Throughout a childhood that was witness to senseless violence and rival gang wars, the one thing Alfredo Jones always wanted to do was help others.
Today, the lifelong Bronxite is deputy executive director of NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx. Jones officially began the position in May and is responsible for day-to-day operations of the hospital, supervising staff, cultivating relations with clinical leaders and the community — and much more.
Jones, 45, has worked in the NYC Health + Hospitals network for eight years. Most recently, he served as associate executive director, patient access and growth, at their Harlem location, where he was responsible for developing and vetting business plans to grow net revenue and patient volume.
He began his career in public health at the North Central Bronx location in 2013, serving as associate director of ambulatory care. He then went on to assume leadership roles of increasing responsibility, ending his tenure in 2017 as associate executive director of ambulatory care.
“So far it’s been amazing,” he said of his new position. “I’ve been embracing my role. I’m back in the Bronx and I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Jones has broad experience in health care management of ambulatory, clinical and ancillary services. He holds a master’s degree in public health in community health education from Hunter College, a master’s degree from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and a bachelor’s degree in human development from Cornell University, College of Human Ecology. He also completed a fellowship with America’s Essential Hospitals and is a member of the LEAN Advisory Board leadership.
Describing himself as a “die-hard Bronxite,” Jones was born and raised off Gun Hill Road in the “Valley.” He said he grew up during a time of high-level violence in the area, but his parents, Nancy and Alfred, always kept him on the right path.
Besides family, the two key things in his life were school and sports. With a mom that was a teacher, performing poorly in class wasn’t an option. But, as soon as the bell rang, he was riding bikes all over the Bronx and into Harlem and playing basketball at the Eastchester Road courts.
“A lot of growing up was predicated on sports,” Jones said. “Sports and my mother being an educator kept me out of trouble.”
But that doesn’t mean that trouble wasn’t just around the corner. There were “turf war issues and beefs with other Bronx neighborhoods,” he said.
Jones told the Bronx Times that when he was around the age of 11, he and his friends saw a dead body in the bushes, a dead man in a trunk of a car and other heinous things.
“It freaked everyone out,” he said. “To have it come to your doorstep gave us a sense of vulnerability.”
Jones never got caught up in crime. Instead, he was always wanted to help, with that belief stemming from many people in his family working in the medical field. And like many Bronxites, Jones also suffered from asthma.
“I saw a gap growing up,” he said. “The people taking care of my family, they didn’t look like me. I thought this was an opportunity.”
Jones was determined to learn about the medical field. He landed his first job at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan where he assisted in running a study exploring obesity in an elderly Hispanic woman and coordinated study endeavors including running measurements within the protocol, data collection, entry and management for abstract and research paper publication.
From there, he worked his way up the ladder and today has been in the healthcare field for 20 years. However, in the past two decades, there was never a more challenging time than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trucks being used as mobile morgues, people struggling to breathe and the amount of sickness and death, are all things he never imagined witnessing. But he and his staff leaned on each other and persevered.
“It was not a time that anybody was thinking of themselves,” he said. “We were trying to bridge gaps between family members who were on the cusp of losing their family member and trying to be the person that’s holding an iPad.”
Now that people are getting vaccinated, Jones sees the light at the end of the tunnel and feels good about the future. He told the Bronx Times that when he saw the job posting for the position back in his native borough, he seized the opportunity.
“I want (North Central Bronx) to be the hospital that the community relies on,” Jones said. “I want us to be a facility that’s known for chronic disease management because that’s what cripples the Bronx.”
Reach Jason Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.