Introducing a Third Nurse Practitioner Resident!

This week we are pleased to introduce a third Nurse Practitioner participating in our residency program, Ashley Fine. She has extensive experience in the health care setting both in the United States and abroad and is currently working with patients at our Middletown site. Learn more from her biography below:

I finished my Master of Science in Nursing this past Spring at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Before that I worked as nurse on the in-patient orthopedic/trauma unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.  In addition I worked per diem at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in the outpatient wound care center.  It was my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Republic of Benin that inspired me to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. My best friend in town was the nurse and the only person with any medical training in the town. So she was always the doctor and the pharmacist.  I liked the model of the Nurse Practitioner so I decided to pursue it as my career.  When I came back to the United States I started volunteering at the local Planned Parenthood then got a job as a Medical Assistant while taking my prerequisites for nursing school. I have always enjoyed meeting and working with people from all over the world and from different walks of life.  I chose the Nurse Practitioner Residency program here in Connecticut because it was the first one and I wanted to build the best base of clinical care that I could for my patients.

In my free time I enjoy the outdoors. I love to go hiking and/or backpacking. I am learning to enjoy cold weather and look forward to trying different snow sports this winter.

Fine, Ashley



Posted in Employees, General, PCMH, Residency Programs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

As many of you know November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and the number of people effected by this disease is ever increasing in the United States and around the world. This month is intended to shed light on the daily struggles and lifestyle choices people living with diabetes must make, both those with type 1 and type 2.

Here are just a few of the recent statistics on diabetes from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

A huge component of Type 2 Diabetes prevention, and management of complications once diagnosed, is education. It is imperative that people practice healthy habits such as eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly to control the progression of the disease.

On Friday November 14, which was official World Diabetes Day, CHC’s own certified diabetes educator Hilda Cardona hosted an educational diabetes event at the Meriden CHC as she does every year, photos below. The event provided patients with a healthy food demonstration along with a diabetes True and False quiz game, including prizes for correct answers. Examples from the game include ‘Should a diabetic test their blood sugar everyday?’ (True!) ‘What are some high carbohydrate foods?’ (potatoes, yams, white rice) After the game the patients were all pleased with the delicious yet healthy chicken and white bean soup. Hopefully they will take some of the new information they learned to help better manage their diabetes, or reduce their risk for developing diabetes.

She will also do a similar event for the patients in New Britain today, November 19.





Posted in Diabetes, Fitness, Games, General, Living with Chronic Illness, News, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Wellness | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dr. Peter Basch, Medical Director of Ambulatory EHR and Health IT Policy, MedStar Health

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Peter Basch, Medical Director of EHR and Health IT Policy at MedStar Heath and Visiting Scholar at the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institution. They discuss the challenges practices are facing adhering to ONC’s Meaningful Use requirements with health IT adoption.

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

Introducing a Sixth AmeriCorps member!

This week we are pleased to introduce Eliza Hompe, a Community Health Corps Member serving with Access to Care in the Fairfield county sites. She has started her year of service off working on some great projects, with many more to come! Read her introduction below:

Hi CHC! My name is Eliza Hompe and I am serving in the Access to Care position at the Norwalk and Stamford sites for the upcoming year. I am from New Canaan, CT and recently graduated from Princeton University in June, receiving my A.B. in Chemistry with a certificate in Neuroscience.  While at Princeton, I worked in a biochemistry lab and investigated synthetic proteins, culminating in a senior thesis of independent research. I was also involved in club and intramural sports on campus, an academic mentoring program with a local middle school, peer tutoring, and social organizations such as my sorority and eating club. I am hoping to attend medical school next year, although I am currently undecided on what field of medicine I would like to pursue!

I am very excited to be serving as an Americorps member at CHC this year because it will enable me to be immersed in a public interest healthcare setting while working hands-on with an underserved patient population. It is a unique opportunity to broaden my knowledge of healthcare, explore a primary care setting, and strive to provide comprehensive care for our patients through my role as a community resource advocate.

In addition to serving for Americorps this year, I am also tutoring high school students for the SAT and academic subjects. In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports, running, doing crossword puzzles, and baking gluten-free desserts! Recently, I ran my first half-marathon, the Rock N’ Roll Half-Marathon in Philadelphia.

I am thrilled to be a new member of the CHC community and am looking forward to getting to know many of you over the next 10 months!


Posted in Access To Care, AmeriCorps, Employees, Uncategorized, Wellness | Leave a comment

Weitzman Weekly

Spotlight: TEACH-BMT


Buprenorphine ECHO Faculty Meeting

This week, we look at how frontline staff members at Community Health Center, Inc (CHC) and the Weitzman Institute have worked together to propagate change and improvement in the CHC clinics. In February 2013, Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) initiated Project ECHO Buprenorphine, an innovative approach to educating health providers about how to treat patients with an opioid addiction. In August of that year, CHC began work on a 3-year project funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to expand access to buprenorphine treatment to CHC patients by extending Project ECHO Buprenorphine to prescribers of buprenorphine and care teams at CHC. This is the story of Technology Enhanced Access to Comprehensive Healthcare and Buprenorphine Maintenance Therapy (TEACH- BMT).

One way of treating opioid addiction without causing extreme withdrawal is to administer buprenorphine (bup), an opioid medication that can be used in place of a stronger opioid like heroin or morphine. Buprenorphine enables the patient to discontinue the use of other opioid medications without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to decrease opioid dependence and give the patients a better chance at getting rid of their opioid addiction all together. Although buprenorphine can be prescribed by any primary care provider who is a suboxone-licensed MD or DO, relatively few providers feel comfortable prescribing buprenorphine to their patients without a support system to provide experience and expertise.

CHC staff members, Marwan Haddad, MD, MPH, AAHIVS; Richard Feuer, MD, PhD; Cliff Briggie, PsyD., LADC, LCSW; Omar Perez and a professor at the University of Connecticut, Megan Ehret, PharmD, BCACP, serve as the faculty team for Buprenorphine ECHO. Bup ECHO is offered once per month to buprenorphine prescribers and care teams at CHC, and provides them a platform for asking questions about difficult patient cases and receiving feedback from a multidisciplinary team of providers who have experience treating addiction and prescribing buprenorphine for opioid addiction.

In order to extend Buprenorphine ECHO to more new bup prescribers and care teams at CHC, Dr. Haddad and Kasey Harding-Wheeler, Director of Integrated Care for Special Populations at CHC, applied to SAMHSA for a grant to cover the creation and maintenance of the TEACH-BMT program at CHC. The program relies on use of telehealth to educate buprenorphine prescribers and the care teams they work with on use and maintenance of buprenorphine treatment for eligible patients. Telemedicine is the use of information technologies or other electronic media to provide healthcare from a distance. It connects buprenorphine specialists with primary care doctors and allows for the transfer of knowledge and information on treatments that can benefit patients without forcing these patients to see a specialist.

The Weitzman Institute’s (WI) role in this project is to help launch this initiative and provide the technologies needed. Another one of WI’s roles is to help Dr. Haddad and Kasey Harding assess TEACH-BMT by conducting a study looking at whether provider participation in Project ECHO Buprenorphine and provision of buprenorphine therapy in primary care actually yields better patient outcomes and higher numbers of patients receiving buprenorphine therapy and being retained in care. This project is important to the agency because it helps an often-neglected population of patients have access to treatment for addiction in primary care. The results of the study will serve as a guide for improvements and help to expand this program if applicable. Together, WI and staff members within the agency are beginning to improve a medical process that affects such a major patient population at CHC.

I want to give a special thanks to Lauren Bifulco for helping me learn more about TEACH- BMT. Lauren is the Weitzman research associate most involved in TEACH-BMT. She plays a critical role in the project as the Buprenorphine ECHO coordinator and a research assistant. If you are interested in TEACH-BMT, doing research with Weitzman, or initiating a quality improvement study at your CHC site, please contact Lauren ( or Ianita Zlateva ( 

Cheers and enjoy this comic! ☺

This is a real comic! [Click on the link to check it out.]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Marci Neilsen, CEO of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Marci Neilsen, Chief Exectutive Officer of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative, a consortium of over a thousand stakeholders across the health care industry dedicated to promoting the comprehensive care provided in Patient Centered Medical Homes to improve primary care delivery.

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

The Fifth AmeriCorps Member Introduction!

Today we are continuing with our series of introductions with another AmeriCorps member. Elena is spending her year here working with School Based Health Centers on a variety of educational and outreach activities. Learn more about her here:

My name is Elena Villafana. I went to Amherst College in the Pioneer Valley Region of Massachusetts. I studied history and took pre-med classes.  After living in the Pioneer Valley for four years I have become slightly obsessed with cider donuts. Hopefully they have them here in Connecticut as well. I am also slightly obsessed with the TV show Orphan Black. It’s a totally awesome science fiction show. SPOILER ALERT: Clones.

During my time at Amherst I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. I studied their health care system and compared it to the health care system in the United States and other Scandinavian countries. One of my favorite parts of studying abroad was trying different types of Scandinavian food. Things like pickled herring, shawarma (similar to a gyro), and a myriad of different types of sausage hotdogs kept my stomach happy.

I’m excited about working for CHC through Americorps. I think the CHC does great work giving back to the community specifically Middletown but also all around Connecticut. I am interested in going into the health care field so this year of service with the CHC is perfect. It will give me great experience in a unique environment.


Elena is pictured on the left with her Rugby game face on.

Posted in AmeriCorps, Employees, School Based Health Centers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank You Medical Service Professionals! It is National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week

In 1992, President George Bush signed Congressional House Joint Resolution #399 proclaiming the first week in November as National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week. Making this week, November 2 – 8 2014, National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week!

Medical staff professionals are experts in provider credentialing and privileging as well as accreditation and regulatory compliance.

We ask ourselves every time:

- what do we know about this provider?

- what should we have known about this provider?

- have we done enough to make sure that this provider is the right choice for our patients?

Medical staff professionals work tirelessly behind the scenes conducting accurate, detailed and thorough checks on all medical, dental and behavioral health providers. Our work helps in securing a strong clinical staff, enabling CHC to continue pursuing our mission of offering quality health care services to all, especially to those who cannot gain access to such services elsewhere.

Happy National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week and Thank You for all you do!!

For more information visit:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weitzman Weekly

Spotlight: Kerry Bamrick and the Residency Programs


Kerry at her new office in Middletown.

Before we start, I must confess that this article topic was chosen rather selfishly. Like many of you, I did not know much about Kerry Bamrick. I knew Kerry with respect to her involvement on the IRB for CHC but after talking to her, I realized that there is much more to her than meets the eye. Though her work is vast, I want to focus on her critical involvement in the residency training programs at CHC.

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Kerry joined the Community Health Center 11 years ago and made the move to Connecticut. She left CHC for a brief period but returned in 2009 to manage CHC’s NP residency program and has been here since. When I asked what brought her here, she happily admitted that, “love brought me to Connecticut, my husband brought me here.” She describes her current position at CHC as “just administrative work” and not clinical in nature. However, as we talked about the scope of her involvement in the residency programs at CHC, I quickly realized that her role is not “just” as an administrator but as an advocate, leader, and champion for innovative education.

Currently, Kerry is a Senior Program Manager of the nation’s first Nurse Practitioner Residency Program and the Post-Doctoral Psychology Program. She was involved in the NP residency program during its infancy and advocated for the growth and expansion of the program. What makes the NP residency program unique is the essential fact that there was nothing else like it in the nation. Even though APRNs work in the same capacity as medical doctors (MD), they do not have the residency period to hone their skills before entering the workforce. Margaret Flinter, Senior VP/Clinical Director of CHC, started the NP residency program with the initial hope of helping ease the transition from education to practice for new nurse practitioners. The NP Residency program is preparing the next generation of leaders in primary care with competency in primary care transformation and the science of quality improvement for improved quality of care and health outcomes. Margaret chose Kerry because of her experience and Margaret’s decision appears to be a wise one.

While we talking in her office, Kerry was enthusiastic and proud as she shared information about the NP and Post-Doc Psychology Programs. Both programs are 12 months long and involve precepting/supervision, specialty rotations, weekly didactic sessions, training to CHC’s model of high performance health system and a multi-input evaluation component. At CHC, the three pillars that employees abide by are our commitment to clinical excellence, research and innovation, and training the next generation. These three pillars are embedded in the residency programs with the help of all CHC staff led by Kerry. It is for those reasons that the programs attract national attention and prestige. To date- there are now 23 Primary care NP residency programs across the country with 10-15 more planning to launch in 2015, all using CHC’s model of residency training for primary care nurse practitioners. In 2014, CHC developed a new model of “remote hosting” of NP residency programs and is running the NP residency programs at Columbia Basin Health Association in Othello, WA and Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Yakima, WA. This model has the potential to more rapidly develop rigorous NP residency programs across the country.

Kerry was proud as she averred that “our residents are the cream of the crop and most graduated in the top of their class.” The program has come so far yet few know about Kerry as one of the key leaders behind the cause.

At the end of our conversation, I asked Kerry to reflect on her experience at CHC. A large proportion of her professional career was spent working here but does she truly enjoy what she does? Her immediate response was non-verbal as she smiled and her eyes got misty. In response to my question about whether she was happy to be at CHC, she said “Yes, yes” before explaining that “I feel blessed to be part of the CHC team and be surrounded by such intelligent people. I mean every position be it PSA, IT, facilities or clinical staff, the people in those disciplines are hard-working people whom I truly respect.” Before I left, she shared with me her experience interviewing at CHC and how she was the first person to be interviewed via videoconference. At the time she had to go to Staples in Boston in order to access the video technology. She ends saying “look at how far we’ve come” and in her head, I believe that she is even more excited about where we will go in the future.

After our conversation, I was extremely impressed by all of Kerry’s accolades. Her role as Senior Manager of the NP and Post-Doc Psychology Programs is just a part of all her involvements at CHC. In the near future, CHC is proud to announce the launch of the Dental Residency and Psychiatric APRN Residency Programs. If you want to learn more about any of these residency programs, please contact Kerry Bamrick ( or Margaret Flinter (

Cheers and enjoy this comic :)

baby vs. residency (small)

Click on image to enlarge.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, Infectious Disease specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Srinivasan discusses the CDC’s latest protocols for medical professionals dealing with Ebola, and the greater threat of the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospital settings.
Posted in CHC Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment