ETHNIC DIVERSITY: Brooklyn CEO Courts Broad Audience
Since his hiring in 1995, CEO Stanley Brezenoff has engineered a turnaround at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center by strengthening the Jewish hospital's ties to the Orthodox Jewish community -- and the local Catholic Italian-American, Chinese and Haitian communities. The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page article Wednesday that Brezenoff, a former deputy mayor of New York City, has revived the hospital's fortunes by applying "lessons from clubhouse politics." He has diversified the hospital's staff, worked to accommodate patients' varied religious practices, added a Catholic priest to the board of directors and even hired an Italian chef to help meet the culinary needs of Italian-Americans who weren't happy with the food served by the kosher kitchen. "If we want to get Italians from Bensonhurst to use our hospital, you need a decent tomato sauce," he says. After he noticed that members of the nearby Haitian community felt "totally isolated," Brezenoff held a Creole lunch at a church in their neighborhood. And Brezenoff has tailored his own social calendar to allow maximum opportunity for schmoozing: Recent engagements included attending an engagement party given by a manager for Hatzolah, the Orthodox Jewish volunteer ambulance service, and marching in a Columbus Day parade in an Italian-American neighborhood. Responsiveness to community needs has brought success to Maimonides, where conditions were so bad before Brezenoff arrived that Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations gave the hospital a "dismal" score of 62. Occupancy now exceeds 80%, and ambulance drop-offs by Hatzolah have more than doubled since 1995 (Lagnado, 10/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.