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Northwell exec named new medical school dean, top doctor

Dr. David Battinelli.

Dr. David Battinelli. Credit: Northwell Health

A longtime Northwell Health executive has been appointed as the health system's next top doctor and dean of the medical school founded by Hofstra University and Northwell.

Dr. David Battinelli will become executive vice president and physician-in-chief in January after 14 years at the health system, most recently as chief medical officer and vice dean of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

He will be taking over from Dr. Lawrence G. Smith, executive vice president, physician-in-chief and founding dean of the medical school. Smith, who joined Northwell in 2005, was "the driving force" in the medical school’s creation, and his leadership "transformed the health system," Northwell said in a statement. Smith will continue to serve as medical school dean until the end of the school year, and after that he will remain an executive vice president, Northwell said.

Susan Poser, president of Hofstra University, said the medical school "has thrived under the leadership of founding dean Lawrence Smith." Now that the joint Hofstra/Northwell board has approved Battinelli as Smith's successor, she said, "I am excited to welcome Dr. Battinelli as the medical dean-designate and leader for the next generation of the Hofstra University/Northwell medical school."

Battinelli, who will become dean in mid-2022, "played a key role in the health system’s COVID-19 response, and is responsible for the overall professional management of clinical, education, research and operational issues related to medical and clinical affairs," Northwell said in a statement.

The timeline ensures "a seamless transition and the proper succession planning," Battinelli said in an interview.

In addition to those changes, Dr. Jill Kalman returned to Northwell on Wednesday, taking the titles of senior vice president, chief medical officer and deputy physician-in-chief. Kalman was executive director of Northwell’s Lenox Hill Hospital for three years, until taking a job at a private company in early 2021.

In a statement, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the health system, cited "the exceptional contributions of these three highly skilled leaders" and said, "I’m confident they will guide us toward even greater success in the years ahead."

Northwell Health is the largest private employer in New York State, with operating revenues of $13.4 billion and about 77,000 employees, including nearly 39,000 on Long Island. The Zucker School of Medicine welcomed its first class in 2011.

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