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Leading Through a Pandemic

The Inside Story of Humanity, Innovation, and Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Crisis

"A clarifying must-read in these uncertain times.” —GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO

Journey behind the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic with Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system.


What was it like at the epicenter, inside the health system that cared for more COVID-19 patients than any other in the United States? Leading Through a Pandemic: The Inside Story of Lessons Learned about Innovation, Leadership, and Humanity During the COVID-19Crisis takes readers inside Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system. From the C-suite to the front lines, the book reports on groundwork that positioned Northwell as uniquely prepared for the pandemic.

Two decades ago, Northwell leaders began preparing for disasters—floods, hurricanes, blackouts, viruses, and more based on the belief that "bad things will happen and we have to be ready." Following a course highly unusual for an American health system, Northwell developed one of the most advanced non-government emergency response systems in the country. Northwell reached a point where leaders could confidently say "we are comfortable being uncomfortable in a crisis." But even with sustained preparation, the pandemic stands as a singularly humbling experience. 

Leading Through a Pandemic offers guidance on how hospitals and health systems throughout the country can prepare more effectively for the next viral threat. The book includes dramatic stories from the front lines at the peak of the viral assault and lessons of what went well, and what did not. The authors draw upon the Northwell experience to prescribe changes in the health care system for next time. Beyond the obvious need for increased stockpiles of supplies and equipment is the far more challenging task of fundamentally changing the culture of American health care to embrace a more robust emergency response capability in hospitals and systems of all sizes across the nation. The book is a must read for health care professionals, policy-makers, journalists, and readers whose curiosity demands a deeper dive into the surreal realm of the coronavirus pandemic.

Leading Through a Pandemic is a riveting account of the COVID-19 experience at New York’s largest health system. More than anything else I have read, this account captures the essential lessons for how to prepare for likely surges in the months ahead. It brilliantly captures the emotion of the COVID-19 pandemic while offering a clear-eyed analysis of how to prepare for and respond to ongoing and future emergencies. It’s a clarifying, must-read in these uncertain times.” —GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO
"This is the best description of the multi-dimensional response mounted by a great health care system to COVID-19 that I have seen. It is an amazing "After Action Review" that captures what went right, what fell short, and what we have to do to get ready for next time." —DR. THOMAS LEE, chief medical officer of Press Ganey