“Being the grand marshal is a natural extension of what my job is, understanding what the community needs are and responding to the needs,” Browning said. “There are just so many parallels, like serving as an ambassador.”
In addition to leading the Memorial Day Parade on Sunday, May 26, Browning will be guest of honor at a kick-off party at Bridie’s Bar & Grill on Tuesday, May 7, at 7 p.m., and the VIP party at the West Side Tennis Club on Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m.
Browning, a Woodside native, always envisioned becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist until she arrived at Barnard College for her undergrad work.
Working at Mount Sinai during her sophomore year, she got to know several administration professionals and developed a passion for the field.
“I really love healthcare, but for me healthcare administration is unique and interesting because you can make change, but you’re really looking at it more at a population level,” Browning said. “You can create change on a much broader scale.”
Browning later obtained a Masters of Public Health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, before working at New York Methodist Hospital, now known as NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, for nearly eight years.
Browning joined Northwell Health in 1998 as vice president of Ambulatory Services before becoming vice president of Operations within corporate administration.
In 2004, Browning became the deputy executive director of LIJ Forest Hills. The post, however, was short lived as a need arose at Staten Island University Hospital for Browning’s experience as part of the hospital’s turnaround team.
What was supposed to be a four-week project turned into a years-long stint.
Since rejoining LIJ Forest Hills in 2015, Browning has overseen a number of changes.
“This hospital had been growing and developing for years and it was on a path, but the community around us was changing, and I don’t think the hospital was responding as quickly to the needs of the community,” she said. “We looked into how we could change services and programs to meet the needs of the community, both for younger and older patients.
“And we looked into how do we deliver on what we’ve developed and built, so we gain the confidence of the community,” she added.
Over the past several years, LIJ Forest Hills has made strides when it comes to women’s health and bariatric services, in addition to high-quality services for the elderly.
The hospital recently hired a urogynecologist for older women who may experience pelvic floor disorders. And the maternity program has been revamped from top to bottom, including upgrades to the equipment and facilities.
Baby-Friendly USA certified LIJ Forest Hills as “best in class” for maternal-child bonding and breastfeeding education.
“If we have fewer physicians delivering babies and a community that needs to have babies delivered, we have a responsibility as the largest healthcare provider in the area to respond to that,” Browning said.
Browning believes that partnering with other organizations, both in and out of the Northwell network, can provide patients with the best resources.
About eight months ago, the hospital completely expanded its breast imaging program by acquiring a state-of-the-art mammography unit, as well as bringing a dedicated mammographer onsite.
In February, the hospital received the highest level of accreditation from the American College of Surgeons for their bariatric surgery program.
Currently, Browning and her staff are working on bringing two psychiatrists on board.
“As we build those bridges and build trust with the community and we continue to deliver on our services, our data supports the work that we’re doing,” Browning said. “What we find is that more people are now seeking a doctor associated with the hospital, that tells us we’re doing well here.”