May Is Mental Health Awareness Month


Mental Health: A state of well-being in which a person realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental Illness: Mental Health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or some combination of those) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health condition in their lives and, of those, only 41 percent will receive mental health services. Additionally, in a given year, 1 in 25 U.S. adults will experience a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Of these adults, 62.9 percent will receive Read more...

In the Spotlight


Meet the Chiefs of Psychiatry at Our PAGNY Facilities:

Coney Island Hospital
Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg

"There is tremendous suffering for individuals that are afflicted with severe mental illness; recognizing their humanity and personhood, and letting them know that they are heard and matter, can provide great comfort, knowing that they are understood."

Dr. Goldberg has been Chair of Behavioral Health at Coney Island Hospital since 2007. Previously, he was Vice Chair of Education and Psychiatry Residency Training Director at Maimonides Medical Center, where he had completed his own residency in psychiatry in 1985. He is dual-board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry. Read more..

Harlem Hospital Center
Dr. Zafar Sharif

“By the time patients seek help for emotional problems they are usually at the lowest point in their life; as treatment providers, we must show genuine compassion and commit ourselves to provision of quality care to relieve suffering and return dignity and meaning to their lives.”

Dr. Sharif is Director of the Department of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital Center, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Sharif’s clinical and research career has focused on schizophrenia, with a specific interest in treatment research and the evaluation of novel treatment interventions. Read more...

Jacobi Medical Center
Dr. Maryann Popiel

“With all of the changes to the delivery of psychiatric care on the horizon, what better time than Mental Health Awareness Month for us to refocus on the basics: Education, Advocacy and Responsibility. Our aim is to improve our patients’ safety and satisfaction by maintaining wellness and creating integration into the community and throughout the healthcare system.”

Dr. Popiel has been the Chairperson of Behavioral Healthcare Services at Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital (NBHN) since 2014 after having served as Interim Chairperson for seven months. She previously held the position Vice Chairperson of Behavioral Healthcare Services at Jacobi Medical Center. Read more...

Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center
Dr. Miklos Losonczy

“Our treatments are mostly focused on diagnosis and medications, which are necessary but not sufficient to reverse the impact of loss of hope for the future that many of our patients are struggling with. Fighting the stigma of mental health is crucial to enable our patients to lead the most fulfilling lives they can, with the support of integrated recovery oriented services, including peer specialists, supported employment, adequate housing and case management when needed. Transformation of our approach to care is now HHC policy, and needs rapid and complete implementation to meet our patients needs.”

Dr. Losonczy has been the Chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center since 2012. Previously he was the Associate Chief of Staff, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, at the VA New Jersey Health Care System. Read more...

Metropolitan Hospital Center
Dr. Ronnie Swift

“If you are suffering get help. Treatment works! You can feel happier and healthier.”
According to Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General of the United States, “There is no health without mental health.”

Ronnie Gorman Swift, M.D., is the Chief of Psychiatry and Associate Medical Director at Metropolitan Hospital. In addition, she is a Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at New York Medical College, and a Professor in the School of Health Sciences at New York Medical College. Read more...

North Central Bronx Hospital
Dr. Scott Rogge

“It is said that the maturity and integrity of a society—a measure of its soul—is the care and compassion it shows to its most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Studies indicate that 25% of Americans have unmet mental health needs, and almost 5% are challenged with serious mental illness, yet most receive no mental health treatment services. As blessed as we are to live and work in a free and prosperous America, it is imperative that we-- as a society and as individuals—commit ourselves to be more mindful and more attentive to the mental health needs of those among us less fortunate than ourselves.”

Dr. Rogge is Site Director for Psychiatry at North Central Bronx Hospital (NCBH), Vice Chair of Psychiatry for the North Bronx Healthcare Network, and President of the North Central Bronx Medical Board. In the network since 1985 (14 years at Jacobi Medical Center, and the remainder at NCBH), Dr. Rogge is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he is also Associate Director of the AECOM Law and Psychiatry Fellowship program. Read more...



Surprise Medical Bills—New Protections for Consumers
What healthcare providers need to know

David N. Hoffman, Chief Compliance Officer

New York State has enacted new laws that are designed to prevent “surprise” bills for medical services.

New York State Public Health Law (PHL) §24, requires physicians and other healthcare professionals to make disclosures to patients and prospective patients regarding out-of-network providers. The intent of this law is to enable healthcare consumers to make an informed decision regarding the use of “out of network” providers, and to avoid receiving surprise bills from providers who do not participate in patients’ health insurance plans. Read more...



PAGNY’s Dr. Samrina Kahlon Launches Academic Journal

“The inspiration is zero patient harm! Medical error is the third-most-common cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Patient safety is the shared responsibility of every employee of the hospital. We hope this journal serves as a platform to share and learn from each other’s accomplishments in improving patient safety and quality, so together we can achieve zero patient harm. We urge everyone to submit, their quality improvement articles to our journal and, if anyone is interested in being a reviewer, please let us know.”

PAGNY’s Dr. Samrina Kahlon, Patient Safety Officer at Metropolitan Hospital and Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, has launched an academic journal that focuses on results of improving quality and patient safety Read more...



Stand Up to Violence
Jacobi Medical Hospital fighting youth violence

Jacobi Medical Center is fighting youth violence in the Bronx. The program, Stand Up to Violence (SUV), was started last July by PAGNY’s Dr. Noè Romo, a pediatrician who serves as SUV’s Medical Director. The program includes a team of 10 professionals, all PAGNY employees, who work together to reduce violence in Bronx communities.

The SUV program receives state funding from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, and is supported by State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), who secured its funding. Read more...


Message from Jane D. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
PAGNY Chief Communications Officer

As the weather warms and we begin spending more time enjoying the outdoors, we’re reminded that, like our physical health, our mental health needs our care and attention. Being physically active, eating well, getting enough sleep, learning to relax, and staying connected with family and friends with whom you have positive, healthy relationships are all good ways to renew your energy, and enhance your sense of well-being.

If you know of friends or relatives who are in need of mental health help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to them, and make sure they have someone to talk to—whether it’s you or a medical professional. You’ll be glad you did—and they will, too.

As always, if you have any news that you’d like to share with your colleagues, please let us know, and we’ll include it in a future edition of The PAGNY Advance.

Click here to email us at:

Thanks again for your help. To everyone’s good health.


logo pagny pagny email