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Promoting health in the North Shore

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Susan Rassekh, 51, of Oyster Bay, had spent the past 27 years of her life working with the YMCA of the United States of America as she held various leadership roles throughout the organization, including serving as the executive director of the YMCA in Glen Cove in 2015. Throughout her career, Rassekh found she had a knack for communicating with others, and this talent became evident to the North Shore communities when Rassekh became the manager of community relations at Glen Cove Hospital Northwell Health Systems in 2018.

“When she came on board, it was like a breath of fresh air,” said Barbara Keber, chair of family medicine at the Glen Cove Hospital. “She immediately immersed herself into the local community to be with the residents.”

The Nassau Council of Chamber of Commerce recognized Rassekh’s work over the past year and honored her as the recipient of the 2019 Small Businessperson of the Year Award during the chamber’s 35th Annual Businessperson of the Year and Legislative Breakfast on Oct. 18. Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton said that the honor was well deserved as she presented Rassekh with the award.

“It is amazing how devoted Susan is to helping businesses and the community overall, through her position with Northwell and otherwise,” DeReggi-Whitton said.

When she first came into Glen Cove Hospital, Rassekh said that her department had been focusing on marketing more so than community relations. Rather than just giving out free pens and mugs during local events, Rassekh wanted the hospital to be more involved, so she used her connections at the YMCA in order to do more outreach work.

Through her initiatives, the hospital was able to launch flu shot programs at the YMCA and Glen Cove Senior Center. Hospital staff members now also make regular trips to the senior center to check up on patients and provide health lectures and direct referrals to services the seniors may need. And under Rassekh’s leadership, the Northwell Health Mobile Van now conducts more free health screenings throughout the nearby North Shore communities. Keber said these programs were important to Rassekh because seniors and those who lack transportation are often times neglected.

“She always tries to help underserved and under-recognized communities.” Keber said. “Susan really is both passionate and compassionate about the people she works for.”

But Rassekh isn’t solely focused on the senior community. She has also expanded to work with local schools and organizations to provide help and information for young students. The hospital has hosted heath care career fairs with the Glen Cove Boys and Girls Club, and in October, Rassekh pushed for the hospital to join the Glen Cove City School District’s anti-bullying campaign. She added that hospital staff would be visiting the Locust Valley School District in November to discuss the state’s new regulations on vaccines and dispel myths about it in order to keep the community well informed.

“I really want to expand these programs, and in 2020, I’m hoping to do more work in Locust Valley, Bayville and Sea Cliff,” Rassekh said. “It’s important that we work with our communities and maintain a strong relationship.”

“Making those relationships and developing them is her best skill,” Keber added. “She’s making sure they all know that this hospital is here for them… and everyone is supporting her.”