UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - February 2, 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!
As I shared on January 21st, Linda Cragin has assumed the role of interim administrator for the department. As we look at the many needs of the department, its faculty and staff, please be assured that we are documenting what needs to be done – and addressing what is most pressing. We will make our way through our various lists and I ask and thank you in advance for your patience. I will provide periodic updates. Linda can be reached at [email protected]  
Upcoming Events
February 2nd, Tuesday - 12 - 1pm
Our annual MLK Celebration of Service is an opportunity for our community to come together and commemorate the legacy of Dr. King by highlighting the importance of service. This year’s theme is “Disrupting Inequity through Structural Change: How the crises of 2020, the pandemic and social injustice, brought forth the best in the UMMS community".

Wellness Caregiver Stress First Aid Webinar
February 5th, Friday - 12 - 1pm: Join via WebEx link or by telephone at 415-655-0002. Access Code 180 221 4804. Password: Welcome

UPST - UMass System-wide Townhall
(Unified Procurement Services Team)
February 9th, Tuesday - 10 - 11am

UMMS Virtual Town Hall Meeting
February 9th, Tuesday - 1 - 2pm
Passcode: 665013

Faculty Development Workshop - Virtual Instruction
February 10th, Wednesday - 8 - 9am: Presented by Reid Evans, PhD
RSVP to [email protected] for zoom information

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
Department Member Recognition
Jennifer Reidy, MD’s work with medical schools and serious illness was highlighted in the MA Coalition for Serious Illness Care’s e-newsletter. The summary included her collaboration with Brown on focus groups with 4th year medical students.
Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP, was co-editor of a special on-line supplement of medical humanities writing (stories, essays, poetry, 55-word stories and haiku) for Families, Systems and Health on the theme of COVID-19 and Racial Injustice. You can read the 22 entries here: (once on the site, best to click on the blue font title of a piece, then the Full Text HDML or PDF on the right to read).

Many thanks to Dr. Beth Mazyck for her lead on the New Coding and Billing. The slides are very helpful. Additional information from the AAFP. 
  • 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.

  • More Changes to Parking As construction continues on the Medical School’s new education and research building, a significant portion of the First Road garage will be demolished. As a result, several hundred parking spaces will be eliminated, prompting a series of parking reassignments effective February 8. Those affected will be notified this week of their new assignment; individuals will be asked to go to the parking office to change to a new tag. The parking office, newly located to the first floor of the Lazare Research Building, will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, January 25-29 and February 1-5 to accommodate the exchanges. Badge access to the garages will change on February 8. 

  • Paula Gardiner, MD is seeking providers to participate in a study: Providers' Perspectives on Motivating Lifestyle Change in Women with Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy. The purpose of this study is to identify providers’ perspectives on dietary counseling and barriers faced in counseling pregnant women with obesity, chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, or a history of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Additionally, we hope to elucidate referral patterns and barriers faced in providing referrals to dieticians and nutritionists in these populations. The survey should take between 10-15 minutes to complete. Participation in this study is limited to completing this survey through REDCap, a secure online platform. All participants will be assigned a unique study ID code to which their survey responses will be linked. Your name will only be collected for consenting purposes. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. If you DO NOT want to participate in this research study, you may simply disregard this message. If you are interested in participating in this brief survey, please proceed to the link provided.

  • CIPC is promoting a new course to develop and manage Medical Group Visits lead by Paula Gardiner, MD. The 12-week online course with facilitated live sessions provides a step-by step process to successfully implement MGV.  UMass affiliated providers are encouraged to register for this training:
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
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
Current Status
  • Statewide and central Mass metrics continue to improve.
  • Statewide overall test positivity is now 3.5%.
  • The positivity rate for UMass internal lab testing of symptomatic patients is now 14.9%.
  • Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have trended down, currently at 1686 (down by 300 this week).
  • Inpatient census at UMass Memorial of COVID-19 patients is 116 as of Monday am. This represents about a 5% reduction per week for the past few weeks.
  • The DCU field hospital census is 34 as of Monday am. It is expected to cease operations on March 31.
  • The third FMCH inpatient team began December 13th and continues, with effort from both Barre and Hahnemann physicians.
  • The number of individuals unable to work due to COVID continues to improve and is now 91 (29/7days).
  • The Command Center can be reached at [email protected], or by phone (774-441-8886).
  • COVID-19 precautions are still critically important, even after vaccination.

Vaccine Rollout
  • Vaccine information is constantly updated on the Hub at
  • All UMass employed caregivers have been invited to schedule. Most second vaccines for employees will be complete by mid-February.
  • Over 20,000 doses have been administered system-wide; 8,000 more are scheduled
  • The clinical system has reserved vaccine for second doses.
  • 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.
  • Vaccine side effects limiting the ability to work have been less than originally feared per employee health. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage scheduling your second vaccine dose before a day off and at least not before you are scheduled to cover a vital clinical service such as inpatient or L and D.
  • First vaccination of patients began last week to patients getting chemotherapy infusions.

COVID-19 Vaccine updates
  • Patients seen at UMMC primary care and specialty care services within the last two years. 
  • To date, more than 21,00 vaccines have been administered systemwide at UMMHS.
  • The vaccination of patients 75 and over is scheduled to be begin on February 8th in alignment with the State of Massachusetts and the Centers for Disease Control . 
  • The first distribution site is The Mercantile Building on Front Street.
  • Worcester is expecting to open an additional large-scale facility for the general public.
  • Patients will need an appointment to receive the vaccine. Please direct patients and families with questions about the vaccine distribution to the UMass Memorial Website for more information.
  • Contact of patients began the evening of February 1st by MyChart, telephone, or text. Due to a limited number of vaccines, patients may not be booked right away. 
  • Vaccines are not being given in the doctor's office at this time.
  • Vaccine distribution for Phase 2 priority and staging can be found on the CDC COVID information webpage and the State of Massachusetts website.
  • Patients should continue to visit our website where the latest updates will be provided. Key pertinent information for the patients receiving vaccination is located on the website.
  • Please inform patients that they should not take any other vaccine within 14 days of getting the COVID vaccine.

COVID-19 UMass Community Testing Site:
201 Commercial Street, Worcester (intersection of Commercial St. and Mechanic St.)​​.
No appointment is required. 
Week of February 1, 2021: 
  • Monday, February 1             11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Tuesday, February 2            11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Thursday, February 4           11:00am to 3:00pm                
Week of February 8, 2021:
  • Monday, February 8             11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Tuesday, February 9            11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Thursday, February 11        11:00am to 3:00pm                
Week of February 15, 2021:
  • Monday, February 15           Holiday / Presidents Day / No Testing
  • 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: