UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - January 26, 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!
Upcoming Events
FMCH Grand Rounds
January 26th, Tuesday - 12 - 1pm: Stacy Potts, MD, MEd presents "Family Medicine Training: Past, Present, & Future" 

Faculty Development Workshop - Feedback and Evaluation
January 28th, Thursday - 8am - 9am: Presented by Reid Evans, PhD
RSVP to [email protected] for zoom information

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

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
Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP was the Guest Editor for the Jan/Feb 2021 edition of Worcester Medicine which has an Oral Health theme. You can view the now on-line only journal here:

Dennis Dimitri MD, FAAFP has been elected to a two year term as the chairman of Tobacco Free Mass. TFM is a privately-funded coalition that advocates for funding and policies that support tobacco prevention and cessation and the reduction of exposure to secondhand smoke. The coalition was formed in 1991 to pass Question One, which raised the state’s tobacco excise tax to fund, in part, the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program and other public health initiatives.
  • 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
  • Sonal Singh, MD, MPH, Cocoros NM, Haynes K, Nair VP, Harkins TP, Rochon PA, Platt R, Dashevsky I, Reynolds J, Mazor KM, Bloomstone S, Anzuoni K, Crawford SL, Gurwitz JH. Antidopaminergic-Antiparkinsonian Medication Prescribing Cascade in Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Jan 11. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17013. Online ahead of print.

  • Bloomstone S, Cocoros N, Gurwitz J, Haynes K, Nair V, Platt R, Rochon P, Sonal Singh, MD, MPH, Mazor KM. Prescribing Cascades in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease: Engaging Patients, Caregivers, Payers, and Providers in a Qualitative Evaluation of Print Educational Materials. Therapeutic Advances Drug Safety. First published October 30, 2020.

  • Murray A, Ekaterina Pivovarova, PhD, Klitzman R, Stiles DF, Appelbaum P, Lidz CW (2021) Reducing the Single IRB Burden: Streamlining Electronic IRB Systems. American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics, Jan-Mar;12(1):33-40. doi: 10.1080/23294515.2020.1818877.

  • Evans EA, Stopka TJ, Ekaterina Pivovarova, PhD, Murphy SM, Taxman FS, Warren Ferguson, MD, Bernson D, Santelices C, McCollister KE, Hoskinson R, Friedmann PD, MassJCOIN Research Group. (2021).  Massachusetts Justice Community Opioid Innovation NetworkJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment. In press.

  • Tappen, R.M., Cooley, M.E., Roger Luckmann, MD, MPH, et al. Digital Health Information Disparities in Older Adults: a Mixed Methods Study. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2021).

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 slowly suggesting we have plateaued.
  • Statewide overall test positivity is now 4.85%.
  • The positivity rate for UMass internal lab testing of symptomatic patients is now 15.7%, down from 17% last week. The rate for asymptomatic patients is also slightly improved, now 3.6%.
  • Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have trended down about 10% over the last 2 weeks.
  • Inpatient census at UMass Memorial of COVID-19 patients is down slightly at 142 (34 in ICU) as of Monday am. The hospital remains at high capacity with more surge space in use than during the first Spring surge.
  • The DCU field hospital census is 38 as of Monday am; it continues to be an important part of offloading the inpatient teams during the surge.
  • The third FMCH inpatient team began December 13 and continues, with effort from both Barre and Hahnemann physicians.
  • The number of individuals unable to work due to COVID continues to improve- the total at present is 100 (40 new over past 7 days).
  • 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.

Clinical Updates Related to COVID
  • Elimination of inpatient surveillance precautions: We will be eliminating the use of surveillance precautions as our PPE policy requires surgical masks/eye protection for all patients. Epic flags will indicate that there is a pending COVID-19 surveillance test pending. 
  • New BPA for repeat testing for inpatients: To detect patients who may have an initial negative surveillance but who may turn positive later, we are implementing a BPA that will encourage providers to order a second COVID-19 surveillance test during hospital day #4. While awaiting the test, there should be no change in the patient’s isolation status.
  • For Asymptomatic patients, the label will no longer read ‘surveillance’ – instead it will read “COVID-19: Pending test”
  • For Symptomatic patients, the label will not change.

Vaccine Rollout
  • Vaccine information is constantly updated on the Hub @
  • All UMass employed caregivers have been invited to schedule. Most second vaccines for employees will be complete by mid-February.
  • Over 15,000 doses have been administered system-wide.
  • The clinical system has reserved vaccine for second doses.
  • The med 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 Responders began getting vaccinated last week.
  • Vaccination is ongoing for congregate facilities; community clinicians started this week.

Patient Vaccination
  • According to the state’s guidance, ambulatory patients with a high risk of exposure and severe illness from COVID-19 will receive their vaccine first.
  • On January 25, UMass Memorial begins vaccinating ambulatory oncology patients receiving chemotherapy at ACC6, Fitchburg Infusion and Marlborough Infusion.
  • On February 8, we will begin vaccinating our ambulatory patients age 75 and older, followed shortly thereafter by patients with 2+ medical comorbidities.

Additional details of this effort:
  • Locations:
  • Mercantile Building, Front Street, Worcester (opening first)
  • Additional locations to be determined.
  • At this time, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected to be available.
  • Vaccinations are free to all patients.
  • Patients will be contacted when eligible primarily through MyChart and other means and directed to schedule appointments online.
  • Patients will be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination and second dose appointments will be made at first appointments.

Travel Policies
  • There are no significant changes to the travel policies. The UMMS policy is in effect until at least March 31, 2021
  • Personal travel, travel by air and international travel are all highly discouraged. For those who do travel internationally, be aware that foreign nationals may not be permitted to reenter the United States if their travel in the previous 14 days has included a stop in a long list of countries. In addition, as of January 26, 2021, the CDC will require a negative COVID-19 PCR test to board a flight to the U.S. from abroad.
Wellness Resources
  • Wellness Rounds during the month of January Wellness Rounds will meet twice weekly, Tuesday evenings 5:30-6:30pm and Wednesday mornings 7:30-8:30am via Zoom. The meetings will continue to be facilitated by Ethan Eisdorfer, PsyD, Shahida Fareed, PsyD and Dan Mullin, PsyD. Please feel free to drop in as often or infrequently ask you like. Late arrivals are welcome. The time will be unstructured but will include brief mindfulness practice, discussion, and reflection.

  • 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: