Author: Chris DeFrancesco

Test Your Flu-ency With This Influenza Vaccine Policy Quiz

Test your knowledge about UConn Health’s Influenza Vaccination Program and Influenza Vaccination Policy for Health Care Personnel.

(Note: This is a hypothetical situation designed to guide you through the flu vaccine policy. Responses are anonymous!)

 

 

 


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

Survey: Heroes Behind the Heroes?

The Pulse is interested in hearing from front-line health care providers and the support staff who keep our environment safe, clean, and functioning to optimize the delivery of patient care.

We’d like to know how much help you feel like you’re getting from the community at large in the effort to get the upper hand on this pandemic.

Specifically, complying with “stay home” and “social distancing” orders have resulted in almost everyone having to endure some degree of hardship. But if enough people don’t endure that hardship, it can undermine what you’re trying to accomplish for the greater good.

So we’re asking for your perspective: People are calling you heroes – rightfully so—but are their actions backing their words?

New Award Honors Dr. Richard Simon

The Dr. Richard Simon Excellence in Clinical Neurosciences Award will be given annually to celebrate Dr. Richard Simon’s distinguished career at UConn Health and his pioneering contributions to medicine. The award will be given to a clinician, staff member, or student who exemplifies excellence in any area of the neurosciences at UConn Health. The awardee will be chosen in the Spring by a selection committee lead by Dr. Hilary Onyiuke following a call for nominations.

Dr. Richard Simon portrait
Dr. Richard Simon, UConn Health medical chief of staff (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

Richard Simon was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was a neurologist/psychiatrist. Dr. Simon graduated from Stanford University, class of 1965 and from St. Louis University School of Medicine class of 1970 and a Masters in Mathematics in 1988. He trained in General Surgery and Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado, completing his neurosurgical residency in June 1976.

Dr. Simon has spent his entire postgraduate career at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he is now Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery). Formerly, he was Chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and Director of the Department of Neurosurgery at Hartford Hospital and the Program Director for the University of Connecticut/Hartford Hospital Neurosurgical Training Program.

An endowed fund has been established at the UConn Foundation to receive gifts from those who wish to honor Dr. Simon and award excellence in the neurosciences at UConn Health. It was launched by generous gifts from Dr. Simon’s colleagues and former students.

Anyone wishing to contribute may do so at https://uconn.givecorps.com/causes/15343-dr-richard-simon-excellence-in-clinical-neurosciences-award-fund-iho or by contacting Peter Lamothe, Associate VP for Development, Health Sciences at the UConn Foundation, plamothe@foundation.uconn.edu or 860-679-4962

“Our vision is for UConn to be a global center for excellence in neurosurgery in the context of the world class care that is already being provided at UConn Health. Dr. Simon has dedicated over 40 years to UConn Health. I can think of no greater honor for him than the knowledge that this award had been established by his colleagues, friends and former students whose careers he helped to launch.”

—Ketan Bulsara, M.D., MBA
   Chief, Division of Neurosurgery, UConn Health

Meet CAO Janel Simpson

Chief Administrative Officer Janel Simpson joins UConn Health with a combination of private- and public-sector experience. For the last six years she’s been at the Department of Social Services, a $7.6 billion state agency, most recently in the role of deputy commissioner. She spent the majority of her career before that in the insurance industry, including HSB, the Hartford, and the Phoenix. Janel holds an MBA in finance and strategic initiative from Columbia University, and a BA in mathematics from Clark University. She arrived to UConn Health Aug. 30.

Janel Simpson portrait
Janel Simpson, UConn Health chief administrative officer (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Describe your role at UConn Health?

My role is a little different than the former chief administrative officer. I have responsibilities for administrative services, including the oversight of administrative policy development and implementation, auxiliary operations, child care and wellness centers, parking and transportation, environment of care, and life safety. Responsibilities also include development of decision support function and liaison to the “One UConn” effort.

What brought you here?

The opportunity to work in an environment with amazingly dedicated and talented individuals where the work feels meaningful. This is a great opportunity to utilize my experience in operations, strategy, finance, IT. I enjoy working in environments where no two days are alike and you learn to expect the unexpected. I can honestly say, I have experienced all that in my short tenure thus far.

What about your experience will help you in this role?

The ability to prioritize, keep the “big picture” in mind while addressing the “smaller” items that may deliver large returns in short timeframes. The ability to multitask, crisis management, being able to operate, remain calm and make critical decisions under pressure.

At DSS your clients are individuals with food insecurities, need for cash assistance, medical coverage, fuel assistance, etc. When I started, our timeliness for providing benefits for our clients ranked us in the bottom 5% in the nation, leading to the filing of three federal lawsuits against the department. This placed us under a great deal of scrutiny by those we served, the media, state and federal governments.

The department gained a reputation of not caring or not doing enough, though we had some of the most dedicated and committed individuals who really wanted to make a difference. The agency had a 27-year-old antiquated system supporting an equally antiquated paper process. We had to change our technology, process, culture, and narrative simultaneously.

It was the most challenging time. Regardless, we worked as a team to define and achieve our goals. We restructured the organization, redesigned our processes, implemented a new $350 million eligibility system, and changed our culture. Connecticut is recognized by the federal government as the gold standard for system implementation, top two and top ten nationally for timely processing of SNAP and Medicaid eligibility respectively. With these changes, Connecticut received $6 million in bonus funding from the federal government. The department successfully satisfied all terms and conditions of all three federal lawsuits in less than three years.

What do you see as the most promising and challenging aspects of being CAO at UConn Health?

The promising thing is that whatever challenge we face, we have the team in place to tackle it. You see it exemplified every day.

Like other state agencies, and frankly, many private companies, you must achieve your goals with finite resources and fewer dollars than one’s spending needs. Here at UConn Health we all have the same overarching goal, together we must and will achieve it.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I volunteer my time mentoring middle and high school girls of color.

Campus Safety Corner: Patient, Winter Parking

Deputy Police Chief Maggie Silver
UConn Deputy Police Chief Maggie Silver (Photo by Kristin Wallace)

Now’s a good time to reflect on why it’s important to park in our assigned areas when on campus for work or academic purposes, and to also be attentive of the winter storm parking bans.

Patient Parking

Several parking areas on campus are reserved for patients and visitors. Providing them with safe and convenient access to these parking areas and the surrounding buildings is an integral part of their experience on our campus. These areas include:

  • Emergency Department and GI Procedure Center – surface parking and the rooftop of Garage 2.
  • University Tower and Main Building – surface parking lots M1, M2 and H1.
  • Garage 1 – convenient sections of levels 1, 2 and 3 and the valet staging area. These areas are marked by white signs with green lettering.
  • Garage 3 – all spaces on levels 3 and 4 and the valet staging area unless signed otherwise.
Allan Peterson with Garage 1 in background
Allan Peterson, director, Parking, Transportation and Event Services (Photo by Kristin Wallace)

For your reference: 

Winter Storm Parking Bans

During winter storms and parking bans our Facilities Grounds personnel are out in force, supplemented by contracted snow removal crews, to mitigate the weather impacts on the roads, parking areas and sidewalks. The best way we can help is to be attentive to the UConn alerts and follow the snow ban instructions so the crews can keep our campus as safe and accessible as possible for the entire UConn Health community. Although staff and students who have arrived on campus prior to the start time of the bans are not required to move their vehicle, it is appreciated when you are able to if your work or academic responsibilities allow you the time to safely move your vehicle into one of the garages. Parking in the covered sections of the garages during the bans may seem inconvenient at times, so it can help if we try to remember that the primary reason for the bans is to keep our campus as safe and as accessible as possible. 

—UConn Deputy Police Chief Maggie Silver and Parking, Transportation and Event Services Director Allan Peterson

Favorite Pulse Stories of 2019

Here’s what the metrics tell us about the most popular Pulse items from 2019:

Jan. 10 (1,284 clicks)

Look Familiar?

Building on the success of our recent “Power of Possible” television campaign, in the coming days—on a TV near you—will debut “The Power of Possible II.” While still heralding our teaching and research, the sequel begins to focus on our patient care and the advantage that is academic medicine.

Watch the preview, and look carefully—this was shot 100 percent on the Farmington campus and everyone in it works for UConn Health (except that dog!).

Over the coming weeks, it will be joined by additional new billboard, radio and other promotions as we tell our story and invite the community to join us in harnessing the power of possible.

Sept. 19 (968)

Lauren Brennan APRN

‘I’m a Nurse; I Can’t Let You Do This’   

President Katsouleas mentioned it in his message to the UConn Health community earlier this month. Now, during suicide prevention month, the nurse practitioner who intervened and likely stopped a man from jumping from an elevated area on campus, Lauren Brennan agreed to share her account of that day.

 

March 22 (826)

Virtual gift shop depicted in the proposed locationCan We Move the Gift Shop? 

The UConn Foundation is launching a campaign to relocate the gift shop to a prime location.

Learn how you can help, and why this is a cause worth keeping in mind when UConn Gives next week.

 

Feb. 7 (819)

PIC OF THE WEEK
Wearing Red Institution-Wide

Groups from throughout UConn Health, both in Farmington and other clinical offices, got their red on and gathered together for photos to celebrate National Wear Red Day to kick off American Heart Month. View larger photos.

UConn Health Goes Red

Jan. 3 (780)

New Year’s Babies: Not 1, Not 2…

It sure was a busy New Year’s Day in our maternity unit, where a record six babies were born! The first to arrive was little Matthew, born at 1:17 a.m. to Heather and Joe Coss of Burlington.

Welcome to Matthew and all the New Year’s newborns: Beatrice (5:42 a.m.), Owen (9:32 a.m.), Muhammad (10:55 a.m.), Sofie (11:41 a.m.), and Caleb (4:49 p.m.). Find more information and photos.

UPDATE: In case you missed it, the babies are back!
Five of them returned for a one-year-later photo!

2019 newborns 1 year later
Five of the six babies born at UConn Health on New Year’s Day 2019 came back for a one-year reunion. Happy Birthday to Caleb, Sophie, Mohammed, Matthew, Owen, and Beatrice! (Beatrice wasn’t able to attend.) December 27, 2019. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health)

July 25 (738)

Linda Nadeau, 70, is a proponent of the Lifestyle Medicine Program at UConn Health.

POWER OF POSSIBLE

Lowering Cholesterol Without Drugs

Our Lifestyle Medicine Program continues to help people make healthy choices to naturally improve their health.

There’s no shortage of success stories among physician assistant Brad Biskup’s patients — a recent one being that of Linda Nadeau, who reduced her LDL cholesterol by more than 100 points!

May 30 (701)

Connecticut magazine cover with Dr. IbrahimConnecticut’s Best Docs

Connecticut Magazine is out with its 2019 “Best Doctors” issue. There are 48 familiar faces this year, including a cover story on Dr. Omar Ibrahim and the advanced robotic tool he uses to get a head start on diagnosing/ruling out lung cancer.

See who else made the list.

 

Oct. 31 (700)

costumed group portraitUConn Health Halloween  

Many of our clinical staff are in costume today. Recognize anyone?

Plus, Drs. Gary Schulman and Bina Katechia from our dental faculty share a guest column that sheds some spooky light on what’s happening in our mouth when we eat candy. Second thought, maybe don’t read this until next week!

Oct. 10 (642)

PIC OF THE WEEK
Fall Fun Fest and Pumpkin-palooza   

Congratulations to the Department of Quality, whose “Proud as a Peacock” pumpkin took first place in the Pumpkin-palooza contest at this year’s Fall Fun Fest! Thanks to an army of volunteers, our courtyard became a festive setting for employees to take a break and enjoy the season, some snacks, and some fellowship. See the photos and count the smiles, plus read a first-hand account from one of the Project SEARCH interns who volunteered at the event and helped create the second-place pumpkin!

Pumpkin winning team Dept of Quality-pulse

Jan. 24 (642)

Spotlighting Our Faculty 

Improving immigrant health, advancing infection prevention programs, and researching novel cancer therapies are just a few of the accomplishments featured in the winter edition of Faculty Spotlight.

The School of Medicine’s Office of Faculty Affairs’ video series celebrates our researchers, clinicians, and educators, and also includes an On-Point update from CEO Dr. Andy Agwunobi and medical school dean Dr. Bruce Liang.

Watch the Winter 2019 edition of Faculty Spotlight.