|Denise C. Soares, RN, MA, Executive Director, Harlem Hospital Center|
Last February, Denise C. Soares, RN, MA, was deployed from the Bronx to assist the Harlem Hospital Center team prepare for its Joint Commission and Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) reviews. The request was not unusual, as expert HHC staff are often called on to help sister facilities when they need an extra hand.
For Soares, it was an opportunity to work side by side with the medical, nursing and administrative team she would lead as the Executive Director of Harlem Hospital Center and the Renaissance Health Care Network, effective July 1, 2011.
“Assisting with survey preparation was the perfect time to transition,” says Soares, who was the Deputy Executive Director /Chief Operating Officer at North Central Bronx (NCB) Hospital and Chief Nurse Executive at the HHC North Bronx Healthcare Network, which includes Jacobi Medical Center & NCB. “I witnessed first-hand how the staff at Harlem Hospital work so well together, how much they care for the patients, and how much they want to do for the community.”
After Harlem Hospital received very positive reviews from both the Joint Commission and CMS, Soares temporarily returned to the Bronx to do it all over again as the two regulatory agencies made their unannounced visits to NCB.
Now Soares is officially back at Harlem Hospital as Executive Director and ready to exercise her unique leadership style and compassionate approach to patients and staff, which was built over a successful 40-year career specializing in women’s and children’s health services, nursing and hospital administration .
“I’m particularly interested in working with the team at Harlem Hospital Center to empower staff at every level, and particularly give front-line staff the opportunity to participate in performance improvement work and be part of the decision-making process to increase efficiency and reduce waste,” says Soares.
Equally important is her interest in helping to further instill patient-centered principles into every aspect of the hospital operations. Soares is driven by her motto, “The Patients’ Perception Is Our Reality” which inspires her commitment to patient satisfaction.
“It’s not enough that we provide quality medical services and are confident about our clinical knowledge,” she says. “As healthcare providers, we must connect on a very personal level and let patients know we care what happens to them beyond the walls of our hospital when they go out into the community.”
“Ms. Soares’ high professional standards combined with a high level of personal drive and energy have earned her the respect and cooperation of her peers and her staff,” says Iris Jimenez-Hernandez, Senior Vice President of the HHC Generations + Northern Manhattan Healthcare Network, which includes Harlem and Lincoln Hospitals. “She will be a valuable asset to our institutions as we work together to meet the healthcare needs of the Harlem community.”
Before HHC, Soares served in a variety of nursing, educational, administrative and executive positions at New York Hospital in Manhattan, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Long Island College Hospital, Interfaith Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente in Connecticut. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing and her Master of Arts degree in Health Education from Columbia University.
A life-long resident of the Bronx, Soares has volunteered for the past 16 years with the Organization for International Development, Inc. to provide free dental, medical and nursing services to underserved communities in Africa and the Caribbean.
According to Soares, there’s no better place to practice commitment to community than at Harlem Hospital, a vital institution serving Harlem since 1887.
"The staff at Harlem Hospital are deeply invested in a lot more than just the health and well being of the community they serve. They are also an integral force that supports the cultural, social and economic vitality of this amazing neighborhood," noted Soares. "I'm very excited, proud and humbled to join this dedicated team."