PBMC welcomes new chair of emergency medicine

Dr. Ninfa Mehta, the new chair of emergency medicine at Peconic Bay Medical Center, has a connection to the Riverhead hospital that goes well beyond her job. 

Back when the facility was known as Central Suffolk Hospital, her mother worked there as a registered dietitian.

“It’s such a full circle moment,” she said when the appointment was announced last month.

Dr. Mehta’s appointment follows the hospital’s June announcement of a $92 million expansion of the emergency department — to be known as the Poole Family Trauma and Emergency Center. The hospital will add 6,600 square feet to the current department, establish a brand-new Center for Women and Infants and implement new life-saving technology. The expansion will increase the number of beds by 75% and is slated to be complete by the summer of 2024.

In her new position, Dr. Mehta will play an “integral role in the hospital’s expansion efforts to advance the nationally recognized care it provides its residents throughout Eastern Suffolk County,” according to a press release.

She will be involved in deciding what equipment  the expanded emergency department will use and where it will be located. Dr. Mehta will also participate in operational oversight of the department.

“All of those decisions are made on a multidisciplinary level and [through] a very collaborative approach,” Dr. Mehta said. “We want involvement from specialty services, we want involvement from other specialties, we want nursing input. All of your front-line staff who’s going to be working in that area, they’re going to have a say as well because we want it to be the most efficient place to take care of patients so that we can deliver the best care to our community.”

Before joining PBMC, Dr. Mehta was medical director for the State University of New York Downstate Emergency Department in Brooklyn for seven years. While there, she worked to boost  emergency department efficiency and sat in committees aimed at improving hospital services in the areas of pharmacy and therapeutics, emergency preparedness, stroke care and executive performance. 

Dr. Mehta also held multiple academic positions at SUNY Downstate,  including clinical professor of emergency medicine and Department of Emergency Medicine  vice chairman of faculty development and education.

PBMC’s executive director Amy Loeb said the hospital is “thrilled” to welcome her to the team.

“Dr. Mehta’s proven track record of leadership and dedication to delivering top-notch emergency care will be a valuable addition to our distinguished team of medical professionals as we work to make world-class health care accessible to all,” Ms. Loeb said. “We look forward to the positive [effect] Dr. Mehta’s leadership will have on both our patient care and the broader community.”

Besides wanting to provide world-class  life-saving care to the residents of the North Fork and East End, Dr. Mehta hopes to improve public health outreach as well.

“Really getting involved in our communities at a basic level is really important, too. I really hope that’s something that — we are already doing — but I hope that we can do more of,” she said.

Although Dr. Mehta has trained and worked away from Long Island , she grew up in East Islip and is happy to be back and be able make an impact on the community.

“My roots are really in Suffolk [County,]” she said. “These are my family, these are my friends, my neighbors, that would be using these hospitals that Northwell [Health] has in Suffolk County so it’s really important to me that we provide amazing care for our patients because our patients and our community are the people that are close to my heart.”

Dr. Mehta commends Ms. Loeb and senior hospital leadership for their investment at PBMC.

“They’re not just saying it, they actually believe it because they’re putting the money into it,” she said. “They’re recruiting the best people out here, they’re putting the best equipment in here, so it’s not that they’re just saying it, they genuinely believe in it and want to provide that care [to the community] as if they were their own family members for the people that live out here.”