Letter From the Chair - April 2014

As the anniversary of Super Storm Sandy passed, it naturally evoked a great deal of hindsight, analysis, lessons learned, and finger-pointing – some of it more valuable than others. To be sure, North Shore-LIJ was right in the middle of the action, with our heterogeneous patient population and geographically far-flung physical plant experiencing the full force of the storm and its aftereffects. The Department of Medicine played a critical role in creatively meeting these challenges head-on.  To cite just a couple of examples, the night of the storm we evacuated and cared for hundreds of patients around the area, and for months after the spotlight moved on, our medical van provided critical services to underserved communities.  In short, North Shore-LIJ was willing and able to ensure seamless care for all who needed it throughout the region.  

What was the secret of that success? None of the region’s academic medical centers had detailed plans that reflected every quirk of Sandy – it just wasn’t possible to predict the “storm of the century.” I believe our success derived from the same asset that has served as the springboard for all our success over the last years, and that will anchor our success as our nation’s healthcare landscape continues to shift in the years to come: versatility, nimbleness, and flexibility.  

North Shore-LIJ Health System has built great proficiency in accurately assessing and responding to constantly changing circumstances and needs. The success of the innovative Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, for example, is due in large measure to its freedom from obsolete and ineffective institutional burdens and “traditions”. Similarly, the Department of Medicine has been able to streamline and elevate our training program in just a few years. At the same time, we are reinventing our research enterprise to reflect the growing national prominence of outcomes-oriented and patient-centered work, so ideally suited to our unique resources.  

I believe that this same versatility, with superb staff and leadership at its core, will be the foundation for ongoing success in the months and years to come, as we continue to confront momentous shifts in our healthcare landscape. As with the storm of the century, it is impossible to predict and plan for every turn in that process. Nonetheless, we’re well-prepared for unpredictability. For us, the lessons of Sandy point to a future of continuing success.

Thomas McGinn, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Medicine,
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, and David Greene Professor of Medicine, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

From The Chair Archive

Federally Funded Collaboration to Battle Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the Wake of Sandy


Among Superstorm Sandy’s many devastating consequences to the region, this natural disaster has raised the risk of unhealthy substance use as well as incidence of substance use disorders.

Read more.