The Third AmeriCorp Member Introduction!

This week we are introducing a third Community Health Corps AmeriCorps member serving with Community Health Center in Danbury this year, Priti! Read her introduction below:

My name is Priti Shah, and I am partnered with Community Health Center (CHC) for the upcoming year to promote Access to Care and Wherever You Are programs in Danbury, Connecticut.

I am from Sumter, South Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating with degrees in Biology and Spanish, I worked as a medical assistant and volunteered as an EMT in Durham, North Carolina. With passions to pay-it-forward and engage with my cultural roots, I served as an Indicorps Fellow in India and embraced the Indicorps motto, “service for the soul” to strengthen Palliative Care Mysore, a community-based palliative care program.

To continue to pay-it-forward and understand holistic care in United States, I joined AmeriCorps’ Healthcorps program with Community Health Center.  I am excited to engage with the community and continue learning to prepare for a future career in public health and medicine.  I hope to demonstrate perseverance and value-based leadership I learned from running and Indicorps.  With inspirational support from others and personal determination, I look forward to the upcoming year!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Power of Knowledge to Save Nutrition

Nutrition and proper dieting plays a huge role in our lives on a daily basis whether we consciously think about it or we don’t. It can help with a slew of different medical issues in today’s society. Proper nutrition can help a large amount of health issues ranging from medical conditions pertaining to heart disease, obesity, cancers, and other issues that plague us today. Most people don’t realize the magnitude of how a healthy diet can affect even something as simple as your sleep patterns.

People in our healthcare forum every day like Kara Ellis who’s our Lead Dietician in New Britain understands. She’s been with our Community Health Center for almost four years, but she has done an array of things in her career so far. She received a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition at New York University and before taking her job at CHC she worked on a hit show for the Food Network with a Dietician named Ellie Krieger. Even though she enjoyed her experiences before CHC, her love is working with underserved populations. She believes that, “nutrition education and preventative care are necessities to building healthy communities and I love being a part of that.”

When Kara heard the news of the Department of Social Services discussing regulations that might eliminate nutrition and dietician services for reimbursement purposes to the Federally Qualified Health Centers she was unhappy. She wanted to show the importance of what a healthy nutrition does for the human body and the overall quality of life. She put her love and knowledge for what she loves to do every day and worked with the DSS attorneys and policy staff to examine the literature and issues.

As the efforts started brewing together for the DSS to make a decision after their efforts to convince they were met with success. The Department issued a revised regulation that included certified dietitians and nutritionists who can be reimbursed for their services as covered service. Kara was happy to hear the news and was grateful that the Department took the time to listen to her, “which is the most important thing when trying to change people’s decisions. If you can get them to hear you out- to have the opportunity to make a case without preconceived notions or biases- you are half the way there.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH

This week, Mark and Margaret speak with Dr. Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest organization dedicated solely to genomics research. Dr. Green was on the team that mapped the human genome and talks about new initiatives at NIH to create better platforms for storing and sharing big data in this new era of scientific research.

Posted in CHC Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing the Nurse Practitioner Residents!

CHC has welcomed another class of Nurse Practitioner Residents to our program this fall! They will be gaining experience throughout the sites while bringing their new perspectives. There are ten residents at our sites across Connecticut, but for the first time CHC is also remotely-hosting a program for four NP Residents in Washington State, at the Yakima Valley Farm Worker’s Clinic and Columbia Basin Health Association.

We will be introducing them all on the blog here every other Thursday, as with the AmeriCorps Members.

NP resident 2014.15 CHC group

It is our pleasure to introduce Dana Kroop this week, one of the residents who is based in Norwalk. Please read her introduction below!

I graduated from the University of Chicago in 2007 with a BA in the History and Philosophy of Science, and then more recently from the University of Illinois at Chicago with my MSN. As a graduate of an accelerated degree program, I am thrilled to join CHC’s residency class and gain more experience in providing holistic care for our nation’s neediest patients. I have worked as a Camp Nurse in Indiana, gone on deployment as a Disaster Response Nurse for the American Red Cross, and served on medical missions to Guatemala and Ghana. Before I became a nurse I worked as an educator at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. I think that if I hadn’t become a nurse, I’d still be running slumber parties with families and dinosaurs. While in Chicago, I also performed with Funny Bones Improv – an improvisational comedy group that performs in the Child Life Centers of pediatric hospitals. I love musical theater, and plan to try and experience lots of live theater in New York over the coming year.

Kroop, Dana

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Janet Marchibroba, Executive Director of CEO Council on Health and Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Janet Marchibroda, Executive Director of the CEO Council on Health and Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Council, comprised of 9 CEO’s from some of the country’s largest employers, just released a report: Building Better Health: Innovative Strategies from America’s Business Leaders, which lays out recommended actions for business leaders to assist in containing health care costs and improving outcomes.

Posted in CHC Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conversation on Poverty

“We have never lost sight of our goal…an America in which every citizen shares all the opportunities of this society…the distance which remains is a measure of the great unfinished work of our society.”                                                                                                                                 –President Lyndon B. Johnson. War on Poverty 1964-2014

Last Friday, September 26, a large group of thoughtful community workers, citizens, and business people gathered in the vibrant meeting space of St. Marks Episcopal Church in New Britain. They were there to discuss an ever present struggle; poverty. The event brought together speakers from various organizations in focused panels to discuss housing, health and nutrition, and jobs and education. It was designed to shed light on the complexity of poverty, share ideas, and get to the heart of what poverty means in the community. A black banner hung next to the panelists that read, “Loneliness and the Feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible of poverty.” -Mother Theresa, keeping the focus on the entirety of poverty, not only basic economics.


The discussions were filled with anecdotes and personal reflections given alongside the facts and programs from social organizations. The variety of attendees kept the event personal and engaging with the many topics of conversation. Following the topic of housing, CHC’s own Yvette Highsmith Francis, regional VP, and Kara Ellis, lead dietitian, joined the panel on Health and Nutrition.

Yvette captured the room with a personal story of limited access to care due to inability to pay. She continued to speak on the mission of CHC to serve everyone with the highest quality of care, regardless of their ability to pay and how it has positively impacted the community. Following Yvette, Kara spoke on the importance of good food, not just any food. She mentioned that everyone cares about what they are feeding their families, and understands that poverty means limited access. She strives to meet patients ‘where they are’ in her nutrition counselling, to prevent a population that is overfed, but undernourished.


All the speakers and audience members came together for this informative and compassionate discussion on poverty. They kept the humanity and individuality present in the case of poverty, not just the numbers and simple solutions. Students from New Britain even contributed artwork titled ‘Windows into Poverty’ as shown above. Using news clippings and personal photos to show the detrimental effects of poverty. This event is the kind of open dialogue essential for bringing communities together around the daunting and very real issue of poverty, both for better understanding and solutions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Introducing the CHC Health Corps Members!

This week we will introduce a second AmeriCorps member who is spending their year of service with us here at Community Health Center. We are pleased to introduce Kristen Kleener, who is working with the Early Detection Program. Read her introductory bio below:

Hi I’m Kristin Keener. I am from Golden, Colorado- the Coors Brewing Company’s Headquarters. I have lived in Colorado for most of my life, but have had some fun times living in Australia, Florida, Ethiopia and Oregon. I’m very excited for what Connecticut and the New England area has to offer because I have never lived out here.  I will be working in the Early Detection and Prevention Program (EDP).

I graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a dual degree in Anthropology and Therapeutic Recreation. Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is like physical therapy in that it set goals for clients to reach, but it achieves goals through recreational pursuits. TR is primarily a therapy for persons with disabilities. I also choose Anthropology because it examines the human experience holistically, while examining other cultures as well as your own. My dream job is to work with persons with disabilities internationally, but I’m not sure in what capacity.  I look forward to getting to better know CHC Inc. and the New England area.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Certified Application Counselor’s View on the Past Enrollment Period

At the September 17th press conference Jim Wadleigh, the Access Health CT acting CEO, referenced the impact that community health centers had on the open enrollment period. They were referred to as an excellent enrollment source and substantial contributor to the success of Access Health CT. The open enrollment this past year was able to help the Connecticut populations most in need. Over half of those newly enrolled in Medicaid, or a plan from the exchange, were previously uninsured. The effort of the Federally Qualified Health Centers certainly engaged and empowered these populations to apply, evidenced by the more than 15,000 people who were enrolled through their assistance.

We asked Shannon Bali, a certified application counselor, here at Community Health Center Inc. for some of her thoughts on this past year’s enrollment, working with Access Health CT, and this upcoming year, view below!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robin Guenther, FAIA, Sustainable Healthcare Design Expert

This week on Conversations on Health Care, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Robin Guenther, FAIA, Principal at the global architectural firm Perkins & Will and a Senior Advisor to Healthcare Without Harm. Ms. Guenther, a leading expert on sustainable design in health care, addresses the growing trend of green building design in the health care industry, leading to a reduced carbon footprint as well as healthier, more sustainable buildings

Posted in CHC Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing the CHC Health Corps Members for 2014-2015!

We are excited to introduce our CHC Health Corps Members for 2014-2015! The HealthCorps members are continually an integral part of what we do at CHC. They coordinate community events, perform outreach services, and advocate for patients. Each member is concentrated on a certain area of the agency: in the family wellness centers, the early detection program, wherever you are centers, and more!

We will post their introductions weekly on Thursdays. This week we are pleased to introduce Aniella:

Hi! My name is Aniella and I am the program coordinator for the Family Wellness Center in New Britain. I recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in Anthropology and Human Rights, where my lifelong passion for healthcare and wellness was fostered into motivation to devote myself to public health and community betterment. I aspire to continue in this field by getting a Master of Public Health degree and working in underserved communities.

I am thrilled to be serving as an AmeriCorps member here at CHC. Becoming an AmeriCorps member was an easy decision; I get to combine my love of serving others and eagerness to see public healthcare in full-swing at an incredible organization! It is an amazing opportunity to work among others who strive to improve healthcare and wellness where it is most needed. I am excited to explore the different components of CHC and to see the impact the Family Wellness Center makes on the lives of children and families. I am especially thrilled to meet people from various backgrounds and understand what wellness means to them.

Outside of serving for AmeriCorps, I love to travel and spend time outdoors. Most recently, I was lucky enough to scuba dive in Honduras and go camping and hike at Acadia National Park in Maine. I am also a Netflix buff – I love movies and shows, especially American Horror Story and Parks and Recreation. Overall, I think my academic and personal real-life experiences have led me to appreciate variety and I hope to continue growing as person as an AmeriCorps member at CHC.


Posted in AmeriCorps, Uncategorized, Wellness | Leave a comment