UHF Honors 73 NY-Area Quality Improvement Champions at Annual Tribute to Excellence in Health Care


Keynoter Dr. Ashish K. Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, commends honorees for quality improvements that likely saved “hundreds of thousands of lives”

NEW YORK, NY—May 3, 2021— United Hospital Fund (UHF) today honored 73 extraordinary quality improvement leaders from 69 health care organizations across the metropolitan region at its third annual Tribute to Excellence in Health Care, recognizing their personal efforts to improve quality of care, patient safety, and the patient experience. 

The Tribute provides an opportunity for external recognition of excellence. Hospital systems, long-term care facilities, home care organizations, independent practice associations, and federally qualified health centers were invited to identify one individual at each site who has demonstrated vision and accomplishment in improving quality of care. A special focus this year was leadership specifically related to either responding to COVID-19 or addressing health care disparities. Each of the honorees received the Excellence in Health Care Award at a virtual event, held in lieu of the traditional luncheon due to the ongoing pandemic.

Hundreds of health care professionals, community leaders, and supporters viewed the event, which included recorded comments from honorees capturing their diversity, dedication, and inspiration. The event chair was Cary A. Kravet, UHF board member and trustee of Northwell Health. Mr. Kravet chairs the quality committee at Northwell and the advisory board of Cohen Children’s Hospital.

Keynote remarks were delivered remotely by Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, Dean of the School of Public Health and Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice at Brown University, who praised “the extraordinary work by the group of people that are being honored today.” 

Dr. Jha commended the honorees for their efforts to improve and implement telemedicine, testing infrastructure, new treatment protocols and processes, infection control, vaccination programs, and the teamwork that was critical to support all these efforts. He noted that there is now a 50 percent lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than there was a year ago and attributed most of that extraordinary drop in mortality to quality and process improvements. “What I am absolutely crystal clear on is that the work you have done on the front lines has been central to saving hundreds of thousands of lives,” he told the honorees.
“This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for health professionals everywhere, and New York’s health care community can be justly proud of how well they have managed and indeed, prevailed, during the pandemic,” said UHF president Anthony Shih, MD. “Part of the credit goes to the quality leaders recognized today and their vital efforts to make our health care system more patient-centered, safe, and effective, efforts that were more important than ever during this crisis. UHF is honored to recognize their achievements.”

TD Bank was the generous Lead Sponsor of the Tribute, and Emmet Conlon, Head of U.S. Healthcare, and a number of TD executives attended as special guests.   

Following are the 2021 honorees and their institutions. The video of the event is available for viewing here.


AdvantageCare Physicians
Eveth Green, FNP-BC, MBA, MSN, RN, Assistant Vice President of Nursing

BronxCare Health System
Dave A. F. Livingstone, MD, Chairman, Anesthesiology 

The Brooklyn Hospital Center
Judy McLaughlin, DNP, MS, BSN, BS, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive

Catholic Health  
Jason M. Golbin, DO, Senior Vice President and System Chief Quality Officer

Coalition of Asian-American IPA (CAIPA)
Jonathan M. T. Chang, MD, Vice President and Kevin Guo, MD, Member

Community Healthcare Network
Diana Castillo, Center Director and Michelle I. Everett-Oxley, Center Director

Elizabeth Seton Children’s Center 
Josephine Leung, MS, RN-BC, Senior Quality Informatics Specialist

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
Christina Jones, RN, BSN, Associate Director of Nursing

Hackensack Meridian Health 
Suelyn Boucree, MD, MBA, FACP, Medical Director of Quality and Chair of the CIN Quality Committee

HealthCare Partners, IPA
Dutsi Behm, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist

Hospital for Special Surgery 
Jennifer O'Neill, DNP, APN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer and Douglas Padgett, MD, Associate Surgeon-in-Chief

Institute for Family Health 
Kwame A. Kitson, MD, Vice President for Continuous Quality Improvement

Maimonides Medical Center 
Shari Suchoff, Vice President, Population Health Policy & Strategy

MediSys Health Network 

Alan R. Roth, DO, Chief, Integrative Pain and Palliative Care Medicine and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine

Flushing Hospital Medical Center 
Alessandro Solinas, MD, Chairman, Department of Medicine

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
Robert I. Mendelson, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine and Medical Director, TJH Medical Services, PC

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
MSK COVID Lab Testing Team


MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care 

Russell K. Portenoy, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director, MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care 

MJHS Health System 

Mary Foronda, RN, Director of Infection Control and Employee Health

Isabella Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care 

Loyola Princivil-Barnett, MHA, LNHA, Administrator of Record and COO, MJHS Centers for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care

Montefiore Health System  

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital 

Valerie Vermiglio-Kohn, RN, CRRN, MSN, MS, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing

The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore 

Suzette Olubusola Oyeku, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of Academics General Pediatrics

Montefiore Medical Center
Jacqueline Myrie-Weir, RN, BSN, MPH, Senior Director of Performance Projects Network Performance Group

Montefiore Medical Center, Moses Campus
John Loehner, MD, Medical Director

Montefiore Medical Center, Wakefield Campus  
Una Hopkins, DNP, MSN, BSN, FNP-BC, RN, Nurse Scientist and Director, Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice

Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital   
Dianne Gordon, EdD, MSN-ED, RN, Director of Nursing

Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital 
Amrah Hasan, MD, Chief Resident/Junior Faculty Attending 

Montefiore Nyack Hospital  
Susanne Z. Stone, RN, MPH, CIC, CRCST, Director of Infection Prevention and Control

Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall  
Sandeep Garwin, MD, MS, Medical Director of Critical Care

White Plains Hospital 
Farrukh Nadeem Jafri, MD, MS-HPEd, Medical Director WPH Cares

Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Young Im Lee, MD, Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit

Mount Sinai Brooklyn 
Vadim Leyko, MSA, RRT, RPSGT, Associate Director of Administration for Hospital Operations/Director Respiratory Therapy

The Mount Sinai Hospital 
Jorge L. Rodriguez, MPA, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care

Mount Sinai Morningside 
Berthe Erisnor, Vice President for Ambulatory Services

Mount Sinai Queens 
Ellina Babar, Director of Hospital Operations 

Mount Sinai West

Andres S. Moreira, Senior Director, Patient Experience & Patient Relations

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai 

Cindy Girdusky, RN, CNOR, Vice President, Perioperative Services

Mount Sinai South Nassau 
Karine Austin, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, Service Line Administrator, Oncology Services and Infusion Therapy

The New Jewish Home 
Jeffrey Farber, MD, MBA, President & CEO and Ruth Spinner, MD, Senior Medical Director

Northwell Health 

Cohen Children's Medical Center
Dhalia Puri, MSN, RN, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Community and Population Health 
Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, FACP, Senior Vice President 

Glen Cove Hospital
Lorraine Daphna, RN, Registered Nurse, Critical Care

Huntington Hospital
Corazon R. Paraso, RN, MS-FNP, CCRN, NE-BC, Advisor, Clinical Quality Improvement

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills 
Michelle Parcells, MSN, BSN, RN, FNP-CCRN, ICU Registered Nurse

Long Island Jewish Medical Center 
Karina Gutierrez, MSN, RN, AGPCNP-BC, CWOCN, Wound Care Specialist

North Shore University Hospital
Michael D. Montanez, Assistant Manager, Patient Care, Monoclonal Antibody Infusion Center

Peconic Bay Medical Center
Dawn Leonard, Critical Care Charge/Staff Registered Nurse

Plainview Hospital
Kwest-Ann Samuels, BSN, RN-BC, Registered Nurse (Medical Surgical)

Southside Hospital
Shehzad Khan, RN, BSN, Registered Nurse

Staten Island University Hospital
Vanessa Cabatbat, MS, RN, FNP, Rapid Response Team and Staff Nurse

Syosset Hospital
Bernie R. Alivio, BSN, RN, CCRN, CMSRN, Registered Nurse, Special Care Unit

Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP, SFHM, Chair, Department of Family Medicine

Zucker Hillside Hospital
Marie Germaine Rancy, RN, MSN, CDCES, CWCN, Clinical Professional Development Educator

NuHealth/Nassau University Medical Center 
Grace Y. Ting, MD, Associate Medical Director, Department of Emergency Medicine

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
Suzanne Bentley, MD, MPH, FACEP, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine; Medical Director of the Elmhurst Simulation Center; and Helping Healers Heal Lead

One Brooklyn Health System
Kurt S. Kodroff, MD, MMM, Chief Quality Officer

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation 
Verna Sinclair, RN, MSN, Director of Infection Control & Staff Development

Richmond University Medical Center 
Marianne LaBarbera, MD, President of the Medical Staff

SBH Health System 
Susan Singh
, Director of Infection Control

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital 
Tessy Peter, MD, FCCP, Director, Intensive Care Unit

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children 
Judy Vigliotti, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing

SOMOS Community Care
Yomaris Peña, MD, Internal Medicine Physician

Stamford Health 
Ellen M. Komar, MPA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer

Visiting Nurse Service of New York 
Carol Odnoha, RN, BSN, MPA, Director, Nurse-Family Partnership

Yale New Haven Health 

Bridgeport Hospital 
Zane K. Saul, MD, Section Chief, Infectious Diseases

Greenwich Hospital
Kisha A. Mitchell Richards, MD, FCAP, FASCP, Director, Pathology and Clinical Laboratory

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital 
Shannon R. Christian, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Administrative Director, Patient Care Services

Yale New Haven Health System
Danielle M. Zawatsky, Director, Quality Improvement & Safety

Yale New Haven Hospital/Yale New Haven Health System 
Richard A. Martinello, MD, Medical Director, Infection Prevention

About United Hospital Fund
United Hospital Fund works to build an effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker. An independent, nonprofit organization, we are a force for improvement, analyzing public policy to inform decision-makers, finding common ground among diverse stakeholders, and developing and supporting innovative programs that improve health and health care. We work to dismantle barriers in health policy and health care delivery that prevent equitable opportunities for health. For more on our initiatives and programs please visit our website at www.uhfnyc.org and follow us on Twitter. 


May 3, 2021
Focus Area
Quality and Efficiency
Quality Institute