Pulse

UConn Medical School 2020 Senior Awards

Awards ceremony program coverThe UConn School of Medicine Class of 2020 senior awards ceremony was an online affair, May 7. Following are this year’s honorees:

Student Awards

New England Pediatric Society Awards — Pediatrics
Brooke Schuman and Kristina Wagner

The Department of Pediatrics Chair Award For Innovation in Pediatric Education—Pediatrics
Rashmi Pashankar

Linda Ives Award — Pediatrics
Taylor Jackvony

The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Community Service Award — Pediatrics
Kelly Nedorostek

Internal Medicine Award
Bryan Ferrigno

Carl F. Hinz, Jr. Award—For Excellence in Scholars in Medicine
Michelle Duong

CT Chapter—American College of Physicians Award
Sonali Rodrigues

CT Academy of Family Physicians Award — Family Medicine
Miryam Wilson

Dr. David and Arthur Schuman Award — Family Medicine
Kathryn Topalis

CT Chapter of American College of Surgeons Award
Rebecca Calafiore

Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Award
Samuel Southgate

The Ramanlal and Kanchan Bulsara Fellowship Award
Nicholas Bellas

James F.X. Egan Medical Student Award— OB/GYN Award
Jennifer Park

American Academy of Neurology Award
Stephanie Vu

Excellence in Psychiatry Award
Maschal Mohiuddin

James H. Foster, M.D. — Teaching Awards
Salem Harry-Hernandez and Jennifer Lawson

Jan Wilms, M.D. & Carol Pfeiffer, Ph.D. Awards for Excellence in Clinical Skills
Stephanie Vu and Kristina Wagner

Health Career Opportunity Programs—Bridge Mentoring Awards
Nia Harris and Aloys Nsereko

School of Medicine Awards for Excellence in a Specific Discipline
Dylan Buller for Urology and Sonny Caplash for Ophthalmology

School of Medicine Awards for Overall Academic Excellence
Emily Isch, Divya Iyer, Anzhela Moskalik and Colin Pavano

School of Medicine Professionalism Awards
Jonathan Caranfa and Alice DiFrancesco

J.E.C. Walker, M.D. Medicine and Society Awards
Agata Harabasz for Primary Care and Angela Quental for Public Health

Lyman Stowe Award — School of Medicine
Miryam Wilson

UConn’s 2020 Outstanding Senior Women Academic Achievement Awards
Antea DeMarsilis

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Shyam Desai

University of Connecticut Health Center Auxiliary Award
Madeline DeWane

Student Affairs Award
Adam Bartholomeo

Dean’s Award for Overall Academic Achievement
Antea DeMarsilis

Faculty Awards

South Park Inn Clinic
Dr. Jonathan Pendleton

Kaiser-Permanente Teaching Award
Dr. Michael Baldwin

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Dr. Kirsten Ek

Outstanding Outpatient Clinical Preceptor (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Michael Baldwin

Outstanding Inpatient Clinical Preceptor (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Sean Kandel

Outstanding Educator (Voted on by the Class of 2021)
Dr. Michael Baldwin

Survey: Heroes Behind the Heroes?

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

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

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

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

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.