In This Issue:
Season’s Greetings | VIPs Visit Spectrum in Tennessee | Millbury Outpatient Services – Coming Soon! | Virginia | Mass DOC Recognizes 15 Spectrum Staff | A New Day at Everyday Miracles | Indian Creek Celebrates Milestone | Community Awareness Fair | Recovery Month | Spectrum Annual Meeting | Golf Fundraiser | Shout-Outs
Centralized Outpatient Intake Moves to Millbury
Spectrum’s centralized Intake Department, which fields referrals for all of our outpatient services, moved from its crowded location on Lincoln Street in Worcester to new digs in Millbury at the start of May. The new area features a new phone system and 50% more workspace giving this key department room to grow alongside our bustling outpatient treatment services.
Outpatient Operations Manager Lori Canane and Intake Manager Claribel Capeles were instrumental in maintaining service levels throughout the transition. The move was also made easier thanks to hands-on support from several Spectrum IT staff — Pat Southard, Patrick Morin and Debra Buckley – who set up the new phone system and new workstations.
The new phone system is important because it decreases the amount of noise in the department by directing incoming calls to the next available staff person rather than having each station ring simultaneously. It is also important for helping Spectrum track and report on the volume of calls made and received on an as-needed basis. The Intake Department currently receives more than 100 phone calls each day.
Left to right: Leen Abolebadeh, Lynne Lapointe, Radhaisi Bisono, Delilah Villanueva, Maryanne Hernandez, and Johanna Santo. Not pictured: Intake Coordinator Itza Rosado and Intake Manager Claribel Capeles.
Back to Top
Bright Futures Responds to Gas Leak
A gas leak at any Spectrum program could be a disaster never mind at a staff secure residential facility. But when carbon monoxide alarms sounded at Bright Futures in Methuen on the afternoon of April 18th, staff responded quickly and effectively to address immediate concerns. They evacuated clients from the facility rapidly, meeting at the established rally point. They escalated problems with clients who were not willing to evacuate or who were fearful of the situation to help support all 10 adolescent clients residing in the program at the time. They called 9-1-1 and stayed on the phone with emergency services until help arrived.
Mark Brown, Spectrum’s Director of Adolescent and Peer Recovery Support Services happened to be onsite at the time. “I’m so proud of the way Bright Futures staff handled themselves. They were 100% professional. They stood outside in the rain with clients for more than an hour and, in some cases, stayed late to process with clients once the building was cleared by the Fire Department and we were allowed back in.”
“We do a ton of training in the Adolescent Division to prepare staff for all kinds of situations, but ultimately it’s the staff that need to draw on this training when the time comes. These folks rose to the occasion. They did exactly what they were trained for and much, much more.”
Back to Top
Spectrum Joins Up with Amazon.com
In March, Spectrum launched a new partnership with Amazon Smile, a service provided by Amazon.com that allows all Amazon.com shoppers to direct 0.5% of their purchases toward enhancing and expanding Spectrum services for people in need. It’s free and easy to use. Here’s how:
- Go to Smile.Amazon.com.
- Enter your regular Amazon log in and password.
- Under “Pick Your Own Charitable Organization,” type in “Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.”
- Hit Select next to Spectrum Health Systems.
While Amazon Smile is not yet available through the Amazon App (I have it on good authority that it’s in the pipeline!) it does include any purchases made using Amazon Prime!
So shop away and just remember to use Smile.Amazon.com for all future Amazon.com purchases! Even after you’ve designated Spectrum as your Smile recipient, we only receive donations if you log in through Smile.
Back to Top
Project Peer Connection at Work by Renee Castelli
The first time I was supposed to meet William* he missed our appointment, so I was immediately worried about if he was going to engage with the program. When I finally got in touch with him he was extremely apologetic and immediately wanted to reschedule. This time he showed up. He seemed like a shy, older gentleman that had spent many years of his life incarcerated. He was just acclimating to being in contact with his family again and had not really thought about any long-term goals. Over the following two sessions we worked together on developing his treatment plan goals around medical care, cognitive behavioral treatment, and substance abuse programming and building a strong rapport. This rapport allowed me to see William was actually a chipper, extremely positive individual who needed help prioritizing and organizing to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
After extensive outreach, we were able to find, train and finally introduce an appropriate peer mentor to William. Soon after his release, William began to have severe side effects from his Vivitrol treatment in combination with other health concerns, which caused him to stop Vivitrol treatment. While this may have deterred some individuals, William worked the process with his mentor and stayed committed to his recovery.
Through the next two sessions, William developed new goals for his health care, recovery and anger management concerns. He was able to get his financial debts in order and successfully enroll in Medicare, State Cash Assistance and other available programs with a great deal of consistent effort. William was achieving every goal he set so quickly that we discussed even bigger goals, such as going back to school, part-time volunteerships or other work he could do with his medical conditions, and, eventually, living on his own.
To date, William continues to feel proud of his accomplishments and empowered to make positive, healthy choices. He successfully completed the PPC program after six months of positive gains in the community and maintains regular contact with his PPC Mentor.
*Name changed to ensure client confidentiality.
Back to Top
Georiga RSAT Hosts Sweetheart Dance
In one of our favorite staff organized events to date, Spectrum’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program in Bainbridge, Georgia hosted a Family Day Sweetheart Dance on February 10th. Program participants enjoyed time with their families and a special father/daughter dance as well. Spectrum staff came in on their day off to help with the festivities; all the artwork was made by the men in the Bainbridge program.
The Bainbridge program is a nine-month residential program for probationers. Probationers are court-mandated to this program and have a history of substance abuse. The event was a collaboration between Spectrum and the Georgia Department of Corrections and Bainbridge Superintendent Moses James was highly instrumental in the planning, implementation and success of this event.
On a side note, we wish to thank State Director Sabrina Hudnell and her team who asked participants to sign consents so that we can bring you these endearing pics of the day.
Back to Top
Girls’ Unit Celebrates One Year in Westborough
When the Girls’ Detention Unit operated by Spectrum under contract with the MA Department of Youth Services (DYS) moved to Westborough last year, many were skeptical. The program had been at its previous location in Dorchester, one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods of Boston, for decades. The facility was easily accessible by public transportation—critical for visiting families and discharging clients. Also, most staff were from the local area and much more familiar with the city landscape than the Westborough suburbs.
But still they moved forward. Some staff moved with the program to the new facility 40 miles to the West. The new building itself, on the grounds of the DYS Central Offices, provides ample space; offers bright, clean surroundings; and is accessible from one of three state highways.
And then they thrived. Last Fall, the program sponsored three children at a facility called Sherry’s House in Worcester, which is a home for children with cancer. Staff purchased items off the children’s wish list for Christmas and clients made the children crocheted blankets, jewelry boxes and cards as a way of giving back. In December, the program won first place in a DYS “Best Decorated Program” contest with a 3-D display based on the infamous movie The Polar Express. And, most recently, the Girls Unit has been busy gardening. This Spring, they planted a huge garden in one of the open courtyards of the new facility. Tomatoes, peppers, flowers and much more have been cultivated by clients and will go on sale to the public shortly at an onsite greenhouse supported by DYS.
Clearly, program staff and clients have settled into their new surroundings. While diversity, transportation and accessibility will always be top of mind, they are balanced with the benefits of being in a new facility with new opportunities.
Back to Top
Program Expansion Underway in Virginia
Spectrum expanded its footprint in Virginia last month with the opening of a new residential treatment program at the Cold Springs Correctional Unit in Greenville. The program will be managed by a new program director, staffed by four counselors and supported by an administrative assistant. Cold Springs houses 150 minimum and medium security offenders at any given time in dormitory-style living areas.
Back to Top
TN Staff Run to Support Big Brothers/Big Sisters
On May 13th, Tennessee State Director Ryan McMahon and Regional Supervisor Emily Blevins participated in the annual Tennessee Department of Correction 5k to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tennessee. The race drew over 500 participants and raised over $10,000 for BBBS. The event was held at the Tennessee State Prison, a now shuttered prison built in the late 1800s, used to film The Green Mile and The Last Castle. The race course went through the main yard of the old prison, and participants were invited on guided tours of the facility following the race. Ryan and Emily finished the race and we are incredibly proud of them!
Back to Top
Four-Day Experiential Training Held for Corrections Staff in MA
The Massachusetts DOC completed a comprehensive four-day experiential training in March to help key staff learn the inner workings of the therapeutic community and its social learning theory. The training included staff from Spectrum’s Correctional Recovery Academy and Medication-Assisted Treatment Reentry Initiative. Spectrum’s Correctional Recovery Academy is a 6-9-month residential program, based on the therapeutic community model, where offenders learn to work together as a community and the staff who attended the training did just that! Special thanks to Jim Piro and Chris Petrozzi who facilitated the extensive training.
Participants pictured here: Cynthia O’Connor, Kaitlin Wright, Kelly Celata, Cassandra Colon, Amanda Bonilla, Taylor MacLellan, Madeline Tkacs, Craig Reid, Sarah Laughlin, Samantha Mallard, Nadia Shallow, Sharon Vincent, Estrella Merlot, Meghan Popham, Abagail Merrick, Melissa St Hillaire, Stacy Eady, Christian Blake, Francesca Bollitier, Ashley Wrona, Nicholas Williams, Jesse Mallette, Pete Collins, Prince Woods, Robert Lombardi and Jeanne Brennan.
Back to Top
Starting us off is Jodi Tarantino, Program Director of Spectrum’s Charles J. Faris Recovery Center. Jodi sends a shout out to Clinician Lucia Andrade who was recently accepted into a doctoral program and will be starting work on her PhD this fall. Best wishes Lucia! Jodi also recognizes Clinical Director Day Marshall who recently started a Recovery Church with her husband, separate and apart from her work with Spectrum. The Recovery Church is intended as an alternative to AA/NA for people in recovery. It uses biblical teachings for the message delivered during a church service and also for a study time afterwards. They also serve a meal beforehand for those interested. We wish you the best Day! And speaking of Day, she wishes to recognize The Faris Center’s Senior Recovery Specialist Hillary Dumas who is starting her journey to become a Licensed Addiction Drug Counselor (LADC). Best wishes to you!
In other news, Megan Gajewski, Executive Director of Nursing, sends a big Shout Out to the nurses who were recognized as part of the Nurses-of-the-Month program. They are: Melinda Chick, Lori Anderson, Deborah Penney, Rosie Scano, Stacy Stackrow, Rob Gallagher, Lorna Doane, Stephanie Doucimo, Diahann Brooks, Christine Hamel, Ann Marie Chimera and Michelle Pepin. Congratulations to all!
Mark Orris, Regional Program Director for Spectrum’s Merrick Street and Southbridge Outpatient Treatment Centers, sends a special Shout Out to Brookeita Payne who passed her Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam and Erin Sutherland who passed her Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) certification. Love it!
In Georgia, Program Director Sam Thomas recognizes staff at the Johnson State Prison RSAT. Barbara Wilbur was recently recognized as Non-Security Counselor of the Quarter at JSP! Ryan Wells is an ordained minister who volunteers his time to assist offenders with their religious needs. He was also recently the keynote speaker for a local school. Larry Pope has become a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) since being employed with Spectrum. Angela Lawson has obtained her Master’s Degree and Master Addiction Counselor certification. Over the next three months, Sam has several team-building exercises and trainings planned as well as a pot-luck luncheon. Congratulations to all the folks at JSP and enjoy!
Program Director Cassaundra Thompson wishes to recognize some outstanding staff members at the Coastal State Prison in Garden City. Sherry Harvath got certified in Anger Management and Joyce Bongang graduated with her Master’s Degree in Counseling from South University in Savannah. Congratulations to both of you! Robin Tarver recently obtained her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist and, in fact, has been elected Treasurer and Secretary of the Coastal Chapter of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (GAMFT), the professional association of and for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Prelicensees and Associates from across Georgia. Congratulations Robin! Evelyn Wilson is currently teaching a course at Unity Church in Savannah. She also opened a sober living facility for women in Savannah in January. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Evelyn also recently celebrated 45 years of sobriety. Way to go Evelyn!
At the Northwest RSAT program in Rock Spring, Program Director Katrina Payne wishes to recognize Michael Felder who received his CCS in early April. Congrats Michael! Also, Dona Davis, the RSAT Program Director at the Arrendale Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center (PSATC), recognizes January Hudson who volunteers with Carry on Youth, an organization that provides trips, activities, etc. to help children who have lost a parent, and Leighanne Edwards who volunteers with Young Faces of ALS, an organization that brings awareness to the fact that ALS affects younger people.
Shanika Henley, Program Director at Valdosta State Prison Annex, recognizes Starkisha Belle who became a National Certified Addiction Counselor in February and Timothy Riser who received his certification with the National Association of Forensic Counselors as a Certified Chemical Dependence Counselor. Also, Alfred Miler volunteers with Family Connection in Albany where he assists kids and their families with improving their health, educational and economic well-being.
And lastly from Georgia, but never least, Constance Johnson the Program Director at the Bleckley RSAT program wishes to recognize RSAT Counselor Carolyn Hilburn who was recently certified as a Registered Behavioral Technician with the Behavioral Analyst Certification Board. Incidentally, Constance recently became a state Licensed Associate Professional Counselor herself. BIG Congratulations to Constance, Carolyn and the entire Georgia Team!
Also, in the Corrections Division, Regional Director Jennifer Zachary sends a special Shout Out to two staff who were awarded Excellence in Job Performance at the women’s facility in Framingham, Massachusetts for their work with the Pathways Model. They are Program Directors Meredith Malovrh and Kirsten Norby. Congrats Ladies! Regional Director Lisa Bonner also recognizes Francesca Bollitier from the Norfolk facility as the winner of Employee-of-the-Quarter for the Correctional Recovery Academy. Well done!
Lastly, Cindy Buraczynksi, Spectrum’s VP of External Affairs, recognizes Bob Brandner’s recent notoriety as one of Becker Hospital Review’s CIOs to Know. Bob joined Spectrum Health Systems in 2015 as its first Chief Information Officer (CIO). He supports the organization’s business operations through the development and implementation of IT services and ensures the system’s compliance with healthcare security and privacy regulations. Prior to joining Spectrum, Bob worked at Dell Computers in IT enterprise architecture. To see the full list of CIOs to Know, click here.
Back to Top
The President’s Club
Spectrum President & CEO Kurt Isaacson sends a very special congratulations to the new members of Spectrum’s President’s Club. The President’s Club recognizes exceptional contributions by individuals across the company who exemplify Spectrum’s mission and values. Individuals are nominated year-round by other employees; nominations are reviewed and accepted annually. This year’s inductees are: Ken Umeibe, Christine Hamel, Sarah Moore, Alicea Jordan, Alyssa Taddeo, Alfida Sceron-Reyna, Emily Hescock, Theresa Dineen, Amy Modzeleski, Julie Dileo, Karen Lawrence, Paula Baker, Elizabeth Solomon, Jessica Colson, Kirsten Norby and Tamu Brobbey.
Back to Top
CDCP Releases New Report on Hep C and Opioid Epidemic
New Hepatitis C virus infections in the United States nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015 according to a recent report from the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). An estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S., mainly baby boomers, have a Hepatitis C infection. Symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain and jaundice.
Report author Dr. John Ward of the CDCP states, “recent CDC research has identified increasing injection drug use is tied to the opioid epidemic in rural and suburban areas across the country.” He said hardest hit areas in terms of new infections are parts of Appalachia and rural areas of the Midwest and New England. Seven states — Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and West Virginia — have rates at least twice the national average.
Read the full report from the CDCP here.
Back to Top