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Medical, Dental Students Mentor High School Students in Violence Prevention

Working with the UConn Students Against Violence in Schools program, students from Weaver High School’s Culinary Arts Academy discuss present to students from the Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School in Hartford. (Photo by Yolanda Colon)

This past school year, a group of UConn medical and dental students worked with students from the Weaver High School Culinary Arts Academy as part of a larger effort to prevent violence in schools. Damion Grasso, UConn Health assistant professor of psychiatry, is director of the program. Following is his account of the work this year’s group has done.

Are you a medical or dental student at UConn?

We could use your participation for the 2017-2018. Look for an information meeting in early September or contact us for more information.

The program is housed within the Department of Psychiatry and directed by Damion Grasso, PhD, a trained clinical psychologist and researcher in the area of childhood victimization and trauma.

For information about how to participate in the program please contact Dr. Grasso at dgrasso@uchc.edu.

The UConn Students Against Violence in Schools (SAVS) program engages UConn medical and dental students in advocacy work with middle and high-school students focused on promoting healthy relationships and preventing emotional, physical, and sexual violence among youth.

This year we partnered with a stellar team of 17 high school students at Weaver Culinary Arts Academy led by school social worker Yolanda Colon. Students were trained as peer ambassadors against violence by learning about:

  1. The types of violence experienced by youths,
  2. Adverse consequences of violence,
  3. The role of bystanders in preventing and addressing violent behavior,
  4. Steps to take when encountering violence, directly or indirectly, and
  5. School, local, and national resources for seeking help and guidance around these issues.

The Weaver students were then charged with working together to design and implement a project during the school year focused on one or more of these topic areas. The students chose to address issues related to bullying and designed a workshop curriculum, which they successfully implemented in five different Hartford-area middle schools throughout the year.

Weaver student leaders Kiara Hairston and Martin Barrows document the experience from the students’ perspective:

“We collaborated with UConn Health SAVS to make a difference in our school and the communities around us. Our project was about bringing this information to younger peers in middle schools where many of us were once students. We named our group ‘TAGZ’ and put together a presentation that emphasized the warning signs and effects of bullying. We originally planned on only giving one presentation, but teachers, administrators, and students were very impressed – and other schools contacted us to also do additional workshops. We ended up doing five this year.”

Students met on a regular basis with the UConn SAVS team and independently to do this work, which required a significant amount of effort.

When asked about her experience, group member Melicia Mendez commented, “This was a challenging task. Sometimes we were on the verge of giving up …but we kept pushing ourselves. In the end, it was worth it.”

“It was teamwork that helped us get through and make this program successful,” Martin said. “When it came time for them to give their presentations, I think we realized that we were not just trying to start a conversation about bullying, we were opening the door for younger students to take a stand for what they believe is right. We were encouraging these younger students to become positive role models to their peers and others.”

What makes this initiative so powerful is that these messages are coming from other youth and so are received somewhat differently than the same messages coming from adults and authority figures. Youth have a greater impact on their peers than they often realize. With this influence, they have a real opportunity to affect school climate. With empowerment, many will rise to the challenge, as did the students from Weaver Culinary Institute.

“Students need to understand the costs of bullying, especially kids who will be in high school soon. It feels good to be the ones to spread this message,” said student Malik Madric.

“I think we showed teachers and staff that we understand certain situations and are able to be mature about them and do our part in stopping violence,” said Pedro Velazquez, a junior at Weaver. “I myself have seen violence in my life and so I can relate. It feels good to be able to do what I can to stop it.”

After providing a presentation on the topic of bullying, the youth divided the attendees into smaller groups to discuss and role-play situational vignettes in which bystanders have an opportunity to address bullying behavior.

One of the vignettes addressed a student victimized because of his sexual orientation:

Dylan is a 9th grade student who openly identifies as gay. Over the summer, one of Dylan’s friends reports to the principal that other students from the high school have created a website that says, “Dylan is gay” and includes derogatory comments about Dylan. Dylan’s friend tells the principal that Dylan is now afraid to come back to school in the fall because the website includes threats to physically harm him.

Another vignette deals with the issue of racial bullying:

Mohamed, a Jordanian-American student interested in a career in engineering, is involved in a year-long mentoring/internship program where he spends afternoons at a local engineering firm. A couple of workers at the firm refer to him as a “terrorist” and “towel head” throughout the year. In February, Mohamed confides in one of his teachers about the conduct. Mohamed doesn’t want to “rock the boat” because he knows that this is one of the best mentoring opportunities offered by the high school. At the same time, Mohamed has now decided he no longer wants to go into engineering, drops out of college prep courses, and is performing less well in school.

UConn medical and dental students making up the UConn Students Against Violence in Schools group worked with high school students from the Weaver Culinary Arts Academy this past school year. (Photo provided by Damion Grasso)

Each small group was facilitated by one of the Weaver students, who guided the discussion and elicited from the group options for addressing the violence, aiding the victim, and preventing the behavior in the future.

In late May, we celebrated with the Weaver high school TAGZ team and honored them for their achievements. While some of the students will be graduating, returning students expressed high enthusiasm for continuing this work next year and recruiting students from the incoming class to participate. Ms. Colon, who worked closely with the students throughout the year, expressed pride in the students’ accomplishments and seemed eager to partner with the UConn SAVS team in the 2017-2018 school year.

UConn SAVS is also a valuable experience for the medical and dental students that volunteer to work with these high school students.

“Prior to matriculating at UConn for medical school, I served as a full-time tutor and assistant teacher at a charter high school in Boston,” said rising first-year medical student Desai Shyam. “SAVS helps to fill a void that is present in what I imagine are innumerable schools across the country by allowing for an open dialogue about the multiple forms of violence that can so easily percolate the lives of adolescents and youth, especially for those who live in underserved communities. I so valued the work we did because, though it involved a significant educational component, it put the majority of the thinking on the students. The students themselves generated ideas of how best to combat violence and bullying in their school communities, and they then took an admiral degree of initiative in putting those ideas into an actionable agenda. The students I worked with were surprisingly quick to open up regarding their own experiences, and as a future physician, it was both uplifting and formative to hear them speak so passionately about the urgency of bettering the mental and physical well-being of their peers.”

“The UConn SAVS Program formed a necessary relationship between UConnHealth and high school students at Weaver Culinary Arts Academy,” said second-year student Matt Lewin. “Bullying is a serious public health concern amongst adolescents, and I believe that empowering high school students to tackle this issue was a great initiative. I’m happy I had the chance to work with students who were unafraid to stand up against bullying. In the age of Facebook and social media, bullying will present itself in new ways both at school and in the home. With the help of Weaver students, I feel that a strong anti-bullying message and initiative was established and will leave a lasting impact amongst these students.”

“As I have had some background in education, and a passion for working with youth, I was pleased to find that there was a program at UConn where we could work with local students to help combat violence and bullying in schools,” said second-year student Kyle Shin. “With a changing technological landscape and the advent of social media, I think it is important to be able to present the experiences of those of us who have grown up immersed in that world. The interactive nature of the sessions and the ability to present a view different from the traditional teacher/authority figure provides a great way to shift the conversation and approach the problem from the students’ perspective.”

Violence within school communities is a serious problem with up to a third of students reporting some form of victimization by their peers (Hymel & Swearer, 2015). Victimization can come in many forms and has evolved with the advancement of digital technology.

Often, victimized youth experience more than one form of violence and can become overwhelmed with what may best be described as a culture of violence comprised of physical violence (e.g., shoving, pushing), as well as psychological forms such as verbal abuse (e.g., harassing, threatening), social exclusion and humiliation (e.g., spreading rumors), and what we refer to as cyberbullying – the use of social media, texting, and picture sending aimed at taunting, humiliating, and threatening peers.

Surely, exposure to violence can have dire consequences, including depression, anxiety, and traumatic stress, among other forms of impairment at home and school. Moreover, the adverse effects of peer victimization can extend well into adulthood (Lereya, Copeland, Costello, & Wolke, 2015).

A core element of promising programs to reduce youth violence is a focus on training bystanders to identify, help prevent, and effectively respond to peer victimization (Evans, Fraser, & Cotter, 2014).

Indeed, this is what UConn SAVS aims to do.

Are you a medical or dental student at UConn? We could use your participation for the 2017-2018. Look for an information meeting in early September or contact us for more information. The program is housed within the Department of Psychiatry and directed by Damion Grasso, PhD, a trained clinical psychologist and researcher in the area of childhood victimization and trauma. For information about how to participate in the program please contact Dr. Grasso at dgrasso@uchc.edu.

References Cited:

Evans, C. B., Fraser, M. W., & Cotter, K. L. (2014). The effectiveness of school-based bullying prevention programs: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(5), 532-544.

Hymel, S., & Swearer, S. M. (2015). Four decades of research on school bullying: An introduction. The American psychologist, 70(4), 293-299. doi: 10.1037/a0038928

Lereya, S. T., Copeland, W. E., Costello, E. J., & Wolke, D. (2015). Adult mental health consequences of peer bullying and maltreatment in childhood: two cohorts in two countries. The Lancet Psychiatry, 2(6), 524-531.

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.