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Queens native named new executive director of LIJ Forest Hills Hospital

Lorraine Chambers Lewis, the new executive director of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

Lorraine Chambers Lewis has been named the new executive director of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital. 

Chambers Lewis, who was Northwell Health’s vice president of employee health services, succeeds Susan Browning, who has led the Queens community hospital since 2015 and is taking on the role of senior vice president of business development for the health system.

“LIJ Forest Hills is on a trajectory,” Chambers Lewis said. “They’re going up in the right direction and I want to help keep moving them to the next level in health care to be number one in Queens.”

A physician assistant for 28 years, Chambers Lewis has worked in emergency medicine, critical care, internal medicine and occupational health. 

She began her career at Queens Hospital Center and came to Northwell, then North Shore-LIJ Health System, in 2002 as a supervising PA for Long Island Jewish Medical Center. In that role, Chambers Lewis oversaw the daily operations of the hospital’s emergency department fast track area, which treats patients with less serious medical conditions.

In 2007, Chambers Lewis became corporate director of Northwell’s Employee Health Services — a department she would stay in for the next 14 years as her roles and responsibilities increased. 

While in that department, she helped launch Northwell’s first injury management and prevention program for employee safety and an occupational health business model for direct-to-employer clients including an onsite health and wellness clinic at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Chambers Lewis and her team helped create and implement digital surveillance programs for disaster planning and mass occupational exposures, screenings and vaccinations, including influenza H1N1, Ebola and now COVID-19. 

Under her leadership, EHS rapidly developed and launched COVID-19 testing programs for Northwell employees and their families and an employee vaccination program that has immunized over 50,000 team members to date.  

In her new role at LIJ Forest Hills, Chambers Lewis will take on leadership of Northwell’s most diverse hospital serving a diverse community where 164 languages and dialects are spoken. 

The challenge is one in which Chambers Lewis can draw on her own experience as a first-generation American born to Jamaican immigrants in St. Albans. 

“When I was growing up, we affectionately called ourselves ‘Jamericans,’” Chambers Lewis said. “When I stepped outside of my house as a kid and I went to school, I was American and I adapted to American culture. When I went home and I stepped in those doors, it was Little Jamaica. There’s different rules and different things that I knew very clearly were part of Jamaican culture. I understand the experience of immigrants having seen so many of my family members go through it.”

She’ll be using those skills to help educate and outreach to community members on topics ranging from COVID vaccines to basic health screenings, through a grassroots team approach.

Chambers Lewis lives in Elmont with her husband and two daughters, ages 16 and 20. An adventure seeker, she has 18 skydiving jumps under her belt and loves roller coasters, especially The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Studios.

“I like doing things that I have to sign a waiver for,” Chambers Lewis said. 

Chambers Lewis is a board member of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, a multidisciplinary arts center in southeast Queens, and an active member of Emanuel Baptist Church in Elmont.

A graduate of The CUNY School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, Chambers Lewis received her MBA from Hofstra University and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. For the last four years, she has also served as president of the New York Chapter of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare.

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