Month: April 2009

PAWS Awards

Agnes White is presented with her PAWS award.
Agnes White is presented with her PAWS award.

Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the PAWS ceremony and distributing the April awards. One might ask, as I did when I first came to the UConn Health Center, what are PAWS awards? They are awards given to employees that showcase our own for the quiet excellence performed every day. To receive a PAWS award, an employee must be Part of a team, have an Awesome attitude, Wonderful work ethic, and provide Superior service. These employees exemplify the culture that is the cornerstone of our mission here at the Health Center.

The award recipients are Anne Bennett, Medicine; Lynette Branday, Elizabeth Fabbri and Pamela Iannucci, UMG/MFM; Nancy Hoerup, Telecommunications; Cathy Cassineri, Calhoun Cardiology Center; Christine Delgrande, Pulmonary Function Lab; Sonya Dickens, CMHC/Manson Youth; Lynn Grumm, Core Lab; William Kilray, Pharmacy; Marisol Koniar, UMG/IMA Module; Shelly Lombardo and Nicole McDermott, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center; Chantel Melendez, Radiology; Carolyn Murphy and Jennifer Smedberg, Rehabilitation Services; Frank Nichols, Oral Health & Diagnostic Sciences; Nicholas Noyes, Clinical Engineering; Maria Pessoa, Geropsych/3rd Floor; Sheila Pettway, UMG/GI-ID; Kesia Smith, Radiology; Dana Vibert, Outcome Performance Systems; Agnes White, Faculty Practice Plan Clinic; Abdul Yusoff, Dermatology. The team award goes to the IDX web implementation team. Members include Laurie Heineman, Lori Delvaglio, Diane Hamalian, Paul Consonni, Lori Giblin, Deborah Halle, Linda Clark, Lorraine Boulanger, Elissa Wagner, Kim Bourbeau, Matthew Shannon, and Ingrid Napoletano.

Congratulations to all the PAWS award recipients!

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.

Stem Cell Grants Awarded to Eleven UConn Scientists

I am very proud to announce that eleven University of Connecticut scientists received state-funded grant awards Tuesday, totaling $5.4 million from the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee (SCRAC) to advance embryonic and human adult stem cell research in Connecticut. These grants will allow researchers to pursue discoveries that one day may yield treatments for spinal cord injuries and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and juvenile diabetes. Congratulations.

Further information including the names of the award recipients are detailed in a news release found at:

Congratulations to Kimberly Ruscher, M.D., M.P.H.

Kimberly Ruscher, M.D., M.P.H.
Kimberly Ruscher, M.D., M.P.H.

Congratulations to Kimberly Ruscher, M.D., M.P.H., who was awarded a Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship covers one of several ACS courses and is awarded to only three young surgeons in the United States who best exemplify an important mission of RAS–developing future leaders for the field of surgery. Dr. Ruscher is a PGY-3 resident in General Surgery.