Document Your Flu Vaccine Status Before Next Week’s Deadline

Wednesday, January 16 is the deadline by which all caregivers must have their flu vaccination status documented to comply with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requirement and the Medical Center Influenza Immunization policy. Remember, all caregivers must do one of three things:

Many thanks to all who have already met the requirement! We are at more than 90 percent compliance! Visit the flu season page on OurNet for more information.

Dr. Harris Featured in Dermatology Focus for Vitiligo Research

Dr. Harris

Affecting about one percent of the population, vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that results in the depigmentation of skin over time. Most commonly associated with famed musician Michael Jackson, who claimed to have been diagnosed with the disease, vitiligo currently has no cure. In the latest issue of Dermatology Focus, Medical Center dermatologist John Harris, MD, PhD, is featured for his research efforts in which he and his team are using both mice and human tissues to identify the cellular and molecular components that lead to an autoimmune response that destroys melanocytes in the skin, resulting in vitiligo. Read the full article.

Cardiovascular Clinic Peers Recognize Joanie Glynn

Joanie Glynn

The Cardiovascular Clinic team is pleased to announce that Joanie Glynn, lead ambulatory service representative, is the recipient of the 2018 Heart and Soul Award. Initiated in 2016, this annual award recognizes a team member who is responsible, resourceful, helpful and respectful – the person you can always go to and who will assist you without judgement. Joanie was nominated by several peers and providers, one of whom noted, “If she doesn’t know something, she will find out. Joanie always does this with a big smile on her face and without complaint.” Congratulations, Joanie!

Dr. Remenschneider Shares New Advancements on Hearing Loss

Dr. Remenschneider

In a recent podcast airing on Voices of UMassMed, Aaron Remenschneider, MD, MPH, medical director of the Hearing Implant Program, shares that patients who receive cochlear implants have improved results due to today’s advancements. “Being able to give patients their hearing back again, or for the first time in the case of a young child who has never heard – that’s a real blessing to be able to do that,” said Dr. Remenschneider. Listen to the full podcast for more information on hearing loss and tips on how to protect your ears. Listen now.

DAISY Recipient Is a Caring, Compassionate Listener

Pictured from left to right are 6 East nurses and patient care assistants: Matilda Williams; Gifty Manu; Theresa Myers; Melanie Vega; Edna Ansona; Nana Bampoe. RN; Shalyn O’Neill, RN; Veronika Kisiel, RN; Sharon Shoar, RN; Carol McLaughlin, RN; Nisha Vats, RN; and Debra Boucher, RN. Photo on right: Nisha Vats, RN, and Paulette Seymour-Route, RN, interim chief nursing officer

Congratulations to Nisha Vats, RN, 6 East, who was presented with the DAISY Award in December. Nisha was nominated by the daughter of a patient for whom she cared, who said, “Nisha was caring, compassionate and a listener. She acknowledged our concerns and set out to find answers. She was a patient advocate between my mother and her physicians.” The DAISY award rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care nurses provide every day. Nominate a nurse today.

Register for 5K Run to Benefit Our NICU

Registration is now open for the TDD 5K – an event established by Don and Elaine Vescio following the loss of their newborn triplet sons, Tyrus, Dante and Daniel, in 2005. The goal of the 5K is to remember all the babies who left the world too soon while raising funds for our Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The 2019 5K will take place Sunday, March 31, leaving from Worcester State University. Registration begins at 8 am, with the 5K starting at 10 am and the children’s fun run beginning at 11:30 am. Visit the website to register, donate or learn more.

Report Your FY18 Community-related Activities

As a not-for-profit system, UMass Memorial Health Care is required to report community benefits activities to the Internal Revenue Service and the Massachusetts Attorney General Office. Community benefits are programs, activities or services that improve the health of the community in response to an identified need. If you or your department were involved in a work-related community activity in FY18, the Community Relations Department needs to hear from you! Reportable activities cannot include employee volunteerism conducted on personal time or activities considered to be part of regular patient care. Please report community benefits activities that occurred between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018 by completing this form and emailing it to Kimberly Reckert by February 5. Call 508-334-7641 with questions.

Students, Residents, Fellows: Enter Creative Writing Contest!

Medical students, nursing students, graduate students, residents and fellows based at our Medical School, Berkshire Medical Center, Worcester Medical Center/St. Vincent’s or Baystate Medical Center are invited to participate in the Gerald F. Berlin Prize contest for creative writing, prose or poetry. The grand prize is $100, and a reading of the grand prize winner’s work will take place at the awards ceremony Wednesday, May 1, noon to 1:30 pm (venue to be determined). This work will also be published in Worcester Medicine, Berkshire Medical Journal and Streams of Consciousness. The second and third prize winners will also have their work published in Streams of Consciousness. Submission deadline is March 1, 2019. Learn more.

Continuously Exceeding Cancer Best Practice Benchmarks

The concerted effort by physicians and registry staff to provide quality care is evident in our Cancer Program Practice Profile Reports (CP3R) for cancers of the breast, lung, and colon, among others. This data is provided by the National Cancer Database. Every year, members of our Cancer Committee review the data to ensure that first, it’s an accurate record of the practices of our staff, and second, to check if steps are needed to improve the care delivered to our patients. Read more.

What Are the IRS Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2019?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced retirement plan contribution limits for 2019. The maximum 401(k) and 403(b) contribution limit (the maximum amount you can contribute as an individual on a pretax, “Roth” after-tax basis, or a combination of both) increased from $18,500 to $19,000. The catch-up contribution limit for participants aged 50 and over who will contribute the maximum $19,000 remains unchanged at $6,000. To make any changes to your contribution amount, log on to Fidelity NetBenefits or call the Fidelity Retirement Benefits Line at 800-343-0860 to speak with a Fidelity representative.