Dr. Allen recounts leading NYC H+H through beginning of COVID pandemic

As Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of NYC Health and Hospitals, Dr. Allen led the city's hospital response through one of Gotham's darkest seasons.

Video Transcript

- It's Women's History Month and today we turn the spotlight on a local doctor who helped New Yorkers during the height of the pandemic. Dr. Machelle Allen always said she wanted to have an impact on healthcare and caring for those in need. And she's done just that and more. A legacy she purposely built to pass along to the next generation. Here's Candace McAllen with her story.

CANDACE MCALLEN: March of 2020 is a time that Dr. Machelle Allan will never forget.

MACHELLE ALLEN: March 1st we had four patients, COVID positive patients in our system and March 30th we had 4,000.

CANDACE MCALLEN: As senior vise president and chief medical officer of New York City Health and Hospitals, Dr. Allen led the city's hospital response through one of Gotham's darkest seasons. It's a moment that she spent a lifetime preparing for. She grew up attending Mother Cabrini in Washington Heights before going on to Cornell and then the University of California San Francisco.

As a woman she points to the ladies in her life who shaped her future as a career woman and a mom. People like her own mother.

MACHELLE ALLEN: My mom was the drill sergeant with the goals and set the pathway.

CANDACE MCALLEN: To her 10th grade biology teacher at Mother Cabrini.

MACHELLE ALLEN: My biology teacher was Sister Patricia and at that point I found a subject that I was actually good at.

CANDACE MCALLEN: And Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

MACHELLE ALLEN: Fighting for gender equity.

CANDACE MCALLEN: All of it leading to a career at New York City Health and Hospitals where she wanted to have an impact.

MACHELLE ALLEN: So I established a special prenatal clinic at Bellevue Hospital.

CANDACE MCALLEN: This Women's History Month, she's inspiring others making sure she leaves the impact that so many left on her.

MACHELLE ALLEN: I need to be very cognizant of my voice, the importance of my voice, and the importance of the legacy to make sure that those things that I've learned get passed along to the next generation.