New York City hosts inaugural Health Equity in the Workforce Leadership Summit to promote well-being for all employees

In April 2024, the American Heart Association brought together key New York City business leaders at Brookfield Place to discuss strategies to help advance workforce health equity. Attendees, ranging from human resources professionals to well-being executives and more, shared valuable insights on implementing policies, practices and cultural changes that create a healthy work culture where all employees can reach their full health potential.

Leila Araiche from Brookfield and Natalia Cineas, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, from New York City Health + Hospital welcome attendees.

Research shows that promoting equitable employee well-being by addressing the drivers of health in the workplace can help increase productivity, mitigate absenteeism and reduce healthcare costs related to inequities, an estimated $320 billion per year in the U.S.

In addition to a collaborative dialogue around this issue, the event also provided leaders with an advance look at the American Heart Association’s Health Equity in the Workforce initiative’s top ten strategies to advance health equity at work. The forthcoming recommendation includes detailed implementation strategies for training and equipping managers to address inequities, offering comprehensive, affordable and understandable health care coverage, and prioritizing health equity as a strategic business imperative.

The summit included presentations from:

  • Leila Araiche, Managing Partner, Human Resources, Brookfield
  • Natalia Cineas, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, SVP, President of the New York City American Heart Association Board of Directors, Chief Nursing Executive, New York City Health + Hospital
  • Gerald E. Johnson II, EVP, Office of Health Equity and Chief Diversity Office, American Heart Association
  • Lawrence Phillips, MD, Immediate Past President of the New York City American Heart Association Board of Directors and Medical Director, Outpatient Clinical Cardiology, NYU Langone Health.
  • Orriel Richardson, Executive Director, Health Equity & Policy, Morgan Health
  • Jacqueline Walden, Region VP, Community Impact/Health Strategies, American Heart Association

The Summit was hosted by the American Heart Association and presented by the Association’s Health Equity in the Workforce initiative, in collaboration with the Deloitte Health Equity Institute and the SHRM Foundation, which convenes employers and industry leaders to create tools, resources and knowledge products to help improve the health and well-being of our nation’s workforce.

“Achieving health equity in the workforce means bringing about a future where every employee has the opportunities, access and resources they need to live a full and healthy life. Research has shown that this can benefit not only our workforce, but also our businesses,” said Zeyna Flutie, Community Impact Director, New York City, American Heart Association. “We’re bringing our NYC community together around this goal to explore practical actions organizations can take to help make an impact.”

The Health Equity in the Workforce initiative is part of the American Heart Association’s Well-being Works Better™, which helps business leaders foster and evolve a healthy work culture. To learn more, visit