Michael J. Dowling
As Northwell Health System’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael J. Dowling oversees the largest integrated health care system in New York State. Prior to becoming president and CEO in 2002, Mr. Dowling was the health system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Before joining Northwell Health in 1995, he was a senior vice president at Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Mr. Dowling served in New York State government for 12 years, including seven years as state director of Health, Education and Human Services and deputy secretary to the governor. He was also commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services.
Mr. Dowling has supported a variety of initiatives throughout the health system in support of STEM. Under his leadership, the Center for Workforce Readiness (CWR) was created. Through collaboration with internal and external partners, CWR strives to enhance Northwell Health position as a leader and innovator in promoting healthcare career pathways in STEM. In addition, Mr. Dowling has been personally involved in initiatives that focus on highlighting healthcare careers, educational support, and job opportunities to young people.
Mr. Dowling is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and Chairman of the North American Board of the Smurfit School of Business at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He also serves as a board member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and board member and Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. He is also the former Chairman and current board member of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL), the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the League of Voluntary Hospitals of New York.
Mr. Dowling grew up in Limerick, Ireland. He earned his undergraduate degree from University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, and his master’s degree from Fordham University.
The Northwell Health System recognizes the importance of STEM education in promoting the economic and physical health of our region. Healthcare requires a highly skilled and educated STEM workforce to provide the highest standard of quality care. Northwell Health has taken the lead as the steward of the regional STEM initiative on Long Island, collaborating with internal and external partners to host system-wide STEM career programs, provide teacher education opportunities and foster transnational education through the creation and support of Career Academies. Northwell Health student programs help educate and promote the wide scope of career paths and opportunities available within healthcare. Two notable examples are the first Career Exploration Camp implemented in partnership with Girl Scouts of Nassau County; and Medical Marvels, a collaborative research competition established by the health system’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research for Long Island students in grades 9 and 10.
STEM education/workforce development is critical to the future of our nation. Our country needs a highly trained, diverse workforce to satisfy business needs; attract new industries; and enhance economic viability. Long-term economic growth relies on the preparation of workers with demonstrable capabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Unfortunately, too few students pursue careers in STEM.
Despite high unemployment rates, the current labor supply is simply not a good match for current openings. A review of enrollment at our regional colleges and universities reveals that only a small percentage of students are pursuing degrees in STEM. STEM education can help us be less reliant upon a workforce imported from other parts of the world, and enhance our economic vitality through homegrown talent and innovation.
In 2012, Northwell Health created the Center for Workforce Readiness (CWR), which is part of the Corporate Human Resources talent management team. The Center’s mission is to equip students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to meet the health system’s staffing needs. By aligning organizational needs and required skill sets with education, CWR is positioned to influence our future workforce and create a pipeline of skilled and educated workers to meet Northwell Health projected staffing needs. CWR engages internal and external strategic partners to collaborate in developing programs and creating opportunities that both encourage and empower participants to pursue healthcare and STEM-related careers.
Northwell Health is leading the charge on ”igniting” student interest in STEM healthcare careers by partnering with local high schools to have their students participate in the SPARK! Challenge. Through this challenge, Northwell Health introduces students to a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical careers that require competencies in STEM skills. During our inaugural year, employees at 30 health system sites hosted 500 high school students to showcase their careers including opportunities for hands-on experiences. Following the Spark! Challenge visit, student teams were required to collaborate and produce a short documentary video recapping their day and describing what they learned about specific healthcare careers. This project continued the dialogue well past the site visits. Prizes were awarded to the top videos and corresponding sites. The program exceeded our expectations in that it:
- Sparked student interest in STEM healthcare-related careers;
- Allowed the students to explore different careers through realistic job previews;
- Taught students how to identify potential career paths and assess their compatibility with their personal career goals;
- Provided relevance between school coursework and its application in real work settings;
- Established relationships between North Shore-LIJ and our future workforce; and
- Engaged and empowered employees who were proud to share their career choice and demonstrate their pride in the organization.
Northwell Health is invested in the physical as well as the economic health of the region we serve. Along with Brookhaven National Laboratory, we co-steward the Long Island STEM Hub, one of ten hubs forming throughout New York and within the Empire State STEM Learning Network. It is a coalition of industry and academic leaders who are committed to developing strategies to prepare students for college and careers while ensuring alignment to STEM-related industries that are driving the local economy. This is a community effort to keep our region competitive and ensure that our students have the education, skills and connections to thrive in STEM careers with local companies that need and want them as employees. Several key initiatives of the Long Island STEM Hub include:
- Professional Development Day- This is a region-wide initiative that engages educators in exploring and understanding the broad spectrum of STEM career paths as well as the skills and education needed for employment. Its goal is to provide a variety of industry-based opportunities to teachers from all disciplines and to school districts who are looking to create a project-based curriculum with relevant industry examples that have a positive impact on student learning. Additionally, teachers create relationships with industry partners for continued interactions and resources. This helps level the playing field for underserved districts with limited resources
- Career Academies –These are a transformative and highly effective means of delivering STEM career-themed education in existing classrooms. Students who have participated in a Career Academy show greater levels of academic and career achievement. Northwell Health offers a variety of resources to local Career Academy schools, forging a connection between what students are learning in the classroom and the application of subject matter in the workplace. Subject matter experts from across the organization, including the health system’s High Potential Program alumni, volunteer to enhance Career Academy students’ experience in a number of ways. These include on- and off-site presentations, NorthWell Health facility tours, career day participation, and shadowing and mentoring. Students receive in-depth information about different career paths in healthcare and have direct access to professionals in the field.
- Regional Industry Councils – These councils are structured forums that facilitate communication between industry-specific leaders and educators. Their focus is on sharing trends, meeting needs and resources so everyone can benefit.
There’s been nothing non-musical that I’ve been thinking about lately because we’ve been doing this film thing, the sound-track for it, and we’ve been trying to get the tour thing together because we’re coming over soon.
You know about the rainbow here? It’s sort of the place to play over here and when we played there we did a movie of the show and now we’re putting the pieces together. It’s going to be called “Queen Live At The Rainbow”
It really depends, there are so many places. There’s a place called Essences, that’s a very good place. They seem to get very good quality stuff, but still old, 1920’s stuff. If they have the money I’d ask them to go to Zandra Rhodes, because she’s got a place where she works and you can buy them off the rail. They’re quite beautiful.