Dr. Susan Beane serves as vice president and medical director of Healthfirst, a not-for-profit managed care organization sponsored by hospitals and medical centers in New York. She focuses on care management and clinical provider partnerships.

A primary care physician, Beane strongly supports and advocates collaborating with and engaging providers to improve the health of all New Yorkers.

Originally from the Bronx, Beane said she got into the medical field after several members of her family died of from illness. Her grandmother died of breast cancer and her great aunts and uncles died from heart disease, kidney failure and diabetes.

“I felt that somehow I wanted to make a difference,” she said. “Thanks to help from mentors and lots of prayer, I had the opportunity to become a doctor and to begin my medical career in the late 1980s.”

Pursuing her dream, Beane graduated from Princeton University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Prior to joining Healthfirst, Beane served as chief medical officer for Affinity Health Plan for five years. Before that, she worked at AmeriChoice and HIP USA as medical director.

“I know that change and improvement in every health indicator is possible,” she said. “And I believe that my small contribution matters.”

Beane is on a daily mission to prevent loss in families due to similar health issues experienced by her own family. This month, for example, is Men’s Health Month, and she is spreading the word about the dangers of prostate cancer. According to the Centers for the Disease Control, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men of all races.

Throughout the year, Beane focuses on all health issues facing the African-American community. She said she wants to help reduce the toll of chronic illness.

“I look forward to the day when African-American patients are leading the statistics in healthy living, in control of blood pressure and diabetes, and in screening and treatment for cancer and depression. This is my mission for all of the communities that I am privileged to serve,” she said.

For now, Beane said that she’s focusing on working with Healthfirst and continuing to give as many people as she can the best health care possible.

“I am devoting time with colleagues at Healthfirst, residents and clinicians in communities throughout the metropolitan area to create ‘Healthy Villages’ that are focused on achieving great health outcomes,” she said. “We believe that by empowering residents with the knowledge that they need to reach health goals that they want, health changes can happen for the entire neighborhood.”