Vol. 12 No. 6 - January, 2010

Chancellor’s Advisory Committees update

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Council on Equal Opportuity and Diversity

The Council on Equal Opportunity and Diversity (CEOD) is led this year by Warren Ferguson, MD, associate professor of family medicine & community health and David Slaga, RPH, a pharmacy consultant for the Commonwealth Medicine’s Drug Utilization Review Department. Dr. Ferguson and Mr. Slaga work with the Council’s Executive Committee to provide oversight for the committees below.

The Civility Committee promotes a sustainable civil culture by raising awareness through events, education and training. The committee recommended to Chancellor Michael F. Collins,that a UMMS Civility Award be created and given annually to an individual or group that best exemplifies the civility statement values (see related article in this insert). The committee is also developing a brochure on civility to raise the visibility of its work to current and new employees.

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Attorney David Rapaport and Alan LaBonte at the Disability Awareness Month program

The Disabilities Committee hosted two speakers who shared their strength and experience with the UMMS community. In September, the “Cracks in theCobblestones” event featured Alan Labonte and his attorney David Rapaport, who spoke about Labonte’s struggle with the onset of multiple sclerosis and their subsequent legal battle with Labonte’s former employer, a prominent New England law firm. Shortly after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Labonte was fired. He sued and eventually his former employer was ordered to pay $2 million in damages in a case that set legal precedent. Labonte had refused a larger settlement offer that would have prohibited him from speaking about the case. He wrote about his experiences in the book A Million Reasons: Why I Fought for the Rights of the Disabled.

In October, the committee co-sponsored an event with Commonwealth Medicine Human Resources at the South Street campus. Christine Griffin, the acting vice-chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gave a presentation about the initiative “Two Percent by 2010 Initiative.” Her talk focused on EEOC’s goals to reach 2 percent disability hiring goals by 2010. Ms. Griffin is a passionate advocate for increasing the numbers of disabled workers in federal government. In April, President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Ms. Griffin as deputy director of the United States Office of Personnel Management.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies Committee (GLBTA) last February sponsored the panel program, “Aging in America: The Care of GLBT Elders,” featuring Lisa Krinsky, LICSW, director of LGBT Aging Project; Beth Prullage, MSW, LICSW, adjunct instructor at Smith College School of Social Work; and GLBT elders Bonnie Winokar and Mary McCarthy. The panel shared their perspectives on the challenges and resiliencies of this growing segment of the population. The panelists discussed issues arising from the LGBT population’s diversity and highlighted cultural competence and health care disparity considerations.

The committee also supports QMass student initiatives and sponsored four medical students to attend the 2009 Women in Medicine annual conference and retreat for lesbian physicians and medical students and their families.

Additionally, two of the GLBTA committee members, Emily Ferrara and Charles Labonte, serve as members of the UMass Memorial Health Care GLBTQ Patient Quality Committee, which provides linkage between UMMS and UMass Memorial efforts to enhance the environment for GLBT individuals.

On a related note, Emily Ferrara was selected by Safe Homes, a program of The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, as a recipient of their public service award for her work in the Worcester area GLBT community, as well as her efforts on behalf of UMMS and UMass Memorial.

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Dancers at the fifth annual International Festival

The International Committee sponsored the fifth annual International Festival of Cultures in May. This year’s festival surpassed all others, with attendance estimated at 800 to 1,000. The UMMS community enjoyed wares from 14 vendors and musical talent from UMMS and the Worcester community, as well as Middle Eastern food from El Basha and Southwestern food from Moe’s. The music flowed through the open doors of the Faculty Conference Room where more than 30 international employees and their colleagues assisted with food.

The Committee also provides subsidized English as a second language (ESL) classes through the Literacy Volunteers (Worcester Public Library). Currently there are four classes at different levels being given to UMMS employees and their spouses.

The Mature Workforce Committee hosted “What Mature Workers Want: Popular Myths andSuccessful Models” presented by Carol P. Harvey, EdD, professor of management at Assumption College, during Older Americans Month in May.

The Minority Academic Advancement Committee (MAAC) is committed to increasing the diversity of UMMS faculty, residents and students. The committee held three social events for faculty, residents and students of color. The MAAC, in collaboration with School Services and the Alumni Office held an event in June for minority School of Medicine alumni.

The Professional Women’s Committee hosted four successful networking events at three different sites showcasing UMMS women leaders who shared their own career trajectories. The speakers included Joyce Barrett, administrator for the molecular genetics & microbiology and quantitative health sciences; Paulette Goeden, assistant vice chancellor for administration; Susan Levine, chief of staff for Commonwealth Medicine; Joyce A. Murphy, vice chancellor and chief operating officer for Commonwealth Medicine; Kathleen Q. Powers, associate vice chancellor for administration and chief of staff for the Office of Chancellor; and Charlene Sotolongo, director of Environmental Health and Safety. The committee has already begun working on a newsletter for professional women, which will be distributed soon.

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Women's Faculty Committee

The Women’s Faculty Committee (WFC), led by co-chairs Mai Lan Rogoff, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, and Elaine Martin, DA, director of the Lamar Soutter Library and assistant professor of family medicine & community health, has been working on developing goals and objectives that align with the Academic Health Sciences Center Strategic Plan. The WFC will be sponsoring two of their traditional events: for Women’s History Month, Katharine Park, professor of the history of science at Harvard, will be the featured speaker at a luncheon presentation on March 11 and the WFC awards luncheon will be on May 18.