Current Leader

Bernard Ortega

Bernard Ortega
Location of Academic Institution: New York, New York Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Family and Social Support, Health Care Access, Health Disparities, Health Reform, Public and Community Health, Social Determinants of Health Populations Served: African-American/Black, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Disabled People, Older Adults (65+), Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Homeless Populations, Immigrants and Refugees, Low-Income Communities, Parents and Families, People with Disabilities, Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories, Urban Communities
Program Administrator
Mount Sinai Health System

FOCUS
Bernard works in East Harlem, where the average life expectancy is 10 years less than the community next door—the Upper East Side. He believes that a person’s health should not be dictated by their zip code. At Mount Sinai Hospital, he has helped form a program with teams of doctors, social workers, community health workers, and nurses to care for New York’s most chronically ill and disease-burdened; they identify and help advance personal goals first, even if they are not medical in nature—like helping lower patients’ electrical bills. Only by focusing on their patients’ immediate needs can conversations about wellness begin. To sustain true wellness and make healthy communities a reality, he understands we need to mitigate how overwhelming healthy choices can be; the healthy choice must become an easier choice.

MORE ABOUT BERNARD
Bernard believes that a person’s health is often a function of the hand they’ve been dealt, and in our country it is inequitable; we need to figure out how to do better. His family is first-generation immigrants who grapple with multiple chronic conditions. He’s also a U.S. Army officer who has helped deliver care for wounded, ill, and injured soldiers. He has a Master’s in Health Policy and Finance from a school of public service.

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