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UConn School of Medicine Match Day 2017

Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo) Match Day 2017 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photo)

Photos by Janine Gelineau.

Standing Up for UConn

UConn Health faculty and staff attend a public hearing over state funding for UConn. (Photo provided by Andrea Keilty)

UConn Health faculty and staff attend a public hearing over state funding for UConn. (Photo provided by Andrea Keilty)

Last night in a show of solidarity against millions of dollars in proposed state budget cuts facing UConn and UConn Health, nearly 100 students, doctors, faculty and staff attended the Appropriations Committee hearings at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

UConn had several diverse panels of speakers sharing their personal perspectives with legislators about the detrimental impact any potential budget cuts could have on their education, research or care of patients.

UConn is currently facing up to $28 million in budget cuts while UConn Health is facing $13.2 million.

UConn Health’s five-person panel discussion was kicked-off by Evan Woodford, a second-year student in the UConn School of Dental Medicine. He told the committee, “I worry what message will be sent to future students if that vital support needed to continue to provide their educations…is withdrawn. I urge you to minimize the amount of the proposed budget cuts in order to maintain our excellent progress.”

Bayan Abunar, a second-year student in the UConn School of Medicine, testified, “It is through the state funds to UConn Health and your regular investments to our School of Medicine and Dental Medicine that have made it an affordable and accessible place for students of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds, including myself, to learn to be compassionate health care providers. I urge you to continue to invest in these entities by restoring funding to the FY16-17 level which provide tremendous benefit for the students, patients and Connecticut’s economy.”

Michel Gueret of Canton, a stage IV lung cancer survivor, also spoke about the cutting-edge and lifesaving immunotherapy clinical trial he had access to at UConn Health’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“My survival, literally against all odds, is the real testimony,” Gueret said. “It is evidence of what a research-driven UConn Health can and will continue to deliver to the people of Connecticut with your continued unwavering support. I thank each member of the committee for standing up to safeguard UConn Health. With your support–one day in the future–they will be there to save your life or that of your loved one in need, just like they saved my life.”

Mark Driscoll, a biotech entrepreneur who started the company Shoreline Biome at UConn’s Technology Incubation Program (TIP) in 2015, told the lamwakers, “UConn and UConn Health are vital components of the foundation of a robust ecosystem that is needed for the high tech life science businesses and industries of today to be successful. I urge you to consider that continued strong investment in UConn and UConn Health as part of our economic growth plan should remain a high priority as we look for long term solutions to our budget problems in Connecticut.”

UConn Health researcher Caroline Dealy spoke about the various ways she serves the state as a UConn alumnus, UConn Health scientist, entrepreneur, business owner and educator of students.

“UConn needs resources for research so that scientists like me and others who are speaking tonight can continue to bring new knowledge into the world, while engaging in the process of discovery, the next generation of change-makers: UConn’s students,” Dealy said. “I urge you, please don’t cut UConn’s resources. It’s just too important.”

Earlier in the day UConn leadership, including President Susan Herbst and Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, UConn Health CEO and executive vice president for health affairs, also shared in-person testimony with the Committee.

“I ask for your support to protect the viability of your public academic health system and to do what you can to minimize cuts to UConn Health so that we can continue to deliver on the investments and provide Connecticut and its people with excellent service,” shared Agwunobi.

Interprofessional Education for 450 UConn Health Professions Students

  • Second annual Interprofessional Education Dean's Afternoon, Sept. 30, 2016, at UConn Health. (Photos by Janine Gelineau)
    Second annual Interprofessional Education Dean's Afternoon, Sept. 30, 2016, at UConn Health. (Photos by Janine Gelineau)
UConn held its second annual Interprofessional Education Dean’s Afternoon Sept. 30, part of its continuing educational mission to emphasize the importance of collaboration among health care providers.

The idea behind interprofessional education is to engage students from all health professions and better position them to work together in the future.

“We are noticing more frequently that physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and others are working collaboratively to provide patient care,” says UConn M.D./MPH candidate Fludiona Naka. “We are moving away from the outmoded structures that used to be predominant because we have recognized that in order to provide the best care to the patient we need to work together. This is what some call a team-approach or a term that I like even better, a patient-centered approach.”

The dean’s afternoon drew approximately 450 students and 40 faculty and staff to concurrent events in Storrs and Farmington, and included the schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, and Dietetics.

“Our students will be entering a very different world as they start practice in 5-10 years,” says Dr. Bruce Gould, associate dean for primary care in the UConn School of Medicine. “We will have transformed our fee-for-service, physician-centric model to one of interprofessional team-based practice caring for populations of patients. Dean’s Afternoon and our other interprofessional curricula and programs are training our students for the future reality they will face.”

Learning objectives included:

  • Identifying the interdependence between health professions’ education
  • Competency development for collaborative practice and practice needs
  • Identifying the educational pathways and scope of practice for health professions
  • How to engage students in the process of interprofessional collaboration

“Learning about interprofessional collaboration beginning at the outset of their professional education is crucial for students because we learn to appreciate and value other professions and what they have to offer,” Naka says. “I firmly believe that interprofessional education will transform health education and thus lead to transformation of health care delivery.”

New Neurology Chair to Join UConn Health in September

Dr. L. John Greenfield joins UConn Health as chair of Neurology Sept. 2. (Photo from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences )

Dr. L. John Greenfield joins UConn Health as chair of Neurology Sept. 2. (Photo from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences )

Dr. L. John Greenfield, chair of the Department of Neurology in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, is joining UConn Health to chair its Department of Neurology later this year.

Greenfield also will serve as the academic chair of neurology at Hartford Hospital.

A graduate of Yale University, Greenfield received his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1988 and his medical degree at the school the following year. He finished his residency training in neurology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1993 and served on the faculty of its Department of Neurology. He also completed a fellowship in electroencephalography (EEG) and epilepsy during that time, and is board certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology.

“I see a whole lot of possibilities at UConn,” Greenfield says. “It’s not just the brand new hospital tower and the beautiful outpatient pavilion I’m very excited about, it’s also the dynamic young faculty. There are a lot of great opportunities at UConn Health now and in the foreseeable future, and I’m glad I can be a part of it.”

His start date is Sept. 2.

Greenfield lectures nationally on the role of inhibitory neurotransmission in epilepsy and the mechanisms of antiepileptic drugs. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association, and is a councilor of the Association of University Professors of Neurology. He is also active in the American Epilepsy Society. He was a charter member of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Acute Neural Injury and Epilepsy Study Section (2009-2015), and was recently elected to the professional advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation of America.

“Dr. Greenfield in a nationally renowned clinician and researcher, a perfect choice to chair our Department of Neurology,” says Dr. Bruce Liang, dean of the UConn School of Medicine. “I’m grateful to our search committee for its diligence.”

The search committee represented both UConn Health and Hartford Hospital:

  • David Steffens, professor and chair, UConn Health Department of Psychiatry (committee co-chair)
  • Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief, Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital and regional vice president, behavioral health, Hartford Healthcare (committee co-chair)
  • Linda Barry, UConn Health assistant professor of surgery
  • Doug Fellows, professor and chair, UConn Health Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics
  • George Kuchel, director, UConn Center on Aging and Citicorp Chair in Geriatrics and Gerontology, UConn Health
  • Ajay Kumar, assistant professor and chief, Hartford Hospital Department of Medicine
  • Al Lizana, UConn Health associate vice president of diversity and equity
  • Richard Mains, professor and chair, UConn Health Department of Neuroscience
  • Wendy Miller, assistant professor of medicine, assistant designated institutional official, and quality and safety education officer, UConn Health Graduate Medical Education
  • Erica Schuyler, M.D., assistant professor of neurology, Hartford Hospital
  • Anthony Vella, professor and chairman, UConn Health Department of Immunology

UConn Health Firefighters Train Emergency Medicine Residents in Rescue Techniques

  • UConn Health firefighters train medical students
    Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photos

Fifteen second-year emergency medicine residents got some hands-on experience this week sawing into a car, breaking its windows, popping its doors and removing the roof to free an accident victim.

Some got the perspective of the passenger trapped inside the car, hearing the machinery, experiencing glass shattering around them, and watching as the roof was cut off above them.

It was part of a vehicle extrication exercise outside the UConn Health Fire House, which has become an annual training opportunity the UConn Health Fire Department offers residents in the Integrated Residency in Emergency Medicine program.

Many of these residents will be attendings in a trauma center,” says UConn Health Fire Lt. Anthony Ruggiero. “Exercises like this can help them understand what paramedics mean when we use certain terminology as we transport accident victims. They also will get a sense of what to anticipate, what kinds of injuries based on what we describe.”

UConn Health firefighters demonstrated the tools and tactics needed to remove someone trapped in a vehicle, explaining that the newer cars are safer, with crumple zones often taking most of the impact. But it also makes it more difficult for first responders to get to the person inside damaged car.

“This is an opportunity for these physicians to experience the patient and rescuer point of view, and also gain an appreciation for the time between injury and assessment at the hospital,” says Dr. Lauri Bolton, EMS medical director at Hartford Hospital, a member of the residency program faculty. “This perspective adds to the value of their training as physicians.”

UConn Health 2016 Commencement Preview

Charles Osgood will be the 2016 UConn Health Commencement speaker.

Charles Osgood will be the 2016 UConn Health Commencement speaker.

It’s been 45 years since UConn Health’s first commencement. On Monday, May 9, the Class of 2016 graduates and will add 82 physicians and 35 dentists to the roster of those with M.D. and D.M.D. degrees earned at UConn Health. The total now numbers 3,398 physicians and 1,620 dentists.

The ceremony also recognizes graduates from multiple UConn Health-based programs such as Biomedical Science, Dental Science, Clinical and Translational Research and Public Health.

This year’s commencement speaker is Emmy award-winning newsman Charles Osgood. His daily program, “The Osgood File,” has been broadcast on the CBS Radio Network since 1971.  He’s also been anchor of the two-time Daytime Emmy Award- winning “CBS News Sunday Morning” since 1994. His stories typically focus on those who have demonstrated heroism, innovation, humanism, and determination in their lives. Osgood will be awarded the degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters during the ceremony.

The three student speakers this year are medical student Alex Hennessey, dental student Jeffrey Pan, and graduate student Daniel Ray.

Marc Lalande, founding chair of the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at UConn Health, will receive the Board of Directors Faculty Recognition Award.

Commencement will kick off at 1 p.m. in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs.  For more information, including directions, go to the Student Affairs & Activities website.

Did You Know…?

3316 – number of doctors trained since 1972 (as of class of 2015)

UConn AMA Chapter Promotes Student Wellness at Recipe Swap

  • Second-year medical students Alyssa Ettinger (right) and Sarah Mattessich (second from left) secured a grant from the American Medical Association to create a "Cooking Healthy on a Student Budget" event in the student lounge Nov. 13. Also pictured are classmates Yumi Kovic (left) and Evins Clauthier. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
If time and money weren’t factors, eating healthy meals on a consistent basis would be pretty simple.

But for many medical students, time and money are often very limited, which can sabotage healthy eating habits.

Recognizing this, second-year medical students Alyssa Ettinger and Sarah Mattessich organized “Cooking Healthy on a Student Budget,” during which they and other second-year students prepared dishes and shared samples in the student lounge Friday.

“The idea is, what can we make for a meal for under $20, that might last for a week, that’s healthy,” Mattesich says.

Along with the samples were recipe instructions, including nutrition facts and cost.

“We want to show them it’s pretty easy if you know what to do with fresh foods,” Ettinger says. “Just showing a variety of ways to use ingredients for multiple different recipes, and even ways that you can make portions and freeze it for later, but at least the original food was fresher because you made it and you know what’s in it.”

Funding from the American Medical Association Section Involvement Grant program made Friday’s healthy cooking event possible.

“We are really proud of our students for applying for and attaining a grant to support this event,” says Dr. Suzanne Rose, UConn School of Medicine senior associate dean for education. “This initiative is part of our very important efforts to promote student wellness. We applaud our students’ initiative, creativity and their leadership in enhancing our school and fostering a warm, caring, and healthy environment.”

Ettinger and Mattesich are among the 10 second-year students who make up the UConn School of Medicine’s AMA chapter board.

“Our chapter is extremely active,” says Mattesich, who, as treasurer of the UConn AMA chapter, handles much of the grant writing. “We sponsor a lot of schoolwide activities that are really well attended. We’re one of the largest groups on our campus.”

Both students are also part of AMA’s Integrative Medicine Group, with Ettinger serving as student leader. They also are on the medical school’s newly formed student wellness committee.

“The wellness aspect of this event is a great way for our AMA chapter to contribute to UConn’s Student Wellness Initiative,” says Ettinger, whose role on the board is recruitment chair. “This also is an opportunity to have students learn more about the AMA, all the resources it gives and all the ways it contributes to student development.”

Finish Line in Sight for UConn Health’s New Hospital Tower

  • New UConn Health hospital tower as it appears Oct. 15, 2015 (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)
It’s only a matter of months now until UConn Health’s new hospital tower changes from a construction worksite to a building ready for occupancy.

The new building, which will feature 169 single-bed inpatient rooms, is widely considered to be the centerpiece of UConn’s share of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Bioscience Connecticut initiative, an $864 million package of state investments designed to be a catalyst for economic growth in the health care and biomedical research industries. As of Sept. 1, the total number of construction jobs associated with Bioscience Connecticut was 4,540.

Malloy was on the UConn Health campus 14 months ago to sign the steel beam that would top out the tower. Construction started on the building and an adjoining 400-space parking garage April 2013.

Clinical staff and administration have started touring parts of the building and seeing finished mock-ups of patient rooms, emergency department bays and operating rooms. The new tower will include:

  • An expanded emergency department
  • Four 28-bed units that will house surgery, orthopedic, oncology and medical patients
  • A 28-bed intensive care unit with expanded surgical, medicine and neurology critical care services
  • A 29-bed intermediate unit

Once the new tower construction is complete and the hospital opens, there will be a second phase of work to make the final connections to the main building through the existing emergency department. There will also be additional exterior site work to complete near the existing ED entrance that cannot be done until after the ED moves.

Outpatient Pavilion

The UConn Health Outpatient Pavilion has one final milestone ahead: the establishment of a women’s health center on the top floor, with services including a women’s radiology center, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, and advanced women’s ultrasound.

The first practices moved in to the new building in February, and by early summer floors 1 through 7 were operational. The result has been the movement of nearly all outpatient services into a single place on the lower campus, in a patient-friendly environment, with convenient parking in a connected garage.

With its abundance of natural lighting, energy efficient design, and shower facilities to encourage employees to bike to work, the pavilion is on its way to earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, the Connecticut Green Building Council has just named the building the winner of its 2015 Institutional Award of Merit.

Academic Building

Construction is well underway at the academic entrance, where a modernization and expansion of space for the medical, dental and graduate schools is taking place. Bioscience Connecticut calls for a 30 percent increase in class sizes and the addition and renovations will provide space to support this growth. UConn Health held a groundbreaking on convocation day. The academic entrance will remain a construction site through May.

L Building

Though less visible than the projects already mentioned, a rebuild of UConn Health’s laboratory space in what’s known as the L Building is a significant portion of the Bioscience Connecticut construction. The renovations are being accomplished under two separate projects. Project 1 started in late 2012 and is complete. Project 2 is scheduled to be complete by early 2017, at which time UConn Health will boast modern lab layouts that are open plan and conducive to collaborative research.

Cell and Genome Sciences Building

The addition of incubator laboratory space continues at the Cell and Genome Sciences Building, 400 Farmington Ave., which will enable UConn Health to attract more biotech startups. It’s another aspect of the vision of Bioscience Connecticut to create a worldwide biomedical research/biotech hub in the state. This project is scheduled for completion by the end of November 2015.

Clinic Building

The design work is complete for major renovation to the Dental School clinical space, the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, and the Main Lobby. This phased renovation will take more than two years to complete but when finished will provide state-of-the-art dental clinical space and an expanded cardiology center with additional exam space. The Main Lobby will also be given a significant update that enhances the patient flow and provides easy access to the renovated spaces. The renovations are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2016.

Veteran’s Day Observance Kicks off ‘40 Days of Thanks’

  • Robin Frank (right) gives opening remarks at the Student Services Center's Veteran's Day observance on November 10, 2015. (Chris DeFrancesco/UConn Health Photo)
Several dozen students, faculty and staff took time out Tuesday for a Veteran’s Day observance at the Student Services Center.

It was the start of Student Services’ “40 Days of Thanks” campaign, which also includes holiday cards people can sign and send to a member of the military.

“We also are accepting donations for South Park Inn, and we also have a Wall of Thanks,” says Alison Valone Suhocki, assistant registrar and one of the organizers. “Students, faculty, staff can come over and sign on the wall and say what they’re thankful for. It’s really some things to really home in on being thankful for where we are in our lives and for those who have served, and to support those who are serving.”

The celebration included cupcakes—260 of them frosted red, white and blue, arranged to resemble an American flag.

Among the veterans on hand was Suzanne Zimmerman, a receptionist in the UConn School of Dental Medicine, who provided administrative support for a military intelligence unit while stationed in West Germany during the Cold War. She says today’s service members face a different world.

“We’re out there, and this is a time when I wouldn’t want to be out there,” Zimmerman says. “I wouldn’t want my son to be out there, but I give these women and men a lot of credit to be out there.”

Gregory de Gruchy spent four years on active duty with the Marines, including tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, before finishing his undergraduate studies at UConn. Now in his first year at the UConn School of Medicine, he says his experience helped steer him toward a career in medicine.

“When I was in the military I really realized I wanted to work in health care,” de Gruchy says. “I was involved in my unit in some of the aspects of the stress of deployments. We were a very high-deployment unit and we had to deal with a lot of the issues that come up with that pace of operations.”