It was an evening dedicated to celebrating and honoring the innovative leaders of healthcare throughout the borough.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and its publisher Dozier Hasty hosted the well-attended Champions and Visionaries of Healthcare event at Dyker Beach Golf Club on Monday, Dec. 3, recognizing doctors and healthcare associates from Brooklyn’s finest hospitals and caregiving facilities for their innovative work.
The overall theme of the night was advancing Brooklyn’s health and social care system, with the central message being that no one has to cross over a bridge or go through a tunnel to seek the finest health care available.
The quality of healthcare in Brooklyn is unsurpassed, and you might say that Brooklyn’s healthcare facilities are healthier than ever, as doctors from various hospitals impressed throughout the night.
“The Brooklyn Eagle group is really proud to bring you a night of what we hope will be an inspiration and an education,” Hasty said. “We hope you will share with us in our pride for these honorees who are truly champions and visionaries in health care.”
EBrooklyn Media Director of Events Shanie Persaud welcomed guests and thanked the major sponsors for their support. “Together we can make Brooklyn healthier, one hospital, one patient, one stop at a time,” Persaud said.
PBS announcer Tom Stewart served as the master of ceremonies. Elected officials, community leaders and honored recipients attended the evening networking event that included food, drink, and a chance to visit the more than a dozen informative exhibits provided by healthcare representatives, before enjoying the dinner and awards ceremony.
The Innovator sponsors of the event were The Brooklyn Hospital Center and Maimonides Hospital Center.
The leadership sponsors were Northwell Health, Zwanger Pesiri Radiology, Catholic Charities and Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Hospital, Mount Sinai Brooklyn, Infinity Realty and Weng School NYC Inc.
Along with the health care providers there were representatives from Bay Ridge Vision Center, Accessible Dispatch, Optimum Health Physical Therapy, and Cancer Can’t Kill Love, a non-profit that was founded by Brooklyn Reporter editor Meaghan McGoldrick.
Among those attending were: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilmember Mark Treyger, Assemblymembers William Colton and Mathylde Frontus, Brooklyn Conservative Party Chair Fran Vella-Marrone, Brooklyn Reform Party Chair Bob Capano and former Republican Party Chair Craig Eaton.
Treyger said that one of his proudest efforts occurred after Hurricane Sandy hit the region in 2012. Treyger said that he was elected to the City Council in 2013. “I remember reading in the local papers how the private healthcare institutions in other parts of the city with affected areas were receiving money from FEMA, but out our local hospital, Coney Island hospital, did not get much help or assistance whatsoever. I actually want to thank every single employee of Coney Island Hospital because we did not lose one life during the aftermath of Sandy.” He added that it was one of his first efforts as an elected official to help the hospital receive the needed help and assistance.
Institutions honored were Maimonides Heart & Vascular Institute, Maimonides Cancer Center, Northwell Health, Brooklyn Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit of the New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, CAMBA and Community Care of Brooklyn.
The keynote speaker was Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor, NYC Health Services. She stressed the fact that there should be cooperation among healthcare providers so that they could work together and learn from each other in order to obtain the best results possible. “We are very proud of the moment we are enjoying right now,” Palacio said. “People like our honorees tonight are committed to working together in making our city healthier and making our city the healthies city in America.”
Award-winning physician Dr. Sushma Nakra, associate chair-OB/GYN NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, received a “rock star” applause as she took the stage to receive her award. “I love to work at Coney Island Hospital,” Nakra said. “I’m not looking for the spotlight, I just want to do my job and I’m glad that I can continue to do it.”
Stewart described honoree Reverend Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, vicar for human services, Diocese of Brooklyn, and president & CEO, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens and Affiliate Agencies, as “having spent a lifetime in pursuit of social justice who has continually demonstrated his care and compassion through his deeds.”
LoPinto said he was grateful to the healthcare professionals. “At Catholic charities we care for people from infancy through alternative care in our nursing homes,” Stewart said. “The one we know is how important it is to have quality health care available to people in this borough.”
“What kills more people than breast cancer,” asked Dr. Steven Mendelsohn, CEO-Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology. “The answer is heart attacks because they are unexpected and they can’t be screened for,” he answered. He spoke of all the strides made in mammography.
Dr. Vasantha Kondamudi, executive vice-president, network physician executive The Brooklyn Hospital Center, was honored for her efforts to help The Brooklyn Hospital Center go from an “F” Leapfrog rating to an “A,” making it the only hospital in Brooklyn to receive the grade and one of only two hospitals in New York City to receive an “A” grade.
Gary Terrinoni, president and CEO of The Brooklyn Hospital Center, congratulated Kondamudi on her award. “I’d like to congratulate honorees Vasantha Kondamudi and nurse manager Rosemary Fiore. If you were to ask me who would be the best representative of the Brooklyn Hospital Center now and hopefully in the future it would be those two individuals.”
Other honorees included Dr. Riley J. Williams III, orthopedic surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery Medical director and head team orthopedic surgeon for the Brooklyn Nets; Lisa Schiano-Denis, executive director-Catholic Charities Saints Joachim & Anne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; Dr. Stefan Balan, medical director, Mount Sinai Brooklyn Ambulatory Infusion Center and Dr. Jennifer Plotnick, founder and general dentist-Grand Street Dental.
Adams delivered the closing remarks of the evening and discussed his own health battles and his gratitude to health care professionals and his efforts to encourage people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Many of you know about my reversal of diabetes, losing my sight, permanent nerve damage to my hands and feet, going to private doctors in the city who told me it is what it is and that I might lose a couple of limbs. And then to find those who took me outside the norm of the medical philosophy and told me to make a lifestyle change, helped me realize that it was not my DNA but my dinner that caused me to deal with some of these diseases that impacted my life. Brooklyn must lead the way on disease reversal,” he added.
ebrooklyn Media/Photos by Rebecca White:
ebrooklyn Media/Photos by Corazon Aguirre: