Building the future

…of global public health

REACH Fellows

REACH fellows are problem solvers in public health preparedness. They are leaders who can find structure and set priorities amid chaos and uncertainty. They are innovators driven to find practical solutions to complex public health emergencies. They are collaborative yet decisive when humanity is faced with threats to health. And they are relentless in their pursuit of building resilient health systems.

Current Fellows

Loren Avellino
Loren Avellino

Manager of Community Affairs

“As a REACH fellow, I aim to examine and improve crisis communications and access to messaging for minority groups, including people of color, immigrants, those with disabilities, the homeless population, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Loren Avellino is the manager of community affairs at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She oversees community relations at the Brooklyn campus, where she has worked for more than 13 years. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she is proud to play a role in improving health outcomes in her own community. Avellino has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Fordham University and a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education.

Robert A. Glaser
Robert A. Glaser

Corporate Director, Supply Chain

“As a REACH fellow, I aim to participate in an environment and bi-directional conversations that result in a safer and more resilient healthcare environment that further benefit our communities and patients.”

Robert A. Glaser, M.S., is corporate director of supply chain for NewYork-Presbyterian.  In this role, he is responsible for maintaining availability of medical and emergency supplies, as well as supply chain operational resiliency across NewYork-Presbyterian and its integrated healthcare delivery system. He also oversees off-site warehousing, distribution services and all four mobile medical equipment centers. Glaser has been with NewYork-Presbyterian for nearly 12 years and has helped lead responses to H1N1, Ebola, Hurricane Sandy, and numerous product shortages such as those stemming from Hurricane Maria. Previously, Glaser worked for 11 years in industry, consulting on supply chain issues and running supply chains for multinational corporations, one of which was impacted by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast.  Glaser holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering specializing in Human Factors Engineering from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics specializing in Operations Research from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Linda Golding
Linda Golding

Staff Chaplain and Coordinator, Pastoral Services

“As a REACH fellow, I aim to reach within in order to reach out.”

Chaplain Linda S. Golding earned her master’s degree in Jewish Studies and Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the Jewish Theological Seminary (NYC) and is a board-certified chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains. She serves as a chaplain at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Coordinator of Pastoral Services at Milstein Hospital. She is the chaplain member of the hospital’s ethics committee and Organ Donor Council; leads didactics on ambiguous loss, spiritual pain, and pastoral care for non-responsive patients; serves as a preceptor for medical student clerkships; leads reflection rounds with nurses and a wellness group for neurology residents.

Golding is part of a team awarded a Luce Foundation grant to develop programming to support hospital staff who have been impacted by COVID-19, racial injustice and civil disarray. Golding’s research interests include the impact of spirituality on patients with chronic pain; caregiver compassion fatigue; and resilience. Her recently published book, “Spiritual Care for Non-Responsive Patients” is available through Amazon and at libraries around the world.  She is an adjunct professor in the Master of Science in Bioethics program at Columbia University, where she teaches pastoral care and ethics, and the Jewish Theological Seminary.


Whitney C. Harris
Whitney C. Harris

Nurse Practitioner Program Director

“As a REACH fellow and an advanced practice nurse, I aim to always advocate for a healthcare system created to give equitable high-quality care to all.”

Whitney C. Harris, MSN, RN, ACCNS-P, CPNP-PC; currently works as a nurse practitioner program director at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. She has worked within the NewYork-Presbyterian system for the past four years. Harris is dually certified as a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner and acute care clinical nurse specialist with a clinical background in pediatric critical care.

Tochi Okorie
Tochi Okorie

Director, Quality Patient Safety & Regulatory Affairs

“As a REACH fellow, I aim to gain the innovative skills required to lead the new phase of healthcare delivery.”

Tochi Okorie, MBA, RN is director of quality patient safety & regulatory affairs at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. In this role, she is responsible for performance improvement, accreditation, and regulatory affairs initiatives at the hospital. Okorie joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2002 as a staff nurse. Over the years she went on to assume leadership positions which include performance improvement specialist for the Department of Nursing at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, manager of value-based programs at NewYork-Presbyterian Regional Hospital Network and director, accreditation and regulatory affairs at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

Okorie earned her Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (CUNY) and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from College of New Rochelle.

Robert Weitzman
Robert Weitzman

Director of Operations

“As a REACH fellow, I aim to identify vulnerabilities within healthcare crisis response systems and design strategies to strengthen these systems against future public health threats.”

A native New Yorker, Weitzman attended Fordham University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. After attaining licensure as a financial advisor, he began his career at UBS, and later assumed roles in banking with Wells Fargo and operations with Citigroup. He then pivoted to healthcare, joining NewYork- Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2005 as an operations analyst.  Weitzman was promoted to operations manager, and later served as practice administrator for women’s health and pediatrics in the Ambulatory Care Network. He was then promoted to director of operations at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. Weitzman completed his Master of Business Administration at Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business. He is also a graduate of the Building Tomorrow’s Leadership program at NewYork-Presbyterian.

For questions or further information, please contact Claire Raether, Training and Education Program Officer and Fellowship coordinator at cr3144@cumc.columbia.edu.