ZITA ROSENTHAL: I'm a trustee of Montefiore Hospital and have been for five years, and my husband before me. It's a hospital that's outside of New York City in a relatively poor area. A lot of people, most of the people don't speak English. Spanish is their first language, and for many, it's their only language. It's a poor, poor population, of a lot of immigrants from South America, Central America. And good people, good honest people, but they have a lot of problems because they don't have the means.
Montefiore is a community hospital. It is wonderful for the individual, but basically, they're trying to make people well. They don't want to get paid for the people that are in the hospitals. They'd rather keep them out, have a healthy community, and that's why they're so wonderful, because they work with the community. They brought in farm stands to give people a chance to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, because it's a lot cheaper to go to McDonald's and buy something than to buy fresh fruit.
Not only am trustee, but I was a patient at Montefiore recently, so I know firsthand about it. The nursing care, that was the difference. I had nurses that cared for me personally. I mean, my mother, if she was alive, she couldn't have done a better job, you know. They really cared about me as an individual. And I think that's what it is. But But that's hospitality basically, making people feel loved, wanted, and you care about them. That's what hospitality is.
But also on the design end, because that's part of the package, right? Because I think when you're in a nice environment, you feel much better. That's always been my idea. I was very involved with an organization in Israel, which we try to improve schoolyards there, because when they originally designed in Israel, they just put hospitals or schools up and no playing areas. And they found that when people had a nicer environment around, they all acted better, they felt better, it made them feel happier. And the environment of a hospital, whether it's inside or out, is important.
And that was a part of hospitality. It's visual, and it's the caring. Personally, I'm a very visual person. And to me, to be in an environment that is attractive, that's up, makes you feel good. It's important to me. There may be people that don't even notice it, but for me, I think a place has to be beautiful.
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Zita Rosenthal, '57, discusses her experience as a trustee of Montefiore Hospital and the challenge of maximizing patient care while controlling costs. Montefiore is a community-based hospital in the Bronx that serves large immigrant and Spanish speaking populations. She points out the impact of hospital design on patient experience and wellbeing.