While he hasn't been on the job long – a little over a day, in fact – 's new CEO already likes what he has seen.
"[It is] energetic and enthusiastic," Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak said in an interview Tuesday. "... What impresses me about Stony Brook is the emphasis on innovation and discovery."
Pasternak took over leadership from acting CEO Fred Sganga, who heads the , after previous CEO Dr. Steven Strongwater resigned.
Pasternak joins Stony Brook from his previous post as chief executive officer of the Inova network of community hospitals in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has returned to his roots in academic medicine: He spent 20 years at Johns Hopkins, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in international studies and economics, completed a fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine, and completed a residency in anesthesiology. He rose through the system in both an academic and administrative capacity, holding positions in departments of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, where he served as vice chair for clinical affairs, and the departments of pediatrics, health care policy and management.
The new CEO called the job offer from Stony Brook "intriguing."
"As much as I was enjoying the position in Virginia, what I was missing was being in academic medicine, where I had been for a long period of time," he said.
He will also serve Stony Brook University Hospital as vice president for health systems, a newly created role in which he will lead the way for Stony Brook to work with other hospitals to coordinate and expand patient care options as well as develop the base for more clinical research.
While staying in East Setauket for now, Pasternak said he and his wife Nancy, a pediatric nurse practitioner by training who is now in health care administration as well, will move their family to the local area.
According to Pasternak, one of the challenges Stony Brook faces is one faced by most hospitals: "How to provide the highest quality care, the most innovative clinical care, but do it in a way that brings value to the patient care and the community. ... The value equation is the most challenging one to serve," he said.
Looking ahead to 2013, when asked about the federal government's Affordable Care Act, Pasternak said he supports "the goal of the act to provide access to medical care for all individuals." Some say the act will lead to a widespread shortage of physicians. "The biggest challenge that we are going to be facing," he said, "is ensuring that all the appropriate resources are there to handle the increased demand for healthcare."
He said he hopes people are able to appreciate the hospital for not only all the resources it brings to the community, but also in the pride of having a nationally known institution here.
"We would want this to be the hospital they come to not because it’s the closest," he said, "but because it’s the best."