Employees

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

Chaplain’s Corner: 2 Years of COVID

The Rev. Daniel D. Warriner is UConn Health’s chaplain. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Is there any way to recap these past two years? It’s hard to say. Yet, moments like this are necessary because acknowledging this benchmark is important.

Remember when we were just supposed to wait two weeks and everything would be alright? But then two years passed. Many got sick. Some recovered. Some died. Our patient care routines changed. Our lives changed.

COVID has impacted my entire life — all of it — mind, body, and spirit. COVID brought loss. My reaction to the losses from COVID brought grief. So it makes sense that I’m still grieving. I talk about grief a lot because it is all around us. How about you? As we emerge from pandemic life, could I encourage you to spend some time considering how COVID has affected you — mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, spiritually.

Your grief is necessary. However, if I’m honest with myself, tackling grief is often the last thing I want to be doing. It’s hard to make space to really sit with a loss. But even when it doesn’t feel productive and I’d rather not deal with it, going through the grief process is an absolutely necessary experience. Why? Because the reality is that you lost something and it hurts badly, and like any other injury, it needs to be addressed and tended to. If a cut gets infected when left untreated, how much more will our grieving, injured hearts cause us trouble if we don’t take intentional steps to heal after a season of loss?

yellow heartDo you know what happens to grief if you do your best to ignore or hide your pain? It listens to you and goes somewhere into the depths of your heart, where it transforms. It doesn’t go away, but rather gets balled up and tends to “leak” out in the form of anger, depression, or unhealthy habits. This is worse than the grief itself.

So, how do we care for our grieving hearts? Just like any other traumatic injury, we have to acknowledge it, find ways to rest, and patiently work through the steps of healing. Depending on the moment and the stage of grief, this might look like a conversation with a friend, prayer, taking a long run, reading a good book, going on a day trip, or talking with a counselor. These are small steps on the road of healing. They don’t take away what happened but they can help to move us forward in our journey.

Grief and loss have the power to define us, but they also have the power to spark growth in us. What may start off like a small seed in you can blossom, causing you to grow in ways you hadn’t imagined before. My hope is that we can navigate this path of grief with empathy, kindness, patience, and love — both for ourselves and for one another.

—Rev. Daniel D. Warriner, UConn Health Chaplain

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.

 

Making Positive Changes in a Slow but Productive Way

Linda York portrait
Linda York is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at UConn Health. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at UConn Health, every day I am educating patients on their diet for various reasons.

Perhaps it’s how to eat a lower-fat, healthier diet to lose weight, how to eat a consistent carbohydrate meal plan to achieve better glucose control, or how to improve gastrointestinal symptoms by making dietary modifications. Whatever it is, it involves change. As we all know, achieving change can be overwhelming.

Why is that? In the Fogg Behavior Model explained in the book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, author B.J. Fogg explains that there is a relationship between three factors: motivation, ability, and prompt. He explains that motivation can be on a scale of 0 to 10, and the higher your motivation the easier it is to do something. However, we need something to prompt us to do something. These prompts or cues for me could be that before I go downstairs, I bring my running clothes and sneakers so it is easy to put them on and do my morning run.

Another important point is to have specific little habits that you do which will add up to losing weight versus having a goal of just losing weight. An example could be, every time I sit down to eat I am going to drink 2 cups of water. This will fill me up and help me to eat less at that meal, and help me stay hydrated. Perhaps feeling good about drinking those 6 cups of water will help you to then eat at least half of the plate of veggies. One good tiny habit leads to the other.

How many times have you heard to do a half hour of aerobic exercise every day? Perhaps if you try to do a five-minute walk at the same time every day, you will be successful at being consistent in that five-minute walk and gradually will increase your walk to 10 minutes and so on until you get to your goal of 30 minutes each day. Eventually, walking for a half hour and drinking two cups of water before each meal will become a habit.

So next time you want to make a change such as learn a language, lose some weight, or become a better listener, break it down and achieve one tiny habit at a time.

—Linda York M.S., R.D., CDCES

Linda York is a Sodexo dietitian who works in the outpatient clinic at UConn Health.

Looking at Us: Registered Dietitians

‘Changing the Way People and Patients Eat, One Plate at a Time,’ a perspective from UConn Health dietitian Linda York

Linda York portrait
Linda York is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at UConn Health. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

You have seen them around – perhaps in the NICU, on the medical floors, in the cafeteria, at medical meetings, education seminars, in the outpatient cancer center or diabetes nutrition clinic. Who are they? They are the registered dietitians of UConn Health, employed by Sodexo. (Sodexo is a worldwide food service company for hospitals, companies and other venues and has been at UConn Health for several years.)

March is National Nutrition Month so our Sodexo registered dietitians will be in the cafeteria featuring a weekly theme and a delicious recipe from Sodexo.  Chef Roland will prepare a sample of the recipe for you to taste.

Here is a summary of the weekly themes presented for National Nutrition Month.

Week 1: Kerry Coughlin, MSRD, kicks it off with “Smart Tips to Build a Healthy Salad.”

Week 2: Hannah Anctil, R.D., presents “Eating on the Run in 2021.”

Week 3: Erin McDonald, R.D., offers “Power Up Breakfast.”

Week 4: William Kelsey, R.D., features a cultural food theme.

National Nutrition Month 2021 logo
(provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)

The other Sodexo registered dietitians at UConn Health who are working behind the scenes for National Nutrition month are Erica Burdon, MSRD, Chris Carnright, MSRD and myself.

And who keeps us all organized? That would be Melissa Kelly, MSRD, Sodexo hospital clinical manager, who not only manages the R.D. staff, she also offers her clinical expertise and guidance in all areas of clinical nutrition.

Be sure to check Lifeline for posts featuring the weekly recipe/handout done by our Sodexo registered dietitians.

And next time you see one of us, please say hello. We are here for you!

—Linda York MSRD, CDCES