Name: JC Alejaldre

Major at Baruch College: MBA - Healthcare Administration
Graduation Year: 2018
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School of Business
Company and Title: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center 

1. Tell us about your company and your role there.

NewYork-Presbyterian is a world-class academic medical center committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. Based in New York City, it is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive integrated academic health care delivery systems and a leading provider of inpatient, ambulatory, and preventive care in all areas of medicine. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is ranked #1 in the New York metropolitan area by U.S. News and World Report.

Currently I am an Administrator at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center where I manage the Specialty Services in the Division of Community and Population Health. This entails overseeing the daily operations and management of 20 sub- specialty service lines, with over 100 employees. These specialty services primarily serve a Medicare/Medicaid population, making them a critical component of the healthcare safety net in the community and New York City. This helps motivate me to create and improve public health initiatives that address the well-being and social determinants of health for individuals, families, and communities of low socioeconomic status.

2. What made you interested in healthcare and what drives you in your current profession?

I became interested in healthcare from a very young age, growing up with a single mom trying to make ends meet, I noticed health disparities all around me in my predominantly Latino neighborhood. I made it my mission that the work that I do in public health achieves a critical milestones in the elimination of health disparities and health inequities for individuals of low socioeconomic status – especially Latino and immigrants in urban settings; that the potential of a young Latino boy is determined by his strengths, not his address.
What drives me in my current work is that it provides me the opportunity to draw from my professional experience, education, and passion for community health to address social determinants of health and engineer strategies to meet the needs of targeted patient populations helping create health equity.

3. What were some unique challenges you faced in your professional career and how did you solve them?

When COVID-19 began to emerge in NYC over 3 months ago, I was informed that our Emergency Department (ED) at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center was overwhelmed, and I was asked to lead an effort to help. Since then, I have operationalized COVID-19 tents located at the Columbia and Allen Hospital campuses and mobilized staff to assess and treat as many stable COVID-19 patients as possible outside of the ED. We have seen over 1,000 patients from the Washington Heights community during this time, mainly Black and Latinx individuals, hit the hardest by the pandemic. It was extremely difficult to see individuals that looked like me so sick. In minority communities such as these, Black and Latinx New Yorkers have been dying at about twice the rate of white New Yorkers from COVID-19. These tents played a vital role in our Washington Heights community to reduce COVID-19 transmission, provide access to care and offer education to help flatten of the pandemic curve.

4. Do you feel that the healthcare field undergo any big transformations in the near future?

Healthcare has undergone a huge transformation just in the last three months with the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City health systems were quickly overwhelmed early in the pandemic due to many colliding factors, what it exposed was the need for health systems to be able to virtualize as much as possible. Tools such as telemedicine have become critical in ensuring that the most vulnerable patients still maintain access to care that is safe and timely even when having to quarantine. System that did not have any telehealth platforms had to quickly adapt and create. I expect in the future that many health systems will spend a lot of resources growing their digital health portfolio to best meet the needs of their patient population in the face of the next big health catastrophe and beyond for both preventative and specialty care. This transformation will mean that the way we think of our healthcare delivery system, with many brick and mortar locations, and physical interaction between patients and providers will change forever in favor of one that is mostly virtual. This change has many stakeholders and downstream impacts not just on the provider/patient side, but it includes regulatory bodies and payers as well. The change was already happening in healthcare but COVID-19 became an accelerant.

5. How was your experience at Baruch like? How did Baruch impact your life and career?

The education I received at Baruch Zicklin School of Business was world class. Confidence in my ability to contribute to the healthcare community stems from my experiences with Zicklin professors with rich fieldwork experience who were able to explain business and management theory applied in a complex workplace environment. It has allowed me to expand my reach, think through problems in ways I never thought possible, and has elevated my career the next level - positioning me to become part of the next generation of public health leaders with an ability to tackle any issue including novel pandemics.

6. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

I have so many…
I have to start with my study group - “the mullets” - of who I still talk with every single day – they made our Tuesday / Thursday classes something I looked forward to every week and we became lifetime friends in the process.
Next, all the happy hours our cohort had after each exam, many neighborhood bars knew us on a first name basis.
And of course, our professors, in particular prof. Farina and prof. Caress both of which took special interest in me and helped mold me into a better human.

7. What is some advice can you give to current Baruch students and alumni who are interested in the healthcare field?

Healthcare is an incredibly rewarding sector to work in, where the patient is ultimately the only thing that matters and often time decisions that are made at multiple levels can have life or death consequences for individuals. For any Baruch student or alumni that is interested in the field, I would challenge them to think of what about healthcare are they passionate about. When you think about healthcare there are many facets included, not limited to only being a provider in direct patient care. Now more than ever we need individuals that are passionate about healthcare so that together we can tackle the inequalities that plague the system and ultimately have a healthier world. As you think about this, I would encourage you to seek out a mentor in the field, so that together you can help pave your own path in relation to your passion.

8. How can people contact you? (Social Media, LinkedIn, Email)

Twitter: @JCAlejaldre | Linkedin: JC Alejaldre