Employees

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.

Employee Recognition Ceremony 2019

Dr. Peter Deckers introduces the award and its meaning.Nominees for the Peter J. Deckers AwardPaige Dunion reads her nomination of Jim Behme, clinical simulation coordinator.Anne Horbatuck reads her nomination of Michelle Thomas, administrative officer for UMG.Kim Metcalf reads her nomination of Jessica Underwood, administrative director of the clinical laboratory and pathology.Jim Behme (center) winner of this year's Peter J. Deckers Award.Dr. Bruce Liang, Dr. Andy Agwunobi, Alyssa Cunningham, Jessica Underwood , Jim Behme, Scott Wetstone, Michelle Thomas, Laura Didden, Dr. Sharon Gordon, and Dr. Peter Deckers.

(Photos by Tina Encarnacion)

Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award: Jim Behme, simulation center coordinator! Jim was chosen among six worthy finalists who were celebrated for their exemplary contributions to UConn Health.

We also honored 508 colleagues who celebrated service milestones of 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. The ceremony was attended by a standing room of friends and colleagues. If you missed the ceremony, you can still catch it on MediaSite. UConn Health encourages employee recognition at all levels and provides and offers various ways you can recognize a colleague.


Campus Safety Corner: Run, Hide, Fight

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

Active threat incidents are often unpredictable and evolve quickly. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active threat incident. The Division of Public Safety aims to enhance preparedness through a “whole community” approach by providing resources.

If there is an active threat in your vicinity, you should do the following:

Run

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Get as far away from the threat as you can.
  • If you can’t run, hide.

Hide

  • Hide in an area out of the suspect’s view. (Preferably behind large objects)
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.
  • Ensure the lights are off.
  • Silence your cellphone or other electronic devices and remain quiet.
  • If you can, have options for moving or escaping.
  • As a last resort, if you can’t run or hide, be ready to fight.

Fight

  • As a last resort and only when your life is in danger.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the active threat.
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the suspect. When it is safe to do so, call 911 and give the location, number and physical description of the suspect(s), and the number of potential victims if possible.

We offer free training programs on active threat, de-escalation, workplace safety, and workplace violence: recognition and prevention. These courses can be requested via https://publicsafety.uconn.edu/police/education-and-programs/public-education/.

—UConn Deputy Police Chief Maggie Silver