UMass FMCH Tuesday Talk - April 18, 2023/COMMUNITY

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 Community



Department Member Recognition

Frankly Speaking Podcast

Clinical Services Spotlight

Message from the Chair

The Department’s Annual Retreat will be Thursday, May 11th at UMass Chan South Street Campus in Shrewsbury. More detail is below. Lunch and registration will open at 12:00 noon with the formal program commencing at 1:00pm. The retreat will conclude with a networking reception with hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and musical entertainment from 5:00 – 6:30pm. Please Register Here. I hope to see you there!


Many of you are aware that Dr. Warren Ferguson, our former Senior Vice Chair of Community Health, is officially retiring. We are hosting a reception in his honor on June 20th at 5:30pm at the Ecotarium in Worcester. We are looking to track down names of students and residents who were mentored by Dr. Ferguson. If you are aware of their email address, please share with More details to come!

Upcoming Events

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Thursday, April 20th, 12:00 - 1:00pm"Social Injustice & Mental Health", presented by Sarah Y. Vinson, MD, FAPA.

Meeting ID: 818 349 233 Passcode: PsychGR1

FMCH Grand Rounds

Tuesday, April 25th, 12:00 - 1:00pm"Working Exactly the Way It Was Designed: Why the U.S. Healthcare "System" Works the Way It Does:", presented by Robert Zavoski, MD, MPH, FAAFP.

Meeting ID: 191 986 273 Passcode: FMCH

Focus of the Week - Community

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month 

A person dies from oral cancer in the US every hour.  Treatment outcomes are worse for African

Americans. Please use this month to think about this important health issue. While oral exams are a level I recommendation by the USPSTF, screen high-risk

populations – people who use tobacco products, have excessive alcohol use, or have HPV. Offer the HPV vaccine and help patients reduce tobacco and alcohol

use. More information can be found here.

Xylazine in Massachusetts 

Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a long-acting, sedating medication that is not an opioid. Xylazine has been detected in an increasing number of street drug samples in Massachusetts and Worcester.  Providers should consider xylazine exposure if patients remain very sedated or appear that they are not responding after administering naloxone (Narcan) and begin CPR and call 911.  Xylazine also leads to severe necrotic skin lesions and complicates withdrawal. You can learn more here and attend a training here


Mobile Methadone Comes to Worcester 

Spectrum Health Services has added a mobile methadone unit to their current physical locations in Worcester. This is one of the first in the nation. Currently patients still need to do their induction at a physical location (although mobile inductions are coming soon.) This is a unique treatment option for some of our most vulnerable populations. Learn more here

Evidence-based Management of Early Pregnancy Loss 

Kristina Gracey and Jeremy Golding are hosting an in-person practical training for UMass faculty on manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and combination of mifepristone/misoprostol for management of early pregnancy loss (you do not need to be a maternity care provider to attend). April 26th, 2023, 6:00-7:30 pm, Levine conference room, floor 1, Memorial.

Dinner is provided. RSVP to 


Past editions of the Tuesday Talk Newsletter are available

at under Resources.

We need your help. UMass FMCH Department's Epic Mastery Task Force wants to improve how providers use Epic and reduce EHR burnout. Please fill out this 5-10 minute survey!

Survey link:

From your Epic Mastery Task Force (Henry Del Rosario, MD, Megan Brochu, PA-C, Veronica Farrell, NP, Nicholas Hajj, MD, and Jeannette Ryan-Alkasab, MD)

MCSTAP Guideline Update: A Series on Applying the 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain. The latest CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Pain include very important information for prescribers. To support you, MCSTAP is offering a three-part series on applying the Guidelines to managing care for patients with chronic pain. Register for the last session now!  MCSTAP


  • Wednesday, April 19th, 12:00 - 1:00pm, "Assessing Risk of Opioid Therapy: Applying the 2022 DCD Guidelines".

Save the date: Huppert award winning students are preparing presentations for the April 21st Research in Progress noon seminar. Presenters include: 

  • Michael Urbanowski, PhD (SOM), working with mentor Daria L. Szkwarko, DO, MPH on a retrospective program evaluation of latent tuberculosis infection screening and treatment in an urban FQHC and 
  • Samantha Creamer (GSN) and Annie Thornton (SOM), with mentors Linda Cragin, MS, and Janet Hale, RN, PhD, on Operation Conversation: Bridging the Gap between the Veteran Community and Future Health Care Providers. 

Senior Scholars Day is Wednesday, April 26th

Twenty-five of our 4th year medical students participated in this year’s Senior Scholars Program – some of whom worked with faculty in our department. Senior Scholars Day is Wednesday, April 26th from 2:00-6:00pm in the medical school lobby (where students will formally present their work) and the faculty conference room (guest speaker this year: David Ayers, MD / Department of Orthopedics and Physical Medicine). Additional faculty are needed to help judge the student projects between 3 and 4 pm. If you’d be willing to have a student present their work to you and provide feedback/evaluation, we’re still looking for an additional 2-3 faculty (as well as Chief Residents) to help with judging the student’s work. If you’re interested in working with a Senior Scholars student for AY24, please let Judy Savageau know (

The Massachusetts Psychiatric Society is offering Psychiatry for the Primary Care Physician, a virtual program, on Saturday, April 29th from 8:15am-3:45pm. Massachusetts Primary Care Physicians are often the de facto providers of psychiatric care. Compared to the past, PCPs today are often responsible for diagnosing and treating patients with more serious, complicated, and chronic psychiatric disorders. This course was designed to provide PCPs and other clinicians with lectures on salient topics of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment in Primary Care. The course provides 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits; 1 credit meets MA BORM for Risk Management and 1 credit for Risk Management/Opioid Education and Pain Management. The course is $150 for MMS members, $15 for fellows and free for students. Register here:

Click flyer for additional information.

Mindfulness and Compassion During Tumultuous Times - Essential Tools to Remain Steady and Whole, presented by Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, CMMT and Gail Gazelle, MD, MCC, CMMT.

Friday, May 5th, 2023, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm (ET)

At this in-person program, you will acquire practical strategies to quiet your mind and gain mastery over worries and self-doubt. You’ll learn about the neuroscience behind mindfulness and meditation, and practice with a variety of readily accessible tools that will help you attain calm, clarity, and the balance you need to build resilience and avoid physician burnout. Event Info (

Undergraduate Medical Education

Vista Town Hall: Please join us in person or online at the Vista Town Hall. The purpose of our time together is to share new information and collaborate with our community on topics related to Exploration and Horizons planning and development. From time to time, we will share Discovery phase milestones. 

  • Wednesday, May 10th, 12:00-1:00pm (hybrid), Amp 3

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: Password: 890756

FMCH Vision 2030 – Next Steps: Belonging and Engagement

Dear Faculty, Residents/Fellows, and Staff, please join us for the FMCH Annual Retreat on Thursday, May 11th at UMass Chan South Street Campus, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury.

As a participant you will have the opportunity to:

  • Revisit FMCH Vision 2030
  • Promote Advocacy Efforts for Primary Care
  • Provide Faculty Development
  • Build a Culture of Mentorship

In follow up of our strategic planning last year, we have identified two areas to expand upon this year.  As we develop our role as leaders in Family Medicine across the state, we will explore legislative advocacy activities. Additionally, we will launch our new department mentorship program. Breakout sessions in the afternoon will include areas of continuing medical education as listed below:

  • Belonging –Restorative Justice
  • MCH – Shoulder Dystocia
  • Epic Mastery Workshop (Laptops required)
  • Educational Scholarship
  • Medical Humanities
  • Advocacy, Legislative Action

Lunch and Registration will open at 12:00 noon with the formal program commencing at 1:00pm. Lunch topics will be available to gather to discuss areas of interest. The retreat will conclude with an hors d'oeuvre, networking reception and cash bar with musical entertainment from 5:00 – 6:30pm.Here is the agenda. Please Register Here. We hope to see you there!

Photo Sessions (FREE headshots!)

Date: Every other Wednesday

Time: 9:00am - 3:00pm

Locations: Sherman Center - 5th floor (near staircase) 

If you are in the need of a faculty headshot or need to update your current one, please sign up via the link below.

Sign Up Link here.


Hugh Silk, MD, MPH, FAAFP, was on a diverse national panel discussion entitled A Diamond Jubilee: Telling Your Story and Looking to the Future on the topic of dental public health progress to date and promising medical-dental integration ideas at the National Oral Health Conference in Orlando, FL on April 17th. He also presented his research with a UMass/NYU team on MOHIP-4P: A Concise QoL Measure for Routine Use in Prenatal Care.

Department Member Recognition

For their focus on quality improvement work, provider experience and equity, Kristina Gracey, MD, MPH, alongside a multidisciplinary hospital team, received the 2023 Massachusetts PNQIN (Perinatal Neonatal Quality Improvement Network) Hospital Team Award. See attached for list of names of individuals nominated as the UMass Memorial Medical Center Maternity Center team for the PNQIN Hospital Team Award.  

Frankly Speaking Podcast

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

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Please join us for an overview: This episode will explore a common syndrome that is often misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. Listen in as we discuss the cardinal symptoms and diagnostic criteria for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and learn about different management options, including the benefits of salt. Guest: Mariyan L. Montaque, DNP, FNP-BC, presents: "Chalk It Up to Stress and Anxiety or Is There More to It?". - Frankly Speaking Ep 323.

Clinical Services Spotlight:


COVID-19 is continuing to spread but today it is difficult to determine how many cases there are in many states. Some states report only weekly, and some states no longer monitor and report. 

New Variant

The new variant XBB.1.16 (or Arcturus) and is more contagious than previous variants. Arcturus has increased from 0.21% of cases in the world in February to 3.96% of cases. In the US, Arcturus accounts for 7.2% of cases from April 9th to April 15th. XBB.1.5 remains the dominant strain, accounting for 78% of cases.


Symptoms seen with this virus include:

  • Allergy-like symptoms.
  • Conjunctivitis or red and itchy eyes .
  • Overall, respiratory viruses have declined.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fatigue and body aches.



  • As of Saturday, COVID-19 is low in Worcester County at 20 per 100,000 population. 
  • Free COVID testing will not be available after the public health emergency ends. 
  • There were 1,569 cases during the last week and 17 deaths.



  • The 7-day average percent positivity is 30%, up from 4.4% the previous week.
  • The 7-day average of in-house cases is 19, up from 18 last week.
  • Of the 19, 89% are fully vaccinated.


Health Equity Movement

  • The National Minority Quality Forum Leadership Summit 2023 focused on improving health quality and equity through collaboration.
  • Goal: Make sure that every person who comes through the healthcare system gets excellent care.
  • Highlight on the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness Act (MOMMA) Session
  • The number of Maternal Mortality Review Committees is increasing in the US.
  • Emphasized focus on caring for women in Maternity care desserts.
  • MOMMA support centers that have implicit and explicit bias training.
  • Use the following link for details of the effort.

  • HONDAS of Prenatal Care:
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • No PN visits
  • Diabetes
  • Addressing SDOH
  • Important to address during preconception and interconception visits.
  • (Starting at postpartum visit)

The speaker introduced the "MAVEN Clinic" app aimed at educating providers and patients about resources to prevent poor perinatal outcomes.

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

New members always welcome. 

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