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May 9, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 24


Dennis Lucyniak Remembered for Generosity, Wisdom

Dennis Lucyniak, Coordinator of the SPARK (Supporting Parents and Resilient Kids) Center’s Special Education Program, died May 5 after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 62 years old.

Dennis Lucyniak
Dennis Lucyniak

Lucyniak began his career at Boston City Hospital in 1977, serving as Co-Founder and Director of the Family Development Center until 2004. That year, he transitioned to Co-Director of SPARK’s Early Education and Care Program, located in Mattapan, a role he served in until 2009. The SPARK Center (formerly the Children’s AIDS Program) offers comprehensive services to children and their families whose lives are affected by medical, emotional and/or behavioral challenges. Most recently, he served as SPARK’s Coordinator of the Special Education Program.

Lucyniak is known throughout BMC and the greater Boston community as a gifted special needs educator who dedicated his life to nurturing and guiding fragile children and their families.

“He was never happier than when soothing a troubled child, engaging a reluctant learner, leading a group of toddlers on a special adventure or supporting a caregiver to be the parent she could be,” says Martha Vibbert, PhD, SPARK Director. “We will miss his team spirit, enormous generosity, down-to-earth wisdom and unfailing sense of humor.”

Lucyniak leaves behind his wife Carol and two sons, Gregory and Nicholas. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Lucyniak’s name to the SPARK Center at BMC, 255 River St., Mattapan, Mass. 02126. The SPARK Center will hold a service of remembrance for Lucyniak in late spring.

Learn more about th SPARK Center and make an online donation.

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High Spirits Reign at Cancer Survivor Luncheon

It was a dazzling day April 28 and it wasn’t just the bright sun shining into the Shapiro lobby. Laughter, smiles and cheers abounded among the 365 guests who attended BMC’s eighth annual Cancer Survivorship Celebration. The day brought together cancer survivors, their families, BMC Cancer Center staff and more than 30 volunteers, who welcomed guests, served lunch to attendees and handed out raffle prizes.

Cancer survivors
Cancer survivors were all smiles at the event

The event kicked off with a welcome from David Seldin, MD, PhD, Chief, Hematology-Oncology, on behalf of BMC Oncology doctors and nurses. Seldin told the crowd it was a “privilege taking care of all of you” before introducing BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh, a cancer survivor.

“Thank you to all of you for being with us today and for entrusting us with your care,” said Walsh. “And thank you to all the amazing BMC caregivers."

"As I was driving in this morning, I was trying to remember the year I was treated for cancer,” continued Walsh. “I realized it was 21 years ago today. I had a 1-year-old and was bald. Now that 1-year-old is graduating from college. To all survivors, I hope you are at a lunch like this some day and you can’t remember the year you were treated.” The crowd erupted in applause and cheers.

Colon cancer survivor Roy Davis then took the microphone, telling the room he chose to receive care from BMC because it offered a clinical trial that no other hospital in the city had. He has been cancer free since 2005 and has been attending the luncheon ever since.

“It is nice to come back here every year to meet survivors and see how this event has grown,” he said.

Cancer survivor luncheon
The luncheon was held in BMC's new Shapiro Center

Fellow colon cancer survivor Carrie Brangiforte followed Davis, telling everyone she was diagnosed in 2008 following the birth of her fifth child.

“Within hours of diagnosis I was being treated,” she said. “There is no better place to be than BMC. I’m happy I’m here with you today and as long as I’m living, I’m going to be giving back.”

The event was organized by BMC’s Friends of Women’s Health, led by BMC Board of Trustees Member Susan Donahue, and BMC’s Cancer Survivorship Program. Each survivor was pinned with a corsage donated by the Friends and had a portrait photo taken with their families by Atlantic Photo. Luncheon food was provided by Smokey’s Longhorn and The Original Gourmet Lauren Catering. Transportation was provided to survivors and their families by the Bishop family and table flower arrangements were donated by That Bloomin’ Place. A number of donated prizes, including Red Sox tickets and Elizabeth Grady gift bags, were raffled off to attendees.

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bWell Center Partners with Boston Public Library to Benefit BMC Kids, Families

Reading just got a whole lot easier for patients and their families.

BMC’s bWell Center has partnered with the Boston Public Library (BPL) to become a satellite site. Patients, visitors and staff can check out books using their BPL card and return them to the Center or to any of the 26 BPL locations. The program, called “Check It Out,” is available through the bWell Center located on the fifth floor of the Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center. bWell is dedicated to the wellness of pediatric patients, offering programs like yoga and health choice bingo to kids and education to their families.

Meg Wood 
Meg Wood, MPH, MSW, stands in front of Check It Out!

“We currently have 125 child and adult books written in English and Spanish available through Check It Out!” says Pediatric Project Manager Meg Wood, MPH, MSW. “The books focus on wellness topics like asthma, allergies, diabetes, fitness and exercise, cooking, nutrition, mental health and more.” The library has the capacity to hold up to 500 books.

This is the first time the BPL has collaborated with a hospital to offer a library on site. bWell Center volunteers will pre-register patients for library cards and any BPL branch can verify it. The library also holds membership drives in the bWell Center once a month.

“We are pleased to expand the bWell Center’s program offerings,” says Wood. “We encourage everyone to visit us and check out Check It Out!”

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BMC to Participate in Independence at Home Program

BMC, which has a long history of providing in-home care to the elderly, has been chosen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in Independence at Home (IAH). The program is a health care model that will test whether providing seniors with health care in their homes keeps them out of the hospital or nursing homes and saves money. The program was created by an amendment to the Affordable Care Act authored Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.).

BMC logo

"Thanks to Independence at Home, our most vulnerable seniors can receive care in their living room rather than an emergency room," said Rep. Markey. “I congratulate Boston Medical Center for being selected to participate in this innovative demonstration to fix the broken and fragmented way our frail, chronically ill seniors receive care today.”

The approximately four million seniors with advanced chronic illnesses who are too ill or disabled to easily visit their physicians represent just 10 percent of Medicare patients, but account for two-thirds of Medicare's expenditures.

Under the IAH model, a team of BMC doctors and other health care professionals will coordinate patient care and provide primary care services in the patient’s home. As one of 16 programs nationwide selected to participate, BMC, if successful in providing high-quality care for patients while lowering costs, will be eligible to share in a significant portion of the savings. The IAH pilot program begins June 1 and will continue for three years.

Currently, BMC doctors, nurses and Boston University School of Medicine students provide in-home care to approximately 600 elderly patients. The new program will enroll 200 Boston seniors with multiple chronic conditions who have been recently hospitalized. CMS will track the cost of their care and compare it to patients not enrolled in the program.

"Boston Medical Center is honored to have been chosen as a recipient for the Independence at Home Demonstration," said BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh. "Given our history of providing the longest continuously operating in-home medical service in the United States, BMC is uniquely qualified to help determine whether home-based care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions can reduce the need for hospitalization, improve patient and caregiver satisfaction, and lead to better health and lower Medicare costs. We look forward to participating in this important program."

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What Do You Do, Janet Eagan?

Name: Janet Eagan, RN, MS
Title: Critical Care Clinical Instructor
Department: Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Years at BMC: 27


Janet Eagan, RN, MS

What brought you to BMC?
An opportunity to manage a coronary care unit in a large medical center brought me to BMC. Prior to that, I worked in both a surgical and medical critical care unit. Early in my career I changed jobs every three years. I loved learning what each position had to offer and would move on after I felt comfortable. I stayed here because of the patients and my co-workers. BMC is unique from many institutions in Boston. People are willing to work with each other as a team regardless of their position, which gives everyone the opportunity to make a contribution.

What do you do here?
As a Critical Care Clinical Instructor, I focus on meeting the needs of nurses through education, improving system issues and creating resources supporting practice and benefiting patient care. I provide formal and informal education, bedside consultations, research nursing trends, draft policies and procedures and operationalize new hospital initiatives. I also orient new staff and maintain the competency of current staff.

What does it mean to be a Critical Care Nurse Educator?
It means you are a “jack of all trades” and an expert problem solver. Although a nurse educator is not at the bedside routinely, in this role, you need to be a clinical expert and a resource to staff. Ideally the goal is to help nurses problem solve so they can learn to handle similar situations independently. Each situation is different, which makes my job exciting and stimulating.

As a leader in the ICU, do you consider yourself a mentor to other nurses?
Yes. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to watch new nurses develop. I’ve worked with nurses who are publishing their first articles and am starting to work with two nurses to begin clinical projects, which is exciting. I also write letters of recommendation for nurses interested in pursuing advanced degrees.

It’s Nurse Appreciation Week. What do you appreciate about your fellow nurses?
I appreciate their dedication to the mission of providing exceptional care, without exception. I believe nursing both saves lives and fills them with quality. Nursing does this by being the constant eyes, ears, and hands interfacing with and advocating for the patient. It is often the discipline that first notices and reports changes in patients as well as helps them learn to live with an illness upon discharge. This is unique.

Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to communications@bmc.org.

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In Their Words

Patients share their BMC experience

I recently had surgery at BMC and wanted to let you know what a great experience it was. I want to extend my sincere thanks to all staff. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, staff were both professional and friendly. This made me feel confident in their abilities while at the same time keeping me calm prior to the procedure. My pre-op nurse Donna was fantastic! I was told by her and others that I was the best patient of the day. This was only possible because of the staff.

Letter writing 

It seems that most people thank their surgeon for the fine job that he/she does, but the rest of the staff are somewhat overlooked. This is my way of saying thanks to all of them. I grew up in Boston and did not necessarily have a good opinion of BMC. Everyone there changed my mind. I would recommend your facility to others without hesitation.

Wollaston, Mass.

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News of Note

Take Kids to Work Day 
Jane Damata, RN, Patient Safety, with her son Franky

Staffers take sons/daughters to work
Employees brought their kids to work April 26 as part of national Take Our Daughters/Sons to Work Day. Children shadowed their parent in his/her work environment, and took tours of departments and the campus. Kids received a meal coupon to a BMC cafeteria, a certificate of attendance and a goodie bag of BMC items. The goal of the national program is to bridge what children learn at school with the working world.

BMC Gala raises $2.25 million
BMC held its 16th annual Gala May 5 at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. The event is a celebration of the hospital and its commitment to providing exceptional care, without exception. More than 900 guests were in attendance at the event, which raised $2.25 million for hospital programs and services. Watch the BMC Gala video.

Cancer Center on Touch 106.1 
Councilor Tito Jackson, Robyn Souza and Sheldon Reeves

Cancer Center on Touch 106.1
BMC Cancer Patient Navigator Sheldon Reeves and Robyn Souza, Director of Operations, Cancer Care Services, were interviewed on Touch 106.1 April 23. The duo appeared on “Tito’s Corner,” Boston City Counselor Tito Jackson’s radio show, to discuss BMC’s Cancer Care Center, its patient navigation program, support services and clinical trials.

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Awards and Accolades

Jumaane Kendrick and Mayor Menino
Jumaane Kendrick, right, with Mayor Menino

Jumaane Kendrick, Violence Intervention Advocate, BMC’s Violence Intervention Advocacy Program, recently received the Boston Neighborhood Fellows (BNF) Unsung Hero Award from The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI). TPI designed the award as a way for an anonymous donor to recognize individuals of unusual creativity, vision and initiative who are quietly making the community a better place. Each year, six individuals nominated by "spotters," are chosen to receive $30,000 "no strings attached" awards. Kendrick’s family and co-workers were on hand to see him receive the award from TPI and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Karen Damarzo and Marsha Stevens, along with all BMC nurses, were nominated as favorite caregivers as part of the Boston Globe’s 2012 Salute to Nurses. The annual publication recognizes nurses nominated by the general public.

BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh received Health Care for All’s 2012 Leadership Award at its May 8th celebration, For the People: A Celebration of Health Care Leaders. Walsh was honored along with Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick and Lisa Krinsky, Director of The LGBT Aging Project.

Robert Lowe, MD, Education Director for the Section of Gastroenterology at Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) will be presented with a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching at the school’s commencement exercises May 20.

Robert Lowe, MD
Robert Lowe, MD

“This is one of the University’s highest teaching awards, and we are honored that Dr. Lowe will be recognized as one of the most outstanding faculty at Boston University,” says BU Medical Campus Provost and BUSM Dean Karen Antman, MD.

Students, faculty and alumni nominate candidates for the awards, which were established in 1973 by a gift from the late BU Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Arthur G.B. Metcalf. The Metcalf Award winners each receive a prize of $5,000.

“My approach to teaching is best described as using active learning principles and real-life cases to help students integrate the basic principles of medical science with the practical knowledge that underlies clinical medicine,” says Lowe. “In addition to teaching professional behavior, I try to instill a sense of the history and value of the medical profession as a whole. I take very seriously the trust and power that society gives us as physicians, and I explicitly remind students of their responsibility to individual patients and society as a whole.”

David Center, MD, BMC Chief of Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, and the Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine and Associate Provost for Translational Science at BUSM, will be awarded the 2012 Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society on May 20. The society's highest award, it is presented annually to an individual who has made lifelong major contributions to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education or clinical care. The award was established in 1926 and is given in honor of Edward Livingston Trudeau, a founder and the first president of the American Lung Association.

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