalyst for change and for prioritizing the consistent delivery of high-quality patient care at this safety net hospital that serves vulnerable and economically challenged communities. 

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue

Caralee Caplan-Shaw, MD, Medical Director, Tuberculosis Program and Director, Bellevue Chest Service

For leading a team of physicians, nurses, and administrative staff in a project to improve patient access to the hospital’s chest clinic, including through the implementation of a new e-Consult service.

NYU Winthrop Hospital 

Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, Executive Director, Diabetes and Obesity Institute

For providing transformative leadership at all touchpoints of diabetes care, including establishing new clinical protocols in the hospital, diabetes educators in primary care practices, and a community-based diabetes program.

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation 

Susan Costella, RN, MHA, Clinical Director of Nursing – Subacute

For instituting a successful, person-centered behavioral management approach to gradual dose reduction of antipsychotic medications for newly admitted residents to improve their quality of life.

Richmond University Medical Center 

Jessie Saverimuttu, MD, PhD, Infectious Diseases Attending and Chief of Quality Improvement, Department of Medicine

For assembling an interdisciplinary team to lower central line-associated blood stream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections to levels well below the national average—and for actively encouraging physician residents’ learning about quality improvement.

SBH Health System 

Daniel P. Lombardi, DO, MBA, Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, Patient Safety Officer

For introducing the transformative Lean Daily Management approach to the health system, engaging front-line staff as well as leadership to improve patient health, deliver better care, reduce waste, and increase staff satisfaction.  

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital 

Del Joiner, MEd, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer

For leading a multidisciplinary team to implement new protocols for treating stroke patients, which has resulted in the hospital receiving national recognition for its commitment to quality stroke care.

Stamford Health 

Michael F. Parry, MD, The Thomas J. Bradsell Chair of Infectious Diseases

For promoting excellence in antibiotic stewardship, using information technology, evidence-based practice, drug use controls, patient and provider education, and microbiology technologies.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center 

Mohamed Rami Nakeshbandi, MD, Chief Quality Officer and Associate Chief Medical Officer

For implementing key quality initiatives, including antimicrobial stewardship, and successful campaigns to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and Clostridium difficile infections.  

Visiting Nurse Service of New York 

Rose Madden-Baer, DNP, Senior Vice President, Population Health and Clinical Support Services

For coordinating the shift to value-based care—and for leadership reducing hospitalizations and costs related to heart failure patients as part of Medicare’s 90-Day Bundled Payments Project.

Yale New Haven Health 

L. Scott Sussman, MD, Senior Medical Director, Clinical Operations

For encouraging collaboration across the health system—and for optimizing the electronic medical record to mitigate alert fatigue, reduce duplicate laboratory tests, and embed algorithms so all patients receive the same high-level care. 

Yale New Haven Hospital/Yale Medicine 

Christian M. Pettker, MD, Associate Chief Quality Officer 

For building a foundational obstetrics quality and safety program, leveraging achievements across the hospital, and recently, launching a new program to actively support physicians who are involved in adverse events.


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