Join the conversation with VNSNY and other health care leaders regarding the barriers, challenges and lessons learned serving communities of color and other vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dialogue with leading experts about the role of social determinants of health and discuss strategies to improve health care access, advance care planning and quality care for African-Americans, Latinos and other vulnerable New York City communities. Learn about the HOPE initiative designed to increase access and utilization of palliative and hospice care for patients at end-of-life.
Jacqueline Delmont, MD, MBA, FACP, CPE, SOMOS
Ritchell R. Dignam, MD, VNSNY
Icilma V. Fergus, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital
Cardinale Smith, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai Hospital
Maurice E. Wright, MD, Harlem Hospital and Columbia University
Andria Castellanos, EVP and Chief of Provider
Congressman Adriano Espaillat, New York's 13th Congressional District
Congressman Adriano Espaillat will proclaim that September 15 is a day of HOPE and Health Equity for People of Color.
Dr. Bob Lee, Community Affairs Director, WBLS
Dr. Bob Lee is the Community Affairs Director for WBLS. As part of his community-based work, Lee has developed strong ties to many local and national politicians and public figures, including President Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor David Dinkins, and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión. Lee also currently hosts the weekly live television program “Open,” which broadcasts on BronxNet, a cable television station serving the Bronx and upper Manhattan.
Jacqueline Delmont, MD, has led the charge at Somos, a nonprofit network of 2,500 independent doctors, to ramp up Covid-19 testing in underserved communities across the city. The native of Venezuela has worked with churches, government officials, Latin-American consulates, first responders, hospitals and private organizations to set up more than 50 testing sites. Under Delmont, Somos has helped the physician practices in its network access federal disaster relief. It encouraged them to look for inefficiencies and embrace telemedicine, among other steps to boost competitiveness and patient access.
Ritchell Dignam, MD, is Chief Medical Officer for VNSNY Provider Services and also serves as Hospice Medical Director for VNSNY Hospice and Palliative Care. With more than three decades of experience as a geriatrician, she has played a key leadership role during the current COVID-19 pandemic, helping to develop clinical protocols for the organization and keeping staff updated on measures for avoiding exposure to the coronavirus.
Icilma Fergus, MD, known as (“Dr. Icy”) is an associate professor of medicine and director of cardiovascular disparities at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She previously served as chief of the division of cardiology at Harlem Hospital Center. Her undergraduate and graduate education were at Barnard College, Columbia University and SUNY Downstate. She completed her residency and chief residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center. Dr. Fergus completed a cardiology fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical Center. She is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology.
Cardinale B. Smith, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the director of quality for cancer services at Mount Sinai Health System. She is a clinician investigator whose research interests include evaluating treatment disparities in cancer care, evaluating determinants of cancer patients’ quality of care, characterizing barriers to optimal cancer and palliative care and developing approaches to eliminating those barriers among racial and ethnic minorities.
Maurice Wright, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer for New York City Health and Hospital’s Harlem Hospital and Senior Associate Dean of Columbia University. Dr. Wright has led efforts to re-design the health care system at Harlem Hospital to ensure greater quality and access for the Harlem community. He is a public health advocate and an award-winning physician.
Andria Castellanos is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Provider Services for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY). She is responsible for oversight of all initiatives related to Provider Services. She leads VNSNY Home Care, VNSNY Hospice & Palliative Care, Partners in Care and Community Mental Health Services, as well as the Population Health and Business Development divisions.
Adriano Espaillat is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 13th congressional district. Previously, he served as a member of the New York State Senate and as a member of the New York State Assembly. Espaillat was a ranking member of the New York Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee and Chair of the Senate Latino Caucus. Espaillat represented the neighborhoods of Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Espaillat is a Democrat. On November 8, 2016, Espaillat was elected to the United States House of Representatives from New York’s 13th congressional district to succeed retiring Charles Rangel. He is the first Dominican-American member of Congress.