MacNeil Stepping Down as Dental Dean

Following is an announcement from interim Provost Jeremy Teitelbaum:

Dr. Monty MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

Dean R. “Monty” MacNeil has informed me that he will step down from his position as Dean of UConn’s School of Dental Medicine on June 30, 2018, after 11 years of service in that role.  Starting July 1, 2018, he will return to research, clinical and educational work as a member of the school’s faculty.

Under his leadership, the School of Dental Medicine reached number 11, rising from 18, in its level of funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.  The School received the pre-eminent award for a U.S. or Canadian Dental School for contributions to oral health and dental education, the William J. Gies Award for Achievement in 2016. The school increased the diversity of its student body to levels far above national averages, and, in partnership with the Schools of Medicine and Engineering,  joined in the creation of a new cross-campus Biomedical Engineering Department.

The physical infrastructure of the school has been transformed under Dean MacNeil. The school has seen a new Dental Clinical Research Center; the Grasso Simulation Lab; the  Dental Arts Center;  and the new Orthodontics Center in the Outpatient Pavilion, as well as an expansion and renovation of its research infrastructure, classrooms, student work space, and administrative space. It also extended its community based programs, opening a new Pediatric Dental Clinic in West Hartford and a new practice in Storrs Center.  In early 2019, an extensively renovated and expanded Dental Care Center will be complete, marking an almost entire renewal of the School’s  infrastructure.

Dean MacNeil’s efforts also led to the establishment and growth of the Dental Medicine Alumni Association and to a major growth in philanthropic giving to the school.  His efforts led to the school receiving the single largest gift in its history.  He brought national recognition to the School through professional service and leadership activities, including his current service as Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Dental Education Association.

These contributions to research, education, outreach, and advancement form a truly distinguished record of service.  On behalf of the entire university, and especially the faculty and staff of the School of Dental Medicine, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Dean MacNeil for his efforts over the past decade and, indeed, over the entire period of his career at UConn.

During the next weeks, we will make plans to conduct a search for the School’s next dean with the goal of a smooth transition next summer.

Faculty Promotions and Appointments Fall 2017

The Academic Affairs Subcommittee of the Board of Directors during its September meeting approved the following faculty promotions and appointments:


Professor – w/award of Academic Tenure
Dr. Se-Jin Lee – Genetics and Genome Sciences
Dr. David A. Weinstein – Pediatrics

Professor – In Residence
Dr. Eric Mortensen – Medicine

Professor – Affiliated Institution
Dr. Jonathan D. Gates – (Hartford Hospital) – Surgery
Dr. Brian Grosberg – (Hartford Hospital) – Neurology
Dr. Ching Lau – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. William Skarnes – (The Jackson Laboratory) – Genetics and Genome Sciences

Associate Professor – Affiliated Institution
Dr. Olga H. Toro-Salazar – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics


Professor – In Residence
Dr. Pamela Taxel – Medicine

Professor – Affiliated Institution
Dr. Adam Borgida – (Hartford Hospital) – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Luis F. Diez-Morales – (St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center) – Medicine
Dr. Christine M. Ohannessian – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics

Clinical Professor – Community
Dr. Kathleen A. Marinelli – Pediatrics

Associate Professor – In Residence
Dr. Enrique Ballesteros – Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Dr. Melissa J. Caimano – Medicine
Dr. Meghan K. Herbst – Emergency Medicine
Dr. Danielle E. Luciano – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Christopher M. Morosky – Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Isaac L. Moss – Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr. Syam P. Nukavarapu – Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr. Lavern Wright – Medicine

Associate Professor – w/Award of Academic Tenure
Dr. Stormy Chamberlain – Genetics and Genome Sciences
Dr. Yusuf Khan – Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr. Kamal M. Khanna – Immunology
Dr. Lisa Mehlmann – Cell Biology

Associate Professor – Affiliated Institution
Dr. Nicholas J. Bennett – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. James M. Feeney – (St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center) – Surgery
Dr. Daniel A. Gerardi – (St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center) – Medicine
Dr. Mark C. Lee – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr. Nina S. Livingston – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. Matthew D. Milewski – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr. Rebecca L. Moles – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. Andrea D. Orsey – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. James F. Parker – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. David S. Shapiro – (St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center) – Surgery
Dr. Cynthia Silva – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. Jesse J. Sturm – (Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) – Pediatrics
Dr. John R. Waterman – (Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center) – Medicine

 Associate Clinical Professor – Community Faculty
Dr. Richard S.K. Young – Pediatrics

Award of Academic Tenure
Dr. Pedro J. P. Mendes – Cell Biology

UConn Board Chair’s and President’s Comments on State Budget’s Damage to UConn

Chairman Larry McHugh’s comments during the UConn Board of Trustees meeting – Sept. 27, 2017

We should all be thankful for Governor Malloy’s strong support of higher education.  And those members of the Senate and House who are strong supporters of UConn.

As you know, I have been involved in supporting higher education in Connecticut for over 34 years.  The Republican sponsored budget that just passed the General Assembly is probably the worst attack on public education I have seen in those 34 years.  This budget is a disaster for higher ed.

I want to be clear that we are open to taking cuts.  We were prepared to accept over $100 million in cuts under the governor’s budget.  But this massive $300 million cut is over the top.  It threatens all the progress that has been made in making our university the pride of the state and undercuts the tremendous investment that has been made in UConn.

I have always said that we need to strive for excellence and I will not apologize for supporting a university that works toward that goal.

In my work at the Chamber of Commerce, I meet and work with members of the business community all day long.  The State’s economy is fragile.  Regardless of the type and size of the business, the one common theme is how important it is to have a well-educated workforce.

Since a majority of our students remain here to live and work in Connecticut after they graduate, UConn is a place that these businesses count on as a source for its future hires.  UConn is the catalyst for economic growth by providing the brain power, research, employees, and support to companies from start-ups to major corporations.

A strong UConn will help our economy to get back on the right track.  So to make large cuts just for the sake of getting to a particular budget number is short-sighted to say the least.

Every state in the nation takes pride in its flagship university.  We have just been ranked number 18 out of 132 public national universities.

Because of that, we are the envy of other states that strive to achieve that level of success.  We are at a moment where our public leaders must make a choice as to whether or not they want an outstanding flagship University.  So much of our economy depends on that choice.  If the reputation and quality of UConn suffers, so will the economy, and it will lay squarely at the feet of those who make the public policy decision to sacrifice the University of Connecticut.

We know that we must be part of the solution and demonstrate shared sacrifice. Since 2010, we have contended with over $142 million in cuts.  We never complained.  When the Governor proposed a budget that would mean having to absorb another $100 million in cuts, we did not complain.  We said we would do our part.  Let’s be clear that those are massive cuts.  But to propose triple that amount is not something we can just stay quiet about.

What I am so proud of is that the UConn Nation has come together in reaction to this budget.  Members of the UConn Nation, including alumni, students, parents, patients, donors, and sports fans, are represented in every town and district of this state.  They are paying attention to how this budget will impact the economy, their healthcare, critical research, student success, and the value of their degree.

Finally, I want to say how proud I am of how President Herbst has been out there defending UConn.  She knows that now is not the time to sit idly by.  Fighting for our budget is her job.

But let me make one thing perfectly clear.  Any major cuts to programs whether at Storrs, UConn Health, or any of the regional campuses will be decided by the Board of Trustees, based on the university’s recommendations.  With these massive cuts looming, EVERYTHING is on the table.  The Board will make those decisions based on what is in the overall best interest of protecting this great university, and not on politics.

I pledge that we will work to keep this university a place that all of Connecticut can continue to be proud of.  Stick with us.  We will need all your help.


UConn President Susan Herbst’s Report to the UConn Board of Trustees – Sept. 27, 2017

The last 10 days have been interesting for us at UConn, to say the least.

By now you are all well aware of the budget that was approved by the General Assembly earlier this month and what its impact on UConn would have been.

And we don’t know what the next version will bring.

Let me make 4 points:

  • There is a belief in some quarters that we will not make major cuts, such as closing colleges or campuses, in the face of massive state budget cuts.  We have and we will.   As you recall, we – and it was hard on us and the community – closed the Torrington campus.   We have closed colleges and eliminated dean positions in recent years:   The College of Continuing Studies, the College of Allied Health, the College of Family Studies.   I ask that folks listen to what we say and watch the hard things we’ve done in the past to cut budgets. They are not pleasant actions, but we take them when we are left with no other realistic choice.
  • On the one hand, we are told we must absorb massive cuts, but are then told by some that we may not cut anything significant. Or anything people like or care about. But everything is important to someone. There is no low-hanging fruit or mythical fat adding up to $300 million, or even a small fraction of that, that could easily go.

We could zero out the salary of every single senior administrator and it would be a tiny fraction of our overall budget and barely make a dent in a $300 million reduction. So let’s get some perspective with the facts.

  • Speaking of facts.  I’ve been a social scientist for over 30 years, and in my work, I focus on quantitative measurement, data analysis and interpretation.   There’s some very poor and woefully distorted data out there in very pretty charts on the Internet.   Don’t be fooled, as hard as this is to read through.

For example, of course a university’s expenditures go up over years, when they expand their enrollment by the thousands.

And they go up because we must support advanced computing, modern educational resources, new facilities, mental health services, sexual assault prevention, legal compliance, and not to mention, actually making undergraduate education better.

There’s no free lunch for a comprehensive public university, one where the state has in fact chartered us to be comprehensive.   We are glad serve our students and the state.   We do it well – we are 18th public research university out of hundreds, not 50 – and we do it efficiently.

  • I urge all of our folks to please continue keeping the discourse – online and in print – civil. I thank you for that, USG and our tremendous faculty and staff. Even if there are ad hominem approaches taken by others off campus, we don’t go low. The funding and support of UCONN is a public policy matter for our students and state; it’s not about me or anyone else.

I want to thank our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, donors and others supporters for speaking up for UConn.

We will wait and see what the new budget looks like.

Wellness Center Opens Next Month

It’s only a matter of weeks now before students, staff and faculty have their own wellness center.

UConn Health is dedicating more than 3,600 square feet to an around-the-clock, badge-access facility that will offer 13 cardio machines, 9 resistance machines, free weights, locker rooms with showers, and a healthy vending machine. It also will have two rooms for fitness classes such as yoga, pilates, Zumba, behavioral counseling, and stress management.

Construction of UConn Health’s wellness center is nearing completion. (Photo by Ethan Giorgetti)

The location is the main floor on the academic side of the main building, in what formerly was known as the Friends Lecture Room (LM 034).

Scheduled to open by late October, the wellness center will also will be available to graduate students and residents. Details on the enrollment process and membership fees are to be announced shortly.

“This is something the UConn Health community has been asking us about for a very long time,” says UConn Health Chief Adminstrative Officer Carolle Andrews. “The facility is part of a larger vision of student and employee wellness we are offering on campus as we strive to become an even greater example of health and well being, given our mission of public health and public service.”

The wellness center will have a coordinator whose duties will include managing the membership, overseeing the fitness programs, and communications.

Wellness center fitness floor
Rendering of the wellness center

The fitness equipment is on order and will include:

  • 4 commercial treadmills
  • 4 adaptive motion trainers
  • 2 step machine
  • 3 stationary bicycles
  • 1 leg extension/ curl
  • 1 chest press
  • 1 bicep curl
  • 1 abdominal machine
  • 1 glute extension
  • 1 back extension
  • 1 lateral pulldown/row
  • 2 benches/utility seats
  • 1 dumbbell – weight stack
  • 18 yoga pads
  • 1 plyometric box
  • 2 medicine balls
  • 2 kettle bells

In the coming months, the wellness center will have a website that will include fitness class schedules and a form to register for them.

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

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

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.

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