Celebrating India’s 72nd Independence Day
Approximately 700,000 people of Indian descent live in the New York City area. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was a boom of immigrants from India, with clusters settling in such areas as Jackson Heights and Flushing. In the 1980s, roughly half of the tri-state area’s Indian immigrants called Queens home. Since then, the community has expanded. Many Indian Americans have become leaders in business, healthcare, law and other fields.
In this special section, we profile several Indian Americans who have accomplished great things professionally and through their work in the tight-knit communities of Queens and New York City.
Mona Tata, MD
After attending medical school and getting married in India, Dr. Mona Tata, the associate director of laboratories at Forest Hills Hospital, came to Queens to advance her career and start a family.
She arrived in the United States in the mid-1980s to further her academic career and undergo a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at New York University Hospital.
After her residency, she obtained a fellowship in surgical pathology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhassett, where she remained until the mid-1990s. She also worked at Rockland County’s Good Samaritan Hospital.
Tata was then recruited to Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, shortly before the hospital became part of the Northwell Health System. She worked there for seven years and became the medical director of laboratories. Tata noted that during the transition period, she was involved in Northwell Health developing a pathology service line, which streamlined the language across the board for its analytics reporting system.
“We had a chairman of pathology and all the doctors would report on their styles,” she said.
Tata said that the chairman of pathology would then discuss reporting with each doctor, and the system became standardized, so that clinicians would better understood doctors’ intentions. The new system emphasized a better turnaround time for clinical analysis, she said.
Tata then moved with her husband, who works for the World Bank, to Washington, D.C. She worked for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, which is a consultative service for the Department of Defense and the Veteran Affairs offices. Tata noted that defense forces across the world would send information on cases, and she would then give a pathology consultation. That institute later became the Joint Pathology Center.
“My specialty was breast and gynecologic pathology,” she said. “It was a very specialized consultation with an emphasis on research.”
Tata worked there for seven years “with some breaks,” one of which took her family to Switzerland for two years. During her time there, she worked for the University Hospital on Basel in the research division.
“They have a very active research division for breast tumors,” she said.
She returned to Northwell Health in 2017 as the associate director of laboratories at Forest Hills Hospital.
“Forest Hills is a fantastically diverse hospital, one of the most diverse communities any hospital could be in, and that is reflected in the staff,” she said, adding that her work at the hospital is equally diverse. “Because we see such a different variety of diagnostic material, we have a spectrum of all sorts of case mixes. We have a very interesting ability to look at different cases.”
She enjoys the diverse set of pathologic processes that are followed when examining tumors and biopsies.
“We also have a lot of young patients with various inflammatory diseases. It’s a very interesting case mix, and we have to be ready for anything,” Tata said.
Tata said that the hospital has a full affiliation with Northwell Health’s core lab system that is set up to run every kind of sample in New York.She said that this gives Forest Hills Hospital the capability to operate as a full-service hospital.
“It makes us confident that we can offer a very high standard of care for our patients,” she said. “We are not limited in scope by our size.” Tata lives in Queens with her husband. While her eldest children are an attorney and in finance, her youngest is now in medical school.
– Jon Cronin