Irish America magazine celebrated many of the most distinguished frontline workers at the 2022 Healthcare & Life Sciences 50 event at the New York Yacht Club on October 3. After forgoing the event for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was a pleasure to honor Irish American members of the medical and healthcare communities for their work in leading us through the pandemic.
Patricia Harty, the magazine’s Co-founder and Editor, welcomed the honorees and guests and invited Ireland’s Consul General Helena Nolan to kick off the event. And she did just that with a hopeful and inspiring speech. Sharing her congratulations with the honorees, she said: “You are all true leaders, and you all serve in deeply valued roles. You bring life; you improve the quality of life; you bring leadership and innovation, and you bring hope to so many.”
“Out of the darkest of times comes a message of hope, and you are a big part of that message, one where science and empathy came to the fore, to help and support others, to literally save lives and to show how a crisis can bring out the best in ourselves, even at the very worst of times.”
Honorees in attendance included Dr. Veronica ‘Vera” Delaney, one of the first women surgeons to perform a kidney transplant in the U.S., Vera also happens to be the mother of diplomat Samantha Power; Ciaran and Orlaith Staunton, the founders of END SEPSIS, and recipients of the 2022 Distinguished Service Award were also in attendance, as was Dr. John Kennedy, the highly-regarded orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries, and Dr. Patricia Broderick, who invented the Broderick Probe, the first biosensor to see brain signaling in its natural state and compare it with the diseased state. Dr. Broderick is listed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which will be announced in December 2022.
Irish America‘s founding Publisher Niall O’Dowd introduced Michael Dowling, the President and CEO of Northwell Health, one of the U.S.’s most expansive healthcare systems, who spoke with passion about the issue of gun violence, calling it a public health issue, and announced that Northwell Health recently ‘adopted’ four high schools in Queens, providing scholarships, internships, and educational advancement.
He noted the diversity of the high schools in Queens and urged the crowd to remember that “we’re all immigrants. It’s important to remind us of this. Everyone here is – some of us came more recently and others came some time back, but we all have that immigrant background. It’s an important thing for us to keep in mind as we think about the future.”
But the evening truly belonged to the nurses. Certified Critical Care and Neuroscience Nurse and President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Katie Murphy shared the evening with her sister, Mary Adams; Dean of Rutgers School of Nursing, Linda Flynn celebrated with her husband, Roger. Katie and Linda are also featured in the Healthcare 50 issue in a piece on the nursing shortage by Tom Deignan. Mary Gallagher, Director of Nursing Quality at New York Presbyterian, and Noreen Brennan, Chief Nurse Executive at James J. Peters Veterans Administration in the Bronx were just a few of the nurses honored this year that were able to join us for the festivities. Lisa Kennedy and Winnie Mele, two members of the Northwell Nurse Choir shared the choir’s story and how the group was formed during COVID. They then shared a video of the Nurse Choir performing the song Rise Up, by Andra Day which was created as a thank you to all those who supported healthcare workers through the pandemic.
Between the speeches, the honorees met and mingled, discovering people and networks in common, and brought their family and closest friends to commemorate their hard work and dedication through a lively cultural event. Each of the attending honorees was gifted a Waterford Crystal shamrock paperweight.
The evening wrapped in a true Irish celebration as musician Tommy Mulvihill stepped up with his guitar and started an Irish singalong with the Nurse Choir duo,
Lisa and Winnie sang Take Me Home, Country Roads, and followed up when the crowd joined in on a few Irish classic numbers such as “Danny Boy.” Lisa went on to sing “The Parting Glass” as a tribute to her father, a lawyer, who had, back in the day, helped the Clancy Brothers get their U.S. working papers.
The awards reception was the first time that Irish America was able to celebrate the Healthcare 50 since 2019 and it was a magnificent evening. To quote Michael Dowling, “This is an unbelievably impressive group of people,” Michael, we could not agree more.
Comhghairdeas & Beir Bua!