Author: Chris DeFrancesco

Recognizing Rehabilitation Services

Did you know UConn Health has nearly four dozen professionals in various rehabilitation services fields?
They include:
  • the 10 physical therapists, two occupational therapists, three speech pathologists, and two rehab aides who serve our hospital patients, and
  • our outpatient rehabilitation staff, which includes 22 physical therapists, four occupational therapists, one speech/language pathologist, and one medical assistant (some of whom, from the Nayden Clinic in Storrs,pictured here).
group photo inpatient rehabOutpatient rehabiltiation services staff portraitOutpatient rehabilitation services group portraitOutpatient rehabiltiation services staff portrait

“I’d like to recognize all of our rehabilitation staff – they are a great group of people who deliver exceptional care in multiple locations and specialties, both inpatient and outpatient, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech pathology,” says University Medical Group Chief Operating Officer Anne Horbatuck. “Thank you for all that you do and thanks for being a part of our UConn Health Team!”

National Rehabilitation Awareness Week 2022 is Sept. 19-25.

Looking at Us: Lucius Downey, IT Tech and Children’s Book Author

Lucius Downey in bookstore
Lucius Downey, a UConn IT desktop support manager, created a children’s book character based on his son, Tyler. His first book, Tyler Travels New York City, is available at the UConn Health bookstore and on his website, tylerclub29.com, along with t-shirts, hats, and the Tyler doll on his left. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

Lucius Downey is in his 10th year working for UConn Health’s Department of Information Technology, where he recently accepted a promotion to the position of desktop support manager. He had been a technical analyst for the last six years, and was a contract employee before that. He is also a children’s book author. His first published book, Tyler Travels New York City, is available at retailers, including the UConn Health Bookstore, and via tylerclub29.com and Amazon.

Downey lives in New Britain with his son, Tyler, who turns 12 Sept. 29.

Lucius Downey

Luicius Downey environmental portraitFavorite movie:
“Coming to America”

Favorite actor:
Denzel Washington

Person you’d most like to meet: Tyler Perry

Favorite place to visit:
I would like to visit Hawaii or Alaska.

Something about you today your younger self would never believe:
That I would live outside of New York City

What was it like working in IT during the height of the pandemic?

During the height of the pandemic, it was very busy. The first few weeks were very challenging, but we were able to work through those challenges and resolve many issues. One of the challenges was preparing equipment for our users to work from home.

What would you say is the most misunderstood thing about the work you do?

I think technicians can make the work look easy, so some will assume it is, but we face challenges as well.

What is the most rewarding thing about your work at UConn Health?

My job is to provide desktop and hardware support to our staff. The most rewarding thing is being able to resolve technical issues for our users. I really love helping people.

You’re also a children’s book author. How did that come to be, and when did you start?

I started writing music and poetry at a very young age, but never a book. During the pandemic, I wanted to try something new and challenge myself, so I started writing children’s books. I wanted the books to be of significance to me, so I decided to write the book with my son, Tyler, as the main character.

I took a picture of him when he was three years old, and I handed it off to a friend of mine who’s an illustrator. His name is LaMont Russ. From that picture, we created the character, and from there we created the story. We also have a small cartoon on YouTube. Tyler’s 11 years old now. He’s into sports, he loves pizza, he loves riding bikes, and he loves reading as well. So that was the inspiration behind this entire project. We would like to have not only books for students, but also an app. At some point, we will finish up the app and then we’ll move on to other subjects for school, but right now we’re focusing on reading.

Cover of book "Tyler Travels New York City"

How many have you written/published? What can you tell us about your body of work as an author?

Currently, I have about seven books finished and waiting to be published. Tyler Travels New York City is the first book I’ve published that is part of the TYLERCLUB29 traveling series. Tyler will travel to a different location in every book. He just so happens to go to New York City in the first book because that’s where I was born and raised. In addition to the travel series, I also have other books I’ve written which I plan to publish as well. The next book to be released is Tyler It’s Time. In that particular book, it’s time for something — time for practice, time for school — and that particular series will rhyme.

Learn more about Downey’s creative work at tylerclub29.com.

Cybersecurity Corner: Spoof Phone Calls

Dennis Leber portrait
Dennis Leber is UConn Health’s chief information security officer. (Photo provided by Dennis Leber)

Recently UConn Health received notification that a patient’s family was targeted with a scam in the form of spoofed phone calls. The attacker used technology so the caller ID displayed a number originating from UConn Health. Once someone answers, a scripted scam developed through social engineering, attempts to trick the victim into giving over money. Preventing spoofed calls is next to impossible, but we can be prepared for them:

  • Stay aware and trust your gut. If the call seems suspicious, hang up.
  • You may be unable to tell immediately if an incoming call is spoofed. Be extremely careful about responding to any request for personal identifying information or request for money.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let the call go to voice mail.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes” or “No.” Scammers record your response and use it to prove you authorized payment or other actions.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone claiming to represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before getting a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller asks for payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately or money.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools and check into apps you can download to your mobile device. The FCC allows phone companies to block robocalls based on sound analytics. More information about robocall blocking is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.
  • Review your social media content and remove personal information criminals may use to build a profile on you and data which facilitates victimizing you. e.g. some of these spoofed calls claim to be a family member in the Hospital asking for money.
  • If you provide any personal information before you realize the call is a scam, lock your credit report, bank cards, or other accounts which may become compromised.
Dennis Leber, Chief Information Security Officer

Quick Questionnaire for Wellness Center Members

men on treadmills

In a typical week, how often do you work out at the Wellness Center?
Hou much would you say your exercise habits have changed over the last year?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Nancy Dupont Honored With Dr. Deckers Award

The 2021 Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award goes to Nancy Dupont, UConn Health’s epidemiology director.

Dupont was chosen among seven finalists, each of whom was featured in his or her own nomination video.

Stream the award presentation ceremony on Mediasite.

award presentationaward presentationaward presentationaward presentationaward presentationaward presentationaward presentationclose-up of hand medals

Also at this year’s celebration, as a culmination to our “Seasons of Gratitude” efforts in December, Dr. Andy Agwunobi, UConn Health CEO and interim University president, conducted a hand medal ceremony. The hand medal is a commemorative piece designed to honor the selfless service of the UConn Health workforce. Leaders across the organization are conducting medal presentations for their teams throughout the end of the year. In addition, the UConn Health community is invited to continue to post their sentiments of gratitude on our Wall of Gratitude.

 

New Leadership Roles for Dr. Lynn Kosowicz

The following announcement is from UConn Health leadership:

Lynn Kosowicz portrait, no white coat
Dr. Lynn Kosowicz is interim chair of the UConn School of Medicine Department of Medicine and interim chief of medical services. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

We are pleased to announce that Lynn Kosowicz, M.D., FACP, has accepted the appointment as Interim Chair of Department of Medicine and Interim Chief of Medical Services. Dr. Kosowicz, currently the director of the Clinical Skills Assessment Program, completed medical school, internal medicine residency and a year as chief medical resident at UConn, and then joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine in 1991. A dedicated and respected primary care internist, Dr. Kosowicz has focused her academic contributions on improving patient care by enhancing the clinical skills of learners and practitioners through simulation, mentorship, and research. Examples of grant-funded research include the design of a novel approach to teaching physical examination skills that has been disseminated to many institutions across the nation, and an AMA-sponsored project that prioritizes social determinants of health to improve chronic disease prevention and management. Dr. Kosowicz has been recognized within the institution by appointment to the Academic Affairs Subcommittee of the Board of Directors, as well as the Education Council, Faculty Review Board, and LCME self-study task forces and steering committees. Dr. Kosowicz has received several awards, including the NEGEA/AAMC Distinguished Service & Leadership Award; the Thornton Award, Connecticut Chapter of American College of Physicians, in recognition of outstanding contributions to medical education; and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Internationally, she was invited to train and mentor faculty at the Universidad de Chile Escuela Medicina as they developed a successful interprofessional Clinical Skills center in Santiago.

Dr. Kosowicz’s family is a multigenerational UConn Health family. Her father introduced her to UConn in 1968 when he joined the faculty of the new School of Dental Medicine. Three of her four daughters are health care professionals – one a gastroenterologist, who graduated from UConn’s School of Medicine, and two are nurses, one of whom graduated from UConn’s School of Nursing.

Please welcome and support Dr. Kosowicz in her new roles.

Bruce T. Liang, M.D.
Dean, School of Medicine

Andrew Agwunobi M.D., MBA
CEO UConn Health and EVP for Health Affairs

 

 

UConn Medical School 2020 Senior Awards

Awards ceremony program coverThe UConn School of Medicine Class of 2020 senior awards ceremony was an online affair, May 7. Following are this year’s honorees:

Student Awards

New England Pediatric Society Awards — Pediatrics
Brooke Schuman and Kristina Wagner

The Department of Pediatrics Chair Award For Innovation in Pediatric Education—Pediatrics
Rashmi Pashankar

Linda Ives Award — Pediatrics
Taylor Jackvony

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Community Service Award — Pediatrics
Kelly Nedorostek

Internal Medicine Award
Bryan Ferrigno

Carl F. Hinz, Jr. Award—For Excellence in Scholars in Medicine
Michelle Duong

CT Chapter—American College of Physicians Award
Sonali Rodrigues

CT Academy of Family Physicians Award — Family Medicine
Miryam Wilson

Dr. David and Arthur Schuman Award — Family Medicine
Kathryn Topalis

CT Chapter of American College of Surgeons Award
Rebecca Calafiore

Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Award
Samuel Southgate

The Ramanlal and Kanchan Bulsara Fellowship Award
Nicholas Bellas

James F.X. Egan Medical Student Award— OB/GYN Award
Jennifer Park

American Academy of Neurology Award
Stephanie Vu

Excellence in Psychiatry Award
Maschal Mohiuddin

James H. Foster, M.D. — Teaching Awards
Salem Harry-Hernandez and Jennifer Lawson

Jan Wilms, M.D. & Carol Pfeiffer, Ph.D. Awards for Excellence in Clinical Skills
Stephanie Vu and Kristina Wagner

Health Career Opportunity Programs—Bridge Mentoring Awards
Nia Harris and Aloys Nsereko

School of Medicine Awards for Excellence in a Specific Discipline
Dylan Buller for Urology and Sonny Caplash for Ophthalmology

School of Medicine Awards for Overall Academic Excellence
Emily Isch, Divya Iyer, Anzhela Moskalik and Colin Pavano

School of Medicine Professionalism Awards
Jonathan Caranfa and Alice DiFrancesco

J.E.C. Walker, M.D. Medicine and Society Awards
Agata Harabasz for Primary Care and Angela Quental for Public Health

Lyman Stowe Award — School of Medicine
Miryam Wilson

UConn’s 2020 Outstanding Senior Women Academic Achievement Awards
Antea DeMarsilis

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Shyam Desai

University of Connecticut Health Center Auxiliary Award
Madeline DeWane

Student Affairs Award
Adam Bartholomeo

Dean’s Award for Overall Academic Achievement
Antea DeMarsilis

Faculty Awards

South Park Inn Clinic
Dr. Jonathan Pendleton

Kaiser-Permanente Teaching Award
Dr. Michael Baldwin

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Dr. Kirsten Ek

Outstanding Outpatient Clinical Preceptor (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Michael Baldwin

Outstanding Inpatient Clinical Preceptor (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Sean Kandel

Outstanding Educator (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Michael Baldwin