People in the News

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Mary Maliszewski, Director of Nursing for Critical Care & Cardiovascular Services and James Vosswinkel, MD, Chief of Trauma

Mary Maliszewski, Director of Nursing for Critical Care & Cardiovascular Services and James Vosswinkel, MD, Chief of Trauma

Two outstanding members of our Long Island Community Hospital care team have recently been selected for the Long Island Business News Achievements in Healthcare Awards. Chief of Trauma James Vosswinkel, MD, was chosen to receive the award in the Physician category, while Director of Nursing for Critical Care & Cardiovascular Services Mary Maliszewski took top honors in the Nurse category. The LIBN Achievements in Healthcare Awards were created to recognize excellence, promote innovation, contribute to the enhancement and quality of healthcare, and identify those who work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of the Long Island community.



Michael Schulder, MD

Michael Schulder, MD, Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in Manhasset and Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in New Hyde Park, has been appointed President of the Brain Tumor Foundation (BTF). The BTF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the early detection of brain tumors, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes.

In addition to his role as Vice Chair of Neurosurgery, Dr. Schulder is also Director of the Brain Tumor Center at NSUH and LIJ; Director of the neurosurgery residency program at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; and Co-Director of the Center for Stereotactic Radiosurgery at Northwell’s Cancer Institute.

Dr. Schulder served as a past President of the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, as well as past President of the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. He is also the founding Vice President of the Intraoperative Imaging Society; a director of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; and an elected member of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery and the Society of Neurological Surgeons. His research and many publications have focused primarily on new techniques for image-guided surgery, including intraoperative MRI.



Lynn M. O’Connor, MD, Section Chief of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, both members of Catholic Health Services, have named Lynn M. O’Connor, MD, as Section Chief of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Dr. O’Connor is board certified in general surgery and colon and rectal surgery. She brings over 20 years of experience to the Nassau County hospitals, garnering many honors and awards throughout her career.

Each year, more than 1,500 men and over 1,500 women in New York state die from colorectal cancer, according to the New York State Department of Health. Fortunately, most colon cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes and the removal of precancerous polyps via screening.

Dr. O’Connor is outspoken about declining health patterns due to lack of exercise, rising obesity and the increase in colon cancer rates among young adults. Because of her efforts, she is a sought-after speaker, lecturing nationally on advanced techniques related to minimally invasive colorectal surgery, colon cancer screening and colorectal health.

Dr. O’Connor has received the Most Outstanding Achievement Award in Research from Union Memorial Hospital, the Florence Griffith Freedman Award for Cancer Research from Temple University and Top Doctor in Huntington, NY. She is a member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, Society of Black Academic Surgeons and Women in Surgery — to name a few.

Dr. O’Connor earned her medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine and her master’s in public health at Yale University. She completed her general surgery residency at Union Memorial Hospital and received her colorectal fellowship training in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. O’Connor resides in Huntington.



Christina Brennan, MD, MBA

Christina Brennan, MD, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Research at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). Dr. Brennan will serve in this role for a 2-year term, beginning this month.

ACRP is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that supports clinical research professionals and offers tools for its 13,000 members through eLearning to develop skills and improve operations. It hosts web seminars to keep clinical researchers updated on regulatory developments, industry trends and best practices. ACRP also serves as a career resource for job opportunities and maintains an online community to connect with peers.

Dr. Brennan has more than 19 years of extensive clinical research experience, including over 15 years in management roles. Under her leadership, 375 active clinical trials are conducted each year at the Feinstein Institutes. She supports nearly 400 clinical investigators and their research delegates.

Dr. Brennan is the immediate past President of ACRP’s New York Metropolitan Chapter and is an active member of the Clinical Trial Transformation Initiative with Duke University and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Brennan also serves on the oncology advisory board with the Society for Clinical Research Sites and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has authored numerous textbook chapters and co-authored over 25 manuscripts and abstracts. Dr. Brennan is an Adjunct Professor at Yeshiva University, where she teaches a clinical trials and research management class for the Masters of Science, Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship program.


St. Charles Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer Ronald Weingartner is the 2019 recipient of the Patrick J. Scollard Award for Leadership. Chosen from more than 50 nominees from across CHS, Weingartner was presented with the prestigious award at the health system’s 16th annual leadership conference.


Ronald Weingartner, COO for St. Charles Hospital and recipient of the 2019 Patrick J. Scollard Award for Leadership (third from left), is honored by Alan Guerci, MD, CHS President & Chief Executive Officer (fourth from left) and CHS colleagues.

Named in honor of Catholic Health Services (CHS)’s former President and Chief Executive Officer, the Scollard Award is the highest level of leadership recognition within the health system bestowed to management staff. This year’s conference featured keynote speaker Robyn Benincasa, founder of World Class Teams. Her company works with organizations to provide exceptional team-building techniques and experiences.

A resident of Sag Harbor, Weingartner successfully advanced key projects, including the renovation of the Port Jefferson-based hospital’s newly refurbished maternity unit. The $4 million project now offers 16 modern private rooms with the latest amenities for newborns and their parents. Also, he was instrumental in obtaining a $4.3 million grant to change the footprint of the St. Charles Emergency Department to better meet community needs.

Scollard Award finalists are Eileen Dwyer of St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn and Roberta Levesque of St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. With more than 30 years of oncology experience, Dwyer has served as Nursing Manager of the Infusion Unit at CHS’s Cancer Institute at St. Francis since 2013. The Garden City resident is tireless in her efforts to deliver the highest quality patient care.

A resident of Patchogue, Levesque has spent the past eight years promoting the principles of palliative care, as part of an effort to further enhance patient comfort and assist families at St. Catherine. Consequently, palliative care consultations have risen from 693 in 2011 to nearly 1,500 in 2019. Also, she was the driving force behind the creation of the Butterfly Program, a six-bed palliative care unit.

Levesque sets the example when it comes to continuing education and recently earned her MBA from St. Joseph’s College.



Diane Burshtein, Director of Patient Experience

Catholic Health Services (CHS) has named Diane Burshtein Director of Patient Experience at St. Charles Hospital and St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. The Plainview resident will collaborate with senior leadership and key stakeholders to drive quality and service excellence in further enhancing the patient experience at both hospitals.

Burshtein joins CHS with extensive experience in both hospital and post-acute services administration from Northwell Health, Health & Hospitals Corporation and Visiting Nurse Service of New York. CHS’s commitment to providing patients the highest level of care led to the creation of the patient experience position to further enhance patient satisfaction at hospitals across the system. This past year, Medina Kurtovic was named Director of Patient Experience for Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Anthony Anitra was named Director of Patient Experience for Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. They join Karen Allen, who has served as Director of Patient Experience for St. Francis Hospital since 2017.



Chunyan Li, PhD

Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Assistant Professor Chunyan Li, PhD, has been awarded a 2-year, $460,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the therapeutic potential of electrical trigeminal nerve stimulation in the injured brain.

The study, entitled “Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation to Modulate Cortical Spreading Depolarizations (CSDs) after Brain Injury,” will be the first-ever research seeking to reduce the harmful effects of CSDs in the injured brain. CSD is a phenomenon of depressed brain electrical activity that has been clinically found in a variety of acute brain injuries, including 100 percent of patients with malignant hemispheric ischemic stroke. Several experimental and clinical studies have confirmed that CSDs are both a real-time indicator of brain damage and can also cause secondary damage in the already compromised brain.