UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - February 16, 2021
Welcome to the FMCH Tuesday Talk.

We will have a focus of the memo each week, along with timely upcoming events and other announcements.

Week 1 – Clinical Updates
Week 2 – Education Updates
Week 3 – Community Health Updates
Week 4 – Research Updates
Week 5 - (when available) – Other

Please continue to send us your announcements, celebrations, and accomplishments to [email protected]. Feel free to title according to the focus area. We look forward to hearing your news!
Message from the Chair

I am pleased to share that Steve Anderson has joined the department in an interim position to assist with clinical finance and administration. He is splitting his time with Barre, where he is also serving as interim practice manager. Steve, Jodi Early and Linda Cragin will work very closely together. Steve can be reached at [email protected]. Please join me in welcoming him. Meanwhile, we have engaged a search firm to identify a permanent administrator.

Many thanks to all of you for a job well done during the most recent COVID surge. You stayed strong and diligent, and words cannot express our gratitude. Our gratitude expands from the inpatient service to ambulatory to the community. Family Medicine and Community Health, we thank you!

We thank Tim Clark, Practice Manager at Barre, as he resigns for another opportunity. Thank you for all the great work. We appreciate the energy and commitment to the clinical environment. We wish you well on new beginnings!
Upcoming Events

FMCH Grand Rounds
February 16th, Tuesday 12 - 1pm: "Readmission Prevention" presented Kimberly Barry, RN, and Caryn Sullivan, MSW

FMCH Primary Care Research Forum
February 19th, Friday -12 - 1pm: Presented by Dan Mullin, PsyD, MPH, James Anderson, PhD (Bassett Healthcare Network and a former fellow in our dept.) and Steve Martin, MD, MEd. They will be presenting "Project ECHO and Primary Care Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders: Implementation and Clinical Outcomes". Password: FMCHFORUM

Faculty Development Workshop - Virtual Instruction
February 25th, Thursday - 12:15 - 1:15pm: Presented by Reid Evans, PhD
RSVP to [email protected] for zoom information

Faculty Promotion Workshop - Asst. Prof. to Assoc. Prof.
March 4th, Thursday 12 - 1:30pm: Presented by Warren Ferguson, MD
RSVP to [email protected] for zoom information

Faculty Promotion Workshop - Assoc. Prof to Professor
March 10th, Wednesday 7:30 - 9am: Presented by Warren Ferguson, MD
RSVP to [email protected] for zoom information
Department Member Recognition

At the 33rd annual UMass Medical School tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., Chancellor Collins presented the 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion to Linda Long-Bellil, JD, PhD. Linda is a research consultant for Commonwealth Medicine, where she has directed research, policy and training projects related to health and employment of persons with disabilities, her faculty appointment is in FMCH. “Dr. Long-Bellil’s impact extends across our medical school and broader health care communities,” said Chancellor Collins, during the virtual event. “The arc of Linda’s career is connected by a single mission: to enhance health care experiences and the quality of life for people with disabilities".

Several department members have contributed to recent COVID-19 vaccine community conversations and town halls. The aim is to provide information and respond to questions and concerns. Jennifer Bradford, MD was a panelist for the Black Families Together, Josephine Fowler, MD was part of the City of Worcester Officials and Employees and Olga Valdman, MD participated in the African immigrant community discussion. Mattie Castiel, MD, has been part of 13 discussions . More are planned for the coming weeks. If you are interested plans for additional forums, contact Suzanne Cashman.

  • Worcester’s 2021 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) will be featured at the Coalition for Healthy Greater Worcester’s annual meeting on March 24th, 4:00-6:00 p.m.  See attached announcement for registration and zoom information.

  • Hepatitis C and General Hepatology Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) You are invited to join an exciting virtual collaborative learning opportunity! A new cohort begins, Friday, March 5th, 12:30 - 1:30pm, with 10 sessions held bi-monthly. Register at

  • The FMCH Town Halls are once again being recorded for those unable to join the live meeting. A separate folder has been created on the FMCH website under Faculty Resources. No password is required to view these recordings. This URL will take you to the Faculty Resources portion of the FMCH website and it can be bookmarked for future reference.
Research Publications

  • Carole Upshur, EdD's article "When is it too much?" appeared in The Newsletter of the American College of Correctional Physicians, Vol 23, Winter 2020 p. 5 about experiencing a lock down in a Head Start classroom and the need for better gun legislation and behavioral health services for children. It had previously appeared as an item in the DFMCH Thursday Memo and chillingly came out two days after the Capitol riot when our Congress members were similarly cowering on the floor of the House and Senate.

  • Carole Upshur, EdD, published an article, "How coronavirus (and other human disease) is related to climate change"  in the January-April 2021 issue of Terra Firma, The Sierra Club's Lower Hudson Valley publication.
Department News Spotlight

DFMCH Mentorship Program – 2021-22
In 2013, the Department made a decision to invest in our growing number of junior and mid-career faculty through the establishment of a formal, structured mentorship program. Since then over 70 faculty have participated in the program as mentors or mentees and sometimes serving as both! We are so pleased with the success of the program and are happy to announce a 2021 offering which will officially launch this Spring.
We are asking those interested in participating fill out a brief application (see below), and commit to attendance at an orientation session, regularly scheduled meetings between mentor/mentee (every 6-8 weeks over the 18 month program), progress updates as determined by the program and completions of an overall evaluation of the program. We are looking for faculty members who seek some mentoring in achieving a goal related to developing an academic focus to their work, clinical/academic leadership, assistance with developing an identified project, career development, work-life balance, etc., and for mentors who are willing to share their expertise in these areas.
  • Want to participate as a mentee? We invite faculty members (preference is given to Assistant and Associate Professors) who are interested in establishing a relationship with a mentor to apply for acceptance into the program by filling out the following application. To be considered, please submit your completed application by Friday, February 26th. In the Spring we plan to invite all mentor/mentee pairs to join us for an event to officially launch the program and provide the pairs with some baseline program expectations.
  • Interested in serving as a mentor? If so, we invite Associate Professors and Professors to also complete a short application by Friday, February 26th and let us know which areas (identified above) you would be most interested in working on with a faculty member.
  • Already involved in the program? We have allowed successful pairs to continue in the formal program if they wish to do so. Please let Jennifer Masoud know if you would like to request doing so.

Full Dental Coverage for your Adult Patients is Here!
The MassHealth Dental Program restored adult dental benefits effective January 1, 2021 through the hard work of advocates and the legislature in Massachusetts. Patients over the age of 21 who have MassHealth coverage are now able to access a greater number of dental services. Previously adults could get restorations (fillings) and extractions. Now they are also entitled to root canals and crowns which will save more teeth! In addition, patients still have access to preventive visits including cleanings and x-rays, periodontal services for periodontitis, and partial/complete dentures. What this means for your MassHealth patients is, they now have full preventive and restorative care. This is an important change to adult benefits as it expands the member’s access to care. Please be sure to educate your patients about these new benefits and refer them to a participating MassHealth dentist for comprehensive care. We recommend asking every patient at their annual exam about the care of their teeth, doing a quick oral exam, and making a referral to the dentist. You can access a list of dentists through the easy-to-use Find a Provider Tool at www. or call 1-800-207-5019

Health Equity Well Child Visit Improvement Initiative- True North
The Healthy Equity Task Force to Improve Well Child Visits solicit your assistance in identifying those patients within your practice who are due for WCC visits. Our goal is to improve the percentage of patients receiving visits and immunizations in a timely manner and to close the gap of missed visits among racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Hispanic and African American children. Well Child visits are at the core of Family Medicine. The institutional baseline is Hispanics is 64%; 59% African Americans; and 71% Whites
Target: Increase percentage of well child visits by 5% from baseline
Reach: Increase percentage of well child visits by 10% from baseline

The New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC) received CARES Act/COVID-19 Response funding to develop a Community of Practice and Learning (CoPL). Amber Cahill, PsyD and Sarah Pearson, PsyD lead monthly discussions with behavioral health and support staff on the front lines. They focus on strategies to support providers as they provide services to older (50+) adults with or at risk for HIV and care for the caregiver. Two themes are: 1) identifying ways to increase and expand outreach and engagement and 2) providing up-to-date, relevant and targeted education and resources that are client-friendly. One conclusion is that expanding outreach and engagement resulted in increasing clients’ access to needed services and support while decreasing their feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression.
The Worcester Prevention Research Center--led by DPQHS faculty with contributions from our faculty --produced user-friendly COVID -19 resources. See the attached fact sheets in English and Spanish endorsed by the City of Worcester, UMMS, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Family Health Center of Worcester, St. Vincent Hospital, Fallon Health, and Reliant Medical Group. Translations in Albanian and Vietnamese are underway.

Research Support
A reminder that the Department offers support for FMCH faculty research leading to scholarly publications and/or presentations. You can find more information, including a form for requesting support, on the FMCH website: Research Initiatives - UMass Medical School - Worcester
Clinical Services Spotlight: COVID 19 Updates
  • Currently 50,000+ active cases in the state. Confirmed deaths are 14, 964.
  • The 7-day positivity rate is 2.65% for the State and 3.05% for Worcester.
  • 19,871 confirmed cases in Worcester.
  • 642 related deaths to date in UMass Memorial Health Care and Saint Vincent Hospital.
  • With numbers decreasing, operations for inpatient services are gradually returning to normal. Two floors at Memorial have transitioned back to non-COVID care.
  • The FMIS third team was phased out as of end of day 2/14/21 somewhat ahead of schedule. Outpatient providers who were deployed to help the FMIS returned to their usual duties as of this week. A special shout out to Jeremy Vincent, MD, Henry DelRosario, MD, Sandra Augusto, MD, MPH and Nick Hajj, MD for their willingness to take this on and for doing a terrific job!

Basic COVID Tips for the Clinical Provider
  • Non- respiratory symptoms may occur before fever and lower respiratory symptoms.
  • Children may have fewer symptoms than adults. Maintain a high index of suspicion for children with complex medical conditions.
  • A person with SARS CoV-2 can have coinfections with other bacterial, fungal, and viral conditions.
  • currently, there is no approved post-exposure prophylaxis for people who may have been exposed to SARS CoV-2.
  • Deterioration of SARS CoV-2 can occur as quickly as 1 week. Median time of progression is 8-12 days.
  • More thorough information can be found on the CDC website.

Vaccination Update
  • Massachusetts COVID vaccine doses delivered by Race/Ethnicity. 64% white; 5.1% Black; 4.1% Asian; 3.9% Hispanic (as of February 11)
  • Massachusetts announced opening additional Mass Vaccination sites on February 2011. The State anticipates opening a new Mass Vaccination Site at Worcester State on February 16. Students from the Med School, Graduate School of Nursing, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will be assisting at the Worcester State site.
  • UMass continues to vaccinate patients 75 years and older at the Mercantile Center in Worcester. Patients must have an appointment to be vaccinated. Please note that due to a shortage of vaccine, and the state’s decision to focus more of the vaccine supply on mass vaccination sites, new appointments for patients will be on hold for 2-3 weeks. Enough supply has been obtained to vaccinate those patients who already have appointments.
  • Vaccination for Employees will transition to Employee Health on February 28. There are options to schedule before the end of the month for employee vaccination.

Visitor policy changing
  • Maternity Floor: The laboring patient will be able to have 1 asymptomatic visitor plus 1 labor support during visiting hours from 2pm-8pm.
  • Adult inpatient policy: Allowed 1 visitor per day. Approved visitor should be entered into visitor screen in EPIC by 2pm.

COVID-19 UMass Community Testing Site:
201 Commercial Street, Worcester (intersection of Commercial St. and Mechanic St.)​​.
No appointment is required.                            
Week of February 15, 2021:
  • Tuesday, February 16          10:30am to 3:00pm
  • Thursday, February 18         10:30am to 3:00pm                
Week of February 22, 2021:
  • Monday, February 22           11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Tuesday, February 23          11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Thursday, February 25         11:00am to 3:00pm

COVID-19 Testing Compliance
The UMMS Testing site in the medical school has been available to employees since the last week of June 2020. The goal of the COVID-19 testing is to identify those individuals who test positive for COVID-19 who have no symptoms and may inadvertently spread virus on the campus. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and call EHS (508-793-6400) or SHS (508-334-2818) for testing.

The following individuals are required to be tested:
  • All employees who are on campus at least two times per week.
  • All students are required to be tested weekly if they come onto the medical school or UMMHC clinical campuses in Worcester (University, Memorial, Hahnemann) at least one time per week.

COVID-19 vaccine status does not exempt anyone from these testing requirements. However, employees and students who have had COVID-19 in the past are exempt from the testing requirement for up to 90 days.
To ensure that employees are testing at the appropriate frequency, we will start to send out compliance reports to managers weekly on Tuesdays. The ‘manager’ is defined as the person who is identified in PeopleSoft. If that is not the correct person, then recipients should forward it to the correct person in their department. Department-wide compliance reports are not yet available for Department Heads but we hope to add this feature in the near future.
Managers are notified of non-compliance when 10 or more days have elapsed since the last COVID-19 test has been submitted in those employees who have badge swiped into the building at least two times over the prior week. For students, a single badge swipe in the preceding 7 days will be utilized to assess for compliance.
It is expected that managers/supervisors will address non-compliance in a positive fashion to ensure that their staff and students remain compliant with testing for everyone’s continued safety. If there are employees on your list who you do not supervise, please contact [email protected] so that we may determine the appropriate individual to be notified.

Travel Recommendations Update: To keep our caregivers safe and in alignment with the state’s current guidelines, we have extended travel restrictions to April 1, 2021. This includes:
  • No business travel out of state or internationally prior to April 1 (exceptions for compelling reasons will be considered)
  • Employees traveling out of state or internationally for personal reasons prior to April 1 will need to inform their manager and Employee Health, and complete an Employee Travel Form in advance of their plans. Visit our COVID-19 Employee FAQs to learn more about what you need to do when returning from travel. 
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.
Working on Wellness
Yoga Classes with Dr. Liz Erban

Please join department members for early morning gentle yoga, Wednesday mornings 6:30am via Zoom. Much appreciation to Dr. Erban for hosting these outstanding classes. Join Zoom Meeting
Zumba with Dr. Anna Zheng
Please join department members Monday mornings at 6:00am, Thursday evenings at 6:00pm, Saturday mornings at 9:00am and get moving with Zumba via Zoom. Much appreciation to Dr. Anna Zheng for hosting these outstanding classes. Join Zoom meeting: