This summer, we’re introducing a new interview series to showcase members of our community who help make our division what it is.
We invite you to get to know one of our adjunct faculty, Lesmah J. Fraser, who teaches Health Administration and Healthcare Management courses in the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies.
Before joining NYU, what were you doing?
Before joining NYU in 1993, I was the Senior Associate Director of Inpatient Services at Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem. I was responsible for the management and coordination of inpatient services that included area administration for the following departments: Medicine; Surgery; Rehabilitation Medicine; Women’s Health & Maternal Child; Pathology; Radiology; Infection Control; AIDS Program; Respiratory Therapy; Food Service; Patient Escort; Elevators; and the Administrator on Duty (AOD) program.
Is there a figure, either living or passed, famous or not well known, who you’d like to come guest lecture one of your classes or to joint teach with? Why that individual?
My undergraduate English teacher, Dr. Eileen Allman, would be my guest lecturer and also the one with whom I would love to joint-teach. As an English major, she was the advisor on my senior year project, where I compared and contrasted Shakespeare’s two plays, Titus Andronicus and King Lear. She is a brilliant, compassionate, and caring teacher who challenges students to do their best work. Over the years, Eileen has been a mentor, a confidant, and a treasured friend.
What’s the most interesting thing you own? Where did you acquire it?
A pen crafted from authentic wooden seats of the former Yankee Stadium given to me as a gift from one of my employees. I am a rabid Yankee fan!
Was there a class or subject you dreaded or really struggled with in college?
Yes, Political Science. I took this undergraduate course during the summer of my senior year and was not focused and received a poor grade.
What is or was the most difficult course/subject to teach?
Teaching Medical Terminology [as part of Foundations in Healthcare Management] is a continuing challenge for me. The students are asked to pronounce and recite the medical terms out loud and learn their meaning by rote memorization. They learn to identify the four basic parts of the word that includes the prefix, the root word, the suffix, and the combining vowel which helps them decipher the meaning of the medical term. It is extremely difficult to keep the students engaged in this process and I continue to try different ways to keep them interested. Fun YouTube videos have proven to be somewhat helpful, but I still lose some to ennui.
What’s your favorite discussion topic around the dinner table? Would it depend on the company?
Depending on the company around the dinner table, the discussions will vary and may include topics such as events of the day, latest books, Broadway plays, new films, TV shows, and new neighborhood restaurants.
If someone was visiting NYC for one day only, what would you tell them they absolutely had to do before leaving?
I would tell them to see “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, which I have seen about a dozen times, and right after the show, eat dinner at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant, right across the street from the theater. Perfect NYC experience!
Which movie star, living or passed, would you think could portray you on screen?
I would love Audra McDonald to portray me on screen. She is one of my favorite actresses and is quite accomplished on both the small and big screens. In addition, she is a fine stage actress and singer who has won several Tony and Grammy Awards.
Which historical figure would you invite to dinner?
I would love to invite Althea Gibson, the American tennis player who became the first African American to win a grand slam title. I would also invite the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), Serena Williams, to this sumptuous meal and enjoy a delightful evening of meaningful conversation with these two legends.
Do you have a hidden skill or talent?
Playing tennis is a hidden natural talent I discovered while in high school in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I later played on the junior varsity tennis team during my undergraduate years at Herbert H. Lehman College, Bronx NY. I never played professionally, but am told I have a mean serve and a wicked right-hand cross-court shot. I still play occasionally with family and friends.
Professor Fraser teaches courses in Healthcare Management and Health Administration at NYU SPS, including Community Health, Managing Ambulatory & Community Based Healthcare Organizations, and Foundations in Healthcare Management.