I had the opportunity to meet Jackie Mucaria at her handsome offices in the NewYork-Presbyterian Queens main building. As I walked down the corridor to meet her, I was impressed by the beautifully framed pictures of the history of the hospital, which began serving Queens as the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital.
NewYork-Presbyterian took it over and reinvented and recharged it completely in recent years. The corridor also features paintings by local artists making for a warm entrance to the executive offices. Having been there before, I knew something new was happening here.
Question: How do you feel about taking over as President?
Jackie: I feel like I’ve come home. After all, I was born at Wyckoff Hospital where my family lived in Ridgewood and
where I grew up.
Question: Tell me about your education.
Jackie: In middle school, I had a teacher who inspired me to apply to Stuyvesant High School, but my parents were very opposed because it was a subway ride away and there were few girls at the school at the time. But between my guidance counselor and my persistence, I did get to go and it opened another world to me. I met a lot of kids who were smarter than me and from many cultures.
Question: How did you get into the medical world?
Jackie: I wanted to be a doctor, but I changed course to pursue medical laboratory technology at Stony Brook University. I began my career, in many aspects, as a hospital administrator. I worked at Mount Sinai for 12 years. At that time, they were reorganizing into specialty hospitals.
Question: What drew you to NewYork-Presbyterian?
Jackie: Having been offered the position as a vice president there, I was recruited to improve the ambulatory care network (which accommodate 750,000 visits a year). I was eventually promoted to the role of senior vice president, where I was also responsible for the oversight of all hospitality services such as food, clinical nutrition, housekeeping and transport in addition to leading the effort to improve the patient experience.
Question: What is your mission now in Queens?
Jackie: After working at NewYork-Presbyterian for 15 years, I realized my passion. And that is to make sure the hospital’s culture is one of compassion, respect and empathy for our patients and their family members. I want them to feel a Ritz Carlton experience when they come to the hospital. We aim to treat both the patient and their loved ones like family.
Question: What are some of the new innovations at the hospital?
Jackie: With the advent of electronic medical records, we will be able to offer seamless care. We also have Telehealth,
where we can leverage the resources of our doctors in Manhattan to provide more immediate care to our patients.
Question: What new services are coming to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens?
Jackie: We will be focusing on cancer care with new radiation oncology equipment, a new MRI 3D imaging and a new infusion center. We will be building out our seventh and eighth floors to offer an expanded intensive care unit and private rooms for all our patients. We plan to emphasize our cardiology and neurology services with new programs that allow us to do more procedures in Queens. We are also working to expand our orthopedic and sports medicine program. Additionally, we are proud of our designation as a Level I Trauma Center.
Question: Tell me about your relationship with St. John’s University.
Jackie: We are now the official hospital and team physicians of St. John’s Athletics. We are delighted with this new opportunity and hope to expand on future partnerships.
Question: What about services for women and children?
Jackie: Our goal is to keep families in Queens near their homes but we also have the capacity to send very sick children to NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. Th at is the beauty of our relationship with our Manhattan hospitals in the NYP health system.
Question: What is your vision for the future of your hospital?
Jackie: I’m building a team with a new chief of nursing, a new chief medical officer and a new chief operating officer.
My team will bring us to the position of being the premiere hospital in Queens. Our outpatient sites off er unique services to Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Astoria, Bayside and soon, Long Island City. I believe the difference between try and triumph is the oomph! We will make a difference in the borough of my birth!