UMass Memorial Babies Break the Internet!

Victory is sweet, but our babies are even sweeter! A photo of our most adorable good luck charms dressed in Patriots blankets and pompom hats garnered some serious media attention yesterday with more than 19,000 shares and 1.9K comments on Facebook as of press time! The photo was shared on national news outlets and on local media in 31 states. It even made its way to Canada! And, our Facebook feed is being flooded with comments and photos of more Pats babies from across the country! A big thank you to UMass Memorial Medical Center mother-baby nurses, Wendy Childs, RN, Suzanne Golas, RN, Jill Brigham, RN, Kim Moody, RN, Betty Chviruk, RN, Angela Przymusik, RN, Cynthia Sandstrom, RN and retired NICU nurse Anna Golas, who made Patriots blankets for all our babies, and to the night shift nurses who made the Patriots pompom hats to give to moms and their new little Patriots fans!

New Thyroid Center Launched

Three Medical Center endocrinologists, Chris Coyne, MD, Eyad Hamoudeh, MD, and Mira Torres, MD, have launched a Thyroid Center on the University Campus that was accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. This accreditation validates that the team meets or exceeds nationally recognized standards in the performance and interpretation of diagnostic ultrasound examinations. The physicians, certified in neck ultrasound from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, provide care for both common and complex disorders including nodular thyroid disease, thyroid cancer, and hyperthyroidism, and offer ultrasonography, biopsy, and molecular testing to patients. Learn more about the center. Appointments: 855-UMASS-MD (855-862-7763)

Fundraising Efforts Bring Local IVF Clinic Closer to Realization

Dr. Johnson in the space designated for the Medical Center’s future IVF Clinic (photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette)

Julia Johnson, MD, chair of the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is edging close to her fundraising goal of $500,000 to build a 2,500-square-foot in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic at the Medical Center. Complete with a procedure room to extract eggs and implant embryos, a recovery room, a laboratory to fertilize eggs and grow embryos, and spaces to collect samples, the new clinic would be the first of its kind in Worcester, allowing families to undergo the IVF procedure closer to home. UMass Memorial Health Care will match Dr. Johnson’s raised funds with an additional $500,000 to bring the clinic online. Read the Telegram & Gazette article. To donate, visit

Do Your Part; Know Your Heart!

February is American Heart Month, and there’s no better time to get to know your heart a little better and learn a few ways to keep it healthy! After all, it’s the only one you have. The most important step you can take to protect your heart is understanding your own individual risks for heart disease. Take a free heart health risk assessment. Did you know there’s a type of fat you shouldn’t cut back on in your diet? Where does all the sodium in your diet come from? And ladies, let’s make sure you are all aware of the silent heart attack. Don’t wait, learn more about your heart health today.

Another Joint Commission Certification Survey Next Week

After hosting surveyors from The Joint Commission earlier this week for the Comprehensive Stroke Certification survey, we’ll be hosting surveyors on the University Campus again on Monday, February 4 and Tuesday, February 5 for a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Certification survey. Becoming Joint Commission certified promotes a culture of excellence across the organization, aligning with the Joint Commission standards of promoting an environment of continuous improvement. Areas the surveyors may visit include the emergency department, the 3 Lakeside intensive care and step down units, the operating room, the post anesthesia care unit and cardiac outpatient services at the Ambulatory Care Center. This will be the Medical Center’s second Joint Commission disease specific certified program visit, after a successful Comprehensive Stroke Center site visit earlier this week.

Dr. Grier Takes to Facebook to Discuss Toy Safety

Dr. Grier

Hundreds of viewers have tuned in to watch Eye Center Optometrist Justine Grier, OD, share her expert advice on toy safety, including what the best and worst products are in terms of eye safety. It may not come as a surprise that toys that shoot projectiles or have hard, sharp edges were cited as being dangerous to a child’s eye health. But while Dr. Grier cautions against the dangers these toys can present, she says they can be safe to play with when used properly and when precautions such as wearing goggles are taken. Watch the full Facebook live.

Health Watch: Dr. Puri Discusses Brain Aneurysms

Just how common are brain aneurysms? Learn the answer to this question and more in our latest Health Watch segment. Watch the video to see Ajit Puri, MD, DM, chief of the division of neuroimaging and intervention at our Medical Center, discuss what brain aneurysms are, how they occur and symptoms to watch for. “If the brain aneurysm bleeds, the classic symptom is a severe headache,” Dr. Puri says. “People describe it as the worst headache of their lives.” Dr. Puri also highlights how technology has improved treatment for patients who have brain aneurysms.

Olson Family Overcomes Life-threatening Obstacles to Welcome Baby Girl

Ashley Olson and daughter Stella (photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette)

Just 15 weeks into her pregnancy, Ashley Olson’s water broke due to a preterm premature rupture of the membranes, or PPROM. “Many couples facing PPROM are advised to terminate the pregnancy,” said Ashley in a recent interview with the Telegram & Gazette, but she and her husband Patrick “refused to give up.” Ashley’s high-risk obstetrician admitted her to the Medical Center at 24 weeks; eight weeks later, baby Stella was born. “She didn’t make a sound at birth. Her lungs were really flat and doctors prepared us to say goodbye to her,” explained Ashley. But thanks to “an army of love” and the lifesaving work of our Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff, Stella is now two weeks old and thriving. Read Stella’s story.

The Joint Commission Surveyors to Visit January 28 and 29

The Joint Commission surveyors will be on the University Campus Monday, January 28, and Tuesday, January 29 to conduct a Comprehensive Stroke Certification survey. The Medical Center treats stroke patients with the goal of improving care and outcomes. Becoming certified by the Joint Commission promotes a culture of excellence across the organization, aligning with the Joint Commission standards of promoting an environment of continuous improvement. Areas that the surveyors may visit include the emergency department, 4th floor, 2 Lakeside intensive care unit, post anesthesia care unit and neurointerventional radiology. This will be the Medical Center’s first program certified by the Joint Commission.

Addiction Treatment Services Supported by $1 Million Grant

Our Medical Center and UMass Memorial – Community Healthlink are among 10 organizations in the state to receive funding from a $1 million grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts to support and expand addiction treatment services’ recovery coach programs. Noting that evidence has shown that recovery coaches can help improve recovery for people with substance use disorders, BCBS will use data from the participating centers to determine potential payment models for recovery coach services. Read the Worcester Business Journal story.