UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - February 23, 2021/RESEARCH
Welcome to the FMCH Tuesday Talk.

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

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!
Upcoming Events

FMCH Grand Rounds
February 23, Tuesday - 12 -1pm: "Anti-racism Task Force: Curricular Initiative" Presented by Tracy Kedian, MD, Virginia Van Duyne, MD, Jeanna Lee, PhD and Jordan Howard-Young, MD

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
Focus of the week - Research

Upcoming Workshops
Judy Savageau, MPH will lead two upcoming FMCH Faculty Development workshops this spring. Workshops will focus on getting started with dissemination, covering topics such as picking the right journal, guidelines for authorship, responding to reviewers and how to write for the peer-reviewed literature, covering the nuts and bolts of writing for academic journals. Dates and times TBA.
Upcoming Conferences and Calls for Abstracts
The research staff maintains a list of upcoming meetings and conferences that FMCH faculty members often attend. The list has information on deadlines for abstract submissions and links to conference websites. The list can be downloaded from the Department website:
Contact Kate Sullivan if you would like to add a conference to the list: [email protected] .

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
Department Member Recognition

Jim Ledwith, MD and Dan Mullin, PsyD, MPH co-authored, with other UMMS faculty, an opinion piece Removing the waiver requirement for buprenorphine prescribing which appeared in the Boston Globe on February 22nd. You can read it here:
  • Don’t Get Locked Out - Deadline
  1. Important Note: If you have not enrolled in RSA by Tuesday, February 23, you will not be able to access FMD from non-UMass Memorial networks (i.e., your home network). If you do not own a smartphone contact the IS Support Center at 508-334-8800 for alternative authentication methods. See below for all the important information.
  2. In an effort to improve data security, the Information Services Information Security Team will continue implementing multifactor authentication (MFA) for people who access our network remotely. MFA is an authentication method where user access is granted after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence for identification purposes. MFA will be applied to FollowMe Desktop (FMD) at this time. MFA was previously applied to “Big-IP” Virtual Private Network (VPN) in mid-2019. This will only affect access from non-UMass Memorial networks (i.e., your home network).
  3. MFA will increase the security of UMass Memorial accounts by forcing a second authentication method upon login. Currently when you log in to FMD remotely, you only need to provide your UMass Memorial network username and password. 
  4. If you have a UMass Memorial-owned or a personal device and access FMD remotely, you will need to install the “RSA SecurID Authenticate” application to that device and enroll your UMass Memorial account by Tuesday, February 23, 2021. View a Job Aid to help with multifactor authentication. The Job Aid is also available on the Information Security page of the Hub.

  • MassHealth is providing free transportation to vaccine appointments to any individual that has any type of MassHealth coverage or the Health Safety Net. This includes people with MassHealth Limited, Children's Medical Security Program (CMSP) and MassHealth Family Assistance (FA). In addition, members can request transportation services directly through MassHealth's Customer Service, rather than needing to request services through a health care provider. If an individual has MassHealth or the Health Safety Net, they (or a caregiver) can be encouraged to call their health plan or MassHealth directly to schedule free transportation at 800-841-2900 (TTY: 800-497-4648). However, MassHealth members who are enrolled in a Senior Care Options or One Care plan or in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) should continue to contact their health plan or PACE provider to request help with transportation. MassHealth All Provider Bulletin 310 and this FAQ contain additional details on this policy, and members can visit the MassHealth webpage for more information on COVID-19 vaccines.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Reminder About Parking Changes Several hundred parking spaces were eliminated in the First Road Garage due to construction; parking reassignments became effective February 8.
Research Publications

Kate Pivovarova. PhD and Warren Ferguson, MD are co-authors of “Massachusetts Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network, in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The article details the research protocols for an effectiveness-implementation study of the seven Massachusetts jails providing all medications for opioid use disorder during incarceration and post-release.
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.

Teaming & Integrating for Smiles and Health (TISH)
The Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care in partnership with the Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health (CIPOCH) is currently recruiting 20 primary care and oral health teams to participate in an innovative research opportunity and four- month accelerated learning collaborative! The Teaming and Integrating for Smiles & Health Collaborative (TISH) focuses on strengthening primary care and oral health partnerships and increasing early detection of hypertension and gingivitis while also leveraging recent advances in telehealth. Interested practices can learn more and join the collaborative by visiting the program's website. (see attached flier)
You can use this project as a Quality Improvement project for yourself or perhaps a resident is looking for a project, or for your Maintenance of Certificate (MOC) for ABFM requirements.
For questions, contact Deanna Belleny, MPH, RDN at [email protected]

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
Clinical Services Spotlight: COVID 19 Updates
Current Status
Statewide and central Mass metrics continue to improve.
  • Statewide overall test positivity is now 1.86% (lowest since November).
  • Massachusetts has 539, 644 total confirmed cases (as of February 22) and 15, 508 confirmed deaths.
  • Active cases 35,874; 234 in Intensive Care Units and 153 patients are intubated.
  • State 7-day average positivity 1.86 %
  • Higher Education confirmed cases - 11,442; Long-term care facilities -34,561 cases and 8,436 probable deaths.
  • The positivity rate for UMass internal lab testing of symptomatic patients is now 10.8% (asymptomatic is down to 1.3%).
  • Inpatient census at UMass Memorial of COVID-19 patients is 45 as of Monday am (16 in ICU).
  • The DCU field hospital remains open and currently has a census of 9.
  • The number of individuals unable to work due to COVID continues to improve and is now 35 (11 in past 7 days). The majority of new infections are among unvaccinated workers.
  • The Command Center can be reached at [email protected], or by phone (774-441-8886).
  • Both the UK and South African variants have been detected in Mass. COVID-19 precautions are still critically important, even after vaccination.
Vaccine Rollout
  • Vaccine information is constantly updated on the Hub @
  • Mobile vaccination event began on February 5 at a WHA Senior housing. 61 residents age 75+ years old were vaccinated.
  • Effective February 18, the persons eligible for vaccination increased to include those persons who are 65 years old or older and those with two or more health conditions as listed by the CDC and State of Massachusetts.
  • The governor has shifted vaccine distribution to vaccination sites. Decisions are being made based on current supply and demand.
  • As of February 22, more than 34,000 doses of vaccine have been administered system-wide.
  • State has limited vaccines for all hospitals, thus the system is not offering new appointments to patients and caregivers. The governor has shifted vaccine distribution to mass vaccination sites. Decisions are being made based on current supply and demand.
  • Most second vaccines for employees will be complete by mid-February.
  • The medical school does not have vaccine; vaccination is entirely through the clinical system.
  • Students with patient exposure will be vaccinated through the clinical system.
  • For vaccination appointments, please go to the Massachusetts State website to book an appointment during the interim.
  • Updates on FAQs regarding the COVID vaccine can be found on the Hub. 

Vaccination of patients
  • UMass patients age 75 or older began February 8th at the Merc Center on Front St. Because the state has limited vaccine supply and is focusing much of that to the mass vaccination sites, new patient appointments are on hold.
  • Individuals 65 and older, or with 2 comorbidities, can schedule at sites across the state.
  • The Worcester State vaccination site is now open.
COVID-19 UMass Community Testing Site:
201 Commercial Street, Worcester (intersection of Commercial St. and Mechanic St.)​​.
No appointment is required.                                           
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: