UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - November 1, 2022/CLINICAL

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

Focus of the Week - Clinical


Department Member Recognition

Faculty Presentations/Publications

Frankly Speaking Podcast

Clinical Services Spotlight

Message from the Chair

Last Friday the Medical Center initiated a sustained Emergency Operations Activation in response to the current capacity crisis. (On Thursday, there were 108 patients admitted and awaiting a bed, an all time high) In response, a Command Center is now open from 0730 through 1800 Monday through Friday. A virtual Command Center will be open after hours and on weekends. The current capacity crisis has been worsening for months. COVID is an important factor, but not the only contributor to a statewide capacity crisis. As respiratory illness due to RSV, Flu and COVID increases, further stress on ED and inpatient capacity is expected in the coming months.


Many workgroups from across the continuum of care have formed and have been charged with rapid turnaround problem solving. Most relevant to our department, we are participating in Ambulatory and Hospital Medicine workgroups. If you have ideas, please contact me or Josephine Fowler.


In stressful times, it is important to pause and join together as a community to recognize

our exceptional faculty. Please join me virtually on November 15th at noon for our department's Annual Awards Ceremony. The link is: invitation is attached. 

Upcoming Events

FMCH Grand Rounds

Tuesday, November 1st, 12:00 - 1:00 pm, "The Current State of Access to Abortion Care in the United States", presented by Kristina Gracey, MD, MPH and Elizabeth Kelly, MD.

Meeting ID: 191 986 273 Passcode: FMCH

PCHC Talks

Wednesday, November 2nd

  • 9:00 am: "Population and Community Health Management from the Clinical Perspective", presented by Dr. Thomas Scornavacca, UMass Memorial Office for Clinical Integration, followed immediately by...
  • 10:00 am: "Linking Social Determinant of Health Screening to Effective Referrals Utilizing Community-Based Resources", presented by Kathleen Franco-Anthony and Denise Murphy, UMass Memorial CommunityHELP Team. Register/join both sessions at
  • 12:00pm: "Community Engagement for Health and Connection" - Family physician Dr. Erban will describe her experiences with the Walk With a Doc program and lessons learned through engaged activity with her patients in the community setting. Virtual session via Zoom. Register/ join at

 Thursday, November 3


FMCH Grand Rounds

Tuesday, November 8th, 12:00 - 1:00 pm, "Updates on Treatment of Diabetes from Hospital Medicine Perspective", presented by Aseem Ali, MD.

Meeting ID: 191 986 273 Passcode: FMCH

Focus of the Week - Clinical

Information for members of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

To report CMEs on the AAFP website, search activity number 95264 for a listing of all 2022 FMCH Faculty Development sessions, 91384 for a listing of all 2021 FMCH Faculty Development sessions, and 88033 for a listing of 2020 FMCH Grand Rounds.

Updates - From Dr. Manju Mahajan, Director of Advocacy, Worcester Family Medicine Residency

In terms of Resident Education, we are going through advocacy sessions with residents each week during PAL2. 


From the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians (MassAFP), a workgroup consisting of physicians and support staff has been created to discuss the telehealth reimbursement changes implemented by BCBS starting January 2023. The goal of the workgroup is to understand why the rates decreased to 80% and what actions can be taken to improve telehealth parity. Other private carriers have not adopted this change. 


Keeping a close watch on the "Step Therapy Bill - An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety Bill H.4929". More to read here -

FOR NEARLY EIGHT years, patient advocacy groups have been battling insurers to limit the use of step therapy, a policy requiring patients to try one treatment before accessing a different one. Could 2022 be the year a bill finally becomes law? Advocates saw hopeful signs Thursday, as lawmakers started moving a bill in informal sessions.

Updates - Dr. Josephine Fowler

Minority Affairs Section (MAS) AMA

Strategic Priorities

  • To improve diversity in medicine among underrepresented physicians and medical students.
  • To develop and activate impactful policies on issues and relevance to minority patients and physicians who are underrepresented in medicine. 
  • To improve engagement and communication among AMA members and external audiences.


The MAS activities continue to focus on supporting medical student groups that comprise of underrepresented minorities in medicine. We will continue to provide informal forums to provide mentoring and professional networking relationships and promote AMA membership and association priorities among prospective URM medical students, residents, and young physicians. The ultimate goal is to improve minority health policy and equity, as well as increasing diversity and success in the physician workforce. 


In 2022-2033, section leaders will partner with the Medical Education Business unit to examine gaps and opportunities that impact URM interest, engagement, and success along the medical education continuum from pathway programs, to pre-med programs, to medical school, to Match, to residency completion. 


Past editions of the Tuesday Talk Newsletter will now be available on the UMass Chan website under Resources. The editions currently available will be from October 2022 forward. Thank you to Mike Smith for his work creating the link to the archived Tuesday Talk newsletter.

The following is the link:

Physician Volunteers for the Barbershop Health Network

The Barbershop Health Network (BHN) is a UMass Chan medical student organization seeking to bring health literacy and engagement to the local Worcester community. We will be hosting a health screening event in collaboration with the YMCA. Student volunteers will be screening for hypertension, diabetes, and visual acuity at the YMCA basketball tournament held at Clark University on Saturday, November 12th and we are hoping to have at least two physician volunteers per shift present as preceptors and to provide medical advice if individuals have specific questions. 

Location: Clark University (950 Main Street, Worcester) Time: 11 AM - 4 PM (shifts available) If you would be interested in volunteering, please sign up for a shift: Physician Sign Up Sheet - BHN/YMCA Health Screening. If you have any questions, please email

The medical school has kicked off the annual employee giving campaign – UMass Chan Cares – a time when the medical school community comes together to demonstrate care and compassion for friends and neighbors.

By visiting, you may donate by payroll deduction, check or credit card, and direct your donation to a variety of worthy organizations and causes. They are:

  • UMass Chan’s North Quadrant Support Services initiative in partnership with the Worcester Public Schools providing support to address socioeconomic barriers to academic success faced by students.
  • Several funds administered by the UMass Chan Medical School Foundation:
  • The Research Fund supports UMass Chan research that advances treatments and cures for a range of diseases.
  • The Student Financial Aid Fund provides students who are financially disadvantaged.
  • The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund supports institution-wide efforts to educate our community about the importance of diversity and inclusion and address bias.
  • The UMass Chan Cancer Walk supports adult and pediatric cancer research and clinical trials of new and potentially lifesaving therapies.
  • The UMass Chan Medical School Fund allows UMass Chan to put the funds to use wherever and whenever the mission-critical need is greatest as situations arise throughout the year.
  • United Way of Central Massachusetts or more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations

Gender Affirming Care Provider Self-Identification and Directory

MassHealth is collecting information from MassHealth providers who want to voluntarily self-identify as providers of gender-affirming services. The purpose of this effort is to help members find MassHealth providers who offer gender-affirming care services. Using this self-reported information, MassHealth intends to post an informal directory of MassHealth gender-affirming care providers on the publicly available gender-affirming-care web page (, toward the end of this calendar year.

  • If you are an active MassHealth provider who provides gender-affirming care and would like to self-identify as such, please fill out the form at While you may fill out the form at any time, it would be helpful if you can do so by November 15, 2022.
  • If you are a MassHealth provider who had previously self-identified as a MassHealth provider of gender-affirming care, but would like to be removed from this gender-affirming care provider directory before the initial posting, please email with the subject line “gender-affirming care provider form removal,” by November 15, 2022.

For information about gender-affirming surgeries and hair removal as a treatment for gender dysphoria, visit MassHealth’s Guidelines for Medical Necessity Determination for Gender-Affirming Surgery and Guidelines for Medical Necessity Determination for Hair Removal, found at

Drs. Judson Brewer and Lia Antico in conjunction with the Brown Mindfulness Center is conducting a research study to test if a short mindfulness-based training is effective at reducing burnout in physicians. Participants must be physicians. If you are a physician and you are interested in helping us to learn about burnout, please contact Brown affiliated contact person at Use of this message for recruiting participants has been approved by Brown's Human Research Protection Program. Protocol # 2022003296. 

Department Member Recognition

Congratulations to Jim Ledwith who will receive the Worcester District Medical Society’s 2022 Dr. A Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award on November 5th. A retired pediatrician, A. Jane Fitzpatrick Kilroy, MD, was known to several generations of children and their parents as “Dr. Jane”. A strong supporter of her local community, Dr. Fitzpatrick received keys to the City of Worcester twice. Over the years, she served on various medical committees as well as the boards of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Mass, Girls, Inc., and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award was established in 1991 and is given annually by the Worcester District Medical Society as a memorial tribute to her legacy of service to recognize a member of the health care community for contributions beyond professional duties to improve the health and well-being of others.

Jordan Howard-Young has been awarded a DSRIP Primary Care/Behavioral Health Special Projects Grant of $40,000 for one year to expand the Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship at FHCW. This grant is administered by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and funded through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). 

 Faculty Presentations/Publications

The Worcester Telegram (10/30) published a commentary by Robin Clark on the barriers to lower prescription drug costs. 

Frankly Speaking Podcast

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

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Please join us for an overview: Most primary care clinicians are unaware of a possible association between childhood cat ownership and adult psychosis. Join us to hear the results of a recent retrospective study that suggests this link. Hear practical tips to share with patients who own an outdoor cat to help them avoid the toxoplasmosis that may be a potential etiologic agent for psychiatric illness. Guest: Robert Baldor, MD, presents: "Cats Causing Psychosis!". - Frankly Speaking Ep 300.

Clinical Services Spotlight:



  • There were 7,318 new cases and 86 new confirmed deaths reported in the last seven days.
  • The 7-day average percent positivity was 6.51%.
  • Total confirmed deaths: 22,023.


  • Prior 7-day average 21.1%, increased from 17.9% last week. 
  • COVID inpatient 7-day average is 58. Of the 58, 74% are fully vaccinated. 
  • Of the 5 in the ICU, 5 are fully vaccinated. 

RSV Illness in Adults 

  • RSV in adults is surging.
  • Symptoms for RSV in adults include congestion and runny nose, dry cough, low grade fever, sore throat, sneezing and headache. 
  • Severe cases will include fever, wheezing or shortness of breath, severe cough, rapid breathing, and cyanosis. 
  • Patients with asthma can have severe asthma attacks secondary to RSV. 

MA children with RSV are requiring transfer to other states in some instances due to bed crises. For children, symptoms may include cough, cold like symptoms, and runny nose. These symptoms are similar to Covid-19. 

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

Great time to join!

New members always welcome. Start your mid week with some relaxing yoga! 

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

Zumba with Dr. Anna Zheng

Classes on hold until further notice.