Agenda Departments


Mini-Medical School

Sept. 21 to Nov. 16: Going back to school has never been so much fun when it comes to your health. Baystate Medical Center’s Mini-Medical School, which begins its fall session on Sept. 21, will give area residents an inside look at the expanding field of medicine – minus the tests, homework, interviews, and admission formalities. The course runs weekly through Nov. 16. Mini-Medical School is an eight-week health-education series featuring a different aspect of medicine each week. Classes this fall will include sessions on various medical topics such as surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, midwifery, pathology, and several others, including the current opioid crisis. Many of the ‘students,’ who often range in age from 20 to 70, participate due to a general interest in medicine and later find that many of the things they learned over the semester are relevant to their own lives. The goal of the program — offered in the hospital’s Chestnut Conference Center — is to help the public make more informed decisions about their healthcare while receiving insight on what it is like to be a medical student. Baystate Medical Center is the region’s only teaching hospital, and each course is taught by medical center faculty who explain the science of medicine without resorting to complex terms. All classes are held Thursday nights starting at 6 p.m. and run until 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the night’s topic. No basic science knowledge is needed to participate. Each participant is required to attend a minimum of six out of eight classes in order to receive a certificate of completion. Tuition is $95 per person and $80 for Senior Class and Spirit of Women members. To register, call (413) 794-7630 or visiting To see a schedule of topics and speakers slated for the fall semester, visit

Free Legal Help Hotline

Sept. 21: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. will offer a free Legal Help Hotline in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law from 4 to 7 p.m. at the law school, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield. Individuals needing advice should call (413) 796-2057 to speak to a volunteer. Volunteers will provide legal advice on a variety of topics, including divorce and family law, bankruptcy, business, landlord/tenant matters, and real estate. Additionally, in light of recent immigration developments, attorneys with immigration-law experience will also be available to answer questions. Spanish-speaking attorneys will be available.

Labor & Employment Law Symposium

Oct. 5: Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. will hold a Labor & Employment Law Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. “The past year has brought significant changes in labor and employment law, and employers need to be aware of these changes; not knowing the law is no excuse for not following it,” said attorney Timothy Murphy, a partner at Skoler Abbott. “We are offering this symposium to provide local and regional HR professionals and employers with the latest developments, and to help them prepare for what’s coming next.” The symposium is geared toward human-resources professionals and business owners. Topics will include “Labor Law Update: Change Is Coming,” “Massachusetts’ New Pay Equity Law and the Effects of Implicit Bias in the Workplace,” “Top Ten Wage & Hour Mistakes Made by Employers,” “Insurance Coverage in Employment Litigation: Limiting Your Risk & Knowing Your Rights,” “After Barbuto: Strategies for Addressing Drugs in the Workplace,” and “How You Should (and Shouldn’t) Conduct a Workplace Investigation.” Attendees will be able to select three of six breakout sessions, and the symposium will close with an overall question-and-answer session. The symposium has been pre-approved by the HR Certification Institute for five hours of general recertification credit toward PHR and SPHR recertification. The cost to attend is $99 per person and includes continental breakfast and lunch. Registration is available at

Square One Tea Party

Oct. 5: This year, Square One will draw inspiration from the early days of its Tea Party. “Our annual tea party began 11 years ago in a classroom with tiny tables and a big dream,” said Joan Kagan, Square One president and CEO. “This year’s theme brings us back to the event’s roots. We’ll be celebrating all the success that this event has helped us achieve over the years.” The 12th annual Square One Tea is expected to draw 400 supporters who will celebrate the work the provider of early-learning and family services is providing to thousands of families throughout the Greater Springfield region. “Year after year, we look forward to this wonderful opportunity to highlight the work we are doing and the impact that our programs and services have had on the thousands of children and parents who have been served by Square One,” Kagan said. “It is so gratifying to hear from our guests how much they enjoy being a part of this special day, and it’s always fun to see who is going to have the best hat.” The wearing of hats for women and men has become a tradition, with a Top Hat Award bestowed upon the wearer of the most elaborate or unusual hat. Early event supporters include Health New England, Smith & Wesson, USI Insurance, Columbia Gas, the Gaudreau Group, MGM, United Personnel, Mercedes-Benz, Bay Path University, Springfield Thunderbirds, and Fathers & Sons. Tickets are $60 each. Tables of eight and 10 are available. To register, visit For sponsorship or vendor information, call Andrea Bartlett at (413) 858-3111.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 19: BusinessWest and the Healthcare News will present the inaugural Healthcare Heroes Awards at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. This new recognition program was created by the twin publications to recognize outstanding achievement across the region’s broad and diverse healthcare sector. From a pool of 70 nominations, panel of judges chose eight winners in seven categories, who were profiled in the Sept. 4 issue of BusinessWest, the September issue of HCN, and at American International College and Trinity Health are the presenting sponsors of Healthcare Heroes. Partner Sponsors are Achieve TMS East, Health New England, and HUB International New England. Additional sponsors are Bay Path University, Baystate Health, Cooley Dickinson Healthcare, Elms College, and Renew.Calm. Tickets to the event are $85 each, with tables available for purchase. For more information or to order tickets, call (413) 781-8600.

Out of the Darkness Walk

Oct. 21: Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S., yet suicide is preventable. The Western Mass. Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) announced that its flagship event, the Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide, has a new home, School Street Park in Agawam. Roughly 1,000 people from throughout the Greater Springfield Area are expected to participate in this annual event at its new location starting at 10 a.m. This fund-raising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual rate of suicide by 20% by 2025. “We walk to raise awareness about this important health issue. Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking, we save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Heather White, area director for AFSP in Western Mass. The event is one of more than 375 Out of the Darkness community walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 250,000 walkers and raise millions of dollars for suicide-prevention efforts. With this walk last year, the Greater Springfield community raised almost $60,0000 for suicide awareness and prevention initiatives, and had nearly 800 participants. Planning committees for the 2017 Greater Springfield Out of the Darkness Walk are meeting now. If you would like to help organize this inspiring charitable event, sponsor the walk, or have a booth on site, contact Heather White at [email protected] for more information. To join the fight against suicide, register to walk at School Street Park in Agawam on Oct. 21 by visiting

Lowcountry Celebration

Oct. 27: Blue Heron Restaurant will celebrate its 20th anniversary by hosting “Lowcountry Living: An Evening of Gullah Culture and Cuisine,” a one-night event designed to take diners on a culinary trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry, the region which originally inspired owners Deborah Snow and Barbara White to open a restaurant focused on local, seasonal ingredients and unpretentious hospitality. The dinner, which will feature a Gullah-themed menu, as well as music and pieces from critically acclaimed South Carolina artist Sonja Griffin Evans’ “American Gullah Collection,” will start at 6:30 p.m., with reservations open to the public. Menu and pricing for the event will be announced at a later date. Reservations can be made by calling (413) 665-2102 or e-mailing [email protected].

Business & Innovation Expo of Western Mass.

Nov. 2: Comcast Business will present the Business & Innovation Expo of Western Mass. at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, produced by BusinessWest and the Healthcare News. The seventh annual business-to-business show will feature more than 150 exhibitor booths, educational seminars, breakfast and lunch programs, and a day-capping Expo Social. Current sponsors include Comcast Business (presenting sponsor), Johnson & Hill Staffing Services and Wild Apple Design Group (executive sponsors), Inspired Marketing (show partner), MGM Springfield (corporate sponsor), Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst (education sponsor), Xfinity (social sponsor), Elms College (information booth sponsor), Smith & Wesson (Workforce Development sponsor), Savage Arms (JoinedForces and Workforce Development parking sponsor), and the Better Business Bureau (contributing sponsor). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Exhibitor spaces are also available; booth prices start at $725. For more information on sponsorships or booth purchase, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.