Close to Home: Alumnus Leads Fight Against COVID-19 as Head of NUMC

May 8, 2020

When he entered St. John’s University as a first-year student, Anthony Boutin, M.D. ’87C took the first step in a long journey to become a physician. Today, his life’s path finds him on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 virus as interim President/Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer for NuHealth

A 1,200-bed health-care system, NuHealth includes Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC), the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility, and a network of Family Health Centers throughout Nassau County. Dr. Boutin was named interim President of NuHealth in January. 

Anthony Boutin, M.D. ’87C headshot
Photo provided by Dr. Boutin's office

“St. John’s prepared me for the future in so many ways,” he said. “It was the only school I ever wanted to attend.” 

Dr. Boutin explained, “I remember seeing the cover of Sports Illustrated after St. John’s won the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament. It showed [St. John’s Forward] Billy Goodwin sitting on top of the rim with a sign that read ‘WE ARE…ST. JOHN’S.’ I decided right there that St. John’s was the place for me.”  

Inspired by his Vincentian alma mater, Dr. Boutin is a champion for the underprivileged and underserved. As the leader of Long Island’s “safety net” hospital, he ensures that NUMC provides health care for all patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. 

“As a student at St. John’s, I volunteered at Queens Hospital Center, just down the block from campus,” he recalled. “Like NUMC, it was a safety net hospital, and I found that everyone there appreciated what I was doing.”

He added, “My entire career I have worked in safety net hospitals because I want to be where my talents are needed and I can help the greatest number of people. It is very rewarding to give back to the community.” 

Dr. Boutin earned his Medical Degree from New York Medical College and completed his emergency medicine residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Dr. Boutin is a fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians, board certified in emergency medicine, and has extensive clinical experience as a staff physician in emergency medicine. He volunteers his time and expertise in emergency medical services prehospital care as a member of the Nassau Regional Emergency Medical Services Council and on the Nassau Regional Medical Advisory Committee. In addition, he volunteers as a Medical Captain at the annual New York City Marathon. 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, he uses his skills to lead the entire NuHealth team in its fight against the virus. Daily calls and meetings assess preparedness and monitor progress, while ensuring the safety of patients and staff alike.

“Early on, there was a concern about the availability of safety equipment, ventilators, and beds, but because we are a Nassau County facility that serves first responders, the county and the state offered us help,” he explained. “Fortunately, our staff is fantastic, too. When bad things happen, everyone steps up to the plate.”

In every phase of his life, Dr. Boutin has found himself surrounded by St. John’s alumni. “In my community, at the local pharmacy, or at work, I always bump into people who have attended St. John’s,” he said. 

He added, “I have hired a number of St. John’s alumni because I know I can count on them.” 

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Dr. Boutin often draws upon the skills and values he developed as an undergraduate at St. John’s. “I look back at my time at St. John’s fondly. I can take something away from each class I took there,” he said. “Whether it was theology, or biology, or English—every class taught me an important lesson. For that, I am grateful.”