Farmington Campus

Campus Safety Corner: Report on Policing

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

Our communities today, especially individuals of color, feel that the police are a threat to their well-being. We respect and recognize that the history of policing is tarnished with their role in perpetuating racial injustice. We recognize and ask for forgiveness for the role of policing in segregation, xenophobia, corruption, and encroachments on constitutional rights. These are unpleasant truths for all us in policing. We acknowledge the pain, frustration, and anger that our communities feel and the distrust they have for the police.  However, we ask for forgiveness and hope. We want to learn and improve. There over 900,000 police officers in this country. We recognize that there are bad apples but we ask for hope that most of us want to be a resource and supportive of our communities.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, UConn Health had an increased need for security.  To provide the care that our community needed without becoming a financial burden, I had officers from regional campuses as well as Storrs relocated to UConn Health. This provided essential security functions for our health care workers and supporting staff working around the clock to combat the pandemic. We were fortunate to have the resources to allocate due to the campus closure at the other campuses. Currently, we are in the process of returning those officers to their assigned campuses, which might have contributed to the perception that we have all these officers on the UConn Health campus.

Our officers also receive the same training and authority to protect and serve their community as every police officer/police department in the state. UConn Police officers receive annual training in use of force and de-escalation techniques. We receive extensive training that focuses on communication and the use of less lethal options that are available to the officers. Our officers are taught about constitutional rights and provided with legal updates to make sure they understand application changes in areas like the constitutional amendments, which are continually altered by case law. Just recently we had officers attending a class addressing “Crowd Management and Protecting Civil Rights.” We mandate all our officers to read all policies and procedures and to speak up if they have a concern.  The well-being of our community members and supporting the mission of UConn and UConn health is our priority.

Finally, the sad truth is that there are predators out there who will target the weak. Quantifying the prevention police officers have in their communities is impossible. We understand threats that exist and try to keep our community safe. For example, Federal Bureau statistics indicates that in the last 10 years, the United States averages approximately 20 active shooters per year and those numbers are on the rise. In the last 10 years, approximately 164 shootings have taken place in hospitals across the country. As a public institution, we are fully open to the general public.  We do not have the benefit to regulate access as private institutions. The freedom provided often comes with higher exposure.

The UConn Police Department values our community.  We acknowledge that change and transformation are always needed. We police with the consent of our community. We welcome our community as a partner and want them to hold us accountable. We work with our officers to ensure that they are not dehumanized by the uniform. We believe that ethical policing is essential and we focus on developing a policing culture that has a sense of ownership and loyal to every community member.

Do you have a suggested topic for the Campus Safety Corner? Email your suggestion, with “Campus Safety Corner” in the subject line, to pulse@uchc.edu.

Campus Safety Corner: Community Connection

Creating connections and engaging our community make up one of the cornerstones of our mission.

UConn Police Department group shot on Farmington campus
UConn police officers at the UConn Health campus for the Connecticut Special Olympics torch run June 2021. (Photo provided by Maggie Silver)

We understand the importance of human connection. As a police department, we try to find new and innovative ways to create new connections. We want to be part of our community and support the community in any way that leaves the community better.

Our officers know that giving back to the community is essential. Many of us do so by donating time, random acts of kindness, and helping others in need. We accomplish some of those goals by getting involved with many great organizations.

For example, we are strong supporters of the Special Olympics. This year, thanks to the hard work of Sgt. Dominic Nesci, the Law Enforcement Torch Run ran through our Farmington campus, with many officers participating, including Sgt. Nick Catania running in full uniform.

Chief Silver about to rappel down a 30-plus-story building
As a community outreach effort, UConn Deputy Police Chief Maggie Silver is taking part in a fundraiser for the Special Olympics by rappelling down a 31-story building at the Mohegan Sun Casino Sept. 3, 2021. Pictured here is the start of her descent in the same event in 2020. (Photo provided by Maggie Silver)

We also have conducted food drives, toy drives for DCF children, and stuff a cruiser with school supplies for inner city kids. For us, connecting with the community is a priority and hopefully we serve as a role model for others to join in helping.

It is also fun as it pushes us out of our comfort zone. Last year, I rappelled down 31 stories for “Over the Edge for Special Olympics of Connecticut” campaign. If you want to see some 2020 pictures go to my page. I also had a great group of people cheering me on and waiting for me at the bottom. I’m doing it again this year, on Sept. 3 — scary and fun but also a great way to support!

Take time to help each other. When we support each other, we succeed, we heal, we grow.

Do you have a suggested topic for the Campus Safety Corner? Email your suggestion, with “Campus Safety Corner” in the subject line, to pulse@uchc.edu.

Campus Safety Corner: UConn Police Community Survey

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

Constructive feedback can be empowering and helpful for all of us to achieve our goals. While feedback when not delivered appropriately could develop hurtful feelings, it is vital to understand that feedback helps us progress. Developing critique sessions for yourself and/or your team takes practice. At first these sessions may seem time consuming but with patience and commitment, constructive criticism just makes you and the team stronger.

There a few guidelines to follow when exposing yourself and the team to constructive criticism. First, be transparent about your goals. Second, remember that disagreement on issues is not necessarily a bad thing. Difficult dialogue helps us understand other perspectives and grow. Third, create situations where feedback is exchanged, meaning those receiving feedback are willing to receive it.  Our goal is not to criticize but to analyze what can be improved, what is being done well, and identify actionable items for growth.

In the spirit of positive growth, the UConn Police Department is seeking our community’s feedback. We want to hear from you about what is being done right and what we need to improve. To achieve this, we invite all members of the community to provide feedback through our anonymous online UConn Police Community Survey. Your opinion matters. Our goal with the survey is to capture the attitudes and opinions of the community with respect to:

  • overall agency performance
  • overall competency of agency employees
  • citizens’ perception of officers’ attitudes and behavior
  • communication with the community
  • community concern over safety and security within the agency’s service area
  • citizens’ recommendations and suggestions for improvements

Completing this survey should take about 15 minutes and help shed light on how we can better assist our community. Find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R5RFHCJ.

Do you have a suggested topic for the Campus Safety Corner? Email your suggestion, with “Campus Safety Corner” in the subject line, to pulse@uchc.edu.

Campus Safety Corner: When Comfort Zone Becomes Dangerous

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

The core enemy of situational awareness is complacency. Each one of us develops instinctual situational awareness. Over time, we get complacent in our comfort zones or stop listening to our senses. We disconnect from paying attention. We let our guards down.

I am not asking you to be in constant hyper-alert mode. An endless hyper-alert mode is draining and dangerous to our health. Understanding your unique relationship and response to your environment is vital to situational awareness. Exercising your situational awareness is good for all.  If each of us takes a moment to check our surroundings and report any unusual behaviors or situations, our community is better off for it.

As a reminder, an individual should not make you uncomfortable. The behavior makes you uncomfortable. Their actions, or in some cases inactions, which seem odd or out of place are what you will report. Frequently individuals make comments after an incident occurred stating that they felt like something was not right. However, they failed to notify an authority because they did not listen to their personal alarm. Next time a situation seems odd, remove the individual. Observe the actions or inactions of the person. You know your environment; trust your senses, and report the behavior that does not fit the situation.

Remember that situational awareness must be practiced because it quickly erodes into complacency. Practice situational awareness by thinking of activities that reduce your complacency and increase your ability to be present.

Do you have a suggested topic for the Campus Safety Corner? Email your suggestion, with “Campus Safety Corner” in the subject line, to pulse@uchc.edu.

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

 

 

Campus Safety Corner: Testing Our Resilience

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

The new phrase in our vocabulary as we reconnect with family and friends in an attempt to reset our routines is “this is new normal.” For many people, the mere thought of this as a new normal is upsetting. If you are one of those individuals, give yourself permission to be dismayed. We have experienced a global pandemic. However, remember that there is an amazing resilience within each one of us.

  • Resilience is a key element to our survival. Resilience is about growing and even thriving in adversity. The key is to develop opportunities to feed your resilience through mindfulness, relationships, and goals. Each of those points has the potential to improve your resilience. For instance, one of the most important aspects of resilience is mindfulness. Feed the positive and disregard the negative. Develop a system of checks and balances of your daily thoughts. Learn to foster and trust healthy thoughts.
  • Relationships are essential to resilience. At this stage, you can have a gathering with appropriate social distancing or have a Zoom party. Nurture your support system and respect your journey as well as the journey of those around you.
  • Lastly, establish goals and outline objectives that will help you positively focus your energy. Develop a positive, clear path for yourself.

These three simple measures will ensure that regardless of the type of life-changing situation you face, you will always emerge stronger. 

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

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