Chief Nursing Executive Senior Vice-President
Office of Patient-Centered Care
New York City Health + Hospitals
New York, N.Y.
Dr. Natalia Cineas dreams of the day when the term “public health” bears no social stigma. As senior vice president and chief nursing executive of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, she runs the country’s largest public healthcare system, a behemoth serving more than 1.4 million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient-care locations.
She directs thousands of nurses, hundreds of social workers, and all aspects of clinical operations, services, and nursing education. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to oversee nursing care and deliver comprehensive health services of the highest quality equally to all New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay, in an atmosphere of humane care, dignity, and respect,” she says.
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced two lessons. “One is the importance of making decisions day to day to help you through emergencies. The decisions I made during my first year as senior vice president and chief nursing executive set me up to succeed through this pandemic. Another is the importance of communication, even if you don’t know the answer. We saw that in the daily briefs with New York’s governor, but the same goes for nursing leadership.”
Her mantra, instilled by her immigrant parents, is “work harder, complain less.” She teaches at Columbia University School of Nursing; works with national and international advocacy groups on policies to eliminate health disparities among impoverished, susceptible, and minority communities; and co-chairs NYC Health + Hospitals’ Equity and Access Council to encourage diversity and eliminate unconscious bias at work.
Dr. Cineas has a doctor of nursing practice degree from George Washington University, a master’s in management and bachelor’s in nursing from New York Uuniversity, and another bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Stonybrook. She is a Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and Coldiron Senior Nurse Executive Fellow at Case Western Reserve University.