NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of its ongoing mission to recognize the courage and sacrifice of its employees, Northwell Health declared June 25th its “Day of Remembrance” – a ceremony for more than 72,000 Northwell employees to honor the memories and celebrate the lives of the 20 team members who died from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Families representing 17 of the 20 Northwell employees who died from the disease attended the memorial service, which included the health system’s color guard and benedictions and prayers from staff clergy. (The three remaining families attended virtually through a livestream connection, which was also made available to facilities across the health system).
Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling observed that the pandemic challenged health system workers in ways that no public health crisis had ever done before. “Today is an opportunity to recall, reflect and remember,” he said. “We remember the extraordinary circumstances we’ve all lived through in the past three months. We recall the heroism, the compassion and the caring of all the staff who did such heroic work and met the challenge. Today, we reflect on all those who we lost to this disease.”
Speaking directly to the loved ones of the deceased employees, Mr. Dowling said, “We take this moment to remember the courage and humanity of your loved ones. Today, we honor their memory with the same strength and courage they displayed as they helped care for others. That was their calling – that’s what made us all so proud of them.”
He concluded his remarks with one minute of silence, prayer and reflection.
Michael A. Epstein, chair of Northwell’s Board of Trustees, recited the names of the deceased. As each name was read aloud, a member of the victim’s family was invited to the stage to place a delphinium (the symbolic flower of remembrance for loved ones who have passed) in a vase.
“Together we mourn the loss of 20 Northwell team members,” Mr. Epstein said. “They were so much more than our health care heroes – they were cherished members of your families. We are thankful to their families for the strength they are displaying here today. These 20 people are our heroes.”
Northwell Health is supporting the families of deceased team members in numerous ways, including:
- Providing each family with $10,000 to cover the cost of funeral expenses;
- Paid time off payout (up to 315 hours); and
- Salary payouts for both clinical and non-clinical team members.
The deceased team members came from a variety of geographical and professional areas within Northwell, ranging from food services to accounts payable to physicians.
“The team members whose loss we mourn and whose lives we celebrate represent the mosaic of people and roles needed to carry out our mission and serve the communities that entrust us with their care,” said Maxine Carrington, Northwell’s deputy chief HR officer. “Your loved ones are a reflection of all of us – the 72,000 team members who make up the Northwell community. We see ourselves in them and are truly grateful for their contributions and sacrifice on behalf of the patients and communities we care for.”
About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, nearly 800 outpatient facilities and more than 14,200 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 72,000 employees – 17,000-plus nurses and 4,500 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. We’re training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Sucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu and follow us @Northwell HEALTH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.