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Healthcare Heroes

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2nd Annual Healthcare Heroes Awards

HERO (n.) a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

BusinessWest and Healthcare News have created Healthcare Heroes to honor those who live up to that word’s definition. This region’s health and wellness sector is large, diverse, and dominated by heroes of all kinds. They’re on the front lines, in the administrative office, the research lab, the neighborhood clinic, the family dentist’s office, the college health and science building. They’re making real contributions to the quality of life in our communities, and it’s time to recognize their efforts!

Event Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
Event Time: 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Location:  Starting Gate at GreatHorse, Hampden

Nominations can now be submitted for the 2018 Healthcare Heroes awards. Deadline for nominations is Friday, June 15 at 5 p.m., NO EXCEPTIONS. Winners will be profiled in the September 3 issue of BusinessWest and the September issue of Healthcare News. Winners will be invited to attend the “Healthcare Heroes” Awards gala scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Click on one of the following categories to submit a nomination:

 

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Business of Aging

Changing the Landscape

By George O’Brien

Erasmo Ruiz says he has found a profession that offers stability, flexibility, and a wide range of options.

Erasmo Ruiz says he has found a profession that offers stability, flexibility, and a wide range of options.

To say that Erasmo Ruiz took a circuitous route to the nurse-pinning ceremony at Springfield Technical Community College late last month would be an understatement. A huge understatement.

Now 34, the father of two teenagers — and the first one in his family to attend college — studied engineering at UMass. But things “didn’t go as expected,” he told BusinessWest, noting that he was into partying and girls far more than he was into his studies and eventually had to drop out.

From there, he went into the Navy, specializing in electronics. But he didn’t finish his enlistment because his father got into trouble with the law and was incarcerated; Ruiz needed to get home and help support his family.

He would join the workforce, trying his hand at everything from manufacturing to time as a clerk in the Post Office. Then, by chance, he got a job as a medical assistant working with a group of neurosurgeons at Baystate Medical Center.

“It just made sense at the time to take things to the next level,” he said of his decision to pursue a nursing degree. “With the guidance of nurses and other medical professionals, I chose this career.”

A circuitous route to be sure, but Ruiz found himself at that pinning ceremony, persevering through a two-course of study that challenged him on many levels. And many men are doing the same thing.

Well, let’s say many more men, and even a phrase like that needs to be put into perspective.

Yes, there are more men getting into nursing these days, at least compared to 40 or even 20 years ago, but the numbers still don’t approach that of women, said Karen Aiken, a Nursing professor at Holyoke Community College for the past 17 years, eight as chairman of the department.

“The labor bureau will tell you, and make it sound really great, that since 1970, the number has tripled,” she said of men in the profession. “But the numbers are so small, that doesn’t mean much; overall, I think the percentage [of all nurses who are male) has risen from 2.9% to just over 9%, so those are still small numbers.”

We’ll get into the numbers and the reasons they’re higher than they were, but not as high they as perhaps they should be, later. First, let’s look at some of the men who are getting into nursing.

Most are not taking what would be called the traditional route, right out of high school, but then again, many women don’t take that path either.

Andy Bean, 38, who graduated from Westfield State University this spring, worked in sales for a trucking company, sitting in front of a computer all day ordering parts for clients. He was laid off once when the economy took a turn for the worse and decided that he wasn’t going to let that happen to him again.

So he segued into healthcare and eventually a nursing program. Actually, several of them. He’s been working toward a degree in healthcare for seven years, by his estimate, and he’s looking to make a home in the emergency room at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, where he’s already spent considerable time as a technician and student nurse.

Andy Bean, seen here in the ER at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield

Andy Bean, seen here in the ER at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, likes the fast pace of that setting and wants to start his career in nursing there.

Meanwhile, Nick Labelle, another member of STCC’s class of 2018, now 36, worked in everything from food preparation to sheet-metal fabrication to real estate before getting a job as a counselor in a substance-abuse clinic. It was that last stop that convinced him that he liked helping people and working in a healthcare setting.

But some have taken more of a direct route. People like Brendan McKee from North Attleboro, another recent graduate of WSU. He said that, unfortunately, he spent a lot of time in hospitals in his youth visiting sick family members, and quickly realized he wanted to be part of that environment. Nursing, he said, was his first choice.

Overall, there are many reasons why nursing has become the first choice, or the second, or the fifth, for men, said Lisa Fugiel, director of the Nursing program at STCC, listing everything from solid pay to the availability of jobs as Baby Boomers retire, to the flexibility within the profession and the wide variety of options available to those who choose it.

But for many, it comes down to those same ingredients that bring women into nursing, she said — compassion, caring, and a desire to help others.

For this issue and its focus on nursing education, BusinessWest interviewed several men on their way to joining the profession (the licensing exam is their next challenge). Collectively, their stories help explain why the landscape within nursing — gender-wise, anyway — is changing.

Course Change

Bean told BusinessWest that he likes the pace of work in the ER and the fact that he’s always moving in that setting.

“That’s a big change from when I was just sitting in front of that computer all day,” he said. “That’s one of the things I hated the most about my old job. It just didn’t feel like a good fit for me anymore.”

But pace of work — and fit — are just two of many reasons why there are more men hearing their names called at those nurse-pinning ceremonies, said both Aiken and Fugiel as they discussed the changing demographics in their classrooms.

They both spoke of greater acceptance of male nurses in general and among women receiving care, and, on the flip side of the equation, more acceptance of the profession as a career option among men. And both halves of the equation are important.

“Women are more comfortable with women, and in some areas especially,” Fugiel noted. “But overall, there is more acceptance of men now.

“And we’re seeing a steady increase when it comes to men getting into the profession,” she went on, noting that this is reflected in the numbers of men in the STCC program; there were nine in this year’s class of 74, roughly double the total from when she started 15 years ago.

There are many reasons for this, said Fugiel and Aiken, listing solid pay and benefits, stability (an important consideration given anxiety about many professions in an age of ever-advancing technology), a host of opportunities, and a wide array of specific areas to get into, from critical care to medical-surgical nursing to behavioral health.

“All the students talk about how there are so many options in nursing, which is one of the things that’s so enticing about the profession, whether it’s male or female,” said Fugiel. “Just look at all the options in an acute-care setting — pediatrics, maternity, ER, ICU, med-surg, and mental health — but there’s also community nursing, nursing infomatics, and managed care.

“And there’s stability,” she went on. “A lot of our nurses are getting older, and that translates into opportunities and stability.”

While it’s good for men to be getting into the profession, given its many rewards, it is also good for the profession, the healthcare community, and society in general, to have men as nurses, said Aiken.

“As an instructor and as a seasoned nurse, I believe that that the more men we can get into nursing, the better,” she explained. “It makes it a rounded profession, and it makes the care more rounded.”

Elaborating, she said men can and often do bring a different perspective to the work of caring for people in need.

“Nurses that are female think one way, and our society doesn’t give men a lot of credit for compassion and caring,” she told BusinessWest. “When these men come into nursing, they come in for a reason — they have that compassion and want to care for people.

“A large number of men who enter our program have been out in the workforce and are either changing professions or are looking to be caring professionals,” she went on. “And they bring so much with them when they come in.”

Getting into the profession is difficult for many, she said, and perhaps more difficult than for many women because men are still traditionally the breadwinners in many families, and, therefore, it is difficult to quit work completely or go to school part-time to earn a nursing degree.

Lisa Fugiel says society is becoming more accepting of male nurses

Lisa Fugiel says society is becoming more accepting of male nurses, and, likewise, men are becoming more accepting of careers in the nursing field.

“The commitment, the education, is more than a full-time job,” said Aiken, adding that men often enter a program not fully understanding what they’re getting into and how they’re going to manage that commitment given their other responsibilities, and that’s why many struggle to get to the finish line or never get there.

Labor of Love

As for those that do, well, interviews with several men graduating this year provide solid evidence that men are more open to a career in nursing — and for all those reasons listed above, from the stability to the flexibility; from the nature and pace of the work to the ability to work with people.

“A big factor for me was all the options we have — you can do anything with this,” Ruiz said of that diploma he’s earned. “Also, in terms of looking out for my family, that was also part of it. The demand is there; there’s a nursing shortage.”

Stability was also a big consideration for Bean, who, as noted, had been laid off once and was looking for firmer ground career-wise. He was also looking for something more rewarding and with opportunities to do some ladder-climbing.

He had taken a few EMT courses, and, after returning to his job with the trucking company after being laid off, found it lacking in many ways,

“So I quit my job, and with the support of my wife, I went back to school to get my nursing degree,” he explained. “I found that, with nursing, there were so many avenues to go down; if one didn’t fit, you could find another one that did fit.”

As noted, he’s been going to school, part-time or full-time, for seven years now. It’s been a struggle at times, but he kept his eyes on the prize awaiting him.

“I was taking classes while working, then quitting and going back to full-time, then working again quite a bit in the emergency room while going to school full-time,” he said. “It’s been a long road, and I’m happy to be done with it.”

Job satisfaction was also a mostly missing ingredient for Labelle, who tried to find it, without much success, in fields ranging from hospitality to selling houses. He found much more of it working in that substance-abuse clinic, but desired an even higher level.

“I wanted a career that would directly impact patient or client care,” he explained. “I did a variety of career assessments, and found that nursing was something that seemed to suit me with regard to compassionate care of client needs, and also something that would be challenging.

“I needed a job that would really challenge me, and I was looking for stability as well,” he went on. “And nursing really fit that criteria. It was a very careful decision.”

As it was for Brendan McKee, who, as noted, didn’t segue into nursing; it was his first choice.

“I did spend a lot of time in hospitals with sick family members,” he recalled. “And I got to see how the nurses worked and took care of my family. It left a really good impression on me.”

He entered Westfield State out of high school, and, like all nursing students, was exposed to a number of different and intriguing paths within the profession. One of them was work in the ICU, and that’s where he is slated to work, at Baystate Medical Center, this fall.

“I like the acuity of it — I enjoy being in that demanding of an environment,” he explained. “I’m the kind of person who runs well when there’s a lot to do and there’s a faster-paced environment.”

A second reason for choosing the ICU, said McKee, is that he eventually wants to work in anesthesia, and the ICU is the “gateway,” as he called it, to that specialty, just as the nursing degree itself is the gateway to a seemingly endless range of career paths within healthcare.

Making a Difference

Ruiz, like all those we spoke with, said he’s taking things one step at a time right now. That means his focus is on passing the licensing exam, which he’ll tackle in the next few months.

After that? He has a comfort level on the “neuro side,” as he called it, but he’s also willing to explore.

“I grew up in Springfield, and I would love to work with the community,” he told BusinessWest, adding that one of his rotations while at STCC was at the High Street Clinic, located in one of the city’s poorer neighborhoods. “I think I could make a difference in a center like that, but I’m not really sure that’s what I want — there are lots of options.”

With that, he summed up why more men are getting into a profession long dominated by women. They want to make a difference, and they’re becoming more accepting of a profession that allows them to do just that.

The numbers of men are not rising quickly or dramatically, but the arrow is definitely pointing up. And as Aiken and others noted, that’s good not just for the men taking this career path, but for those they will serve when they reach their destination.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

40 Under 40 Class of 2018

Director, Annual Giving & Grants, Cooley Dickinson Health Care; Age 33; Education: BS, Westfield State University; UMass Dartmouth

Nathan Bazinet

Nathan Bazinet

Bazinet’s background includes work in healthcare philanthropy, nonprofit management, and small-business operations. He is an active volunteer for the Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center, where he served as interim executive director for the 2017 season, before transitioning into president of the Forest Park Zoological Society, the zoo’s managing board. He also serves as president of his condo association. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with Orion and Aurora (the Zoo’s timber wolves), road trips, running, and Neil Diamond concerts.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to own Jurassic Park, be a government agent (James Bond), and have a side job as an architect. The first two are still life goals.

Who has been your best mentor, and why? Diane Dukette has played the greatest role in helping to define and shape my career path. She is a patient teacher, a model for acting with integrity, and the definition of a strong support system — always reminding me to never change who I am, professionally or personally. Her support as a mentor, and the opportunity to work under her leadership at both Mercy Medical Center and Cooley Dickinson, has been critical to many of my career successes.

What are you passionate about? Giving back. The zoo is my current volunteer priority, and has been for several years. Having the chance to work with an amazing team and board to completely restructure and reinvigorate this Springfield icon was both challenging and incredibly fulfilling. Bonus: who wouldn’t love hanging out with timber wolves on the weekend?

Whom do you look up to, and why? My mom, for teaching me about life, and the importance of wearing sunglasses indoors; Christopher, for showing me safety, trust, and love (never give up); and my best friend, Peter. If I had to embarrass one of them with detail, it’s Peter. He’s a super-smart doctor, an author, and a world-renowned ethicist. More than that, as I’m an only child, he’s the closest I’ve had to a brother for longer than I can remember. Thanks for always having my back (and for putting up with my innumerable shenanigans).

What will work colleagues say at your funeral? Probably my mantra — “every day’s a great day!”

Agenda Departments

‘Protecting Your Assets’ Panel

April 18: Springfield Partners for Community Action Inc. will host “Protecting Your Assets Part III” starting at 6 p.m. at Springfield Central Library, 220 State St. The event is in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month and is free and open to the public. Call (413) 263-6500 to reserve a seat. This year’s panelists include Julius Lewis of the Metrocom Group and the Lewis and Marrow Financial Hour, which airs Wednesdays on STCC radio; and attorney Sara Miller, who specializes in elder law and estate planning. New this year is attorney Martin O’Connor, an authority on tax issues and who helps low-income, non-English-speaking taxpayers understand their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers.

Caritas Gala

April 21: Plans are underway for Mercy Medical Center’s second annual Caritas Gala at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The gala, with its Motown-inspired theme “Reach Out,” will raise funds to support Mercy Behavioral Health Care and the Mercy Emergency Department’s Opioid Community Outreach for education, intervention, and treatment. The Caritas Gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, live entertainment from the band Motor City Magic, and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 8 p.m., following by a live auction and dancing until midnight with music from the band Radiance. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Caritas Gala, visit www.mercycares.com/caritas-gala.

Mayors’ Economic Forum

April 26: “Mayors Meet Millennials” is the title of the 2018 New England Knowledge Corridor Mayors’ Economic Forum at Goodwin College in East Hartford, Conn. The program begins with coffee and conversation from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by the conference program from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Participating mayors include Domenic Sarno (Springfield), Richard Kos (Chicopee), Marcia Leclerc (East Hartford), Erin Stewart (New Britain), and Luke Bronin (Hartford). Registration options and more information will be available soon.

BFAIR Annual Meeting

April 27: Berkshire Family & Individual Resources Inc. (BFAIR) will host its annual meeting at Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road, Pittsfield. The breakfast, set to begin at 7:30 a.m., will include the presentation of several awards for employee recognition, as well as the recognition of the community partner of the year, Richard Alcombright, former mayor of North Adams, longtime advocate for people with disabilities, and currently serving as vice president, Local Business & Customer Relations manager at MountainOne. Additionally, the chairman of the board will offer remarks on the organization’s continued expansion throughout the Berkshires and into Hampden and Hampshire counties. This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Chris May, an advocate and photographer with Down syndrome. This event is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union. The cost is $10 per person. To attend the annual meeting, RSVP by Friday, April 20 to Carol Fox at (413) 664-9382, ext. 40, or [email protected], or online at www.bfair.org.

Document Shred Day

April 28: Kelley & Malmborg Investment Consulting Group announced it will host a document shred day event on Saturday, April 28 at 9 a.m. at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz St. The event, co-hosted by Valley Green Shredding, is open to the public, with all proceeds going to the Northampton Senior Center. Shredding will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the truck is full or 11 a.m., whichever comes first. A maximum of three boxes per car will be accepted, with a $5 minimum donation. No household items, electronics, metal clips, or rubberbands will be accepted.

Financial-industry Forum

May 3: Training and Workforce Options (TWO), a partnership between Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), will host an employer-engagement forum focused on the financial-services industry from 8 to 10 a.m. at STCC’s Scibelli Hall, Rooms 701 and 702. The forum will provide financial professionals with information on workforce-development training opportunities and related services offered by experienced trainers from HCC and STCC. TWO representatives also will discuss how regional businesses can secure Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Grants to enhance training efforts for their workers. The forum is geared toward financial professionals and their businesses, with the goal of gathering input about workforce-development needs. The event is free, and refreshments will be provided. The deadline to register is April 27. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com and search ‘STCC.’

Community Shredding Day

May 11: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. is partnering with Pro-Shred Security and Century Investment Co. to hold a community shredding day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Century Shopping Center, 219 Memorial Ave., West Springfield (to the right of Bob’s Discount Furniture). Shredding protects private information, and recycling helps the environment. This event is free and open to the public (four-box limit), with a donation of a non-perishable food item for a local food pantry.

Excel Skill Training

May 14-18: Tech Foundry will offer a four-day Excel skill training the week of May 14-18 (every day but May 16) from 9 a.m. to noon at 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield. Because its first Excel class offered to area companies and their employees was such a success, Tech Foundry is eager to meet the Excel needs of more area employers and their employees. The class will cover advanced formulas; tables and formatting; conditional formatting; advanced charting; pivot tables and pivot reporting; VBA and macros; using Excel productively; data tables, simulations, and Solver; Excel integration; and optimizing Excel. The cost per student is $750. To register, e-mail [email protected]. Employers with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for a 50% tuition reimbursement from Commonwealth Corp.

NAMI Walkathon

May 20: The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Western Massachusetts will be holding its 18th annual walkathon, “A Journey of Hope and Recovery,” at Stanley Park’s Beveridge Pavilion Annex in Westfield from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The walk is suitable for all ages and will directly benefit the continuing efforts of NAMI – Western Mass. to help improve the lives of individuals living with mental illness and their families. Among the festivities will be guest speakers, entertainment, refreshments, and raffles. For further information, call (413) 786-9139 or visit www.namiwm.org/events for entry and sponsorship forms. Volunteers are needed.

‘Thrive After 55’ Wellness Fair

June 15: State Sen. Eric Lesser and Health New England announced that they will host the second annual “Thrive After 55” Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Springfield College’s Blake Athletic Complex, located at 263 Alden St., Springfield. The fair is free and open to the public. With more than 40 local organizations ranging from health and fitness to nutrition to elder law, the event will connect residents of the First Hampden & Hampshire District with information and resources to help them thrive. The free program includes a boxed lunch, educational seminars, hundreds of raffle prizes, and access to information and experts to talk to. To RSVP, call (413) 526-6501 or visit www.senatorlesser.com/thrive.

40 Under Forty Gala

June 21: BusinessWest’s 12th annual 40 Under Forty Gala is a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2018, which will be unveiled in the April 30 issue of BusinessWest. The 40 Under Forty sponsors include PeoplesBank (presenting sponsor), Northwestern Mutual (presenting sponsor), Isenberg School of Management, the MP Group, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Health New England, Development Associates, Renew.Calm, and YPS of Greater Springfield (partner). Tickets will go on sale soon at $75 per person (tables of 10 available), and the event always sells out quickly. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected] Also at the gala, the fourth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Nominations will be received at businesswest.com/40-under-forty-continued-excellence-award until May 14. Candidates must hail from 40 Under Forty classes prior to the year of the award — in this case, classes 2007-17 — and will be judged on qualities including outstanding leadership, dedicated community involvement, professional achievement, and ability to inspire. The award’s presenting sponsor is Northwestern Mutual.

Features

Coming Together

Dan Quinn

Dan Quinn says Innovative Care Partners will put a hard focus on care coordination, an identified key to bringing down the cost of healthcare and improving population health.

The healthcare landscape is changing in dramatic fashion, with a movement toward population health and providers being paid to keep people healthy rather than strictly for treating them when they’re sick. There are many intriguing manifestations of this shift, and one that bears watching is a new venture involving three area providers — the Center for Human Development, ServiceNet, and the Gandara Mental Health Center — with a name that speaks volumes about just how it will operate: Integrated Care Partners.

The title on Dan Quinn’s business card speaks volumes not only about his new role, but also about changing attitudes and new and powerful forces within the broad realm of healthcare.

By and large, ‘vice president of Health Care Integration’ is a title you probably wouldn’t have seen 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, in most settings. But you do today, and that’s because, while it has always been a goal to coordinate and integrate care offered by various providers, the motivation to do so has never been greater.

Indeed, as the costs of healthcare rise and awareness increases about the so-called social determinants of health and their impact on the overall health and well-being of not only individuals and families but entire communities, the importance of integration has become increasingly apparent. And individual states are becoming proactive in efforts to better coordinate care provided to individuals, improve communication between those providing that care, and reduce, among other things, expensive visits to the emergency room.

Which … brings us back to Quinn’s business card and the rest of the words printed on it. He takes on the role of vice president of Health Care Integration for a new entity called Innovative Care Partners, LLC (ICP). This is a partnership between three area providers: the Center for Human Development (CHD), the Gandara Mental Health Center, and ServiceNet Inc., and it will link primary care, behavioral-health services, and social determinants of health such as poverty, inadequate housing, and poor diet.

ICP will provide care-coordination services in Western Mass. through something known as the Community Partnership program, which is designed to provide accessible and effective coordination of care for people in the under-age-65 MassHealth population who have a history of costly claims, poorly integrated care, or (and usually) both.

These community partners — there will be roughly a dozen operating across the state — will deliver these services to accountable-care organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that come together voluntarily to give coordinated care to patients with commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid health plans.

“Care coordination is a mechanism though which teams of professionals work together to ensure that a patient’s overall health needs are being met, and that the right care is being delivered in the right place at the right time and by the right person,” said Quinn. “Through care coordination, patient outcomes improve, and costs decrease.”

Quinn estimates there are roughly 13,000 individuals for whom ICP will provide care-integration services. That’s a large number, and the goal, obviously, is to bring it down over time. And that’s not just the goal. Indeed, ICP’s success in bringing down the cost of healthcare and improving outcomes for those it serves will serve as the basis for how ACOs and the partners in ICP are reimbursed by the state.

“These programs will be measured from a lot of different perspectives,” said Jim Goodwin, president and CEO of CHD. “They have to bring costs down, they have to maintain high-quality services, and they have to maintain high satisfaction rates among recipients.”

Jim Goodwin

Jim Goodwin says Innovative Care Partners will go a long way toward tearing down the silos that have, historically, limited the efficiency of healthcare providers.

In short, the partners in ICP and the ACO it serves will be sharing an escalating amount of risk as they enter a new and intriguing age in healthcare — one in which providers will be paid not on the old fee-for-service model, but on how well they care for the population they serve.

As they talked about ICP and the motivations for creating it, Quinn made early and frequent use of the word ‘silos.’

For too long, individual providers have remained in their silos, not effectively communicating with, or coordinating care with, those in the silos around them also serving individuals in that MassHealth population described earlier.

The Community Partnership program and joint ventures like ICP were designed, in essence, to tear down those silos, they told BusinessWest.

Here’s how the program works. Each of the individuals to be served by ICP will be assigned a care coordinator, said Quinn, adding that hiring is ongoing, and roughly 30 coordinators will be hired and in place by this spring.

These coordinators will do just what that title suggests — they will coordinate the care for their clients and address some of those social determinants of health, such as transportation and access to providers, as we’ll see later.

For this issue, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at ICP, how it came to be, its goals moving forward, how it intends to meet them, and the importance of all this to ongoing efforts to reduce the cost of healthcare and make it more efficient.

Care Package

Quinn brings a diverse résumé to his role with ICP, one he believes will prove invaluable as he goes about trying to meet the aggressive goals set for this ambitious undertaking.

Most recently, he served as Western Regional director for Beacon Health Options in Springfield, where he focused on network management and healthcare integration. Prior to that, at Beacon Health Options in Connecticut, he was the director of Behavioral Health Home, where he collaborated with the state of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, implementing a cutting-edge population-health program advanced through the Affordable Health Act.

A licensed independent clinical social worker, Quinn earned his bachelor’s degree at Boston University, his master’s in social work from Simmons College School of Social Work, and his MBA from Western New England University.

Through those various roles, Quinn said he has come to understand the importance of integration, the need to tear down those silos he described earlier, and the motivation for initiatives like ICP.

The initiative is part of a broader, nationwide effort to reform Medicaid, said Goodwin, and the thrust of a state proposal that won $52 billion in federal funding over the next five years in the form of a Section 1115 Medicaid waiver.

And it can be summed in those two words ‘care’ and ‘coordination.’

“The federal government didn’t buy more counseling or more therapy or more psychiatry, it bought care coordination,” Goodwin explained. “One of the reasons why costs are so high is that the service system is siloed out — you have people showing up in emergency rooms, often many, many times, and their needs are more related to mental-health issues than they are medical issues, and vice versa, or social-welfare issues — they have no housing, no money, no food.

“They show up in emergency rooms with chest pain, this gets evaluated, and it runs up costs,” he went on. “The idea is that care coordination will sort of intervene on all that; these high users of medical services will be identified, and community partners will do assessments and develop a coordinated plan for providing services in a more integrated way.”

CHD could have applied to be a partner itself, said Goodwin, noting that its broad range of services certainly qualifies it to do so. But the theory concerning strength in numbers, as well as a desire to serve a broader region, meaning all of Western Mass., inspired a partnership, in the form of an LLC, between CHD, Gandara, and ServiceNet.

CHD, founded in 1972, provides behavioral health and human services to more than 25,000 children, adolescents, adults, and families.

Gandara, meanwhile, was established in 1977 to provide outpatient mental-health and substance-abuse services to what has historically been an underserved Hispanic community in Western Mass. Overall, it provides care to more than 13,000 people in more than 40 sites throughout the state, including outpatient clients, recovery support centers, housing services, adolescent group homes, residential recovery programs, and other outreach services. Gandara is also the state’s Hispanic Specialized Service Agency (S-CSA), a program that serves approximately 2,500 children each year.

Founded in 1965, ServiceNet Inc. is a behavioral-health and human-services agency that provides evidence-based treatments and supports more than 12,000 individuals each year who are living with mental illness, developmental disabilities, autism, brain injury, homelessness, and/or addiction issues. Programs include five outpatient clinics, a variety of outreach services, and more than 60 residential programs.

Henry East-Trou, exective director of the Gandara Center, said the Hispanic population is well-represented within MassHealth, and therefore the agency saw participation in ICP as a way to better serve this constituency.

He told BusinessWest that the program will change the equation by providing a higher level of connectivity between the client, his or her primary-care provider, and the providers of other healthcare services.

“The big piece in all this is the care coordination,” he said. “It will enable us to identify an individual that is in MassHealth, reach out, and create a partnership with the primary-care provider. The system forces us to connect with primary care and to be informing the primary-care provider of what’s is happening in that person’s life.”

Systemic Change

Overall, ICP will deliver a wide range of services to its ACO clients, including:

• Person-centered care planning focused on achieving improved health outcomes;

• Provision of wrap-around social services that address the social determinants of health, such as poverty, poor housing, poor nutrition, unemployment, social isolation, family stress, and trauma;

• Individualized care management to assure follow-up and follow-through in care planning and delivery, including home visits and transportation, when necessary;

• Cultural and linguistic competence that result in enhanced patient engagement and satisfaction; and

• A 24-hour availability of wrap-around services aimed at reducing avoidable emergency-department utilization and hospitalization, and quickly defusing crisis situations.

To better explain how the concept will work, Quinn offered a hypothetical — only there are many individuals in this region who fit this profile.

In this scenario, the client has diabetes as well as some behavioral-health issues, said Quinn, and is also being impacted negatively by several of those social determinants of health.

“Right now, that person goes to various providers and receives care for their conditions,” he explained. “What frequently happens with people who become quite expensive with these things is that they may forget appointments, they may forget to refill prescriptions; because of their socio-economic status, they may be homeless, they may very unstable housing, they may have poor access to transportation to get to their appointments or to get their pharmacy.

“They have all kinds of problems, so they don’t access care appropriately,” he went on. “In an emergency, they’ll go to the hospital and get admitted for something that could have been prevented; they’ll go to the ED for something that could have been prevented. So they’re overly expensive.”

Starting June 1, this same individual will be the client of a care coordinator, he continued, adding that this individual will be in communication with both the client and those providing him or her care.

And through these conversations, the care coordinator will learn if an appointment has been missed, why, and take steps to reduce such occurrences, and thus also reduce both the number of visits to the ED and the cost of providing care to this individual.

“We’ll monitor them and get them the care they need in a timely way,” Quinn told BusinessWest, “so they don’t get into the medical crises that create admissions; we’ll prevent the emergency-department visits that are more expensive. And we’ll improve their health overall.”

This brings him back to that new model of how providers and ACOs will be paid and the risks being taken on by all the partners in this initiative.

“You’ll be given an amount of money per month and an amount of money per year,” he explained. “And if you exceed it, you absorb the loss; if you don’t exceed it, you can keep the savings. Now, instead of the incentive being to do more, the incentive is to do less. But you also have to meet a whole host of quality measures.”

Bottom Line

It all sounds good in theory, said those we spoke with, but in a handful of states where ACOs and community care partners have been put in place, it works in reality, too.

And the expectation is that it will work in Massachusetts and its four western counties as well, because the theory is sound.

Again, it comes back to those two words — care coordination. The more of it there is, the better this region’s ability to bring down the cost of care while also improving overall population health.

As noted at the top, this is a profound change for both the industry and the region. It’s a noble experiment, and it will get underway on June 1.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Agenda Departments

Women’s Leadership Conference

April 6: Lena Waithe, the actor, producer, and writer who, in 2017, became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy Award for comedy writing, will be interviewed during Bay Path University’s 23rd annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC). The one-day event has become the region’s prime women’s leadership event for professional networking and enrichment. Waithe first made headlines in front of the camera as Denise in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None. She co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode, for which she won the Emmy for Best Writing in a Comedy Series. As a writer, she is the creator and executive producer of The Chi, a coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters in Chicago’s South Side. As a producer, her credits include the upcoming film Step Sisters. She was also a producer on the Sundance darling Dear White People and Tiffany Johnson’s short film Ladylike, which can be found on YouTube. Delivering the WLC’s morning keynote address will be noted social psychologist Amy Cuddy, who teaches at Harvard Business School and is a New York Times bestselling author. Focusing on the power of nonverbal behavior, prejudice, and stereotyping and how people can affect their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, Cuddy teaches thousands of people how to become more present, influential, and satisfied in their professional and personal lives. Keynote speakers will share their perspectives on this year’s conference theme, “Be Curious,” motivating and inspiring attendees to engage curiosity in their daily lives. Nancy Shendell-Falik, Lisa Tanzer, and Kirk Arnold, regional leaders in the fields of healthcare, retail, and technology, will discuss the obstacles they’ve overcome during a lunchtime panel with a moderator and an opportunity for audience questions. Additionally, breakout sessions will be led by Stephen Brand, executive director of Global Learning & Development, Strategic Alliances at Bay Path; Cy Wakeman, president and founder of Reality-Based Leadership; Dr. Tasha Eurich, organizational psychologist, blogger, and New York Times bestselling author; and Linda Galindo, renowned speaker, author, and educator on organizational and individual accountability. Bay Path University’s Women’s Leadership Conference has garnered more than 22,000 attendees and featured more than 150 prominent speakers throughout its history. For further information on the conference and to register, visit www.baypathconference.com.

Alzheimer’s Benefit Gala

April 7: The Pioneer Valley Friends of Alzheimer’s Assoc. will hold its fourth annual Alzheimer’s Benefit Gala at the Log Cabin in Holyoke starting at 5:30 p.m. The festivities will include live entertainment, food, and raffles. Entertainment will include the Blend, Richie Mitnick and Friends, and Now’s the Time Jazz Sextet. Ashley Kohl will serve as the evening’s host. The event will feature the sale of artwork created by residents of assisted-living and skilled-nursing communities located throughout Western Mass. This part of the program — “Painting the Face on Alzheimer’s” — will include art that was created using the ‘memories method,’ which focuses on the process of creating by encouraging self-expression through art among those facing dementia. This year, Seymour Frankel will receive the Distinguished Fundraiser Award for his fundraising efforts for the last 23 years in support of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For many years, he has been the largest donor to support the walk. The evening’s proceeds will fund various educational programs for the local Alzheimer’s Assoc. chapter, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and referral services for families who have loved ones with the disease. Tickets are $50 per person or $475 for a table of 10. For online ticket orders, visit www. eventbrite.com. Tickets may also be purchased by contacting Claudette Smart at (413) 636-5462 or [email protected]. Make checks payable to PVFAA (Pioneer Valley Friends of Alzheimer’s Assoc.) at P.O. Box 164, Agawam, MA 01001.

Valley Community Development Celebrates 30 Years

April 12: In honor of its 30-year anniversary, Valley Community Development will hold a celebration at Hadley Farms Meeting House, and Executive Director Joanne Campbell announced that the organization’s $400,000 anniversary fundraising goal has been met, including $32,000 raised from first-time donors to the nonprofit. Campbell said the celebration is one new way to educate community members about the nonprofit’s mission to empower people with low and moderate incomes to manage and improve the quality of their lives through the development of affordable housing, economic opportunity, and small-business development. The event is open to the public and will kick off with a cocktail reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Dinner and the keynote speaker, Charles Blow, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, will follow from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $125 and are available online by visiting valleycdc.com. Blow writes about politics, public opinion, and social justice. He is a CNN commentator and was a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale University last year. He is also the author of the best-selling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which tells his story of growing up in the Deep South with a fiercely driven mother and four brothers, and his escape after a trauma. At the celebratory event, Blow will speak on the general theme of social justice. “It will be very timely and appropriate for the work we’re doing right now,” said Campbell. “Valley Community Development is involved in navigating the crisis in housing and serving people with very low incomes. We collaborate with regional and local organizations to work on these local issues.”

‘Protecting Your Assets’

April 18: Springfield Partners for Community Action Inc. will host “Protecting Your Assets Part III” starting at 6 p.m. at Springfield Central Library, 220 State St. The event is in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month and is free and open to the public. Call (413) 263-6500 to reserve a seat. This year’s panelists include Julius Lewis of the Metrocom Group and the Lewis and Marrow Financial Hour, which airs Wednesdays on STCC radio; and attorney Sara Miller, who specializes in elder law and estate planning. New this year is attorney Martin O’Connor, an authority on tax issues and who helps low-income, non-English-speaking taxpayers understand their rights and responsibilities as taxpayers. “I am sure there will be something for everyone, along with great information sharing,” said Paul Bailey, executive director at Springfield Partners.

Caritas Gala

April 21: Plans are underway for Mercy Medical Center’s second annual Caritas Gala at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The gala, with its Motown-inspired theme “Reach Out,” will raise funds to support Mercy Behavioral Health Care and the Mercy Emergency Department’s Opioid Community Outreach for education, intervention, and treatment. Dr. Mohamed and Kimberly Hamdani, along with Paul and Anna Mancinone, are honorary chairpersons for the Caritas Gala. Longtime supporters of Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Hamdani has served as chairman of Surgery, chairman of Credentials, and president of the medical staff at Mercy, and Paul Mancinone serves on the board for Trinity Health Of New England. The Caritas Gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, live entertainment from the band Motor City Magic, and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 8 p.m., following by a live auction and dancing until midnight with music from the band Radiance. Preregistration is required by Friday, March 23. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Caritas Gala, visit www.mercycares.com/caritas-gala.

Mayors’ Economic Forum

April 26: “Mayors Meet Millennials” is the title of the 2018 New England Knowledge Corridor Mayors’ Economic Forum at Goodwin College in East Hartford, Conn. The program begins with coffee and conversation from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by the conference program from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Participating mayors include Domenic Sarno (Springfield), Richard Kos (Chicopee), Marcia Leclerc (East Hartford), Erin Stewart (New Britain), and Luke Bronin (Hartford). Registration options and more information will be available soon.

Excel Skill Training

May 14-18: Tech Foundry will offer a four-day Excel skill training the week of May 14-18 (every day but May 16) from 9 a.m. to noon at 1391 Main St., ninth floor, Springfield. Because its first Excel class offered to area companies and their employees was such a success, Tech Foundry is eager to meet the Excel needs of more area employers and their employees. Hundreds of workers in the Pioneer Valley alone use Excel on a daily basis, yet only a small fraction have the training and skill needed to maximize job success and productivity. The class will cover advanced formulas; tables and formatting; conditional formatting; advanced charting; pivot tables and pivot reporting; VBA and macros; using Excel productively; data tables, simulations, and Solver; Excel integration; and optimizing Excel. The cost per student is $750. To register, e-mail [email protected] Employers with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for a 50% tuition reimbursement from Commonwealth Corp.

40 Under Forty Gala

June 21: BusinessWest’s 12th annual 40 Under Forty Gala is a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2018, which will be unveiled in the April 30 issue of BusinessWest. Also, the fourth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. The 40 Under Forty sponsors include PeoplesBank (presenting sponsor), Northwestern Mutual (presenting sponsor), Isenberg School of Management, Health New England, the MP Group, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, Renew.Calm, and partner YPS of Greater Springfield. Tickets will go on sale soon at $75 per person (tables of 10 available), and the event always sells out quickly. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected].

Departments People on the Move
John Dowd Jr.

John Dowd Jr.

Dennis Fitzpatrick

Dennis Fitzpatrick

Diane LaCosse

Diane LaCosse

James Wall

James Wall

John Dowd Jr., Dennis Fitzpatrick, Diane LaCosse, and James Wall were recently named to the board of the Sisters of Providence Ministry Corp. (SPMC). SPMC functions as the holding company for Providence Place Inc., Mary’s Meadow at Providence Place Inc., and Providence Ministries for the Needy Inc., all in Holyoke; and Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center in Westfield. The Sisters of Providence executive council serves as the corporation’s members on the SPMC board and as corporation officers; they include Sr. Kathleen Popko, president; Sr. Mary Caritas Geary, vice president; and Sr. Senga Fulton, secretary/treasurer. Dowd is president and CEO of the Dowd Insurance Agencies, and has served on numerous boards, including the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS) and foundation board, NUVO Bank & Trust, and CityStage and Symphony Hall. Fitzpatrick is president of the O’Connell Companies and former board chair of Brightside for Families and Children, SPHS, and Catholic Health East, of which SPHS was a founding member. LaCosse is senior vice president of United Bank’s commercial banking division in West Springfield and a member of the Providence Place/Mary’s Meadow board and finance committee. She is a volunteer for the WestMass Eldercare Money Manager Program, an associate of the Sisters of Providence, and formerly served on the Brightside for Families and Children Board. Wall retired in 2012 as global managing director of talent and chief diversity officer for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., U.S. He currently serves on two boards of trustees: as vice chair of American Management Assoc. International, NYC, and chair-elect of Providence Ministries for the Needy Inc. in Holyoke.

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Mark Wysk

Mark Wysk

Guardair Corp., the largest U.S. manufacturer of OSHA-compliant safety air guns and pneumatic vacuums, announced the hiring of Mark Wysk as the new director of Global Supply Chain. Wysk brings 30 years of industrial purchasing management experience, including international sourcing, tool-industry knowledge, and materials expertise. In his new role at Guardair, he will support manufacturing through innovative sourcing strategies and optimizing cost-saving opportunities in conjunction with annual operating plans. His focus will be on building and strengthening partnerships, providing true strategic relationships. “Mark’s expertise in improving productivity, quality, and efficiency of supply-chain operations is a tremendous asset as we continue to grow,” said Tom Tremblay, president of Guardair Corp. “We are thrilled to have him join our team.” Wysk was most recently the corporate director of Procurement at Simonds International. Prior to that, he held the position of senior manager of Global Sourcing for Lenox. He holds a master’s degree in engineering management and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, both from Western New England College. He currently serves as president of the Institute for Supply Management of Western New England and has published articles in Supply Chain World and Cutting Tool Engineering.

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Tom Schiff

Tom Schiff

Tom Schiff, the founder and executive director of Phallacies Inc., will receive an Innovative Initiative Award in March for his work with the nonprofit, which helps men create healthy masculinities through dialogue and theatrical performance. Schiff will receive the honor in person from the Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community of the National Assoc. of Student Personnel Administrators at the organization’s 100th annual conference in Philadelphia on March 3-7. The honor comes as Schiff is poised to begin to expand the organization in the region to reach and impact a broader audience of men of all ages. Phallacies Inc. provides leadership development, health education, and violence prevention for men via dialogue and innovative educational theater. It was born four years ago through Schiff’s work as a health educator at UMass, where he also founded the Men and Masculinities Center. Through Phallacies, people who identify as male between the ages of roughly 19 and 35 engage in a dialogue about masculinity and the intersections with other identities, health, violence, and relationships, and then create performance pieces as educational and thought catalysts to encourage changing the cultural scripts about masculinities. Performances take place at colleges, human-service organizations and forums, conferences, and local high schools and middle schools. Men who are involved include teachers, staff from youth and human-service agencies, and medical students. “They’re interested in getting support for themselves about how to be healthier as a man — physically, emotionally, and psychologically — and to find support for that. They are trying to rethink what it means to be a man in the world,” Schiff said. “People also get involved because they’re interested in violence prevention. Men need to speak up and speak out about these issues to help support more men and boys in creating healthy masculinities.” Schiff holds a doctoral degree in organization development from UMass, a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and a bachelor’s degree in history with certification in secondary social studies from the State University of New York at Cortland.

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The board of directors at Pioneer Cold announced that Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bryan Hedge has been elected president. He joined Pioneer in 2007 as vice president of Operations, and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2012. Hedge will be responsible for all areas of Pioneer, including customer and employee satisfaction. A major part of his job will be to set priorities in strategy, asset utilization, and revenue growth, and to ensure operational excellence across the company. As COO, Hedge was the operations leader and delivered consistent improvement in all areas, including safety, capacity planning and utilization, customer satisfaction, and productivity. As a result, Pioneer achieved industry-best operational metrics as benchmarked against industry standards. Hedge came to Pioneer from Sleepy’s, where he was vice president, Logistics. Prior to that, he was vice president, Business Operations at CIS in Lenox. He also held executive-level supply-chain-management roles at Save-A-Lot Foods, Performance Food Group, and Springfield Foodservice. He spent 20 years with TruServ Corp., where he was consistently promoted to roles with increasing responsibility. Hedge is an active member of the International Assoc. of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) and serves as a member of that organization’s supply chain operations committee. He also currently serves as treasurer of the North Atlantic Chapter of the IARW. He is also a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Pioneer Cold also announced two more promotions, with Susanne Gagnon becoming director of Operations and Michael Carr becoming Customer Service manager. Gagnon served most recently as Customer Service and Transportation manager. She came to Pioneer in 2004 as a Warehouse manager and was promoted to Customer Service manager in 2006. Prior to joining Pioneer, she was with C&S for 10 years and was promoted to roles with increasing levels of responsibility, working on the ‘SWAT Team’ setting up and opening new distribution centers for three years, and was promoted to Warehouse supervisor, where she spent her last two years. Carr joined Pioneer in 2003 as a Customer Service representative. In 2007, he was promoted to senior Customer Service representative and has spent the last 11 years in that role. Prior to joining Pioneer, he was a route sales/DSD delivery driver for a magazine and book distributor.

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Dr. Angela Belmont

Dr. Angela Belmont

Cooley Dickinson Health Care President and CEO Joanne Marqusee announced the appointment of Dr. Angela Belmont as vice president, Patient Care Services and chief Nursing officer (CNO). “In her new role, Angela provides leadership, oversight, and support of our leaders in the Patient Care Services division at Cooley Dickinson Health Care,” Marqusee said. “Angela is responsible for advancing our dyad program of nursing and physician collaboration, and partners with our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Estevan Garcia to focus on quality and patient safety. In this regard, Angela will help us to drive improvements in patient satisfaction and nursing practice at Cooley Dickinson.” A successful nurse administrator with more than 30 years of experience, Belmont has held progressively responsible leadership positions in acute-care hospitals throughout her career, including more than 20 years with Faxton-St. Luke’s Hospital, a 370-bed acute-care hospital in Utica, N.Y. Prior to joining Cooley Dickinson, Belmont was assistant vice president of Nursing for Mohawk Valley Health System, a community healthcare system with more than 4,000 employees that serves patients throughout three counties in upstate New York. In this role, she led efforts to significantly improve patient-care services and outcomes across the two hospital campuses. Belmont earned both her bachelor’s degree in Nursing and master’s degree in nursing administration at the State University of New York, and her doctorate in nursing practice in system leadership from Rush University in Chicago.

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Brittany Weiss, associate director of International Admissions at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, has joined the all-volunteer board of directors for the International Language Institute of Massachusetts (ILI). “We are very pleased to have Brittany as part of the ILI family,” said Eric Wirth, ILI board president. “Her extensive academic and professional background around the world and here at home will go far in supporting our work, including high-quality language instruction and teacher training, free English classes for immigrants and refugees, and volunteer opportunities throughout the Pioneer Valley.” Weiss has considerable experience abroad in Asia, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Prior to joining Stoneleigh-Burnham, she was Admissions associate at the American International School of Budapest in Hungary, where she worked with students and families from more than 60 nationalities. Earlier, she served as assistant director of Alumni Engagement at her alma mater, Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, and as a resident faculty member at Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Siena College and a master’s degree in educational administration and policy studies from the University at Albany.

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The Melha Shriners, a philanthropic organization based on fun, fellowship, and Masonic principles, announced the official election and installation of their potentate (president) and his Divan (executive board). At its annual meeting, the Melha Shriners presented the potentate’s fez to Glenn Surprenant, the 108th top-ranking Shriner in Western Mass. as the organization enters its 120th year. A lifelong resident of Western Mass., Surprenant graduated from Classical High School and later pursued his passion for laboratory sciences. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from American International College in 1976, he became a registered medical technologist in Laboratory Sciences and is currently the director of Radiology at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. In 1976, Surprenant married Diane Ruggeri, an assistant nurse manager, Labor & Delivery for Baystate Medical Center. After many years of observing other members of his family join the Masonic fraternity and then the Shrine, Surprenant was raised a Master Mason in the Indian Orchard Lodge in February 2006 and joined the Melha Shriners in March 2006. He has been an active member and past president of the Hadji Unit in 2014. During parades, he can be seen driving one of the brightly colored Jeepsters. Surprenant’s journey toward becoming the head Shriner in Western Mass. began in 2014 when he was appointed to the Divan line. The fellowship he espouses is seen throughout the Shrine and Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield, as his cousin, Al “Poppy” Surprenant, is a member of the clown unit; his brothers, Joseph and Gary Surprenant, are both board of governors members at the hospital; and his son, Andrew, is president of the Melha Oriental Band Unit. The First Lady’s project, titled “Nursing Education: Making a Difference for the Kids,” will raise funds to provide items not normally allocated in a hospital budget; these educational items will assist the nurses in the transition to acute pediatric rehabilitation care. Said First Lady Diane, “I’d like to add more educational items that will help the staff to do even greater things than they are doing now. My hope is that my project will provide additional tools and the necessary training to expand the high-quality care the children receive here in Springfield.”

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Kayla Drinkwine

Kayla Drinkwine

Kayla Drinkwine joined Webber & Grinnell Insurance as commercial lines marketing manager. She will be responsible for quoting, negotiating, and placing the agency’s larger commercial accounts with the various insurance carriers represented by the agency. Drinkwine started her career at Phillips Insurance Agency in Chicopee. Starting as the office receptionist, she moved quickly to personal lines customer service representative and then to commercial account manager. She maintains her construction risk and insurance specialist (CRIS) and certified insurance service representative (CISR) designations from the Massachusetts Assoc. of Insurance Agents.

Agenda Departments

Gray House
Spaghetti Supper
March 19: The Gray House will hold its 27th annual spaghetti supper from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Greek Cultural Center, 8 Plainfield St. in Springfield. All proceeds from the family-friendly event will help the Gray House provide food, educational services, and youth programming to neighbors living in poverty. This year’s event sponsor is Freedom Credit Union, and platinum sponsors include PeoplesBank and the Springfield Chapter of UNICO National.
Tickets for the event are a minimum donation of $5. Children 6 and under are free, and all tickets can be purchased at the door. Supper, dessert, and children’s activities are available, as well as the opportunity to win raffle prizes such as Okemo Mountain lift tickets, a Tree House Brewing Co. basket, and many others. The grand-prize raffle includes a foursome to the Ranch Golf Club, tickets to a Boston Red Sox game, and a 32-inch smart TV. Winners do not need to be present to win the grand-prize raffle, and entry tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (413) 734-6696. This year, the Gray House will honor St. Michael’s Parish and Knights of Columbus Council #9960 of East Longmeadow. The event would not be possible without the support of the St. Michael’s Knights of Columbus and parishioners, said Teresa Liberti, executive director of the Gray House. “For over 20 years, they have been an integral part of making the spaghetti supper such a success. They are the ones who are cooking and serving the food for over 400 guests we have every year.”

Difference Makers
March 22: The 10th annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. The winners were announced and profiled in the Jan. 22 issue. Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Tickets to the event cost $75 per person, with tables of 10 available. To order, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100 or visit www.businesswest.com. Sponsors include Sunshine Village, Royal, P.C., Health New England, and Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C.

Caritas Gala
April 21: Plans are underway for Mercy Medical Center’s second annual Caritas Gala at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The gala, with its Motown-inspired theme “Reach Out,” will raise funds to support Mercy Behavioral Health Care and the Mercy Emergency Department’s Opioid Community Outreach for education, intervention, and treatment. Dr. Mohamed and Kimberly Hamdani, along with Paul and Anna Mancinone, are honorary chairpersons for the Caritas Gala. Longtime supporters of Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Hamdani has served as chairman of Surgery, chairman of Credentials, and president of the medical staff at Mercy, and Paul Mancinone serves on the board for Trinity Health Of New England. The Caritas Gala will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, live entertainment from the band Motor City Magic, and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 8 p.m., following by a live auction and dancing until midnight with music from the band Radiance. Preregistration is required by Friday, March 23. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Caritas Gala, visit www.mercycares.com/caritas-gala.

Mayors’ Economic Forum
April 26: “Mayors Meet Millennials” is the title of the 2018 New England Knowledge Corridor Mayors’ Economic Forum at Goodwin College in East Hartford, Conn. The program begins with coffee and conversation from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., followed by the conference program from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Participating mayors include Domenic Sarno (Springfield), Richard Kos (Chicopee), Marcia Leclerc (East Hartford), Erin Stewart (New Britain), and Luke Bronin (Hartford). Registration options and more information will be available soon.

40 Under Forty Gala
June 21: BusinessWest’s 12th annual 40 Under Forty Gala is a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2018, which will be unveiled in the April 30 issue of BusinessWest. Also, the fourth Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. The 40 Under Forty sponsors include PeoplesBank (presenting sponsor), Northwestern Mutual (presenting sponsor), Isenberg School of Management, Health New England, and the MP Group. Tickets will go on sale soon at $75 per person (tables of 10 available), and the event always sells out quickly. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected]

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Mont Marie, a member of the Marquis Health Services/Tryko Partners skilled-nursing portfolio, has made a contribution toward the Holyoke Medical Center capital campaign — titled Care. Community. Commitment. — for the new Emergency Department and Medical Office Building.

“Strong partnerships with local medical providers are integral to a skilled-nursing facility’s ability to provide the best possible care, programs, and customer service for residents. We value the close working relationship we have developed with Holyoke Medical Center in the three years we have owned and operated Mont Marie Health Care Center,” said Norman Rokeach, CEO of Marquis Health Services, the healthcare affiliate of Tryko Partners, LLC. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the hospital and its team as we develop specialized programming that meets the needs of the Holyoke community.”

Added Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems, “we are proud of the partnership the hospital has been able to establish with Mont Marie and Marquis Health Services, and greatly appreciate this financial contribution. It is collaborations such as those established with Mont Marie that allow us to continue to provide our community with the services it deserves.”

The new Emergency Department, which opened in July 2017, is a 21,460-square-foot facility featuring a Center for Behavioral Health Emergency Service, 40 treatment areas, multi-patient trauma rooms, advanced life-saving equipment, and a patient-navigation service. In the first six months of operation, the new facility has treated more than 26,000 patients.

The Care. Community. Commitment. capital campaign at Holyoke Medical Center is still underway and inching closer to its $3 million goal. Anyone interested in learning more about the campaign and ways to get involved is invited to call the hospital’s Development Department at (413) 534-2579.

Departments People on the Move
Eric Polep

Eric Polep

J. Polep Distribution Services announced the promotion of Eric Polep to president and CEO, reporting to Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Polep. “Eric has proven time and again he understands how to grow with the industry and as the business dictates. He represents J. Polep with pride, and his everyday goal is to make sure each customer and vendor sees the outcome of long-term success, which is the foundation to our business,” said Jeffrey Polep, also Eric’s father. J. Polep Distribution Service is the fifth-largest convenience wholesaler in the U.S., exceeding $1.5 billion in sales. The locally owned and operated business posted a 30.1% increase in overall sales, rising from ninth place to fifth place in the 2017 CSNEWS Top Wholesalers report. Eric will continue to work closely with Jeffrey and all of the company’s support staff to ensure effective execution of strategies and operational services. “I am very excited for this opportunity that lies ahead of me and look forward to the continuing growth of the business,” Eric said. “Upon graduating college, I knew I wanted to go right into the family business and absorb everything I could from my father. Working beside him has always been a dream of mine, and it’s an honor to be named president of J. Polep Distribution Services by him and our board.”

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Christopher Scott

Christopher Scott

Michael Pike

Michael Pike

PeoplesBank announced appointments of two key associates. Christopher Scott was appointed assistant vice president, portfolio manager, while Michael Pike was appointed Hadley branch manager. Scott has more than six years of banking experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in corporate finance, from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. He is also a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute. Pike has more than 12 years of banking and financial-services experience. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Notre Dame College.

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Dr. Neil Kudler, former chief medical information officer for Baystate Health, has joined Holyoke-based healthcare consultancy VertitechIT as chief medical officer. “IT consultants focused primarily on bits and bytes are doing their clients a disservice,” said Kudler, who has held other senior executive and strategist positions at Baystate Health, one of New England’s largest healthcare systems. “As CMO of VertitechIT, I’m in a position to bridge that all-important technology gap between clinicians and the IT departments that must support them.” VertitechIT is among the fastest-growing healthcare IT consultancies in the country, focused on helping senior IT leaders to strategically and tactically transform the role of IT in the hospital setting. “Any consultant worth their fee can design and implement a new cloud strategy or infrastructure platform,” said VertitechIT CEO Michael Feld. “Dr. Kudler gives us immense credibility on the clinical side of the house, providing guidance on things like diversified health-system operations, population health, and data analytics.” Before joining VertitechIT, Kudler served as senior healthcare innovation strategist for TechSpring Technology Innovation Center, and as chief operating officer for Baycare Health Partners. He is a graduate of Colgate University and received his master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. He received his doctor of medicine degree from New York University and trained in internal medicine at UC San Francisco.

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Jonathan Howell

Jonathan Howell

Springfield College named Jonathan Howell as its new director of Human Resources, effective March 5. He brings more than 18 years of experience in human resources, with the last 15 years working in higher education. As the college’s lead human-resources officer, Howell will be responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction surrounding all human-resources initiatives and priorities for Springfield College. Howell comes to Springfield College from Mitchell College in New London, Conn., where he served as vice president for Human Resources starting in 2015. Prior to his most recent position, Howell also served as director of Human Resources at Mitchell College from 2012 to 2015. Prior to his time there, Howell was employed for eight years at the University of Illinois in multiple human-resources positions. Howell received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Augustana College and will complete a master’s program in human resources from Ft. Hays State University this spring.

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Carol Anne McGowan

Carol Anne McGowan

The UMass Donahue Institute, an outreach and economic-development arm of the UMass President’s Office, promoted Carol Anne McGowan to associate director. In this position, McGowan works closely with the executive director to develop and implement management strategies, systems, and practices across the Donahue Institute. She is also directly responsible for overseeing all fiscal and human-resource functions. Previously, she served as the institute’s director of Administration and Finance. She first joined the institute in 2000 as a member of the Financial Management, Education and Training (FMET) team. She spent more than 10 years with FMET, developing curriculum and instructing in the areas of government finance and accounting for the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to her role as associate director, McGowan has developed a credited course on post-award management of grants and contracts, which she will teach through UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management. Earlier in her career, she served as director of Onslow Community Health Improvement Process, a community nonprofit organization in Onslow County, N.C. She has a master’s degree in human resources and organizational development from Webster University and an MBA from the UMass Isenberg School of Management.

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Miriam Siegel

Miriam Siegel

Country Bank announced that Miriam Siegel has joined its team as senior vice president of Human Resources. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in business, Siegel boasts 26 years in the financial-services industry. She is also a certified compensation professional and certified benefits professional from WorldatWork. For 21 years, Siegel worked at United Bank. She began her career as a payroll clerk and worked her way through the ranks until she found her passion within the human-resources department. Her time at United Bank made a significant impact on her approach to human resources. “I live and work by the philosophy that your most valuable assets are your people,” she said. “I am very excited to be back at a local community bank where employees and customers come first.” Siegel owned and operated the Village Store Café in Wilbraham with her husband. During that time, they began a run/walk event, the Cup to Pint Fun Run, to support local charities. The Children’s Museum in Wilbraham, the Livestrong Program at the Scantic Valley YMCA, and the Wilbraham Hampden Academic Trust, have all received donations from this annual fund-raiser. Siegel is a member of the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc., WorldatWork, and the New England Human Resources Assoc., and serves on the board of directors for Behavioral Health Network in Springfield. “Miriam’s extensive expertise in human resources within the financial-services industry makes her a perfect fit for Country Bank,” said Paul Scully, the bank’s CEO and president. “We are thrilled to have her join our team; we know that Miriam will be an esteemed resource for Country Bank and its employees.”

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Bulkley Richardson announced that Seunghee Cha and Jodi Miller have been promoted to partner, and Mary Bonzagni has joined the firm as partner as well. In her comprehensive estate-planning practice, Cha assists individuals and families from all walks of life, with a particular focus on special-needs planning for individuals living with intellectual, developmental, and age-related disabilities; conservatorship and alternatives; estate settlement; and trust administration. Miller focuses her practice on commercial and other civil litigation, including class actions, as well as regulatory matters. She has a particular expertise in the area of health law and also represents public and privately held corporations, financial institutions, schools and universities, nonprofits, and individuals in a range of litigation matters. Bonzagni has an established reputation in the field of intellectual property. Her work involves prosecuting, defending, and licensing patents for a wide variety of inventions, as well as challenging the patentability of both pre-grant and post-grant patents in a number of countries and regions. In-depth experience as a chemist has equipped her with a unique perspective and allows her to provide clients with both legal and scientific strategies. She also advises businesses on strategic aspects of trademark, copyright, and trade-secret protection.

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Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein

Charlie Epstein, an investment adviser and author who specializes in retirement consulting, has been appointed to the Holyoke Community College board of trustees by Gov. Charlie Baker. He was sworn in Feb. 2, and is expected to join the board for its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Epstein is principal of the Holyoke-based Epstein Financial Group LLC and Epstein Financial Services, a registered, investment advisory firm providing corporate retirement-plan consulting as well as wealth-management and financial-planning services for business owners, professionals, and individual plan participants. He is also owner of the 401K Coach Program, which offers financial-adviser education services and training; the author of two books: Paychecks for Life: How to Turn Your 401(k) into a Paycheck Manufacturing Company and Save America, Save! The Secrets of a Successful 401(k) Plan; and an industry conference speaker and commentator who has appeared on the Fox Business Network. In 1994, he founded the Family Business Center of the Pioneer Valley in Amherst and remains on its board of directors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colgate University.

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David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr.

David W. Griffin Sr., executive vice president and treasurer of the Dowd Agencies, LLC, is the 2018 recipient of the Daniel J. Gallivan award from the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. “We are honored that one of our own has received this well-deserved honor,” said John E. Dowd Jr., president and CEO. “David has provided tireless effort for Holyoke, fulfilling various leadership capacities that have benefitted our clients and the citizens of Western Massachusetts alike.” Griffin is an active member of the Holyoke community, serving as president of the West Springfield Chamber of Commerce, West Springfield Rotary, Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, Springfield Country Club, Hampden County Insurance Agents, and chair of Mont Marie Health Care Center. He remains active with the CYO of Western Massachusetts as well. Griffin has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, beginning his career in 1978 as a surety underwriter for Aetna Casualty. Since then, he has served as a broker specializing in large commercial and contracting accounts. He is a licensed insurance advisor as well as a certified insurance counselor. Since 1972, the Daniel J. Gallivan award, named after the South Hadley resident and longtime member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, has been awarded to long-standing members of the association who have made significant contributions to the overall success of the parade and committee.

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Meaghan Murphy

Meaghan Murphy

Bacon Wilson announced that Meaghan Murphy has joined the firm as an associate attorney. A member of the firm’s litigation department, her practice is focused on labor and employment law. Murphy is a graduate of Western New England University School of Law, and received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. She works primarily from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location, and is licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. Founded in 1895, Bacon Wilson, P.C. is one of the largest firms in the Pioneer Valley, with 44 lawyers and approximately 60 paralegals, administrative assistants, and support staff. The firm’s offices are located in Springfield, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, and Westfield.

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Berkshire Bank promoted Lori Gazzillo to senior vice president and director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation. She was previously the foundation’s vice president. In her new position, Gazzillo is responsible for the development, planning, and implementation of strategies to support the Berkshire Bank Foundation, improving quality of life, cultivating partnerships, and fostering community relationships across the Bank’s six-state footprint. Gazzillo joined Berkshire Bank in 2011 from Legacy Banks, where she was the Community Relations officer since 2006. “Lori has more than 20 years of communications and community-relations experience and has shown exceptional leadership in improving and developing strong relationships in our existing and new markets. We look forward to continuing to foster these relationships as we grow,” said Linda Johnston, senior executive vice president and chief Human Resources officer. Gazzillo serves on the board of directors of 1Berkshire, the Brien Center, and Associated Grant Makers, is a member of the newly formed Berkshire Leadership Impact Council, and was recently appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Berkshire Community College board of trustees. She has a bachelor’s degree from Keene State College and a master’s degree in education from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She is also a graduate of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management.

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Michelle Theroux of Berkshire Hills Music Academy was installed as president of the South Hadley & Granby Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 23. The election of officers and directors took place at the Willits-Hallowell Center. The other officers elected were Dina Mead, vice president; Jessica Bodon, clerk; and Alexandra Wern-LaFlamme, treasurer. New or returning directors elected that evening were Carol Constant, Mead, Darren Thomas, and Wearn-Laflamme.