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Chair's Corner

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A Time to Give Thanks

I hope you have all remained in good health and are looking forward to the upcoming Holiday Season, as a time to celebrate with friends and family. The holidays are a time to give gratitude to those around us, reflect on the year and look forward to what’s to come. 

With that in mind, I would like to thank our divisions for their diligence in recruiting a talented pool of faculty who will be joining our department. Please join me in welcoming; Drs. Daniel Guevara and Kirti Basil from Renal Medicine, Drs. Elizabeth Aherne and Stephanie Sison from General Internal Medicine, Drs. MJ Wang, David Cachia, and Rena Zheng, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Drs. Jayanthi Kumar, Anna Bui, Datson Marian Pereira, Jesse Coleman, Osman Jilani, Gayathri Thampatty, and Conor Grogan, Division of Hospital Medicine, Drs. Kevin O’Day and Arun Damodaran, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Dr. Michael Hyder, Program in Digital Medicine and Office of Clinical Integration, Dr. Chiaki Nakata, Division of Tri-River Medicine, Dr. Madona Azar, Division of Endocrine and Diabetes, and Dr. Navine Nasser-Ghodesi, Division of Gastroenterology. 

Recently, two communications were distributed about our newly created divisions and I am elated to share my excitement with you on our new Division of Innate Immunity, spearheaded by Dr. Kate Fitzgerald, and the new Division of Endocrine and Diabetes, co-led by Drs. Neil Aronin and Samir Malkani. The new Division of Innate Immunity serves as a scientific centerpiece for the Department, expanding our available laboratory space and capabilities, and enhancing the collaborative environment of our Department of Medicine. Equally important, the newly combined Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes builds on the wonderful work of Drs. David Harlan, Neil Aronin, and Samir Malkani and empowers the Division to collaboratively address the challenges of providing excellent patient care to a growing population of patients with diabetes and other endocrine disorders, growing clinical research, and promoting scholarly collaborations across UMass Chan Medical School. 

I want to express my sheer enthusiasm for the work across the Department that has focused on innovations in patient care; especially our new programs in remote patient monitoring and virtual rounding/e-consults are being developed by our pulmonologists and diabetologists, respectively. We have now admitted over 75 patients to the Hospital at Home program and are working with the Division of Geriatrics to design a new program to keep older individuals with acute illnesses in their homes. This program will complement the proposed Beaumont acute care wards and new units on the Memorial campus, which will help us address the daily overcrowding that we frequently experience in the inpatient service. 

Our Department has been working diligently in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space. We have committed significant support to UMass Chan’s Cluster Hire initiative, a university-wide effort led by Dr. Milagros Rosal, Vice Provost for Health Equity. This effort focuses on recruiting a cohort of scientists from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to UMass Chan. In response to this effort, as a Department, we have committed financial resources, time, expertise, and a focused effort has been spent recruiting into the areas of Infectious Diseases and Immunology as well as Health Equity research. A shout out to Drs. Kate Fitzgerald, Neil Silverman, Lee Quinton, and Jen Reidy, Chief, Division of Palliative Care, for leading the Department’s Cluster Hire efforts. This work will complement the incredible work being done by our Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice, Dr. Yoel Carrasquillo-Vega, who has made great strides updating our recruitment templates, processes, and Departmental procedures to ensure that we respect all people and cultures throughout the recruitment process. More to come from Dr. Carrasquillo-Vega and his team in my next letter!   

As we reflect back on the year and look forward to what’s ahead, I am compelled to thank the many faculty and staff who are actively contributing to our mission with active recruitments of faculty, staff, and leaders across the Department, to our research and our patient care initiatives. Please know that your time and efforts are recognized and deeply appreciated as I know ultimately, the greatest draw for joining our Department to UMass Chan/UMass Memorial Health are all of you! I greatly appreciate all we have accomplished this past year and I am confident the year ahead we will continue our success.

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