A CEO’s Story

Audrey-Anne Brousseau, MD

This article was reproduced with permission from the authors. Original article from geriatric-ed.com.

Audrey-Anne Brousseau gets to sit down with Joseph Mappa, former CEO of the Sinai Health System and supporter of the Geriatric Emergency Department at Mount Sinai Hospital.

On December 6th, I met Joseph Mapa, former CEO of the Sinai Health System. He was at the head of this hospital when the Senior-Friendly Emergency Department story started.

I was initially planning to find specific advice on « How to engage your administration » but it turned into something completely different.

Here is the story of a visionary CEO, an A+ CEO, a director who did not need to be convinced.

“A geriatric center of excellence made so much sense to me!” Those are his words.

The real role of a CEO

Mr. Mapa explained that when you are at the head of an academic center, part of the mission is always to assure excellent patient care and impeccable academia where there are training and research. But the real strategy for being successful has to be with a full understanding of what the landscape will look like in ten years, like reading a crystal ball. In this case, DEMOGRAPHICS. The impending demographic change was so obvious, everybody saw it coming, but unlike other hospitals, Joe Mappa decided to make it a priority.

“My eyes are always institutional and strategic, your eyes are patients and academia” he told me.

Importance of a Senior-Friendly Emergency Department

He never thought about geriatric emergency medicine before. In fact, emergency departments are rarely the academic mission of an hospital. It is a very important area, but usually is at the gateway of the hospital. The fact that now the Mount Sinai Hospital emergency department is not only a “passage” but a center of excellence, a model, a reference makes him very proud.

“It is beautiful.” He said, smiling.

Potential barriers

He did not see any significant barriers to this project. It was not going to be an expensive challenge. It is not like creating a new neuro-surgical operation room. This is about creating talent, systems, programs and with some support, it was possible to make it happen. The main barrier was probably about perception by other specialties and other hospitals. But in the end, geriatrics is becoming a subspecialty of pretty much every field of medicine (emergency, psychiatry, nephrology, oncology, orthopaedic, etc.) and Mount Sinai is now ahead of its time.

“I can’t perceive any instrumental barriers, I just can’t!” He added.

Success measures

Mr. Mapa is proud of the evolution of the emergency department.

“It is real, I read the report!”

He is also a big fan of fellows because they define academic center and they reflect many things:

  •  “I want to come here”
  •  “We have the expertise”
  •  “We are well known”
  •  “We are best-practice”

Having donors is a huge privilege and the fact that they continue to support Mount Sinai geriatric initiative makes him very proud.


On the last part of the interview, I asked Mr Mapa: What would you tell to another CEO in order to convince him or her of the value of this project?

He simply answered: “I would tell him to ask his mother which emergency department she would want to go!”

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