UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - January 31, 2023/DIVERSITY

Welcome to the FMCH Tuesday Talk. Please continue to send us your announcements, celebrations, and accomplishments to

Table of Contents

Message from the Chair

Upcoming Events

Welcome from the Chair

Focus of the Week - Diversity


Presentations & Publications

Frankly Speaking Podcast

Clinical Services Spotlight

Message from the Chair


The winter surge that is taxing our inpatient capacity continues with record high inpatient census, and hospital acute care medicine services far beyond capacity. The good news is substantial improvement locally and across the state in COVID-19 infections. COVID infections are about half what they were at the beginning of this month, and down about 20% from last week. Unfortunately, the medical center continues to start each day with a bed deficit greater than 100 (119 yesterday)- that is, patients admitted but waiting for a bed. Surgical and specialty services are assisting Hospital Medicine teams where possible by managing patients on their own services. Hallway and surge beds remain in use. A number of work groups have sought immediate and near-term solutions to safely avoid the EDs (e.g. expanding staffing for Saturday Urgent Care in Benedict) and expedite bed availability (e.g. Hospital Discharge Lounge at University).


A month of extraordinary gun violence in the US leaves us shaken. In mass shootings across the country in January alone, 49 lives have been lost, and 104 injured (source: Rather than viewing this solely as a failure of law enforcement, this is a public health tragedy. As such, public funding of prevention and intervention that engages community expertise and leadership in finding solutions, following approaches demonstrated effective in other areas of public health, must be part of the solution.


And finally, I know we all share our heartbreak and outrage for the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols. We grieve for the family and his Memphis community. Recognizing the reality that such events re-traumatize individuals and communities who have experienced a legacy of brutality at the hands of police, we offer love and support to our community.


Thanks for all each of you do every day to show kindness and shine a light where there is too much darkness. 

Upcoming Events

FMCH Grand Rounds

Tuesday, January 31st, 12:00 - 1:00pm, "Management of First Trimester Pregnancy Loss", presented by Kristina Gracey, MD, MPH.

Meeting ID: 191 986 273 Passcode: FMCH

Special Seminar

Wednesday, March 22nd, 12:00 - 1:00pm, "Improving Cancer Health Equity in Rural Settings through Participatory Implementation Science", presented by Melinda M. Davis, Ph.D., M.C.R. Dr. Davis is an Associate Professor at Oregon Health & Sciences University, Interim Director of the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network and co-Director of the OCTRI Community and Collaboration Core. Dr. Davis conducts participatory implementation science research with patient, community, and health system partners to improve health and enhance health equity in rural settings. Please register in advance for this webinar.

Career Development Workshop

Thursday, March 23rd, 12:00 1:00pm, Presented by Melinda M. Davis, Ph.D., M.C.R., for early-career researchers and faculty, however, all are welcome.

Welcome from the Chair

As we build our research capacity, I want to welcome Arundhati Debnath, Clinical Research Coordinator III, and Nahida Ferdoush, Clinical Research Coordinator I, who join us from Einstein Medical Center and will continue to be based in New York, working with Dr. Karasz. Also welcome to Dr. Tracy Kedian, who, while well known to the department, will have new responsibilities at Hahnemann. 

Focus of the Week - Diversity

UMass Chan's Diversity Campus Read for 2023 is Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides by Geoffrey L. Cohen, PhD.  Register for a discussion with Dr. Cohen on Thursday, February 16th, at 2:00p.m.:

Thank you to the 96 people who have already completed the 2023 FMCH Climate Survey. Raffle prizes have been awarded to department members in Fitchburg and Barre this week. We also will be giving the clinical site with the most survey participants a pizza party. Respond now for your chance to win in drawings on Tuesday, January 31st AND on the extended deadline of Tuesday, February 7th.

We’re pleased to congratulate this year’s winner of the Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion, Robert Layne MEd, Dean of Outreach Programs and the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative. Kudos also to Marlina Duncan, EdD, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, on her receipt of the Diamond Award for Excellence in Education, Leadership, Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, Humanitarian, Philanthropic and Community Engagement from the Not Alone Foundation in Atlanta, GA.

February is Black History Month. We are pleased to share this calendar of relevant local events, compiled by our partners at the Village, an Afrocentric community center located at 4 King Street in Worcester.


Past editions of the Tuesday Talk Newsletter are available here under Resources.

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)

You are invited to join an exciting virtual collaborative learning opportunity!

What? Hepatitis C ECHO, a virtual case-based tele-mentoring educational model

Who? Primary care interdisciplinary team members (providers, nurses, social workers, community health workers, patient navigators, etc.)

Why? Tele-mentoring model that links specialists to primary care providers (PCPs) via video conferencing from any computer; Case based, iterative learning facilitated by specialists and related experts; through guided practice, PCPs become proficient in specialty care

When? A new cohort begins Friday, February 3rd, 2023, 12:30 - 1:30pm ~ with 10 sessions held bi-monthly.

Curriculum content includes:

·   HCV screening

·   Acute HCV

·   Chronic HCV: Workup

·   Treatment of non-cirrhotic patients

·   Treatment of cirrhotic patients

·   Monitoring during treatment

·   Monitoring post treatment

·   "Topic by request"

·   Other hepatitides in the context of HCV/Hepatitis A&B

·   Treatment of special populations

Register at

The Co-Editors of the APA journal Families, Systems, & Health seek qualified professionals to serve on our Editorial Board. Editorial Board membership provides an opportunity to make a substantial contribution to the process of science and, for this journal, to curating the literature in integrated care, healthcare, and family systems. We have an engaged and diverse leadership team and look forward to adding several new members in Spring 2023. Consistent with our values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we encourage inquiries and applications from members of minoritized and underrepresented groups. Needed areas of expertise include: pediatrics, addiction medicine, workforce development/interprofessional training, collaborative care management, family systems, nursing, qualitative methods, integrated care in specialty settings, policy research, health services research, and psychiatry.

Editorial Board members’ responsibilities include:

  • completing at least 6 high quality manuscript reviews annually
  • attending twice annual board meetings (by zoom)

Board members are encouraged to take optional leadership roles on special projects. For example, members have written guest editorials, contributed guest commentary, partnered to guest edit a special issue or section, presented on behalf of the journal in webinars or conference venues, and participated in a workgroup to address equity, diversity, and inclusion within the journal. Families, Systems, & Health has a diverse readership including both academics and professionals working in the health care industry. A key focus of the journal has been to promote translational science and accessibility of the work. Thus, we seek professionals from both within and outside traditional academic settings who can demonstrate their fit with this mission. Additional desired qualifications include: past service on an editorial board or the completion of at least 5 ad hoc reviews, track record of at least 5 peer-reviewed publications over the past 5 years, and any additional evidence of experience in scholarly writing and translational work (e.g., book chapters, conference presentations, blogs, podcasts, etc. regarding empirical topics). To apply, please send a CV and short letter of interest/personal statement addressing the qualifications above to: Robyn Shepardson, Ph.D., DEADLINE: February 17th.


SAVE THE DATE: The MassAFP Annual Meeting and Spring Refresher will be

March 24-25. See the attached flyer for more details or go to:

Manju Mahajan is co-chair of the MassAFP Education Committee. 

Mindfulness and Compassion During Tumultuous Times - Essential Tools to Remain Steady and Whole, presented by Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, CMMT and Gail Gazelle, MD, MCC, CMMT.

Friday, May 5, 2023, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm (ET)

At this in-person program, you will acquire practical strategies to quiet your mind and gain mastery over worries and self-doubt. You’ll learn about the neuroscience behind mindfulness and meditation, and practice with a variety of readily accessible tools that will help you attain calm, clarity, and the balance you need to build resilience and avoid physician burnout. Event Info (

Fellowship Match! - Mark Skiba, MD, PhD, has matched into our Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western New England College and obtained a PhD in Mammalian Genetics at Clark University. After postdoctoral research in Molecular Genetics at UMass, Dr. Skiba obtained his MD at UMass Chan Medical School and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at UMass. Dr. Skiba has been practicing hospital-based medicine at Milford Regional Medical Center for the last twenty years.

Presentations & Publications

Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, recent publication; Estave P, Margol C, Beeghly S, Anderson R, Shakir M, Coffield A, Byrnes J, O’Connell N, Seng E, Gardiner P, Wells RE.  Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Patients with Migraine: Results of a Qualitative Study. Headache, in print, 2023.

Daria Szkwarko, Adjunct Associate Professor, who heads up our department's LTBI ECHO Program and serves core faculty member in our Preventive Medicine Residency has co-authored (along with Rebecca Thal, MSN, NP at FHCW and a graduate of Phil Bolduc’s HIV Fellowship at FHCW) an article on the management of latent Tb infection:

Frankly Speaking Podcast

A weekly Podcast series covering newsworthy topics in primary care medicine.

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Please join us for an overview: The prevalence of anxiety and depression has been increasing in US youth over the past decade with noted increases during the pandemic. The USPSTF recently released its recommendations supporting general screening for depression in 12-to18-year-olds. Join us while we discuss the recommendations, the basis for these recommendations, how to integrate them into practice, and some strategies on how to support adolescents and families with a positive screen. Guest: Susan Feeney, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, presents: "Screening for Depression and Suicide Risk in Adolescents-Do You Know What to Do?". - Frankly Speaking Ep 313.

Clinical Services Spotlight:


Worcester Health Rankings 2022

  • Worcester is ranked among the least healthy counties in MA. 
  • Worcester ranks 11 of the 14 counties in MA in health outcomes.
  • Among modifiable risk factors, Worcester (WO) is ranked in the lower middle range of counties in Massachusetts (Lower 25%-50%).

For details, see link below:


Focus on Wellness

As 2023, starts, we desire to work closely with our institution to improve wellness for our employees. Please see the information below provided from the office of the CXO.


Guidance regarding management of Substance Use

  • Just a reminder that X-waiver for prescribing suboxone is no longer needed. It is officially rescinded as of January 12, 2023. 
  • Thanks to Dr. Hugh Silk and team for the recent Grand Rounds.

COVID-19 Cases US

  • In the US, there has been a 25% decrease in COVID in the last 14 days.
  • The daily average cases is 46,021 with about 68% noted as fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 MA Cases 

  • In the last 14 days, cases have been decreasing in MA.
  • There were 5,797 new COVID cases in the last 7 days.
  • The 7-day average percent positivity was 9.35%.
  • There are 266 patients primarily hospitalized with COVID. There are 863 patients hospitalized with COVID. 
  • There were 168 new confirmed deaths in the last 7 days. 


  • The UMMMC 7-day positively average is 8.2%.
  • There are 38 In House COVID positive patients. 61 percent are fully vaccinated.
  • Of the 38, 6 are in the ICU. Of those in the ICU, 5 are fully vaccinated. 
  • To date UMMMC has provided care for 64,823 COVID positive patients in the ED, acute care, and ICU. 
  • Employees out due to COVID-19 infection: rolling average of 11.

Wellness Resources

The Caring for the Caregiver Program provides resources such as the Caregiver Support Line (508-334-HELP) and The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers a variety of services and supports (including virtual peer support and wellness tips. EAP can be accessed at 866-263-3525, or, [company code UmassMemorial]. More information is available on the Caring for the Caregiver page.

Yoga Classes with Dr. Liz Erban

New members always welcome. Please join for early morning gentle yoga, Wednesday mornings 6:30am via Zoom. Much appreciation to Dr. Liz Erban for hosting these outstanding classes. 

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 923 9393 3653 Passcode: 764113