Conversations on Training the Next Generation

This week on CHC’s radio show, Conversations on Health Care, Co-hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter interview Dr. Erica Frank. She is a Professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health where she is the Canada Research Chair in Preventive Medicine & Population Health. She is the Founder, President and Research Director at– the world’s first online portal to free, accredited higher education – in the health sciences as well as other disciplines.

Dr. Frank is scheduled for a much-anticipated TedMed Talk, live in September which will focus on, the world’s first portal to free, accredited, higher education. Started in 2001, initial data show that NextGenU’s training performs comparably to traditional American medical schooling.

Starting with a focus in the health sciences, partners with leading universities, professional societies, and government organizations like the U.S. CDC, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Health Organization.’s accredited university partners give learners credit for this training (or institutions can adopt them and use them with their students), all for the first time ever for free (and without advertisements).

To listen to this particular interview, or view any of our previous shows, please visit — Show airs all week long on ReachMD Channel on iHeartRadio and TuneIn, Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM on WESU-FM as well as other affiliates and airtimes, and all the time at

How CHC is Training the Next Generation:

At the Community Health Center, we recognize and support the future leaders of the primary-care movement. We started the first-in-the-nation Nurse Practitioner Residency Program that gives critical clinical experience to NPs when their college education is over. Check out our link at

We offer a Postdoctoral Psychology Residency Program providing comprehensive training in the provision of psychological care to uninsured and underserved populations under the patient-centered medical home model, with a focus on positive client outcomes and building healthy communities. Check out our link at

We nurture students at nearby Wesleyan University in Middletown, working with them in theoretical applications that motivate them to pursue careers in health care. We also support our own employees to improve themselves and their positions by taking advantage of our tuition reimbursement benefit that helps pay for their education as a path to a better job at CHC.

In addition, we recruit National Health Service Corps Scholars and loan recipients who are outstanding students seeking financial aid or looking to repay or forgive outstanding health care debt from their education. Doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, social workers and psychologists are all eligible.




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CHC Receives $250,000 Under the Affordable Care Act

Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) has been awarded  $250,000 in funding under the Affordable Care Act as part of an initiative designed to support health centers in establishing or strengthening their behavioral health services. and had a particular focus on advancing the model of integrated behavioral health and primary care.  CHC will use these funds towards advancing the agency to a fully integrated care model, and also to implement a new method of screening for substance abuse.

CHC provides behavioral health care at 12 of its 13 health centers, and at hundreds of school-based and shelter –based sites across the state of Connecticut. “This funding will allow us to focus on strengthening our behavioral health services across the agency, ensuring that all CHC patients, including those who have been recently enrolled in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act, will receive access to highly integrated care,” explained David Guggenheim, PsyD., Associate Chief Behavioral Health Officer. The pilot program will be tested at three CHC sites before being expanded agency-wide.

“These awards will further reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for mental health problems,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. ”Health centers with these awards are on the front lines of better integrating mental health into primary care and improving access to care through the Affordable Care Act.”

“CHC is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative Federally Qualified Health Centers. We are leaders in developing an integrated primary care model, which relies on talented and dedicated staff, supported by strong analytic data sets,” said Mark Masselli, President and CEO of Community Health Center, Inc. “We have developed a high touch and high tech delivery model and these funds will allow us to build upon that.”


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Rewards to Quit Research Study: 10 Months Later

On October 7th of last year, The Community Health Center, Inc.’s Weitzman Institute (WI) launched the Rewards to Quit research study which is being conducted by the Connecticut Department of Social Services. This study offers a 50% chance for all qualified enrollees to earn up to $350 while receiving free smoking cessation services, a new alternative to tackle the ongoing battle with cigarette addiction.

Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 65% of smokers want to quit, they are just unsuccessful. The Weitzman Institute took on this study with their powerful quality improvement forces and the results after less than a year are quite promising.

Once established in the Rewards to Quit program, the participants are randomized and notified which of the two groups they have been placed in. One in which participants can receive up to $350 by successfully engaging in the services offered or the control group that is only offered free services. Participants that are not in the control group can only be compensated for completing scheduled counseling services and passing carbon monoxide breathalyzer tests. All participants are guaranteed access to one-on-one and/or group counseling, medicines to help you quit and 24-hour phone service for counseling and information on quitting.

Here we are, almost ten months later and the program committee has reviewed the Service Utilization Report and shared strategies and data. By January 2014, the program was at all of our sites and as of today, 625 patients have been enrolled. The coordinator of this research study, Carlee Clarino has spent the better part of a year recruiting current patients through a variety of efforts (postcard mailings, reminder calls, waiting room outreach, print materials, staff referrals). There has been problem solving, a trial & error approach and of course, inactive enrollees but overall, the participation has been strong.

Of the 625 patients who initially enrolled, approx. 445 of them have continued the efforts in one way or another. In the past 3 months, almost 80 new participants have signed up. Almost 80 patients have been classified as “quits” since the program started which is amazing. As the study continues, new efforts to target our patient population using the data from the past ten months will only strengthen the efforts and of course, increase the number of people making a choice to quit smoking for good.


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A Healthy Dose of Milk Mustaches

Community Health Center, Inc. in Partnership with Horizons-NCCS Provides Kids with Health and Wellness Education, and a Healthy Dose of Milk Mustaches Too!

Milk Mustaches

New Canaan, CT, July 18, 2014: On Wednesday, July 16th, staff members from Community Health Center Inc.’s (CHC) Norwalk, Stamford and Danbury locations hosted a health fair for students attending the Horizons Summer Program at New Canaan Country School.  The goals of the event were to educate students about health and wellness and allow them to interact with healthcare professionals in a casual and familiar setting.

With oral health, behavioral health, emotional wellbeing, and childhood obesity being significant issues facing adolescents, activities at the CHC-Horizons Health Fair were organized into four specific zones that focused on nutrition, fitness, dental, and overall health and wellness. CHC’s clinical staff provided interactive informational sessions and activities for the students throughout the day. Each student received a “health passport” that allowed them to easily keep track of what they learned.

The “Nutrition Zone” included a cooking demonstration by a registered dietician and an informational session with a registered nurse. The fitness-based activities included a Zumba class and a fitness test. The “Dental Zone” included an informational session with a dental hygienist and a healthy smile informational booth. The overall health and wellness zone included an interactive activity with a CHC psychiatrist and a yoga class.

“I wanted to organize the event to allow the students to learn about health and wellness and to be exposed to health care professionals within an informal setting,” explained Rishonda Thomas, AmeriCorps member with CHC, and event organizer. “Not many students get an opportunity to interact with healthcare professionals outside of a hospital or doctor’s office, so I wanted to create an opportunity for them to ask questions during the sessions or follow up with the providers afterwards. It was great to see the students ask questions or pose for pictures in the provider’s white coats and call themselves doctors.”

Amy Taylor, Vice President, Western Region for Community Health Center, explained that events like this are inherent to CHC’s mission, which is built upon making quality health care service available to all, to build healthier communities through education, and to be a voice and vehicle for social change. “By educating children on health and wellness they can help inspire their peers and future generations to make healthier lifestyle choices.”

Taylor went on to remark about the event “The success of the event is unquestionable; from huge smiles during the lively Zumba classes, to intimate conversations on mental health issues with our psychiatrist, to the milk mustache photo both, you could tell that the kids learned a lot about health and wellness while having fun with their peers.”

Horizons’ six-week intensive, K through 8th grade Summer Program, set on the campus of New Canaan Country School (NCCS), serves approximately 275 children. The program is a unique blend of academics and enrichment, offering student’s opportunities to develop their academic skills through project-based, experiential activities. Unlike traditional summer school, Horizons complements the academic components of its Summer Program with a broad range of enrichment opportunities, similar to the CHC Health Fair. For more information about the Horizons Student Enrichment Program at New Canaan Country School please visit:

About Community Health Center, Inc. Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary health care system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 130,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and a Primary Care Medical Home by The Joint Commission, CHC delivers service in more than 200 locations statewide, offering primary care in medical, dental and behavioral health services. For more information, visit


Eliza Cole, Community Health Center, Inc.

(860) 262-2546 or

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CHC President Mark Masselli’s Comment on Veterans Health Legislation

Today, Community Health Center, Inc.’s CEO and President Mark Masselli commented on a bipartisan deal in Washington to improve health care opportunities for America’s Veterans.

“It is great to see the progress that can be achieved when Democrats and Republicans work together to address important health care issues.  The new legislation will enable CHC to play a key role in providing health care to veterans who can’t access VA services because of distance and wait times.

We will be there for our veterans as we have been for over 40 years, providing quality health care for everyone.  Over the years, we have worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs at events like Stand Down here in Connecticut to help get veterans the care they need and deserve.  We are pleased that the proposed legislation builds on such cooperation allowing veterans to receive services at health centers like CHC.

We look forward to working closely with the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Administration and others to make sure that all veterans have access to timely quality health care.”

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Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, President and CEO of the Federation of State Medical Boards. Dr. Chaudhry discusses their new recommendations for an interstate compact to expedite medical licensing across state lines to address the physician shortage, the growing demands from the Affordable Care Act and the potential for telemedicine to fill gaps in rural health care.

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An Open Letter to Gov. Malloy Concerning Immigrants’ Health

Yesterday, CHC President and CEO, Mark Masselli sent an open letter to Governor Malloy concerning the influx of children immigrants fleeing violence in their native countries.

We are facing a humanitarian crisis in America with the influx of children fleeing violence in their native countries.  As a nation, our most immediate concern must be to properly care for these children.  We applaud your efforts as Governor to find adequate housing for these children.  We know that beyond housing you are concerned about their other needs like health care and we are interested in helping address this part of the issue.

For over forty years, CHC has provided primary care to underserved populations, regardless of their immigration status.  In addition to our offices across the state, from Stamford to Groton and up to Enfield, we provide medical, dental and behavioral health services in over 200 locations to patients wherever they are, from our school based health centers to shelters.

We are sure that other health care organizations around the state will also be eager to help and we would be happy to assist with coordination efforts.

Please let us know if you intend to establish an interdisciplinary team to address these issues.  We would be glad to participate.

An Open Letter to Gov. Malloy Concerning Immigrants

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Farewell, EDP!

The end of July marks the final days of my 11-month service term with the Early Detection Program here at the Community Health Center, Inc. This meaningful year with EDP has not only taught me the importance of preventative medicine, but has shown me the potency of empowering and engaging our patient population.

When I arrived at the Community Health Center, Inc., a new college graduate eager for my first AmeriCorps training, I could have never imagined the depth of experiences that this year of service would afford me. The public health classes I took as an undergraduate had only touched the surface of issues such as social determinants of health, and the importance of health education. From my very first health fair, to interpreting for patients at the 2014 CT Mission of Mercy free dental clinic, my fellow HealthCorps Navigators and I were working in the field, getting a first-hand account of the obstacles our patient population faced in not only obtaining healthcare, but utilizing it efficiently.

I feel incredibly thankful to have been a part of EDP, under the guidance of Nicole Jarjura-Morgan, LPN, EDP Program Manager. The incredible rapport that the program has established with its patients is a direct result of Nicole’s compassion and tireless efforts to advocate for them. During my time with EDP, I was able to watch the program grow and reach more patients throughout the state. As I pass the baton to the next AmeriCorps member, I know that the program will continue to flourish.

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Peter Speyer, Chief Data and Technology Officer at IHME

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Peter Speyer, Chief Data and Technology Officer at the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation at the University of Washington. Mr. Speyer discusses their ground-breaking ongoing global health report, Global Burden of Disease, which utilizes big data analytics to provide an accurate measure of diseases leading to morbidity and mortality in 200 countries around the world.

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A Health Fair and an Open House, both in Fairfield County

Yesterday was busy for CHC in Fairfield County as we provided health and wellness education at a summer camp and had an open house at our facility in Stamford.

Amy Taylor, Vice President, Western Region wrote about the camp:

Yesterday, 11 CHC staff members spent the morning providing health and wellness education to over 140 middle school children from Stamford and Norwalk at the Horizon’s summer camp.  The health fair was conceptualized and organized by Fairfield County’s Americorps member, Rishonda Thomas.  The success of the event is unquestionable.  From the huge smiles during the lively Zumba classes, to the intimate conversations on mental health issues with Dr. Armah, to the milk mustaches and photo booth with Bridget, Sara, and Lucy as the kids definitely learned a lot.  The other stations included nutrition education with Heather and Sayali, healthy eating with Brendan and Angelica, oral health instruction with Mary Ann, yoga, and overall fitness activities.

A huge thank you to Rishonda for pulling this together and providing an exceptional day for the children, as well as to Heather, Lucy, Angelica, Brendan, Sara, Bridget, Sayali, Mary Ann and Dr. Armah for giving your energy and time to the community.

 President and CEO, Mark Masselli added in

This is why we all signed up for the work we do – to serve and to inspire – I’m sure many of those young people walked away with a new horizon

Well done !

Senior Vice President and Clinical Director, Margaret Flinter, commented

Wow! Simply amazing! And those photos say it all

Thank you all!

You can see the pictures on our Facebook page.  Also on our Facebook page, you can see pictures of the Open House on Care Coordination at Stamford.  Amy Taylor wrote about the open house saying

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make yesterday’s Open House in Stamford a success.  From the tours by the medical and dental teams, to the delicious snacks, and most importantly the moving presentation, which featured the story of a very complex patient who benefitted from care coordination, we demonstrated to the community and to our team the value of the work we do every day.


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