Community Healthlink Receives Grant for Opioid Addiction Services

PrintA private philanthropy awarded Community Healthlink (CHL), a member of the UMass Memorial Behavioral Health System, a $50,000 grant to improve opioid addiction care in our community. The six-month grant allows CHL to work with the Worcester Police Department and our Medical Center’s emergency services to implement fast access to medication-assisted treatments for patients. The goal is to find new and innovative ways to care for patients with complex medical issues. Telemedicine is one idea that would improve coordination of care “using these community resources to make sure people find us and stay with us,” said Sarah Loy, director, communications and resource development, Community Healthlink. Read Telegram & Gazette and Worcester Business Journal to learn more.

Patient’s Father Calls Nurses ‘Angels’ in Touching Commentary

Jon Tomashefsky texts from his bed while at patient at our Medical Center.

While undergoing treatment for a form of leukemia last May at the Children’s Medical Center, Jon Tomashefsky was wrestling with the same thing most high school juniors have to deal with in the spring: the prom. Jon’s nurses on 5 East Pediatrics helped him stage an elaborate and successful “prom-posal” to his friend, Justina, that captured local and regional media attention. The nurses support, along with the compassion and care Jon received throughout his stay, were chronicled recently in a commentary written by Jon’s father, Paul Tomashefsky, in the Community Advocate. To learn more, read “A Christmas Wish Fulfilled.

Honoring Organ Donation During the 15th Annual Rose Bowl Parade

rose parade imageOur Medical Center will once again endorse the annual Donate Life Rose Parade float on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, CA. This year’s float theme, “The Gift of Time,” celebrates the generous acts of deceased and living donors who have given the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation. The float will also feature the “Making a Difference Rose Dedication,” in which every Unites States transplant center, organ procurement organization, tissue bank and eye banks will be represented with an individual rose and custom message of organ donation support. Patrick Muldoon, Medical Center president, transcribed the following message on the Medical Center’s rose, “Remembering our patients and caregivers on this New Year’s Day!”

While Gun Buyback Event Is Successful, Legislation Brings Concern

Dr. Hirsh

More than 200 guns were collected in Worcester at the recent Goods for Guns buyback event with nearly 700 guns collected at events held in six major cities including Worcester. This event, coordinated by local law enforcement agencies in partnership with Michael Hirsh, MD, director of the Pediatric Trauma Center at the Children’s Medical Center, comes amidst pending Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 legislation, which would allow licensed gun owners from other states to carry a concealed weapon into Massachusetts without having to meet Massachusetts’ rigid restrictions. Read the Telegram & Gazette op-ed on the bill, featuring information from Dr. Hirsh.

Vendor Change for Leave of Absence, Life and Disability Insurance

Effective January 1, 2018, the administration of our leave of absence program and life and disability plans will transition from The Standard to AbsenceOne. AbsenceOne is an integrated solution administered by Prudential and Sedgwick. This change enables us to take advantage of AbsenceOne’s 24/7 call center and online portal, create greater efficiencies in the leave of absence process, keep employees and managers better informed on the leave status and improve the leave of absence experience for all. Look for more information to come in the new year. If you have questions about an upcoming planned leave of absence, call AbsenceOne at 855-209-4802 (after December 31) or read the flyer.

Dr. Desai and Medical Students Participate in International Symposium

From left, Lisa Huang, Hoang Yen Nguyen, Manisha Desai, MD, Aniket Pandya, prepare to present at ISHA.

Manisha Desai, MD, anesthesiology, was a co-chair at the 9th International Symposium on the History of Anesthesia (ISHA) in Boston. She was joined by four medical students, Lisa Huang, Sana Majid, Hoang Yen Hguyen and Aniket Pandya, who presented their work at the event. More than 180 delegates from 17 nations attended the conference featuring more than 80 scientific presentations, a reception at historic Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital and a live enactment of the events that led to the discovery of anesthesia by a group of students from Weston High School.

Reporting Outcomes Showcase Exceptional Work of Cancer Team

Congratulations to our Cancer Committee which once again has released its Public Reporting of Outcomes, demonstrating the team’s exceptional work providing cancer care and supporting cancer awareness programs. Our cancer program is nationally recognized and accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), an American College of Surgeons Quality Care Program. The Outcomes Report includes CoC state, regional and national benchmarks, and in all categories our cancer care program demonstrates top-level excellence. The report also includes information on our cancer screening and community benefits programs. Read the report to learn more about the extraordinary work of our cancer team.

Patients at Children’s Medical Center Get Two Visits from Santa

Santa made two appearances at the Medical Center recently. Thanks to Nurse Manager Gina Gardner and Iron Workers Local 7, pediatric patients got an early visit from Santa last Thursday. Patients and family members had a front row seat as Santa made a grand entrance atop a crane basket lowered from the hospital’s roof to the fifth-floor window of the Family Room at the Children’s Medical Center. Santa then visited the children with his bag of toys. And, for the second year in a row, the Morning Show team at WXLO, Jen Carter and Frank Foley, better known as Jen and Frank to their listeners, transformed into Santa and his elves – along with Kyra Lasorsa, the program’s producer – to make the trek to Children’s Medical Center. “We look forward to getting out, seeing the kids and bringing a little Christmas cheer,” said Foley who grooms his beard festively to look the part of Santa. “I hope it makes them feel better because it sure as heck makes us feel like a million bucks.” See media coverage: Telegram & Gazette and WXLO Facebook page.

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Health Watch: Dr. Ding Discusses Eye Care for Patients with Diabetes

Patients with diabetes often experience complications with eyesight, particularly diabetic retinopathy. Fortunately, diabetic patients can take steps to lower their chances of developing eye problems and complications, including seeing an eye care provider at least once a year for a dilated eye exam. Optometrist Juan Ding, MD, discusses the importance of these preventative visits and how we are making eye care more convenient for our diabetic patients by offering optometry care services in the Diabetes Center of Excellence.

Dr. Aronin Featured in Boston Herald on Neurological Disease Research

Dr. Neil Aronin

A breakthrough technique could be on the horizon that may silence a gene for Huntington’s disease, a devastating and progressive neurological illness. Locally, similar research is being done that could impact other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Neil Aronin, MD, chief, Division of Endocrinology, was quoted in a recent Boston Herald article about research being done at the Medical School. He is working on two gene-silencing techniques. “That’s exciting because, in theory, there’d be one treatment and that might be enough for a lifetime,” he said. Read the story.