Kindra Matthews has been described as the glue that keeps the pediatric team at the Berrie Center together. As efficient as she is effective, Kindra, a mother of three boys, is the Pediatric Coordinator, in charge of the voluminous administrative tasks generated by the pediatric team—from coordinating school forms for the thousands of school-aged children who receive their diabetes care at the Berrie Center to helping to plan activities for the annual Summer Fun Program. “We’re lucky to have Kindra, who has a wide range of responsibilities, as our pediatric coordinator,” said Natasha Leibel, MD, who heads up the pediatric program at the Berrie Center. “She’s really good at what she does.”
Said Kindra, “I try to do all the administrative work for the pediatric team. This includes everything from letter writing and editing to triaging the emails and the calls that come in daily so our doctors and educators are freed up to take care of our patients. I try to make sure the appropriate people get the appropriate messages, and I answer as much as I can.”
Kindra’s job description also includes helping to plan the Summer Fun Program (the camp-like week of activities for school children with diabetes) and Halloween party, the two premier events of the year for children at the Berrie Center. “I try to plan a week that gives the kids things they wouldn’t experience in their normal lives,” said Kindra, about the Summer Fun Program. For example, this year, the program included an afternoon at IFly, an indoor virtual reality sky-diving facility in New Rochelle, NJ.
For the last couple of years, Kindra has also been responsible for the smooth sailing of the Berrie Center’s annual Halloween party, which takes place the day after the holiday—and where the kids come to exchange their candy for toys. While the detail-oriented Kindra makes party planning look easy, “it’s a skill to have a party for 50 kids of all ages and their siblings and parents too and keep everyone engaged,” said Tori Bender, the Outreach and Communications Coordinator at the Berrie Center.
Kindra, comes from a family of strong Caribbean heritage. “My ambition was always to go into criminal justice and forensic psychology,” she said, “but coming out of high school, I immediately entered medical administration, where I started as a file clerk at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. I’ve worked in the medical field since I was 18 years old, and since then, I have really acquired a passion for patient care. I was an executive assistant to a medical oncologist before I came over to the department of endocrinology at Columbia University Medical Center. I must say I love my job. I really do, and one day I hope to fulfill my grandmother's dream for me of becoming an RN.”