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

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.

Paramedics Celebrate First Birthday of Their Special Delivery

Parademics Andrew Person, left, and Sean Doherty, right, visit with Layane DaSilva who, with their help, gave birth one year ago to her son Joshua, left. Older brother Isaac, 3, on right. (Courtesy Telegram & Gazette)

When Joshua DaSilva met our Emergency Medical Services paramedics Andrew Person and Sean Doherty, he happily went into their arms. After all, they were the first arms that ever held him. A year after they helped his mom Layane bring him safely into the world just in time for Christmas, she invited Andrew and Sean to Joshua’s first birthday. They brought him a Fisher-Price medical kit – in case he wants to follow in their footsteps. Ms. DaSilva said the medics deserved praise for helping her through what she said was a terrifying experience. “They were great,” she said. “They did the best they could and I remember I was freaking out so they tried to keep me calm as best they could.” Read the Telegram & Gazette story.


Forum: Disparity in Treatment of Persons With Opioid Addiction

Dr. Brown

A recent forum held in Worcester examined all the ways people facing addiction to opioids were treated differently than others at health care facilities and other societal institutions. Examples of the uneven treatment included workers being terminated from work after being discovered taking medication to address their addiction, even though employers routinely make reasonable accommodations for other workers with physical disabilities. Alan Brown, MD, vice chair, integrated care and population health, presented at the forum and noted hospitals are making strides and get better on this issue. Read about the forum and what Dr. Brown had to say in the Telegram & Gazette.



Dr. Babu Featured in Telegram & Gazette

Dr. Babu

Following the September 20 announcement of Kavita Babu, MD, as chief opioid officer at UMass Memorial Health Care, Dr. Babu talked with Peter Cohan, the Telegram & Gazette’s Wall and Main contributor, about her unique role, what led her to it and the opioid epidemic in Worcester County. “For me, this role is helping to answer the question of, ‘Am I doing enough?’” said Dr. Babu. “We see the consequences of untreated opioid use disorders in the emergency departments daily. I am very excited to work with experts through the UMass Memorial medical system to do more for these patients.” Read the article.

Local Vendor Provides Personal Touch

Chris Gardella, president of Printer Pro Solutions (photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette)

Chris Gardella, president of Printer Pro Solutions of Douglas, may have only 14 employees, but that didn’t prevent UMass Memorial Health Care from awarding the company a 60-month contract to manage the sizable printing needs of our organization. Though he was competing with much bigger corporations, Gardella’s company has a successful track record of creating efficient ways for us to save paper and cut costs without affecting work flow. “The advantages of having a small business is that customers appreciate the personal touch,” Gardella said. “With a large firm, you aren’t on the phone talking to the company president about your issue. Here, you are talking to a person who makes the problem go away pretty darn quick.” Read more in the Telegram & Gazette article.

Dr. Finberg Talks About Future Flu Pandemic Prevention

Dr. Finberg (photo courtesy of Telegram & Gazette)

More than 675,000 people died when the influenza pandemic hit the United States in 1918. The worst of the pandemic’s three waves hit Massachusetts in September that year when a massive outbreak took place at Fort Devens. Technology and science have advanced in the past 100 years, yet health officials still fear a new type of virus could cause another global pandemic. A likely culprit will again be influenza, which can be transmitted across species including humans, mammals (swine) and birds. “What’s different about influenza is its ability to cause pandemics. Most viruses just can’t do that,” said Robert Finberg, MD, chair, Department of Medicine, in a recent Telegram & Gazette article. “Do I think it’s a worry? Yes, it’s a worry. Much more than Ebola, because we don’t know how to contain it.” Preparations to prevent and manage another flu pandemic are ongoing at science laboratories, government health agencies and health care organizations, including our Medical School and Medical Center, Read the article.

Group Sets Sewing Goal for Our NICU Babies’ Comfort

Pictured from left are Marilyn Sinibaldi, Dianna Peterson, sewing group members; Alice Miller, NICU team member; and Sue Smith, librarian of Beaman Memorial Library.

Special thanks go out to a group of sewers and quilters from West Boylston who create and donate burp cloths and quilts for babies in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The group, which meets Wednesday nights at the Beaman Library, has made about a dozen quilts to date and has a goal of making “a couple hundred” burp cloths for the NICU in time for the holidays, but they could use help. They are in need of materials including clean, soft cotton, non-pill flannel or jersey materials; batting for the quilts; and, of course more sewers and quilters! For more information, read the article in the Telegram & Gazette, email Sue Smith at the library or call 508-835-3711.

Medical Center Ties for Fifth for ‘Best Hospitals’ in State

Our Medical Center is proud to announce that it has tied for the fifth best hospital in the state, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking of the best hospitals in America. The three-way tie includes Tufts Medical Center and Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. To be ranked, the Medical Center had to meet strict guidelines and pass an extensive review of objective measures such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient safety and quality of nursing. The Medical Center earned the distinction of high-performing in five procedures/conditions including aortic valve surgery, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, lung cancer surgery and heart bypass surgery, and is recognized as a regionally ranked hospital in Central and Western Massachusetts. Congratulations to all the care teams involved! Learn more from U.S. News and World Report and recent coverage in the Telegram & Gazette.

Dr. Forkey Details the Dangers of Parent-child Separation

Dr. Forkey

In response to illegal immigrant children being separated from their parents, Heather Forkey, MD, chief of the Division of Child Protection and clinical director of the Foster Children Evaluation Service, recently talked with the Telegram & Gazette to explain the dangerous affects separation can have on children. “When kids are separated, that puts them in immediate danger,” she said. She added that when a children’s caregivers aren’t available to help manage a difficult situation, they remain in a constant state of stress. She said this is especially dangerous for children because it is happening at a time when their brains are rapidly developing. Read the article.