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The BMC Brief

January 15, 2014 Volume 3, Issue 1

Boston Mayor Walsh Visits BMC, Vows to Support Efforts to End Violence

On just his second day after being inaugurated as the 48th Mayor of Boston, Martin J Walsh visited BMC on Jan. 8 to meet with the Violence Intervention Advocacy Program (VIAP) staff and learn more about the trauma and support services the hospital offers to victims of violence. The visit marked the kick-off of his mission to curb city violence.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh
Mayor Walsh Visits BMC

“Despite the progress that has been made, there are too many of our residents exposed to violence on a daily basis,” Walsh said as he addressed the crowd of reporters and BMC staff who gathered in the Shapiro lobby to hear him speak. “We know there is work to be done and it is something I am making a priority in my administration.”

BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh took Mayor Walsh, Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission Barbara Ferrer on a short tour of the hospital.

After touring the Emergency Department and Project ASSERT (where specialists tackle substance abuse), the Food Pantry, Demonstration Kitchen and Moakley Building, Mayor Walsh sat down with members of the VIAP team to learn about their approach to treating victims of violence.

Founded in 2006, VIAP is a collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission to help shooting and stabbing victims from the moment they enter the Emergency Department, offering everything from legal and housing support to education and employment counseling. The program helps patients move away from a life of violence to become productive and contributing neighbors in a safe community.

“We need a continuum of care to address the underlying causes of violence, not just the symptoms,” said Mayor Walsh, noting VIAP as a particularly effective model for this approach. “And we need to make sure there are more trauma experts out in the neighborhoods helping people right away.”

President Walsh echoed Mayor Walsh’s sentiments when she addressed the crowd.

“All of us at BMC are eager to support and collaborate with Mayor Walsh in his efforts to reduce violence in our city,” she said. “Tackling urban violence is a public health issue that requires the involvement of organizations throughout Boston and we are fortunate to have Mayor Walsh’s commitment and leadership in this effort.”

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Holiday Donations Spread Cheer to BMC Patients

BMC staff embraced the holiday season of giving and brightened the lives of patients by hosting and contributing to numerous donation drives around campus. Though each drive had a unique focus, the goal was the same: fulfill the wishes of BMC patients in need.

Child Life Holiday Donation Drive
Child Life Specialist Stephanie Sharp Receives a Large Donation for Holiday Drive
  • Child Life Holiday Donation Drive
    • Goal: Collect toys for pediatric patients staying at BMC over the holidays.

    • Child Life provided three presents to each of BMC's 305 pediatric primary care families. A grand total of 607 children received 1,821 gifts during their stay. Child Life staff also provided presents to all children seen in the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED), as well as those children who were too sick to be home during Christmas week and spent their holiday as an inpatient. The presents were donated by Spruce Street Preschool, the Marriott Burlington, Toys for Tots and Millennium, which each contributed more than 500 gifts. Boredom Busters, a nonprofit that supports programs that benefit pediatric patients’ experience while they are in the hospital, personally took Child Life Specialist Stephanie Sharp shopping for $2,000 worth of last-minute gifts when staff realized they were short more than 300 presents. With the additional contributions of gifts, checks and gift cards from hospital staff, in total, Child Life received around 4,000 gifts.

    • “Despite the enormous amount of effort this takes to organize, the gratitude from parents who were able to provide presents to their children, and the smile from a child who is receiving what may well be their only gift, makes it all worth it,” says Sharp.

  • Santa’s Sleigh to benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Newborn Nursery
    • Goal: Collect newborn baby items

    • The NICU received numerous donations from departments and a large blanket donation from a local church. Staff assembled the items into “Santa bags” for the 18 babies in the NICU and Newborn Nursery. Each bag was filled with new clothes, blankets, hats and socks and was delivered on Christmas Eve.

    • “This was the third year we did this and again, we were very successful,” says Stacy Dow, NICU Nurse Manager. “We helped a lot of families get into the holiday spirit.”

  • Adopt-A-Family through the Domestic Violence Program
    • Goal: Departments or individuals at BMC support families that are working with the Domestic Violence Program. Participants were provided with the first names, ages and genders of family members and a few items on their holiday wish list.

    • The Domestic Violence Program provided 22 families and three additional women with gifts, including gifts and gift cards for families who approached them at the last minute. The program had several gift cards left over, which advocates will use to assist victims who connect with the program over the next several months in need of many of the same things the holiday families requested.

    • “This was the first year we reached out to the entire hospital community with the opportunity to support our gift drive, and the outpouring of support was overwhelming,” says Joanne Timmons, Manager, Domestic Violence Program. “We are so grateful not only for their responses to our clients, but for the message this sends about staff’s support and appreciation for the work we are doing. We hope to continue making connections and expanding our role throughout the hospital over the coming year, particularly as we increase awareness of the impact domestic violence has on health, safety, employment and economic security.”

  • Departmental Holiday Food Drives
    • Goal: Organize departmental food drives to benefit the Food Pantry.

    • The Food Pantry received donations from 12 departments across campus, filling 19 boxes, plus 23 additional bags. Many employees also made online and cash donations which are still being tallied. Overall, the donations provided food to 10 families for three days.

    • “These donations bring in a different variety of foods and supplements than we typically receive from the Greater Boston Food Bank,” says Latchman Hirallal, Food Pantry Manager. “Every little bit helps, and no donation is ever too small. We thank the BMC community for their generosity.”

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New Year, New You

It’s a new year and that means resolutions for 2014. BMC offers a variety of programs, benefits and discounts to help you reach your goals in the next 12 months and beyond. Take advantage of these offers as you work toward a new you in the New Year.

Eat smart

  • BMC offers healthy cooking classes to staff. Participants learn how to make healthy dishes like homemade soups, one-pot meals and seafood delights. Classes are held the last Wednesday of every month from noon-1 p.m. in the Dowling 4 Demonstration Kitchen. Visit the Human Resource section of the intranet to register for the classes.
  • Interested in losing weight? Join Weight Watchers in January. The group meets monthly on site. Weight Watchers assists members in losing weight by providing support in forming helpful habits, eating smarter and getting more exercise. No food is off limits. Between the accountability of weighing in and sharing challenges and triumphs with co-workers, you’re sure to achieve your 2014 weight-loss goals. Some insurance plans refund some of the cost and new members are welcome. Contact Tanya Crews or Jenay Nasif  for more information.
  • Eat Smart Tip: When it comes to changing your eating habits, you have to start slowly. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or or not allowing yourself to snack after 8 p.m. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.

Get fit


Joining a gym is a surefire way to kick-start your fitness goals. BMC has teamed up with numerous fitness clubs in the greater Boston area to offer discounts that help combat pricey membership fees. Exercise boosts energy, reduces stress and sharpens thinking, so get started with any of these options.


  • Boston Sports Club offers access to more than 150 locations with 5,000 classes per week and all the latest equipment with membership options starting as low as $74.99 per month. Contact Jennyfer Shupack at 917-351-6689 ext 1580 for more information.
  • Boston Sports and Ski Club is Boston’s largest sports and social club for active professionals. Play sports, travel the world, socialize and get outdoors. Use the code BMC0809 to get a discounted annual BSSC membership. Save $15 dollars on the membership alone, plus discounts on trips, events, socials and outings. Register at BSSC.com or contact Nancy McGeoghegan at 617-789-4070 ext.230.
  • Burn Fitness Studios, a boutique fitness studio opening in 2014 at 547 Columbus Ave., is offering specialized group exercise classes (indoor cycling and rowing, yoga, boot camp classes) and personal training. Visit their website for more information or email them directly to take advantage of a 10 percent corporate discount on any full-priced item.
  • The Mount Auburn Club, located on the Watertown/Cambridge line, is a health and fitness center that has a pool, tennis club and spa. BMC employees may receive a two week complimentary VIP membership and 40 percent off an eight-week membership plus two 60-minute coaching sessions (one evaluation and one program design session) and four 30-minute personal training sessions. For more information, call 617-923-2255 or visit their website.
  • South End Fitness Center, featuring a pool, basketball court, fitness studio, cardio and strength equipment and a variety of group fitness classes, offers BMC employees a special rate of $310 for a year-long membership. Conveniently located down the street from BMC at 35 Northampton St., this is a great option for staff. For more information, call 617-534-5822 or visit their website.
  • Fitness Together is a personal fitness training organization that offers a 15 percent discount on all training programs including one-on-one strength training, cardio conditioning and nutritional counseling at their Cambridge location with BMC identification. For more information, visit the Fitness Together website or call 617-247-3900.
  • Pathways to Wellness, a non-profit public health organization, provides access to high-quality holistic therapies including acupuncture, Shiatsu Bodywork and Chinese herbal medicine. BMC employees are eligible to receive discounted rates on treatments. Call 617-859-3036 for more information and to make an appointment.

  • HealthWorks Fitness Centers for Women, Boston’s premier group of women-only fitness centers, offers a discounted enrollment fee and monthly membership rate for BMC employees. Visit their website for a complimentary guest pass and additional information.
  • Harvard Pilgrim's Fitness Reimbursement: If you are qualified to take advantage of Harvard Pilgrim's Fitness Reimbursement program, it's now faster and easier for you to receive up to $150 in reimbursement through your HPHConnect account. Apply for reimbursement online and reduce your cost in just two weeks.
  • Fitness tip: Stay on track to your fitness goals and be sure to switch up your routine every once in a while! Interval training could be as simple as alternating between jogging and walking on the treadmill and is a great way to get the most benefit from your workout.


No smoking
  • BMC Wellness Program is a resource for all providers, teachers and staff at BMC. Wellness can be supported across many domains: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, religious and social. This website provides information on existing programs such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and ways to cope with stress, fatigue and issues like depression and death. Learn more.
  • BMC is a smoke-free campus. Are you still lighting up? Now is the perfect time to quit. For employees who are ready to get started, call the EAP's Boston office at 617-451-6902. Leave a confidential voicemail saying that you are calling for a BMC smoking cessation appointment. Provide your name, all possible telephone contact numbers, and permission for the certified wellness coach to leave you a message.
  • BMC’s Smoking Cessation Program is an eight-week program administered by Robert Sokolove, PhD. The program focuses on the physical dependence on nicotine as well as the behavioral aspect of it. The program includes pharmacotherapy, nicotine replacement (gum and patches), stress reduction training, cognitive restructuring, social support and relapse prevention counseling. Classes are offered to small groups that are convenient for participants. To register, call 638-8670 and leave your name and contact number.
  • The Shapiro Outpatient Pharmacy sells nicotine patches without a prescription; the cost is $32 for a box of 14 patches. Individuals typically use the patches for around six weeks.

    Shapiro Outpatient Pharmacy Hours
    • Mon-Fri: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
    • Sat: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • Sun: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • Wellness tip: Keep the seasonal cold and flu at bay by making sure to wash your hands regularly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) refers to hand washing as a “do-it-yourself vaccine” and regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.


  • There is no denying that work can be stressful. What better way to relax your mind and body than with a mid-day massage break? Ten-minute chair massages for staff are held from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Thursday in Occupational and Environmental Medicine located in Yawkey and on 8North in the Newton Pavilion. If you would like to schedule a massage for yourself or your department, contact Eva Alberts.
  • Research shows that meditation improves the immune system, reduces anxiety and promotes a sense of well-being. Sister Maryanne Ruzzo and Robert Saper, MD, MPH, lead this non-denominational group that is geared toward beginners. Come reflect and enjoy a moment of peace on any Monday from 12:15-12:45 p.m. in the Menino Chapel. No need to sign up.
  • The Integrative Medicine program at BMC has launched a staff acupuncture clinic. The clinic is open Monday evenings from 5-8 p.m. with a licensed acupuncturist. Appointments last approximately one hour and the cost is between $25-$40. For more information about acupuncture, email Integrative Medicine Coordinator Danielle Dresner. To sign up for an appointment, email Isis Hinojosa.
  • Yoga is a gentle exercise that includes a variety of practices, including postures or stretches, breathing exercises, and meditation. It may be helpful for health conditions including back pain, insomnia, and anxiety. Practicing yoga can also help relieve stress and tension. The yoga taught at BMC is a gentle form of hatha yoga that is suitable for all levels of yoga practitioners, including beginners. The instructors are trained to provide modifications and adjustments for all poses so that you can learn and practice safely. All BMC patients and employees are eligible to attend. Classes are led by Anna Dunwell, Registered and Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor, from 6-7:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Lower level, Moakley building.
  • Qigong/Tai Chi is a Chinese meditative practice that incorporates slow, graceful movements and controlled breathing techniques to promote the circulation of “qi” or life force within the body. Classes are taught by Ramel Rones from 4-5:15 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Lower level of the Moakley building. To learn more about the class schedule, contact Bob David at 638-7540.
  • Rejuvenation tip: Sleeping more is one of the simplest changes you can make that will have a huge impact on your well-being. Getting enough sleep will not only make you feel better, but it also provides a host of other health benefits, from aiding in weight loss and bolstering your overall immune system to staving off heart disease.

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What do you do, Lauren Sharifi?

Name: Lauren Sharifi, RD, LDN
Title: Registered Dietitian
Department: Nutrition Consult 
Time at BMC: 1.5 years

Lauren Sharifi, RD, LDN
Lauren Sharifi, RD, LDN

What brought you to BMC?
In my previous job, I worked at a specialty hospital as a dietitian for orthopedic patients. After a while I decided I wanted more experience working with high-risk patients in a more diverse population. I saw the job posting for BMC and the rest was history!

What do you do?
I work in the Newton Pavilion providing guidance for the range of dietary needs of patients,. For my gastrointestinal surgery patients, who for the most part have undergone bariatric surgery, I teach them how to follow a specialized diet that promotes weight loss. My oncology patients are on the opposite end of the spectrum. I educate those patients to follow a diet that helps them manage chemotherapy-related side effects and promote weight maintenance or gain if they have lost weight. I also work on the cardiology floor where I educate patients about keeping a heart-healthy diet.

What do you like most about working at BMC?
My favorite part of the job is working with people. It’s really rewarding to help patients feel better by doing something as simple as altering their diet. My colleagues are also fantastic and they have helped me learn and grow as a dietitian.

It’s resolution season. Do you have tips for people who are trying to eat healthier in the New Year?
My biggest tip that can be applied to any resolution is to set a concrete goal. If your goal is to eat healthier, it could be as simple as adding more fruits and vegetables or eating fewer sweets. As long as your goal is achievable and measurable, it will help you stick to it throughout the year.

Lauren Sharifi on the Today Show
Lauren was featured on the Today Show with Willie Geist, Al Roker and Joy Bauer

You were recently featured on the Today Show. Congratulations! Can you tell us about your experience?
It was an awesome experience! I follow Joy Bauer, Today Show contributor and dietitian, on Twitter. One day she posted a link to a contest called “Too Good to Be Healthy,” challenging her viewers to submit ideas for healthy holiday pies. I made up a recipe for Apple Cranberry Mini Pies (recipe below), had my family test it out on Thanksgiving, took a few pictures and submitted my entry. A few weeks later, they notified me that I was a finalist! I was flown to New York City, put up in a hotel and even had my hair and makeup done before the show. It was a little nerve-wracking to go on camera, but Joy prepped us beforehand and Al Roker and Willie Geist, who were the judges, made everyone feel really comfortable. Al and Willie ended up choosing my mini pies as the winner and they gave me a nice gift basket full of baking goodies and Joy’s signed cookbook. It was a blast!

What do you do to maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I try to stay active and go to the gym on a regular basis and in the winter I love to ski. I also have a food blog where I share yummy, healthy recipes and nutrition tips with my family and friends. This goes without saying, but I love to cook and bake, too!

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

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What’s for Dessert?

If you are looking for a healthy, tasty dessert, why not test out BMC’s own Lauren Sharifi, RD, LDN’s recipe that was a Today Show favorite?

Lauren Sharifi's Apple Cranberry Mini Pies

These mini-pies, served in muffin cups, make portion control a breeze. The sweetness of the apples and the tartness of the cranberries blends nicely with the crispy graham cracker crust to satisfy any sweet tooth craving. At 180 calories a pop, it also fits nicely into new healthy eating habits!

Lauren Sharifi's Apple Cranberry Mini Pies


  • Crust
    • 10 cinnamon graham cracker sheets (about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons milk, fat-free
  • Filling
    • 3 medium (4 small) apples, peeled and diced
    • 1 cup cranberries, fresh
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1/8 cup orange juice
    • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • Topping
    • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons milk, fat-free
    • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Fill 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners.
  2. To make crust: Crumble graham crackers and pecans in food processor, add oil and milk and combine until smooth. Evenly fill muffin tins with approximately 3 tablespoons of crust mixture. Press crust mixture down evenly into muffin cups. Bake crust in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.
  3. To make filling: Combine apples, cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon. In a separate dish, mix cornstarch with orange juice to dissolve. Pour orange juice mixture and maple syrup over fruit mixture and combine. Evenly fill crusts with fruit mixture.
  4. To make topping: Mix together all topping ingredients and then sprinkle over the top of the fruit mixture.
  5. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Makes 12 individual pies

  • Calories: 180
  • Total Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Sodium: 68 mg
  • Protein: 2 g

Do you have a recipe that you would like to share with the BMC community? Send it to communications@bmc.org and we’ll feature it in a future issue of the BMC Brief!

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In Their Words

Patients share their BMC experience

Dear Emma Riley,

My husband and I want to express our deep gratitude and admiration toward Shelagh Murphy, who served as my husband’s social worker during his recent stay at BMC. After he experienced cardiac arrest while traveling, he was transferred to BMC where Dr. Ketchedjian performed triple bypass surgery. Dr. Ketchedjian’s expertise is, of course, impressive and we are extremely appreciative of his work as well as the proficiency of the nursing staff. Shelagh’s assistance was also tremendously valuable. At the beginning when I was, needless to say, distraught, she helped me find nearby hotel accommodations while my husband was being treated. More importantly, after the surgery, I was concerned (because I am legally blind) about how we would get around after our return home. Shelagh researched and gave me names of agencies that provide assistance to homebound seniors in our area, one of which we still use to this day. She also provided contact information for people who can also explore other forms of assistance for elders and aging veterans. Finally, throughout our stay, she regularly made herself available to both my husband and me, sustaining us with compassionate, understanding as well as wise advice.

During the home phase of my husband’s post-operative convalescence, we wish to convey our deep appreciation for Shelagh’s help. We think very highly of BMC, not only for its outstanding medical care in the OR and ICU, but also for its ability to provide us with very valuable services.

Milford, NH

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Awards and Accolades

Patient Experience Award Winners Selected
Five departments at BMC, including two inpatient and three outpatient areas, recently received Patient Experience Awards. The honor is given quarterly to teams who provide an excellent patient experience, as measured by patient satisfaction surveys and other significant, tangible achievements. Each winner receives an award to display permanently in their department. Congratulations to outpatient winners Endoscopy Surgery, Ultrasound and Urology Clinic and inpatient winners Newton Pavilion 7East and Menino Pavilion 4West!

Contact Office of Communications

Communications Staff
Media information after hours: 617.638.8405

Boston Medical Center
Office of Communications
85 E. Newton Street
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Fax: 617.638.8044

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