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Melville, New York
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, New York Institute of Technology Osteopathic Medicine
System Chief Quality Officer, Senior Vice President, Catholic Health Services of Long IslandVIEW PROFILE
Jason Golbin, D.O. (THDCC ’08), says many of his fellow lifelong New Yorkers believe medicine begins and ends in the Empire State. He gave the Upper Midwest a chance for his fellowship and “was blown away” by the quality of care delivered at Mayo Clinic. In his new position as chief quality officer for the Catholic Health Services system of Long Island, he is emulating Mayo’s approach to patient care.
I didn’t study as hard as I should have during college, and my grades didn’t allow me to get into medical school. So I completed a master’s degree in physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University and then taught science in a New York City public school in Staten Island for a year. I come from a family of teachers and was able to more fully understand what my parents had done for 30 years. After a year of teaching I was finally able to get into medical school. That struggle made me much more driven in my career than I would’ve otherwise been. I never wanted to be in the position again where I wasn’t offered the job or my grades didn’t cut it.
I learned that I love teaching. The year I taught, I also became an SAT instructor and continued doing that through residency. When I entered into practice I found my former medical school dean and started teaching there, which I continue to do.
I was raised in Staten Island and did my residency in New York City. I never would have imagined I’d spend three years in Minnesota. New Yorkers feel that New York is where medicine begins and ends. Maybe a little in Boston or Baltimore, but not farther than that. They don’t have an appreciation for how high the level of care is at Mayo Clinic.
When I researched pulmonary and critical care fellowship programs, Mayo Clinic’s jumped out at me. I thought it was a long shot. My residency program was very clinical as opposed to a physician-scientist focus. I also wasn’t sure how well received D.O.s were at Mayo.
When I interviewed at Mayo, I had the most amazing day. I was blown away by the level of care that was being delivered at Mayo. I didn’t find a distinction between perceptions about M.D.’s vs. D.O.’s at Mayo. I felt that if you believed in the Mayo ideals and put the patient first, that was what mattered. I remember walking through the Mayo subway and calling my mom, telling her, “This place is unbelievable. I’d love to be here.”
I loved the culture at Mayo – the needs of the patient are the only needs to be considered. It’s not just spoken but lived by everyone from the department head to the desk staff, from the nurse to the janitor. They’re all there to make sure the needs of the patient are met, and they truly believe in it.
On my first day of pulmonary consult as a fellow, I went to the floor and asked a nurse where the resident was so he could brief me on a patient. The nurse said, “Let me tell you about the patient.” The briefing I received from her was the same as I would have received from the resident. That was so different from experiences I’d had in New York. I went home that night and told myself, “This place is amazing.” I still feel that way — even more so. In the years since leaving Rochester, I’ve worked hard to avoid saying, “Well, at Mayo we did it this way.”
I was invited to stay on faculty at Mayo but, ultimately, family drew me back to New York. I met with Mayo’s chief of medicine and CEO — both from the East Coast at the time — to gain their perspective on an East Coast physician practicing in Minnesota. At the time I didn’t appreciate how generous it was for them to provide their time to a fellow. Now, it’s very humbling.
I went into private practice in New York. The first Christmas I was home, I contacted my mentor at Mayo, Mike Krowka, M.D. (THD ’86), and said I’d love to return to Mayo. My wife vetoed the move because our families are in New York.
I do a significant amount of teaching of medical students at my alma mater and am a strong proponent that they think about applying to Mayo Clinic or other places in the Midwest because the care is so wonderful and the experience will round them out.
When I was in private practice, I had a part-time role as associate director of ICU at a hospital. I loved the administrative side of medicine and its role in making the system better. Two years later I received a call asking if I’d be interested in a chief medical officer position. In 2013 I left private practice and became the CMO at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center — another hospital in the Catholic Health Services of Long Island system.
We did some incredible work. We’d had the worst record of readmissions in the system and reduced them by more than half. We turned around the medical center’s finances and were in the black for the first time in many years. During that time I completed my M.B.A.
Recently I was promoted to system chief quality officer. I provide leadership across our system for the development of a culture of safety as well as measurement of the quality of care provided in all six of our hospitals, three nursing homes, home care and hospice. I’m also responsible for the overall regulatory and accreditation success of our hospitals. I’m excited that we’re currently undertaking a journey to high reliability throughout the system.
This morning I was in a meeting with our system CMO, vice president of Human Resources and others, discussing patient engagement, experience and satisfaction. I described the culture at Mayo Clinic — scheduling, in particular. How patients initially meet the first doctor and, from there, the visit is laid out to make it as efficient and tolerable for the patient to get as much done in the shortest time. The coordination of care at Mayo is remarkable. Nothing like that exists in New York. Care is often disjointed. I want to see how we can evolve our clinically integrated network to provide more efficient care like Mayo has. We should try to emulate Mayo Clinic as we try to develop our patient experience here on Long Island. It’s health care like you imagine it should be.
I attribute a lot of my professional success to the training and culture at Mayo Clinic. I’ve tried to practice the Mayo way. I try to hold everyone to that standard.
My wife had breast cancer almost five years ago. That was a major life change that altered our trajectory. She does a lot of work giving back to the breast cancer community, and we spend a lot of time in the gym and with family. We love to travel and have gone all over Europe.
See past New Chapter stories here.