Say hello to VNSNY’s newest Board members! Former investment banker and current healthcare consultant Steven Bussey recently joined the VNSNY Board, while telehealth entrepreneur Michael Laskoff has returned to the Board after a six-year hiatus.
To read more about each of them and their vision for VNSNY, click on their names below.
Meet VNSNY Board Member Steven Bussey
With more than 25 years of experience in corporate finance and restructuring, sales, and healthcare services, VNSNY Board member Steven Bussey has devoted much of his career to creating strategies for improving the healthcare delivery system in New York State. Having spent the first 20 years of his career in investment banking and the following decade as a healthcare consultant—including his current role as a Managing Director with the Alvarez & Marsal Healthcare Industry Group in New York City—Steven notes that he is in a unique position to make a difference and give back.
“I was born and raised in Harlem and Washington Heights,” he says, “and it means a lot to me to be able to use my skillset to impact people of color and communities who are disproportionately affected by chronic illness and lack of access to decent healthcare. That’s always been really important to me.”
Steven’s consulting background includes work on numerous New York State and New York City healthcare initiatives, as well as managing and leading a project for the Interfaith Medical Foundation to strategize alternatives to closure of the Interfaith Medical Center and to continue to provide critical healthcare services to the Brooklyn community. He is also a past board member and CEO of the non-profit Harlem United, which serves over 9,000 clients with its community health centers and social services programs.
“Through my activities with Harlem United I’ve worked tangentially with VNSNY, and I have long been familiar with the essential services that VNSNY provides to the community,” he notes. “In terms of my contribution to the VNSNY Board, I see myself as a person who wants to use my skills in the financial, operational, and strategic side of health care to help eliminate the equity disparity for people of color and disadvantaged communities, which is very much in alignment with the overall VNSNY mission.”
Steven majored in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA in finance and entrepreneurship from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. He’s the father of two—a teenage son and a daughter who’s about to enter law school at his alma mater, U. Penn. Committed to staying healthy himself, he enjoys playing basketball in his spare time. He’s also a staunch proponent of education. “I’m passionate about education, and I’m very active in it, particularly in offering educational opportunities to young people of color,” he says. “It’s one of the most important ways of addressing disparities in disadvantaged populations.”
Meet VNSNY Board Member Michael Laskoff
Michael Laskoff describes himself as “a telehealth entrepreneur, with a focus on behavioral health.” A seasoned executive and former investment banker, his specialty is combining emerging technology and business-model innovations to develop effective, scalable healthcare solutions. After becoming an entrepreneur, Michael went on to found two startups—most notably the remote mental health care provider AbleTo, which was launched in 2008 and acquired by UnitedHealth/Optum in 2020.
Michael is actually returning to the VNSNY Board, following an earlier stint as Board member from 2010 through 2015. He is also a board member and/or advisor for several other healthcare organizations, and the author of the compellingly titled book, Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass: A Survival Guide for the Recently Unemployed, about managing job transitions—a topic he’s covered for BusinessWeek and in frequent NPR appearances. On a personal note, he enjoys playing squash, writing, politics, and spending time with his wife.
While he was born and raised in Maine, Michael has long thought of New York as home. He first visited New York City when he was 10 years old, and begged his parents to stay. At age 27, after studying political science at the University of Chicago and then earning his MBA from Harvard Business School, he finally made his move. “It took 17 years after that first sighting to make it here, and I’ve been here ever since,” he says. “New York has always been very good to me. It made an amazing business possible, and I married a woman who grew up in this city. I want to give back, which is a big reason for my wanting to be involved with VNSNY. There are many ways to do good in the world, but it’s seldom that you can give back to the community in the way VNSNY does. I’m really excited to be part of that.”
VNSNY has always been close to Michael’s heart. “It was founded to support immigrants who were very much like my great-grandparents, and it remains a critical resource for New York City,” he notes. “As an organization, VNSNY goes above and beyond to provide the highest quality of care to people who otherwise would go without, and that’s an incredibly noble mission.”
In particular, Michael says that as a VNSNY Board member, “I hope my behavioral-health expertise can help VNSNY expand that offering to many more people. I’ve been doing telehealth longer than most people, and I see it as an honor and an obligation to bring my understanding of emerging business models to VNSNY, and to help implement new ways of providing care that telehealth makes possible.”