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Awards and Grants | Grayken Center for Addiction | BMC

Awards and Grants

Faculty and staff at the Grayken Center are often recognized for their innovative work. Find recent awards and grant funding here.



Americas Essential Hospitals - Access and Quality for All

  • America’s Essential Hospitals, Gage Award: Elisha Wachman, MD

Network for Excellence in Health Innovation

  • Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, Innovator In Health: Colleen LaBelle, RN

Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

  • Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, 2018 Hilary E.C. Millar Award for Innovative Approaches to Adolescent Health Care: The CATALYST Program at Boston Medical Center (Medical Director: Sarah Bagley, MD)



  • AMERSA Betty Ford Award: Colleen T. Labelle, MSN, RN-BC, CARN
  • 2017 AMERSA Excellence In Mentorship Award: Alexander Y. Walley, MD MSc

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry: John Renner, MD

American College of Physicians

  • American College of Physicians, Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from The Rosenthal Family Foundation: Jeffrey Samet, MD, FACP
  • American College of Physicians, Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from The Rosenthal Family Foundation: Project ASSERT

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 2017 Ten Outstanding Young Leaders: Sarah Bagley, MD



  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    • Jeffrey Samet, Pilot Study of Opioid-receptor Antagonists to Reduce Pain and Inflammation among HIV-Infected Persons with Alcohol Problems
    • Jeffrey Samet, ST. PETER HIV-Alcohol, Protein Biomarkers and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
    • Eric Devine, Lacosamide effects on alcohol self administration and craving in heavy drinkers
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    • Colleen Labelle, State Technical Assistance Team Education and Support (STATES)
    • Martha Vibbert and Megan Sandel, State Opioid Grant
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    • Jeffrey Samet, Advancing Clinical Research Training within Addiction Residency Programs
    • Sabrina Assoumou, Engaging young people who inject drugs into HCV and HIV care
    • Benjamin Linas, Accelerating the Pace of Drug Abuse Research Using Existing Data (R01)
  • Academic Pediatric Association
    • Yuan He, National trends in substance use and corresponding trends in child maltreatmen
    • Scott Hadland, Developing a Collaborative Care Model of Office-Based Opioid Treatment for Adolescents
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
    • Marc LaRochelle, Heroin use and overdose following changes to individual-level opioid prescribing
  • University of Baltimore, Center for Drug Control Policy and Enforcement
    • Alexander Walley, Benjamin Linas, and Marc Larochelle, Forecasting the Impact of Corrections-based Control Policy and Enforcement
  • Peter F. McManus Charitable Trust
    • Timothy Naimi, The Impact of Alcohol Policies on Fatalities from Alcohol-Involved Crashes Below the Legal Limit
  • Medtronic Foundation (Charities Aid Foundation America)
    • Robert Saper, Innovations in Non-Pharmacologic Approaches to Pain Management for the Underserved
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
    • Alexander Walley, Addiction Consult Service TTA
  • AIDS Action Committee
    • Johnson, Peer Driven HIV Education and Prevention in MSM Injection Drug Users and Injection Drug Users Who Engage in Transactional Sex
  • Jack Satter Foundation
    • Sarah Bagley, CATALYST Clinic
  • Office of Minority Health (DHHS)
    • Ricardo Cruz, Project RECOVER (Referral, Engagement, Case management, and Overdose preVention Education in Recovery)
The BMC Field Guide to Parenting

The BMC Field Guide to Parenting

No matter how hard you try, you can’t really, fully prepare to be a parent. The good news is parents new and old can rely on BMC’s world-class pediatric team for care and advice. The BMC Field Guide to Parenting breaks down all of the developmental stages from the time your child is born, to when they leave for college. Read important facts about what to expect during all phases of childhood, and when to call the doctor.

To book a primary care appointment for your child, visit BMC Pediatrics.

You had an Abnormal Pap Smear, Now What?

You had an Abnormal Pap Smear, Now What?

You recently went to the doctor and got a call afterwards saying that you had an abnormal pap smear. Now what?  Don’t panic.

Here’s some useful information about what to do when you have had an abnormal pap smear.

“Finding out that your Pap smear results have come back ‘abnormal’ can cause a lot of anxiety for patients,” explains OBGYN Katharine White, MD, “but we don’t want patients to panic, because this does not automatically mean that you have cancer.”

Most abnormal Pap smear results are not caused by cancer, but instead are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. These abnormal cells will usually go away on their own, but they’re more likely to stick around in women who smoke or who have an impaired immune system. Other less common causes of abnormal Pap smear results include other sexually transmitted infections such as herpes or trichomonas, vaginal infections caused by bacteria or yeast, or being post-menopausal.

So, now what? First, talk with your doctor about next steps. 

You may need more tests to determine what exactly is causing cells to be abnormal. One test you may need is a colposcopy which looks at the cervix through a microscope. During the colposcopy, you will probably have a biopsy, where a small sample of the cervix is removed to be tested further. Or you may just need to be monitored and have another pap smear in a few months.

“We encourage women to schedule their regular pap smears so that they may be proactive about their health,” adds Dr. White. In cases when cancer is discovered, the survival rate for cervical cancer is very high when it is detected early. “The most important thing to know about an abnormal pap test is that as long as you follow up with all of the recommended testing, you’re not likely to develop cancer.”

Don’t panic about your abnormal Pap smear results, but do be sure to schedule your follow-up appointments and schedule your regular Pap smear tests.

Schedule a Pap smear with one of our providers by visiting

Methadone Should Get a Home in Primary Care

December 31, 1969

For More Information, Contact:
Tim Viall
Office of Communications
[email protected]

(Boston) - Physicians and public health officials are calling on Congress to update the laws that regulate methadone prescribing to help reduce barriers to a treatment proven to be effective for opioid use disorder. According to a newly published New England Journal of Medicine Perspective, allowing methadone to be prescribed and dispensed in primary care practices would increase access and get the medicine into the hands of an at-risk patient population.

Methadone in Primary Care – One Small Step for Congress, One Giant Leap for Addiction Treatment,” is authored by Jeffrey Samet, MD, MPH, chief of general internal medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC), Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC, and Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Opioid overdoses claim an average of 115 lives a day. Opioid use disorder, the major driver of overdose deaths, is a complex medical condition that can be successfully treated, but treatments remain inaccessible for many people, particular those in rural and suburban communities. Only roughly 20 percent of Americans who have an OUD take one of the three FDA approved, evidence-based medications – methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone – according to a 2015 JAMA study.

The oldest and one of the most effective medications to treat OUD, methadone, is available in primary care settings by prescription in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. This is standard practice in those countries and seen as non-controversial because it benefits the patient, the care team, and the community. In the U.S., methadone is typically administered daily under supervision to patients in specialty clinics, requiring daily trips to these clinics and making it a difficult treatment to adhere to. Additionally, these clinics can be hours away and are not always accessible by public transportation.

“Allowing more qualified and trained physicians and other advance practice clinicians to prescribe methadone prevents the need to establish new methadone clinics for people living in nonurban areas, which could be cost- or infrastructure-prohibitive, and it diminishes the ‘not in my backyard’ sentiment that is commonly associated with them,” said Samet, who is also a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and the Perspective’s corresponding author.

Administering methadone in primary care could also reduce the stigma associated with opioid use disorder and align its management more with other medical conditions that are already treated seamlessly in primary care.

The authors suggest that the Controlled Substances Act could be amended to allow clinicians who have the required training to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder to also engage patients in methadone treatment for the condition in office-based, primary care settings.

“The goal is to increase access to medication for this treatable disease, and it makes sense that we take concrete steps to streamline substance use disorder into standard medical care,’’ Commissioner Bharel said.

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Boston Medical Center, John Hancock Celebrate $5M Raised Through Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program

December 31, 1969

For More Information, Contact:
Jessica Lyons
Office of Communications
[email protected]

Brittany Straughn
John Hancock
[email protected]

Mural unveiled today at the hospital will honor Team BMC participants

(Boston) – Boston Medical Center (BMC) is pleased to announce that Team BMC has raised $5 million through their partnership with John Hancock’s Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program. To commemorate the milestone, the institutions will unveil a 40-foot mural at the hospital depicting Team BMC runners on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 11:15 a.m.

Team BMC has been a part of the John Hancock Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program for 16 years, with funds going toward a campaign to renovate, expand, and improve the medical center’s campus and emergency services. However, much of the $5 million has been raised over the past five years as Team BMC has grown.

“Without the John Hancock partnership, there would be no Team BMC,” said Kate Walsh, President and CEO of BMC. “Their generosity in providing support to our runners has helped BMC continue to grow our emergency services and provide the best care for patients in Boston and across the region.”

The mural will wrap a wall that leads patients from the lobby of the Menino Pavilion to the new emergency department, a symbolic placement to honor the determination and generosity of Team BMC runners, their supporters, and John Hancock. It depicts the Boston Marathon race route while highlighting the motivation behind many of the team members and the inspiration that helped them cross the finish line.

“John Hancock is proud to support Boston Medical Center—a global leader in delivering exceptional care to all in need,” said Marianne Harrison, CEO of John Hancock. “Together, we are building healthier, more equitable communities by empowering individuals and families to live better lives.”

With John Hancock’s continued investment and support for the hospital, Team BMC has grown beyond the marathon program and is running and raising funds for causes all year long. In addition to the Boston Marathon, there are now nine races in the Team BMC portfolio, including a “Race for a Reason” program that allows runners to choose any race and any program at BMC that they’d like to raise funds for.  

Media are invited to attend the mural unveiling, and interviews with John Hancock president and CEO Marianne Harrison and BMC president and CEO, Kate Walsh, will be available.  

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About John Hancock and Manulife
John Hancock is a division of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. We operate primarily as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were over $1.1 trillion (US$850 billion) as of March 31, 2018. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as MFC on the TSX, NYSE, and PSE, and under 945 on the SEHK. Manulife can be found at

One of the largest life insurers in the United States, John Hancock supports approximately 10.7 million Americans with a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, and college savings plans. We also offer advice through Signator, a network of independent financial advisors. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at

Non-Pharmacologic Approaches Improve Outcomes for Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

December 31, 1969

For More Information, Contact:
Jessica Lyons
Office of Communications
[email protected]

(Boston) – A quality improvement (QI) initiative at Boston Medical Center that focused on using non-pharmacologic approaches to care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) yielded positive short-term outcomes for both the mothers and infants. The results, published in the Journal of Perinatology, showed a decrease in medication use, length of stay, and health care costs.

As the rates of adults with opioid use disorder rise across the country, the rate of infants born exposed to opioids who develop NAS symptoms has also increased. These infants have an average hospital length of stay of 23 days, and account for $1.2 billion in annual Medicaid costs. Providers have long used the Finnegan Scale to evaluate NAS symptoms, and the score is then used by providers to determine when to treat with medication, which is often in the form of morphine. However, recent research has shown non-pharmacologic treatment approaches, like skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, can improve NAS symptoms, and assessment tools that prioritize certain behaviors, such as how well an infant is eating and sleeping, have been shown to reduce the number of infants who receive medication treatment compared to the Finnegan Scale.

In 2016, BMC implemented these new approaches in the hospital.  Non-pharmacologic treatment approaches included parental presence at the infant’s bedside, skin to skin contact, and breastfeeding as first-line treatment. Parents were educated about the importance of their presence and contact with their infants, and infants were cared for in a pediatrics inpatient room with a bed for parents once mothers were discharged for their immediate postpartum care. A cuddling volunteer program supplemented parents’ presence and allowed infants to be held when parents were not able to be in the hospital. Additionally, methadone was given instead of morphine to infants who required medication.

These efforts resulted in significant improvements in patient outcomes. The need to treat infants with medication decreased from 87 to 40 percent; the average length of hospital stay decreased from an average of 17 days to 11 days; and average hospital charges per infant decreased to approximately $21,000, down from $32,000.

“Our efforts, which yielded positive results for our patients and our health system, suggests a need to re-evaluate the standard NAS assessment and care both here at BMC and nationally,” said Elisha Wachman, MD, lead author of the study and neonatologist who led the initiative at BMC. “Our ability to make significant, impactful changes in our care practices across several departments in a relatively quick amount of time indicates that these practices can be successfully replicated at other hospitals to improve outcomes for both the mother and the baby, as well as reduce healthcare costs.”

BMC has a history of excellence in treating patients with substance use disorders, and between April 2015 and December 2017 treated 275 infants exposed to opioids in utero. During the intervention and directly after its implementation, 139 infants with NAS were treated according to the new care protocols. The results of the initiative were sustained over the 12 month post-intervention period and represented a significant culture shift at the hospital.

The study was funded in part by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Innovation Grant.

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RA Meetings


The BMC Brief, Volume 7, Issue 6

December 31, 1969

Telesitting Program Helps Keep Patients Safe

All patients who come into Boston Medical Center are given the specialized care and attention they need, but some patients need more individual attention than others. In these cases, hospital sitters are employed to watch over patients who need extra attention, keeping them safe. Patients that need sitters include those who try to pull out their IVs or get out of bed against medical advice. At BMC, sitters are certified nursing assistants (CNAs), who work on every inpatient floor. While sitters have positive impacts for patients, there are also drawbacks to the system. That’s where a new program that employs telesitters comes in.

“When you have bedside sitters, it often means CNAs have to be pulled off the floor,” says Sheila Murphy, RN, a nurse in the IMCU who helps oversee the telesitting program. “This creates more work for nurses and leads to less satisfaction for both employees and patients. BMC was spending $4 million a year on sitters before,” says Murphy. “It wasn’t sustainable and it wasn’t a good use of resources. Telesitting can help put CNAs back on the floor, which leads to better patient safety and more patients getting the attention they need on the entire unit.” ”

The telesitting program reduces the number of bedside sitters needed by putting patients who need sitters on video, so fewer CNAs can watch more patients at one time. Currently, there are six to ten patients on video at a time, although they hope to get up to 12. Since telesitting launched two months ago, 150 patients have been part of the program. This has allowed BMC to return 1,168 CNA shifts to the floor, which means that there are more people available to help with all patients.

Patients who are confused, are fall risks, and are elopement risks (at risk of walking off) are all eligible for the telesitter program. The patients must also be redirectable, which means that patients who try to pull out IV lines or who are trying to get to the bathroom are eligible for telesitting if they can be directed to stop touching their IV or to wait while the nurse is called to their room. Currently, telesitting is available on every inpatient floor except Pediatrics and Labor and Delivery. 

The sitters can see, hear, and talk to patients over the video system. They can remind patients to not get up, see if the patient has an issue that needs to be addressed and what that issue is, and call a nurse if necessary. The system also allows sitters to make common announcements – such as “please stay in bed” – in different languages. None of the video is saved.

Sitters and safety nurses round on all patients with sitters every four hours to see if they can be moved to the telesitting program or if they no longer need a sitter. In addition, they do purposeful rounding on telesitting patients in between the safety rounds and huddles to offer the nurses assistance and to check on the patients.  

Telesitters work in shifts of two at a time, 24 hours a day, in a room with all telesitting video feeds. One employee is the primary monitor of patients on video, while the other rounds and checks on patients when necessary. All telesitters participate in patient safety huddles, to ensure they have all the proper information. In addition, safety nurses are available 12 hours a day to work with the telesitters, assess patients, and help answer questions. BMC is the only hospital in the country whose telesitter program includes safety nurses.

“This has truly been a team effort,” says Murphy. “The float pool nurses did the initial policy work, and the program is driven by CNAs. The staff nurses have been very supportive and helpful in figuring out which patients are eligible and evaluating patients. We’re all committed to working together to return nurse's aides to the floor.”

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BMC Pharmacy Technician Training Program Helps Advance Employees’ Careers, Addresses the Pharm Tech Shortage


Sebastian Hamilton didn’t start his career in the pharmacy. Though he’s now the director of outpatient pharmacy at BMC, his first hospital job was transporting patients. Eventually, his education and training led to his current career, but the idea of bringing talented employees from other departments into the pharmacy stayed with him. To give others the same opportunity, Hamilton spearheaded the creation of a pharmacy technician training program at BMC, which provides employees in other departments with the necessary training to become nationally certified pharmacy technicians (CPhT).

Hamilton started planning this unique program in 2014, with the help of BMC’s Employee and Labor Relations team. When the details were finalized in 2017, Hamilton reached out to Charles Green, associate director of Food and Nutrition, to identify promising candidates. The first employee to join the training program was Karlene Reid, who was working as a hospitality representative. She recently passed her Pharmacy Technician Trainee exam, which allows her to register with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician, and will soon become a CPhT at BMC. The second employee, Elino Philippe, who worked in hospitality services, joined the Shapiro pharmacy in February and is about to take the trainee exam after completion of his 500 hours of training.

“I’m looking forward to the new experience of being a full nationally certified pharmacy technician,” says Reid. “It’s a whole new world from what I was doing before.”

Pharmacy technicians provide a wide range of services to support pharmacists in the outpatient pharmacy department. They call providers for renewals or prescription clarification, and work with other pharmacies to transfer prescriptions. They also transcribe prescriptions into the computer system, and count and fill prescriptions, preparing them for the pharmacist to review before dispensing to patients. In addition, they work with patients, both over the phone and at the registers, to help ensure they get the proper medication.

“Every day I learn something new,” says Philippe. “I really like working with patients, and the pharmacists are all very nice and teach you a lot. It’s a great experience for me.”


The BMC program is structured so that training is consistent for all pharmacy techs and addresses the skills they’ll need at the BMC outpatient pharmacy department and beyond. The first part of the program is 500 hours of training in the pharmacy, including specific training on BMC’s outpatient pharmacy system. Program participants then take a trainee exam, then receive additional training if they pass. After the further training and preparation, participants can take the national certification exam, which BMC provides study guides and tutoring for. After that, they will be nationally certified to work as a pharmacy technician and will be fully eligible to be considered for a position within the BMC outpatient pharmacy department. Participants are paid during training, and if a trainee leaves the program, they have the option to go back to their previous job at BMC.

The program not only allows BMC to provide opportunities to promising employees by retaining great talent, but also helps alleviate the effects of a pharmacy technician shortage in Massachusetts. Because the field is currently so competitive, the BMC program helps create options for  open pharmacy technician positions  with workers they know are well-trained and fit into BMC culture.

“I’m very proud of the program and the level of talent we’re getting,” says Hamilton. “We’re giving great workers more opportunities at BMC.”

If you are interested in joining the pharmacy tech training program, please speak with your manager. Managers who have interested candidates should email Julio Fred, pharmacy tech supervisor at [email protected].

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What do you do, Holly Sabo?

Name: Holly Sabo
Title: ACO Operations Manager, Greater Boston
Time at BMC: Two and a half years

Q: What do you do at BMC?
A: I am part of the Population Health Services (PHS), and we work in partnership with our colleagues at the Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan to help manage the cost of care for Boston Accountable Care Organization (BACO), and our other ACO partners across the state.  My role is to work with the community health centers, as well as the hospital-based practices that are part of BACO, to ensure that they have the tools and resources needed in their work with our ACO patients. I travel between 13 sites, including eight community health centers and five practices at BMC.

My days are all very different and involve a variety of ACO initiatives. For example, right now I’m working on enrollment and making sure that patients who need to be get enrolled in BMCHP Community Alliance, which is the health plan product for BACO, before they’re locked out at the end of this month. Once patients are locked out, they will not be able to be part of BACO, which means that patients who had historically received primary care at BMC wouldn’t be able to get their primary care here. We are working very hard to make sure that patients who want to continue to come to BMC or their community health centers (CHCs) that are part of BACO are enrolled in the right health plan product so they can continue that continuity of care.                         

Another big initiative right now is risk coding, which is accurately documenting the social and medical complexity of our patients. It is extremely important to making sure BMC, and the other CHCs that are part of BACO, get paid properly for the work we do.  My team works with providers to help them understand the changes with risk coding as part of the MassHealth ACO reform, and give them tools to help them code, and helps identify any missed opportunities for coding.

Q: What brought you to BMC?
A: I was living in Philadelphia and my husband got a job offer in Boston. I knew I wanted to work at a hospital, and preferred to work at one of the larger hospitals because I felt like I could make more of a difference.

In my previous position in Philadelphia, I worked for a human service organization where most of our patients were Medicaid patients, so I liked BMC in particular because of the population that we serve. What I do every day is rewarding because I and my colleagues at BMC can make a difference in someone’s life who has limited resources. My efforts promote meaningful change throughout greater Boston. I can be part of the solution to underlying issues facing our population.

Q: You previously worked in Geriatrics. Why did you decide to work with the ACO? What lessons did you take from your previous experience?
A: For the most part, I’ve always worked in geriatrics. Geriatrics is my passion. I really enjoy working with older individuals. I think my heart will always be in geriatrics, but I worked in that area for a long time wanted to try something new.

Once I got a chance to learn more about the ACO, it was very intriguing to me. I really believe in what it stands for, that we can’t just help patients with their medical needs. We need to go beyond that to the root cause of why they’re in a particular situation. For example, if a patient needs help with food, why do they need help with food? Do they need education so they can get a better job and be able to afford more food? I like digging in and figuring out how exactly we can help our patients.

There are a lot of lessons I learned from my work in geriatrics. In geriatrics, you really have to be patient and listen. The senior population has a lot of great life lessons and I really enjoy listening to our patients’ stories. You can really learn a lot by just listening. I think I take that to my job now. I’m a patient person and I try to really listen to figure out what a patient needs.

Q: What’s the top thing you want people to know about the ACO program or the work you do?
A: We’re a very small team, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. We really want to educate employees on what the ACO is, what it means for our patients, and how important it is for our population. I invite anyone who wants to learn more about the ACO or understand it better to reach out to me or anyone on my team. The more people understand the work we are doing and its impact on our patients, the more successful we will be.

Q: How do you and you colleagues interact with clinicians at the hospital and with the health plan to support ACO patients?
A: We collaborate daily with the health plan and are currently working on several initiatives with them, including behavioral health and enrollment.

The complex care management (CCM) team also meets regularly with providers to address patients’ psychosocial and clinical needs. We have a CCM team at all of our BACO sites, as well as in the ED and inpatient units. This allows us to directly engage with patients and connect with providers. Providers also attend our weekly care meetings.

The ACO team also partners with patients, to better advocate for them.

Q: Can you share a story of how the complex care management program has helped patients?
A: One example is a patient who had frequented the ED a few times a month. Our complex care management team in the ED was able to help figure out why the patient was there so often and get them enrolled into the program, as well as get them the resources they needed from our community wellness advocate.

It turned out that this particular patient wasn’t staying in the ED until they got treatment, or staying in the hospital, because they have a cat at home that needs to be taken care of. They would leave before they got treated so they could go home and take care of the cat, which was very important to this patient. Once we found out what that barrier was, we were able to get the patient some resources to help with the cat. Then we could make sure the patient was actually treated, as well as really drill down to other types of resources they need to keep them out of the ED.

Q: What do you like most about working for BMC?
A: I really like the population that we serve and knowing that I can make a difference in people’s lives.

I like that we have a lot of diverse people working here and everyone listens to each other’s ideas. If you have an idea, you can try it, and if it doesn’t work, that’s okay. It allows you to be innovative and creative and try different things that help better the health system.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work?
A: I like baking, and playing bingo. I also like going out with my friends and unwinding from a busy week. I also do a lot of hiking and traveling. I’m going to the Montreal Jazz Festival in July.

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New Technology Helps Providers Deliver Better Care to Frequent ED Visitors

When a patient comes into the Emergency Department at BMC, how do providers know they have all the data they need? While other notes about the patient from within the Boston Medical Center Health System are accessible, providers may not know if the patient had recently visited another hospital’s emergency department, and if so, why and how they were treated. This information can be crucial, especially for high-utilizer patients, who often use the emergency department for health care. To help manage this issue, BMC and many hospitals in Massachusetts have signed on to use PreManage, software that allows ED providers to see if a patient has visited other emergency departments.

BMC was one of the first hospitals in the state to implement the PreManage technology, and it’s now in all major health systems in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as many hospitals in the central and western parts of the state. The program puts an indicator in a patient’s electronic medical record if they’ve had six or more ED visits to any hospital within six months or three ED visits at three different hospitals within three months.

For these patients, PreManage automatically generates a page showing a patient’s ED visits, whether or not they were admitted, any diagnoses they received, and prescriptions they were given. Providers can also add more to these notes, including care plans and further reasons for a visit. There’s also a separate icon for patients who are enrolled in BMC’s complex care management program, with information on who to contact when those patients come to the ED.

Evan Berg, MD, vice chair of clinical operations in the Emergency Department, estimates that more than ten percent of ED patients fit the criteria for the indicators.

The indicators allow hospitals to understand ED utilization patterns for specific patients and help ensure consistency of care for these patients. Currently, a group at BMC is working on understanding these patterns, as well as figuring out the best ways for care teams to communicate about high-utilizing patients. The goal is to have clinical staff input care plans and their contact information for patients who meet the criteria, so the ED and other hospitals can have better access to information.

PreManage will also soon be onboarding Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and the Pine Street Inn, who serve many high-utilizing patients. This will help non-hospital care providers share information and care plans, which can help EDs better understand their patients and treat them more consistently.

“There are lots of touch points for high-utilizing patients, and we need to make sure that everyone has access to all the relevant information,” says Berg. “Our goal is to create awareness within the health system, so that patients have consistent, coordinated care. The more information different providers can exchange, the better care will be for patients.”

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Recognizing Employees that Embody Exceptional Care without Exception

The Be Exceptional Awards were conceived as a way to recognize the colleagues among us who represent BMC’s mission of exceptional care without exception day in and day out. The annual awards aim to recognize outstanding individuals and teams, while highlighting the amazing work that takes place across BMC.

Over 145 BMC individuals and nearly 50 teams were nominated for the prestigious awards this year. From this pool, a hospital-wide selection committee chose 21 exceptional individuals and six team winners. The awardees come from all over the BMC campus, hold many different jobs, and all share a deep commitment to BMC our patients and the community.

This year’s awards were once again emceed by Kate Walsh, president and CEO, and Lisa Kelly-Croswell, senior vice president of HR and Chief Human Resources Officer. The program focused on our core values - built on respect, powered by empathy; move mountains; and many faces create our greatness - as well as our 2018 priority goals: quality of care, patient experience, and growth.

“Thank you to all our winners for being living, breathing examples of what BMC is like on its best day” said Walsh.  “All of your efforts are moving us closer to realizing our Vision 2030, to make Boston the healthiest urban population in the world.”

Congratulations to the 2018 Be Exceptional Award winners!

Individual Winners
  • Carlos Arellano, Senior Director Radiology and Otolaryngology
  • Carmen Bala, HR Benefits Specialist
  • Anick Chery, Medical Assistant, Hem/Onc
  • Erica Criscuolo, Social Worker
  • Kathleen Flinton, Clinical Director Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights
  • Ellen Ginman, Senior Director, Population Health
  • Raul Guzman, Transporter
  • Beth Hagan, Neurology Manager
  • Karam Housni, Transporter
  • Kristin Jeffes, Senior Manager, Support Services
  • Amanda Lai, Chinese Medical Interpreter
  • Kathleen Masters, Senior Project Manager, Ambulatory
  • Jason Mordino, Inpatient Pharmacy Clinical Specialist Lead
  • Thanh Nguyen, MD, Director, Interventional Neuroradiology and Interventional Radiology
  • Macy Reed, Volunteer Services Manager
  • Volcie Richard, Registered Nurse, Infectious Disease
  • La'Davia Sutton, Certified Application Counselor, Patient Financial Services
  • Jennifer Thurman, Specialty Care Pharmacy Liaison
  • Benita Toledo, Dietary Aide
  • Lisa Whelan, Registered Nurse
  • Evonne Yang, Population Health Manager
Team Winners
  • Inpatient and Pediatric Clinical Dietitian
  • JC Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification Team
  • Maternal - Child HIV Program
  • NICU Nursing Team
  • Social Determinants of Health Screening and Referral Program Leadership Team
  • Solomont Simulation Center

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Awards and Accolades

Colleen LaBelle Receives Innovator in Health Award

Collen LaBelle, MS, RN-BC, CARN, has been honored with an Innovator in Health Award from the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation. LaBelle is director of the Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) program at BMC and Director of the Massachusetts OBAT program. She is being recognized for her transformative impact on the field of substance use disorders, particularly through her creation and leadership of the nurse care manager model that has enabled effective opioid use disorder treatment in community health settings.

Vonzella Bryant Honored at Fenway Park

Vonzella Bryant, MD, a physician in the Emergency Department, was honored at Fenway Park for her work mentoring youth in Dorchester.  She was invited for the first pitch ceremony along with her mentee-student.

Thea James Honored by The Community Builders

Thea James, MD, VP of Mission and associate chief medical officer, was honored for her work at the Community Builder’s Power of Home Event. The Community Builders, Inc. is America's largest nonprofit developer of urban mixed-income housing.

Joseph App and Laurie Goldman Receive Spirit of Elaine Ullian Oto Helper Awards

Joseph App, charge nurse, and Laurie Goldman, staff nurse, both in the operating room, have received this year’s annual Spirit of Elaine Ullian Oto Helper Award. The award is given annually to the person(s) who has been of the most help to the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery team in achieving their mission.

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News of Note

Liz Walker and Eilene Grayken Named to BMC Board of Trustees

Reverend Liz Walker, senior pastor at Roxbury Presbyterian Church, and Eilene Grayken were voted in as trustees to the Boston Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Walker was the first black woman to co-anchor a newscast in Boston. She then attended divinity school and became pastor of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church in 2014.

Grayken was instrumental in providing BMC with the $25 million gift to create the BMC Grayken Center for Addiction, the biggest private gift in the U.S. in the last decade for addiction treatment and medicine.

BMC Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Researchers Awarded $13.5 Million from PCORI

Boston Medical Center has received a $13.5 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to test two different methods of delivering cognitive behavioral therapy – face-to-face and online – to children with anxiety. The goal is to determine if the online format is as effective as face-to-face treatment for delivering CBT in the community and if certain characteristics about patients, families, therapists, and healthcare systems may influence each format’s effectiveness.

The multi-site study will be conducted in both urban and semirural communities that serve primarily racial and ethnic minority children. More than 1,800 children ages 3 to 17 with mild to moderate anxiety symptoms in Boston, Miami, Seattle, and Baltimore will participate.

The principal investigator of the study is Lisa Fortuna, MD, medical director for child and adolescent psychiatry services at BMC.

Kate Walsh Named Chair-Elect of the Council of Teaching Hospitals

Kate Walsh, president and CEO, was elected the next chair of the Administrative Board of the Council of Teaching Hospitals. The Council of Teaching Hospitals is a division of the Association of American Medical Colleges that provides its 400 member hospitals with advocacy resources, professional development offerings, care redesign expertise, and learning networks that exclusively support clinical teaching environments.

Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Receives $9.1 Million Grant

The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) was awarded a $9.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support new and continuing initiatives. CFAR is a collaboration between Boston University/BMC, Miriam Hospital, the Lifespan Health System, and Brown University.

CFAR is currently focusing on research around the relationship between HIV and substance use disorders, as well as women, men who have sex with men, at-risk youth, and individuals in the criminal justice system. Its research is aimed at preventing and treating HIV in the United States and in highly pandemic regions around the world including.

BMC Hosts Historic Physical Therapy Course

BMC recently hosted a pelvic floor physical therapy course for the transgender population that was the first of its kind in the country. The course focused on physical therapy examination and treatment of transgender patients.

BMC was represented on the course faculty by nursing, adult, and pediatric primary care providers who are members of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery. Rehab Services coordinated the event, which was attended by approximately 40 pelvic health physical therapists, including BMC’s pelvic floor physical therapists.

This course was designed to educate physical therapists on evaluation and treatment of the transgender population using evidenced-based practice, standardized protocols, hands on skills, and resources from interdisciplinary collaborations. Specific topics covered include pre-operative evaluation, treatment and education issues, intra-operative recommendations, post-operative evaluation, treatment, education and follow-up.

BMC Receives $3.2 Million Grant from The MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services

A team at BMC will receive a $3.2 million grant over five years from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to help increase access to long-acting reversible contraception. The team, led by Kate White, MD, an OB/GYN at BMC, will focus on training hospital-based providers across the state and improving operations that will allow more patients to have access to LARCs.

BMC and BU Researchers Receive $899,999 from the National Science Foundation

A team of researchers from BMC and BU has received a $899,999 grant from the National Science Foundation for a project entitled “QuBBD: From Personalized Predictions to Better Control of Chronic Health Conditions.” Their research aims to utilize digital health data to predictive models that anticipate future undesirable events, such as hospitalizations, re-admissions, and transitioning to an acute stage of a disease. These predictions will be used to trigger personalized interventions, such as increased monitoring and doctor visits to optimized treatment policies adapted to each patient.  Rebecca Grochow Mishuris, MD, MS, MPH, associate chief medical information officer at BMC, is a co-principal investigator.

Elizabeth Barnett Named Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease

Elizabeth Barnett, MD, Professor of Pediatrics has been named division chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Medicine.

For the past 25 years, Barnett has been a full time faculty member of the Department of Pediatrics at BUSM where she currently holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics. She has been a clinical and academic leader and has achieved international prominence in travel and tropical medicine, with a particular focus on refugee health and the medical needs of new immigrant families.

For over 20 years she has served as the PI of the BMC Refugee Health Assessment Program and is also the site director of the GeoSentinel Program in partnership with the Center for Disease Control. Barnett has also studied the safety and dissemination of childhood immunizations and is a leader in the BMC Center for Immunization Safety and Assessment.

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