News and Info

Health Center Faculty Vote to Unionize

The vote from the faculty is in — and the time to work together is now. At this point, it is critically important that all of us, regardless of how you voted this week, stay involved and engaged in the process. It is the community of ideas that we have that makes us great, and in the coming weeks you will have a unique opportunity to help shape the union.

I’m grateful to all for a respectful and thoughtful campaign. Let’s commit to work together for the common good for our institution so we can continue to move our institution toward top tier status, toward being a destination place for healthcare, and toward being a place that is an engine for growth and prosperity not just for ourselves, but for our region and our state.

Let’s proceed. Thanks.

Campaign Kickoff Event

I would like to invite the Health Center community to a free ice cream social on Friday, September 25, at 1 p.m. in the Courtyard (rain location: Food Court) to celebrate the launch of UConn’s new comprehensive campaign, “Our University. Our Moment. The Campaign for UConn.” The campaign’s goal is to raise $600 million to establish new endowment and operating funds, including $155 million for the UConn Health Center.

Ice cream from the UConn Dairy Bar will be provided by the UConn Foundation/Office of Development and Alumni Relations and served on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition, there will be a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the Max Restaurant Group, and brief remarks at 1:30 p.m. The Storrs campus will also celebrate the campaign kickoff on Friday with a free ice cream social at 12:30 p.m. at Fairfield Way. Other events will follow throughout the year. I hope that you will be able to join us as we launch this campaign at the UConn Health Center.

Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering

I am very proud to announce that the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) recently elected several of the University of Connecticut’s leading experts in science, engineering and technology into its membership. Bruce Liang, M.D., Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine and director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, and I were elected from the Health Center.

Election to the Academy is on the basis of scientific and engineering distinction achieved through significant contributions in theory or applications, as demonstrated by original published books and papers, patents, the pioneering of new and developing fields and innovative products, outstanding leadership of nationally recognized technical teams, and external professional awards in recognition of scientific and engineering excellence. By statute, the Academy’s membership is limited to 250 individuals.

The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering was chartered by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1976 to provide expert guidance on science and technology to the people and to the state of Connecticut, and to promote the application of science and technology to human welfare and economic well being.

The newly elected members from the University of Connecticut are:

  • Mark Aindow, Ph.D., Professor and Materials Science and Engineering Program Director, University of Connecticut
  • Amvrossios Bagtzoglou, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering; Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut
  • Mun Choi, Ph.D., Dean of Engineering, University of Connecticut
  • Monty Escabí, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; University of Connecticut
  • J. Peter Gogarten, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut
  • Cato Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine; Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; and Professor of Chemical, Materials, and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • Bruce Liang, M.D., Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine, Director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center
  • Pieter Visscher, Ph.D., Professor of Marine Sciences, Director, Center for Integrative Geosciences, University of Connecticut
  • Robert Whitlatch, Ph.D., Professor, Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut/Department Marine Sciences

Welcome to Dina Plapler, Vice President of Development

Dina Plapler
Dina Plapler

I am very pleased to welcome Dina Plapler to the Health Center family and the UConn Foundation’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations as vice president for development. Ms. Plapler is responsible for the management of Health Center fundraising activities and is part of the Foundation’s senior management team. She has extensive fundraising management experience, with expertise in major giving, special events and planned giving. Ms. Plapler comes to us from the new Connecticut Science Center where she was responsible for a multi-million dollar major giving program and helped them to achieve their campaign goal of $160 million. She brings excellent research, writing and interpersonal skills to the Foundation and is a proven, team-focused manager. Well-known and highly respected throughout the community, Ms. Plapler has well-established relationships with senior corporate executives and community leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University, a law degree from Georgetown University and is an adjunct graduate faculty member of Bay Path College. I am extremely excited at the potential she brings to the Health Center and the entire University.

I have asked Ms. Plapler to begin to reach out to members of the Health Center family to gain input and direction. Please provide her a warm welcome. Thanks.

Hartford Courant Op-Ed


On Sunday, The Hartford Courant published an op-ed piece I wrote outlining why I believe UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital is so important to the region and the state, and how the proposed partnership between the UConn Health Center and Hartford Hospital will be a positive step forward in the clinical, educational, research and economic future of our region.

Because space is limited in the Hartford Courant, the original op-ed piece had to be shortened significantly before publication. I am including a link to my original piece containing the entire message. I believe it is important for the Health Center community to read it in its entirety.

Dr. Jay Lieberman an AIMBE Fellow

Jay R. Lieberman, M.D.
Jay R. Lieberman, M.D.

I am proud to announce that the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering has inducted Dr. Jay R. Lieberman, director of the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, into its College of Fellows. Dr. Lieberman was nominated for significant and sustained contributions to understanding the biology of arthroplasty implants, and for innovative strategies for bone regeneration using gene therapy and materials science. The honor puts Lieberman in the exclusive company of the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers in their field, including distinguished professors, researchers and heads of engineering and medical schools at major universities, as well as entrepreneurs, directors of research and development, and corporate leaders.

Dr. Lieberman has been and continues to be a major contributor to the advancement of the science of biomedical engineering. The work being done in Dr. Lieberman’s lab, as well as the translational research taking place at the New England Musculoskeletal Institute under his leadership, is of unquestionable benefit to the patients of today and tomorrow. This is a proud day for UConn Health Center, the New England Musculoskeletal Institute, and the University of Connecticut as a whole.